With the announcement of Disney buying Star Wars from LucasFilm, and that we are going to start seeing a slew of new Star Wars movies coming out, I’ve decided to start getting into Star Wars comics and books. I’ve always been interested in venturing outside of the movie universe, and finding out what happens once Return of the Jedi ends. In order to start exploring the Star Wars expanded universe I Googled around, and the first thing Star Wars nerds everywhere recommend reading is a trilogy of books by Timothy Zahn called the Thrawn Trilogy. These books were published from 1991-1993, and they are set 5 years after the movies end, and many consider them to be the unofficial Episode 7, 8 and 9.
In the book the New Republic is setting up a government and controls most of the galaxy, but remnants of the Empire are still out there. Han Solo and Princess Leia are now married, with Leia being pregnant with twins. They live on the New Republic capital planet “Coruscant” with Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C3PO.
The major villain in the series is Grand Admiral Thrawn, of which the trilogy is named after. He’s a blue alien with a highly intelligent and strategic military genius, who had a high ranking important postion during the war, but was kind of forgotten about during the Empire’s collapse. With Darth Vader, the Emperor, and most of the other high ranking Imperial military figures wiped out, Thrawn is now the leader of the Empire, and he wishes to restore the Empire back to their former glory. What makes Thrawn such an interesting villain, is that he does not have special powers, he is not a jedi, he could not win in a one-on-one fight with Luke Skywalker, but his intelligence and ability to outthink everyone makes him such a dangerous threat.
In addition to Thrawn, other new character Jorus C’baoth, is supposed to be the only other Jedi in the universe now outside of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. In addition to being a Jedi, and looking like a jacked version of Gandolf, he is also insane! Thrawn goads C’baoth into working with him, but it is always an uneasy alliance, that makes for a very interesting dynamic throughout the trilogy.
Mara Jade is another character introduced in the book, who is a love interest for Luke Skywalker, and after the Thrawn Trilogy she goes onto eventually marrying Luke. However in the Thrawn books, she mainly just wants to kill Luke Skywalker, and her obsession with wanting to kill Luke, is a plot point that is revisited and restated hundreds of times throughout the trilogy, before finally being resolved near the end. It get a little repetitive and annoying after a while.
Another staple in the Thrawn Triolgy are these creatures called the Ysalamiri, which are lizards that are capable of blocking the force, and when these creatures are around Jedi, a Jedi will not have any power. I found the creatures to be a really cool idea, and it became amusing how Thrawn would keep them scattered around his ship, and draped on his shoulder whenever dealing with C’baoth.
Timothy Zahn has created some great new characters, and introduced some interesting new concepts to the Star Wars universe, as well as capturing the voice of all the familiar Star Wars characters well. When Han Solo says something, he sounds like Han Solo. These are great introductory books to the Star Wars expanded universe, and a series I highly recommend.
Minor annoyances that don’t really matter: Zahn likes to use the word “sardonically” a lot, and his characters frequently just say “point” when they agree with someone, as oppose to saying “you’ve got a point there” or “I agree”. It gets kind of annoying after a while!