Empire’s End: Cowards, Fake Deaths and The Galactic Hatch

A few months before the release of The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm published Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath, the biggest storytelling element in the ‘Road to TFA.’

Aftermath wasn’t received that well. Mostly because fans were expecting to hear about the further adventures of Han, Luke, Leia and Wicket. Instead, those and other main characters were on the periphery, while Aftermath focused on a group of rebels (and recent converts to the cause). It wasn’t a bad book (although it did have a few too many fake deaths), but it wasn’t what people wanted.

The second book, Life Debt, was better by every standard. Han and Leia were main characters again, the main plot was more developed and the new characters actually had a history.

Empire's End

The final volume in the trilogy, Empire’s End, was released last week and is the best of the three. It really puts an end to the Empire (even if a small group goes off to form the First Order) and brings the story to a close for most of the new characters we met. While Luke is mentioned only a few times, there’s appearances from Han and Leia and cameos from other Original Trilogy mainstays. And Jar Jar.

But there were a few things about the book that I want to call out, probably not any deserving of a post on their own, but I’d have more to say here than I could get away with on Twitter.

And away we go…

Most Disappointing Development

Senator Jebel is alive.

Who is Senator Jebel? This guy:

Senator Jebel

That’s guy from Rogue One who wants to surrender after learning of the Death Star. The most cowardly character in the entire Star Wars universe. I’m no fan of Ki-Adi Mundi, but as big an idiot as the unfortunately-headed Jedi is, at least he rushes head-first into battle.

Jebel, on the other hand, probably went into hiding right after the Yavin Conference and only came out when it was apparent the second Death Star was long gone. And then he was the first to take his shirt off and got the most drunk and crazy at the victory party. And here he is in Empire’s End being horrible. I suppose his still being alive is proof that not every story has a happy ending.

Lando is Still the Man

Lando Calrissian returns for his second (so-far) post-Jedi appearance, getting ready to re-establish his business on Cloud City. In between talking down some stubborn Imperials and trying to decide what to get Han and Leia for their soon-to-be-born child, Lando decides to hire some refugees. Because they’ll need work, he’ll need employees and it’s the right thing to do.

And Lando suggests getting little baby Solo a little mustache and cape. Which Lobot shoots down.

Think of how differently TFA would have been had Lobot just said ‘great idea boss!’

My Snoke Theory Sucks

General MadineAs mentioned earlier, one of the failings of the first book was the overreliance on faking character deaths. Near the end of the second book, an attack by brainwashed Rebels kills several characters, including General Crix Madine (who also died one of the chumpiest deaths in Legends chronology). But there was one line that suggested that maybe Madine was still alive.

I was holding out hope for this. That at some point in Empire’s End, Madine and his awesome beard would come out, guns-a-blazin, having faked his death and ready to singlehandedly win the Battle of Jakku.

It didn’t happen.

Madine is still dead.

Or maybe he’s still faking his death and it will be revealed that he’s Snoke after all.

Nope, Snoke Wasn’t Him Either

Before the release of Empire’s End,  my money was on Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax being Snoke, Supreme Leader of the First Order. Rax was hidden away during the Empire only to take command sometime after the Battle of Endor. There was a line in Life Debt that made it seem like Rax could use the Force. This, plus the Jakku connection made me think that Rax was Snoke.

Well, he didn’t have the Force. And Rax died. So we’ll have to keep looking. But what Rax did do is get the strongest (in his view) of the Empire out of the galaxy to set up what would become the First Order, led by Admiral Rae Sloane (one of the best characters of the new canon). Sloane is joined by a very young (soon to be) General Hux and his army of killer children.

Galli’s In The Hatch

After being recruited by Sheev Palpatine as a kid, Galli Rax spent his early years doing the Emperor’s dirty work on the planet of Jakku. We learn in Empire’s End that meant staffing and protecting the Observatory, an underground facility on Jakku with a bunch of computers that controlled when and how energy was vented from the planet. If the energy was not vented, then the planet and things orbiting the planet would be destroyed.

So Galli was basically Desmond Hume.

And the Observatory was the galactic version of the Swan Station.

No wonder I like this book.

Rax, I’ll see you in another life brotha.