Many Star Wars super-fans were probably left disappointed when, much like the planet Alderaan, the canonical standing of the long-running post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe of novels and comic books was destroyed by the proverbial Disney Death Star in one big blast. That being said, the recent news of Disney’s plan to essentially reboot the Expanded Universe with at least 20 new books that will be connected to the continuity with the movies seemed to offer a glimmer of hope. Now, the title and synopsis for the first of these novels has been released, and let’s just say that the optimism is justified.
In a press release today, the title and synopsis of one of Disney’s critical new canon-redefining novels has been officially revealed. The title of the book will be called Star Wars: Aftermath, written by Chuck Wendig, and it will be released in September. The book will be the first of a trilogy of new novels set directly after the events of The Battle of Endor depicted at the end of 1983’s Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The synopsis reads:
The second Death Star has been destroyed. Rumors are flying that the Emperor and his enforcer, Darth Vader, are dead. A new government is forming to replace the Empire. But the galaxy is a big place, and the fallout of this cataclysm will affect different worlds in different ways. Does everyone accept the fall of Imperial rule? Has everyone even heard the life-altering news? What rushes in to fill the vacuum the Empire has left? And who will try to stop them?
It certainly sounds like this novel trilogy will have plenty of wiggle room in this post-Endor transitional period in which a power vacuum has been left after the deaths of The Emperor and Darth Vader. While it is a time period that was heavily covered in the previous round of the Expanded Universe, we can probably expect a more disciplined, evolved set of characters and plot devices. In fact, the press release promises a healthy mix of "new characters" and "familiar faces." Plus, we also know that Disney will be taking a more meticulous approach to the way the property will be represented in these various printed formats, ensuring not only narrative quality, but consistency.
To that point, if the reports of Disney’s methods are accurate, then author, Chuck Wendig probably has already been briefed on key points about the plot of this December’s Sequel Trilogy kickoff, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s even possible that he has already read the film’s script and knows of plot points about the subsequent installments – information that can be used in his book. If so, Star Wars: Aftermath should be nothing less than the real deal. In fact, the entire point of this trilogy of books is being described as a "Journey to The Force Awakens." Certainly one must already be well aware of the destination if he is to describe the "journey." This is especially true if, as rumors claim, The Force Awakens could fill in the some of the blanks in this time period with flashback scenes.
While Disney wiped the slate clean as far as the previously existing version of the Expanded Universe is concerned, their hunt for new authorial blood has lead them to Chuck Wendig, whose previously acclaimed action/sci-fi fiction titles include Under the Empyrean Sky, Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes and Mockingbird. In the press release, the author, in a quoted passage, goes well out of his way to qualify himself as a life-long Star Wars fan, recalling his experiences seeing The Empire Strikes Back as a child and wanting to recreate that same sense of magic and wonder as his own son reaches the same age he was at the time.
Now, having been pulled into Disney’s reported "clandestine society" of authors who are in the know about the upcoming film, Wendig’s work could end up being an important part of the larger, newly-acknowledged Star Wars canon when Star Wars: Aftermath hits bookshelves on September 4th. It should be the perfect transition piece to whet your appetite for Star Wars: The Force Awakens when it hits theaters on December 18th. Get excited!