The From A Certain Point of View trilogy culminates with the Return of the Jedi – but does it bookend the series with a flourish? Let’s find out
All good things must come to an end. And the From A Certain Point of View series wraps up (at least with the Original Trilogy) and delivers a ton of short stories centered around my personal absolute favorite Star Wars movie of all time. Yes, I said it. I love JEDI!
From A Certain Point of View was an idea that had its genesis as Star Wars itself, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. A compendium of 40 short stories around the time of Episode 4’s story placement was then written and released, taking the point of view of various background characters in the movie we all know and love. Much like Legends’ What’s the Story? segment, the stories flesh out characters who only had one or two speaking lines. Or even just appeared in the background or so far behind the scenes that you barely noticed them. For ROTJ’s 40th anniversary in 2023, the formula is very much the same as the previous volumes. It features many new writers who have made their debut in the Galaxy Far Far Away, and there are many who I hope to stick around.
The diversity of writing styles between stories was staggering. I felt almost like I was switching languages when reading one story to the other. And I think they hit the mark with what short story compendiums should be all about. I’m not going to get into the details of each story because they are quite comprehensive. And they deserve to be read with no spoilers, but Force Facts will also be coming up for all those who don’t mind spoilers.
Regardless, I enjoyed many of the stories such as the one where we get into the head of Moff Jerjerrod, the pompous Imperial who greets a less-than-enthused Vader when he arrives at the Second Death Star at the very VERY beginning of the movie. Vader is displeased that the construction is progressing so slowly. Meanwhile, Jerjerrod is terrified about how he feels going any faster is logistically impossible. I was impressed to see that Jerjerrod is more than just a pretentious Imperial puppet and is an engineer who designed many of the Second Death Star’s weakness fail-safes that doomed its predecessor in A New Hope.
Usually, I raise an eyebrow when Canon re-creates established Legends backstories of characters. But I was surprised at how much I liked this iteration. I also like how Jerjerrod tried to meet Vader halfway. And I think his bravery and boldness with the Dark Lord, impressed the former Skywalker himself. Jerjerrod took a hands-on approach to his challenge and gave Vader a tour of the operation. I think Vader was so taken aback by this tactic that he didn’t know how to react. This was the first tale and I feel they came out swinging.
Some of the tales, however, were cannon fodder. The one with Max Rebo and the two Gungan moving people was kind of annoying to read. And by the end, I felt like I had speed-read through most of it and can’t tell you what happened. Something about a runaway pipe organ on a hover sled. I think. There were a few more of these bores like the Wedge Antilles tale, which I remember even less of (believe it or not). But most of them I can’t complain about.
The Sarlacc story was a little goofy and sort of ruined my perception of the Sarlacc as a creature. Not every monster in the Original Trilogy needs to be retconned as being sentient. They did it with the Diangoa, Wampa, and Space Slug and I feel it’s totally silly and unnecessary. Sometimes monsters are just hungry and there doesn’t need to be a thought process behind it. I’m also amazed that every other story has a gay couple and it’s pretty much official that Lando has been retconned as bisexual. I don’t want to sound like a homophobe, but I think it’s just a bit overkill to have it constantly being depicted among the characters. I support gay rights but it’s excessive. Most relationships are still the majority, heterosexual. For the most part.
THE EWOKS STRIKE BACK
Some of my favorite stories take place through the eyes of the Ewoks and the various Stormtroopers who were stationed on Endor. Many fans don’t think about the fact that the Empire had set up shop on Endor over a year before ROTJ depicted the battle of Endor. And there is so much time and material to draw from for behind-the-scenes stories.
The Ewok’s primitive assessment of the white armored Stormtroopers was brilliantly expressed in the written word. And I have to hand it to some of the writers for writing from the perspective of a primitive culture. Wicket’s perception of the Stormtroopers is that they are like some kind of strange bug people. And the armor and colors of the starship seem so unnatural to him. Wicket is one of the Ewok characters I also really relate to. Mainly because he is trying to become a storyteller and wonders many things about the universe. Just like the amateur futurist I aspire to be.
My biggest disappointment was the Palpatine story. It wasn’t a story at all. It tried to employ a literary effect that I think just failed. I wanted to get into Palpatine’s head and this screamed “missed opportunity.” Yet, I’m sure readers will be delighted when they learn why a Stormtrooper only grazed Leia’s shoulder with a blaster bolt on Endor. Why didn’t the Imperial Guards go back into Palpatine’s throne room when the whole plan went sideways? As a huge lore junkie, this was simply a cerebral feast for me.
I liked this story compendium the best of the three. Much like I like Return of the Jedi the best of the three. Well done, Padawan writers. A-
Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View – Return Of The Jedi is available to pre-order now and will be released on August 29th.
It’s time for Force Facts. Here I break down and disseminate the details the book provides regarding the culture science, and sociology of the Star Wars universe. And my ponderous thoughts as well. If you’re afraid of spoilers, please leave the TIE fighter. Thank you.
Vader has his own meditation chamber on the Second Death Star like he does in the Executor and presumably the Devastator from Episode IV. Vader loves these chambers as they double as medical hyperbaric chambers as well. One of the few places he can remove his helmet. Many fans know this chamber exists (from a deleted ROTJ scene), but it makes you wonder if every residence of Vader’s has a meditation chamber and how much it costs to install. They aren’t going to nickel and dime the Dark Lord (that I know), so there will always be a chamber for him. Yet, I wonder. What is he thinking about when he meditates? Padme?
From the insight of Moff Jerjerrod, the Second Death Star has been designed in such a way that the previous fatal weakness is no longer an issue. There is no single thermal exhaust port that someone can drop a bomb in and have the whole station go ker-plooooie. There is now a very efficient venting system in the form of millions of minuscule tubes across the station that let the Death Star “breathe” and prevent a chain reaction meltdown. Heat is always a big issue for constructing computers and other advanced technology. And the science of this checks all the boxes beautifully.
We learn in this book that Jatz is actually an incredibly popular genre of music in the galaxy. For those of you who don’t remember, the astromech droid from Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade was similarly named Jatz and had an affinity for music. Basically, this means that he was named after this genre of music and is the equivalent of naming your dog Rock n Roll.
The Ortolans all use Chedda-Brand Foot Lotion. Yeah….. I don’t want to go near this one…..
R2-D2 reveals that he’s never had a full memory wipe (which we know) but, admits to the sadistic droid supervisor in Jabba’s Palace that is not entirely true and that small moments had indeed been wiped (to protect his friends he says). This is fascinating as it is often shown that droids only seem to gain true sentience when they aren’t subject to memory wipes. This would imply that sentience and self-awareness are based on memory and I don’t 100% agree with that claim. For Artoo, these wipes are equivalent to forgetting what you had for breakfast 6 months ago and shouldn’t affect his “spirit” or personality. But it’s intriguing to know that his recollections are not completely perfect.
The Sarlacc are sentient in canon and even have their own language. In Legends, Sarlacc only accrues sentience through the consummation and digestion of sentient beings. And I very much like this bit of lore better as opposed to the former. Not everything has to be sentient. But the whole Sarlacc seeds traveling through space on the solar wind has been salvaged and I am happy that it remains part of the canon. This particular Sarlacc actually happens to be a vegetarian which is hilarious but for all the wrong reasons. When Lando fell in, he wasn’t wrapping his tendril around him to eat him; he was trying to push his butt out! Bleh. The story did take the time to explain how it survives if it doesn’t like meat, as it can slow its metabolism and hibernate and eat microscopic plants that grew underneath Tatooine’s sand. Well…That seems reasonable, at least from a biological point of view.
Dagobah has been confirmed to be an incredibly strong Force nexus. But now it has been elaborated that it is so “Forceful” that Obi-Wan is impressed that Luke (an inexperienced Jedi) is not overwhelmed by Force pressure when he is on the planet. Hmmm. It’s almost like places strong in the Force are like the Hyperbolic Time Chamber in Dragonball, where fighters need to get used to the higher gravity in it
There is a minimum height requirement to be a Stormtrooper. Since all Stormtroopers are human, I estimate you need to stand 5’10 or 5’11 to be one. Here on Earth, that is usually the height requirement for astronauts.
The Imperials have trouble getting a signal in the dense forests of Endor. Ha! They suspect it might have something to do with heavy metals in the trees. Here on Earth, our cellphones don’t get a signal in certain areas but you would think the Empire’s comlinks would be a little more advanced…
So the biggest Bantha in the room has finally been addressed. An Imperial technician wonders why there aren’t any safety railings in various infrastructures in the Empire. He remarks how dangerous it is to almost fall over the edge of the little platform in the Death Star Superlaser canal. The Imperial even wants to go into business with safety rail installation. HA! Really? I always had my headcanon that the reason we don’t see this added layer of worker safety is that the Empire simply does not care they have some sort of traction device that keeps beings from falling over. I am pulling this from the Legends Episode I Incredible-Cross Sections reference book and I most definitely like this explanation better.
From Legends, it has been said that Palpatine would have made Vader throw his son’s body into the Death Star reactor after Palpatine zaps him, as punishment for trying to use him against him. This has basically (albeit subtly) been recanonized.
Not one but, two separate authors in this compendium have tried to tackle the whole “Why is their sound in space” plothole. Apparently, sound travels through durasteel in a vacuum and most of the ships in Star Wars are made of this material. The Second Death Star also has its own pseudo-atmosphere where sound can be perceived by the occupants. Okay, I buy this. Durasteel is a much more durable and different metal than anything we have on Earth so it holds water and the whole artificial atmosphere has similarly reasonable rubber physics. I liked the whole Aural Sensor explanation, but see Wookieepedia for more on that bit of tech.
You never can tell how many sentient beings live in the galaxy. Some sources imply trillions. One story in this collection takes the high road and infers hundreds of quadrillions. Somehow that seems a lot more realistic than trillions, given the size of the galaxy.
Stormtroopers have a weekly salary. Sweet.
I kid you not, the Stormtroopers were planning to go on strike the day the Battle of Endor occurred. My god. What would have happened if this strike had gone through? Lots of dead Stormtroopers for sure.
“Guards, leave us”. That was Palpatine’s last order to the Imperial Guards in his throne room. This book reveals they went outside and followed orders until they heard yelling. They wanted to go back in but also did not want to disobey a direct order. How different history would have turned out if they had gone back inside? Wow.
You CAN “text” with a datapad. Oh lord, the next thing you know characters will be saying “Lol” to each other. Hits too close to home. Yuck
Once again, Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View – Return Of The Jedi is available to pre-order now and will be released on August 29th.
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!