What happened after the Rebels defeated the Empire at the Battle of Endor? Return of the Jedi showed us a montage of celebrations taking place on a few planets across the galaxy, but that’s only the beginning. The Emperor and Darth Vader were defeated and killed, but that doesn’t mean the war was over instantly. Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig is the first book in a trilogy that connects the dots between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Aftermath tells the story of the days and months after the Rebel victory, and it seems like the war has only just begun.
Aftermath isn’t on shelves until September 4, but the publisher accidentally posted an excerpt this week. They rolled with the error, ultimately releasing the opening chapters of the novel to Entertainment Weekly. It’s not just a few paragraphs of story either, it’s a handful of pages. And those pages have some familiar faces.
The excerpt opens right after the Battle of Endor with a victory speech from Admiral Ackbar before cutting to tragedy on Coruscant.
“Today is a day of celebration. We have triumphed over villainy and oppression and have given our Alliance—and the galaxy beyond it—a chance to breathe and cheer for the progress in reclaiming our freedom from an Empire that robbed us of it. We have reports from Commander Skywalker that Emperor Palpatine is dead, and his enforcer, Darth Vader, with him.
“But though we may celebrate, we should not consider this our time to rest. We struck a major blow against the Empire, and now will be the time to seize on the opening we have created. The Empire’s weapon may be destroyed, but the Empire itself lives on. Its oppressive hand closes around the throats of good, free-thinking people across the galaxy, from the Coruscant Core to the farthest systems in the Outer Rim. We must remember that our fight continues. Our rebellion is over. But the war … the war is just beginning.” —Admiral Ackbar
Then, it jumps ahead months after the destruction of the second Death Star and takes readers on a reconnaissance trip with a familiar pilot: Wedge Antilles. Yeah, I was thrilled to see that name, and I was almost as excited to see Rae Sloane. She was introduced in John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn (a prequel to Star Wars Rebels). The Imperial officer has presumably been working hard, though, since Sloane is an admiral now instead of a Captain.
Starlines streak across the bright black.
A ship drops out of hyperspace: a little Starhopper. A one-person ship. Favored by many of the less desirable factions out here in the Outer Rim—the pirates, the bookies, the bounty hunters and those with bounties on their heads to hunt. This particular ship has seen action: plasma scarring across the wings and up its tail fins; a crumpled dent in the front end as if it was kicked by an AT-AT Imperial walker. All the better for the ship to blend in. Ahead: the planet Akiva. A small planet—from here, striations of brown and green. Thick white clouds swirling over its surface.
The pilot, Wedge Antilles, once Red Leader and now—well, now something else, a role without a formal title, as yet, because things are so new, so different, so wildly up in the air—sits there and takes a moment.
It’s nice up here. Quiet.
There’s one quote in particular from the excerpt that sticks out, though: “It’s not many wars, but just one, drawn out again and again, cut up into slices so it seems more manageable.” These few pages show the galaxy isn’t enjoying rest and peace: Wendig paints a picture of the current state quickly with Wedge’s and Rae’s thoughts and actions, and it’s clear that the fight continues.
Read the entire excerpt at Entertainment Weekly.
What do you think about the opening chapters? Are you excited to see Wedge? Talk to me in the comments or come chat with me on Twitter.