A bit of a history lesson here is necessary for the uninitiated. Odds are that there will be few (uninitiated) here, given that most drawn to this review will have working familiarity with the subject matter, but I'll supply a few details from memory anyhow. Call it posterity. Once the lights in the theatre went out on STAR WARS: EPISODE 6: RETURN OF THE JEDI, serious Star Wars enthusiasts had no idea when (or even if) they'd be treated to another adventure in their most favorite cinematic universe. The original trilogy had come to its close with mild controversy (Ewoks? Really, George? Were they necessary?) with some fanfare -- after seriously amping up the stakes in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK -- and 1983 seemed to bring an end to the continuing adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and the rest of the gang.
Then, in 1992, science fiction novelist Timothy Zahn's new trilogy of Star Wars tales began, and it reminded Star Wars fans everywhere of the latent potential still lingering like a welcome disturbance in the Force in that galaxy far, far away. Over the course of the next few years, Zahn did as Lucas had done with the original trilogy, amping up the stakes just a little bit at each crazy turn, whetting fandom's appetite for even more visits to these distant worlds ... and the good folks at Dark Horse Comics were all too happy to oblige. Eventually, Dark Horse stumbled onto the brilliant idea to adapt Zahn's books; these novels had, after all, earned a special place in the hearts of most Star Wars fans, so much so that most consider these outings as unofficial Episodes 7, 8, and 9, picking up the events of Luke & company nearly a decade after JEDI ended.
Dark Horse completed three miniseries adaptations -- each with six issues, each miniseries focusing on one of Zahn's novels -- ultimately and inevitably re-releasing each of these three miniseries in trade paperback forms, and now Dark Horse Books has finally put them all together in one grand spanking adventure. At over 400 pages, STAR WARS: THE THRAWN TRILOGY is the ultimate fan package, returning Star Wars fans to the excitement they felt with each passing chapter of Zahn's massive adventure. It's not a light undertaking in the slightest: these comics go to great lengths to capture the details of the books, bringing many new characters, worlds, ships, and situations that, honestly, fit like a glove in Lucas's fantastic universe.
In a nutshell, the New Republic has grown to encompass many worlds, but elements of the Empire -- namely, several surviving ships, bases, and one nasty Grand Admiral Thrawn -- have come across data that indicates the Emperor held a few tricks up his sleeve even in death. A hidden Dark Jedi Master ... ship cloaking technology ... and a mountain fortress complete with cloning cylinders mean that the return of the Empire has always remained a virtually galactic heartbeat away, leaving Adm. Thrawn to hatch his plan to return the forces of evil to reign in the galaxy. Standing in his way? The usual suspects of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and they each have special roles to play, alongside a growing legion of smugglers and Rebel fighter pilots ...
Read closely, and you'll find it hard to believe that the theatres were dark with new cinematic Star Wars adventures for two decades!
Zahn weaves his tale with several new faces and even some new twists on the ol' ones, and he brings an adult, dramatic, treacherous sensibility to bare on every development. THE THRAWN TRILOGY is a massive undertaking -- wouldn't it be great to get three more Star Wars stories up on the silver screen -- and, while it might not be to everyone's liking, it certainly tickled mosts fancies when so little else was happening in this universe. While some of the events feel a bit rushed toward the end of the collection, this is one story worth visiting again and again, not only for nostalgia but also because it's great to have Star Wars making all of us feel like a kid again.
May the Force be with you. Always.
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