For Star Wars Month of 2018, when I gave my thoughts upon the Star Wars prequels, I said that the novelisation of Revenge of the Sith had spoiled the film for me. Oh, there’s still greatness within it and it is a great film. But whenever I watch it, I’m always feeling that scenes feel flat, or fail to be executed to their fullest extent.
As stated in that article, it is something that the novelisations of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones haven’t managed to do. I can still watch those two and not be thinking back to the novels. Sure, there’s a few additions that I somehow expect to see in each upon a rewatch, but I can watch them and not feel like they fail to execute scenes to their fullest.
Sure, they might not execute scenes to their fullest, but at least those two novels don’t go beyond to recreate the scenes and shame the thing they’re based on. There’s a few additions to make things flow better, or a few extra scenes that would have been nice to see in the films, but nothing stands out as particularly powerful. Nothing that makes the scenes of the film pale in comparison.
Imperial Commando: 501st would have been the start of a new trilogy within the series. Only a second book was ever confirmed, but the plans for what that book would have been never seemed to have made it past initial planning, meaning there was every possibility of Imperial Commando being its own trilogy within the Republic Commando series.
As for why the series got cancelled, Imperial Commando: 501st originally released 27/October-2009. The Clone Wars completely rewrote Mandalorian history starting in season 2, which would have been known to all those working under the Star Wars name.
As such, Karen Traviss left the series before the second Imperial Commando could start. It was said that the series would be given to a new author, but the series officially ended – as in cancelled – on July 2010.
A year after True Colours released, Order 66 followed. The decision to have it as A Republic Commando novel instead of Republic Commando: Order 66 fits in with how this novel is presented.
Each of the previous books dealt with the space of around a few weeks – not counting prologues or pre-war history. It also fits in with the two trilogies format of how I’m guessing the entire story would have played out.
I won’t talk about that yet, but the indications for such a thing happening were clear once the next novel in the series released. As for Order 66, it deals with the Jedi Purge and a year before those events happened. There’s a real urgency in the plan to pull out, and a lot that still needs to be sorted out.
After Triple Zero, another short story got published to Star Wars Insider . Odds provides the set-up for what was to come next with True Colours – introducing several factors that play a part in the whole plan to pull out from the war. When True Colours was published more than a year later, those elements were explored further.
True Colours branches out the locations rather than sticking to just one, which fits with the growing cast and ever-expanding story. A lot of new locations are within this book, with the first look at Mandalore, and a return to Qiilura. With a lot of locations, more viewpoints are also explored.
After Hard Contact released in 2004, it was clear the series was just starting to get strong. In March 2005, a new Star Wars Insider released with a new story of Republic Commando – Omega Squad: Targets. This short story detailed a siege at a spaceport on Coruscant which Omega were called in to help with.
For the UK, the magazine was the only way to have read the story, though the US also got a second opportunity when Triple Zero released near the beginning of 2006. This second novel of the Republic Commando series introduced a lot more into the narrative of the overall series, and after the initial purchases of novels, this was my next addition.
The Republic Commando series started as a video game where players followed the story of Delta squad. While a second game was planned, it never saw the light of day. Meanwhile, the tie-in book dealt with another squad of clones – Omega.
The book series – written by Karen Traviss – continued following the events of the game and expanding the world of the Republic Commandos with four other novels, going beyond the doom of the Jedi – Order 66 – to show the contrast between Republic and Empire.
Hard Contact – the first of the novels – released in 2004, and while I didn’t own it on release (after all, my first introduction to Star Wars was the tail-end of 2007) it became one of the first novels in my Star Wars collection.
Just like with Battlefront 2, you could say there is some nostalgia clouding my thoughts. This review should say why that isn’t the case.
You’ll know that I’m a fan of the Republic Commando series of novels if you’ve read Doctor Who: The Star Wars Chronicles. That story has many a reference and lifts a lot from the lore introduced in that series.
But while Republic Commando is Karen Traviss’ most popular contribution to Star Wars, she also had a few other novels within the franchise. One thing you wouldn’t expect, considering the type of story she writes and her history, is that she wrote The Clone Wars novelisation for the film.
Yes, all this is old news – with ten years separating then and now – but while I will be getting around to talking about the Republic Commando series, I felt starting with the novelisation would give me a chance to flex my reviewing skills in terms of books.