I’m launching a new companion feature to The Exhaust Port called After the Port. Not going to do one for every episode, but if I feel like more explanation and exploration of a topic we cover is needed I’m gonna post a follow-up article.
We covered a ton of stuff in the Star Wars Book Club podcast on the Aftermath trilogy this week, and I feel like the Book Club podcasts are certainly geared towards the fans and listeners who’ve actually read the material. In light of that I’ve decided to do a companion piece to fill in some gaps for you guys. First off, I want to reiterate that the story that unfolds in the Aftermath books is incredible, like really incredible. Author Chuck Windig did an amazing job with character development as well as picking up the story immediately after Return of the Jedi, essentially rebooting the entire Star Wars canon in the process.
As Dave, Katrina, and I referenced, the characters of Jas Emari, Sinjir Rath Velus, Mister Bones, and Gallius Rax will go down as all-time greats, and I particularly feel the same way about Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, although as referenced in the podcast there were mixed feelings in the group in regards to her character and arc. I’m going to cover and clarify a few key moments and reveals from the books, things that were covered in the podcast but possibly need clarification – especially if you didn’t read the books.
Norra Wexley’s role at the Battle of Endor:
Although we didn’t mention it in the podcast, Norra was not only at the Battle of Endor, she was in a Y-Wing that accompanied Lando and Wedge into the Death Star in what ultimately resulted in it’s destruction. Thought that was a key moment and we passed it over, not to mention we kind of crushed Norra as a mother and this fact may help to soften that blow. Or not. You decide.
First mentioned in Aftermath (the first book), the Operator was introduced as a shadowy informant to the New Republic. It is revealed in Life Debt that the Operator is in fact Gallius Rax, as he was playing both sides in an effort to ensure the Emperor’s Contingency Plan would be put into effect. And now that I’ve mentioned it…
The Contingency Plan:
In Empire’s End, we get an amazing prologue in which Gallius Rax visits with Emperor Palpatine aboard the second Death Star, prior to the Battle of Endor. Palpatine reveals that Luke Skywalker has created a shatterpoint in the Force and he doesn’t have a clear sense of the future. He tells Rax to prepare and get everything in order. Essentially the Contingency Plan was Palpatine’s way of ensuring his Empire would not outlive him, and would in-effect end the Empire in the event of his demise. Gotta love Palpatine… The crux of the plan was the Jakku Observatory, a facility on the barren planet that Palpatine and his Adviser, Yupe Tashu, had constructed 30 years prior to the events in Return of the Jedi, so essentially four or five years into his Chancellorship, but BEFORE he was Emperor, I feel that’s important to note. Gallius Rax, (then simply Galli) a native boy from Jakku, was tasked with guarding the Observatory for ten years, until Palpatine returned and took Rax back with him to Coruscant. In a nutshell, the Contingency would culminate in the destruction of the planet of Jakku, as well as the remnants of the Empire and the New Republic, leaving only Rax and a few selection Imperials to venture into the Unknown Regions and start anew.
We briefly mentioned the Chess-like game that Palpatine played with Galli when they were journeying to Coruscant after his departure from Jakku and the Observatory. Without going into too much detail, the main pieces focused on were the Imperator and the Outcast, with Palpatine obviously being the Imperator. If he falls, the game is over, which is a metaphor for what will come to pass in the Contingency Plan. The Outcast was just that, an outcast. During the events of Empire’s End, it’s clear that Rax began to think of himself as the Imperator, although with his last breaths he realized he would always be the Outcast.
Yeah, he’s awesome. During the podcast Dave sent Katrina a pic of Bones, do you wanna see what he looks like? Cool.
The Emperor’s Sentinel Droids:
We mentioned these guys, but I figured I’d give you a little more info on them here, especially in light of a more photo-realistic image that was revealed during the new Battlefront II gameplay teaser. The Sentinels were humanoid droids, with heads that resembled a smooth glass dome. The dome was capable of projecting Emperor Palpatine’s face and would play pre-recorded messages, all in preparation of the Contingency Plan. For the most part they were simply that – pre-programmed messengers visiting various Imperial Officers and the like. However, the ones reserved for use by Gallius Rax were capable of more free-thinking, assisting him in the carrying out of the Contingency. Below are two looks at them – one from the Battlefront II teaser mentioned above, a second from the Shattered Empire comic series (highly recommended, by the way), which was their first appearance.
Yes, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I had fan-casted a film trilogy based on the Aftermath books in my Canon Casting series. Below is the gallery to the entire main cast. I received a ton of feedback on Twitter and my inbox when I launched this one – especially praising my choices for Norra, Jas, and Gallius. Feels good to be appreciated!
In closing, the Aftermath trilogy is a great read, and the sweeping story is engaging and true to the feel of the Star Wars we love on screen. And thanks again to Dave Bartholomew and Katrina Canipe for sitting down and rambling with me for two hours about it!