New Republic: Year One
The New Republic: Year One
a reading guide
At the end of Return of the Jedi, fireworks burst. The reign of terror over the galaxy ended. Good has defeated evil. Wolves have triumphed over monkeys. Jedi has beaten Sith. Etc. Etc. But what happens next? Below is a quick overview of new stories to jump into that reveal different moments of the Battle of Endor and beyond! (Keep in mind most stories are vague on specific dates and overlap in places. This overview is to guide in a way to maximize story effectiveness.)
"Blade Squadron parts 1 & 2" by David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams originally printed in Star Wars Magazine issues 149 and 150. This short story is set around the ambush attack on the second Death Star. Key players include Braylen Stramm and Gina Moonsong (B-Wing pilots to the Rebellion), Adon Fox (Rebel Leader of Blade Squadron), and Admiral Montferrat (Commander of Darth Vader's former Star Destroyer, Devastator). Wait.. Did I say B-Wings?! B-Wings! That's right! First introduced in Return of the Jedi, these ships get their story told through the Blade Squadron short stories! To learn more about the ship, check out the Star Wars Rebels episode "Wings of the Master!" These two stories focus on the B-Wings assaulting the Devastator Star Destroyer until the shields come down on the Death Star!
The Levers of Power
"The Levers of Power" by Jason Fry can be obtained in paperback or eBook form from The Rise of the Empire bundle release. Where the last short story ends, this one begins. Here we have Admiral Rae Sloane's perspective of the Battle of Endor aboard her ship the Vigilance. While the battle ensues, Emarr Ottkreg (loyalty officer) hounds her like a fly; pestering her with useless questions. We gain a new perspective on Sloane, who was first introduced in John Jackson Miller's novel A New Dawn. At peak Imperial form, she digests the ensuing battle until we reach the inevitable outcome (Death Star goes Kaboom). The way she handles herself sets up her tactical prowess, and we see her former mentors rubbing off of her. Lastly, this short story mentions the B-Wings from the previous story, and events from the movie in a way that pieces together a wonderful collection of perspectives!
“Turning Point” by Jason M. Hough was originally released in Star Wars Insider 169. As of this post, it is the only place to read this short story. Backlog of this issue might be available at the official website here. The artwork was done by Carsten Bradley, who has also released gorgeous fan art to other Star Wars stories! This story works as a wonderful lead in to the Aftermath trilogy. What is life living on the edge of madness, where one is stuck between two sides in a state of limbo? Gorlan Seba and his family from the planet Radhii are just one of many families stuck in the crossfire of war, while the Empire and Rebellion leave scars upon each world they battle. This story continued that trend as Seba was “requested” to guide Imperial officer Vrake and his garrison on the hunt through the Zoess (dangerous forest where anything electrical was either completely useless or fatal to those who used it), and track down the recently escaped rebel prisoners.
Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka can be found individually in four parts or in trade paperback format. Artists to the comic include Marco Checchetto, Angel Unzueta, and Emilio Laiso. The comic mini-series of Shattered Empire starts at the Battle of Endor, and ends about a month later. In the process of the four issue arc Lieutenant Shara Bey (A-Wing pilot) and Sergeant Kes Dameron (commando member of the Pathfinders), who are Poe Dameron’s parents, get intertwined in missions, with Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker (plus some surprises). Missions include taking over Imperial bases, reclaiming planets from the Empire’s grip, stealing Force-sensitive trees, and more! As quick as the stories pick up… It ends! Some seeds in this comic don’t get a chance to even be watered before we hear from them again! However, what we did get was fascinating! I enjoyed Bey and Dameron interacting, with the movie cast.
Blade Squadron: Zero Hour
“Blade Squadron: Zero Hour” by David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams was originally released in Star Wars Insider magazine issue 160. Backlog of this issue might be available at the official website here. The Del Rey Sampler 2016 includes this short story, and can be found here. B-Wings are back! This short story leaps past the Battle of Endor to a mission to destroy a communication array and shield generator on Malastare, which takes place shortly before the first Aftermath novel. Gina Moonsong (a Lieutenant now) and Braylen Stramm (Leader of Blade Squadron now) both return, with new recruits! While the attack on Malastare takes place Moonsong takes a slight deviation to hit Moff Pandion’s vacation palace, which coincidentally was nearby.
Aftermath by Chuck Wendig is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook, and audiobook. Fractured. Torn. Splintered. The Republic ended with a roar of applause. The Empire did not. Like a baby frynock pup being ripped from its mother's arms... Screaming. Crying. Fighting. Remnants of the Empire struggle to live on.
As mentioned in Blade Squadron Zero Hour, Grand Moff Valco Pandion is fully introduced here as one of the Imperials arriving on the remote planet Akiva, for a secret meeting. A meeting set up by Grand Admiral Rae Sloane to glue together the remaining pieces of the shattered Empire. Meanwhile, an origin story of Imperial Hunters is introduced that consist of Norra Wexley (Rebel pilot), Temmin Wexley (son of Norra/Akiva junk dealer), Mister Bones (Temmin's modified B1-Battledroid), Sinjir Rath Velus (former Imperial loyalty officer), Jas Emari (bounty hunter), and late to the party Jom Barell (Rebels Special Forces). On top of all that are interludes acting as snapshots around the galaxy. Snapshots that tease future stories and events.
Blade Squadron: Kuat
“Blade Squadron: Kuat” by David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams was originally released in Star Wars Insider magazine issue 168. As of this post, it is the only place to read this short story. Backlog of this issue might be available at the official website here. The New Republic is in full force, and it brought it’s B-Wings AND X-Wings to action! Gina Moonsong (Leader of Blade Squadron) is tasked with leading her squadron to victory over the Kuat Drive Yards. Braylen Stramm returns under temporary Combat Operations Planning duty aboard the Amalthea carrier. Newcomer Lieutenant Sandara Li (Leader of the X-Wings escorting Blade Squadron), with her wingmate Johan Volk. Set over the course of a few months this story wraps in the 25th chapter of Life Debt. Meanwhile, Moonsong must battle, with putting her squadron through maximum effort, and facing off against Lieutenant Li, who mirrors Moonsong’s former self.
Aftermath: Life Debt
Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig is available in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook. Set a couple months after the first Aftermath novel. The rise of the New Republic shines over the galaxy. Many planets are swept up in this new order, but not all... One such planet, Kashyyyk (homeworld of the Wookiees) is still firmly intertwine within the tendrils of the Empire. After a failed attempt of liberation Han Solo goes missing! Newlywed Leia Organa's pleas go unanswered from Mon Mothma's New Republic. That is until she tasks the Imperial Hunters (from the first Aftermath), with Solo's rescue. Meanwhile, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and her mysterious advisor orchestrate the continued survival of the fractured Empire. More snapshots continue to unravel new mysteries around the galaxy. Tensions rise as the events lead into the final novel!
Blade Squadron Jakku
"Blade Squadron Jakku" by David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams was originally released in Star Wars Insider magazine issue 172, with art by Chris Trevas. This is the final short story of Gina Moonsong and her Blade Squadron. Final stand on Jakku. Imperial forces may be falling to pieces, but they keep on punching to the end. Events out of Moonsong’s control has her crash land on Jakku in the heat of battle. Out of communication from her squad, which includes Braylen Stramm, Moonsong must march across the red sands in enemy territory. Sometimes the mind is clear in the eye of the storm. In this story she meets a young familiar pilot. The rest of the Battle of Jakku continues on in Empire's End!
Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig is available in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook. Set about a month after the second Aftermath novel. Liberation Day on Chandrila was supposed to be a special day. From a certain point of view it was; however, death was not supposed to be on the menu. Peace talks were in place to happen, with Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and Chancellor Mon Mothma, but other forces were at work. Inhibitor chips implanted long ago in the prisoners recently rescued on Kashyyyk, caused them to open fire during the parade! One such prisoner was Norra Wexley’s husband Brentin, who tried to kill Mon Mothma! Meanwhile Princess Leia Organa, with the help of her friends liberated the Wookiees on Kashyyyk. Once the dust settled the only recourse was revenge! Rae Sloane and Brentin Wexley were betrayed by Gallius Rax, and Norra Wexley was betrayed by Rae Sloane. All sides collide as an inevitable battle on Jakku fast approached...
Lost Stars by Claudia Gray is available in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook. The story is set 8 years after Revenge of the Sith and ends about a year after Return of the Jedi. That's right... This novel covers a huge stretch on the timeline, which is why I placed it at the end (even after Aftermath: Empire's End).
On the surface, the story focuses on Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell. Two close friends from the remote planet Jelucan, who join the Empire, fall in love and become torn apart by the war. Digging deeper is a wonderfully deep story interweaving throughout the original trilogy, and creating an even more developed universe! The connective tissue to the movies and new stories is very strong, with an ending that will leave you itching for more. This novel is one of my must-reads. Reading this beautiful story after everything above is the crescendo of the end of the Empire. The curtains fall to begin a new set of adventures in the New Republic era!