It’s easy to understand fans’ frustrations with the Star Wars sequels when you consider the giant time gap between films. From where we left Luke Skywalker and his friends in Return of the Jedi to where we pick up with them in The Force Awakens could easily leave a lot of fans disappointed.
What happened since the fall of the Empire? What did Luke, Han, and Leia do? For me and millions of other fans, our imaginations were fueled for decades thanks to the Expanded Universe. A lot of it may’ve induced some level of cringe, but most of it ranged from excellent to downright profound.
Vector Prime drifted more to the higher end of that spectrum by giving readers a truly fresh adventure in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Gone were the days of the good guys vanquishing the Imperial warlord of the week — and it was replaced by an event that shook readers as much as it did the Star Wars galaxy.
Thanks to an extra-galactic invasion of religious fanatic creatures who wielded strange bio-technology, the nature of everything in the Star Wars myth was called into question — including how the Jedi viewed the Force, and their relationship with the New Republic.
Of course, something with this high of a concept had to come with some stakes, which was evident by a major character’s death.
I read it when it hit shelves in 1999, and just finished by third reading — and first since roughly the time of its release. It resonated even more strongly with me this time. Maybe my maturity level increased (a little) enough to grasp the social and political themes author RA Salvatore wove into the story. But what I couldn’t help but feel was that this story still belonged in the myth — and it didn’t even take too much head-canon stretching.
After all … we don’t even see Coruscant in the new Star Wars films, and there’s hardly a mention of the state of the galaxy. Again … something that could be a source of frustration for a lot of fans, but it slid right into how I imagined things to be. That may not be the best storytelling, but it works for me.
In fact, I have fun sliding in my favorite Legends (as Disney calls its discarded canon) stories — and my own personal takes — into the myth.
One of the great things about Star Wars is how it asks us all to be story-tellers, but it’s still nice to sit back and let a story take us places we never dreamed of going.
The tale of the New Republic facing extinction at the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong invaders provides all of this and more.