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Lit Reading NJO...Again

Discussion in 'Literature' started by spicewood, Sep 17, 2017.

  1. Noash_Retrac

    Noash_Retrac Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 14, 2006
    Who's brilliant idea was it to make the New Republic incompetent and unwielding in its stupidity and making the Imperial Remnant the actual victors of the war? Also, how would've Force Heretic worked if Pellaeon had died at Bastion at the beginning of the first novel?
     
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  2. Jeff_Ferguson

    Jeff_Ferguson Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    May 15, 2006
    Those two are my mistakes, sure, but they're not important. Do I think they'd give Anakin a green-eyed blonde Force-sensitive love-interest who wasn't Tahiri? Sure, why not? Jacen and Jaina were both given love interests early in the series who weren't Tenel Ka or Zekk, and it's not a leap to believe that they'd do the same for Anakin, even if she vaguely resembled Tahiri. Tenel Ka and Zekk don't enter the twins' life until Book nine of the series. But this isn't even what I want to argue, as I don't believe that Salvatore wrote a first draft of the book with Anakin in Jacen's role (more on that below).

    You're also putting too much emphasis on the sunset thing; in VP Danni looks at a Belkadan sunset and then thinks about how crowded her Core world homeworld is. She doesn't think about sunsets from her homeworld, and the homeworld she describes is decidedly not Tatooine. There's nothing in the text there that screams "She's Tahiri!"

    Ehhhhhh no. Salvatore invented a lot about them, but read interviews with him and you'll realize that he didn't invent "the whole concept" of them --- and he explicitly says that the concept of them being completely devoid of the Force came from the planning team.

    Your theory depends largely on the idea that Salvatore wrote a first draft of the novel where the Vong were still Dark Jedi, but there's no evidence to indicate that that was the case. That Salvatore interview states that the whole no-Force thing came from "those authors that got together at that meeting," and Star Wars Insider #66 additionally states "In our first creative sessions, the Yuuzhan Vong were dark-force users from another galaxy, but that was nixed from on high." It's not realistic to think that they'd task Salvatore with writing a first draft of a novel when they were still so early in their initial creative sessions. To assume that Salvatore hastily rewrote the book and re-invented the Vong from the ground up (not to mention the novel's entire story) in a last-minute rewrite is insane.

    Edit: I'm also disinclined to believe that the Anakin/Jacen switch came as late in the game as you seem to think it did, and that Salvatore had to rewrite VP accordingly. Stackpole would no doubt be deep into writing his own books in the months before VP came out, and he would have consequently been hit with a forced rewrite too. I can't believe that that happened and that neither of them have ever talked about it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
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  3. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    I think @Thrawn McEwok is being jocular or sarcastic.

    @Thrawn McEwok Why are you opposed to the Jacen/Tahiri pairing? I don't have any problem with the it in principle.
     
  4. Thrawn McEwok

    Thrawn McEwok Co-Author: Essential Guide to Warfare star 6 VIP

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    May 9, 2000
    Taking your second question in the context of your first question, I suppose the answer would be that Moff Flennic would end up defeating the YV. :p

    I am being jocular, because I see this as a friendly discussion between people whose difference of opinion does not imply any actual hostility (and "Lowie, Mirta" and "Stormpilot" were definitely structured as punchlines when I weighed in, so I hope some people laughed or at least snorted in the right places); but I do genuinely believe what I am saying here... ;)

    Now, for this part of the reply I want to make clear that I'm speaking here purely as an Ewok fanboy whose opinions are entirely and only his own... [face_peace]

    I just find the idea of a guy taking over his kid brother's vulnerable girlfriend a little gross, and that dislike is intensified because I also find Jacen an unattractive character pretty much everywhere outside of Traitor.

    I'm also perhaps excessively protective of A/T as a concept, because last time I suggested speedbumps might be interesting, no-one got that I still saw those two as the OTP... :oops: [face_blush]

    We know that Salvatore had to modify his outline because of GL's comments on the series. Therefore, we know that the basic planning for VP, at the very least, occurred before the switcheroo. Hold that thought?

    (But apologies if this seems brisk in places - I lost the draft when I tried to post first time, and have tried to reconstitute)

    Well, this is a difference of POV - when I read that scene, knowing that this novel was originally planned as the start of a series with Anakin Solo as the protagonist, I see Tahiri sitting on top of the Great Temple thinking about Tatooine. Not only is that IMHO a more natural progression from the scene than thinking about the crowdedness of a Core World, but that is also an immediate callback to not one but two of the most iconic images in the original STAR WARS movie.

    I do agree that Danni was developed into a different character (a scientist from the Core Worlds, as you say), but I nonetheless suspect that she did originate as an expy, and that has something to do with the fact that that the planned Jacen/Danni romance never happened, and the character ended up as science-girl rather than... well, rancor-fodder? :p

    You're right, I overstated my point slightly - but the question on which I overstated, the question of how much Salvatore was responsible for conceptualising the YV, is secondary, because here we encounter the key point... which is that GL's response to the series plan came back after Salvatore had begun to develop the novel, and that at that stage Anakin was still the protagonist:

    "When George nixed that idea, we were forced to rethink everything very quickly, as the first book of the series was already being outlined" - Luceno

    Add to that the fact that Chewie had not yet been substituted for Luke, the fact that the antagonists were Dark Jedi or Sith, and the fact that while they used "biological weaponry" they had no innate hostility to technology; and that was how things stood until a date less than four months before Salvatore finished the novel, so I hope you can see why I think that a great deal was indeed replanned at very short notice.
    `​
    Okay, here's where I go through the chronology in detail:

    We know that there were two planning meetings in early '98, and, from Luceno's comment, that the series outline was only sent to GL "a few weeks after" the second of these - i.e. in June or July - and his comments on only came back when VP "was already being outlined", probably as late as August '98.

    That proves that VP was originally conceived as the start of an Anakin-Solo-focused series where the antagonists were Sith or Dark Jedi who did not have an innate hostility to technology. I think the idea that everything was reinvented from the ground up within a space of less than four months before the novel was handed in is what the evidence indicates.

    Whether Salvatore had unofficially begun to write the first draft ahead of approval, or whether he re-planned and then wrote the whole novel inside a little over three months, is a question that we have no absolute means to answer - but I personally think the former option is WAY more likely, especially considering everything I have said so far about blonde, green-eyed Force-sensitive love-interests at space hippy camp on Something Four who get partially vongformed. ;)

    And even if he didn't actually begin writing until September (to an "insane" deadline, as you say), I think the evidence is clear that he was hastily evolving the storyline from an original conception centred on Anakin Solo and invading Dark Jedi, based on the required changes...

    Regardless, bloody impressive work. No-one is criticising Salvatore here - this is just an admiring look at the creative process. Maybe I hadn't made that clear enough?

    See above. The Anakin/Jacen switch derailing Salvatore after he began work on VP is IMHO the most certain point in terms of the chronology (and the Luke/Chewie switch is a close second). You raise an interesting question about Stackpole, though. [face_thinking] Now I'm going to have to re-read Dark Tide: Onslaught to look for rewrite clues (but re-reading Stackpole is fun, and we've already got a huge clue that there was major restructuring, the fact that Dark Tide: Siege was lost to the compressed writing deadline)...

    That said, I recall Stackpole indicating in an interview that he was always opposed on principle to dropping Anakin, which makes me wonder if there was a half-turn phase during the replanning where they planned to vape Anakin but keep Tahiri, and that Stackpole talked them out of that (whether or not the decision to substitute Chewie for Luke had already been taken by that point); if so, then MAS was possibly responsible for both propelling Danni into canon as a distinct character, and for ensuring that we eventually got the right story after all in Conquest...

    At which point, I have to resist the urge to throw in a random picture of a Swedish recoilless rifle to make a sight gag. :p

    But I will say that reversing the decision over Chewie in the Disney reboot is something that I find myself very happy about. :D

    - The Imperial Ewok
     
  5. Noash_Retrac

    Noash_Retrac Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 14, 2006
    I was always did like Flennic. He seemed like while he opposed Pellaeon and the New Republic, it was the benefit of the Imperial Remnant. Working with Sarreti and Crowal (the only female Moff at the time and someone with an eye on the Unknown Regions), these three would've easily led the Remnant after Pellaeon's death and defeated the Yuuzhan Vong.

    I was glad for Chewie's resurrection too. When I got an idea to write a fanfic in which Anakin manages to save Chewie at the complete last minute, it was because I wanted to change Anakin's character enough so he didn't appear to be guilt-ridden the entire time and less sub-consciously suicidal (which is what I took from Vector Prime till his death in Star by Star). Mind you, I do kinda kill him in the SbS rewrite idea, only to be revealed in the next arc (which dropped Dark Journey and Traitor as well as mixing up Enemy Lines to include Raynar and Jacen in a different way) that the Jedi mind meld actually kept him alive (and revealed Raynar and Jacen's survival, bye bye the stupid Killik line).
     
  6. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    I really don't see the issue with Jacen and Tahiri. And I have to admit a very strong difference of opinion with you on Jacen. Jacen is probably my favorite Star Wars character and is quite appealing in more ways than one.

    Though I know we disagree pretty strongly on Jacen and his merits and appeal as a character.

    And we also disagree on Anakin-I'm not particularly fond of the character and think NJO would have been greatly hindered if he had been the main hero.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  7. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

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    Sep 2, 2012
    What character, planet, species, ship, group, etc. not seen in the NJO series, should have been in the series?
     
  8. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    A lot of prequel stuff-I mean yeah given the RL timelines it wouldn't work. But having the muuns, Neimodians, Kashyyyk, etc... Is a bit of problem.

    Maybe even have planets like Naboo-very important in the prequels but not really relevant except maybe as a place the characters go or something.

    If the NJO were to be updated with new novels and stories expanding on the era incorporating prequel stuff-species, worlds, cultures, etc... Would be a must for me.
     
  9. Dawud786

    Dawud786 Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Dec 28, 2006
    I think making Quarren Councillor Pwoe's antipathy for the Jedi be related to the Jedi's role in helping the Mon Calamarians fight the Separatist Quarren would be a worthy addition to the NJO. Even without TCW in that canon, we have the CW micro-series with a similar scenario. Having two Skywalkers, father and son, allied with Ackbar lends a great deal to that situation.

    As it stands, essentially every NR senator opposed to the Jedi seem to have shady smuggler ans crime connections rather than legitimate political grievances.

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
     
  10. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    Rodan's dislike of the Jedi wasn't criminal related he had some good points.
     
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  11. Noash_Retrac

    Noash_Retrac Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 14, 2006
    VP had Rodan defending smugglers alongside Niuv. Then along came DW and it turns out he hates smugglers. That was odd.
     
  12. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Chosen One star 10

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    Sep 2, 2012
    I think DW reinterpreted it as less "defending smugglers" and more "condemning Jedi for vigilante justice against smugglers"
     
  13. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 6

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    Dec 16, 2012
    Is it vigilante justice if you are a lawman?
     
  14. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Master star 4

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    May 11, 2016
    I would say that hunting down and killing, largley non vilonet, criminals, without any real trial, is not really something a lawman would do. Besides wasn´t that mostly Kyp Durron and his squad doing this, not the order as a whole? That´s like you have a squad of rouge police officers who outside of their regular duty partol the streets and shoot every drug dealer in the head they come across. That is, at best, vigilante justice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  15. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    At the same time smuggling and other illegal activities were near omnipresent at the time and the NR was unable or unwilling to actually deal with the problem-heck one can argue the NR is compromised because it has too many connections with smugglers especially the smugglers alliance and Talon Karde.

    It could be said the NR is ineffectual or outright corrupt when it comes to these criminal activities especially in the outer rim.
     
  16. Thrawn McEwok

    Thrawn McEwok Co-Author: Essential Guide to Warfare star 6 VIP

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    May 9, 2000
    I liked Flennic because he was an antagonist whose attitude was based on an honest difference of opinion, which made him more interesting, and also more challenging for the heroes...

    There ought to be a Wookiee noise we can post into the thread at times like this...

    Interesting reading - not at all my take, but interesting nonetheless. [face_thinking]

    At the risk of longposting, I felt that what we saw from external POVs in Vector Prime (notably, before Sernpidal) and in Balance Point was Anakin grappling with a sense that Luke and Jacen were doing the whole Jedi thing wrong, and that the glimpse into his own POV in Conquest underscored this by showing how pessimistic he was about purity-of-action and how conscious he was of the problem of imitating Vader; he seemed... resigned, if not completely comfortable, about the moral risks of his own actions, but if anything was pressed down in his subconscious, I'd say that was that the applicability of the same critique to Luke and Jacen, all the more dangerous because they didn't have the same awareness of the problem (I personally think his attitude was on target, but I'd immediately concede that all this was filtered through the POV of a teenager, and think you can shift to a more subjective interpretation without affecting the integrity of characterization).

    So, in short, I think Chewie was misdirection, and what we see in SbS was the cumulative stress of trying to keep on side with his uncle and his brother, perhaps compounded by a reluctance to let himself and Tahiri turn into a reprise of CLONE WARS Vadersokah. ;)

    To explain myself a little more clearly - when I talk about how much I like the A/T-on-Yavin-4-and-YV narrative of Conquest (which is also broadly identical to the story I infer was originally planned for VP), I'm not saying that I think that "should" have superseded the narrative that Jacen was given in the NJO - tbh, I don't think that the NJO could have really worked as-planned with Anakin Solo in the role eventually taken by Jacen (and I find Jacen an interesting character, and a character who was right for that role - the sequence Vader - Luke - Jacen is important here).

    To put this simply, Traitor is not Conquest - there are two narratives here, and the problem of the NJO is an attempt to deny that fact.

    I also think that the enforced absence of Anakin was ultimately bad for Jacen, not least for forcing Jacen into a role which he really wasn't fitted for.

    I suppose I'd ask you this - are you okay with the idea of us settling for that sort of disagreement, or do you think that an acknowledgement of Jacen's rightness is important?

    How would you view an ending for TUF where Jacen's narrative is the same but Anakin, although grateful for his brother's rescue of Jaina, is completely disrespectful of the "Forcegasm", counterbalancing Jacen's sense of vindication - nothing has changed between them since the start of VP, but that doesn't matter, because the reader can choose which Solobrat to agree with, and Jacen can keep on being himself.

    Dathomiri rancor cavalry. :D

    Kashyyyk is in the NJO. Not that we actually see them on the surface much, but the place hasn't really changed since the Holiday Special, so there was no huge continuity issue there.

    And I worry that Naboo was overused already after TPM, but now you have me imagining YV vs. Gungans, which if done well would be awesome, and if done badly would probably still be hilarious.

    I would worry that more books would end up creating narrative confusion and wobbly retcons (as opposed to the ones I want to see :p ). That said, I know Zahn has said he wanted to write the Empire of the Hand's role in the whole thing, which I certainly wouldn't be against. And I wouldn't mind reading more by Stackpole. Or Tyers. Or... well, you get the idea...

    At this point, Han, Lando, Booster and Karrde start making throat-clearing noises and try to look innocent. Mara rolls her eyes and pretends she isn't with them. Wedge self-consciously adjusts his general's tabs. Jag and Zekk put on their best not-a-space-pirate-really faces. Mirax hides some artworks. Corran does his best to look like a cop. Kyp feels strangely hypocritical. Alema Rar hides her IRS forms. Nawarra Ven invites everyone aboard his pirate ship and offers helpful legal advice.

    At the risk of taking this more seriously - and widening the reply to include @Darth Invictus and @Noash_Retrac and @Iron_lord and @Gamiel and @Anedon as well... I think you've all hit on a very good point here...

    Possibly, Rodan was viewing the whole thing in terms of "vested interests" - he's well aware that Incom are giving away free X-wings to the Jedi to go and shoot people without much due process, but he's equally aware that the Jedi are also unlikely to go after the really big smuggling operations, for the simple reason that Luke's married to Karrde's former secretary and Corran's married to Booster's daughter and Leia's married to Lando's old buddy. And even Kyp is very much a protégé of Han.

    Any pretence of these people being legitimate businessmen is dropped like a cloak (of the Thrawn sort, not the Lando sort) when they drop a pirate fleet on the Vong at Yavin 4.

    Quite whether Luke is actually conscious of this set of contradictions, I'm less sure (I certainly don't think he'd ever be suspicious enough to ask himself if the Jade Shadow is a bribe), and I can believe that Kyp is naive enough not to realise the contradictions to his bid for legitimacy (and I now find the resulting subtext for why Corran doesn't like him hilarious), and I'm pretty certain that the mainline Defence Force, being fundamentally Ackbar's organization, is not well-disposed to Karrde or Booster...

    ... but even so, there's a lot here which explains the problem of the position that the Jedi are in. I'd imagine that if Rodan was allowed to review the Jedi Order's accounts, he'd ask questions about why a prominent underworld-connected businessman was making a gift of an armed yacht to the Grand Master's ex-smuggler wife, and why the Jedi are using the Galaxy's largest pirate ship / mobile shadowport as a staging area, base and training ground...

    We just don't notice this so much because of the way the story has been told.

    And now I'm also thinking of how much the tensions implied at the start of VP - or even back in HttE - worked out later on as the Alliance fell apart under the weight of the wider contradictions...

    - The Imperial Ewok
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
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  17. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    It took me awhile to understand what you were saying but no I don't think I would like that. Jacen is vindicated when he defeats Onimi in the way he does-not in a lightsaber duel or throwing rocks or lightning at him but because of Jacen's humility, empathy, and mystical connection/understanding of the unifying force.

    That scene alone vindicates Jacen's philosophy and his journey as a character.

    In some alternate universe where Anakin survives and he disrespects or downplays this-I would consider that extremely bad on Anakin.

    I guess when it comes to that scene in TUF I give it a lot of thematic, character, and mystical weight-as something cosmically and yet internally and personally significant.
     
  18. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

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    Sep 2, 2012
    @Thrawn McEwok I know of a NJO fanfic story that had Rancor cavalry during their Battle of Coruscant.
     
  19. Thrawn McEwok

    Thrawn McEwok Co-Author: Essential Guide to Warfare star 6 VIP

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    May 9, 2000
    As you know, I don't feel TUF is an objective vindication of Jacen's POV (do you seriously believe that transcendant empathy would offer no better option than murdering a mentally-ill cripple?)... but rather than rehashing that debate, I'm going to ask whether your Jacen can continue to love and accept a brother who - while loving him back - just doesn't feel his sense of mystical vindication...?

    Because isn't that the bigger step into a wider world? ;)

    [face_peace]

    @Force Smuggler - unfortunately, even though my random Ewok-sidekick role on WARFARE was a long time back, and I'm well out of any sort of official loop these days, I have to pretend I don't know what fanfic is...

    :p

    - The Imperial Ewok
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  20. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    Onimi is kind of a joker/kreia/misotheist. He is crazy and he is deformed but that doesn't mean he wasn't the ultimate villain of the series-he was the one responsible for the Vong invasion.

    He is pitiable but no less villainous.

    I think Jacen would still love Anakin but he would be greatly distraught that Anakin did not accept what was in front of his eyes-Jacen achieving something through his own approach and "relationship" if you will with the force.

    It would probably create a permanent wedge between them.

    I'm not sure how Anakin denying or downplaying Jacen's mystical moment of shining glory is a step into a broader world can you explain what you mean by that?
     
  21. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

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    Jul 19, 1999
    Should have had the Battle of Dornea.

    But conflict! We need conflict! Having a multi-billion army of biotech sadomasochists invade isn't enough, must put the knife into Guvmint!
     
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  22. Noash_Retrac

    Noash_Retrac Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 14, 2006
    It took nearly 15 years to get an explanation to Etahn A'baht's absence following Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse :(. Would've been good if Force Heretic dealt with this instead of the various side quests of the OT trio.
     
  23. Thrawn McEwok

    Thrawn McEwok Co-Author: Essential Guide to Warfare star 6 VIP

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    May 9, 2000
    I'm not completely convinced by that. But that's another discussion...

    The big step I'm talking about would not be Anakin being difficult, but Jacen overcoming his desire for Anakin to as you say "accept" his sense of meaning, and Jacen being able to accept instead that the difference of POV is okay...

    That, IMHO, is the victory that Jacen always needed, and never achieved...

    (... and speaking personally, Anakin being sincerely unable to give that assent seems like a realistic POV to me, because I'm hesitant about your interpretation of the novel - that is not in any way meant as a hostile statement, just an illustration of how someone else's position can sincerely differ)...

    At this point, you should imagine an Ewok putting some ketchup on a kayak. ;)

    In the context of A'baht going back to Dornea and stopping the YV there, I suppose the question that should be asked here - and this is a tricky question - is this: does anyone actually regard the YV as genuinely "unstoppable", or do you all attribute their success at least partially to NRDF ineptitude...?

    Speaking of the Force Heretic trilogy, though, I'm reminded that the original idea seems to have been to have Stackpole write what became that part of the storyline - I would have liked to see that...

    - The Imperial Ewok
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  24. Noash_Retrac

    Noash_Retrac Jedi Master star 4

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    Nov 14, 2006
    Considering the New Republic rose to power quickly, not just through diplomacy and collapse of Imperial leaders, but also through impossible battles (when the entire fleet was used and they weren't going against a tactical genius like Thrawn). Fey'lya was just as much to blame, he largely sidelined Kre'fey (who vanished after NJO - Denning's result I assume) and not recall Ackbar or Drayson or at least put someone who knew what they were doing. Admittedly the Bothan did try at Coruscant to steer the battle by firing Sovv and putting Bel Iblis more or less in charge but the commanders refused to fire on the refugee shield ships the Vong were using or perhaps stopped to consider getting commandos onto those ships to get the Vong off either. Coruscant was lost and indeed the New Republic because Fey'lya's ego refused to allow his former rivals back to actually win the war. It should've been clear from Ithor that the Vong have no respect for rules of engagement so I don't know why Sovv and Brand bothered with the Corellia trap. Even A'baht, the last Ackbar-era flag officer, was against it because the Vong were too clever to fall on it and Intelligence had already failed to understand their enemy. Admittedly, the GA lost the war because of the HoloNet being taken down and their stupid desire to use biological weapons when clearly the fallout would've been much worse. The real winners of the war, ironically, were the Empire, which annoys me to no end.
     
  25. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    For me Jacen's transformation is his vindication. Jacen was always compassionate but like any philosopher he was also interested in truth and that experience would tell him he found it. At least that's my take.