Preview the opening chapter of Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens
As a means of bridging the gap between Return of the Jedi and the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney is releasing a series of Expanded Universe novels under the umbrella of “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The first book, “Star Wars Aftermath” by Chuck Wendig, will arrive on September 4, and now Entertainment Weekly has provided a sneak peak at the opening chapter detailing what happened immediately after the destruction of the second Death Star and ultimate demise of Darth Vader and The Emperor.
“Our rebellion is over. But the war … the war is just beginning,” says Admiral Ackbar.
The prelude begins right where the original trilogy ends, with the famous Special Edition shot of a crowd tearing down a statue of Emperor Palpatine on Coruscant, except in this new telling the victorious celebration didn’t last long.
“And then: The whooping of klaxons. Red lights strobe. Three airspeeders swoop down from the traffic lanes above—Imperial police. Red-and- black helmets. The glow of their lights reflected back in their helmets. There comes no warning. No demand to stand down. The laser cannons at the fore of each airspeeder open fire. Red bolts sear the air. The crowd is cut apart. Bodies dropped and stitched with fire.”
The story then segues into a new POV, that of a familiar rebel pilot by the name of Wedge Antilles (played by Denis Lawson in the Original Trilogy), who believes that the wounded Empire might be regrouping away from the Core systems in the Outer Rim territories.
“Wedge told Ackbar, Mon Mothma: ‘Could be that’s where they are again. Hiding out there.’ Ackbar said that it made some sense. After all, didn’t Mustafar hold some importance to the Imperial leadership? Rumors said that’s where Vader took some of the Jedi long ago. Torturing them for information before their execution.”
Wedge is exploring a planet called Akiva when his little Starhopper ship has a run-in with Imperial Admiral Rae Sloane (introduced in the 2014 EU novel “A New Dawn” by John Jackson Miller) aboard the star destroyer Vigilance. As it turns out, Wedge was right on target about the Empire’s presence on this planet, and it appears to be more critical than even he imagined, as the POV shifts to Sloane.
“The meeting on Akiva cannot misfire. It must take place. It must have a result. Everything feels on the edge, the entire Empire standing on the lip of the pit, the ledge crumbling away to scree and stone.”
This preview ends on a cliffhanger involving the fate of Wedge after his ship is pulled into the Vigilance via tractor beam.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and features a new generation of swashbuckling heroes and shadowy villains, as well as the return of fan-favorite smugglers, princesses, and Jedi.
Starring Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker as their characters from the original trilogy, “The Force Awakens” also stars John Boyega as Finn, Daisy Ridley as Rey, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma. Also starring, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Crystal Clarke, Pip Anderson, Christina Chong and Miltos Yerolemou. The J.J. Abrams-directed film will debut in theaters on December 18, 2015.