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Clone Wars: Expanded Universe Editorial
"No, my father didn't fight in the wars. He was a navigator on a spice freighter."
"That's what your uncle told you. He didn't hold with your father's ideals...thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved."
"YOU fought in the Clone Wars?"
"Yes, I was once a Jedi Knight. The same as your father."
Four simple lines of dialogue, about a mysterious mythic long-ago conflict in the universe of a brand-new pop culture phenomenon. For over a quarter century, as the Star Wars trilogy captured the imagination of a generation and smashed records across the globe, questions inspired by those four throw-away lines burned in the minds of the saga's fans, questions whose speculated answers grew more fanciful by the day. "What were the Clone Wars, and what happened in them?" As speculation grew at an exponential rate, series creator George Lucas simply smiled and said that one day, in the uncertain future, a second trilogy of Star Wars films would answer those questions.
Now that time is finally here. The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, beginning with 1999's "The Phantom Menace" and continuing in May 2002 with "Attack of the Clones," has established the groundwork of that exciting and tragic tale. AOTC climaxed with the inaugural battle of the Clone Wars. Current rumour states that the as yet untitled Episode III, set for May 2005, will begin in the aftermath of the final battle of the Clone Wars.
Thankfully, fans won't be left out of anything. Starting literally days after AOTC's release with the "Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns" PC game, a barrage of multimedia projects from the Lucasfilm empire has begun to fill in the blanks of the Clone Wars epic saga. Novels, comic books, video games, magazines, role playing games, and perhaps an animated series of cartoon shorts will tell the complete tale of the Clone Wars in (almost) real time over the next three years. Taking the lessons learned from 1996's "Shadows of the Empire," as well as the current "New Jedi Order" novel series, Lucas and his troup of creative wizards are planning to take new and old fans alike on one wild and heart-wrenching ride.
As the Clone Wars begin to rage across stores all over the world, the Books and Comics staff of TF.N would like to share their own fanciful speculations of what they originally thought the Clone Wars might entail, as well as what they think the currently unfolding tale will reveal....
WHAT TF.N BOOKS, COMICS & GAMES STAFF ORIGINALLY THOUGHT THE CLONE WARS WOULD BE ABOUT:
The Clone Wars for me have always been this huge unanswered question that was such a part of the magic of Star Wars. The one thing that is hardest for me to get used to with the prequels is that there is no longer going to be any unanswered questions. Let me explain myself.
For me, one of the best aspects of the old Star Wars movies is the "lived-in" universe feel. Most, if not all, of the secondary stuff, like background characters, vehicles, items, buildings, sometimes are not there to serve the story, but because they belong there. I really felt that they all have a life or story of their own, and help A LOT to make the universe alive. When Luke and Obi drive through Mos Eisley, the city just feels alive (not the CGI one from the Special Editions, but thatís another editorial).
For years, my imagination has run wild coming up with stories for the aliens in the cantina and Jabbaís Palace, the bounty hunters and the Rebel pilots, and all the Imperial officers. What were their names, their species, their home planets? What were their stories.
Then I fell in love with the Expanded Universe when it started out, with material from Marvel and West End Games, cartoons and films about Droids and Ewoks, and stories by Brian Daley and L. Neil Smith. They created literally a whole new universe that englobed the movies and "expanded" them to infinite horizons. Later came a new "revival" by Dark Horse Comics and Timothy Zahn and tons of writers and authors. The universe kept getting bigger and bigger. And I loved all of it! I loved all the wholes that were filled, all the little details that were added, and all the new canvases that were created. But a lot of things were left unanswered, things that were "restricted" by Lucasfilm.
Episode I started to answer some of those questions, by showing how Palpatine rose to power, but I feel that Episode II answered a lot more. It explained (finally!) the origin of Boba Fett, the creation of stormtroopers, the formation of the Empire and the start of the Clone Wars.
But what happens DURING the Clone Wars will not be answered in the next movie. Instead, it will be revealed by a slew of talented artists and writers that are just waiting to detail that period in Star Wars history. At last, after long years of wondering, will be revealed the story of the Clone Wars.
Another aspect of Star Wars that is important to me is the mystery. I liked the fact that not every hole was filled, and a lot of things were left to the imagination. However now, I fell a little bit lthat magic I felt as a kid has been taken away. All the major questions will be answered.
Well I guess thereís still the story of how Anakin became Vader and lost track of his two kids....
Da Clone Wars? Ah, yes, I remember da Clone Wars. Seems like only yesterday. Palpatine had just...um.....he just...well, I know da guy was a Senator at some point. And dere was dis battle! Yeah, datís right...a battle! Donít really recall much, but I know that at da end of it, dat scumbag Darth Vader....he ended up swindling dem poor Noghri into beiní his bodyguards! Of all da things! Dat alien-hatiní Empire, hidiní behind three-foot tall...little...what was dey called again? Oh yeah...da Noghri. Musta been fifty years ago....no, that canít be right...Vader was too young! Well, whatever. And den dere was dat Jedi, ItíKla somethiní-er-other....Ylenic! Yeah...Ylenic ItíKla. I seem to recall he fought some kinda...it was an Anzati! Yeah, yeah...an Anzati Dark Jedi somthiní-er-other. Damned if I know why, dough. He was a Caamasi, I believe. A shame bout dat planet of deirs. It got blowed up! No, wait...it didnít get blowed up...just really burned or somethiní. Man, I remember...you could get yer entire ship re...refimb...refurbished! You could get yer entire ship refurbished on Camaas fer only 3 creds! Course, back in my day, a cred went a heck of a lot farther den it does now, no matta what planet you was on. A damn shame.............what was I talkiní about again?
My pre-AOTC knowledge of the Clone Wars was based more on speculation and hearsay than it was on facts. The few scraps of information I did posses were not very concrete and didnít reveal much in the way of historical happenings. There was a mention of Mandalorians, the destruction of Caamas, Palpatineís ascension to the throne, and the birth of the Empire. The very foundation of the classic trilogy was shrouded in darkness and mystery, both literally and figuratively. We all knew that the Empire would emerge out of the Clone Wars, but how did the galactic situation become so fragile, so unstable, that it would require a military power of such magnitude to maintain order? Based on the information that was available to me, I was as lost as the historians that were trying to piece things together.
I guess that like a lot of people, I mainly knew the broad brush strokes that surrounded the canvas that was the Clone Wars. Ie: It would tie into the Jedi Purge, Palpatine would use the conflict in his rise to Emperor, Obi-Wan and Bail Organa would be prominent figures, as would Anakin Skywalker - who would eventually tragically fall to the Dark Side and become Darth Vader. The biggest surprise when learning about Episode II information for me, was the fact that the Clones fought on the same side as the Jedi. Like many other people, I always thought that the Clone Wars would be about a war between the Jedi and the Clones.
I think I would fall into the general category for what I thought about the Clone Wars. I envisioned it as a massive war campaign between the Republic, led by the Jedi, and another group. I never gave a lot of thought to the other group. I suppose the fringe, in conjunction with a "Separatist Movement". The words spring easily to mind now, but I can't think of a better way to put it.
I imagined that the "other group" would use cloning techniques to create an army, including Dark Jedi. I envisioned the bad guys using the cloning, not the good guys. I imagined the Republic using Jedi as generals, sort of promoting them ahead of other people. Palpatine would use the whole situation to rise to power, perhaps feeding from the "promoting the Jedi" policy to engineer their demise.
WHAT HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN PUBLISHED ABOUT THE CLONE WARS?
There has actually already been a few official stories published about the Clone Wars. One of the first was a Marvel Comic titled "Silent Drifting". Here is a summary of that comic, taken from Timetales
"The Marvel Series: Silent Drifting. (#24)"
General Obi-Wan Kenobi is a passenger on a pleasure cruiser to Alderaan. Droid 68-RKO, on his way to serve Prince Bail Organa, befriends Kenobi. A criminal named Augustus Tryll tries unsuccessfully to hire Kenobi on a venture. As the liner nears the Merson asteroid belt, Captain Quasar asks for Kenobi's help to defend the cruiser against Merson slaver pirates.
As he defends the ship against attack, he learns that a signal from the cruiser is guiding the pirates to them. He has to defend Tryll from the angry passengers who think he sold them out. He finds and destroys the signal - a fermenting machine. The ship goes on to Alderaan in peace.
(COMIC BOOK - Marvel Comics Inc. - Mary Jo Duffy - June 1979)
Many of the recent games releases have continued the story of the Clone Wars, such as Galactic Battlegrounds, Jedi Starfighter, The Clone Wars, and Bounty Hunter.
The Clone Wars has also been made into a game for Playstation 2 and GameCube. The game starts off directly after the events of Episode II and puts you in the middle of the legendary massive battle between the Jedi Knights of the Republic and the separatists in the Federation of Independent Planets. The object of the game is to stop Count Dooku and his forces from recovering and assembling the parts to an ancient Sith weapon, a devastating weapon of mass destruction that would intimidate the galaxy.
The first part of the game is set on Genosis, as Mace leads the Jedi strike team onto the planet. It focuses on what was happening while Anakin, Obi-Wan and Padme were fighting in the arena. Taking out orbital guns and shuttling Jedi are the first part, followed by Mace and Luminara sneaking the Jedi into the arena. After that part, you help evacuate Rhen Var in advance of a massive Separatist Fleet, scout out and conquer the Separatist planet Raxus Prime, and helping and controlling Anakin as he escapes from Dookuís prison. Then you liberate Kashyyykís moon and discover from Mace Windu exactly what the Sith weapon is; the Dark Reaper, which was constructed during the Great Sith War 4000 years ago. You must travel to Rhen Var, a place of desolate, ice-covered ruins, to find out how to stop the Reaper.
Rhen Var, the final resting place of Ulic Qel-Droma, the fallen Jedi who redeemed himself and stopped the Reaper so many years ago. Anakin encounters a Holocron image of Ulic Qel-Droma, who promises to teach Anakin how to resist the power of the Dark Reaper. Anakin also learns that the Dark Reaper is hidden on the planet Thule. The Jedi plan their attack. Anakin will begin by taking out the planetary shield generator on Thule's moon. You assault Thule and destroy the command center with Obi-Wan, and then Mace leads the assault against the capitol city. Relatively unnoticed, Anakin's strike team lands at the rear of Thule's capital city, and begins the assault that will hopefully destroy the Dark Reaper. Anakin destroys the Dark Reaper alone, as he is the only one coached by Qel-Droma and immune to its effects.
You donít actually "win" the Clone Wars; however, those details will be left to Episode III. For TFNGamesí reviews of it, head over to Joshís and Markís.
And if the PS2 and GameCube game didnít satisfy you, there is an expansion pack to Galactic BatleGrounds that will. Aptly named "Clone Campaigns" it takes you through two campaigns: Republic and Separatists. You start out as the Separatists, with Dooku giving you order and you following them. You mainly are the overlord of Sev'rance Tann, a highly respected Confederacy General and a skillful Jedi Knight, who you control in every mission assignment. You start out retreating from Genosis, then build an army to fight against Republic Forces. In the Republic part, you get to control one Echuu Shen-Jon from Galactic Battlegrounds, who will be put to the ultimate test while facing many perils and trying to maintain his composure in order to train his young padawan Stam Reath.
And the recently released Bounty Hunter has Dooku charged with the task of destroying a dangerous cult of the Dark Side called the Bando Gora, and finding the perfect template for the clones. He decides to do both at once. The rest of the game doesnít related much, but at the end... Tyranus appears behind Jango, and explains how he succeeded in the contest as the host for the Clone Army. Jango agrees to the terms, on one condition, that he gets the first clone for himself, unmodified.
The Jedi Council Literat!
ure Forums have a number of topics devoted to the Clone Wars, here are some of the notable threads:
Battle of Geonosis: Jedi Survivors
Clone Wars Dossier Project
Jedi Purge Survivors: The List
WHAT IS TO COME!
Here are a few short descriptions of upcoming Clone Wars novels:
ĎShatterpointí is a novel written by Matthew Woodring Stover, due for release this year. It features Mace Windu as the main protagonist. The Clone Wars are spreading throughout the Republic, and Jedi Master Mace Windu must undertake a mission to recover a wayward Jedi. The Jedi Council Literature Forum has a discussion thread on this novel titled Official SHATTERPOINT Thread
ĎThe Cestus Deceptioní will be a hardcover novel written by Steven Barnes and is scheduled for June 2004. The book will feature Obi-Wan Kenobi and Kit Fisto uncovering a deadly new type of bio-battle droid being built on the foundries of Ord Cestus.
ĎEscape from Daguí, also released in 2004, will be a paperback novel written by William Dietz. Jedi Shaak Ti attempts to liberate Republic prisoners of war caught behind Separatist lines.
Dark Horse Comics have announced in the past few months that the Star Wars Ongoing comic series will split into the Republic and Empire Comic Series. The Republic Comic Series will be focused on the Clone Wars, with one of the first few comics portraying the ĎBattle of Kaminoí.
Throughout 2003, Scholastic Books will continue to release the Boba Fett series of Young Adult Novels. These novels feature the story line of Boba Fett immediately after Attack of the Clones.
ĎThe Pengalan Tradeoffí is a short story set shortly after Episode II, written by Aaron Allston, and appeared in Star Wars Insider #65. Here is a short synopsis, courtesy of Scott Chitwood:
In the beginning of the Clone Wars, Joram accompanies a squad of Clone Troopers on a mission to Pengalan IV. He has been sent to evaluate their effectiveness and determine if the Republic should order more from Kamino. They soon discover that they have fallen into a trap and they are shot down. Stranded in enemy territory, Joram and the Clone Troopers are on their own.
By default, Joram ends up being their leader. They decide to try and find transport off of the planet, but they must evade hostile Confederacy droids first. Along the way Joram learns more about the clones and how the live and work. He also learns a disturbing secret about the nature of his assignment and why he was sent.
Also, as recently announced by TF.N Books, over at the The Official Site's Forum: Books & Comics VIP Thread, Sue Rostoni, Editor of Lucasbooks has informed fans that there will be a Clone Wars era hardcover released in November 2004, to be written by David Sherman and Dan Cragg. The book is untitled as yet.
Lastly, it has also been announced that Timothy Zahn will be writing a prequel era hardcover, which is scheduled for release during November 2005. It is rumored that this novel will heavily feature the story arc surrounding the Outbound Flight Project, and a young Commander Thrawn.
UPCOMING CLONE WARS PROJECTS - OUR THOUGHTS, OPINIONS, WISHES AND EXPECTATIONS.
Being such a big fan of the EU, I am eagerly anticipating the Clone War novels and comics. I trust LFL to keep track of all the continuity, as they usually do, but I also am expecting to see a lot of creativity from the various authors and artistic teams.
I really hope that these creators will not forget about past references that are already established. Things like the Victory-class star destroyers coming into service at the end of the Clone Wars, and characters like Adar Tallon who was a great hero during the Wars. I would be extremely surprised (and happy) if they made a cartoon about it. I havent followed the news and rumors, but I woudnít expect LFL to make that leap yet.
Iíve also been enjoying the video games that have covered this period so far, i.e. Jedi Starfighter and Clone Wars. Clone Wars picks up right after the movie and involves the first few intergalactic battles fought by the Republic agains the Separatists. I would very much love to see more games in that period. But I also think a lot of Lucasartsí resources will be in SW Galaxies and Knights of the Old Republic, which I am really excited about.
The bottom line is, the more stuff the better, to help me wait out for Episode III!
I have a checklist of things I'm looking for in the Clone War stories. It's a given that we'll see big battles, but I'm looking for more on top of this. First off, I want to see more information on the clones themselves. I want to see some authors get in their heads and examine how they tick. I want to see what their training is like and how they operate in battle. I want to see how people besides Jedi work with them. I also want to see how they transform from the good guys to the eventual stormtroopers we see in the classic trilogy. Second, I want to see Count Dooku in action. I want to see him in the heart of the battles fighting it out. I'd also love to see him recruit a few more like-minded Jedi and either play them as fools or convert them to the Dark Side. I don't want to see Dooku shuffled aside and become a non-player. Third, I want to see Anakin and Obi-Wan. A lot. I want it to feel like it hasn't been three years between the films. I want to novels to fill in the gap and tell you what they've been doing the entire time. I also want to see "General Kenobi" serving Bail Organa. These character need to develop a relationship and the books are a great starting place. Finally, I want to see more of Yoda in action. If Del Rey and Scholastic can deliver on all these fronts, then I'll be a happy Star Wars geek indeed.
Okay, serious this time. Iím absolutely thrilled that Matt Stoverís getting the first Clone Wars novel out of the gate. Traitor set the new standard for SW lit in my eyes, and if there was anything other than the NJO Iíd like to see the guy do, itís the Clone Wars. Hopefully weíll finally get some real character work done on Mace Windu. I really want to be sad for the guy when he goes down in the next movie. And while I havenít been too interested in any of the young reader SW books so far, the Boba Fett series finally got my attention back on Scholastic, who lost it somewhere around Goosebumps #30. Itís also nice to see that someone hasnít forgotten about Aurra Sing. As for the comics, Iíll put it this way: Republic #46 was the first single issue of the series Iíd ever bought, as opposed to waiting for a TPB. Lastly, itís nice to see Star Wars Insider rebounding in the wake of Gamerís cancellation, as it will now contain nore original short stories (#65 will have the first story to feature the Clone Wars) and a continuation of Holonet News, which started out as one of the best marketing ideas ever.
The most exciting moment of the Clone Wars thus far is, obviously, the Battle of Geonosis. The significance of such a battle is quite staggering - so many dead and so many more destined to die in the growing conflagration. However, the future promises to hold an insurmountable treasure-trove of excitement for those willing to brave the fury of the storm. Matthew Stoverís Shatterpoint tops my list as the most eagerly anticipated Clone Wars tale. Stoverís ability to portray inner struggles, as seen in Traitor and his non-Star Wars books, has captured my imagination with each of his novels and is sure to do so again with Mace Windu in Shatterpoint. I am also eagerly awaiting Star Wars Republic #50: Attack on Kamino. While the Clone Wars begin with issue forty-nine, the double-sized treatment of issue fifty has me really pumped. What fate awaits the Kaminoan cloners?
I am looking forward to all of the stories mentioned above, however my hope is that not only the quality of writing continues at a high standard, but that each story is remarkably different from each other, ie: different genres, etc... I would love to read a political novel, frontline war novel, mystery / thriller, action / suspense, etc... If every novel featured the same format, it would become quickly boring indeed. I also hope that the story arc truly does serve as a lead in to Episode III, otherwise, the story would seem disjointed. Like Jeff Boivin, it would be a fanboy dream to see past references built into the novels, to further strengthen the established continuity.
The collecting community is set apart from the literary side of Star Wars in that we get to see what is on the screen come to life in plastic. Although the toys have stayed with the core of the movies there are many collectors who would love to see more expanded universe characters and stories molded into figures. There have been several exceptions where the EU has been brought to life. In the mid 80ís Hasbro (then Kenner) brought us several figures and ships from the Droids and Ewoks cartoon series. Although these werenít wildly popular at the time, they have become some of the more sought after collectibles because of limited quantity and nostalgia. The "modern" line of Star Wars figures brought several characters and ships to life from "Shadows of the Empire". Though not terribly popular, they brought in to collectors eyes, a different part of the Star Wars universe that many had not seen. The second round went to a group of figures mixed in from all parts of the EU. From Games to books to comics, these figures added yet another dimension to the Star wars toy legacy.
I, for one, as a collector, would embrace a line of toys based on the Clone Wars. There is nothing better than reading a book or comic and then being able to create what you read and pictured in your mind, in a scene of your own. You can see it everywhere in the creations of displayers and diorama builders around the world. Most of us can never have too many troops and the possibility of seeing more Jedi and some more ships is intriguing. Sadly, though, it seems that the possibility of a Clone Wars bases series may have slipped us by. However we can guess that Hasbro was on board with several listings on their initial 2003 product list. Letís hope that even if the series is dead, Hasbro takes the lead and brings to life those characters that we will see in the upcoming games and books.
To date the collectibles from AOTC have been a far cry from anything that we have seen since the return of the Star Wars line back in 1995. The figures that Hasbro is putting out are nothing short of amazing. Especially when you look back to the vintage line and see just how far they have come. The most recent example would be Ephant Mon. Quite literally the largest figure ever in the 3 ĺ inch line. But what has set these figures apart is the incredible detail, extra play features and added weapons that are included. AOTC has also seen the return of the monster play set. The Arena play set takes me back to the vintage Death Star play set. It is huge and packed with enough features to keep you busy for hours. One can only hope that Hasbro can continue the fine work and the reasonable prices that have become a standard in the Saga line.
Scott mentioned earlier that he would like to see some of the authors get inside the clones heads. I would like to see someone go toward the Jedi side of things. What is it about the dark side that is clouding their vision? What will happen to all the younglings? Will current padawans be elevated to knighthood? And one of my biggest questions, were ALL the available Jedi at the battle of geonosis? These question may never be answered but one thing is clear, the ride to 2005 should be a fun one.
What I want to get out of the whole Clone Wars media push is simple. I want to read a book that I will love and reread as much as I have classics like Zahnís work and I, Jedi. I want to play a game that immerses me in the action, and leaves me wanting to play it again and again, even after Iíve beaten it. It may seem a straightforward desire, but for an author, a company to create such a construction that appeals perfectly to me out of all of this is a little mind-boggling. I go in with no set expectations or wants. Except maybe an add-on to Jedi Outcast that uses the same engine, but a new character and storyline set in The Clone Wars. Now I really want that.
January 13th, 2003