Minor Spoilage Lay Ahead
One of the most controversial things that has come out of the Disney/Star Wars purchase was the ending of the Expanded Universe, also known as the EU. I was one of those kids who got his hands on as many Star Wars novels, comics, guidebooks, and more to learn as much as I could about that galaxy not too far away. Trust me, if there was a doctorate program for Star Wars I would have graduated a long time ago with honors.
Fast forward to today. Lucasfilm has decided to start building their own universe and label (mostly) everything that came before as “Legends’. Starting with the hit animated TV series Rebels and leading up to the release of Episode VII late next year, it looks like we will have plenty of time to start reading about the new universe being built around us. There is no better place to start than with the novels that are being released by Del Rey Books. So far two have been released , with some more planned over the next year. First was A New Dawn, a story that takes place before the events of Rebels. This book acts as a prequel to how our new favorite team was formed. But today we will be taking a look at the second book to be released this week, Tarkin.
Grand Moff Tarkin. This cold and calculating villain if you remember from Episode IV, didn’t survive long on-screen but he will always be remembered as the man who destroyed Alderaan. Other than that, we don’t know too much about one of the most powerful men in the Empire. Tarkin by James Luceno changes all of that by giving the character a proper backstory that gives you good insight into his roots; along with setting up the time period of development for the Empire between Episode III and IV. This isn’t Luceno’s first rodeo either! The writer has over 10 entries in the Star Wars world, including one of my favorite prequel novels, Labyrinth of Evil. With Tarkin, Luceno solidifies the characters importance for the series.
Five standard years have passed since the events of Episode III and Palpatine declaring himself Emperor. We had the chance to meet Tarkin one other time outside of A New Hope, and that was on several episodes of The Clone Wars. Other than that we have no idea what shaped Tarkin to become such an important figure in the Empire. This is what Luceno sets out to do in the novel. Without spoiling too much for the reader, we learn that Tarkin was from an influential family in the Outer Rim. Being raised as a survivor and soldier helped to mold him into one of the most methodical military people in the Empire. This helped Tarkin to move his way up the ladder and eventually be noticed by the Emperor himself.
Remember how Vader and Tarkin didn’t really seem to get along too well in A New Hope? Did you ever wonder why they seemed to be more on equal ground then one of them being the boss? A lot of this is explained through Tarkin and it is interesting to see this change as the Empire starts to form as a military organization and the power of the soldier starts to hold. During the time of the novel, the Death Star is being built and Tarkin is put in charge of this secret project. When the location is suddenly attacked, an investigation is started on who was responsible. Is it old Separatist forces that still don’t realize the war is over, or a new threat forming in the shadow of the Empire? Again one of my favorite aspects about this book is watching one of my favorite time periods in Star Wars history take shape.
At first I wasn’t too sure how I felt about starting the Star Wars canon over. But for Disney to do what they want with Star Wars, it was one of those necessary things that had to happen. I am starting to get used to things being “new”, and Tarkin is a great step. I am really looking forward to reading A New Dawn, as I am loving Rebels so far. The Tarkin novel was a bold move as the character was never one of the most prominent figures in Star Wars lore, and I had my doubts on why it was to be one of the first released. But I loved this book and Luceno does a great job at reintroducing this figure to a whole new legion of fans. Great entries like Tarkin give me confidence in this new path that Star Wars is headed on!
Disclaimer: A copy of Tarkin was provided for this review