Star Wars: Aftermath (2015) – Chuck Wendig

 

The Journey to The Force Awakens continues… we’ve had the first issue of the comic, and now comes the new novel, set in the newly established timeline, which sadly jettisoned some of the great stories that created the Expanded Universe that have been in place for over two decades.

Aftermath picks up a few short months after the Battle of Endor, both Vader and the Emperor are believed dead, as reported by a holo broadcast galaxy-wide by Princess Leia.

Norra Wexley is tired.

She just wants to return to her home planet of Akiva, and be reunited with her son, Temmin. She served as a pilot in the Rebel Alliance, flying a Y-Wing through the Death Star’s infrastructure, and now, she’s ready to leave it all behind. She plans on collecting Temmin, and find a nice place to live, and possibly continue the search for her husband who was arrested by the Imperials near the start of the conflict.

Unfortunately, the galaxy has other plans…

Captain Wedge Antilles is working his way through a list of worlds, trying to track down Imperial forces, but arriving over Akiva, he founds more than he bargained for. A gathering of Star Destroyers, carrying Moffs, Admirals, and Grand Moffs, all trying to decide how to pull the remaining forces of the Empire together to combat the newly born New Republic.

He is quickly captured, and Norra finds herself pulled into an adventure she wants no part of, but is drawn to help with anyway.

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Along the way, she discovers her son has grown, and become his own man, without her guidance, and she teams up with a bounty hunter named Jas, and an ex-Imp and drunk, Sinjur.

Intercutting with the main story throughout the book are moments across different worlds, much like the ending of Jedi, where we see what is happening in a variety of locations, now that the Death Star has been destroyed, and the Empire has been broken, but not completely defeated.

We spend a few moments on Jakku, where there is a dose of foreshadowing, both Luke and Lando (even Lobot) get a mention. We check in, ever so briefly with Han Solo and Chewbacca, deviating from their assigned mission to head to Kashyyyk, Chewie’s home world in an attempt to wrest it free from Imperial control.

But that’s it. Even Wedge is a sideline character. There are some nice beats, and who ever thought a battle droid could actually be creepy, or competent? And the rumors of someone referred to as the Operator, supplying Imperial information to Ackbar is… interesting.

I realize there are more books coming, but after twenty-four years, if you’re going to reset the timeline, you should probably give us sometime with the characters we know, and expand on what they’re doing. I’m not opposed to introducing new characters into the universe, it’s big enough for a multitude of stories and characters, but as the first official step towards the new film, it was a bit of a letdown.

Wendig loves the universe, and its great he got to create some new moments that are now considered canon, but I, for one, want to know what’s been happening with Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, R2, 3PO and Lando. Fill out the rest of the universe later, right now, let’s work on filling in the 30 years that have happened for our heroes!

This one would have worked better a little later on, after the new expanded universe timeline was established. Right now, it just feels like a bit of a tease…

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