Here’s Part 6 of endnotes for The Essential Guide to Warfare.
This chapter had to be cut down quite a bit – there was some cool stuff on propagandists, including the infamous Ryloth Resa; a War Portrait of Mar Tuuk; and a planetary profile of Metalorn that had some neat details for Marvel fans. As a nod to that lost stuff, I attributed this chapter’s quote to Sergeant Sukko, a character from Dan Wallace’s cut material about the Waymancy Storm.
The description of the early Separatist forces may remind you of the description of the Rebel Alliance’s forces. The rhyme is no accident — I wanted establish links and echoes between Separatism and the Rebellion, to show how they were a complicating factor for Mon Mothma and other Rebel leaders and to suggest why so many Imperial citizens would have remained loyal to the Empire despite Imperial atrocities. The second point, in retrospect, is interesting enough that it could have been made more strongly.
Banking Clan Frigate: I like the idea of Banking Clan space stations outside of the galactic disk, with secret vaults and shipyards. I bet the locations of some of them were lost after the Clone Wars, and they’re still out there, waiting for someone to find them and stumble upon a wealth of credits and war materiel. That would make for a cool story, right?
War Portrait: General Grievous: Grievous famously has two competing backstories. The EU depicts him as a Kaleesh warlord who was made into a patsy by the Separatists, who arranged a shuttle crash and messed with his brain, turning him into a killer. Via Dave Filoni, we know George Lucas imagined Grievous as a failed Force-sensitive who voluntarily shed his humanity (or his Kaleesh-ity) to become a sort of mechanical Jedi.
They’re both good yarns that give some depth and dimension to a character who otherwise might seem like a one-note bad guy twisting a metal mustache — I particularly like the poignant detail (from the Grievous-as-patsy story) of Grievous becoming enraged at being mistaken for a droid. When all is said and done, though, I confess I like the Lucas backstory better. The idea of a would-be Jedi so consumed with rage at being rejected that he turns himself into a soulless machine is interesting in its own right and serves as a tragic premonition of Anakin’s fall — though it’s too bad, given the resonances between the two tales, that continuity won’t allow Anakin and Grievous to cross sabers in the Clone Wars. They strike me as better “natural rivals” than Obi-Wan and Grievous.
Anyway, back to the two backstories. I rejected the idea of trying for a retcon that incorporated them both — they’re so different that I think such a “fix” would be awfully strained, a retcon for retcon’s sake that could never feel convincing. Like Filoni before me, I left things ambiguous, using quarreling historians as a disguise.
The Malevolence: I like the idea that the great ship didn’t really work. It was a prototype, so why would it? Ruggle Schmong, by the way, is quite a name.
War Portrait: Admiral Trench: More detail about the Harch, how Wullf Yularen had fought Trench before, and how that fight happened at Malastare if Yularen served far away in the Kwymar Sector Forces. Some retcons are best navigated speedily without dwelling on the details too long. I suspect I was frowning about the creakiness of that retcon when I came up with the idea that the Harch consider inquiries into the various Aqualish subspecies as obscene. If only all continuity snarls could be stop-signed so definitively.
Tactical Droids: I like the idea of the tactical droids taking things into their own hands, with varying results. We saw that happen on Ryloth with Wat Tambor and TA-175, after all.
Chatty Battle Droids and Other Separatist Troubles: Some of these themes were first played with in Clone Wars: The Official Episode Guide – Season 1. John VanFleet’s painting was one of if not the final piece of art for the book, and quite possibly my favorite in all of Warfare. If I can transmit a victory report via my own vocoder, I think the accompanying caption is my best in the book.
CHAPTER 9: THE OUTER RIM SIEGES
The Jedi Generals: Here’s where those earlier explorations of the Jedi and their relationship with the galaxy’s central authority pay off, crystallizing into a narrative in which everything is at stake.
The Sector Armies: The Armies’ theaters of operations give rise to the oversectors of the Empire, ruled by the first 20 Grand Moffs. A number of lesser-known Grand Moffs get their chance to shine in this section.
Paul writes: “This section was a collaboration between three authors (Jason, myself and mapmaker Modi) and one of the toughest pieces to get right. I feel that the end result is not bad at all. I was very glad we managed to include the ‘1/4/16/64 Plan’ - this concept originates in Rebellion-era canon, where it’s associated with internal subdivisions of much smaller local sectors, but the numbers also fit very neatly with the original size of the twenty Sector Armies in the Clone Wars, thus emphasizing the massive ramping up of militarization under the Empire. The idea of every oversector using a color/weapon combination was suggested by the pre-existing names of the Black Sword and Azure Hammer commands, but ‘Bright Jewel’ and ‘Hook Nebula’ are also existing Rebellion-era oversector names that were easily incorporated.
“Each name is supposed to evoke something specific and iconic about the area of the command, so every new designation contains at least one reference for the aficionado to figure out. For example, ’Chrome Shield’ is a reference to the vibroshield weapons of the native warlord Kar Vastor on Haruun Kal, the antagonist of the first major battle in Sector 17 in the Clone Wars, while ‘Red Tails’ is a reference to both the Twi’lek natives of the Sector 14 capital and to a certain recent movie; sadly, we decided that a Twi’lek Moff wasn’t going to fly here. It’s not all Easter Eggs — the casual fan will hopefully find the names eye-catching and memorable, giving a sense of the storied diversity and casual grandeur of a mighty empire.”
Letter From Christophsis: Written, with a very nice touch, by Paul. Lucasfilm noted that Ahsoka’s handwriting had been worked up for margin notes in Dan Wallace’s The Jedi Path, and so we were able to borrow it.
The Outer Rim Sieges: I was thinking of the American Civil War when writing this section. In retrospect, once the North dedicated its full industrial might to the War Between the States, solved its leadership woes and found a decent general, the outcome was essentially a matter of time. There’s also more about the “stateless” strategy here, later used by the Rebellion and Thrawn.
This chapter also had some painful cuts. There was a section on treating injured clones that I really liked, in part because I thought it was a neat tie-in with Michael Reaves’ and Steve Perry’s Medstar duology. (I think those are underrated books.) There was also a section on peace movements, and a War Portrait of the cyborg Kligson from the old Marvel tale “Droid World.” Axing Kligson particularly hurt because I’d worked his portrait up (along with material about Wermis and Bey) years ago for an online tie-in to an Insider article and was excited that it would finally get read. Perhaps the third time will be the charm.
Order 66: The Road to Empire: Lucasfilm passed on a very cool diagram drawn by Dave Filoni of the galaxy’s powers and institutions and their role in Sidious’s plot; it was extremely helpful in seeing this section clearly. Making Kol Skywalker the narrator seemed like a natural move, helping tie the Legacy era into the more-familiar era here and adding a poignant note to the story of the Skywalker clan.
Finally, I like the point that Sidious was telling the truth when he accused the Jedi of plotting against him, trying to kill him and scheming to take over the Senate. He’s leaving out some key details — such as, oh, being a Sith Lord — but he isn’t lying. The best plots depend not on lies, but on manipulating your opponent to do what he’d rather not.
(On to Pt. 7)