I have long wanted to make this thread, except an opportunity has never arose. Until now. And thank you, Sinre, for the thread title. This thread is partly to ponder the enigmatic mystery man, Raith Sienar, and partly about Ryder Windham, both of whom I think are secret private badasses. Neither get a lot of recognition, and yet their name is on everything. And with good reason. Let us begin with a quote from the recent TIE Fighter Owner’s Workshop Manual, which I am absolutely in love with: “Engineer and designer Raith Sienar headed his corporation with minimal self-promotion, and was, according to numerous reports, less interested in recognition than technical challenges and customer satisfaction.” I remember the first time I was introduced to Raith when I got the Incredible Cross Sections books. I was just starting to read the EU back then, and I was perplexed why this Sienar name was all over the place. It was like he invented everything. Even Darth Maul’s ship! Eventually he finally showed up in the New Essential Guide to Characters, this seemingly dull middle-aged nobody, and there’s this little passage that says he infiltrated the Xi Char for a time to work with them and learn their skills. Wait, what? This humble nobody infiltrated a cult of crazy alien zealots just cuz he was curious? You guys know the Xi Char look like Vulture Droids, right? I immediately got out a pen and paper and wrote a fanfic about this. It ended up resembling some zany Doc Ock antihero quest, but it was totally worth it to delve into the mind of a fellow who literally just doesn’t care what anybody thinks. He’s just doing it because he’s got this machine-like interest with learning technology and making more of it. While I generally didn’t like Rogue Planet, that had nothing to do with Sienar. It was his only book role to date. And honestly, I think he’s fine. There’s this one scene, in fact, that’s classic Sienar: little Anakin looses his temper near the end and Force-chokes Tarkin (SO glad that’s been removed from canon), and Sienar’s standing around nearby inspecting a ship and just casually stops to watch. Doesn’t interfere. Watches with interest. Like it’s a scientific demonstration. That is SO Sienar. I thought poor Sienar was a gonner with the new EU, until his name was dropped in the Lando comic. And now we have this wonderful TIE manual, which is chock full of Sienar. It’s like he's some sort of wizard, and every time they need a new TIE, they go to him with an idea and he’s like “why look, I already designed a prototype for a TIE that does exactly that.” How many prototypes does Sienar have? Will we ever know? I honestly suspect he did not get along with Thrawn. I’d love to learn more about that. The new Thrawn trilogy (are we calling it that now? The Disney Thrawn Trilogy?) shows how obsessed Thrawn was over his babies, the TIE Defenders. Just cuz they have shields. Well Sienar had already invented like 5 TIES with shields before he did. I would love for someone to write a story about that. Just not Zahn, cuz Thrawn would win by studying Sienar’s TIEs. Except Sienar might have a prototype to outmaneuver him. Hmmm. That might be an interesting competition. I also want to spare a moment to thank that other crafty fellow behind the drawing board, Ryder Windham. This guy is another human machine. How many decades has it been, and he’s still writing Star Wars source books? I remember reading his Missions books when I was a kid. And here he is, cranking out source books as if it’s the 90s and Bantam still has the license. This dude is amazing. What I love about his TIE Manual is how he comes up with a backstory for why the Empire wanted each design, and how they all link up. He takes the known pieces of old EU canon that fit and ties (ahem) them together with the new models to make a rough story from the engineer side of things. So thanks Ryder. Or Raith. For all the TIEs. (uh the resemblance is deceptive, right? Or was that Essential Guide artist up to something?) I can’t wait for the next edition of the TIE Fighter manual in five years. It’s already obsolete in lacking the Fallen Order TIE.