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Star Wars Holocron

What’s New in Star Wars – December 2021

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

2021 ends with a bang as Star Wars fans can finally rejoice at the premiere of The Book of Boba Fett. In addition to the new Disney+ series though, the year closes out with the continuation of various thrilling Star Wars fans. Below includes a list and description of upcoming Star Wars projects in the month of December 2021. It is important to note all of these release dates are subject to change.

December 1 – Bounty Hunters 18

Following the dramatic events of War of the Bounty Hunters, Ethan Sacks’ Marvel Comics series continues this month with its 18th issue. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “THE GALAXY’S GREATEST! In the wake of the shocking events of WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS, the underworld has become more dangerous than ever. T’ONGA has assembled the greatest team of bounty hunters in the galaxy – including BOSSK, ZUCKUSS and TASU LEECH for a special mission! Can she keep them from killing each other long enough to become a real team while she grieves the loss of an old friend?”

December 1 – Darth Vader 18

Greg Pak’s Darth Vader series also continues this month with its upcoming 18th issue. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “RED REVENGE! Fearful whispers echo in every corner of the Empire – Darth Vader is on the hunt, searching for anyone with any connection to the criminal organization known as Crimson Dawn.”

December 1 – The High Republic Adventures 11

Follow the Jedi of the High Republic in the newest issue of Daniel Jose Older’s IDW Publishing comic run. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The Masters and Padawans take a much needed break to participate in the Great Jedi Rumble Race! It’s the most important event in the galaxy (probably) and there’s only one rule… THERE ARE NO RULES! But Lula is too stuck in her own head to enjoy the raucous, no holds barred tussle to the finish line. Meanwhile, on Corellia, trouble brews…”

December 7 – Star Wars: The High Republic Vol. 2 – The Heart of Drengir

Those who have missed Cavan Scott’s excellent The High Republic series for Marvel can catch up with this new paperback collection.

December 7 – Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Companion

There’s a lot to keep track of in the sprawling War of the Bounty Hunters series. Thankfully, some of the paperback compilations make it a little easier for fans who are catching up on the crossover event. This paperback compilation compiles all of the one shots in the series.

December 7 – Star Wars: Darth Vader by Charles Soule Omnibus

Charles Soule is one of the best storytellers in the Star Wars universe. So, what better way to celebrate his stories with a new hardcover Omnibus compiling the entirety of his Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader run. Yep, that’s right – this includes all 25 issues of the series AND Darth Vader Annual 2. Needless to say, Vader fans will be satisfied with this collection.

December 8 – Crimson Reign 1

Speaking of Charles Soule, the author follows up his War of the Bounty Hunters series with the second in his Q’ira trilogy – Crimson Reign. The publisher’s summary for the first issue is as follows: “AFTER THE DAWN… COMES THE REIGN! The story that began with WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS continues here, in the second installment of a trilogy that will reshape the history of the Star Wars Galaxy during the Age of Rebellion. Featuring the return of beloved characters, shocking twists, epic feats of the Force and a story that will reach from Star Wars’ darkest underworld all the way to the Imperial Palace on Coruscant, Crimson Reign is a Star Wars saga like no other!”

December 8 – Star Wars 19

More Charles Soule can never be a bad thing. The author continues his Star Wars mainline series on this day with its 19th issue. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “LUKE’S QUEST FOR ANSWERS TAKES A DANGEROUS TURN! As the REBELLION tries to pull itself together for a last-ditch effort to defeat the evil GALACTIC EMPIRE, LUKE SKYWALKER realizes it is time for his journey to become a JEDI to continue. After near-death at the hands of DARTH VADER, he knows he has much to learn if he will ever defeat the DARK LORD OF THE SITH. But the JEDI ORDER is gone, and his teachers have vanished… where can Luke turn to find the Jedi legacy he so desperately needs?”

December 14 – Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 3 — War of the Bounty Hunters

Alyssa Wong’s issues of Doctor Aphra that occur during the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover event are compiled in this trade paperback.

December 14 – Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Graphic Novel Adaptation

Relive the events of Episode II with IDW Publishing’s graphic novel adaptation this month.

December 15 – The High Republic 12

Sporting incredible cover art by Phil Noto, Cavan Scott’s thrilling The High Republic series moves forward this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “THE HUNT FOR LOURNA DEE CONTINUES! The NIHIL have unleashed a unknown terror against the Jedi. MARSHAL AVAR KRISS is more determined than ever to bring LOURNA DEE to justice, but does STELLAN GIOS and the JEDI COUNCIL agree? As KEEVE TRENNIS struggles with what she experienced on the Nihil base, the Jedi prepare for war. PLUS, the truth about SSKEER is finally revealed – but what does it mean for his future?”

December 15 – The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021

The first annual edition of the Star Wars: The High Republic adventures series debuts this month.

December 21 – Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 3 — War of the Bounty Hunters

Greg Pak’s issues of the Darth Vader series that occur during the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover event releases this month as a trade paperback compilation.

December 21 – Star Wars: Jedi Artifacts

Insight Editions delivers another worthy addition to any fans’ collection with this new reference book and merchandise box set.

December 21 – Star Wars Adventures: The Light and the Dark

Star Wars: Adventures Issues 1-6 are collected in this upcoming trade paperback compilation.

December 21 – Star Wars: Be More Boba Fett

Prep for The Book of Boba Fett with this new book by Joseph Jay Franco and DK. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “A fun, pocket-sized book packed with inspiration from the galaxy’s most (in)famous bounty hunter. Throw aside the 9-to-5 and discover the joys of going freelance! In a big wide galaxy you’ll find every personality type. There are those who want to work for a large, stable employer like the Imperial Navy, pushing buttons on a space cruiser. There are also those who are content living the simple (but dull) life of a merchant or moisture farmer. And then there are those special few who long for the freelance life. If you aren’t afraid of grueling (and sometimes frowned upon) work, traveling to exotic locations, and being your own boss, you may find guidance in the wise words of those who have been there. Be More Boba Fett will help guide you on your path to the independent life of a successful entrepreneur.”

December 22 – Darth Vader 19

Another issue of Greg Pak’s Darth Vader series hits comic stores this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “DARK ORDER! In the bowels of Bespin, DARTH VADER told his son he wanted to bring order to the galaxy. Now Vaders’ promise is put to the test as he leads an unlikely crew of heroes and assassins against the criminal organization known as CRIMSON DAWN. What does “order” mean to a DARK LORD OF THE SITH? How far will he go to fight for it as the depth of Crimson Dawns’ infiltration becomes clearer? And what fate awaits the heroes who follow him into battle?”

December 22 – The High Republic: Trail of Shadows 3

Daniel Jose Older’s mystery thriller series set during the High Republic era is easily one of the best comic runs this year. The publisher’s summary for the third issue is as follows: “COLD COMFORT! A mysterious attack brings EMERICK and SIAN together at the Starlight to investigate connections to their case. Meanwhile, ARATHAB tries to ambush a Nihil ship with deadly results. Can Jedi Master Emerick and private eye Sian Holt uncover the clues to solve this case, or are they about to face their deadly demise at the hands of Nihil?”

December 22 – Star Wars Adventures 13

George Mann and Danny Lore bring the 13th issue of IDW’s Star Wars Adventures series to life this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “First, from author George Mann (Doctor Who), the Millennium Falcon needs some serious repairs after sitting in disrepair on Jakku. So Rey, Chewie, Finn, and BB-8 have to make a pit stop. But it doesn’t quite go as planned (it never does), and the group quickly finds themselves at the wrong end of a bounty hunter’s blaster. Then, in a bone-chilling tale from author Danny Lore (Transformers: Shattered Glass, King in Black: Captain America), Darth Vader searches a temple for a hidden tome and nothing—nobody—will stop his wrath.”

December 28 – Star Wars Vol. 3: War of the Bounty Hunters

Also compiled this month are issues 13-18 of Charles Soule’s Star Wars series for Marvel Comics.

December 29 – Bounty Hunters 19

The 19th issue of Ethan Sacks’ Bounty Hunters series also debuts this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “CHAOS SPREADS THROUGH THE UNDERWORLD! As Crimson Reign has ignited the underworld in all-out war, T’ONGA’s team of bounty hunters – including BOSSK, ZUCKUSS and TASU LEECH – are running out of time to save the one young girl who can stop the conflict between syndicates! A mysterious bounty hunter is out to assassinate a high ranking Imperial officer in a daring hit on a heavily armed cruiser. But was the hunter given the right target?”

December 29 – The Book of Boba Fett – Episode 1

And last, but certainly not least – The Book of Boba Fett. After appearing in The Mandalorian Season 2, Temuera Morrison will reprise his role as the infamous bounty hunter front and center of a new Disney+ series. Stay tuned to Star Wars Holocron for plenty of Boba Fett coverage over the coming months!

For reference, a condensed list of upcoming projects in December without descriptions is included below:

December 1 – Bounty Hunters 18 

December 1 – Darth Vader 18 

December 1 – The High Republic Adventures 11 

December 7 – Star Wars: The High Republic Vol. 2 – The Heart of Drengir 

December 7 – Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Companion 

December 7 – Star Wars: Darth Vader by Charles Soule Omnibus 

December 8 – Crimson Reign 1 

December 8 – Star Wars 19 

December 14 – Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 3 — War of the Bounty Hunters 

December 14 – Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Graphic Novel Adaptation 

December 15 – The High Republic 12 

December 15 – The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021 

December 21 – Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 3 — War of the Bounty Hunters 

December 21 – Star Wars: Jedi Artifacts 

December 21 – Star Wars Adventures: The Light and the Dark 

December 21 – Star Wars: Be More Boba Fett 

December 22 – Darth Vader 19 

December 22 – The High Republic: Trail of Shadows 3 

December 22 – Star Wars Adventures 13 

December 28 – Star Wars Vol. 3: War of the Bounty Hunters 

December 29 – Bounty Hunters 19 

December 29 – The Book of Boba Fett – Episode 1

Images courtesy of Disney+, Lucasfilm, IDW Publishing, Insight Editions, & Marvel Comics

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Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: Thrawn: Ascendancy – Lesser Evil

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

It’s fitting that, in the 30th anniversary of Timothy Zahn’s groundbreaking Heir to the Empire, the acclaimed author caps off another Thrawn trilogy in characteristically epic fashion. Thrawn Ascendancy – Lesser Evil sees the titular character’s origins within the Chiss Ascendancy draw to a close picking up after the events of its predecessor Greater Good. The book centers on the conflict between the Chiss Ascendancy and the villainous Jixtus, an intriguing character first introduced at the end of Chaos Rising.

Lesser Evil triumphs in the same manner Chaos Rising and Greater Good triumphed – telling a Star Wars story with (mostly) entirely new characters in an entirely unexplored sect of the galaxy. This novel territory made Chaos Rising a bit of challenge to get into, but, come this third installment, Zahn has managed to craft a story that feels so distinct from the Star Wars stories we’re used to experiencing.

Zahn’s novel also follows its predecessors in spinning a tale filled to the brim with political intrigue. Greater Good focused on a mysterious and insidious enemy’s attempts to tear the Chiss Ascendancy apart from the inside, and Lesser Evil continues this theme. This time around, Jixtus teams up with a sect of religious zealots called Kilji. Meanwhile, Thrawn’s moves on this intricate chessboard are detailed through the eyes of those closest to him. Needless to say, following the political back-and-forth is by far the best aspect of Lesser Evil.

Lesser Evil’s take on Thrawn continues an interesting trend for the Ascendancy trilogy. Thrawn, as depicted in the original 1990s novels and in Star Wars Rebels, is a clear-cut villain. Complex, yes, but still a villain. The Thrawn depicted here is secretive and slightly distanced from the reader, yet is definitely more of an anti-hero than a villain. The depiction of Thrawn as an anti-hero feels somewhat discrepant from the villain we love to hate later on in canon, especially considering that it appears Thrawn will make his live-action debut as a big bad guy sooner rather than later. Lesser Evil overcomes this potential pitfall, however, by feeling so distant (both in chronology and geography) from other adventures of Thrawn. This is still very much an origin story that is allowed some liberty as the events of Star Wars: Thrawn have not kicked into gear yet.

Verdict:

Lesser Evil is a more than satisfying conclusion to Timothy Zahn’s latest Thrawn trilogy. Zahn intelligently weaves together the political threads of a fairly complex and foreign story, while continuing to shed light on the infamous Chiss leader. Although the titular character’s portrayal as an anti-hero still makes him seem a little too different from the character we eventually see in canon, Lesser Evil succeeds in telling a story that feels refreshingly distant from the Star Wars universe we’re used to seeing.

Images courtesy of Del Rey Books

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Star Wars Holocron

What’s New in Star Wars – November 2021

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

As the spooky season of Halloween draws to a close, November welcomes a range of new Star Wars stories ahead of the highly anticipated release of The Book of Boba Fett in December. It is important to note all of these release dates are subject to change. Below includes a list and description of upcoming Star Wars projects in the month of November:

November 2 – Star Wars: Battles That Changed the Galaxy

Explore some of the most iconic clashes in the Star Wars universe with this new reference book. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Explore the “Wars” in Star Wars as never before! Enter a galaxy ravaged by conflict and discover the complete story of the epic struggles that define the Star Wars movies. This ambitious book presents major galactic conflicts from an in-world “historical” perspective: each battle is depicted with captivating imagery, explored with newly commissioned maps, and explained through a detailed analysis of tactics, famous commanders, legendary warriors, key moments, and its impact on wider galactic history. This is the perfect book for any Star Wars fan, budding military historian, or would-be rebel hero!”

November 2 – Star Wars Year By Year: A Visual History, New Edition

Another DK reference book for a galaxy far, far away drops this November. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Star Wars in this complete history of the most famous franchise in movie history. Painstakingly researched and superbly illustrated,Star Wars™ Year By Year: A Visual History, New Edition presents a unique Star Wars timeline-the full history of the amazing Star Wars phenomenon as you’ve never seen it before. This stunning visual journey features trivia and cultural cornerstones from director George Lucas’ early life through to the iconic movie stills, comic books, novels, toys, video games, and theme parks that have spawned from five decades of seminal film making. Fully updated and expanded, this edition encompasses all nine episodes of the original, prequel, and sequel trilogies, along with the standalone movies Rogue One and Solo, and the acclaimed television series, The Mandalorian.”

November 3 – Star Wars 18

The much anticipated meeting between Leia and Qi’ra takes place in Charles Soule’s latest issue of Star Wars for Marvel Comics. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “COLLISION COURSE. Reeling from the events on JEKARA and forced to confront the reality of her own choices and losses, LEIA ORGANA meets QI’RA to discuss the person they both have in common – heroic smuggler HAN SOLO! How has he influenced their lives to that point? And how will it change their fate moving forward?”

November 3 – Bounty Hunters 17

Ethan Sacks’ Bounty Hunters series continues with this latest issue. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “LAST STAND. Severely wounded, VALANCE must make a desperate escape attempt from an Imperial Star Destroyer. Will T’ONGA and her crew reach him in time? Plus: A shocking twist that will leave the survivors’ lives forever altered!”

November 3 – Star Wars Insider 206

The latest issue of Star Wars Insider places the focus on Boba Fett ahead of the new Disney+ series. This issue includes an interview with Temuera Morrison, celebrating Lucasfilm’s 50th anniversary, and new The High Republic fiction.

November 9 – Star Wars Legends: Boba Fett – Blood Ties

Explore an adventure with Boba Fett from Star Wars Legends in this new collection. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The galaxy’s most feared bounty hunter blazes into the spotlight! Years ago, Boba Fett’s father Jango took on an important mission with a big payday. But things went awry, and now Boba must pick up the pieces! Then, a rumor spreads that Boba Fett is dead — but who is picking off his “killers” one by one? Can the son of one of Jango Fett’s clones learn the truth? Plus, Boba takes on big bounties, battles the Empire and faces down an imposter in more tales of the fan-favorite in the Mandalorian armor!”

November 9 – Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook

Celebrate Life Day with this new cookbook from Insight Editions! The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Prepare a holiday feast with this cookbook inspired by Life Day, the galaxy-wide celebration of family, friendship, and hope. Originating on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk, Life Day has since spread its message of fellowship and love to every corner of the galaxy, making it the perfect holiday to celebrate with a delicious family meal! CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS WITH STAR WARS: Whether your family is celebrating Life Day at the Tree of Life, or in the comfort of your home, this Life Day cookbook will be the most scrumptious and festive addition to your Star Wars library! GREAT FOR ALL SKILL LEVELS: This cookbook will teach chefs of any skill level to prepare the galaxy’s most delicious appetizers, main courses, beverages, and desserts. OVER 40 HOLIDAY RECIPES: Packed with stunning food photography that’s sure to instill a passion for cooking in any Star Wars fan, this Life Day cookbook is the galaxy’s most exciting way to celebrate the holidays. BUILD YOUR STAR WARS COLLECTION: This holiday cookbook stands alongside fan-favorite Star Wars books including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook, Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection, and Star Wars: The Secrets of the Jedi.”

November 9 – Star Wars: The Mandalorian: The Tiny Book of Grogu

Experience the story of Grogu in this new pocket-sized book of quotes. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “ Hold the thrilling adventures of Grogu and Din Djarin in the palm of your hand, with this tiny book celebrating fan-favorite scenes from Star Wars: The Mandalorian. Loaded with imagery of the most mysterious and lovable alien in the galaxy, and quotes from all of his unlikely allies, Star Wars: The Tiny Book of Grogu will be the perfect gift for any Star Wars fan. BELOVED MOMENTS IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND: With its 1.34″ x 1.73″ size, this tiny book packs a galaxy’s worth of adventure into a pocket-sized format. CELEBRATE GROGU: Featuring imagery and quotes from Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Seasons 1 and 2), this tiny book features Grogu’s most incredible escapades. From exploring the galaxy with Din Djarin, to meeting Ahsoka Tano and Luke Skywalker, this tiny book is a fun celebration of Grogu and the world of Star Wars: The Mandalorian. GREAT FOR FANS OF ALL AGES: As a stocking stuffer or a novelty gift for your favorite foundling, this tiny book will delight Star Wars fans of all ages. THE PERFECT ADDITION TO YOUR STAR WARS LIBRARY: A tiny but thrilling companion to your collection, Star Wars: The Tiny Book of Grogu is the most adorable addition to Insight Editions’ line of tiny books.”

November 9 – Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 2

Check out a range of Legends and canon stories in this upcoming collection! The publisher’s summary is as follows: “ A collection of exciting short stories featuring tales that take will take you from the Battle of Endor to the desolate world of Jakku. The stories, which cover both Legends and tales that fit in with the current Star Wars continuity, feature popular characters such as Hondo Ohnaka, Lando Calrissian, Asajj Ventress, and Princess Leia. Written by renowned best-selling Star Wars authors including Alan Dean Foster, Mur Lafferty, Alexander Freed, David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams, this volume also includes stunning art from several of the saga’s best-loved interpreters, including Brian Rood, Joe Corroney, Brian Miller, Chris Trevas, and Chris Scalf

November 10 – Doctor Aphra 16

Alyssa Wong’s Doctor Aphra series continues with this 16th issue. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “A DEADLY GAME! DOCTOR APHRA and SANA STARROS have escaped the VERMILLION, but there’s no escaping CRIMSON DAWN: their spies are EVERYWHERE! As DOMINA TAGGE contends with moles within TAGGE CORPORATION and Aphra struggles with the damage inflicted on her by a POWERFUL ARTIFACT, they strike one last bargain…But who can Aphra really trust?”

November 10 – The High Republic 11

We also have more adventures in the High Republic era this month with the 11th issue of Cavan Scott’s Marvel series. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “THE HUNT FOR LOURNA DEE CONTINUES! The NIHIL have unleashed a unknown terror against the Jedi. MARSHAL AVAR KRISS is more determined than ever to bring LOURNA DEE to justice, but does STELLAN GIOS and the JEDI COUNCIL agree? As KEEVE TRENNIS struggles with what she experienced on the Nihil base, the Jedi prepare for war. PLUS, the truth about SSKEER is finally revealed – but what does it mean for his future?”

November 10 – The High Republic: Trail of Shadows 2

One of the most intriguing new comics in the Star Wars universe, the mystery/thriller Trail of Shadows continues this month. The publisher’s summary for the upcoming second issue: “EMERICK AND SIAN FACE TOTAL AN-NIHIL-ATION! As dead ends and loose threads mount in Jedi Master Emerick Caphtor’s investigation, he’s called to Coruscant, where Chancellor Soh introduces him to his new partner: private eye Sian Holt. Together, they must go undercover to infiltrate one of the most crime-riddled and dangerous planets in the galaxy. Will Emerick’s duty to the Republic get in the way of Sian’s personal vendetta? Time’s running out to close this case…and what do the Nihil have to do with any of this?!”

November 16 – Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil

Timothy Zahn’s latest Thrawn trilogy comes to a close this month with Lesser Evil. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The fate of the Chiss Ascendancy hangs in the balance in the epic finale of the Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy from bestselling author Timothy Zahn. For thousands of years The Chiss Ascendancy has been an island of calm, a center of power, and a beacon of integrity. Led by the Nine Ruling Families, their leadership stands as a bulwark of stability against the Chaos of the Unknown Regions. But that stability has been eroded by a cunning foe that winnows away trust and loyalty in equal measure. Bonds of fidelity have given way to lines of division among the families. Despite the efforts of the Expansionary Defense Fleet, the Ascendancy slips closer and closer toward civil war. The Chiss are no strangers to war. Their mythic status in the Chaos was earned through conflict and terrible deeds, some long buried. Until now. To ensure the Ascendancy’s future, Thrawn will delve deep into its past, uncovering the dark secrets surrounding the ascension of the First Ruling Family. But the truth of a family’s legacy is only as strong as the legend that supports it. Even if that legend turns out to be a lie. To secure the salvation of the Ascendancy, is Thrawn willing to sacrifice everything? Including the only home he has ever known?”

November 16 – Star Wars: The Mandalorian Crochet

Thunder Bay Press have released amazing crochet sets for classic Star Wars characters and are now bringing their unique style to the world of The Mandalorian! Who doesn’t want a little crochet Grogu?!

November 16 – Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, Volume One

Collect issues 1-5 of Daniel Jose Older’s The High Republic Adventures series in this new trade paperback. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Two hundred years before the events of the Skywalker Saga, the galaxy is experiencing unparalleled peace–until a new enemy threatens everything the Jedi have built. In the days of the High Republic, the Jedi are at the height of their power. But the emergence of the piratical, anarchic Nihil proves that even the most successful peace is fragile, and the Jedi’s influence is neither as pervasive nor as benevolent as they would believe. Now Lula, Farzal, and Qort, inexperienced Jedi Padawans, must help the inhabitants of Trymant IV in the wake of a Nihil attack. All the while, they’ll face suspicion and outright opposition from a group of subversive citizens who resent and fear the Jedi. Two of those citizens, Zeen and Kriz, will have to decide whether to accept the Padawans’ aid or try to save the day on their own.”

November 16 – Star Wars Graphic Novel Adaptation Box Set

Experience IDW Publishing’s series of graphic novel adaptations of the original and sequel trilogies with this new collection. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Relive all the events from the twin sunset over Tatooine to the lightning-streaked skies of Exegol with this handsome selection of paperbacks, adapted from the films by writer Alessandro Ferrari. Each book combines the epic wonder of a galaxy far, far away with streamlined, young-reader friendly designs, making this a visual treat for longtime fans and a great introduction for newcomers. This special box set collects the graphic novel adaptations of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker.”

November 17 – Darth Vader 18

The aftermath of the War of the Bounty Hunters saga picks up in Greg Park’s Darth Vader series. The publisher’s summary for the newest issue is as follows: “RED REVENGE. Fearful whispers echo in every corner of the Empire – Darth Vader is on the hunt, searching for anyone with any connection to the criminal organization known as Crimson Dawn.”

November 17 – Life Day 1

Celebrate Life Day with this upcoming canon one-shot comic! The publisher’s summary is as follows: “THE GALAXY’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY! Happy LIFE DAY! Celebrate the galaxy’s favorite holiday with a collection of festive tales from all across the STAR WARS SAGA! Life Day is the last thing on HAN SOLO’S mind when he and CHEWBACCA find themselves outgunned and under fire. But Chewie won’t give up hope, remembering the lessons of Life Days past and present. As for Life Days yet to come…well, they’ll have to survive the night first!”

November 17 – Star Wars Adventures 12

The terrific Star Wars Adventures series from IDW Publishing picks up this month with stories from Cavan Scott, Manuel Bracchi, and Andrew Griffith. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “First, it’s a trap! Luke Skywalker and Rogue Squadron has been snared by the Empire. But who is the traitor and why is new recruit Ibti Myrak fighting with Admiral Ackbar on the deck of Home One? X-wings and TIE fighters clash in “Squad Goals,” part two by Cavan Scott and Manuel Bracchi. Then, from author and artist Andrew Griffith comes a new Tales of Villainy. Asajj Ventress must face off with Aayla Secura, who is dangerously close to uncovering the early stages of the Death Star Project.”

November 17 – The High Republic Adventures — The Monster of Temple Peak 4

The final chapter in Cavan Scott and Rachael Stott’s thrilling High Republic comic run arrives this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “Follow former Jedi turned saber-for-hire monster hunter Ty Yorrick in this adventure-packed High Republic miniseries by Cavan Scott and Rachael Stott! In the final part, Ty uncovers the truth deep in the Gretalax’s cave and must make a choice: the way of the Jedi or the way of the monster hunter? She must choose fast in order to protect the villagers and bring harmony to the settlement.”

November 17 – The High Republic Adventures 10

Daniel José Older and artist Toni Bruno team up with IDW once again for an adventure in the High Republc era. The publisher’s summary for the latest issue is as follows: “Chaos at Takodana! After the Nihil have attacked the Jedi temple, the Padawans must face them once again. Overwhelmed and outnumbered, the heroes are backed into a corner until an unlikely Padawan among them unmasks their full potential and saves the day!”

November 23 – Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters trade paperback

The Star Wars comic event of the year is compiled into a trade paperback releasing this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The Star Wars comic event you’ve been waiting for! The notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett has finally landed his greatest prize — Han Solo, frozen in carbonite for easy transport. Fett will bring the smuggler to Tatooine to collect the massive bounty placed on Solo’s head by the fearsome crime lord Jabba the Hutt. Sounds easy. What could go wrong? There’s just one problem standing between Fett and the payday… and it’s a big one. But Fett will stop at nothing to get the job done! Prepare for a mind-blowing, space-shattering epic event like no other! COLLECTING: Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha (2021) 1, Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters (2021) 1-5.”

November 24 – Star Wars 19

Charles Soule’s Star Wars receives another issue this November. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “LUKE’S QUEST FOR ANSWERS TAKES A DANGEROUS TURN! As the REBELLION tries to pull itself together for a last-ditch effort to defeat the evil GALACTIC EMPIRE, LUKE SKYWALKER realizes it is time for his journey to become a JEDI to continue. After near-death at the hands of DARTH VADER, he knows he has much to learn if he will ever defeat the DARK LORD OF THE SITH. But the JEDI ORDER is gone, and his teachers have vanished… where can Luke turn to find the Jedi legacy he so desperately needs?”

November 24 – Bounty Hunters 18

Also continuing is Ethan Sacks’ Bounty Hunters series, a nice precursor to the upcoming Boba Show. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “THE GALAXY’S GREATEST! In the wake of the shocking events of WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS, the underworld has become more dangerous than ever. T’ONGA has assembled the greatest team of bounty hunters in the galaxy — including BOSSK, ZUCKUSS and TASU LEECH for a special mission! Can she keep them from killing each other long enough to become a real team while she grieves the loss of an old friend?”

November 24 – Star Wars Adventures Annual 2021

The publisher’s summary for Star Wars Adventures Annual 2021 is as follows: “Desperate to win Jabba the Hut’s favor, Han Solo and Chewbacca take the galactic gangster a very special present. Han thinks the adorable hoojib will make a perfect addition to Jabba’s menagerie, but the cute critter hides a terrible secret. Cavan Scott (Star Wars: The High Republic) and Arianna Florean (Marvel Action) reintroduce a legendary alien species to Star Wars canon, 40 years after their first appearance! THEN, follow a group of troublesome kids on Cloud City when they come across a rare coin worth a pretty credit. But when the coin turns out to belong to the one and only Lando Calrissian, the kids quickly find out they are in over their head. Chip Zdarsky (Daredevil) and Jason Loo (The Pitiful Human-Lizard) join forces to tell this Bespin-based story.”

November 30 – Star Wars Affirmation Cards

Insight Kids delivers a collection of philosophical and inspirational cards to promote mindfulness and inner strength, core fixtures of being a Jedi. 

November 30 – Star Wars: The Mandalorian Handbook

DK and Star Wars are always a great combination, and this time their combination places the spotlight on The Mandalorian. The publisher’s summary for the upcoming reference book is as follows: “Packed with facts from the TV series Star Wars: The Mandalorian, this book is aimed at young kids who want to join Mando, Grogu, Boba Fett, and Ahsoka Tano on their thrilling adventures. They’ll meet strange aliens and droids, learn about new planets and frightening monsters, and read about the evil villains who will stop at nothing to complete their missions.”

November 30 – Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia, Updated and Expanded Edition

Last but not least, DK will also release an updated version of their definitive Star Wars guide this month. The publisher’s summary is as follows: “The definitive guide to more than 275 heroes, villains, aliens, and droids of the Star Wars galaxy. The latest edition of this beloved title has been comprehensively updated to include new characters from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and both seasons of Star Wars: The Mandalorian. Want to learn more about the Knights of Ren? Where is Padmé Amidala from? How tall is Grogu? To learn the answers to these questions and more, look no further than Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia, Updated and Expanded Edition. Written by Star Wars experts, the book is full of fun facts and intriguing information that’s guaranteed to enthrall fans of all ages.”

For reference, a condensed list of upcoming projects in November without descriptions is included below:

November 2 – Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy  

November 2 – Star Wars Year By Year: A Visual History, New Edition  

November 3 – Star Wars 18  

November 3 – Bounty Hunters 17  

November 3 – Star Wars Insider 206  

November 9 – Star Wars Legends: Boba Fett – Blood Ties  

November 9 – Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook  

November 9 – Star Wars: The Mandalorian: The Tiny Book of Grogu  

November 9 – Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 2  

November 10 – Doctor Aphra 16  

November 10 – The High Republic 11  

November 10 – The High Republic: Trail of Shadows 2  

November 16 – Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil  

November 16 – Star Wars: The Mandalorian Crochet  

November 16 – Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, Volume One  

November 16 – Star Wars Graphic Novel Adaptation Box Set  

November 17 – Darth Vader 18  

November 17 – Life Day 1  

November 17 – Star Wars Adventures 12  

November 17 – The High Republic Adventures — The Monster of Temple Peak 4  

November 17 – The High Republic Adventures 10

November 23 – Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters trade paperback

November 24 – Star Wars 19

November 24 – Bounty Hunters 18

November 24 – Star Wars Adventures Annual 2021

November 30 – Star Wars Affirmation Cards

November 30 – Star Wars: The Mandalorian Handbook

November 30 – Star Wars: Character Encyclopedia, Updated and Expanded Edition

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Marvel Comics, IDW Publishing, Insight Editions, Del Rey, Titan Magazines, Thunder Bay Press

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Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: Ronin: A Visions Novel

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Star Wars: Visions took fans of a galaxy far, far away by storm last month and left us eagerly awaiting more adventures in the unique and enthralling worlds created for the series. One of the highlights of Star Wars: Visions was The Duel, a beautifully crafted short film directed and written by Takashi Okazaki that followed a former Sith lord as he defended a village against a Sith bandit leader. Thankfully, this short film was only an introduction to these characters and the intriguing and innovative world they inhabit as author Emma Mieko Candon continues the story with Star Wars: Ronin – A Visions Novel, an ambitious and truly unique book that tells a Star Wars story unlike anything we’ve seen to date.

Ronin, like the short film it expands upon, does not adhere to the narratives and rules set forth in broader Star Wars canon. And author Candon embraces this freedom wholeheartedly. This is not the Jedi Order we see in the films. This is not the Empire that Palpatine commanded for decades. Even the concepts of Sith and Jedi are reconceptualized in this novel. As such, Ronin is a Star Wars story unlike any other. Candon provides some context for this twist on the Star Wars universe, but leaves much of the explanations and exposition to the reader to freely generate and interpret. While some may find this unfulfilling, it actually makes Ronin feel even more like a true Star Wars story. The original Star Wars film provides several paragraphs of text in an opening crawl before plummeting viewers into a galaxy that takes a bit of time to get used to. Explanations about the world, governments, and other features are left to comments made by characters throughout the film. The same can be said for Ronin – Candon is not spoonfeeding the audience with dense exposition, akin to George Lucas’ approach to the original Star Wars film.

Instead, Candon’s story positions the characters in the forefront. Ronin uses the events of The Duel as a set-up for a story that heads in plenty of unexpected directions. As with many great Star Wars tales, Ronin starts off as a seemingly straightforward story, but ends up covering plenty of unexpected and exciting territory. This is in large part due to Candon’s work with the titular character, a former Sith who journeys in the Outer Rim on a mysterious quest. Star Wars has a long history with villains turned good, or heroes turned bad, and Ronin continues this legacy in fine form. It’s fascinating to position an ex-Sith as the protagonist and fans of The Duel who wanted to find out more about such a cool character will be more than satisfied with how the character is handled in this novel. It also wouldn’t be Star Wars without a quirky droid, in this case a straw hat-wearing astromech named B5-56. The droid’s relationship with Ronin is superb and evokes similar relationships between Anakin and R2-D2, Ezra and Chopper, and Poe and BB-8.

Where Ronin excels perhaps more than ever is its ability to honor the legacy of Star Wars and Japanese culture so seamlessly. Like The Duel, Ronin plays out like a calculated intersection between A New Hope and an Akira Kurosawa film like Seven Samurai. Despite being a novel and, therefore, deprived of the visual medium at Kurosawa’s disposal, Candon miraculously manages to capture what a Kurosawa / Star Wars story novel would be like. The book is filled to the brim with references to and inspirations from Japanese culture, in addition to many easter eggs and references to Star Wars lore fans will love. Also of note, Candon takes LBGTQ+ representation in Star Wars to another level in Ronin. The franchise has slowly but surely introduced queer relationships and non-binary characters in recent years, and Ronin furthers this representation with a host of fleshed out characters and relationships.

Verdict:

Star Wars Ronin: A Visions Novel is a must-read for fans of The Duel and the Star Wars: Visions series overall. Emily Mieko Candon’s book marks a refreshing and stark departure, both in style and world-building, from previous Star Wars stories in telling a tale that beautifully interweaves Japanese and Star Wars influences into a cohesive tale. Ronin is driven by a host of intriguing and fleshed-out characters that take the reader on a journey to some pretty unexpected places. All in all, Ronin: A Visions Novel is our favorite Star Wars book of the year to date.

Images courtesy of Del Rey

Star Wars Visions: Ronin is available to purchase on Tuesday October 12th!

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Star Wars Holocron

EXCLUSIVE LOOK: Star Wars Insider: Fiction Collection Vol. 2

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Star Wars Insider, the official Star Wars magazine, has an exciting collection of Legends and canon stories hitting bookshelves next month. Star Wars Insider: Fiction Collection Vol. 2 featuring stories that will take you from the Battle of Endor to the desolate world of Jakku. The stories cover both Legends and canon, and feature popular characters such as Hondo Ohnaka, Lando Calrissian, Asajj Ventress, and Princess Leia. Written by renowned best-selling Star Wars authors including Alan Dean Foster, Mur Lafferty, Alexander Freed, David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams, this volume also includes stunning art from several of the saga’s best-loved interpreters, including Brian Rood, Joe Corroney, Brian Miller, Chris Trevas, and Chris Scalf.

Check out an exclusive preview of THE LAST BATTLE OF COLONEL JACE MALCOM, a story featured in the collection by Alexander Freed with art from David Rabbitte.

T-MINUS SEVEN HOURS.

The dying man’s armor dripped with sweat in the fog, beads of moisture – not water, never water on this planet – forming on the white plastoid chestplate and dripping onto the ground. The dying man himself was propped against a rock, and Sergeant Immel crouched above him as she fumbled to resecure his helmet. “He out, Colonel,” she said. “Autodoc pegs him at critical.”

Jace Malom watched the horizon. Through his helmet’s display filters, the fog seemed to dissolve before the yellow sky and rocky cliffs, then snapped back into place as the filter tech gave up with an electronic shrug. No further enemy presence. At least, nothing obvious.

“You’re call,” Jace said. “His tracer functional?”

“It works. What about vultures?”

“If the Empire has time to send vultures, it means we failed the mission.”

Not true, of course. The black-suited troopers could flock to the battlefield at any time – death’s own heralds, following med tracers to find their victims. But Immel knew the odds, so Jace could afford the lie.

“Why me?” Immel asked.

“Special Forces is here to advise, and I’m glad to be an extra gun. But in the field, the game’s yours.”

“You’re lowlife scum, Colonel Malcom.”

“SpecForce is nothing but.”

Jade watched Immel. Her armored shoulders rose and fell as she took a long breath, then, silent, leaned over her dying comrade and thumbed a device on his belt. Her voice crackled through Jace’s helmet comlink a moment later.

“All teams, we’re pressing on.”

Immel plucked her rifle out of the dust and started checking its readouts. Jace knelt beside the dying man and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Corporal Amden vor Keioidian. You did the Republic proud. You did all of us proud. And we’ll be back for you.”

Jace stood, nodded to Immel, and they slunk off together into the fog, rifles cradled close. Immel didn’t look back, and Jace smiled bitterly, feeling the expression blunted by the scars on his face. She’d made the right call. She might end up a decent leader after all.

Then again, he thought, she’d better. The troops were going to need someone to look up to, and he didn’t have much time left.

T-MINUS FOUR HOURS

The battlefield narrowed to a series of canyons, channelling the fog like a riverbed.

Kalandis Seven’s gravity – low enough to make stone-tossing a sprot at base, high enough to ensure that a fall was still painful – made the march easier, but no less tedious.

Breaking the long silence came static-distorted cheering over Jace’s comlink. Children shrieked and fireworks popped, each accompanied by a blast of white noise. In one motion, not breaking stride as they traversed the barren landscape, Jace and Immel lowered the volume level on their helmet comms.

The propaganda broadcast overrode all channels every hour, blared by Republic Strategic Information Service agents in orbit. This time, it was another news report on the Empire’s withdrawn from Corellia and the Core Worlds. A genuine, unadulterated victory for the Republic, but one very far away from the Kalandis system, and not the first apparent victory Jace had seen in career.

It was forty years now, he thought – kept thinking every day at different times, when some private showed off his first scar in the mess hall or while reviewing specs for the hundredth variation of some starfighter – forty years since the Sith Empire had come to conquer the galaxy, and he’d been fighting ever since.

He supposed he wouldn’t be fighting much longer.

Immel’s voice cut through commentary on the Supreme Chancellor’s latest speech. “Target in sight.”

They had emerged from the narrow mouth of a canyon onto a cracked plain, where the silhouettes of dark spires stretched skyward behind the fog. 

“We’ve reached the spaceport,” Immel continued, adjusting her comlink. “All teams, report in.”

Jace listened to the crackling voices speak up, one by one, as he unslung a satchel and checked the contents. He knew the soldier’s names (Zenhai, Kayle, Min-Reva), had met most of them (Eron collected antique music recordings; Camur had a caf allergy), had even hand-selected a few for this mission (Yennir of the Green saw through fog like glass). They were young and stupid and brave, and he could think or worse men and women to serve with.

“Ready to go?” Immel asked.

Jace nodded and tossed Immel the satchel. 

“Beacons charged and ready. Plant them on the targets and the fog won’t matter – our fighter wing will know exactly where to drop the payload.”

“Assuming the pilots aren’t making out with their droids back at base. You done this before?”

“Bomb a spaceport? More times than I can count.”

“What’re the odds they won’t rebuild tomorrow?”

Jace shrugged his shoulders. “I can think of worse ways for the Imps to blow resources.”

Taking out a spaceport would be a major step in securing Kalandis, even if it did get rebuilt. Even if there were a dozen other Imp bases on the planet. Jace had put together the plan himself.

But Immel wasn’t wrong to wonder what good it would do.

Keep lying to her, Jace thought. You have an example to set.

The spaceport was a mixture of flat metal landing pads, squat command bunkers, and slender control towers. Jace and Immel made their approach together, silent, observing the enemy patrols – pairs of Imperial troopers clad in black and red. The fog made avoiding the enemy easy enough, until the head of a landing starship blasted the fog away, whipping a scorching, misty wall across Jace and a nearby patrol.

The Imperials hadn’t turned, hadn’t noticed anything before Jace’s blaster bolts burned twin holes in the backs of their suits. The roar of the starship’s engines continued as Jace and Immel rushed to drag the bodies under a half-repaired Imperial fighter.

One of the bodies groaned as the engine roar began to fade. Immel pressed the barrel of her rifle to the back of the man’s helmet and pulled the trigger before rolling the corpse into the fighter’s shadow. “Mercy shot,” she muttered.

Either way, Jace thought.

Immel withdrew a beacon and clipped it to a nearby power terminal as the fog rushed back in. Jace squinted and adjusted his helmet’s filters, looking in the direction of the vessel that had just landed.

“Southern tower is fifty meters that way,” Immel said. “Prime target – you plan to help?”

Jace didn’t turn, continuing to stare toward the looming shadow of the starship through the fog. It was too large to be a bomber. Sleeker hull shape than most transports. “How are we doing for time?” he asked.

Jace swore, then jutted a thumb in the direction of the starship. “All right – we’re adjusting the plan. That thing that just landed? Pretty sure it’s a planetary command ship on a refuelling run.”

Immel moved to Jace’s side and knelt, gesturing for him to follow suit. “Another patrol,” she said. “Keep talking.”

“Ship’ll be gone by the time our fighters arrive, but if we could capture that thing? It’s navicomputer could point us to every Imp target on the planet.”

Immel glanced at the power terminal where the metal disc of the targeting beacon hummed quietly. 

“Whole blasted world would be a blue milk run,” she agreed. “But we’re not equipped for a boarding action.”

“We’re not,” Jace said, “and we don’t have a lot of spare firepower, but we’re not losing this chance.”

Immel paused.

“Sir,” she said. “I’m in command of these men, and I’m not sending them–“

Good woman, Jace thought, even as he interrupted her.

“You’re not sending them anywhere. You finish the mission, and I go in alone. Won’t draw attention that way.”

And it’s not a bad way to go out, either, he added silently.

——-

Images courtesy of Titan Comics

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Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: Star Wars: Visions

by @HolocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

“It’s like poetry, it rhymes.” George Lucas’ iconic and frequently referenced quote about what makes Star Wars so special resonates now, perhaps more than ever, with the newest series on Disney+ that draws upon the earliest influences on a galaxy far, far away.

Amidst the host of upcoming Star Wars shows on the horizon, Star Wars: Visions always stood out as being the boldest and most stylistically project in development. Yet, it’s unfortunate that many projects tipped to be novel and interesting fail to live up to expectations. Thankfully, this is not the case with the newest Star Wars series hitting Disney+. Star Wars: Visions is a Japanese anime anthology series that marks a collaboration between Lucasfilm Animation and six of Japan’s most acclaimed animation studies. This collaboration culminates in a poetic full circle, an emotional and unexpected journey that beautifully uses the Japanese film and culture that influenced Star Wars in the first place to take the franchise in new and daring directions.

Star Wars: Visions offers a surprising amount of creative liberty to those behind the scenes. The nine short films that compose this series have a nebulous position in canon to say the least, which allows each of the animation studios to take their stories and characters in whichever direction they please. Ultimately, some episodes are stronger than others, but this is the nature of an anthology series like this. Tatooine Rhapsody, for instance, is a frenetic journey of a band rescuing their friend from Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett with the power of their music. Meanwhile, stories like The Duel and The Elder adopt a much slower, more deliberate pace in delivering mature, cinematic Star Wars adventures. The sheer variety, both in style and story, of the nine episodes is commendable. No single episode is like another and you never know what to expect when the next episode kicks into gear.

Speaking of the creative liberties afforded to the studios behind the scenes, it’s surprising how bold Visions really is. Some installments, such as T0-B1, feel so unlike the Star Wars that we’re used to that this show has completely changed our definition of what a Star Wars story can entail. It’s not an exaggeration to say Visions is unlike anything we’ve seen before in Star Wars. Yes, some may say this is because Visions does not adhere to canon in any way. Nonetheless, Visions is refreshing and exciting.

A particular highlight of the series is The Duel. Billed as “an alternate history pulled from Japanese lore,” The Duel is directed by Takanobu Mizuno and animated by Kamikaze Douga and tells the story of a Ronin who takes a stand against a Sith Bandit Leader and her mercenaries. The short film is in black-and-white, with the exception of a few startling bursts of color, including the red hue of lightsabers. The Duel is largely devoid of music, using long stretches of silence to build tension in a manner similar to Gendry Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars series. It feels as if you’re watching an animated Akira Kurosawa film that is tenuously related to the Star Wars universe. In fact, remove the lightsabers and it would be easy to mistake The Duel as a completely unrelated project. And yet, somehow, The Duel feels distinctly Star Wars. The punchy dialogue, the quirky droid companion, the culture on display – this is truly an intersection of modern Star Wars and Japanese cinema. Thankfully, we don’t need to wait much longer for more adventures in this world as Del Rey Books and author Emma Mieka Candon have a new novel titled Ronin: A Visions Novel building upon The Duel’s story.

The Elder, from Studio Trigger and director Masahiko Otsuka, is another standout installment of the series. The short film follows Jedi Master Tajin (voiced in David Harbour in the English-speaking version) and his apprentice Dan (voiced by Jordan Fisher) in a story set sometime before The Phantom Menace. The Master and apprentice are trekking through the galaxy when they feel a dark presence on a nearby planet and investigate, only to have a run-in with a Sith. Tajin, Dan, and the titular Elder are some of the most exciting characters introduced in Star Wars: Visions and we’re desperate to see more of them in the future. Tajin evokes the composure and comfort of Alec Guinness’ Ben Kenobi or Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon, while Dan represents the confident and buoyant apprentice who has to confront his hubris in the face of an unnatural evil. The Elder, brilliantly voiced by legend James Hong, could easily be a character from a Star Wars-themed horror film. The character is threatening, ominous, and brings a level of menace not seen in other episodes of Visions. Fans of darker Star Wars stories will love this episode.

The breadth of Star Wars: Visions’ stories means different episodes are likely to appeal to different viewers. And, honestly, there is nothing wrong with this. One of the hallmarks of Star Wars is that, amidst this vast universe, fans are drawn to a variety of different themes, tones, characters, and plots. Some may find The Ninth Jedi and it’s exploration of Jedi Knights after The Rise of Skywalker to be particularly fascinating, while others may find the relationships of Lop and Ochō in their story set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope to be compelling and emotionally resonant.

Verdict: 8.75/10

Star Wars: Visions is unlike anything we’ve seen in the Star Wars universe to date. Given Japanese film and cinema’s immeasurable influence on the franchise, Visions feels like things come full circle in a manner that would make George Lucas proud. Some episodes, such as The Duel and The Elder, are stronger than others, but each is aesthetically and narratively different and bolstered by jaw-dropping animation and voice-acting – so much so that many episodes will leave you begging to see these characters again. All in all, Visions feels like Star Wars at its most experimental and unregulated, something we think fans will embrace.

Images courtesy of Disney+ and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron

EXCLUSIVE LOOK: Star Wars Insider 205

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

This month’s issue of Star Wars Insider celebrates the launch of Star Wars: Visions and features a host of exciting and insightful content from a galaxy, far, far away. Featuring Part 1 of a new The High Republic story by Cavan Scott, interviews with the brilliant Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and visual effects veteran Nilo Rodis-Jamero, an interesting ‘what if?’ analysis into what would’ve occurred had secrets been uncovered sooner, and more,, the newest issue hits bookstands on Tuesday September 21! Check out the exclusive preview below!

Japan and the Jedi

What better way to celebrate the debut of Star Wars: Visions than to reflect on the immense influence Japanese culture and film have had on the Star Wars universe. Star Wars Insider examines the relationship between Star Wars and Japan from its origins to present day.

Chaos and the Corellian

Han Solo remains one of the most iconic characters in Star Wars, and film, history. Unlike other, more calculated characters, Han’s journey has been unpredictable and taken tons of twists and turns as a result of the chaos the smuggler and eventual Rebel hero seems to thrive in. Star Wars Insider 205 takes a look at five pivotal periods in the chaotic Corellian’s adventurous life.

The High Republic: Part Mistakes – Part 1 by Cavan Scott

Star Wars veteran Cavan Scott continues to deliver epic tale after epic tale in 2021 and his terrific track-record continues with a short story in this month’s issue of Star Wars Insider. Check out some beautiful imagery from the story below!

STAR WARS INSIDER #205 is on sale: Tuesday September 21

U.S. / CANADA SUBSCRIPTIONS

U.K. SUBSCRIPTIONS

REST OF THE WORLD SUBSCRIPTIONS

DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS

Images courtesy of Titan Comics

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Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: Tempest Runner

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

Since The High Republic’s debut, much attention has (deservedly) been on the incredible, diverse host of Jedi at the heart of these stories. But, hovering under the radar (both in stories and among fan conversations), are the Nihil – a truly underrated collection of villains unlike anything we’ve seen in the Star Wars universe. In Tempest Runner, the newest audio drama by Cavan Scott from Del Rey Publishing, the emphasis is placed on one member of the Nihil in particular – Lourna Dee – in a captivating and ruthless story.

Lourna Dee made her debut in Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi that kicked off The High Republic publishing initiative. When we first meet her, Dee is a mysterious and fordimible Twi’lek Tempest Runner that, most recently, came head-to-head with Jedi on Valo and was more than a match for her opposition. Amidst the vast array of characters in Light of the Jedi and The Rising Storm, we’re given little insight into the inner-workings of Lourna Dee, something Tempest Runner explores in intense fashion.

Cavan Scott intelligently structures the audio drama by interweaving a series of flashbacks as Lourna is captured and interrogated by Republic officials. Events from other High Republic works are retold at times, but now from Lourna’s unique point-of-view, which is a refreshing contrast to the different perspectives we’ve seen before. There’s a brutality and ruthlessness in Tempest Runner that feels fresh and exciting, which is counterbalanced by the tragedy and heartbreak of Lourna’s origin story. In detailing Lourna’s motivations and background, her inclusion in previous High Republic stories is put in an entirely new context. Lourna is not merely another ruthless space pirate – there’s a depth to her character that Scott brings to life as he chronicles her downward trajectory from royalty to enslavement and, eventually, to the Nihil.

The production value of Tempest Runner helps bring this captivating story to life. The voice work by Jessica Almasy really brings Lourna Dee to life, and actors Marc Thompson and Jonathan Davis offer interesting takes on Marchion and Asgar Ro respectively. One’s enjoyment of Tempest Runner may ultimately come down to their taste or distaste for audiobooks. While the production is fantastic, some may prefer to wait until Tempest Runner is released in script format as other Del Rey audio dramas like Dooku: Jedi Lost and Doctor Aphra have been.

Verdict:

Tempest Runner is another impressive addition to the High Republic publishing initiative that adds significantly to the character Lourna Dee. In an unexpectedly emotional and traumatic story, author Cavan Scott sheds new light on a character that we previously barely scratched the surface of, but, now, can’t wait to see more of.

Images courtesy of Del Rey and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance, Vol. 1

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

Japanese culture and cinema had an immeasurable influence on George Lucas in his creation of Star Wars and now, almost half a century later, things come full circle with Japanese artists bringing Star Wars to life in new and exciting ways. Authors Shima Shinya and Justina Ireland and artist Mizuki Sakakibara team up for The High Republic: The Edge of Balance, Vol, 1, the first in a new canon manga series from Viz Media. The Edge of Balance follows Jedi Knight Lily Tora-Asi in the aftermath of the Hyperspace Disaster depicted in Light of the Jedi and around the time of the Republic Fair attack on Valo. Lily is tasked with helping people displaced from the Hyperspace Disaster on a remote planet in the Outer Rim when hidden threats emerge…

Taking a step back, a project like The Edge of Balance showcases how brilliant it is to see the Star Wars universe brought to life in creative, different mediums. Various Star Wars stories have been explored in manga, but none in the High Republic era and none that have felt so raw and connected to the Japanese influences of Star Wars. Any qualms with the somewhat pedestrian story of The Edge of Balance are quashed by the sheer novelty of this medium of storytelling and the beautiful intersection of manga and Star Wars.

Much of The Edge of Balance works due to our lead: Lily Tora-Asi. Lily feels like a character straight from a classic manga and it’s interesting to see the Japanese manga aesthetic used to depict a new collection of Star Wars characters. The Japanese influence doesn’t stop there. The planet Banchii that is at the heart of this story would not be out of place in a Kurosawa film.

Although there is clearly more to be told in this story, The Edge of Balance does a serviceable job with its narrative. The sheer intensity and raw emotionality seen in other High Republic works like Light of the Jedi and The Rising Storm is absent here, but this is to be expected given the manga’s target audience and the amount of storytelling that can be covered in Volume 1. It feels as if we’re just getting started with this story and there’s going to be more than meets the eye with the Drengir and the Nihil moving forward, but, for now, the beautiful artwork, terrific lead, and Japanese influences make The Edge of Balance a worthy read for Star Wars fans.

Images courtesy of Viz Media and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: Life Day Treasury

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

As summer comes to an end and the festive period gets closer and closer, Star Wars fans can start their holiday preparations early this season with Life Day Treasury, a collection of holiday short stories from a galaxy far, far away. George Mann and Grant Griffin team up once again, and have best-selling Star Wars veteran Cavan Scott with them, with a beautifully designed and intimate array of in-universe stories that brilliantly complements previous works Myths & Fables and Dark Legends.

After years of ignoring the brilliance (and insanity) of the iconic The Star Wars Holiday Special, Star Wars has started to explore the Life Day holiday again in a few interesting ways. The Wookie holiday celebrated by Chewbacca and family on Kashyyyk in the Holiday Special has been referenced in The Mandalorian a few times and was the centerpiece of last year’s The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. And now, Mann, Scott, and Griffin shed new light on this holiday and other winter-themed festivities with their most recent work.

Life Day Treasury benefits from its unique storytelling perspective that we previously experienced with Myths & Fables and Dark Legends. The newest collection of 8 short stories are, once again, a refreshing shift away from the structure of Star Wars canon. These are not stories that are meant to be read for adding vital details into the Star Wars timeline, but, rather, offer an interesting meta-esque take on the Star Wars universe. It’s really interesting and insightful for us, as readers, to experience the types of fairy tales and holiday stories that people in the Star Wars universe would also be exposed to. In doing so, Life Day Treasury contributes an incredible amount of depth to various cultures, species, and characters. For instance, the short story ‘The Kroolok’ focuses on Ewoks like Wicket and Weechee during the winter season on Endor in a clever, humorous, and suspenseful story that showcase a slice of Ewok culture we previously haven’t seen.

Another neat thing about the storytelling structure of Life Day Treasury is that it enables its authors to hop around the Star Wars timeline and focus on a variety of holiday-themed tales. The opening story ‘A Coruscant Solstice’ follows Stellan Gios during the High Republic era while tackling a situation at Coruscant’s Solstice Tide festivities. Other stories like ‘An Old Hope’ switch gears entirely, focusing on a lost astromech droid who trades stories with captives on a Jawa sandcrawler. The sheer diversity across the stories is commendable, and there’s something for every kind of Star Wars fan in this collection. Although the stories will appeal to children, stories like ‘The Song of Winter’s Heart’ explore mature themes and pose interesting questions about loyalty and friendship. In this sense, Life Day Treasury does what the best Star Wars projects do – it appeals to everyone, different readers will take away and enjoy different aspects of the project.

Similar to its spiritual predecessors, Life Day Treasury would not be what it is without the meticulously crafted artwork of Grant Griffin. Each short story is accompanied by a single image that sets the stage for the story that follows and offers a terrific visual reference throughout. Griffin’s work across Star Wars projects is jaw-dropping to say the least, and Life Day Treasury is up there with some of his best work. Every image is worthy of hanging up on your wall and it’s easy to just get lost in examining and appreciating the artwork on display in this book. Mann and Scott evoke the holiday season in the tales they tell, and Griffin really makes this feel like a holiday event worth celebrating.

Verdict:

Life Day Treasury is another impressive collection of short stories from Disney-Lucasfilm Press. Fans of Myths & Fables and Dark Legends will love the tales and artwork on display here, while newcomers to this style of storytelling will appreciate the emotional depths and clever plots each story has to offer. Needless to say, it’s only September, but Life Day Treasury has us eagerly awaiting this year’s holiday season in a galaxy far, far away.

Images courtesy of Disney-Lucasfilm Press and artist Grant Griffin