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Friday, October 27, 2006

Shadows of the Empire: ten years later

In 1996 Lucasfilm launched a unique project with the Star Wars saga called Shadows of the Empire. It was a massive multi-media event that involved action figures and toy vehicles, a videogame, a hardcover novel, a comic book series, a soundtrack CD... just about all the merchandising you'd expect to come out of a Star Wars movie. Except, there was no actual movie. Set in the one-year period between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Shadows of the Empire was the previously untold story of Luke, Leia, and Lando's search for the carbon-frozen Han Solo. Most of that had to do with following up on a myriad of leads about the location of Boba Fett. But there was also a secondary plot involving Xizor, who after the Emperor and Darth Vader is the third most powerful person in the galaxy, what with him being a bigger criminal mastermind than Jabba the Hutt. The entire storyline was told through all the associated memorabilia: the core story played out in the Steve Perry novel and the Dark Horse comic, but unless you played the videogame you didn't know the ultimate fate of Dash Rendar, the new Rebel character.

To mark the ten-year anniversary of Shadows of the Empire the official Star Wars website has published a retrospective of the project, including a list of all the stuff that came out under the title. One thing that is still remarkable about Shadows of the Empire: it's probably the first and only time that there was ever a soundtrack CD that was composed for a fictional book (and it's a very good soundtrack at that, in my humble opinion... well worth tracking down a copy).


Anonymous said...

Off Topic: I placed a link to your Ghost photos item on this thread:


And got a response on post 130:

Your reference to "The Top Ten Best Ghost Photographs" is neat. Mr. M's great...grandfather's second wife is the #10 photo, "The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall". There's a great site that has the Townshend family history. Click at the top of the page for "additional images" of the beautiful Raynham estate, including the cemetery. Also, about halfway down is a link to the wonderfully scary ghost story of the Brown Lady herself, Dorothy Walpole Townshend.

If I could remember how to post pics, I'd show Dorothy as she was in the flesh and um, not so fleshed out. Sorry, y'all will have to check out both sites for that.


Jenna St.Hilaire said...

I just read Shadows of the Empire for the first time recently. Didn't like Steve Perry's writing style quite as much as James Luceno's, but it was still very good and I really enjoyed it. But I thought Dash died in battle at the end. Did he live? I hated to see him go... it was almost like watching Goose die in Top Gun. Just a shorter scene.

A soundtrack for a book? What a good idea! For certain books, I would think that could go over big.

Chris Knight said...

Wow Jennifer, you DO move fast: just a few months ago you were watching the Star Wars movies for the first time... and now you've already read SOTE. That's something a LOT of the newer fans still haven't picked up yet :-)

Perry caught a LOT of flack back in the day about being the one who finally made Princess Leia undress, lol! Well, if you only read the novel or the comic then the last you see of Dash is his ship getting caught in the explosion. But if you played the Nintendo 64 game the very last scene is Dash and his droid in the Outrider after they had *just barely* escaped by the skin of their teeth. There's some dialogue between the two about going off for some new adventure, and that's the last you see of him in the official Shadows of the Empire storyline. But even though he's not mentioned by name, Dash is supposedly behind a lot of the help that the Rebels/New Republic get in the later books, especially during the New Jedi Order series.