Tag Archives: Star Wars Expanded Universe

7 Darth Maul Stories You Should Read

Not since the height of the Phantom Menace hype back in 1999 has Darth Maul been this popular.  His return to the Star Wars Universe via the animated show The Clone Wars has brought Darth Maul back into the public consciousness.  To top that off, a brand new Darth Maul novel has been announced and will be released in 2014.  But we don’t have to wait until 2014 for some great Darth Maul stories.  The Expanded Universe is filled with them.

If you have gotten caught up in the current Darth Maul hype, and you just can’t get enough of that tattooed Zabrak, here are 7 stories from the Star Wars Expanded Universe you must check out.

Star Wars: Darth Maul
This was a series of comics that ran in 2000 and told the story of Darth Maul being sent by Darth Sidious to take out the leadership of the Black Sun criminal organization.  Interesting that Maul would eventually do this again in The Clone Wars TV show, although in a much easier fashion.  This is one of my favorite comic stories from Dark Horse and features the amazing artwork of Jan Duursema.  As a bonus Drew Struzan did the cover art.  You can now find this story in a collected trade paper back and it is also available digitally.

Marked
From 1999 to 2005 Dark Horse Comics published Star Wars Tales.  These were really cool.  Each issue would contain a handful of stories which ranged from serious to funny to the extremely ridiculous.  In issue #24 there was a 12-page story called Marked which featured Darth Maul.  The apprentice is sent by Sidious to kill a Force-user who is posing a threat.  Maul finds the Force-user is a Drovian named Silus and he is a competitive fighter.  Maul must enter the competition and face the fighter.  But does Sidious really want to eliminate this Force-user or is he seeking out a new apprentice?  Look for some really cool flashbacks of a young Darth Maul in training in this story.

Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter
If you are a fan of Darth Maul you must read this novel.  Released in 2001 and written by Michael Reeves, Shadow Hunter tells the story of Darth Maul’s hunt to retrieve a holocron which contains information that may reveal Darth Sidious’ evil plans.  The man on the run from Maul is Lorn Pavan, an information broker who is in over his head.  Pavan’s son Jax will go on to be featured in the Coruscant Nights books as well as the upcoming novel The Last Jedi.

Resurrection
This is one of the more off-the-wall Darth Maul stories.  The 48-page story can be found in Star Wars Tales #9 and gives us the chance to see a face-off between Darth Vader and Darth Maul.  Vader is hunting down stolen plans for the Death Star and comes across some Prophets of the Dark Side.  These prophets have taken it upon themselves to resurrect Darth Maul and of course a lightsaber battle ensues.  Sure it is a bit ridiculous but it’s a fun quick read.

The Wrath of Darth Maul
This is the closest thing to a Darth Maul biography we have.  It tells the story of Maul from him being a toddler, to his training under Darth Sidious, to his apparent death on Naboo, to his resurrection.  Since this book was released in 2012 it has the advantage of being able to pull from all the Darth Maul stories that had come before as well as The Clone Wars TV series.  This is a young adult novel so it is written at that level but even adults should find this story intriguing.

Old Wounds
Back before The Clone Wars TV series decided to bring Darth Maul back and give him robotic legs this had already been done in the 2005 story Old Wounds.  This was a story found in the pages of the Star Wars: Visionaries, a collection of stories written and drawn by concept artists who worked on Revenge of the Sith.  The story is that Darth Maul somehow survived being cut in half and has been tracking down Obi-Wan.  He eventually catches up with him on Tatooine while Obi-Wan is protecting Luke at the Lars Homestead.  This story is actually really cool and the artwork by Aaron McBride is amazing.  The Darth Maul design from this comic heavily influenced (meaning it’s almost exact) the look of Maul in The Clone Wars show.

Darth Maul: Death Sentence
The Clone Wars brought Darth Maul back from the dead in Season Four, but we really only got a tease with him showing up right at the end of the season.  Then we were left wondering what was happening with him between Season Four and Season Five.  Death Sentence tells that story.  A four-issue series from Dark Horse Comics, Death Sentence is written by Tom Taylor and has great art by Bruno Redondo.  In the series Maul and his brother Savage Opress are wreaking havoc in the Outer Rim and a team of Jedi are sent to track them down.  But the Jedi aren’t the only people the brothers have to worry about.  A corrupt mine owner and his mercenaries also want them dead.

So before you watch The Clone Wars this Saturday and (maybe) find out Maul’s ultimate fate, check out some of these stories to get a full appreciation of the character.

- Aaron Goins

Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Scoundrels’

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.

- Aaron Goins

SWR Staff United: Why We Love Star Wars

Disney bought Star Wars, Disney bought Star Wars…those are the words that have been rippling through not only the Star Wars community but the Disney community as well. Fans have been tested as to what kind of fan they truly are. We have seen many fans that have now denounced Star Wars and George Lucas because of this move. We have seen others that it has strengthened their belief in the Star Wars saga. It is amazing to me how this kind of news can shift someone’s fandom of something they have probably loved their entire life. While the reactions to the news have ranged from anger to elated with some anxious/confusion mixed in I think we can all agree that the Star Wars universe will forever be changed.

The Staff at the Star Wars Report were just as effected by this news only all of us were effected differently. Some of us just want to sit back and wait to hear what the new movie will be about while some of us like to speculate and develop theories. We all have our own concerns based on what part of the universe we care about the most and I think it is our passion that pulls us all together. During times like this as the rumor mill begins to circulate we have all taken an introspective look at our own personal fandom. We have all been trying to answer the question of why we love Star Wars?

We all have come together because we all have a very strong passion for the Saga but how we got here and why we are still here are different stories. As we talked about this we decided that we wanted to take a look at why each of us has this passion and what exactly it is about Star Wars that keeps the force flowing through us.

As we started down our introspective journey we had to first take a look at how we got here. One thing we found is that none of us saw the original trilogy in the theater when it first came out. This was astonishing because generally speaking there is always one person in a group that is old enough to remember the OT being released in theaters. Not in this group! All of us were introduced to the films either on VHS tape or on TV if it was being aired. We were introduced by our parents or even by our Catholic Grandparents. Some of us saw them when were very little like me (Teresa), Ryan and Pete. The rest of us were about 9 or 10 years old, well unless you are Riley and Bethany. These two first saw Star Wars by watching the Phantom Menace when they were in their teens! It does not matter what age we got introduced or how we got introduced the key thing is that we all found Star Wars!

Even though we all may have been introduced to Star Wars there came a time when we actually liked Star Wars. For some of us it took us a while to truly like it. We liked the action and we definitely were entertained but it would be later in life that we would really start to understand the story. As kids the character development and the story development was a little underneath us, but as we grew and watched it more we began to understand the story and the depth that Star Wars would take us. For some of us however the things that got us hooked were the sounds, music and visuals. The special editions were huge for the Staff of the Star Wars report as many of us got to see the Original trilogy in theaters and this experience far eclipsed watching it at home, thus getting us hooked further.

Liking Star Wars does not get you to where are all of us are today in our fandom. There had to be at least one thing that when we saw the films we got ourselves hooked. I actually think this topic is one that shows how different yet alike we all are. For some of us it was the Jedi vs. Sith and they way the interacted with each other in the saga. For many of our staff it was the existence of the force and the way that it flows through the universe. Still for other it is the themes that comprise the story and the mythology of the characters. Then there are the few of us that can remember one simple thing that hooked us, it could be small like a lightsaber or as simple as a character like the Ewoks.

Everyone always gets asked what their favorite film is and that is no different here. We all have different favorite films and sometimes that even changes depending on where we are in our lives or what our mood is. For almost all of us it is a toss up between 2 or 3 films. With having a group that is as young as we are it is inevitable that some of our favorite films are going to be the prequels. While my favorite film is not a prequel film my order of preference has them before Empire Strikes Back, which tends to blow some other fans minds. The two films that take the majority of the votes from our staff were Return of the Jedi and Empire Strikes Back with Revenge of the Sith in a very close 3rd.

As we dug a little deeper past our favorites and began to analyze our lives because of Star Wars I felt it was fitting for us to look at the things we do in our lives that are because of what we have learned. Here is a quick list of the life lessons we have taken away:

  • Always commit to the things you want in life. Do them with passion and with strength or don’t do them at all
  • Never just be yourself…make yourself. Choose your own fate.
  • Never give in to your dark side.
  • If you have a chance to do the right thing…Do It! Do not be afraid and don’t step back.
  • Your choices make a difference and they shape your personality and character
  • Never be afraid to show your true self
  • We all make mistakes, to change all you have to do is choose to act

 

It is always easy to think about who your favorite character in the Star Wars universe is. However, it is harder to decide which character you most identify with because sometimes this character is not your favorite. Sometimes this character is someone that you do not even like. I identify the most with Padme Amidala I have a set of skills very similar to her and what she uses to keep the peace in the senate. I am also a fighter for peace and equality just as she is. Her strength is something i also see in myself but at the same time I admire her positivity and sense of self. Each one of us identifies with a character in a similar way. Riley most identifies with Han Solo because of his ability to take things in stride. Mark also identifies with Han but for much different reasons. Mark sees the Han that evolved in the Expanded Universe. He sees a person that was dealt a lot of hardships and learned to evolve from the pain and become even stronger. I think there were a lot of young fans out there that identified with Luke but we have four staff members that truly identify with Luke because of his compassion for others, willingness to do what is right and his passion for adventure. We only have one staff member that identifies with Chewie and his loyalty. The reason that Star Wars impresses me is the fact that there are so many diverse characters to choose from.

The final aspect of being a fan is recognizing all of the things that the world of Star Wars contributes that has nothing to do with the movies. We as a staff can all agree that the world of Star Wars fandom has brought many things to our lives. From friends that we make because we all love the same thing to the books that we read so that we can dive deeper into the world we love. The one thing we can all agree upon is that the world of Star Wars has never stopped growing regardless of the fact that the last film came out in 2005. We have gotten so much content through the years on top of the fan conventions that we have also gotten to enjoy. With this new evolution as Star Wars continues through Disney the one thing we know will happen for sure is that we are getting more Star Wars. It is a great time to be a Star Wars fan and to appreciate all the reasons that we quite simply Love Star Wars.

Teresa (@icecoldpenguin@fangirl_ND) 

Star Wars nerd at heart and a pop culture fanatic. Fangirl blogger, movie and book reviewer. Avid reader and film goer.I love penguins! Creator of the Fangirl Next Door website and podcast and staff for Jedi News UK.

http://www.fangirlnextdoor.com/

X-Wing Omnibus Vol 3 – SWBTF #43

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Michael A. Stackpole, Thrawn, Barron Fel, and more, Star Wars: Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron, Volume 3, on the next Star Wars Beyond the Films. YOUR Star Wars discussion podcast! YOUR ticket to the EU!

This week true believers, Beyonders, Fanboys, Fangirls, respected aliens around the galaxy, The Defender of the EU; Mark Hurliman, and your EU Guru; Nathan P. Butler, sit down to discuss the third and final volume of the three volume Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron series. Strap in and tighten your crash webbing, Mark’s piloting and likes to turn the internal compensator down to zero! Star Wars Beyond the Films is setting off on another rapid-fire trip to a galaxy far, far away!

Jumping right in with a few announcments, we have a winner of the Star Wars 2012 Del Rey Convention Exclusive Sampler Contest! Congratulations to lucky winner: Drew Nick.

Nathan’s new Webisode series, From the Star Wars Library has launched.
Mark’s new column on The Star Wars Report: Expanding Story Opportunities.

This episode covers the issues collected in the the Star Wars: Omnibus- X-Wing Rogue Squadron Vol. 3: (Be sure to check out the links for some epic cover art)

It’s no secret that this is the volume of the Omnibus series both host most enjoyed. The rise of Ysanne Isard, Barron Fel’s defection, Sate Pestage’s fall from grace, and an X-Wing comic not collected?! (Relax- it’s just not in THESE Omnibi)

Art and story blow away the tone set in the first two omnibi. There is more dialog in this one issue than any other, allowing for more character development this time around. The guys also discuss payoff, and whether you need to have that payoff to have a satisfactory story? Thinking along the lines of Star Wars: Invasion’s recent “satisfactory ending” the hosts wonder if Fel’s plot will ever be picked back up. They hope so, or at least some editor at Del Rey has it on their wishlist.

With so much going on in the show, it’s difficult, nay impossible, to capture it all in the shownotes. You’ll just have to listen for yourself. You be the judge.

Looking to buy it?
Dark Horse Comics
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

Once again, your dynamic duo cover entirely too much Rogue Squadron action in their ONE hour, but don’t worry, give it a go; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you might even get a little education on the EU while you’re at it. But no matter how you slice it and dice it, you’ll be having another adventure Beyond the Films. So sit back, hang on, enjoy the show, and may the Force be with you!

Email:         SWBeyondfilms@starwarsfanworks.com
Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/swbeyondfilms
Twitter:      twitter.com/#!/SWBeyondFilms

Top 5 EU Characters- TWL #32

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Join Karl and Jason as they are joined by special guest Mark Hurliman of the “Star Wars Beyond the Films” podcast to discuss their Top 5 Expanded Universe characters. From Mara Jade Skywalker to Corran Horn and numerous others, your hosts have a great time what it is they enjoy so much about the other great characters from Star Wars which have been created outside of the film franchise.