Max checks out the finale of the Galactic Tales mini-series from the pages of Star Wars Insider. On newsstands now!
Galactic Tales was a fun journey. In celebration of Attack of the Clones‘ 20th anniversary, Star Wars Insider gave us 4 original fiction pieces starring characters we know from before and after The Clone Wars. Insider WILL continue its short stories after these 4 but will be focusing on The High Republic Phase 2. Yet, they gave us a wonderful farewell treat with ‘From the Shadows Come the Kran.’
Written by Rodney Barness, who wrote a few other recent Star Wars publications, this story takes place from the view of the stern but serene Jedi Master Mace Windu. Mace has a complete no-nonsense attitude, and I feel the perfect being to delve into as there is so little exclusive fiction centered around him. One of my fondest memories of The Clone Wars TV series was the HILARIOUS foil between him and Jar Jar Binks. Two characters who couldn’t be more different if they tried. What I like about Mace is that even though he is nowhere near the dark side, like his lightsaber form; he can become cold and calculating with little time for fear or worry. He does as the Force wills, and if the answer it has is not a pleasant one; so be it.
Mace is gazing at the stars, marveling at the universe as the story begins. He is on a mission to a peculiar planet called Dinutu, which against all odds, harbors life. Despite only having a daily cycle of about 3 hours. Mace is given another fun foil like Clone Wars, in the form of a protocol droid named L-5G6. Much like C-3PO, L5 is a bit annoying and sometimes offers too much information too often. And Mace gets a little exasperated at times, like Han Solo but with a much calmer and reserved demeanor. Mace is kind to L5. But he is one of those Jedi who is not super crazy about droids. And this is a sharp contrast to Anakin Skywalker, who Mace dislikes as much as a Jedi Master allows him/herself to.
Barnes did not reveal this was a Clone Wars story immediately, which I think is an excellent storytelling technique. The ambiguity had me glued to the words as I tried to gauge what year this story takes place. So, Mace has to deal with these mysterious aliens called the Kran who are attacking the native Dinutans. He befriends one named Pintu. And Mace is kind but also grim, saying this his mission may not succeed and that if they do not cooperate fully with him, they will surely perish. “At least you’re honest.” Pintu quips. Yes, there is not a lying bone in Windu’s body, and combined with his formidable abilities as a warrior, along with his unflinching resolve, Jedi Master Mace Windu is not to be trifled with.
Barnes successfully created a great analogy to the Morlocks and Eloi of the classic sci-fi tale The Time Machine because the evil Kran only strikes when it is dark. And the Dinutans are at their mercy and only saved by the light. While I admit, that the Kran are a bit of a left-down in terms of character complexity and originality, there is no doubt that Mace is a boss and knows how to solve problems. He also, as I said, never deviates to the path of the dark no matter how a situation presents itself. He allows a smile or two although, and it is clear that Mace loves peace, order, serenity, and life.
One final note I needed to squeeze in is that Mace strangely refers to the Afterlife. Most Jedi do not believe in conscious existence after death, and I wonder if perhaps Mace is saying that for the benefit of the terrified Dinutans, should they die. It is 100% in Mace’s character to uphold a common belief for the benefit of others. Wait, that sounds like he lied, right? Well, from a certain point of view. Windu is devoid of fear and his final judgment was befitting the best representation of the Jedi Order.
I loved this tale and would love to have seen it in a longer form. It is a fitting end to the quaternary Galactic Tales, and Insider 213 hits this September with a new phase of short stories. Subscribe to Titan Magazines today and get several editions of Star Wars Insider a month!
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!