The following contains a spoiler for Aftermath: Life Debt, which was released this week.
Growing up, one of my favorite Star Wars action figures (well, one of 15 or so favorites) was the General Madine figure.
Madine was the guy in Return of the Jedi who developed the plan for Han Solo to lead a team of commandos to take out the Death Star shield generator. I don’t know if it was that he had the coolest beard this side of a hipster convention, or that his figure’s accessory was a battle staff, but Madine certainly commanded my attention.
Like other characters, Madine’s backstory was expanded in the post-Jedi Expanded Universe. In the Star Wars Role Playing Game, it was explained he was a high-ranking Imperial who defected. In the Dark Forces video game, the player rescued him from the Empire. And then in the 1995 novel Darksaber, Madine was killed. By a Hutt. While on a mission to stop the construction of a bootleg Death Star.
Madine was one of the first characters with a speaking role in a Star Wars movie to be killed off in the then-Expanded Universe. After Disney bought Lucasfilm, they announced all ancillary material was invalid (no longer an Expanded Universe, but now Legends), giving Madine, Chewbacca and all the other characters who suffered lame deaths a second chance at life.
Madine was mentioned in the Shattered Empire comic series. But he didn’t last much longer after that. In Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: Life Debt, Madine gets three mentions, all short and none good, especially the last:
They killed members of the New Republic government, too. Madine is rumored to be dead.
Maybe the “rumored” part is setting up something else for the future. But it doesn’t sound good. At least in Darksaber, Madine went down fighting. In Life Debt, he was shot watching a parade.
It’s not like Madine had a one-word part in a Star Wars movie. He passed along some major exposition to set up the Empire’s downfall. But in both the Legends and new canon universes, authors killed him off swiftly.
In a universe with as many characters and spanning as large a timeline like Star Wars, sure, characters are going to die. In Darksaber, Madine had a good death in a bad book. In Life Debt, he had a bad death in a good book.
Oh well. At least they gave him an awesome action figure.