The film released around this time last year ended the Skywalker Saga on a rather divisive note. Plenty of thoughts were shared over how it handled the return of Palpatine, along with the story in general. Again, the novelisation released a few months after the film, taking on the expanded edition name and setting out to fix what issues it could raised by critics and fans alike.
For me, I felt the film had a lot to like even with the rushed pacing and the lacking ending. The only things I’d wanted to see with the novelisation were the fixing of these two things. However, it did take me an age to get to reading it, despite buying it when it first released. 2020 has been a trainwreck of a year, and so I’ve been finding more comfort in games than any other medium. However, I’ve been doing a complete novelisation marathon throughout the year, so it was inevitable I would get to this final one.
Straight from the off, the book lands us at Ajan Kloss, with Leia teaching Rey and reminiscing on her own training. And again later on, there’s a naturalness to the conversations which couldn’t ever have happened in the film with how they overcame the loss of Carrie Fisher. The book gives the feeling that Rey is truly being trained, with the course through the forest being just one part of it.
The middle of the trilogy. The film that explored a few things we had yet to see in Star Wars. But it was also let down by one particular area. The part that should have had the most impact felt rushed and unfocused. It was still an enjoyable film, but the payoff where it was needed – for more than one area – just wasn’t there to make the story as impactful as it could otherwise have been.
The novelisation had been delayed to get some reworked done to it. After three months, it was expected to fix the story and everything fans felt was wrong with the film. While I might have also gone into the realm of unrealistic expectations (don’t forget, the Revenge of the Sith novelisation has given very high ones), I also had tempered those expectations by the time it released.
Oh, I still expected changes to be made to make the story work better, but I was no longer going into it expecting to see entire scenes changed to better fit the narrative that was being constructed. What was presented did fix the major problem I had with the story, along with giving other characters a bit more time in the spotlight. However, was the book better than the film?
Things were wild for Star Wars in 2012, what with the Disney takeover and the restructuring of LucasFilm, the game licence going to EA with the shuttering of LucasArts as a developer. And the announcement that a new trilogy of films was set to be released. The first teaser for that trilogy wouldn’t arrive until two years later, with the film arriving at the end of 2015. A few days later, the novelisation arrived.
I’d been wowed by the film, and even to this day I still regard it as the best of the trilogy. The novelisation was equally as good, with it extending some scenes and cutting a bit of clutter. Ultimately, though, the novelisation doesn’t add too much to the story, and in some parts also loses a bit of something.
One thing it does do, however, is bring a bit of new meaning to Kylo Ren’s line of “I’ll finish what you started.” The two sides of Resistance and First Order are hunting for Skywalker within the film, but that hunt within the book – the hunt for the piece of the map – feels like it takes on a new importance here. There’s a scene between Kylo Ren and Snoke where they talk of the failing of Vader and why it’s so important to find Skywalker.
Even the destruction of the Hosnian system, and the plan to eliminate the Resistance base, is all centred on stopping the Resistance from their own hunt for Skywalker. There’re even small scenes within the Resistance base with Leia to show her feelings and hopes for wanting Luke back in the fight. Of course, though, the main viewpoints for the Resistance side are Poe, Rey, and Finn.
The major anniversary event of Ranger celebration ran across the comics in 2018. Though centred on the Mighty Morphin’ team of the comics, it featured pretty much every team of Rangers in some form, whether large or small in role. The comic series had already been building to this, with the alternate version of Tommy Oliver who had turned evil. It had looked as though he were beaten, until the prelude to the events that follow reveal his escape.
I hadn’t been following the comics, though, so in the latter half of 2019, I picked up all the collected editions that I could – including the full graphic novel of Shattered Grid – so I could better understand the new additions to the Rangers universe that I had seen showing up in the current games of Legacy Wars and Battle for the Grid.
The Mighty Morphin’ team updated to be within the modern world, starting with the events after Tommy joins them. It all looked good, with the first arc dealing with Tommy’s doubts at being a good Ranger, for all the world as though it could really be part of the TV series. It managed to hit that dynamic energy with just pictures on paper. Then what could technically be the prelude of Shattered Grid. The start of the Black Dragon arc, which leads into World of the Coinless.
All of this build up to the events of Shattered Grid are great to read, but the important parts that relate to Shattered Grid are included with this story. Lord Drakkon is an evil version of Tommy who refused to join the Rangers, building up his own power, taking down not only the Rangers, but Rita as well. The Rangers of this reality who had survived build up a resistance against Drakkon and his armies of Sentries. This is the world of the Coinless. And it is here where the story of Shattered Grid will end.
I’m not one who reads non-fiction. I’m sure there’s plenty of adventures to be found within them, but I’ve never been one to read about reality – even if some of my stories are based upon it. However, everyone has to start somewhere with any experience, and I was interested in this one when conversing with someone on LinkedIn.
Baby Dreams is a book written by Louise Warneford about her experiences with eighteen unexplained miscarriages, yet still wanting to hold a child that she carried to term. It talks of her own upbringing to start, with the connections she has to her own family and the events that happened around that time.
When you were a child, no doubt you had an innocent yet wild curiosity that would have been shed upon becoming a teen. But there’s always a point where you might wish you could go back to that time. TV might allow you to return to such a time, but a book I feel can do it better.
That feeling of child-like innocence is alive within Bernice Takes A Plunge by Ann Harth, a middle-grader novel that has been a joy to read. Bernice Peppercorn is a lively girl who allows her imagination to run wild as she explores the seaside town she lives, always watching the ongoing events to see what could fit into the book she’s writing. The story joins her at a point where she learns of a robbery that has happened at the home of a local actress who is currently away.
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.