Mercurial Swift And Narrative Layers in Aftermath
Please note, the following contains minor spoilers for Aftermath, Aftermath: Life Debt, and Aftermath: Empire’s End.
When Aftermath first came out, it was met with mixed reviews. The narrative structure, the density of the story, and the style employed by Chuck Wendig did not always sit well with everyone. There was also a feeling that it just was not impactful enough, considering that we have so little post-Return of the Jedi knowledge in the canon at the moment. Little did we know what seeds were being planted in this novel that would unfold throughout the series. Meet Mercurial Swift, who will serve as our example of narrative layers in this trilogy.
Mercurial Swift was first seen in an interlude in Aftermath, an interaction between him and the bounty hunter Dengar, where the two, engaged in battle, discussed the future of the Bounty Hunters. Dengar believed the bounty hunters needed to start working together, form a union of sorts, while Mercurial Swift believed he was better off alone, and refused any help or partnership with Dengar.
This, along with the thirteen other interludes in Aftermath were seen as superfluous, non-essential to the main narrative, and many either read them later or skipped them entirely. However, now we see that Chuck Wendig has the last laugh, as many, if not all of these interludes, have a narrative weight to them as the either provide some great back story to the main narrative or provide some sort of closure for other elements of Star Wars storytelling.
In Life Debt, Mercurial Swift, like many others, made the jump from interlude to main narrative, in his interaction with one of the antagonist, Rae Sloan. Chuck did not have to give us any back story, history, or characterization on this character, as he already provided it through the interlude in the previous novel. As a reader, this was an excitement moment to see this character intersect the main narrative.
And this was not the end for our Bounty Hunter, as the opening pages of Empire’s End brought us back to this individual, having fallen into the hands of our New Republic heroes on the planet Taris (yet another interlude intersection from Aftermath). And this time, it seems that his conversation with Dengar might finally have some resonance. Mercurial Swift may have finally learned the benefit of working with others, and sees the value in what Dengar proposed those many months ago.
Mercurial Swift is just one narrative layer that is part of the Aftermath trilogy. There are many intersections between interludes and the main narrative, from interlude to interlude, and with the rest of the canon. With one character, a short interlude, and a couple of brief appearances, we are able to see a picture of the current state of Bounty Hunting, the relationship between the Empire and those individuals, and meet a character who once was inconsequential to the narrative and the fates of our heroes to being a key point in the plot that propels Empire’s End into its main plot.
Next time you think about skipping over the interludes, remember Mercurial Swift.
Let me know your thoughts by posting in the comments below. You can find my coverage of #starwarscanon stories at my YouTube channel Star Wars: The Canon Explained. I can be found on Twitter (@starwarstce) and Instagram (@starwarstce), and you can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a fan of Star Wars: Destiny, I run The Chance Cube – A Star Wars: Destiny Podcast, a site and podcast dedicated to exploring the game and its fans.
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