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Lit Tom Veitch's original plan for Anakin Solo

Discussion in 'Literature' started by JediAvatar, May 27, 2021.

  1. JediAvatar

    JediAvatar Jedi Knight star 1

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    Jun 11, 2020
    "My idea was to call him 'Anakin' because he would embody both the light and dark aspects of the Skywalker lineage and suffer great inner conflict in his life," writes Veitch. "As it turned out, this was how [Lawrence] Kasdan and [J.J.] Abrams came to visualize Han and Leia’s son Ben aka Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. In their story, the Dark Side takes over the personality of Ben Solo."

    Veitch continues, "My idea was to explore the Light Side of the Force as far as we could go. And if you know your Joseph Campbell, awakening the Light is what he is all about. The 'Dark Side' is secondary to him. The hero’s journey is into the Light."

    Veitch seems to have a certain amount of regret over how Anakin's arc was handled in later EU projects, as the character never truly grappled with his inner darkness in the way his brother Jacen would in the Legacy of the Force series. By that point Anakin had already been killed off, with the character repaying a debt to his dead uncle Chewbacca and making a heroic sacrifice in the climax of 2001's The New Jedi Order: Star by Star.

    "My plan was that the Light Side would win out in Anakin after inner battles between the two sides of his being," writes Veitch. "As I understand it, subsequent writers chose to make the Light Side consistently strong in Anakin, and that he died a hero. I have no problem with that, but a lot of stories about Anakin’s inner conflict didn’t get told!"
    -- Tom Veitch


    Even though I like Anakin Solo in NJO, the series never really dealt much with his inner darkness, which is a shame. Instead his entire conflict was survivors guilt, which he did eventually get over only to be subsequently killed off halfway through the series.

    Having Anakin be a conventional hero did work well for the NJO series and Anakin was a good character, but Veitch's plan for Anakin would have been so much better in my opinion.

    I know some people would argue that he got over his fear of the dark side in Junior Jedi Knights Anakin's Quest but I don't really think a character's inner conflict could be solved just by taking a visit to the Dagobah cave, as we've seen with Luke. Plus that was just Anakin realising that his name didn't mean that he would fall to the dark side, and Veitch's plan was to do with the internal conflict which could still arise in future as Anakin was only 11 or 12 in the JJK series. People do change with puberty after all.

    In a scenario where Anakin Solo survived the NJO series, should Veitch have been in charge of planning his character arc for that series and beyond? I think there could have been some really interesting possibilities had the writers taken this direction with Anakin Solo.
     
  2. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 9, 2016
    Tom Veitch...Influencing Star Wars to this day

    @JediAvatar

    Where is this interview from?
     
  3. JediAvatar

    JediAvatar Jedi Knight star 1

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    Jun 11, 2020
  4. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

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    Jun 29, 2003
    I guess the question here is -- in what manner did Veitch envision Anakin Solo going "dark"? He doesn't particularly say in the article. Lucas did it well with Vader-Anakin, but he spent a lot of time in the buildup. I don't think Jacen or Kylo's trips to the dark side were done well at all (despite Kylo being a pretty fun villain, irrespective of his Skywalker connection and more of the General Grievous caliber). Anakin Solo never particularly did anything bad ever, so I don't see what the plan was.
     
  5. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

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    Nov 12, 2012
    didn't Tom Veitch only write Anakin as a fetus and a baby that Palpatine tried to eat? That's like a hellova arc for "waa waaa" he planned.
     
  6. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 9, 2016
    None of the Skywalker trip to the dark side are that great to be honest.
     
  7. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    I always felt the angst over his name to be a rather poor story concept. It made him look either shallow or rather pathetic honestly(which Anakin isn't). If anything Anakin is such a paladin of moral certainty and devotion to the light, that I find him falling rather hard to believe in just about any circumstance.
     
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  8. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 9, 2016
    Well maybe that's because they didn't go with his plan to develop him that way.
     
  9. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Aug 8, 2016
    Well that wasn’t how he was developed in either late Bantam or the NJO at all. So it seems like it was just an idea in Veitch’s mind.
     
  10. JediAvatar

    JediAvatar Jedi Knight star 1

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    Jun 11, 2020
    Anakin was only a child in Bantam though. It seems reasonable that he could change and develop an internal conflict. And as I stated in my initial post it wouldn’t have anything to do with his name, just an internal conflict that would develop in his teen years. Pre teens don’t really have any so I can see this making sense.

    Let’s not forget that YJK Jacen and NJO Jacen are essentially completely different characters. Jacen goes from an optimistic jokester to a moody contemplative philosophiser. And the time between Crisis at Crystal Reef and Vector Prime is only a few months. I could argue that YJK didn’t develop Jacen to end up how he did in NJO and beyond, so I don’t really buy into the notion of Veitch’s ideas not being compatible with Bantam because they had him act like a good kid.

    Yes it was just an idea in Veitch’s mind, and as I said in my initial post, I was wondering how it would work in an alternate timeline that disregards everything post YJK.

    I think if Veitch or other writers wanted to take this direction with Anakin Solo in an alternate post YJK then it could work really well.
     
  11. wmu'14

    wmu'14 Jedi Master star 3

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    Sep 8, 2012
    I had thought the wider plan was for Anakin to turn/get darker, but then either Del-Ray or Lucas himself blocked it b/c the PT was coming out at the time & they didn't want people to confuse Anakin Solo w/ Anakin Skywalker. So they swapped Anakin's proposed arc w/ Jacen.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2021
  12. Vthuil

    Vthuil Force Ghost star 5

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    Jan 3, 2013
    No, in the original outline for what became the NJO, the villains were Sith and Anakin was prophesied to defeat them. Lucas's objection was to having a second hero named Anakin with a prophecy about defeating the Sith. Turning to the dark side never factored in one way or another. (As I've expounded upon ad nauseam, post-NJO Jacen's arc was not planned upon during the writing of the NJO).
     
  13. wmu'14

    wmu'14 Jedi Master star 3

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    Sep 8, 2012
    I understand Jacen's arc in LotF was not planned during the NJO's writing.
     
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  14. Vorax

    Vorax Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Jun 10, 2014
    Lucas' outline would've featured an earlier version of what would become the Kylo Ren storyline, basically the fact that the villain was to be revealed as Han and Leia’s son. Lucas divulged that he would've been seduced and corrupted by Darth Talon under orders from Darth Maul.

    Possible place holder names for that Solo child was Sam or Skylar and maybe some others. In any event, likely the series would've been similar to the PT with Anakin turning and the ST with the heroine vs the Dark Side Solo whom likely would've been redeemed. So similarities to Anakin were there by 2012/2013. But Anakin Solo is not really a farfetched name, the events of Dark Empire could've also happened before Lucas' ST anyway.
     
  15. JediAvatar

    JediAvatar Jedi Knight star 1

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    Jun 11, 2020
    Anyway, I think you could set up Anakin’s internal conflict pretty nicely in an alternate post YJK timeline.

    Have it so Anakin feels as though he is constantly in the shadow of Jacen and Jaina. Given their accomplishments at this point; defeating the Shadow Academy, Diversity Alliance and Black Sun, I don’t see this as being a far fetched concept.

    During the Vong War (which I’d push forward to take place 29ABY-33ABY), have Anakin trying to live up to the status of his siblings, as well as his parents and uncle. Combine this with the war bringing out his dark side through him witnessing all the death and destruction the Vong bring, and him trying to avoid the darker path. During this alternate NJO story the light side within Anakin would be slowly growing weaker and his dark side growing stronger. The Yuuzhan Vong war would be a very good way to show this.

    After this you could do stories where Anakin’s dark side is more dominant, set around 39-41ABY with him being very confused and unsure of himself. He wouldn’t be evil or anything, I imagine it would be a mixture of Zuko’s arc from Avatar The Last Airbender, Luke in Dark Empire and Kylo Ren, minus the murdering of innocent people and his father. Of course Tahiri would most likely play a big part in helping to bring Anakin back to the light.

    I know that’s all kinda vague but it’s all I’ve got at the moment in terms of where you could take Anakin with Veitch’s idea in mind.

    For those also interested in Veitch’s idea for Anakin Solo, how do you think it could be done in a hypothetical alternate post YJK timeline?
     
  16. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

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    Jul 4, 2006
    I never liked Anakin Solo being given the name 'Anakin.' I do not understand what Leia was thinking. Why put that burden on the child? And for exactly the reason that Veitch identifies here as "interesting." Name a child to put the burden of the Dark Side on him? It's honestly an atrocious decision for a parent to make.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2021
  17. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

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    Jun 29, 2003
    Exactly this. I don't doubt what Veitch is saying is true, but as far as I know this is the first time in 25 years that he admitted he had other plans for him. And honestly I kind of liked how Anakin didn't spend his whole (brief) existence worrying about the sins of his grandfather. It would have been really predictable and boring. He was a great character without it.
    I think this is an unpopular opinion on this forum after seeing years of people's posts defending it (symbolism forgiveness etc etc), but... yeah, I totally agree. He did a whole lot more harm than good in his life, so there's no reason to honor his memory like that (or force your kid to carry that burden).
     
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  18. Jedimarine

    Jedimarine Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Feb 13, 2001
    I've always been ok with Leia's choice of name. We got some pretty good story pieces both before and after Anakin's birth with her coming to terms with who her father was. And remember, in the old EU, most people in the galaxy barely knew the name Vader, let alone Anakin, and next to none would put them together. So really the burden was internal to Leia, and perhaps Luke, and both had embraced their father's final redemption.

    That said.

    I think Veitch may have been hitting it a little hard on the nose drawing such a direct parallel between the 2 Anakins. It does pre-suppose the burden within a name, a curse of legacy. But as Anakin Solo developed, his character became less nuanced then his elder siblings...and often, THANKFULLY so. He provided a confidence and active personality that played foil to the more pensive heroes in the early NJO. In many ways I like that shared characteristic with his grandfather even more then Veitch's vision of a shared tightrope walk between light and dark.

    While I will never appreciate the choice to turn Jacen, I do understand the choice to do so, and in a way, it is perhaps the most unexpected when you consider the 3 children at say the midpoint of NJO:

    Anakin: Man of action and impulse.
    Jaina: Hotheaded and divisive .
    Jacen: Thoughtful, reluctant, reserved, almost passive.

    So they bring the most unlikely character of the 3 the furthest to shock the readership. It could be that extreme choice that makes it so controversial to this day.

    If Veitch's plan had played out, I think we all would have gone..."Well duh! Of course 'Anakin' is gonna dabble in the darkside."

    But even in his statement there, ultimately Anakin would be redeemed, so ultimately it is a status quo hero journey. They could've made a comic series about it and been done with it, and most people would just file it as a chapter of Anakin's life. Not exactly a shattering revelation or dramatic re-imagining.

    How about keeping the character around so we could have years of potential story paths like that, instead of thinning out the hero pool cause they didn't know what to do with 12 of them in one room.

    Star by Star was the first nail in the EU coffin.
     
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  19. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

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    Jul 4, 2006
    When you name a child, your first consideration ought to be "what is in the best interest of this child." There is simply no way that Anakin was well served well by having that name. Leia doesn't need to hang that millstone around her child's neck in the service of her relationship with her father. It's horribly selfish at best.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2021
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  20. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 9, 2016
    I find this is sorta part of the big Dark Empire/TTT Divide that sorta started the EU and how the TTT Zahn Stackpool stuff won out in the end. I might be wrong but this early EU behind the scenes stuff is always fascinating.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2021
  21. JediAvatar

    JediAvatar Jedi Knight star 1

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    Jun 11, 2020
    I feel like everyone is missing the point here. From an out of universe perspective Anakin’s name and the idea of having him embody the light and dark sides of the Skywalker family are linked. From an in universe perspective there is no link, hence why I was trying to theorise how this conflict could come about through a story in universe.

    Not to come across negative, but it seems like most people on this thread are only interested in talking about why they don’t like Anakin being called Anakin, instead of discussing how Veitch’s idea could work in a hypothetical alternate timeline that ignores post YJK and everything 1999 onwards for that matter.

    If you don’t like the name Anakin Solo then fair enough, but I’d rather everyone try and stay on the actual topic of the thread, how Veitch’s ideas could be incorporated in a hypothetical AU, and if this would be better for the character compared to what we actually ended up getting in NJO. If you wanna talk about his name then I’d suggest creating your own thread for that.
     
  22. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

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    Jun 29, 2003
    It was just a side convo of a few posts dude. We do that here. Demanding the thread stay consistently on the exact topic of the very first post is a Sisyphean task the mods suffer.:p
     
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  23. The Positive Fan

    The Positive Fan Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    Jan 19, 2015
    What I'm wondering is, if he'd thought so far ahead that he had a "plan" for Anakin Solo's future, what else did Veitch have "planned" in terms of future storytelling post-DE? What other ideas did he have in the hopper that might have seen the light of day had his vision won out over Zahn's and set the course for the EU?

    Did that book Veitch was writing about his time writing for Star Wars ever come out?
     
  24. JediAvatar

    JediAvatar Jedi Knight star 1

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    Jun 11, 2020
    You’re right threads always divert from the topic of the initial post, I can attest to doing this so my bad. Just to clarify I wasn’t angry or anything but I can see how it might have come across that way, so I apologise. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

    I think it was less to do with the fact that Zahn’s vision won over for the overreaching story of the Skywalkers/Solos and more to do with the fact that Veitch broke off from Lucasfilm for other reasons.

    As for what else he had planned, there was that vision Luke had in Dark Empire 2 with the Solo children as grown Jedi Knights, but Del Rey kinda killed that. Then again I imagine that everyone envisioned the Solo kids becoming Jedi so nothing unique on Veitch’s part there.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
  25. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Hangman Host - 11X Wacky Wednesday Winner star 10 VIP - Game Winner VIP - Game Host

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    Sep 2, 2012
    The Essential Guide to Warfare touched on it, as described in the endnotes:

    page 15

    The Yuuzhan Vong Invasion

    For readers who are surprised that this narrative places all three Solo kids on Yavin 4, the reference is to the scene implied towards the end of Edge of Victory: Conquest, where Karrde’s fleet touches down to rescue the vast number of slaves liberated from the concentration camp. It's also a reference to the final panel of the Dark Empire 2 comic, where Luke sees the bright future of the Jedi Order: the three Solo kids full grown, with Jedi cloaks and drawn lightsabers, and with typically “boxy” Rebel-style ships coming in low behind them. We never really saw that anywhere else in canon, and I knew that I wanted to fit it in somewhere.

    [​IMG]li
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2021