When I was 11 years old, I went to see Star Wars with my dad. I absolutely loved it. If you are not a Star Wars fan, it is somewhat difficult to describe why this story can be so compelling. It definately compelled me, a feeling which intensified in 1980 when the Empire Strikes Back came out. By that time I was old enough to take the train to downtown Philadelphia, where I could go to the Sameric theater and watch it, as many times as I wanted. Much to the consternation of my parents.
Return of the Jedi had its moments too, but by then I was on my way to college and France and life beckoned. Other adventures took my attention.
I was thrilled and excited in 1999 when The Phantom Menace came out. I enjoyed this, but George Lucas meant it when he said that the new trilogy was not created for fans who were kids in the 70's. The new trilogy was for kids of the 90's. However, the scene where Shmi Skywalker watches Anakin test his pod sent tingles up and down my spine. She is easily one of my favorite Star Wars characters.
Attack of the Clones was the only Star Wars movie I saw only once in the theaters. The whole bit in the droid factory was dumb and unnecessary. Some other parts were good, but all in all, this was my least favorite of the movies.
So, when I knew that Revenge of the Sith was coming out on May 19, 2005, I was both excited and nervous. This was it, this was the crux. Would George Lucas make this for little kids too? I carefully avoided reading anything about it or watching the trailers.
On May 19, I may as well have been 14 again, going to see the Empire Strikes Back. This was good. Really good. Yes, it had its flaws, but Revenge of the Sith is almost on par, in my mind, with the Empire Strikes Back.
I always made up Star Wars stories in my head as a teenager. When I was lonely, these stories kept me company. I never wrote any of them down. After Revenge of the Sith, story lines, ideas, thoughts coalesced in my mind and I considered writing them, but I hesitated. I am not a great writer, and I feared what I wrote would be trite and childish. There is a great deal of very bad fan fiction out there, and I feared joining it. But I decided to proceed anyway, if only as an exercise. If only to start and complete a project just for myself.
This said, I think that almost all Star Wars literature, published and non-published, novelizations and expanded universe, fails for a simple reason: Star Wars is a visual and auditory experience. It is not a verbal experience.
The image at the top of this page, is one of the most arresting of the saga to me. How can this be put into words?
John Williams' music is Star Wars. One of my very favorite Star Wars moments, that puts a tingle in my spine, is at the very end of the Phantom Menace, during the credits. Very pretty, light music is playing and your attention might wander, perhaps to discuss the racial stereotypes inserted into the movie, with your companion. And while your attention is elsewhere, you realize that the light, pretty music has morphed into Darth Vader's theme. Without your noticing it. Amazing.
Ben Burtt made so much of Star Wars, in the exquisite detail of sound. How can verbiage capture the sound of lightsabers clashing, or of Artoo's beeps and toodles?
The dialog itself is proof enough that Star Wars is not a verbal experience. It was the very first Star Wars in 1977 that had the best quips and one-liners. After that the dialog was almost superfluous.
So, I do believe that almost all Star Wars literature falls short of the Real Thing, that is of sitting in the movie theater and immersing onself in Star Wars.
Legal stuff here. These characters and story lines belong to George Lucas and Lucasfilm. I do not make any revenues from this; it is solely for my amusement and for the pleasure of my friends and family.
Please do not make multiple copies of this without my permission, and please do not cite any of my ideas as your own. Doing so will be very bad for your karma.
This story takes place right after Return of the Jedi. I read the books that came out in the early 90's, that followed Return of the Jedi. I don't remember much of them, so they must not have stuck in my head very well. Any resemblance to them is purely coincidental. As well as embarrassing.
So here it is, my bit of Star Wars Fan Fiction, The Last Prophecy.
You can either read it as a large, MS Word generated html file, or download the pdf. It is 108 pages, as written in MS Word.
I am still working on an html version, nicely formatted on the web without adobe.
Aside from the movies themselves, I have had several sources of inspiration and reference, for which I must give credit.
The Star Wars Databank provided a great deal of reference material and background info.
Also, I found the Star Wars reference pages at Wikipedia to be extremely helpful.
I never read the Dark Horse comics, so I found these reference pages on the history of the Sith to be useful.
As a teenager, I read Alan Dean Foster's novelization of Star Wars over and over again. I read it again, whilst writing this.
Matthew Frederick Davis Hemming's The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster is one of the finest bits of Star Wars literature I have ever read.
I can't take credit for one idea in my story, which I found here.
Whilst writing this, and whilst poking around on the Internet, I found Kitt's Force Bond Series. I enjoyed it a great deal, and parts of it had me in hysterics.
Jerry the Frog Productions is pretty funny too. Make sure you read all of the stories.
David Brin is a strange guy. I suspect he felt that Star Wars almost gave him something he was looking for, but that it fell short. Anyway, I suspect that some of my story is in response to his critiques.
I also think some of my story is in response to this Weekly Standard article.
Star Wars blogs always makes for interesting and thoughtful reading. Especially Mr. Ghent.
There is a reference to a museum in this story. The inspiration for the museum is the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It is right near my home and I wrote a fair portion of the story sitting out front. The museum was recently renovated according to a design by Polshek architects. They are very cool.
One of my locations was inspired by a weird amalgam of the New York City Subway system and The Bandiagra Escarpment in Mali.
If you like this, send this link to your friends and family, or post it on your blog or whatever.
Feel free to write me with comments, at jvandore at earthlink dot net.