Ewok Fantasies: Star Wars Short Story Anthologies

March 14, 2013 at 6:44 am | Posted in Books, Ewok Fantasies, Opinion, Regular Feature, Star Wars Books | Leave a comment

There are a lot of ideas for new Star Wars books, but one thing Star Wars readers have been asking for is more short story anthologies. With the success of John Jackson Miller’s Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories, the continuing output of short stories in Star Wars Insider, and Del Rey’s suggestion of doing more eBook stories, it makes sense to bring back the format. Short stories are a great way to introduce new readers by giving them a variety of exposure to what the Star Wars Expanded Universe has to offer. But that does leave one question: what anthologies would fans want to see?

Running with that idea, we take a look at the Star Wars Expanded Universe and the short story anthologies we’d love—in our wildest Ewok fantasies—to see.

Tales from the New Jedi Order

A lot of Star Wars readers invested some serious time, emotion and money into the New Jedi Order series. Through nineteen books, readers followed a new generation of Jedi in their struggle against the extragalactic invaders known as the Yuuzhan Vong. Characters we knew and loved died. Planets that felt like the back bone of the galaxy fell. Nothing was safe.

A lot of ground was covered and many stories were told, but not all of them. To this day, fans hold on to hope that we’ll see the era explored a bit more. It would be fairly easy to jump start the project as well. Like Bantam did with Tales from the New Republic, Del Rey could draw upon existing short stories to get the book going. There are two novellas and three short stories already set in the NJO. One of those novellas, Gregory Keyes “Emmisaries of the Void”, was split up between Star Wars Gamer and Star Wars Insider magazines and has never been collected in print format.

Yet the real draw would be new stories, and there the world of possibility is rich beyond imagination. Aaron Allston could be commissioned to write a background story filling in some of the blanks for the Wraiths who appeared in Mercy Kill. Matthew Stover could blow our minds with a story written from the Yuuzhan Vong’s perspective. James Luceno could follow the success of his Darth Plagueis novel with a story on Vergere, perhaps one that would finally set the record straight: is she a Sith or something else? Timothy Zahn could even be brought in to take a shot at the era, one he’s never played in. To truly sweeten the deal, it could be a collaborative piece with Tim and Michael A. Stackpole. On one hand it would provide a bit of nostalgia as the two authors did several collaborative stories in previous Star Wars anthologies. And on the other, Mike could help Zahn dive into the era and fill him in on the state of affairs. And who knows, maybe we could get a bit more Mara.

Tales from the Rebellion

From a marketing standpoint, a Tales from the Rebellion anthology would be a great move. Darth Horse Comics has an ongoing series set in the time period which kicked off with a massive success, selling out the first two prints. Del Rey has the upcoming Rebels book series. Then there’s the raise in general public interest in all things Star Wars riding on the announcement of Episode VII. It would be timely and the market is definitely there for the product.

To fill the book out, Del Rey could commission each of the Rebels’ authors (Martha Wells, Kevin Hearne, and James S.A. Corey) to write a short story or novella. Rather than doing more Luke, Han and Leia stories, however, these stories could focus on the other heroes of the Rebellion. We could get an Ackbar story, a Wedge Antilles tale, or something about Dodonna, Cracken or Mon Mothma. Other authors could be brought in to share their own takes at the Rebellion’s heroes. Best of all, these would be stories any reader could dive into and enjoy.

Tales from the Sith

As good as the other ideas might be, this is the golden one. Sith are big sellers. Just look at Darth Plagueis and the Darth Bane trilogy. People love Sith. There’s just something cool about the badguys of the Star Wars galaxy. A Tales from the Sith anthology could also take advantage of telling stories from different time frames which would help promote various existing projects. John Jackson Miller could chime in with a new Lost Tribe story and/or something tied to Knight Errant and it’s wildly varied Sith. Drew Karpyshyn could do another story following the succession of the rule of two or better yet, a Revan and Malak story. Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff could do a Darth Rammage story, providing background for the illusive Sith mentioned in The Last Jedi. Paul S. Kemp could write the last days of Darth Malgus, thus giving Deceived a much needed epilogue. Joe Schreiber could chip in with a Maul story to prep people for Maul: Lockdown. And the crème de la crème would be James Luceno. While another Plagueis story would be awesome, I can’t help but think a Darth Gravid story would be even better. A Sith who lost his sanity after trying to combine the light and dark sides of the Force…it would be a poetic way to finish the book.

Tales from The Old Republic

At first I wasn’t sure if this would be a good idea. There’s still some popularity with Star Wars: The Old Republic video game and the books set in the time period have done well. But would it be better than a Tales of the Sith book? Would it have as much hardcore fan desire as a NJO anthology could generate? Would it be as relevant as a Rebellion era collection? Surprisingly, the answer to all these question could quite possibly be ‘yes’.

The advantage of a Tales from the Old Republic anthology is the variety it could encompass. The time period allows for bounty hunters, Sith, Jedi, smugglers, soldiers, the full gamut of the galaxy. You could have Jeff Grubb do a story about Hutts. Kemp could still do a last days of Darth Malgus. Karpyshyn could chime in with a Revan or Scourge story. Sean Williams could do a bounty hunters tale. Plus new authors could be brought in for fresh takes at an open era. I’m sure Kevin Hearne could provide some humorous adventures, while Matha Wells and James S.A. Corey could provide some emotional character driven stories. Like some of the other anthology ideas mentioned, it would be a good place for new readers to start and would work for existing readers as well. Slap a picture of Darth Malgus blowing up the Jedi Temple on the cover, and it’ll definitely catch some attention.

In the end, there are a lot of good ideas for new Star Wars short story anthologies. They provide a variety of storytelling and are equally enjoyed by new and old readers alike. Regardless of what idea they go with, I hope we’ll see more of them in the future.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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