Star Wars origin story for Grand Admiral Thrawn is as wonderful as I hoped

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Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/19/star-wars-origin-story-for-gra.html

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#2

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#3

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#4

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#5

I have a dear colleague who got his degree in Art History (despite gormless appeals for a more practical degree), and he has adopted Thrawn as his personal fictional hero. (y’see, Thrawn is depicted as using a civilization’s Art to figure out how to strategise against them)

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#6

Art History is one of those degrees that falls under the “Archer Academic Paradox Loop”

The main use of an Art History degree outside of college is to teach Art History to college students to train them to teach Art History to college students.

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#7

Hopefully, there’s no ysalamir as a plot crutch.

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#8

There’s only one worthy Admiral in Star Wars, one who never received the ending he deserved, much less an origin story. I needed to do something to feel better about that.

“Closure”

He awoke to a world on fire.

He lay sprawled on the cramped floor of the command deck’s life pod, bleeding and struggling for breath through lungs ravaged by the heat of the inferno that was engulfing the remaining scraps of his cruiser and lighting the inside of the pod with a flickering, mesmerizing brightness. He’d been unconscious, but he didn’t know how long. Seconds? Minutes? Not much longer, or this pod would be so much molten slag.

He didn’t have much time.

In the glow of the death of his command ship, the death of his career, the death of the struggle he had dedicated his life to, he groped for the launch handle and pulled, jettisoning the pod into the darkness of space, and his consciousness into even greater darkness.

He dreamt. He remembered.

He remembered nearly forty years of his life dedicated to the cause. Forty years of sacrifice to the greater good. Forty years of that sacrifice being ignored.

He remembered forty years of being a sidekick. Forty years of being the butt of jokes. Forty years of the greatest military mind the galaxy had produced in a generation being nothing more than a punchline.

And he remembered one final minute of betrayal, watching them rescue her, pulling her to safety before fleeing the savage, brutal attack that had destroyed the fleet, and with it, their hope. Abandoning him.

As the pod made its way to the nearest inhabited planet, he prepared for what would come next. He pulled the gold braid from his uniform’s lapels and pried the gems from the badges on his chest. As he worked, he was surprised that he felt no regret at destroying this uniform that was a written record of his life’s work, to any who knew how to read it. Instead, looking at it, unique among the fleet, he felt nothing so much as disgust. Disgust at how they had dressed him up, adorned him like an entertainer, and turned what should have been a celebration of his service into mockery.

It occurred to him that in many ways, they were just as bad as those they fought against. Perhaps worse, since they were disingenuous, while at least the enemy was honest in their hatred.

Six months later, he sat at a table in the back corner of a rough cantina on a remote world. The tatters of his uniform had provided him with the credits he’d needed to get off the backwater planet the pod had taken him to. Once he’d made it to a civilized sector of the galaxy, he had access to the millions of credits they’d used to finance their futile resistance, as well as their communications channels and protocols. Then, it was just a matter of putting the pieces into play, and waiting.

Now, it was time to see if his months of planning would pay off. Would she come? Although it was already past the planned meeting time, he expected to have to wait for some time longer. He had prepared himself for disappointment, and wasn’t worried. He had another plan if this one failed. Any good officer always has a backup. He tried to get the bartender’s attention to order a drink, but as he raised his hand, he saw her step in the door and glance around. With unexpected relief, he turned his gesture into a half-wave, and she headed toward him.

She stood in front of him, looking much the same as when he’d last seen her. He looked much different, he knew, the burns and shrapnel having transformed his face into something grotesque and unrecognizable. “Who are you?” she demanded. “How did you know to contact us?”

He pulled off the hood cloaking his face, and met her eyes.

“Hello, Princess,” he said.

Her eyes widened. “You’re alive? How? What is this?” she asked, her voice shaking.

“This?” He shrugged. “It’s a trap.”

The former Admiral squeezed the trigger of the blaster he had been holding under the table, and smiled as her crumpled body fell to the floor.

As chaos erupted, and the guards she’d planted in the crowd bore down on him, far too late to do any good, he raised his blaster and thought of the seas.

RIP Admiral Ackbar 1983-2017

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#9

What this world needs is a Game of Thrawns crossover.

And I’m using the term ‘world’ liberally when I really mean me.

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#10

Marooned on a deserted planet for simply suggesting a non-standard approach to solving his people’s problems

Did it involve killing half of them?

Wait, no, that guy was purple. Carry on.

(I kid. Thrawn is a great villain and I’m glad Zahn has gotten to come back and re-canonize him.)

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#11

This was my favorite of the new canon novels, for sure. Not only a return to what reignited by love for Star Wars in the 90s, but even upping the quality.

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#12

So is this not a novel to be cast aside lightly, but thrawn with great force?

I’ll show myself out (sorry D Parker)

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#13

Wat iz Star Wars plees?

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#14

I’ve not read a Star Wars novel or novelization since maybe 1985, that third of the Calrissian novels.

I’ve been wondering where I’d even start.

Given that computer science arguably usefulled us into a suborned democracy, I’m pretty certain this is not a practicable or fair characterization.

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#15

“It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together. it is what gives a Geek his energy.”
/s fic.

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#16

Well, fortunately for you (or not, depending on your POV), anything published before the Disney acquisition that isn’t the Clone Wars TV show, the Rebels TV show, or the movies has essentially been de-canonized, so if you just want to read what’s still considered canon, your list is a lot shorter. If you want to dig into the rest of it (what Disney calls “Legends” material), I don’t think there’s really any particular order or hierarchy beyond what you find interesting based on the plot synopsis.

Most of the extended universe stuff that I have experience with is video games, like X-Wing, Dark Forces, and the N64 Shadows of the Empire. I’ve read the Thrawn trilogy and have the audiobook of Shadows of the Empire (which is actually a different perspective on the same events from the game… it was a whole multimedia thing they were trying at the time), but that’s about it.

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#17

Every time I find myself in Wookieepedia I’m kind of appalled at the extent of tie-in books. Like, the guys in the cantina whose “alien” make up was cheap pig noses probably each have a book trilogy.

Back in Jr High I read some Han Solo books which I found entertaining. My memory is that it was long enough ago that they tried to inject just a little actual science fiction into it, which I find good leavening. I’m certainly no expert on either, but the sense I get is that the bazillion Star Trek books are probably tedious but workmanly, while the Star Wars books are probably, at best, uneven.


Penny Arcade

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#18

If it says “Star Wars” on it, it’s canon. (Otherwise does canon have any real meaning?)

Case in point: I still have Marvel Star Wars issues. I choose to believe a giant green rabbit alien is a thing in Star Wars, and no amount of money will erase that.

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#19

What about this?

There used to be a hierarchy of canon, with the films at the top and things were only canonical if they didn’t contradict the levels above it. Your green rabbit was canonical according to this.

The Star Wars Holiday Special was the lowest level, fan fiction was probably more canonical.

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#20

Are you suggesting that Jefferson Starship isn’t canon?!? They opened up for Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes on Bespin! :angry:

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