The expanded universes of a lot of existing franchise lore can be confusing, and none as much so as our beloved Star Wars. While the movies have been hit and miss over the years, fans often come back to the series through novels, shows and games to find new characters and story arcs either rich with substance like, or they could be The Crystal Star.
I was going to write some long winded opening to these reviews of the new Star Wars book canon, and wax poetic about long distance relationships with coworkers and old friends, of whom Miles is one of the closest. I was going to come up with some metaphor about the Force binding everyone together in some schmaltzy way, but then I realized that it would be something that my dear friend would actively delete and come up with some RedLetterMedia-esque, nihilistic ramble of his own. So here I am, trying to convey his spirit while he’s on his personal hiatus.
As we were migrating chat clients for the TYF crew, I saved his Star Wars book reports that he would transmit to our video games section group chat to iterate his point ever since the Disney-Lucasfilm Buyout of 2012: Star Wars Is Bad Now.
So, in celebration of the final-final episodes of the fan favorite series Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+, these are those book reports and some of our reactions and retorts as the rest of us held onto the last shred of hope for the new canon of the Galaxy Far Far Away, before the dark times, and millions and millions of minds screamed out in terror from Episode XI bludgeoning our brains with the subtextual question “When, exactly, did Sheev Palpatine have a love life?”
He was so far ahead of the curve that it seemed he was dwelling on the past, when, in reality, he predicted the future.
These are, in no specific order other than in which they were read, most of the new canon novels of the Star Wars extended universe, as briefly reviewed by His Eminency, The Holy Lord Miles “That Bastard” Esquire, Grand High Vizier of Video Games. That’s what his business card says. I wish I was making it up.
– Miles’s friend and TYF video games editor, Evan Griffin
12/3/18, 9:35 AM
I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This
Miles Stanton: All movies are bad now. Time to go back to books.
Jon Winkler: Not all movies are Star Wars, Miles.
Miles Stanton: There’s literally no proof. Some movies are Star Wars, but I’m an old man now, I don’t have time to check what is or isn’t a star wars anymore. It’s more efficient to just hate everything 24/7.
5/21/19, 4:50 PM
This Deal Is Getting Worse All The Time
Miles Stanton: So, not only is the new Star Wars Disney theme park somehow canon, it’s also getting a cannon tie-in book and comic. Star Wars is bad now.
Jon Winkler: More like Star Wars is exhausting now.
Evan Griffin: Again, Miles, for crying out loud. Star Wars has technically been bad most of our lives.
Miles Stanton: It was great in the 90’s.
Evan Griffin: Yes, when there were no movies.
Miles Stanton: Exactly.
Jon Winkler: Happy 20th birthday to Phantom Menace! Lol
6/2/19, 12:03 PM
No Clue What Book He Was Referring To Here
Miles Stanton: Emergency update: just finished a new Star Wars book. Star Wars continues to be bad now. That is all.
6/15/19, 2:22 PM
Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire’s End
Miles Stanton: Finished a new Star Wars book. Fun fact, unless Rise of Skywalker changes anything, Luke died a virgin. Also, the holiday special is canon.
Evan Griffin: Is Mara Jade not canon at all in any way?
Travis Hymas: Holiday Special has always been canon. Mara Jade, definitely not.
Miles Stanton: Not yet. But Lumpy and Stinky are. Thanks Disney. Yea, the new books are full of all kinds of weird shit.
Han boned Greedo’s girlfriend.
Tarkin had a love affair with the stormtrooper that Luke killed and stole armor from.
The swamp monster in the garbage disposal was an omnipotent sentient being who telepathically had a conversation with Luke when he dragged him under.
Thrawn was best buddies with Anakin during the Clone Wars, and used force sensitive children to navigate the stars instead of computers.
Vader had back up suits that he could marionette with the force.
The guy at the bar who yelled “no droids” at Luke was a Clone Wars war orphan.
Han grew a depression beard and completely ignored Leia and baby because Chewbacca took off for a bit.
The Falcon is a radical pro-robot, activist/human fetishist because Lando’s robot’s brain is still stuck in there.
Lo-bots brain implant is constantly trying to take over his brain
The Republic Senate is like a THOUSAND times more boring than we all thought.
Evil bald lady from the Clone Wars, Assage Ventris fell in love with a dark Jedi and turned good right before dying and becoming swamp gas.
Vader still likes piloting fighters like a goober because it’s fun, and he STILL does the spinning trick.
Jar Jar has become extremely depressed because the Clone Wars and the entire Empire’s rise to power was his fault.
The Jedi can see 5 seconds into the future, which is how they deflect blasts.
Absolutely not one SINGLE damn person in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE knows how a lightsaber works, and the force is 300% bullshit, to the point where Padme says “It just kinda seems like they’re making it up as they go along”.
Ryan Gibbs: That sure is a long paragraph about Star Wars EU.
Technically the Star Wars Holiday Special is S-canon, which means it’s canon as long as it hasn’t been contradicted by other, newer canon material. And it hasn’t been.
Enough of the stuff introduced in Holiday Special has been backed up as canon by other material that its status is fairly secure, though.
George Lucas may have wanted to forget about the Holiday Special, but every other author who has wanted to write a story about the Wookies certainly hasn’t.
It makes it better if you read it in his voice.
STAR WARS. THEY GAVE HAN A BEARD AND THEN MADE HIM DEAD.
Evan Griffin: He wanted to be dead… he’s wanted that since the ’80…
Travis Hymas: AND THEN MADE A GAME ABOUT HOW HE GOT THE BEARD.
Sorry, I had to throw that in.
Miles Stanton: AND GAVE JAR JAR ABRAMS’S FRIEND PORKINS JR 3 GD BOOKS.
Justin Carreiro: Miles has been triggered.
Evan Griffin: It doesn’t take much more than saying Star Wars.
7/8/19, 4:27 PM
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion: Darth Vader
So, another Star Wars book is down. Things learned this time:
The emperor fastballed Vader onto a giant bug.
Despite mocking Luke about how a lightsaber is a “Jedi weapon”, dude has his ON HIM THE ENTIRE TIME.
Not only was that time Vader killed Palpatine not the first time he tried that, those assholes tried to kill each other every week. Palpatine, despite reassuring Vader that they are best buds so hard that he becomes evil, continues to call him a bitch baby coward and mock him about Padme every time he gets the chance.
When infiltrating a tribe of Twilek luddites, Palpatine gives himself and Vader undercover names that translate to “Death” and “Fate” in Sith. Palpatine will just occasionally murder one of his elite redguard just for shits and giggles. Twilek children can look at a walking iron lung with a skull face, a boomer that shoots lighting and a bunch of dudes dressed like they are about to carry out the Spanish Inquisition and have NO CLUE that they might be evil.
Even Vader has no idea how force lighting works, or why it turned Palpatine into the monster mash and why it didn’t to him or Luke.
Vader has a dedicated button on his beep boop suit that makes his butler prepare his ship for him. The “Free Ryloth” movement was run by a bunch of incompetents, and despite the leader’s catchphrase being “always have a backup plan for your backup plan” had NO BACKUP PLAN when he and his team boarded Vader’s star destroyer with a crapload of explosives.
TL;DR Palpatine is an ASSHOLE.
7/12/19, 12:03 PM
Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron
Miles Stanton: Things learned from another new Star Wars book: even in the new EU, the main star wars crew are arguably the most boring people in the universe. Alphabet Squadron is one of the better new EU books so far, close to the old X-wing series, but still full of that awful “hope will fix everything” hoopla that new Star Wars is on about. The plot of EA’s Battlefront II is more Canon to the new EU than the second Death Star was. There is a non-0% chance that the Death Star shown in Rise of Skywalker trailer might be the bones of the Death Star 3, something that the people in the book keep on joking about, but the imperial agents refuse to talk about.
Jyn Erso, famed hero of the rebellion, single handedly destroyed the death star. Also, Luke was there. Being a pilot in the Star wars universe is tough as HEELLLLL. Apparently A-wings have multiple WEEKS worth of food and oxygen in them, and have an emergency “uh oh goo” sprayer that can seal cracks in the canopy, because space. TIE pilots don’t get callsigns, because they die so often that they have to be 100% replaceable. The star wars universe has conventional bullet guns, but they have been universally outlawed for being super nasty. Absolutely nobody in the star wars universe knows how shields work, they are CLEARLY just making shit up as they go along. Having a rear gunner (like 90% of the clone wars era ships did) would solve almost every conflict in this book.
Travis Hymas: I hate that BF2 plot with a fiery burning passion.
Miles Stanton: Well, good news for you! “Operation: Cinder ,” the latest of the Emperor’s emergency backup plans in case of his death to remove the traitors from the empire by… Nuking all the Empire’s most loyal recruiter planets into glass, to teach the less loyal planets… Not only is that hard Canon now, and it’s all the talk of the post BF2 books. Disney Star Wars is now simultaneously building up how inspiring, tremendous and incredible the first Death Star was while completely ignoring the existence of the second one, to the point that they don’t even call it the “second Death Star” by name anymore they call it the “Battle of Endor”. I.E “the emperor died above Endor”.
Ryan Gibbs: Good to see the EU is as terrible as it was before the new trilogy. FYI the old EU has some of the worst books I have ever read in my life.
Miles Stanton: There were some bombs, no bones about that. Like that time Luke got trapped on a planet covered in crystals that hated the force so much, that if he used it at all it would cause hurricanes, and he had to fight a giant, sentient space tick that had drunk so much human blood over hundreds of years that it gained human form, and became a force user because it drank Luke’s blood. Yea, there were some rough ones.
Ryan Gibbs: The Crystal Star IS the worst book I have ever read, cover to cover. I kept reading it because I wanted to see how bad it could get.
Miles Stanton: Death Star II: The Quickening was only put in Return of the Jedi because the Death Star was supposed to be in the very last movie of Lucas’ original plan and they didn’t think of anything else to put there!
They could have just stuck with the Super Star Destroyer, that thing was spooky AND looked rad! There was also that time that about 3 days before A New Hope, Han and Chewbacca were trapped on a Star Destroyer that had a violent Zombie outbreak. And not like the KOTOR Rakghouls that turn you into a goofy gremlin, I mean like actual, zombie ass zombies. Then the New EU kept the name.
8/2/19, 2:20 PM
Star Wars: Thrawn: Treason
Miles Stanton: New Star Wars book report: second Death Star is like 80% confirmed non-canon at this point and the biggest threat to the original Death Star’s creation was space bats.
The Twilek are all French, the Chiss are all German, no idea why.
Pellaeon is canon again but doing other stuff and can’t be bothered to show up, the Chiss were fighting a secret war with an invisible bug monster race throughout most of the original trilogy timeline.
Apparently the cost to make the original Death Star, and to make a fleet of TIE defenders is roughly the same, and there was a huge fight over who got the money, despite one being a new type of ship and the other being a BATTLE MOON.
All of a Star Destroyers’ guns are on the top half, with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on the bottom half where all the vital shit is, and NO ONE in the history of the Empire has ever thought about rolling the damn thing to bring it’s guns to bear on something below it until Thrawn did it once, and it was considered such a move of tactical genius that they named it after him.
Despite the fact that the Jedi went from full high ranking military organization in a galaxy wide war to extinct in the span of a single human life, 90% of the universe has already forgotten about them and writes them off as a myth.
8/21/19, 5:37 PM
On Luke’s Royalty, Mature Content and Misc. Notes
Miles Stanton: Luke Skywalker was the inherited king of two separate planets and yet he lived in a hobo hut in the Irish isles. What a weirdo.
Travis Hymas: Luke knew monarchy wasn’t the answer, a true comrade.
Miles Stanton: Possibly, but once Kylo kills Leia, he would ABSOLUTELY take the throne as DOUBLE KING
The bulk majority of the Star Wars universe is bizarrely sexless. The only two couples confirmed to have done the dirty are Han & Leia and Anakin & Padme, and that’s only because you see the receipts. The books go a bit more into it, but it just bumps it up from a saucy PG to a cheeky PG-13. The one notable exception is Grand Moff Tarkin’s booty call hours before the Death Star blew up. That is not only super real, it’s now CANON.
Travis Hymas: A part of me is like, hey good for him, and a part of me is like, does that play into a stereotype?
Miles Stanton: That the evil space britto is into guys? If it makes you feel any better about it, he is a “subtly insinuated” power top, and the genocide of an entire planet got him all hot and bothered, so he had a bizarre “accidental space Tinder” hookup with the EXACT stormtrooper Luke kills to steal his armor for the rescue mission. All of this is real.
Yea, I know, childrens movies. The books take a pretty hard turn though. The Solo A Star Wars Story tie in book was about a nightmare Borg cult that replaced robot parts with people parts, and it is shockingly gory. The Phasma book had a man swell and explode into water and guts after getting bitten by a spooky desert bug thing.
Star Wars: Myths and Fables
Old Grievous: Proud warrior whose planet got blasted from orbit with experimental nerve gas by confederacy, Grievous stole a ship and tried to fight confederacy fleet single handedly. Got his shit kicked in, and the combination of nerve gas and ship explosion left him a pile of angry organs that was too rage-fueled to die. Dooku thought that was metal as hell, and put his organs in a bag, put the bag in a robot and taught the robot how to fight. while putting his brain back together, intentionally borked his memory so he cant remember anything from the crash, and then tells Grievous that the Republic bombed the planet. He hated being a robot, droids were a sin in his culture, now the last survivor of his race, trapped in a droid body, hellbent of vengeance.
New Grievous: “Dude, robots are sick. I want to be a droid when I grow up! Optional surgery to become a robot? Hell yea, sign me up!”
They also tried to backpedal on the whole “Anakin’s mom, the space Virgin Mary, was kidnapped and ???? by a bunch of sand people” thing. Turns out, the Tusken Raiders were actually peaceful people once, but a big, mean sand dragon started eating their people, so they started kidnapping the “normals” to feed to the thing. So they weren’t doing anything bad to her besides a human sacrifice! Thanks Disney!
The old EU never really explained what was going on with the whole “Kidnaped the mom” thing, but they DID explain that the Tusken Raiders and Jawas both evolved from the same ancestor, which ALSO happened to be one of the 2 original races in the galaxy. All humans evolved from one, and LITERALLY EVERY OTHER RACE evolved from the other. Old EU was wacky like that.
Star Wars: Galaxies Edge: Black Spire
Galaxies Edge: Black Spire may be the worst Star Wars book since Crystal Star, and I have absolutely no idea whose fault it is.
It’s a light romantic comedy book about the universe’s worst Resistance spy and the First Order captain that physically and mentally tortured her in a previous book. The tone of the book is all over the place, between lighthearted sex comedy to Worst Spy getting a space fish hook through the eyelid as part of a torture sequence. THEN, on top of all that weird bullshit, it is the LEAST subtle advertisement for this theme park I’ve ever seen. The book’s timeline is right before the events that take place in the park (because even a damn THEME PARK needs backstory now) and every time the Worst Spy goes into the Black Spire outpost (which is what the park is supposed to be). She can’t get over how great everything is! She goes to a bunch of restaurants that have incredible, named food (that are the same restaurants and food items from the park) and her secret base is in the local Cantina, and she vividly describes how great the drinks are, the names of the drinks and what they taste like (all match up to the drink menu at the park cantina). She explicitly mentions how friendly everybody is, all the shop clerks are just so helpful, and even the local crime bosses would give you the shirt off their backs if you looked sad enough. Also, this book cements that the First Order’s people are COMICALLY evil. The Empire of the new EU was 5% evil space wizards doing menichal bullshit, 95% bureaucratic paper pushers just working a regular 9 to 5. They are still evil, but painted as more neglectful than outright sinister. The First Order puts literal steroids and emotional destabilizing meds in the drinking water, and everyone down to the lowest grunt is literally frothing at the mouth angry 24/7, and even the most slight failure is punished by public execution of the entire squad.
Star Wars is bad now.
Star Wars: Resistance Reborn
“The Resistance is in ruins. In the wake of their harrowing escape from Crait, what was once an army has been reduced to a handful of wounded heroes. Finn, Poe, Rey, Rose, Chewbacca, Leia Organa—their names are famous among the oppressed worlds they fight to liberate. But names can only get you so far, and Leia’s last desperate call for aid has gone unanswered. ”
– Back of book description of new Star Wars book.
I ALREADY have problems.
After Rose saved Finn from saving the resistance and nearly dooming everyone, she kissed Finn and fell into a coma, a very dramatic ending and making a parallel to how Finn was in a coma at the end of The Force Awakens. Book reveals she wakes up like a half hour later and is completely fine, and proceeds to treat Leia like she has space dementia.
So far, Resistance Reborn is the Avengers: Endgame of the Star Wars universe, it’s trying to tie up all the loose ends from all the books and games together. So far, I’m about 1/3rd through and they have brought up bits from the Battlefront II campaign, 4 separate new Expanded Universe books, the official Star Wars manga, a couple comics I haven’t read yet, walked back a bit of The Last Jedi and is one name drop away from completely confirming the Holiday Special as canon.
I think they just confirmed that the “force sensitive shrub” that Luke gave Poe’s parents and planted in their backyard (That’s a real thing that happened) caused Poe to be Force attuned, meaning that you can “catch” Force sensitivity like radiation.
Another fun fact: J.J. Abrams friend that he stuck in all of his stuff, that got a CAMEO in the background of The Force Awakens is becoming the main character of the new EU series. He has a trilogy of books about him as a kid, he is the co-star of his own comic and is the driving force of half of this new book.
Ryan Gibbs: What, the guy from Heroes?
Miles Stanton: Legendary hero of the Rebellion, ace starfighter pilot and part of the main crew…
checks notes …Bäčkgrøūñd Ęxtrå
Time travel has already been used in the new EU with Rebels. It’s handled just as badly as you’d expect.
Palpatine 110% knows about time travel, Ashoka is saved because of some Dr. Who tier plot convinces / timey wimey bullshit and even though it LOOKS neat, like a minimalist version of the Halo control room, its handled about as well as any 11th hour, time travel.
Who Knows What He’s Referencing Here.
Star wars book report: If I hear ANY of these assholes say ANYTHING about “Hope” again, I swear to Christ I will start sympathising with the frothing at the mouth space Nazis.
Star Wars: Master and Apprentice
Qui-Gon Jinn was a weird old man, even by Jedi standards. He was obsessed with all that prophecy crap, and the rest of the Jedi Order thought he was a complete basket case, so they intentionally sent him on the most boring and milquetoast missions they could so that he couldn’t get all weird and “The prophecy says we should do blah blah” about it, and even still he always manages to screw it up. Also, either all the Jedi masters are COMICALLY old, or there is a high Jedi turnover rate.
For example, Yoda > Dooku > Qui-Gon > Obi Wan > Anakin > Ahsoka.
The fact that Ahsoka routinely hangs out with her Great-Great Grand Teacher is kinda odd. I get that Yoda is a special case, but even so, Dooku is pushing into his early HUNDREDS during the Clone Wars.
Case in point, this entire book is about the Jedi Council sending Qui-Gon to a planet where they are building the space version of an overpass, and his WHOLE JOB is to sit there, watch them sign a treaty and go home. I’m like 75% through now and he has so far blackmailed jewel thieves into becoming political terrorists, has become the leader of a slave revolt, has threatened the life of a 12 year old queen because the prophecy says her kids might be evil, has committed like 10 different acts of political sabotage, believes that Obi Wan is ratting him out to the Jedi Council, so he is just outright lying to him, which CAUSES Obi Wan to rat him out to the council, party crashed said 12 year old queens gala ball, that he was banned from, to tell everyone he WON’T watch them sign the treaty, thus making it illegal and has declared the planet the Republic wants to build the space overpass as some Jedi holy site, and is currently off the grid because the Jedi Council sent people in white lab coats to take crazy grandpa away.
This is over the span of 3 days. Also, the best part of the book so far, Qui-Gon’s mystical prophecy shtick annoys the SHIT out of Yoda, to the point where Yoda actively avoids Qui-Gon if he sees him in the hallway.
Star Wars: Tarkin
The Star Wars movies are all supplemental material at this point, l as far as I’m concerned. The books sort of have their shit together, the movies are a GD mess. In the movies, Tarkin is kinda just a stuffy bureaucrat who happens to be in command of the big death ball. In the books, Tarkin retroactively becomes Star Wars first gay supervillain, who absolutely gets a kick out of being a sadistic grandpa. He’s also a big game hunter, apparently, and personally designed the Imperial Officers uniforms and is actually buds with Vader. Also a fun thing from this book that I’m actually a big fan of, nobody knows what the hell Vader is. We, the viewer, know him as an 8 foot tall asthmatic emo kid, but to Joe Dirt farmer of the Star Wars universe, he’s like a spooky robot or a prototype walking tank or some shit, if he’s even real at all.
Well that certainly was… a lot. What are your favorite moments in the Star Wars universe? Do you enjoy the old books or any of the new ones, and if so what are your favorites? Is there any hope for Star Wars as a franchise? Perhaps a little bit, but for now, let’s all enjoy anticipating The Mandalorian Season 2 and the final episodes of The Clone Wars and try not to get in fights anymore.