On a recent business trip I finally had a chance to finish Star Wars: Aftermath, which had been sitting idle on my Kindle for a few months. When Disney acquired LucasFilm, one of the big changes was the wholesale removal of the Expanded Universe from the Star Wars canon. Major story lines and characters that cropped up in books, comics and video games over the last 35 years would not referenced in any of the new movies or media.
Star Wars: Aftermath was the first novel in the “Journey to The Force Awakens” and would tell the story of what happened in the events immediately after Return of the Jedi. What happened after the Ewok’s victorious yub-nubs on Endor and the statue of Emperor Palpatine was pulled down on Coruscant? Author Chuck Wendig was tapped by the powers at be at LucasFilm to provide fans a new launching point for the Star Wars universe.
Coming in at 400 pages I did not find Star Wars: Aftermath to be a particularly daunting nor interesting read. The narrative is structured around a set of (mostly) new characters who come together on the backwater jungle planet Akiva. Soon they find themselves surrounded by the remnants of the Empire’s high command who just so happen to have captured a hero of the Rebellion, Wedge Antilles.
As the story progresses we are treated to interludes featuring some old friends like Han Solo, Chewbacca and possibly Boba Fett (or maybe just Boba Fett’s armor). Unfortunately I found myself more interested in those brief teases than the main story of Aftermath. Perhaps I am just biased by my long standing relationship with the old Expanded Universe highlighted by the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn or the Rogue Squadron series by Michael A. Stackpoole.
I do not envy Chuck Wendig as he had a tough job of bridging the past all the while setting the table for The Force Awakens. However, there is a sequel slated for May 2016 tentatively titled Life Debt, which I’m sure has something to do with a Wookie. Overall, the reception for Aftermath is tepid at best with Amazon reviewers none too pleased with the results.
If you are still considering picking up Star Wars: Aftermath even after this review, it would be awesome if you used my Amazon Affiliates link, as I get a cut of the proceeds which enables me to keep the hamsters powering this operation fed and watered.