Star Wars: Shadow of the Sith – 10 Takeaways from the Book

Star Wars Shadow of the Sith, coverBy Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The Rise of Skywalker was, in my humble opinion, not a good movie. But it did drop a few storytelling bombs on us. The most compelling being that Palpatine had a son, who in turn was Rey’s father. We also learned that Lando and Luke did some Sith hunting many years before the events of the sequel trilogy. I remember thinking at the time, “Boy, all this background would make for a hell of a novel…”

Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher is that novel. It didn’t come quite as quickly as I’d hoped, but it ultimately proved worth the wait. For Star Wars buffs, this is the essential companion piece to The Rise of Skywalker, and perhaps the sequel trilogy as a whole. As far as Star Wars novels are concerned, it’s destined to go down as one of the greats.

Here’s what I came away from Shadow of the Sith thinking about. (Spoiler free for your protection!)

1. This thing is a brick. At 465 pages, Shadow of the Sith is a hefty read. As such, in a house with two young children it took me longer to finish it than your average novel. Am I complaining? Not really. There’s so much meat on the bone with this book that I can’t gripe about having to spend more time with it.

2. “Who the hell is Ochi of Bestoon?” That’s what I said when I initially read the premise for Shadow of the Sith. As I’ve only seen The Rise of Skywalker a couple of times, it took me a bit to remember who Ochi of Bestoon was. YouTube was very helpful in that respect. But Shadow of the Sith dives into just who this guy was, how and why he was hunting down Rey’s parents, what his relationship to the Sith is, etc.

3. Rey’s parents – Who they are, and what their story is. Shadow of the Sith answers many of the basic questions we had about Rey’s parents, and Palpatine’s son, coming out of The Rise of Skywalker. What their names are, how they met, how they got where they are, etc. Their story is obviously a tragedy, as we know what eventually happens to their family. Some of it is truly heart-wrenching to read, especially as a parent of young children. But we find ourselves rooting for them nonetheless.

4. More on Lando and his daughter. While it was never outright stated in The Rise of Skywalker, those of us who follow expanded Star Wars lore knew coming into this book about Lando’s daughter. We knew she was taken from him by the group that would come to be known as the First Order, and his desperate attempts to find her. Those of us who read Last Shot by Daniel Jose Older also had a pretty good idea of who the mother was. But Shadow of the Sith colors in a lot of the background to that story. Perhaps most notably, we also learn Lando’s daughter’s given name. That’s got a direct implication for somebody we met in The Rise of Skywalker

5. There’s a cool Sith chick in a mask. The Sith are kind of a sausage party, aren’t they? We don’t necessarily see a lot of female Sith. There was Asajj Ventress, that twi’lek lady from Dark Horse’s old Star Wars: Legacy series…and is that it? It might be.

Shadow of the Sith chips away at this issue with a new character, who we see on the front cover. And what’s more, she’s pretty awesome.

6. Lando drinks cognac. I mean, of course he does. He’s Lando Calrissian. But on page 140 we actually see Lando partake in some “Declavian cognac.” I assume that’s cognac from the planet Declav, or something. It’s a cool detail that not only fits Lando’s character, but it made me think of those amazing Colt 45 commercials Billy Dee Williams did.

Lando also pours a glass for Luke. I’ll leave it to your imagination whether our beloved Jedi Master helps himself or not.

7. That Force ghost sequence. Shadow of the Sith features a pretty awesome appearance from a Force ghost. I won’t say who it is. But I will say that many thought this particular specter should have appeared in the sequel trilogy…

8. Luke and Lando’s friendship. One thing I didn’t necessarily appreciate about the old Expanded Universe (now known as the “Legends” timeline) is that Luke and the gang all remained a fairly tight-knit group in the decades after Return of the Jedi. That’s not necessarily realistic, is it? People grow, change, and evolve as time goes on. Sometimes they stay close, but sometimes they drift apart. Shadow of the Sith shows us that Luke and Lando, who I’d estimate were never close friends to begin with, have in fact drifted apart since their days in the Rebel Alliance.

Thankfully, they do fall back into a friendly rhythm rather quickly. I mean, we don’t want them to be virtual strangers, do we?

9. Hot chocolate. For whatever reason, I’ve always remembered Luke drinking hot chocolate during his entrance scene into 1991’s Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. So when Luke and Lando get to enjoy a hot chocolate on page 303, I smiled.

It just occurred to me this is my second beverage-themed takeaway from Shadow of the Sith. Maybe I need to stay better hydrated…

10. Aging heroes. On page 425, Lando contemplates aging. Older had Han Solo do something similar in Last Shot.

I suppose it’s only natural for these characters to contemplate their mortality as we move from the original trilogy era into that of the sequel trilogy. It’s an interesting thing to read, at least for yours truly, as I inch toward my 40s…

On second thought, let’s not talk about it anymore, eh?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “Revival”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

Savage Opress, Maul, Star Wars the Clone Wars, RevivalSERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S5:E1 – “Revival”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Sam Witwer, Clancy Brown, James Arnold Taylor, Jim Cummings, Matt Later
WRITER:
Chris Collins
DIRECTOR:
Steward Lee
PREMIERE DATE:
September 29, 2012
SYNOPSIS:
Maul and Savage Opress align themselves with pirates.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The brief “Master and Apprentice” scene, where Maul and Opress fight over who has what title, is consistent with George Lucas’ portrayal of the Sith. Treachery and betrayal is a staple of any Sith partnership. Each is always looking to be more powerful than the other, and in the end will make a grab for that power.

Legendary voice actor Jim Cummings performs in this episode as both Hondo Ohnaka and the warehouse director. He’s an extremely versatile performer known for voicing Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, the Tasmanian Devil, and countless other characters. This is my first exposure to Hondo, who had been on the show in previous episodes. But anyone who’s heard Cummings perform villain roles before would likely recognize his voice very quickly. The Clone Wars was very lucky to have him, as any show is.

Hondo Ohnaka, Star Wars te Clone Wars, revival

I’ve always wondered how Maul got involved with Crimson Dawn in Solo: A Star Wars Story. This episode gives us a brief glimpse through that proverbial window, as Maul becomes involved with organized crime for what is presumably the first time.

The Jedi Obi-Wan travels with in this episode, and is ultimately killed by Savage Opress, is Adi Gallia. The character made her debut as a background player in The Phantom Menace. Oddly enough, I remember her most prominently as a playable character in the video game Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles.

What is that green vapor emanating from Opress’ wound after his arm is cut off? Did they just add that as a spooky effect?

The episode ends on a shot of Palpatine. I’d be curious to know his take on Maul’s return. Hopefully they meet again at some point, as they obviously have unfinished business…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

The Essential Clone Wars: “Brothers”

***I must confess that, despite being a huge Star Wars geek, I have yet to see the landmark Clone Wars animated show in its entirety. I’m aiming to rectify that to a large extent here, as we look at pivotal episodes of the series in, “The Essential Clone Wars.”

Darth Maul, Star Wars the Clone Wars BrothersSERIES: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
EPISODE:
S4:E21 – “Brothers”
WITH THE VOICE TALENTS OF:
Clancy Brown, Sam Witwer, Ben Diskin, Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein
WRITER:
Katie Lucas
DIRECTOR:
Bosco Ng
PREMIERE DATE:
March 9, 2012
SYNOPSIS:
Savage Opress’ search for his brother Maul culminates on Lotho Minor.

***New around here? Check out our Star Wars review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Savage Opress finds his brother Maul on Lotho Minor, which is basically a big junkyard planet. So are we to assume that big shaft Maul fell down in The Phantom Menace was a garbage chute? I didn’t look like one. Then again, I doubt George Lucas or anybody on the creative side of things thought Maul was going to survive that fall. Much less getting cut in half at the waist…

Maul is voiced by Sam Witwer. Longtime Star Wars fans will recognize him as the actor who provided both the voice and likeness for Starkiller in The Force Unleashed. He gives a great unhinged, guttural performance in this episode.

Interestingly enough, Witwer would once again provide Maul’s voice for Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2019. This despite Lucasfilm having access to Peter Serafinowicz, who originally voiced Maul in The Phantom Menace.

Lotho Minor Star Wars the Clone Wars, Brothers

I like the idea of a big junk planet. Had they not developed Jakku as we saw it in The Force Awakens, I always thought a planet like Lotho Minor might be an interesting place for Rey to hail from.

I got a big kick out of the snake character Morley, voiced by Ben Diskin. Part of me wishes Opress and Maul had taken him with them when they left Lotho Minor. Granted, that makes no sense from a character standpoint, so in the end it’s probably better he died.

I appreciate the idea that Maul’s mind was damaged he lost to Obi-Wan and hasn’t recovered, even after more than a decade. It makes sense. To call what he went through a traumatic experience would be a gross understatement, don’t you think?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Star Wars: Han Solo & Chewbacca #2 Micro-Review – Shared History

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Star Wars Han Solo and Chewbacca 2, cover, 2022, Phil NotoTITLE: Star Wars: Han Solo & Chewbacca #2
AUTHOR: Marc Guggenheim
ARTISTS:
David Messina, Alex Sinclair (Colorist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer). Cover by Phil Noto.

RELEASED: May 18, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This issue opens with a scene that might have been in the Solo movie: Han as a child, talking to his dad on the Corellian shipyards. We get the line about how father makes ships, but one day son will fly them…

For better or worse, every little nuance of the Star Wars movies is something to be explored. Case in point, in the original movie it was evident that Han and Greedo knew each other. This story dives into their shared history. Not a bad issue. Definitely an improvement from the first.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Rob Watches Boba Fett – I Thought It Was Just a Stick

The Book of Boba Fett, Boba Fett posterSERIES: The Book of Boba Fett
EPISODE:
S1:E2. “Chapter 2: The Tribes of Tatooine”
STARRING:
Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen, David Pasquesi, Jennifer Beals
WRITER:
Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Steph Green
PREMIERE DATE:
January 5, 2022
SYNOPSIS:
Boba Fett faces challengers to his new throne.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It makes a lot of sense to me that Fett got attacked by the Order of the Night Wind in the very first episode. After all, he walks around Mos Espa with no fanfare and very little protection. He’s practically begging to be attacked. Then again, maybe that’s the point. Based on what we see in this episode, maybe he’s willing to take on all challengers to his throne, and those that would do him harm…

“Your sister is right. If you want it, you’ll have to kill me for it.” That’s a great line. Bad ass.

*eyes pop* Ming-Na Wen is 58 years old?!? I wouldn’t have guessed that in a million years.

In the flashback portion of the episode, we see the Tuskens get attacked by a train belonging to the Pyke Syndicate. Fett and the Tuskens then hatch a plan to take the train down. The existence of trains in the Star Wars universe has always been little curious to me. We obviously saw one in Solo too. What use does a universe that has space travel have for trains?

This strikes me as one of those things you can explain away if you put enough thought into it. Firstly, they’re not conventional trains with wheels and tracks. They’re, for lack of a better term, “hover trains” that travel off the ground. And maybe the planets that use trains are a little less industrially developed than the ones that don’t…?

I’unno. Just spitballin’.

The Book of Boba Fett, Fixer and Camie

When the nikto gang is in the cantina, the humans they’re about to victimize are Fixer and Camie (shown above), two old friends of Luke Skywalker. Originally those characters were to be in the first act of the original Star Wars, alongside Biggs Darklighter. But their footage obviously wound up on the cutting room floor. The deteriorated footage can be found on Disney+.

Via the ritual they put Boba Fett through, we see the creation of a Tusken’s gaffi stick is part of a rite of passage. Presumably a coming of age one.

And to think, in A New Hope they were just sticks to hit people with.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Star Wars #18 Micro-Review – Leia and Qi’ra

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

TITLE: Star Wars #18
AUTHOR: Charles Soule
ARTISTS: Ramon Rosanas, Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Cover by Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, & Rain Beredo.
RELEASED: November 3, 2021

That cover is epic. Seeing young Carrie Fisher’s face next to Emilia Clarke’s is surreal in the best kind of way.

Coming into this issue, Qi’ra knows that Leia loves Han. But how? Was that covered in the main War of the Bounty Hunters series?

This is a big talking issue, which includes a big dialogue scene between Leia and Qi-ra. Oddly enough, what struck me the most was what Qi’ra was wearing. The red cape and gloves feel very true to the character we met in Solo.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

A Solo Bullet-Point Review – “Unnecessary” Excellence

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

***WARNING: The following contains some minor, fairly harmless spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story.***

I loved this movie. No, seriously. I loved it. It surpassed my expectations in almost every conceivable way. The characters (yes, even the new ones) were fun and engaging. The thrilling Star Wars action component was on point. Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover nailed the Han and Lando characters, while at the same time adding a little something themselves. It had he obligatory scenes you expected to see, i.e. Han meeting Chewie, winning the Milennium Falcon, etc. But it didn’t pile on the nostalgia the way Rogue One did. I left Solo with a smile on my face, which is more than I can say for either Rogue One or The Last Jedi.

So let’s do this. Punch it!

– Ron Howard. The production of Solo was mired in controversy. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller departed during filming, citing “creative differences.” Word broke of Lucasfilm bringing in an acting coach for Alden Ahrenreich, the actor who plays Han. That didn’t exactly inspire confidence. Toss in the polarizing reaction The Last Jedi received, and it was looking like it was going to be a disaster.

I’d be very curious to learn what exactly Ron Howard changed about this movie. Because I don’t think we can deny just how vital his touch was to the creative success of Solo. Not just because he’s directed movies like Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and Frost/Nixon. But because he’s got such a long-lasting friendship with George Lucas. He’s had direct access to the mind that sparked the creation of this whole phenomenon. So I would imagine few filmmakers are more qualified to create something faithful to his vision.

– “Unnecessary.” I don’t understand the critique that Solo is unnecessary, or adds nothing new to the franchise. Yes, the movie largely plays into pre-established exposition. But if you go by that logic, what was the point of even attempting to make the prequels? Or Rogue One? What exactly qualifies one of these movies “necessary?” What does that even mean?

Furthermore, Solo is hardly devoid of fresh ideas. But we also learn new information about Han, Chewie, and Lando. We’re also introduced to new faces, like Qi’ra, L3-37, Tobias Beckett, Enfys Nest, and Crimson Dawn. Hell, I was even partial to Rio Durant.

In the end, Solo is fun. That’s what matters. It’s certainly all the “necessity” I require.

– When Han met Chewie. Laying the groundwork for the Han Solo/Chewbacca friendship was a vital component here. Their relationship is one of the most important in the entire Star Wars saga. I was struck by the believably and downright simplicity of how Solo sets that up. They save each other’s asses a few times and build up trust to the point that a genuine friendship forms.

Actually, I was surprised with how well Solo handled most of the pre-established stuff. Lando owning the Falcon, the card game, the Kessel Run. It all pretty much worked. At least it did for me. Consider how fickle fanboys like me can get about this stuff, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

– No Jabba. No Mos Eisley. No Luke or Ben. Solo has no shortage of references, winks, or nods. The folks over at Red Letter Media speculated that the movie would end somewhere during the events of A New Hope, much like Rogue One did. Specifically, with Han in the Mos Eisley Cantina. It could very well have ended with Han sitting at the table, and a shot of Obi-Wan and Luke walking over. I was very pleased they restrained themselves in that respect. For that matter, while he’s referenced, we don’t see Jabba the Hutt in Solo. There isn’t even a mention of Boba Fett or Greedo.

But I imagine one of the reasons they were a little more conservative with this one is because they’re saving those tricks for later…

– Sequels. Solo leaves a lot of room or sequels, and even spin-offs. There’s already been talk of a Lando movie. There’s also a surprise return that comes about as far out of left field as you can get. If you’ve seen it, you know who I’m talking about. They can go in that direction for another Solo movie, but the returning character would also make for a heck of a box office draw in their own right.

In the end, Solo wound up being the best case scenario for one of these  “anthology” movies. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, stands up on its own, and paved the way for continued storytelling.

To put it another way, “Great shot, kid! That was one in a million!”

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.