Forty Years in the Making…

Art by Scott Biel

The universe of Star Wars is one filled with lore created over the decades following the series’ release in 1977. Upon Disney’s acquiring of the franchise and Lucasfilm in 2012, the movie empire reset the Star Wars canon (factual in-universe events). In 2015, to celebrate the release of the first motion picture Star Wars film since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, Disney released the first chapter of a three part arc of novels retelling the events following 1983’s Return of the JediStar Wars: Aftermath. This editorial will contain minor spoilers, but the overall major plot points will no be covered.

This past summer, I finished the final chapter, Empire’s End, closing the door on characters I had grown with over the past two years. Each arc had its closure, met with joy, sadness, or something in between. Relationships disputed in the second volume, Life Debt, including the first main character LGBT couple in-universe, were fleshed out and concluced. Questions which arose found their answer. Just about all stories within the story came to a close, each playing a part in the fate of the other.

Art by Steve Thomas

The provides two perspectives, each with its own set of main protagonists and antagonists. There is the main cast, a group consisting of six individuals fighting for the Rebel Alliance turned New Republic, and deuteragonsit Rae Sloane of the Empire turned Imperial Remnant. The parties, which have clashed throughout the previous two volumes, must come together to face the main antagonist and Sloane’s former ally, Gallius Rax. Through showcasing multiple character arcs, including one around the main antagonist himself, author Chuck Wendig provides his audience not just a plethora of characters to get to know and fall in love with, but a surplus of emotions with the freedom to vary from reader to reader, their hearts torn between the sides.

Author Chuck Wendig, photographed by Michelle Wendig

Wendig also expands on the stories of obscure characters within the films, such as the single appearance Mon Mothma, who becomes the leading figure of the protagonist forces. As the leading politician of the protagonists’ New Republic, she faces corrupt political rivals who would go great lengths to stop her. She herself has to resort to sneaky tactics, using one of the three main protagonists to help take down a dangerous and vile rival, revealing great details of her personality one could not observe in her few seconds of screen time.

I loved every moment of this final chapter, always anticipating my next opportunity to pick up the book and lose myself in some far away galaxy and the lives of its citizens. Always excited to see the beloved characters again, cheering and crying for them as if they were my own friends. I often times found my heart torn between who I wanted to come out on top: the protagonists or the antagonists. Of course, I knew what the overall end result would be thanks to 2015’s The Force Awakens, but the smaller, behind the scenes stories which the novel(s) centered themselves around is where the attention laid. I found the line between “good” and “evil” to often be grayed, even to a point were “victory” and “defeat” were blurred. The sense of irony with which the story concludes is rich and stirs the emotions of the reader.

This novel, and the series as a whole is are one I would highly recommend not just to members of the Star Wars fandom, but to any who might enjoy an excellent read.