The Star Wars universe is off to a decent (re-)start.
After purging all of what was known as the Expanded Universe from the uncertain possibility of maybe being canon, and putting it under the Legends imprint, Star Wars books are finally officially canon.
Like many, I mourned when it was announced that the current timeline was not continuing. The adventures of Jaina Solo and Ben Skywalker and so many others than I had come to know and love over the years were at an end. New paths like the Dawn of the Jedi would not be continued. More realistically, the Star Wars had gotten too big for itself, too big to be a pool to play in. There were follies like Jedi Prince that were almost immediately retconned, and the Truce at Bakura that was… not great and some of the more recent books set between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, or between Empire and Jedi. When the minutia of almost every minute is covered, it ceases to be fun and amazing and starts to be a game of placing pieces – “when does this happen?” “How does that fit in?” and so on.
A New Dawn, out September 2nd, is the beginning of the future for Star Wars, a future that already has a first-person Luke Skywalker book planned, and a book that focuses on Tarkin, and another about the relationship between Darth Vader and his master. A sampler of these books was released a few months ago – it had the first chapter from each book. This sampler was enough of a teaser to pique my interest.
More recently, Random House has posted the first 71 pages of A New Dawn on their website. The excerpt introduces far too many characters. Of course, there is the Twi’lek, Hera, and the human Kanan who will both be featured in Star Wars: Rebels. Then there’s Rae Sloane, the youngest Captain of a Star Destroyer, whose objective is to complete her mission and not have her command removed, a handful of miners and Count Vidian, who is utterly appalling. The sample text does end abruptly in the middle of a sentence.
This story is set on a mining world and is supposed to give us the background of how Hera and Kana ally with each other before Rebels begins. It is great to see that a lot of elements from the former Expanded Universe still exist – long-time fans will recognize a Devaronian and a Sullastan, and many of the elements being mined are direct references to Knights of the Old Republic comics and a few other texts. The writing does seem to be at a slightly lower grade level, but inclusivity of more readers is important, especially at this stage in the universe. Despite every chapter being a new character perspective, both A New Dawn and the future of Star Wars books is quite promising.
If you want more Star Wars now, check out the extended preview of Rebels.
Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller (ISBN) is published by Del Rey and will be available for $28.00 on September 2nd, 2014.