Howdy folks. Back and relatively recovered from Comic-Con, so here’s Part 16 of endnotes for The Essential Guide to Warfare.
CHAPTER 20: THE NEW GALACTIC CIVIL WAR
After the Vong: Note that Mon Mothma’s decision to devolve control of Planetary Security Forces to their home sectors has now created a problem for the New Republic, and provided Warfare readers with another wrinkle to the theme of centralized vs. distributed control of the military. The Sector Defense Limits echo the Ruusan Reformations, and Corellia is cranky as ever. For me, this is where Star Wars dorkery is really rewarding, and retcons get put to the test: Does new information tie together separate stories, making them feel like more of a coherent whole? I think/hope the answer here is yes.
The New Civil War: Paul Urquhart writes: “I found this one really tricky, because the complexity, frustration and tragic waste of the Second Civil War isn’t easily reduced to a simple campaign narrative. In the end, I tried to simply bring out all that angst and futility. This is a galaxy gone painfully wrong, in which a lot of people - ordinary citizens and powerful and capable leaders alike - are striving for some way to fix things and a cause to believe in. Which only makes matters worse. Concluding the piece with a comment from the younger Jacen Solo is designed to underscore the poignancy. I’m not quite sure that the whole piece works, but maybe it’s appropriate that it shouldn’t, quite.”
Galactic Alliance Guard: Paul writes: “Part of the irony of Darth Caedus is that he’s completely out of his depth. This adds another dimension to the narrative of the Second Civil War by suggesting that the Alliance leadership are ruthlessly addressing the wrong fears, victims of their own ambitions and agendas, their cultural conditioning and professional training. I wanted to evoke the SS (as opposed to the Galactic Empire) in the way the Guard develops from a small paramilitary unit to an ersatz state - though ironically, it ended up resembling both a dark twist on libertarian small-government fantasies and also a ‘straight’ rendition of libertarian big-government fears. Make of that what you will.
"The Legacy of the Force novels left me wanting to know more about the Corellians, so I tried to provide a glimpse of what they were doing here, by showing the Corellian-tuned tactical reality that the GAG were failing to address. But I hope that only sharpens the real edge here - the one between the pointless incompetence of the Guard’s activities and the massive pain and death they caused."
The New Hutts: I love Darren Tan’s Hutt warships – they fit exactly with other Ubrikkian products, without looking simply like skiffs in space. The Hutts’ resilience was first established in the Essential Atlas, as were the details of the secret interior of Hutt Space. It was a lot of fun coming up with names (borrowed from ancient Earth navies) for the Hutt warships.
The Burning of Kashyyyk: When I wrote this first-person account I was imagining Luke Skywalker as he might have become — a Tatooine dreamer who went off to the Academy, saw the galaxy, but became a cog in the Imperial war machine. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye tells us Luke learned to speak Yuzzem by studying the species while on the Lars farm, which I’ve always found equal parts endearing and pretty unlikely.
War Portrait: Natasi Daala: This section came back from Lucasfilm with an amused note that “topatoes” had been checked on and were indeed an established part of the Expanded Universe. I was amused too. I like Drew Baker’s elderly Luke and Daala sharing a not particularly warm moment.
War Portrait: Admiral Daala: Paul writes: “I find Daala a sympathetic and interesting character even while I think she’s a brutal incompetent as a military leader, and I tried to capture — and explain — that contradiction here. Her enthusiasm for violent physical sports has been part of her characterization since her first introduction, though Viker and Massimo Tagge are new players in her backstory, representing the competing forces that shaped her on Carida. The narrative implies (though it doesn’t quite state it categorically) that Daala was only around 19 when Tarkin promoted her to Admiral — around the same age as Padmé and Leia and Luke when they became leaders and heroes, so not really all that crazy for Star Wars.
"I’m not a huge fan of Daala’s canonical first name, and wanted to make it an abbreviation of ‘Renatasia,’ the name of a legendary queen (aka ‘Reina Tasia’ or ‘Elsinoré den Tasia’) who founded lots of Outer Rim colonial systems such Naboo and the eponymous Renatasia IV — and, I thought, Daala’s homeworld of Irmenu. That ended up being homaged obliquely, in an edit suggested by Jason, in the ‘Renatasian nuns on Botajef!’
"There are a few other continuity details scattered through this one: the name of United Warlord Fleets for her command in Darksaber is new, and alert fans might also note that this biography makes her the military leader of the Second Imperium in the Young Jedi Knights novels. The fake Royal Guards who purport to be leading the show were originally her bodyguards, after all….”
War Portrait: Gilad Pellaeon: I liked the challenge of creating a tribute to Pellaeon that would be stirring and touching while making you think that Natasi Daala was utterly untrustworthy. I wrote a section on the planet Irmenu — a location introduced by Karen Traviss — that was great fun to do, but got cut from the book.
End of a Jedi Era: The last piece written for the book, composed after reading the first draft of Apocalypse. It struck me that what was important here was to look forward, not back. We needed to explain why the Jedi were leaving Coruscant and their ancient tradition of service to galactic government to make what was, in effect, a return to their ancient roots.
CHAPTER 21: ETERNAL WAR
The One Sith: This section is a bridge across the long gulf of time between the Fate of the Jedi books and Dark Horse’s Legacy comics. Reading it now, I get the feeling that it will one day read the same as old Essential Guides’ two-paragraph accounts of the Clone Wars and the fall of the Republic, before the prequels filled in the gaps. Oh well — that’s showbiz, baby. Lots of stories left to tell here!
Predator Fighter: Paul writes: “Fans of the Legacy material will recognize that the difference in viewport styles is inspired by the way that Sean Cooke’s design for the fighter evolved. The idea that the ‘mynock wing’ designs are of Chiss origin is made a little clearer here than it has been before, and embodies a piece of behind-the-scenes logic: The slender ‘wings’ of both the Clawcraft and Predator replace the bulky pylons that previously housed the bulk of the TIE’s drive systems, and thus must contain lots of miniaturized engine components. The tightly fitting equipment that this implies also evokes the highly compact Chiss launch/maintenance racks we see at the Hand of Thrawn base in Vision of the Future.”
Scythe Battle Cruiser: Paul writes: “The weapons numbers are based on role-playing statistics in the Legacy Era Campaign Guide. Some fans have noted that this makes this cruiser relatively lightly armed compared with earlier Imperial ships, but bear in mind that are the weapons are all in the forward fire arc, with nothing mounted on the flanks or rear. In addition, although it’s not explicit in the text, I imagined the turbolasers as heavy-caliber and rapid-firing designs, and the torpedo tubes as carrying a lot more reloads than older ships like the Victory Star Destroyer. In other words, this is a ship optimized to attack much bigger opponent. Think of the Scythe as a very, VERY large B-wing.”
Crossfire Fighter: Paul writes: “This is a finessing of existing canon information from the Legacy Era Campaign Guide and the comics, decorated with some newly invented details as continuity spackle: The IX9 lasers (a designation in the same series as those on the X-wing) and the CF9B single-seat variant.”
War Portrait: Gar Stazi: And so we come to the end, and find a bookend of sorts for Teshik’s testament. The story of the diplomat and the old woman on Kuthard is inspired by a real-world piece I read years ago and now can’t find. It was probably about Bosnia, and remember it was imparted by a career diplomat as sad wisdom about the limits of idealism.
To be clear, I don’t necessarily agree with what Stazi has to say here — the distance between my experience and that of any career military officer is vast, to say nothing of the distance between me and a fictional alien military officer who’d seen fleets betrayed and empires fallen and worlds destroyed. I hope Stazi’s speech strikes readers as idealistic and despairing and sad and noble and brutal and hopeful all at the same time, and I also hope that it’s impossible to define it as just one of those things.
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Well, that’s a wrap. Thanks to everybody who’s dropped by to read the endnotes, and for everyone who’s contributed their comments, questions and constructive criticism about Warfare. I’ll keep looking for a home for all the cut material referenced here over the past months — maybe we can address it in a future brace of endnotes. And here’s to what I hope are more Star Wars projects to come!