Tag Archives: The Phantom Menace

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/

Two Words To Say…Thank You

The world of Star Wars underwent some drastic changes this week and I just like every Star Wars journalist has been thrown a major curve ball. Many of us had plans for our fansites and podcasts, those plans have now fallen by the wayside. I am not unlike everyone else. The post that I had planned for November 1st was to be about the role of leading ladies in the Star Wars universe. Now I am faced with the task of breaking down the news that we received this week.

As I began to ponder what I could contribute to the conversation I began to realize that there is something missing in all the journalistic pieces filtering through the web. While it is fair to speculate what all of this means for Star Wars as well as Disney the missing piece to me seems to be the gratitude that is owed to Mr. George Lucas. I have seen one letter to the man himself written by Joey Esposito from IGN. As I read the letter I decided that my piece for November 1st would be my personal “Thank You” to George Lucas. I feel it is only right for me to write this publicly seeing as how without the world he created I would have nothing to write about. I am in no way trying to copy Mr. Esposito but his letter did inspire me to put more positive writing into the universe. I feel like he made the write call when he wrote his letter and I simply wish to express my gratitude as well. So with that I begin….

Dear Mr. Lucas,

I may never get a chance to meet you and say any of this directly to you however, I believe that as long as it is put out there for others to read the positive vibes from it will somehow find you.

Thank You, these are the two words that I have to express to you. I have been on this Earth for 27 years and I do not remember a single period of time in my life where I have not loved Star Wars. You gave Star Wars to my parents first and my mom made sure that I had seen every single one. We had marathons of Star Wars in our home and made a family event of it. My mom has even passed on her original action figures to my brother and I. I have had the pleasure of watching the re-releases in the theaters and in 1999 my life was forever changed. At the age of 14 I got to see Star Wars on the big screen with an all new movie. My life was forever changed that day. I quote Jar Jar Binks, I hum duel of the fates to myself, I have pretended to wield a double bladed lightsaber, I have dressed up as Padme from the battle of Geonosis, and I cry every time Order 66 is issued. For me you gave me 3 movies that would shape my future.

I began writing to express myself but for so long I had no where to go. I finally found my calling when certain people that you have taken under your wing began to flourish in the Star Wars fan community. I thank you for embracing the creativity of people like Kyle Newman, Dave Filoni, Ashley Eckstein and James Arnold Taylor. These individuals were pivotal in my growth. They gave me hope and strength of self. I learned to be proud of my Fangirl status and I learned that there is so much more to the world of Star Wars than films, books, comics and toys. There is a community. This new discovery brought me to where I am today. It is because of Star Wars and the community it has driven that there is room for people like me. People who write about being a fan and sharing that fandom with others. Even today without this announcement we are always finding news to share and things to talk about.

I owe my personal success to you. I never would have become a writer for Star Wars fansites much less have started my own had it not been for the galaxy you created. I have to thank you also for recognizing the proper time to let go. In life it seems that we all have to eventually let go and the key is to do so with the right timing. I feel blessed that you want the franchise to continue to grow and that you are willing to pass it off to others. I am thankful that you want to ensure the survival of something that so many of us hold so close to our hearts. While there are those that fear for the future the one thing we can take solace in is that the things that were created will forever be taken care of in the hands that you have placed it in.

I am very much looking forward to the new places that Star Wars will go and I thank you for giving that to us. Even though some may see you abandoning Star Wars I do not. I see you giving us the ability to have more of it. While we hate to see you go I know that you will never be gone. The mark that you have left on Star Wars will be seen forever. I wish you the best of luck in your retirement, everyone deserves a chance to breathe in their life and pursue new things. You will be missed but just remember this “When you wish upon a Star it makes no difference who you are, anything your heat desires will come to you.” I have no doubts that this is true especially for you.

Sincerely,

Teresa Delgado

For all of us that will forever cherish Star Wars take this to heart “When you wish upon a Star Wars…” the future for us is now wide open and anything is possible. A New Hope has arrived.

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/

The Jedi Council: Where are They Now?

Back in 1999 a new Star Wars movie came to theaters for the first time since Return of the Jedi was released in 1983.  The Phantom Menace brought us back to the Galaxy Far Far Away and introduced us to some interesting new characters.  Some of the most interesting looking characters were the characters on the Jedi Council.  With the exception of Yoda, these twelve Jedi were brand new to us and we knew next to nothing about them.

In the years since much more has been revealed about the Jedi Council members seen in The Phantom Menace.  Some had bigger roles in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, some have been featured in The Clone Wars TV show, and others have been fleshed out in the novels and comics.  The fate of many of the characters has been revealed in the movies and The Clone Wars.  The Expanded Universe has also told its version of some of the Jedi Council member’s deaths, although these stories can always be overridden by George Lucas’s vision in the currently running Clone Wars show (we have already seen a few examples of this.)

So let’s take a look at each of the twelve council members and what we know about where they stand in the Star Wars universe.  We will consider stories from not only the movies and The Clone Wars but also the Expanded Universe.

Yarael Poof
Maybe the oddest looking of the twelve council members, and that’s saying a lot, Poof was a Quermian Jedi Master.  Many stories in the Expanded Universe include Yarael Poof, but his most important appearance would probably be in the one shot comic book titled Zam Wessel.  In the comic a plot is uncovered to destroy one of the Republic’s key worlds and Coruscasnt is a possible target.  Poof volunteers to take on the task of protecting the planet.  He used the Force to track down the terrorist whose plan was to destroy the planet by using a very powerful ancient artifact.  Poof was able to stop the plan with the help of the unlikely allies Jango Fett and Zam Wessel, but in the process he was stabbed by the terrorist.  Using his last bit of Force power he disabled the artifact before it could explode and destroy the planet.  After his death, Yarael Poof was replaced by Coleman Trebor on the Jedi Council before the events of Attack of the Clones.
On a lighter note, Poof can also be seen making a hilarious cameo appearance in the Robot Chicken : Star Wars Episode III special.

Yaddle
The girl version of Yoda.  She didn’t have much to do in The Phantom Menace and she does not show up in the future movies, so what happened to her?  Her adventures after The Phantom Menace, and even before, are chronicled in the Star Wars comics and the young readers novels.  One of the most interesting stories is Yaddle’s Tale: The One Below which can be found in the comic Star Wars Tales #5.  The story is of a younger Yaddle who is sent on a mission with her master.  The mission was to liberate the people of a planet from a vicious warlord.  Her master is killed by the warlord and Yaddle is sealed in a pit for over 100 years.  While in the pit she becomes a local legend called The One Below.  When an earthquake finally frees her she stays on the planet to help the people recover from the earthquake.  The warlord had long since left but when his son returns to claim the villages as his birthright, Yaddle defends the people and defeats him in battle.
The story of Yaddle’s death is told in the young readers novel Jedi Quest: The Shadow Trap.  While on a mission to Mawan with Anakin and Obi-Wan, Yaddle sacrificed her life to protect the innocent.  She used the Force to absorb a bioweapon released by the troubled character Granta Omega.  Her death occurs between the events of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.

Oppo Rancisis
Another very unique looking Jedi Council member, Oppo Rancisis was Thisspiasian Jedi.  He basically had the body of a giant snake but with four arms coming from his more humanoid upper body.  Like most of the Council members in The Phantom Menace he was not given any lines in the movie.  It wouldn’t be until the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars cartoon in 2005 that Rancisis is given a voice, but he is still just shown sitting on the council.  If you want to see Rancisis in action you will have to go to the comics.  In the Republic: Siege of Saleucami story line, Rancisis is sent to the planet of Saleucami with Republic forces to stop the creation of an army of Morgukai clones.  Racisis role was to coordinate the battle plan and use his Force ability of battle meditation to assist the Republic forces.  During the battle the Republic stronghold was infiltrated and Rancisis was attacked by assassins.  Exhausted from his battle meditation he was barely able to repel the assassins.  In the confusion of the fight Dark Jedi Sora Bulq, an agent of Count Dooku, snuck up behind Rancisis and stabbed him in the back.  These events happened just before Revenge of the Sith and Rancisis does not appear in the movie.
This is how the Expanded Universe has portrayed his death but it is always possible that The Clone Wars will tell things a little differently.  Dave Filoni did say in an online chat over at Entertainment Weekly that Oppo Rancisis would eventually show up in the series.

Even Piell
A very gruff looking member of the Jedi Council, Even Piell was short in stature and had a severe scar over his left eye.  When you first see him you know he has seen battle.  Piell does show up again in Attack of the Clones but does not make an appearance in Revenge of the Sith.  Based on the novel Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight, Piell was originally thought to have survived Order 66 only to be killed by stormtroopers shortly after.  This version of his death has recently been changed due to events in The Clone Wars TV series.  In the Season 3 episode Citadel Rescue, Piell was being rescued by the Jedi from the stronghold called The Citadel.  In the process of the escape the Jedi are attacked by a pack of Anoobas.  Though he fought bravely, Piell succumbed to wounds he received and died.  Before he died though, he was able to relay the important Nexus Route coordinates to Ahsoka Tano.

Adi Gallia
The beautiful Adi Gallia was a Tholothian Jedi Master who appeared on the Jedi Council in The Phantom Menace.  She makes a brief appearance in Attack of the Clones.  Another character who looks very similar also appears in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.  This character, named Stass Allie, is the one who is killed in the Order 66 scenes in Revenge of the Sith.
Gallia is very prominent in the Expanded Universe having been featured in novels, young readers books, comics and even video games.  Like many Jedi, Adi Gallia died during the Clone Wars.  Originally her death was depicted in the comic series Obsession.  During a battle on Boz Pity just before the events of Revenge of the Sith, Gallia was killed by General Grievous.  In the Season 5 premiere of The Clone Wars a different version of her death was depicted and this is the version that will be considered canon.  While on a mission with Obi-Wan to stop the brothers Maul and Savage Opress, Adi Gallia was brutally killed by the hulking Savage Opress.

Ki-Adi-Mundi
The Cerean Jedi Master was very distinct because of his cone-head appearance.  Before his appearance in The Phantom Menace Ki-Adi-Mundi had already been featured in the Dark Horse comic series Star Wars which started in December 1998, so many fans were already familiar with the character.  He continued to be heavily featured in the comic series as it chronicled the time before The Phantom Menace, the time leading up to Attack of the Clones, and on through the events of the Clone Wars.  He was also featured in the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars cartoon as one of the first Jedi to face off against the mysterious General Grievous.
He has more recently been featured in the current The Clone Wars TV series having a very prominent role in the Season 2 episode Landing at Point Rain.  Unfortunately we know that he dies during Order 66, shot by his clones on the planet Mygeeto during Revenge of the Sith.  He did put up a bit of a fight which is more than can be said for many of his Jedi counterparts.

Mace Windu
Mace Windu was a human Jedi Master originally from the planet Haruun Kal.  On the Council, he was second only to Master Yoda.  Other than Yoda Windu was the most prominently featured council member in The Phantom Menace, so it only makes sense that he would also be prominently featured in the Expanded Universe.  He got his own novel in Shatterpoint and was a major player in the comics set in this era.  He also had an episode of the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars cartoon completely focused on him.  In the episode he basically takes out an entire droid army using only his bare hands and the Force.
Mace Windu has also appeared in no less than 29 episodes of The Clone Wars TV series.  The Season 1 episode Liberty on Ryloth puts him center stage and shows us his warrior side.
Mace Windu met his unfortunate end in the Revenge of the Sith movie.  He went with three other Jedi Masters to arrest Palpatine in his office on the suspicion that he was a Sith Lord.  Palpatine quickly dispatched the other Jedi and engaged Windu in a lightsaber battle.  Just as it seemed Windu had the upper hand, Anakin Skywalker intervened.  Fearing he would lose the knowledge of how to save his wife Padme if Palpatine was killed, Anakin cut off Mace Windu’s hand.  Palpatine took the oppuritunity to attack Windu with Force lightning and sent him out the window, falling to his death.

Plo Koon
Plo Koon was a Kel Dor Jedi Master who required a breathing mask when away from his home planet of Dorin.  He appears in all three of the Star Wars prequel movies.  In the Expanded Universe Plo Koon is featured in a number of stories including some that take place before the events of The Phantom Menace.  The comics The Stark Hyperspace War and Jedi Council: Acts of War are two of these stories.
The character currently enjoys the spotlight thanks in part to his biggest fan and supervising director of The Clone Wars, Dave Filoni.  Plo Koon has become a very important character in the series and plays the part of mentor to Ahsoka Tano.  One of his best episodes is the Season 2 finale Lethal Trackdown.  In the episode he and Ahsoka hunt down the bounty hunters Aurra Sing, Boba Fett and Bossk.
Plo Koon was known for his piloting skills but unfortunately he wasn’t good enough to avoid Order 66.  In Revenge of the Sith while he was in his Jedi Starfighter, he was shot down by his clones when the order was given to take out the Jedi.

Saesee Tiin
The horned Iktochi Jedi Master also appeared in all three of the Star Wars prequel movies.  He is featured in Expanded Universe materials including novels, comics, and video games, although not as prominently as some of the other council members.  One of his more memorable appearances comes in the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars cartoon.  In episode 23 of the series he is shown leading a group of clones with jet packs as they attack a Separatist ship in open space.  Tiin sported some really cool armor and a mask that left only his horns exposed, one of the coolest designs I have ever seen for a Jedi.
He has appeared in The Clone Wars TV series but has yet to play a major role.  Here’s hoping we get to see him in action in Season 5.
Saesee Tiin was one of the Jedi who accompanied Mace Windu to arrest Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith.  He was quickly cut down by Palpatine.

Yoda
Yoda was the head of the Jedi Council and arguably the most powerful Jedi of his time.  He is the one Jedi on the council in The Phantom Menace that we already knew well because of his appearance in the Original Trilogy.  Being the major character he is he has popped up all over the place in the Expanded Universe.  Much of Yoda’s past is still a mystery and probably always will be, but you can get a small glimpse into his past concerning Count Dooku in the novel Dark Rendezvous.   Yoda is also the main focus of the comic Jedi: Yoda where he leads a clone army against a king that he knew from 200 years before.
In the TV series The Clone Wars Yoda is a main character and appears in many episodes.  The series premiere was an episode titled Ambush which featured Yoda as the main character facing off against the droid army and Asajj Ventress.
Yoda is the only member of the Jedi Council from The Phantom Menace who is known to have survived Order 66 and the Jedi Purge.  Much later in his life, after completing his training of Luke Skywalker on Dagobah, he peacefully became one with the Force.

Depa Billaba
Of the members of the Jedi Council from The Phantom Menace, Billaba is the only one to have gone astray.  The novel Shatterpoint tells the story of how she took a mission to Mace Windu’s home planet of Haruun Kal.  While on the planet she linked up with the local militia and came under the influence of the Force sensitive leader, Kar Vastor.  She slowly lost her sanity and Mace Windu was sent to retrieve her from the planet.  When he confronted her she did not come willingly, having fallen to the Dark Side.  She ended up sustaining injuries that caused her to fall into a coma.  Windu took her body back to the Jedi Temple where she never recovered.  It is unknown when and how she ultimately died but it is likely she was killed during the attack on the Jedi Temple during the events of Revenge of the Sith.

Eeth Koth
Eeth Koth, the Zabrak Jedi Master, is the only member of the Jedi Council from The Phantom Menace that we do not know his ultimate fate.  A character by the name of Agen Kolar appears in Attack of the Clones and looks very much like him which caused some confusion as to the status of Koth.  In the reference book Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones it was revealed that Eeth Koth had actually died in a gunship crash at the Battle of Geonosis.  Well this reported death turned out to be inaccurate because Eeth Koth makes an appearance in The Clone Wars TV series in the episode Grievous Intrigue.  Since his appearance in the episode, nothing more has been revealed about his status in the Clone Wars.  Could he possibly have escaped Order 66 like Yoda did or will his ultimate demise be told in a future episode of The Clone Wars?  We’ll just have to keep watching.

Aaron Goins

Ranking the Films – TWL #17

Play

In this episode, Karl and Jason are once again joined by Chris “Hothiceplanet” Smith of the Sarlacc Pit as he discusses his Kickstart project where he is trying to publish his very own Star Wars Trivia book! After Chris explains this fantastic venture of his, the three of them sit down to hash out how the six Star Wars films rank for themselves and why. Be sure to listen in as they recount some of their favorite scenes and moments from each of the six films and how they match up to one another! And be sure to stay tuned to the end of the episode as they introduce a very exciting match-up for next time…

 

Darth Plagueis Commentary: Chapters 8-11

Darth Plagueis Commentary: Chapters 8-11

Who is still talking about the Darth Plagueis novel? We are!

Here is our discussion of chapters 8-11.  For this part of the discussion Mark Hurliman of the Star Wars Report and Star Wars Beyond the Films podcasts joins me.  We also have a special guest, Mark’s father (Mark E) who himself is an avid reader of the Star Wars novels.

If you missed the first two parts of our discussion here are the links.

Prologue – Chapter 3
Chapter 4 – Chapter 7

 

Mark: So we’re on Chapter 8, Victims of Their Own Demise

Aaron: Plagueis decides to track down some “Forceful” beings that Venamis had his eye on.  “Forceful”, still can’t get used to that word.  So the first one he tracks down is a gambler.  I guess it’s not really gambling when you are using the Force.

Mark: Breaking Muun tradition no less by being seen in places no Muun would go.  The fact that the first one was a shape-shifter of all things blew me away.  I love the idea of a Sith shape-shifter.

Mark E: A shape shifting gambler who was giving his winnings to Kerred Santhe of Santhe/Seinar.

Mark: Yeah the tie in to Santhe was cool.  Plagueis himself assassinated Kerred Santhe’s father which made a nice twist and kept things going with more details that linked the Sith to older works.

Aaron: I’ve never actually liked the idea of shape-shifters in Star Wars.  I’ve always thought it was more of a Star Trek thing.

Mark E: But shape-shifters are way cool, and pretty hard to hunt.

Aaron: Exactly why I don’t like them. Too easy of a plot device.  Now was he the same species as Zam Wesell from Attack of the Clones?

Mark: No, at first Plagueis thinks so, but turned out it was a Shi’ido like Uncle Hoole in Galaxy of Fear ;)

Aaron: Galaxy of Fear. Oh, everyone read those books…

Mark: I’m only missing #9 and #10.  I was surprised though that Plagueis left the Shi’ido alive.

Aaron: Yes, if you can call the way he left him alive

Mark E: He let him go but basically told him to get his winnings and get out, he was done!

Mark: 11-4D blasts him in the brain, but do we think this was a permanent disabling of his shifting?  Or would he heal up?

Aaron: “You can’t leave me like this” the Shi’ido begged.

Mark: It was left kind of vague there.  But still I loved it. I found myself falling to the dark side in this book.

Aaron: Let me quote the book here.  I think it implies he was permanently disfigured…

“You have one last chance to use your Force talents to win big before your horrid image becomes the centerpiece of the cheaters database on every gambling world.”

Mark E: I didn’t get permanently disfigured as Plagueis was going to allow him to continue fleecing casinos.

Mark: I guess when I was reading it I was figuring Plagueis thought Shi’idos were ugly/ hidious in general.  But it does make sense that the Shi’ido would have one shot in the form it’s in now and that would be the same as any person who can’t shift having one shot, or as many shots as they took before getting caught.

Aaron: So Plagueis moves on to Saleucami to meet somewhat of a cult leader.  It was kind of a gathering of hippies.

Mark E: Really spacey hippies!  Selected hippies.

Mark: And hasn’t The Clone Wars gone there a couple times?  Or mentioned it?

Aaron: This was the planet where Rex got shot and meets the clone deserter Cut Lawquane.  It is also one of the planets in the Order 66 montage in Revenge of the Sith.

Mark: The planet Saleucami has shown up a few times in the EU correct?  Republic comics for one.

Aaron: You can’t spell Saleucami without “eu”.  It is a very important planet in this era.  The Iktochi woman seemed like she knew what she was talking about with her professions.  “On the horizon looms a galaxy spanning war.”

Mark: Yeah she all but calls the future and Plagueis can’t have that.  You had this sense of something very bad was about to happen

Aaron: And once she realizes what he is she basically begs him to take her as an apprentice. “Let me do your bidding.”

Mark: It was a cool throw back to Vader’s “what is thy bidding my master” line.  When he touches her and fries her I thought of a well-executed assassination.

Aaron: The hand holding of death.

Mark E: He did nothing… “she fainted”.

Aaron: And then Plagueis moves on to the third unwitting victim.

Mark E: Naat Lare had broken out of the Bedlam Institution for the Criminally Insane.  Sounds like a fun place!

Mark: I couldn’t help but think of Arkham Asylum.

Aaron: And Venamis helped him escape. He must have had a lot of interest in this guy.

Mark: Plus if Naat had survived he would have made a darn good Apprentice. Venamis picked potentials well, you gotta hand him that.
Venamis might have been a very real threat- he being a Bith after all. We never saw the depths of HIS genius. And from the small bit we got in the Tenebrous Way; I fear Bith Sith!
By this point, I was starting to feel the chapter was more a filler chapter, but it did have a certain EU real feel to it. With every Sith potential even having potentials. As with the EU you can never get rid of the Sith, or Sith wannabe’s.

Aaron: Yes I agree, it did seem like filler but it was cool.  I always like to see Force users who are not affiliated with the Jedi or Sith.

Mark E: What did you think of how quickly Plagueis snapped back when he heard “Jedi”?

Aaron: I think he was excited that the Jedi were involved. Like he was hoping for a confrontation.

Mark E: I liked the fact they tracked him to Barab.

Mark: Barab- I loved it’s use- we know the Barbel have a deep respect for Jedi, and how would they even know a Sith from a Jedi at this point in time?

Aaron: This was happening on Abraxin right, not Barab?

Mark: Hmmm this bears closer inspection… Oh it looks as though it was a Barabel settlement. Which makes more sense come to think of it.

Aaron: I personally got very excited to see Jedi at this point.  I was hoping they would be more involved in the story.

Mark: I agree Aaron- I had hoped they would play a bigger part, but the part they played was diabolically clever.

Mark E: I liked how he had 11-4D watch the Jedi for reaction when he called on the Force.

Mark: Shadow Games give us some minor insight into what it must have been like to be Naat or even Kit Fisto, a Force sensitive Nautolan.

Aaron: I loved the end of this chapter. Plagueis meets Naat and tells him to prove himself by defeating the Jedi.

Mark E: But then Plagueis has the Jedi Ni-Cada do the dirty work for him.

Mark: Yeah, suckering the Jedi to do his dirty work was perfect- had Naat proved worthy, well, things would have been different to say the least.

Aaron: I feel like Naat would have been more of an enforcer and not fit well with Plagueis.  Like Maul was to Palpatine.

Mark: Maul…. Oh poor poor Maul (But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

Mark E: Naat was truly criminally insane.  Plagueis had no use for him, whether he was Forceful or not.

Mark: I got the distinct impression that it was the Padawan who did the killing though.  With his Master screaming “Don’t Don’t.”

Aaron: When he said “Stand aside Padawan” I figured the Master handled it from there.

Mark E: Padawan questions “Master?”  Someone else presumeably Master, says “its done, he’s dead.”

Mark: I like how some authors assign nothing to dialog. Karen Traviss would do this and I could get so confused at times.  To me it was more the Padawan excited by the battle “Master!” The Master tries to intervene “Stand aside Padawan.”

Aaron: Based on the last two lines of the chapter it seems clear that the Master did the killing.

Mark: It’s all about point of view.  I’m not saying I’m right- just how I read it was different.

Aaron: Moving on…

Mark: Going back to Hego Damask, and more of the public side of his Sithy self.

Aaron: Chapter 9. Our intro to Palpatine in this book!

Aaron: What did you guys think about the fact that they still kept his first name a mystery?

Mark E: I thought it was explained that he was just rebelling against the norm and he chose to go only by his last name.

Mark: I found the lack of his first name interesting to be sure. I’ve seen some say his name was the same as his fathers but I felt it was way too wide open to lock down. It was some rebelling- I mean the fact that the Palpatine name is a ROYAL line on Naboo. That took me back.

Mark E: The untapped plasma of Naboo, one of the more memorable aspects of The Phantom Menace.

Mark: Oh man the plasma- that totally changed how I looked at the purple beams flowing up in The Phantom Menace during the Duel of Fates!

Aaron: And the value of the plasma made you realize just how important Naboo is in the overall plan of the Sith.

Mark: Yes- the plasma made Naboo more relevant then it was in the films IMO. Or at least it made it have more of an allure.  I liked how the Naboo and Gungans would recall Plagueis’ trip as Damask as the coldest winter they ever had.  We also learn where the Royal Fleet comes from- Hint Hint R2!

Aaron: I liked this line…
“In human hands…rested the profane future of the galaxy.”
He didn’t like humans but knew their importance.

Mark: As if Plagueis knew this and worked all his Sithly plans in that fashion.  He was ready to set Naboo up for life to get his hands on the plasma… or better- to USE the plasma to further the Sith Grand Plan.  Everything seemed to factor into this plan.

Aaron: And he uses Palpatine to help determine who will be the next king.  The Sith don’t leave anything to chance.

Mark E: The meeting between Plagueis and Palpatine was kind of drawn out, but Plagueis did a pretty thorough job of interviewing for an apprentice.  What about Palpatine being a speeder racer?

Mark: Learning Palpatine; like Anakin has a need for speed was great! I never would have taken Palpatine for a thrill junkie!

Aaron: I actually thought that bit of information was out of place.  It never really factored into the rest of the story.  Did we really need to know Palpatine had a sweet ride?

Mark: And yet it too fits with his ole EU self- the playboy.

Mark E: Need for speed plays to the rich kid persona.
And then Hedo hires palpatine as a spy for Damask holdings at the end of the interview! Then Palpatine says he will only work for Hego if he can report directly to him.

Mark: You have to wonder if the amulet Plagueis gives Palpatine was under any spells.

Aaron: Or a tracking device?

Aaron: Moving onto Chapter 10: The Cycle of Violence.  Palpatine gives Plagueis the tour of Theed and they are fast friends.

Mark E: Fast friends, but Plageis “knows he can own him”

Mark: I liked how Palpatine knew the speeder was a bribe from his father, but took it anyway.  Already showing a Sith-like way of thinking.  I’ll use you using me to my own advantage.

Aaron: We learn Palpatine has blood on his hands at an early age, being responsible for the deaths of 2 pedestrians.  He doesn’t seem to care that much about it.

Mark: He has his own moral code.  That seemed to be of great interest to Plagueis.

Mark E: He learned his lesson, wear down pops and you can drive the speeder again.  No accountability for the rich kid.

Mark: Palpatine also has his own opinions of the Jedi and the state of galactic affairs

Aaron: Palpatine is so political minded but tries to act like he isn’t interested in politics. Plagueis could see right through him.

Mark: Like he was a closet politician.

Mark E: Palpatine is certainly racist against the Gungans, “I don’t mind them as long as they keep to their submerged cities and waterways.”

Aaron: Fits with the mostly human Empire when he is in charge.

Mark: Yes I kept expecting to see Plagueis do something SO TERRIBLE that Palpatine would hate all aliens from then on out- but it would appear his prejudices were already in place.

Aaron: I kept forgetting how young he was here. He was only like 17, right?

Mark: I believe so.

Mark: You knew Palpatine didn’t have a chance in the 9 Hells when Plagueis thinks to himself, “Before long, I will own this human.” And then proceeds to manipulate the holy Sith out of him.

Mark E: He’d respect the Jedi more if they’d only impose their will on the entire galaxy.  Sounds like the future!

Aaron: The funny thing is, at this point, Plagueis still can’t tell if he has the Force.

Mark: I loved this- the way it was explained made so many other EU works make sense- like Zekk- how he wasn’t noticed at first, and other Jedi who were missed at a young age.  The fact that it was a defense mechanism in Force strong beings also makes sense why Anakin didn’t just JUMP OUT WITH A NEON SIGN.  It took his blood sample to floor Qui-gon, not his mere presence.  And the way Luceno explained it made so many things work!  I love it when a book does this!

Aaron: It seems the will of the midi-chlorians can be used to explain anything about the power or lack of power of a Force user at any given moment.  Like, Obi wan couldn’t run faster at the end of Ep 1 because the midi-chlorians didn’t let him.

Mark: Which is EPIC! Because the midi-chlorians follow the Will of the Force- so in a sense the mystery is still there while they made it quantifiable at the same time.

Mark: So in this chapter the miners who were marooned in chapter 2- we discover their fate, that of being murdered and left on their employers front door.  Also the book once more jumps ahead a few months.  That’s something I really enjoy about the Sith books- they cover lifetimes, not just events.

Aaron: And then we get Palpatine’s dad basically telling Plagueis “stay away from my son”.

Mark: Yeah that was exactly what Plagueis was waiting for- grooming the moment as it were to set father against son.

Aaron: This was a war of wills that Cosigna had no chance of winning.  Moving on to Chapter 11.

Mark: Avatar of Morality

Aaron: Plagueis meets with Palpatine and tells him a story about how he orchestrated the deaths of his siblings after his father’s death so he could inherit the fortune.

Mark: Plagueis sets the bait that will later ensnare Palpatine and leave him little choice but to join Plagueis.

Aaron: And we are led to believe the story may not be completely true.

Mark: This too plays into the moment that arrived last chapter- now he paints Palpatine the picture of betrayal, and gaining the uperhand over an oppressive family.

Aaron: So Palpatine’s father makes the big mistake of trying to assert his will on Palpatine right after his head has been filled with Plagueis’s ideas

Mark: Bad timing pops.

Mark E: big mistake…

Mark: Plus he gets the whole family onto the ship together.  I mean it IS the perfect opportunity

Aaron: This was almost a little too convenient. We also learn that Palpatine’s dad always had a bad feeling about him. Knew he was trouble.
“You’re an animal at heart”
“King of the Beasts, father”

Mark: Plus…
“if the Force birthed you then I curse it”
“As I do” says Palpatine.

Aaron: He says all the wrong things and Palpatine in all his teenage, untrained Force rage brutally kills his father.

Mark E: Mom, dad and siblings too!

Aaron: I have to say although I saw the death of his dad coming, I was surprised he killed everyone else on the ship.

Mark: Very much Anakin and the Tusken Raider village all over again.  And Palpatine reaches out to his new mentor- and Plagueis goes to efforts to cover up the murders. “Congratulations on becoming an emancipated being.”  Great set up- and you could say that in a sense Palpatine starts to really share the limelight.  One other thing I loved about this book is that it could just as easily be a prequel for a Darth Sidious book to come later.

Aaron: In a way this was a Darth Sidious book.

Mark: Very much so.  This is also when Plagueis himself discovers just how POWERFUL Palpatine is in the Force.  The murders have broken down the barriers protecting him.

Aaron: So now Plagueis knows he picked the right guy, reveals himself as a Sith and tells Palpatine he has a new name.  A lot for Palpatine to take in but he goes right along with it.

Mark: This was the money chapter. The moment when things shift into a higher gear.

Aaron: Once Palpatine was introduced the book really picked up for me.

Mark E: “From this day forward, the truth of you, now and forever more, will be Sidious.”

Aaron: Seeing exactly how he became Sidious was a thing of fanboy dreams.

Mark E: I thought the book really took off from here.  I finished the rest in like a day and a half.

Mark: I loved when Palpatine mentions that he could have joined the Jedi Order and Plagueis comes back “and of what possible use do you think a person of your nature would be to the Jedi Order? You’re heartless, ambitious, arrogant, insidious, and without shame or empathy. More you’re a murderer.” (cue Gollem talking to Smeagol)
You totally had the sense that Palpatine was about to make his deal with the devil. The classic Sith christening. I had the same feeling when Anakin dons the title in the Episode 3 novelization. I love how Plagueis tells him there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“In time you will come to understand that you are one with the dark side of the Force, and that your power is beyond contradiction. But just now, and until I tell you differently, abiding submission is your only road to salvation.”

Boy these were some great chapters.  This was when the book got hard to put down.

 

That is all for our discussion of chapters 8-11.  Check back for chapters 12-15 next time.

Aaron Goins