Now, I've had an idea since the release of Revenge of the Sith for how the whole story begins, which involves iconic names like Palpatine, Yoda, and Chewbacca, but recently I started to think about another piece of the puzzle, the years between the prequel and original trilogies. I'm fully aware that there are many stories from the likes of the Dark Horse comics and books and probably even video games, but I tend to consider only the films as canon, except when certain useful bits of inspiration populate the expanded universe (which is something Lucas himself has done, for instance to name Coruscant). Therefore any thoughts I discuss now are mostly based on the films and not anything that someone else has previously considered.
Here, then, are seven key characters I would involve in a trilogy of adventures set in-between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, a Middle Trilogy if you will.
- An Imperial recruit who defects. This is an idea that first occurred to me, ironically, based on a Dark Horse comic, which chronicles the similar journey of Biggs Darklighter, Luke's old friend who famously bites the dust in the trench run on the Death Star. (Even though Biggs has such a small role, he's always been a favorite of mine.) This character would be the prototype, part of the whole movement that helps create the military aspect of the Rebellion. The big thing about this character is that he's a personal recruit who works closely under Tarkin and Darth Vader, and so his defection is equally personal. And because there's another minor aspect of A New Hope that's always fascinated me, this Great Defector is drawn from my extrapolation of the Journal of the Whills prologue from the novelization. I always wondered who or what the Whills were. Subsequent research suggests that Lucas may have conceived it as the original version of the Force, but I always considered it to be the surname of an important figure in the unrevealed greater saga. So for that reason, this character's last name is Whill. He is the personification of what Vader evokes when he says "There will be no one to stop us this time," the great threat previous to Luke Skywalker that must necessarily have existed.
- A handmaiden of Padme Amidala. One of the prominent minor elements of the prequels was the constant presence of all those handmaidens, frequently used as decoys. To my mind, the death of Padme doesn't mean their role in the story goes away. I've narrowed down the most likely candidate for this task to Teckla Minnau, who is admittedly another character who's popped up in the expanded universe. This is a figure who works best in conjunction with:
- Princess Leia. I'm hoping that JJ Abrams addresses more forthrightly than the books people have written about the years after Return of the Jedi Leia's growing awareness of her own Force abilities (for those who still wonder why Lucas overlooked the fact that Amidala dies in childbirth but Leia clearly states in Return that she remembers her mother, I would say that she does so with her initial, instinctive knowledge of the Force). Anyway, Leia becomes the driving hero the way she was never quite able to be in the original trilogy, despite the fact that Hope begins with her very much in that role. I envision her walking a very fine line between an apparent loyalist to the Empire and secret agent of the Rebellion, using allies like the handmaiden Teckla to accomplish her goals. Of course, she's aided by her adopted father:
- Bail Organa. Present but in a fairly brief capacity in the prequels, Bail is forthright in his suspicions of Palpatine and is a useful figure in the strict politics of the whole thing, in a way that Leia can't be. Leia is the media darling, whereas Bail is the one who's giving the good fight. Any resemblance to recent Americans politics I hadn't thought of until just now, for the record.
- Darth Vader. This one goes without saying. Any Star Wars story within this time-frame must necessarily include him. I once again refer to Hope for the story beats he must represent, which is the Empire's growing disconnect from Force lore, the "old religion" that leaves much of what he and Palpatine are an apparent thing of the past. And considering that this is the period where Vader truly learns about his new circumstances and the details of the Dark Side, there's plenty to explore here.
- A secret Sith apprentice. Given that Palpatine placed all his faith in the future of not only the Sith but the Force in Vader, he's not looking to replace him. And there's the famous rule of two in Sith business, that there are always and only two. Apparently. But the prequels are littered with suggestions that Palpatine played fast and loose with this idea, and even expanded universe lore has played around with this in the Clone Wars TV show. Just as there are Imperial suspicions of Vader, Palplatine will have his own doubts about his apprentice's immediate effectiveness in his altered state, so he'll have someone up his sleeve not so much to replace Vader but to keep him on his toes. And what interests me is the idea that this figure could also link in with the Lucasian idea that the best thing about Star Wars is the familial struggles, which means that this secret Sith is the sister of the Imperial defector...
- Boba Fett. The bounty hunter immediately captured fans' imaginations even though his role was always a fairly passive one. I imagine that Vader included him in the Empire Strikes Back line-up that fellow Imperial officers found so discomfiting because they'd worked together in the past. Chances are very good that Fett and Vader compete in the effort to stop the defector.
I will be drawing up sketches for each individual installment for this Middle Trilogy at my writing blog, Sigild V. (Incidentally, you might want to read my three previous forays into Star Wars fiction: "Star Child," "I Joined the Rebellion," and "Tarkin, Republic and Empire.") Stop by and see how it develops!
[EDIT: Here's that write-up.]
[EDIT: Here's that write-up.]