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Lit Some thoughts on Dark Forces: Rebel Agent (and other entries)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Dr. Steve Brule, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Dr. Steve Brule

    Dr. Steve Brule Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 7, 2012
    Hi, me momo Dr. Steven Brule. A long time ago, I had the pleasure of reading the Dark Forces novellas. I know they get a bad rap here, and I won't try and claim they're high literature (even by EU standards) but I've always had a soft spot for them. I recently came across the audio drama adaptations, and having listened to them, I was inspired to write this post. Most of what I'm going to address is specifically about the audio adaptation of the second entry (Rebel Agent) but I'll talk a bit about both the other dramas, as well as the novellas themselves.

    In general:

    • I suppose I should start by saying that listening to the dramas again, I was surprised by how little the original Dark Forces game plays into the trilogy (pun intended). I remembered the second and third novels working off of Jedi Knight, but Dark Forces is almost entirely absent from Soldier for the Empire. Basically, the last segment of SFTE covers the very first mission from Dark Forces. Aside from Mohc showing up as the headmaster of Carida (which also doesn't really make much sense), there is no further stuff from Dark Forces, the rest is entirely setup taken from Jedi Knight.

    • From Rebel Agent itself, one thing that surprised me is how it (and Jedi Knight) repeatedly state that it's eight years after the events of Soldier for the Empire. Further, it's also mentioned that it's eight years after the Battle of Yavin. For those in the know, canonically SFTE is set 1 BBY, and RA/JK are set 5 ABY, and the novellas themselves state this. So the fact that audio dramas get this wrong, and do so repeatedly and consistently, is pretty confusing for me. I wonder what the purpose of that was, since I assume it had to be done intentionally as the novellas themselves state otherwise.

    • And tying in with this is the repeated mention of "Leia Organa Solo", which I guess makes sense if you're assuming this is really set 8 ABY, but no sense if it goes off of either 8 years after SFTE or the established canonical timeline of the works. I have a bit of a cheeky retcon for this below...

    Soldier for the Empire:

    • One other oddity that really struck out for me: Kyle and his friends are repeatedly referred to as "officers in the Imperial Navy" on graduation. I don't remember that from the novella, and even in the audio drama, it's also mentioned that he's a stormtrooper. I guess the adaptors assumed that stormtroopers were the equivalent of naval marines or something?

    • In the attack on the Rebel asteroid, there's also mention of "Military Intelligence." I guess this is supposed to be ISB? Or has there been an actual Imperial military intelligence organization mentioned before?

    The Valley of the Jedi:

    • Luke mentions that Yoda originally told him about the Valley of the Jedi (I guess in the same offscreen chat where Yoda showed him DVDs of the Mortis episodes). However, he also mentions that others have told him about the Valley "more recently." Who can this be?

    • Retcon time: I'm going to go off the correct 5 ABY timeframe for RA/JK, and going from that I have to wonder...was it Ken and Triclops who told Luke about the Valley?! From Instantdeath's GODV read-through, we know that Ken has an annoyingly encyclopedic knowledge of all things Jedi, based on his droid teachers in the Lost City. It'd also make sense from the fact that both series keep calling the government the "Alliance", even though it should be the Republic by now. And here's my cute retcon for Leia's full name: going from the 5 ABY timeline, maybe this is right after their interrupted wedding from the end of Prophets of the Dark Side, and so for a time she's still deciding to call herself from her "married" name, assuming that they'll seal the deal sometime soon...and of course they don't.

    • Also speaking of the Valley and its combatants, the audio drama explicitly states that Kaan was originally a Jedi Master who then fell to the dark side. This is interesting, because it wasn't directly stated in the novella, but became part of his official characterization anyway. But more interesting to me is that the novella says the Battle of Ruusan was set vague "centuries" ago, while the audio drama explicitly states it was 1000 years in the past. Either they got really lucky with that, or I give Dan Wallace a lot of credit for digging that tidbit out for the Essential Chronology Ruusan retcon.

    • On the subject of Kaan, I just want to add that I think Thrawn McEwok naming him "Skere Kaan" in the Guide to Warfare was really dumb. I'm not above enjoying some cutesy name winking...but that really is a bit far over the "blatant hitting on the head" line for me.

    Nij Por Ral and the Great Wall of Dorlo:

    • When we first meet Rahn, he's with an archeologist named Nij Por Ral, who's helping him search for the Valley of the Jedi. Now, I'm supremely disappointed that we haven't gotten retcons establishing: A), that he's clearly a Cerean, going by his name (same for Behn-kihl-nam from BFC, obviously); and B), that his search for the Valley didn't bring him into contact with Corellia Antilles.

    • But more amusing for me, and I forget if this is in the audio drama or just the novella, but we're told that Professor Ral has in the past helped excavate ruins from an ancient civilization on the planet Dorlo, and those ruins were...a three-mile long wall. I find this really hilarious. In Star Wars, the ruins of ancient civilizations always are stuff like Force-powered temples, or gravity projectors that can move entire solar systems. This is...just a wall. Mundane even by Earth archeology standards. I also wonder if that's the reason Dorlo wasn't made an Infinite Empire planet, since the Atlast established that basically every "ancient civilization" on any planet referred to the Rakata.

    Boba Fett and 8t88:

    • On Nar Shaddaa, when 8t88 tries to hire Fett, they have a back and forth where basically Fett says something like, "I've never worked for a machine before," while 8t88 replies to the effect, "Droids are better than organics - we're the future!" Given the nature of the Clone Wars, and Fett's involvement in it, I think this passage has some interesting unintended resonances. Mainly - after the Clone Wars, is the droid rights movement stymied by anti-Separatist propaganda? Do droid radicals look to the Confederacy as some more-enlightened droid-rights regime? Most importantly, when Threepio leads the Droid Rebellion against Boonda, do his followers see him as a modern-day Grievous? Now that is an image I want canonized. [face_tee_hee]


    • Last but not least, here's something I've always wondered about. In both the Jedi Knight novella and audio drama, Kyle, Jan, and Obota infiltrate Jerec's forces on Ruusan by posing as an Imperial transport hauling proton torpedoes from the Corporate Sector to...Byss. Now, that raises all sorts of questions. Why would the Republic choose what they thought was a harmless resort world as a good destination for a torpedo shipment? And why would Jerec's gang so easily accept that?

    • I don't know if I have any retcons to explain it, but I am sorely tempted to link Jerec to the clone Emperor (and maybe a conspiracy within the Republic that knew about his return, also? That could be a neat Manchurian Candidate style story waiting to be told...). Since this would be the time when Palpatine is still trying to reform himself after his physical destruction, maybe the powers of the Valley would help him resume his strength faster?
    JoinTheSchwarz likes this.
  2. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    I assume Jerec knew of the Clone Emperor and intended to oppose him with the Valley's power.
  3. Zeta1127

    Zeta1127 Jedi Master star 5

    Sep 2, 2012
    I always found the spear of midnight black to be a rather curious oddity from Jedi Knight, which I found in the library, but hardly even read it beyond discovering things like the spear, after quickly finding out about Soldier of the Empire and Rebel Agent.
  4. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Abel beat you to it. The Dark Forces Saga already says he knew. Cronal told him from Byss and recruited him to find the Valley for Palpatine. Jerec swore allegiance, took some resources, and then set out to find the Valley for himself just like already wanted to.
  5. DigitalMessiah

    DigitalMessiah Chosen One star 6

    Feb 17, 2004
    Regarding Imperial Intelligence? The Empire is Nazi Germany with redundant branches doing the same thing. I knew of the Ubiqtorate from Hand of Thrawn, but forgot how to spell their name so searched Imperial intelligence.

    Jerec seems like Revan in terms of being assigned to find something and going "pshaw" and just figuring to use it for himself.

    And I liked that Soldier for the Empire wasn't Dark Forces. There isn't really a lot of story material from the first game besides Kyle slaughtering stormtroopers and I like to get the backstory, especially since it ties into Jedi Knight, which is a much better story, and shows how Jan is a CRAZY EXTREMIST.

    Also, based off the DVD comment, I find it amusing that Yoda apparently told Luke all this information off-screen but didn't tell him a single thing about Padme. If Yoda did, I highly doubt the information could lead Luke to Anakin = Vader; I doubt he could even connect Padme to Anakin, since if he could he would have done so before watching ROTS on DVD during Dark Nest. So I have to conclude that Yoda is a huge jerk.
  6. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    It's a pun on Ubiquitous for those who wonder where it's name came from.