Some thoughts on Legacy of the Force…Posted: February 2, 2007
Reading Wookiepedia (and viewing this, this and this) got me thinking about the latest Star Wars Expanded Universe maxi-series of novels, Legacy of the Force. And a couple of these thoughts I find kind of troubling.
Before I share those, I’d like to share my thoughts on Star Wars novels in general.
I loved, with a great passion, the New Jedi Order (the controversial 19 book series that proceeded LotF). While there were some missteps (over a 19 book series with several authors this such was bound to happen) I generally felt that the NJO was very enjoyable and introduced plenty of new, interesting characters and pushed Star Wars and it’s main cast in exciting new directions. Plus, reading NJO got me through a pretty rough transition period in my life.
I also enjoyed the old Bantam novels that kicked of this whole Star Wars novel experience. Those books are an inextricable part of childhood and early adulthood. I have really fond (if some what inaccurate) memories of those books.
OKAY. That said, I have been enjoying LotF, as well. I’ve been disappointed, though, with the direction they took the character of Jacen Solo (making him a Sith as too easy and simple of a direction for such an interesting, compelling character).
The best book of the bunch was easily Karen Traviss’ Bloodlines. Traviss managed to write the most interesting and compelling plot of the bunch and combined that with an excellent grasp of the characterization of the main cast. Troy Denning’s Tempest was the same as every Denning Star Wars novel, filled with excellent fight scenes and somewhat dubious characterization choices, and Aaron Allston’s Betrayal had too much plot to set up for it’s own good.
But looking at the cover of Traviss’ next LofF novel, Sacrifice, got me thinking. The image pretty much confirms my theory that Mara Jade is going to bite it in this series (the book is called Sacrifice, after all and the authors have pretty much telegraphed that Jacen is going to kill someone he’s close to eventually). If this proves true that will make every single major Jedi death in this series that of a female Jedi. Nelani, created simply to be killed. Tresina Lobi, killed to provide Denning with his 1/3 of the way through the novel fight scene. And perhaps Mara Jade Skywalker, wastefully offed to make Jacen look “bad-ass”. Honestly, this pattern seems a bit troubling for gender politics in the Star Wars EU.
The (possible) death of Mara Jade, easily of the most popular (if not THE most popular) EU Star Wars character would be a waste. She’s far too well-developed and compelling of a character to be thrown under the bus in the LotF authors’ drive to make Jacen Solo one bad-ass of a Sith. And besides the Star Wars universe (especially post-ROTJ) is really lacking in strong female heroes. Only Leia and her daughter Jaina Solo (easily one of the best EU characters) come to mind.
Now (again) Mara’s death is far from written in stone, hell, there is still a whole another novel (Exile) to come out before Sacrifice hits stores. BUT, if my theory holds true, her death would not only waste an excellent character but also continue a troubling pattern in the Star Wars EU.