Expanding the Empire
Issue #132 preview!
Author Ryder Windham explores how Episode V made its mark on the Expanded Universe in the latest issue's 'A Certain Point of View' feature. Here's an extract...
Most fans know, the Star Wars saga isn't limited to the six-part movie series. Hundreds of books, comics, and games have featured Star Wars stories set before, during, between, or beyond the movies, and such stories have come to be known as the Expanded Universe (EU). Some EU stories incorporate very specific situations from the movies, while others are relatively incidental, but all can be appreciated for taking us into new directions in the Star Wars galaxy.
Early in The Empire Strikes Back, we learn Jabba the Hutt has made good on his threat to place a bounty on smuggler Han Solo for failing to pay a debt. When Princess Leia expresses dismay over Han's unexpected decision to leave the Rebels on the ice planet Hoth so he can pay off Jabba, Han replies, "Well, the bounty hunter we ran into on Ord Mantell changed my mind." That single sentence inspired a slew of EU tales!
The first was "In Mortal Combat," the feature story in Marvel Comics' Star Wars #37, which hit newsstands several weeks before the release of Empire. Scripted by Archie Goodwin, who was simultaneously editing and writing Marvel's six-issue adaptation of Empire, "In Mortal Combat" ends with Jabba reinstating the bounty on Han's head (Jabba had previously called off the bounty in Star Wars #28); Solo immediately defeats an unnamed bounty hunter on an unidentified planet. Although it's left to the reader to imagine whether this incident occurred on Ord Mantell, Goodwin's awareness of details in Empire's then-secret screenplay certainly influenced the story.
The following year, Goodwin became the official writer of the Star Wars syndicated comic strip (he had previously ghosted a few serials). Because he could only imagine what would happen in the upcoming sequel that would eventually be named Return of the Jedi, and also because he hoped to avoid continuity problems, Goodwin decided to set his comic strip serials between the events of A New Hope and Empire. This allowed Goodwin to build stories around three events related to Empire: the construction of Darth Vader's gigantic flagship, the Alliance's discovery of Hoth, and Vader's ongoing hunt for Luke Skywalker.
Category: Features | Posted on: 13 March 2012