Pre-Star Wars VII Canon: Aiming for the Sky and Missing The Universe [ENTERTAINMENT EDITORIAL]

Lords of the Sith Cover

Lords of the Sith Cover

Like a lot of people, I’m very excited about the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. Also like a lot of us, our experience with Star Wars is bittersweet.

I remember being around 8 years old when an uncle of mine showed me Star Wars for the first time on VHS and I was hooked.  When I visited my aunt and uncles in Paris, France when I was 16 for a month, I grew so homesick and the only English movie they had to watch was Star Wars–and it reminded me of what I loved about the fantasy adventure there.

When Episode I came out, I and my buddies camped out for tickets and I remember going out to coffee afterwards trying to convince myself (and my friends) that we just hadn’t fully understood the genius of it.  (Or how it could be so much like watching the OJ Simpson trial!)  When the sequel came out, I went to see it opening night for my bachelor party.  Yes, I really am that bought in.  Of course, by the time the third one came around, I saw it right before it left theaters.

After reading, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe (which has some really good points about how the prequels truly went off the rails), I’m truly excited to see what Disney & JJ Abrams can do with this world now that it’s in a place it can grow.

In fact, I even started watching a show on Collider (née AMC) called Jedi Council, which counts down to this upcoming Star Wars releeases and helps sort through all the new content that’s being released as Canon.  (If you didn’t get the memo on LucasFilm’s resetting Canon in March, check out IGN’s explanation of it.)

After hearing glowing reports about the new book Lords of the Sith (and later Dark Disciple) , I went out and reserved the books so I could read them as soon as possible.  I was hoping they would fill the void until September rolls around!

Dark Disciple Cover

Dark Disciple Cover

Now, for those who don’t know what the significance of September is, it will be the first time any official books will be released that happen between Return of the Jedi and the upcoming Force Awakens! Until then, all the books and comics released in this infancy of the new canon have to take place before Return of the Jedi and most of them are set in the wretched timelines of the prequels!

I drank the kool-aid after listening two online personalities who I respect rave over how amazing these books were and I decided to enter the foray with them.

Lords of the Sith was the first of the new novels to deal with Darth Vader as a main character (set between whatever episode 3 was called–I’ve tried to blot that blighted film from my memory–and A New Hope), while Dark Disciple featured Asajj ventriss and Quinlan Vos in a novellic adaptation of four screenplays written for The Clone Wars show that was never filmed due to it being cancelled.

Both novels deal with the protagonists attempting to kill a main antagonist that won’t die until one of the main movies! Are you kidding??? Unfortunately, I am not. With a billion planets where people could be successfully assassinated, kidnapped, or otherwise interacted with, these books choose assassination targets that CANNOT die. (And supposedly, these two are the best of the best!!! Argggggghhhhh!!)

Lords of the Sith is by far the biggest waste of time and the most ludicrous concept. For this one, a rebel group with NO JEDI decide to assassinate Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. I kept hoping that this book would have more depth than: don’t screw with the Sith unless you’re a super powerful Jedi. Unfortunately, it did not. If your goal is to root for the bad guys, there are a few cool fights with Palpatine and Vader killing wildlife. Unfortunately, if you really want to root for them, too bad. You’ll be forced to hang out with the doomed assassins for most of the book!

At least Dark Disciple had some redeeming elements, despite the main goal is killing an unkillable main character in Count Dooku. The good parts are that at least you’re starting with some hardcore force users with an undercover Jedi teaming up with a failed Sith apprentice to try to kill a Sith. The fact that there’s also a forbidden love element to it makes it especially intriguing–although its young-viewer inspired origin means the most forbidden thing in this love triangle is the two cohorts making out in the woods.  Unfortunately, it’s the forbidden nature of Jedi love for the main characters, while Anakin is shacked up with his wife Padmé–yet not being kicked out of the Jedi order–that makes this whole set up feel idiotic. At the end of the day, if this had been a story set in timeline utterly unshackled to the abomination of the prequels, maybe this could have been an awesome book. Unfortunately, it was shackled to them and the resulting tale could never really pull itself free!

The disappointment of these books reminds us to wait for September (with Aftermath being the first post-Jedi book, which should indicate which way the films are headed) and pray everything we’re hearing about 7 is as good as we’ve been led to believe. Because if we have another set of pre-quel level disappointments on our hands, I for one, am done with Star Wars!

Images used in this article are owned by LucasArts and Disney.
They are used under Fair Use for editorial purposes.

Author: JT Hanke

J.T. Hanke is the founder and current editor-in-chief of DarkestGoth Magazine. Founded in 2012, DGM took a break from publishing at the height of the pandemic so that all the staff could work through their own issues, but was able to return in January of 2023.

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