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The Star Wars Canon Dispatch: August 2016

The Star Wars Canon Dispatch: August 2016

StarWarsTCE

The Star Wars Canon Dispatch
August 2016

Welcome to The Star Wars Canon Dispatch, an unofficial monthly contextual look at the recent and upcoming releases in Star Wars storytelling. The last four weeks of Star Wars have been full of news and excitement, but not much has been released in terms of consumable stories. On the heels of Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt, the influx of stories slowed a bit. However, several new Star Wars stories are on the horizon.

Recent Releases (July 16-August 15)

Darth Vader 23Darth Vader, Issue #023: End of Games, Part IV
Kieron Gillen, writer / Salvador Larroca, artist
Comic Book by Marvel Comics
July 20, 2016

Time Frame: Between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, following the events of Darth Vader, Issue #022.

Canon Influence: This story continues to transition Darth Vader from the Emperor’s enforcer lead by Grand Moff Tarken and others, to the leader of an entire Imperial armada in Empire Strikes Back. The villain of this story arc, Dr. Cylo, reveals the power he has over Darth Vader.

Companion Stories: Darth Vader, Issues #020-#022 are essential reads, but if you want the complete story, look back to the entire Darth Vader series, including the Annual and the issues crossed over into Star Wars (#013 & #014). For those who want to go even further, read Star Wars, Issues #001-#019, which parallel this series and can provide extra depth.

StarWars21Star Wars, Issue #021: The Last Flight of the Harbinger, Part I
Jason Aaron, writer / Jorge Molina, artist
Comic Book by Marvel Comics
July 20, 2016

Time Frame: Between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, following the events of Star Wars, Issue #019.

Canon Influence: This issue, told from the perspective of the Empire, introduces us to a small squad of specialty Stormtroopers, further adding to the diversity that is sometimes lacking from the Empire’s on-screen appearance. The story also reinforces how rare Jedi artifacts, such as a lightsaber, are to the average galactic citizen.

Companion Stories: This story has a life of its own, but one of its characters has his origins in the Star Wars comic arc “Showdown on the Smugglers’ Moon” (Issues #008-#012).

The Force Awakens 2The Force Awakens, Issue #002
Chuck Wendig, writer / Luke Ross, artist
Comic Book by Marvel Comics
July 23, 2016

Time Frame: Retelling the events of Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Canon Influence: This issue serves as a fun retelling of the events of the movie, however there is only one page that draws a connection beyond itself.  When Ray says “You’re Han Solo?” and Han responds “I used to be” we see flashes of Han’s heroic acts which include (1) him on a tauntaun on Hoth, (2) running away from the exploding shield generator on Endor and (3) the liberation of Kashyyyk from Aftermath: Life Debt.

Companion Stories: Aside from its previous issue, as long as you are familiar with the film, this comic will read well.  However, if you are not familiar with the film, the comic may seem a bit rushed or disjointed.

Darth Vader, Issue #024: End of Games, Part VDarth Vader 24
Kieron Gillen, writer / Salvador Larroca, artist
Comic Book by Marvel Comics
August 10, 2016

Time Frame: Between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, following the events of Darth Vader, Issue #023.

Canon Influence: In this issue of Darth Vader, we see Vader destroy any piece of Anakin Skywalker that remains.  This is a critical turning point for Vader’s character that helps define who he is in The Empire Strike Back and Return of the Jedi as well as retroactively defining his ongoing struggle that we see in previous media.

Companion Stories: Darth Vader, Issues #020-#023 are essential reads.  Given the context of this story, the season finale of Star Wars Rebel’s season 2, which takes place well before this issue, may provide some added depth.


Upcoming Releases (August 16 – September 15)

Rebels Magazine 6“Becoming Hunted”
Martin Fisher, writer / Bob Molesworth, artist
“Assessment”
Martin Fisher, writer / Ingo Romling, artist
Comic Stories in Rebels Magazine #6 by Titan Magazines
August 16, 2016

Know Before You Read: These comic stories take place during the timeframe of Star Wars Rebels and stand on their own, with no real knowledge needed to enjoy them, beyond knowing who the characters of Rebels are. I do not believe they will be an essential read unless you are a completionist.

STWPOE2016005Poe Dameron, Issue #005: Lockdown, Part II
Charles Soule, writer / Phil Noto, artist
Comic Book by Marvel Comics
August 17, 2016

Know Before You Read: Taking place prior to the events of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Poe is on a mission: to find Lor San Tekka. You can prepare yourself by reading Issues #001-#004, while context from Poe’s story in Before the Awakening could provide some added depth to your reading of this issue.  For a complete look, you can go back to Star Wars Issues #008-#012 which is the first canon appearance of the non-Imperial antagonist in this story arc.

The Force Awakens 3The Force Awakens, Issue #003
Chuck Wendig, writer / Luke Ross, artist
Comic Book by Marvel Comics
August 24, 2016

Know Before You Read: This continues the retelling of Episode VII: The Force Awakens in comic book form.  Having seen the film prior to reading this issue will provide added context to the story and art.

Star Wars 22Star Wars, Issue #022: The Last Flight of the Harbinger, Part II
Jason Aaron, writer / Jorge Molina, artist
Comic Book by Marvel Comics
August 24, 2016

Know Before You Read: Taking place between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, we expect this story to stand on its own given the way the previous issue ended.  For added depth, check out Star Wars Issues #008-#012, and #021.

Blade Squardon“Blade Squadron: Kuat”
David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams
Short Story in Star Wars Insider #168 by Titan Magazine
August 30, 2016

Know Before You Read: This was revealed as a tie-in to Aftermath: Life Debt, taking place after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.  The mentions of Kuat that I’ve found are in Chapter 6, 12, 25, and 31, so perhaps skimming of those chapters would be useful.  Also beneficial would be going back and reacquainting yourself with the characters from the previous three “Blade Squadron” short stories (Insider #149, #150, #160).  The first two are available on starwars.com (Part I and Part II).

HanSolo3Cover1Han Solo, Issue #003
Marjorie Liu, writer / Mark Brooks, artist
Comic Book by Marvel Comics
August 31, 2016

Know Before You Read: Taking place between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, not much more context is needed beyond Issues #001 and #002. Han Solo has found himself “undercover” in the starship race the Dragon Void Run, with a mission to collect rebel spies who have been hidden inside the Empire, but are now in danger.  Han himself has to deal with some… Imperial Entanglements.

STWPOE2016006_MAIN_REVPoe Dameron, Issue #006: Lockdown, Part III
Charles Soule, writer / Phil Noto, artist
Comic Book by Marvel Comics
September 7, 2016

Know Before You Read: Taking place prior to the events of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Poe is on a mission: to find Lor San Tekka. More will be known after Issue #005 has been released.

Finn's StoryFinn’s Story
Jesse J. Holland, author / Brian Rood, illustrator
Children’s Book by Disney-Lucasfilm Press
September 13, 2016

Know Before You Read: This is yet another retelling of the events of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, but this time, from the perspective of Finn.  Context from Finn’s story in Before the Awakening could provide some added depth to your reading of this book.  This could be a quick, fun read, though only recommended for the younger audience and the completionist out there.

The Force Awakens 4The Force Awakens, Issue #004
Chuck Wendig, writer / Luke Ross, artist
Comic Book by Marvel Comics
September 14, 2016

Know Before You Read: This continues the retelling of Episode VII: The Force Awakens in comic book form.


On The Horizon

In case you missed any news, here are the Star Wars canon titles we are expecting beyond September 16, 2016 (dates subject to change):

  • 9/27/16 – Star Wars: Complete Locations (Reference Book – DK Publishing) (Pre-order here)
  • 10/11/16 – Ahsoka (YA Novel – Disney-Lucasfilm Press) (Pre-order here)
  • 10/18/16 – Rebels Magazine #7 (Comic Stories – Titan Magazine)
  • 10/25/16 – Star Wars Propaganda (Reference Book – Harper Design) (Pre-order here)
  • 10/25/16 – “Turning Point” [Insider #169] (Short Story –Titan Magazine)
  • 11/1/16 – Poe Dameron: Flight Log (Children’s Book – Studio International Fun) (Pre-order here)
  • 11/15/16 – Rogue One: Catalyst (Novel – Del Rey) (Pre-order here)
  • 11/30/16 – Adventures in Wild Space #1 & #2 (Children’s Book – Disney-Lucasfilm Press) (Pre-order Book 1 here, and Book 2 here)
  • 1/31/17 – Aftermath: Empire’s End (Novel – Del Rey) (Pre-order here)
  • 4/11/17 – Thrawn (Novel – Del Rey) (Pre-order here)
  • The Force Awakens, Issues #004-#006 (Comic – Marvel)
  • Han Solo, Issues #004-#005 (Comic – Marvel)
  • Darth Vader, Issue #025 (Comic – Marvel)
  • Star Wars, ongoing (Comic – Marvel)
  • Poe Dameron, ongoing (Comic – Marvel)
  • “Voices of the Empire” [Insider #170] (Short Story –Titan Magazine)
  • “Blade Squadron: Jakku” [Insider TBD] (Short Story –Titan Magazine)

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 jbrame@coffeewithkenobi.com.

There are stories about what happened… #itstrueallofit

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