Star Wars Bookworms is back with its 2nd episode! We had so much fun in this episode that we went a lot longer than expected. So we have broken the March episode into 2 parts. In this first part we are joined by Club Jade blogger and comic reviewer for Big Shiny Robot, James Floyd (@jamesjawa).
The Star Wars Report Network has a brand new podcast!
Star Wars Bookworms is a monthly podcast hosted by Teresa Delgado and Aaron Goins. Each month they will be discussing the most recent Star Wars book and comic book releases from Del Rey and Dark Horse as well as other Expanded Universe topics.
Season 5 of The Clone Wars started off with a bang! We got Darth Maul, Savage Opress, Hondo, Obi-Wan, severed limbs, dead Jedi… so much excitement packed into one episode. Then they left us hanging. Since then we have had episodes about a small rebellion, kid Jedi, and droids. Sure some of these episodes were enjoyable but I think we are ready to get back to more Obi-Wan and Anakin, and to find out exactly what’s going on with Darth Maul.
This Saturday our wait is over. Darth Maul and Savage Opress are back with a Mandalorian bonus. The next three episodes will continue and finish the story arc that was started with the first episode of the season. We have been teased with a couple preview clips for the episode that show the begginings of a Night Brothers/Mandalorian team up. We are finally starting to see some of those things that got us so excited in the Season 5 preview trailer.
So what else do we have to look forward to?
Based on the info we have so far it looks like there are only three story arcs left in Season 5. The next three episodes will finish the Darth Maul arc and are titled Eminence, Shades of Reason, and The Lawless. After that my guess is they will have a three episode arc with the story featuring Anakin, Padme, and the return of Padme’s ex-boyfriend Clovis. These episodes seem to be titled An Old Friend, The Rise of Clovis, and Crisis at the Heart. Assuming that this is a 22 episode season, just like the last 4 seasons have been, that leaves 3 episodes for the season ending arc featuring Ahsoka on the run.
Let’s take a look at some screen grabs from released trailers and clips and speculate a bit.
Darth Maul Arc
If you have read the young readers novel Darth Maul Shadow Conspiracy then you already know how this story goes. I have not read the book so I will only speculate on how the story goes.
Based on the next few screen shots it looks like Maul and Opress will come up against some bounty hunters we know pretty well. Here is a shot of Sugi and Dengar. In the shot you can’t see Maul and Opress but in the trailer it shows that is who the bounty hunters are firing at. Not sure why Dengar is shooting at the ground.
Sugi is not doing so well against Maul. I hope they don’t kill her. I really like her character.
It also looks like Embo has to face off against Savage Opress. He most likely lives since he still has to show up in the Clovis story arc.
That is definitely a robotic arm that Savage is sporting. I guess Mother Talzin wasn’t available to regrow it for him.
We also know from the trailer and a clip they showed at Celebration VI that Maul, Opress, and Death Watch also team up with the crime syndicate Black Sun. This is a nice shout out to the Expanded Universe since the Black Sun was first seen in the pages of the novel Shadows of the Empire and the organization appears in numerous other EU works. In this image you can see members of the Black Sun standing with the female Mandalorian Bo Katan. It looks like they are planning an attack on a Mandalorian city. If you look closely you can see that the male Mandalorian has the same logo on his chest that Boba Fett wears on his shoulder in the Original Trilogy.
Not sure who these aliens are but it looks like they are teaming up with the Madalorians too.
What is cooler than Darth Maul in Madalorian armor? (assuming that is him)
How about Obi-Wan in Mandalorian armor!
And it looks like we will get another Obi-Wan/Maul face-off.
So part of Maul’s deal with Pre Vizsla seems to be that he will help Vizsla reclaim Mandalore from the pacifists. This means Satine is in trouble, and when Satine is in trouble you know Obi-Wan will be there to help. But will his help be enough? In this image it looks like they are setting Obi-Wan up for the often used “I can’t hold on!” line. See the grease on the cylinder that he is holding onto to? Uh oh. Satine may not live to see the end of this arc.
At some point Vizsla and Maul must have a falling out and they clash sabers. We also know from some preview clips that Obi-Wan ends up teaming up with Bo Katan. In many of the clips that seem to be from the climax of the episode Pre Vizsla is nowhere to be found. This makes me wonder if he is killed by Maul.
And then the moment we have all been waiting for. The part of the trailer they showed at Celebration VI that made grown men cry. Darth Sidious with not one, but two lightsabers faces off against the Nightbrothers. Can anyone expect to survive when facing off against the true Master of the Sith?
Don’t worry Maul, that’s just a little Sith lightning.
Oh…That’s a lot…
It will probably be hard to go from all that amazing you see above to a story about Padme and Clovis. Of all the characters in The Clone Wars I am surprised they are bringing this guy back. It looks like this story arc will feature Anakin protecting Clovis and Padme from what looks like an assassination attempt by the bounty hunter Embo. This is interesting because in the past they have painted Embo as kind of a good guy. It also looks like Anakin is going to have to deal with some jealousy issues.
Anakin vs Clovis. Doesn’t seem like a fair fight.
Here is an image of Embo watching an explosion. Since Embo appears in more than one of the remaining arcs, this image could be from either story.
The trailer also shows a clip of Embo taking sniper shots at Padme. In a scene that is sure to delight the younger audience of The Clone Wars we will see Embo use his shield/hat as a snowboard as he chases down a speeder containing Anakin, Padme, and Clovis.
This last story arc is the one we know the least about. Well at least we don’t know the titles of the episodes yet. But many of the clips from the trailers seem to come from this story.
In the trailer this woman in purple is telling Ahsoka, “There are some citizens of the Republic who believe the Jedi Order is not what it used to be.” Who is this lady?
Yoda also mentions an attack on the Jedi Temple and later in the trailer we see what looks like a Jedi funeral with 6 bodies being buried. Is this attack what killed the Jedi? This is the perfect opportunity for the writers to kill off some other Jedi who aren’t supposed to be dead yet.
For reasons unknown, Ahsoka seems to be on the run. In the 100 Episodes Trailer there is a short clip at the end where Yoda says, “Bring back this lost child, before it is too late.”
Maybe Plo Koon is out looking for her. Here you can see him on a landing ship with some red-armored troopers at well as what looks like Commander Wolffe.
And it looks like Asajj Ventress is hunting Ahsoka, and she is wearing a brand new mask. Looks kind of like a commando droid’s head.
Here we see her taking on the same red-armored clones. If you look closely at her belt you can see she has already taken at least one of Ahsoka’s lightsabers.
Things are not looking good for Ahsoka.
But they wouldn’t kill off Ahsoka yet. Would they?
She’s jumping and not falling in this picture right?!
I can’t wait for the rest of Season 5!
I really, really wanted to love this book. It was written by Tim Zahn, the man who defined the Star Wars Expanded Universe. It was a Star Wars version of the movie Ocean’s Eleven, and I loved that movie. The main character was Han Solo. This book had to be awesome, right?
Well, before I get too deep into it, here is the official book summary.
Han Solo should be basking in his moment of glory. After all, the cocky smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon just played a key role in the daring raid that destroyed the Death Star and landed the first serious blow to the Empire in its war against the Rebel Alliance. But after losing the reward his heroics earned him, Han’s got nothing to celebrate. Especially since he’s deep in debt to the ruthless crime lord Jabba the Hutt. There’s a bounty on Han’s head—and if he can’t cough up the credits, he’ll surely pay with his hide. The only thing that can save him is a king’s ransom. Or maybe a gangster’s fortune? That’s what a mysterious stranger is offering in exchange for Han’s less-than-legal help with a riskier-than-usual caper. The payoff will be more than enough for Han to settle up with Jabba—and ensure he never has to haggle with the Hutts again.
All he has to do is infiltrate the ultra-fortified stronghold of a Black Sun crime syndicate underboss and crack the galaxy’s most notoriously impregnable safe. It sounds like a job for miracle workers . . . or madmen. So Han assembles a gallery of rogues who are a little of both—including his indispensable sidekick Chewbacca and the cunning Lando Calrissian. If anyone can dodge, deceive, and defeat heavily armed thugs, killer droids, and Imperial agents alike—and pull off the heist of the century—it’s Solo’s scoundrels. But will their crime really pay, or will it cost them the ultimate price?
A story about Han Solo leading a team of scoundrels to steal a lot of money is a cool idea. The problem is we kind of already know how it’s going to end. Ok… maybe not exactly… but we know Han can’t end up rich at the end. So throughout the book we are left wondering what exactly is going to go wrong. This actually isn’t so bad though. Zahn is a masterful storyteller and he does a great job of not tipping his hand until he has to. You literally do not get the full payoff of the story until the very last line of the book and I loved that
And the story wasn’t bad. It was actual a great story. The problem for me was how much of the story was unnecessary. The meat of the book comes in the last 7 chapters. Everything before that is set up. Long, repetitive setup. I kept thinking to myself, please just rob the place already! I know a story like this needs to establish the characters and the gameplan, but I felt it just took way too long. By the time the story started ramping up I had all but lost interest. I really think Scoundrels would have worked better as a short story rather than a full length novel.
The characters were also lacking for me. There were so many of them, but very few of them I found interesting. Han, Chewie, and Lando were pretty much themselves although there were a couple of moments where I felt Han was out of character. He seemed a little too calm and collected and not the same Han that runs headfirst into a squad of stormtroopers in A New Hope. I wish Chewbacca was used more. He was basically there because he had to be. Fans of other EU stories will be happy to see Winter and Kell Tainer on the team, but neither of those characters were my favorites in the book. The standout characters in my opinion were brand new to this book. The imperial agent Dayja and the “ghost thief” Bink Kitik were both very interesting and I hope to see them both again in future Expanded Universe stories.
I think some people will love this book, but it just wasn’t for me. Like I said earlier the overall story is great, and if you are a more patient reader than I am, you may actually enjoy all the set up. I just found myself bored through most of it. Once the book did pick up speed it got really good… but then it was over.
That’s three Star Wars novels in a row about undercover missions and daring heists which do not focus on Jedi characters. Can I have my Jedi and lightsabers back now?
Random Thoughts and Observations
It’s still weird seeing Clone Wars references in a novel set in the Original Trilogy era. (page 16)
There was also a seemingly forced reference to the Old Republic era characters Revan and Malak. (page 183)
Loved the use of the Z-95 Headhunter.
Jaxxon’s species makes an appearance. (page 243)
Zahn uses the phrase “carry the football” which I thought was an odd real-world reference. Apparently it’s not the first time the word football has been used in Star Wars though. (page 341)
Now we know Lando has a “number-three-type mustache”. (page 376)
Oooh, I know some people who will just LOVE the very last line of this book and others who will HATE it. Should lead to some fun discussions.
Scoundrels will be released on January 1st and will be available at Amazon.com and bookstores everywhere.
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Annihilation, released today, was the fifth and final new Star Wars novel released by Del Rey in 2012. I would say that Annihilation is more in the vein of Mercy Kill or Scourge rather than Darth Plagueis or Apocalypse but we’ll get into that later. First, here is the official synopsis.
The Sith Empire is in flux. The Emperor is missing, presumed dead, and an ambitious Sith Lord’s attempt to seize the throne has ended fatally. Still, Darth Karrid, commander of the fearsome Imperial battle cruiser Ascendant Spear, continues her relentless efforts to achieve total Sith domination of the galaxy.
But Karrid’s ruthless determination is more than matched in the steely resolve of Theron Shan, whose unfinished business with the Empire could change the course of the war for good. Though the son of a Jedi Master, Theron does not wield the Force—but like his renowned mother, the spirit of rebellion is in his blood. As a top covert agent for the Republic, he struck a crucial blow against the Empire by exposing and destroying a Sith superweapon arsenal—which makes him the ideal operative for a daring and dangerous mission to end Ascendant Spear’s reign of terror.
Joined by hot-headed smuggler Teff’ith, with whom he has an inexplicable bond, and wise Jedi warrior Gnost-Dural, Darth Karrid’s former master, Theron must match wits and weapons with a battle-tested crew of the most cold-blooded dark side disciples. But time is brutally short. And if they don’t seize their one chance to succeed, they will surely have countless opportunities to die..
Annihilation is the fourth novel in what is kind of a series of Old Republic novels based on the MMO with the same name. I say “kind of a series” because the individual novels don’t really have an ongoing narrative and can essentially each stand on their own. If anything Annihilation is a sequel to the Dark Horse Comics series The Lost Suns which tells a previous story of our main protagonist Theron Shan. Reading this comic series before reading Annihilation is not necessary but it may help you get to know the characters better and understand some of the references they make.