This isn’t truly a review, as I originally intended it to be. I figured reviewing the four issues as a whole would require a reread, as I’ve been picking them up on a weekly basis. Ultimately the series wasn’t as strong as the hype behind it, the main characters were underdeveloped, and the arc felt disjointed at the best of times. That said, it added more to the mythology and the canon than many of it’s more literary counterparts. And there were definitely a lot of incredible moments spread throughout the four books that require discussing.
This discussion will dive into speculation, and will most certainly dissect the big revelations and spoilers found within the four-issue miniseries. We’ll go issue by issue.
Part #1: The most direct correlation to The Force Awakens would be Shara Bey, our main character, and her husband Kes Dameron who are both Rebel soldiers. Issue 1 implies that they conceive Poe Dameron, their child and a main character in Episode VII, directly after the Battle of Endor in one of those dope little Ewok treehouses – but the next issues quash that idea. Apparently Poe is already born at the time, and living with Shara’s father. My main line of reasoning there would be the fact that only three months pass between issue 1 and 4, we never see her pregnant, and she mentions not having much time to see her son in just about each consecutive issue.
Poe has grown up around the Rebellion, and the subsequent New Republic that forms after the Empire’s apparent downfall. It is no stretch that this direct familial involvement pushed him into joining the Resistance. More conjecture on Poe later.
Part #2: We get a really creepy introduction in issue 2, whilst aboard the Star Destroyer Torment. The character was known only as The Messenger, sent to deliver direct messages straight from Emperor Palpatine. Similar to the Imperial Guard, he(?) was garbed in all red, yet with a dark, bulbous faceplate. After finding Captain Lerr Duvat, and confirming it was him (with literal blood), that faceplate illuminated and became the creepy visage that is the former Emperor. Which is creepy right? Because he died…
Anyway, he ordered into motion Operation: CINDER, which translates to figuratively and literally burning all Rebel propaganda that claims the Emperor has died. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this in the onslaught of literature and merchandising that we’ve been introduced to so far. In both Lost Stars and Aftermath we learn that the fight wages on after the fact, still trying to squash the Rebellion’s claims. Even the mobile game, Uprising, which takes place in the Anoat Sector of the Outer Rim, revolves solely around that clause, although it is deemed more simply an Iron Blockade.
Whatever the Empire, or fractions of the Empire do accomplish with Operation: CINDER and/or the Iron Blockade, it seems to have worked. In the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Han himself has to tell Rey that all the stories, the Legends, are true. I don’t think this’ll be the last we’ll see of the Messenger either.
Part #3: This was probably my favorite issue, if only because they went back and incorporated the prequel trilogy to a satisfying degree. Love them or hate them, the prequel trilogy films and time period did exist within the history of the Star Wars universe, and cannot remain wholly ignored moving forward, so the fact that this issue embraces it so strongly is invigorating. We see Princess Leia and her pilot, Shara Bey, head to Naboo to help negotiate some sort of political mumbo-jumbo. Interestingly, the Empire has the ability to drastically change the weather of the planet from paradisaic to apocalyptic in what seems to be an instant. Enough that they could seriously endanger the occupants and the planet itself. This is an all new power we have yet to see, and it was very cool, if not just plain scary.
But the real shocker was the actual visualization of Leia using, or rather feeling the Force for the first time. While in a war bunker (which hasn’t been entered since the Duel of the Fates and Qui-Gon’s death) she feels the presence of Darth Maul. This, to me, appears to be a form of the Force called Psychometry (or post-cognition). It is very rare amongst Force users, and highly looked down upon amongst the Jedi. It allows one to remember a time in an object or place’s timeline upon physically encountering it. Fans of The Clone Wars and Dark Disciple will remember that Quinlan Vos was particularly adept at the ability, so much so that he was able to feel the emotions involved in the events he saw. This could help in the recollection of Jedi memories, if we ever see the Temple brought back.
I don’t believe Maul will return, but that is another way to interpret the moment. Although he too died in The Phantom Menace, he was revived in The Clone Wars, and was subsequently seen in the Marvel comic series Darth Maul-Son of Dathomir. Who knows, we may see him return in some form of ancillary story.
Part #4: Perhaps the most intriguing issue, #4 sees the only appearance of Luke Skywalker post-Return of the Jedi. Along with Shara Bey, he infiltrates a Star Destroyer to take back something that Emperor Sheev Palpatine stole a long time ago. That thing turns out to be the tree that once grew in the Jedi Temple. Unexpectedly, there are two of them in some form of stasis, locked deep within the Star Destroyer, and Luke claims they are strong “with the Force.”
Why did Emperor Palpatine not destroy them? Why keep them? How did Luke know about them and where to find them? What do they signify in the grander scheme of things? Luke gives one of the two trees to Shara Bey, for her to keep and cultivate at her home, but the other he keeps.
I’ve done a bit of digging and as far as I can tell, this is the first time these Force powerful trees are mentioned, in regards to the Jedi Temple. There were meditation gardens (pl.) within the Temple, but after the Empire destroyed it and refitted it to become his Imperial Palace, it is uncertain what became of the gardens. There are such things as Force Nexuses, which are places and objects containing extremely potent Force properties. I believe these two trees are just that. Luke will likely use his as a means to meditate and learn more about the Force, while Shara Bey just seems content to plant it near her home.
I believe this is a misdirection. We’re busy thinking about what Luke is doing with his tree. What if, due to his close contact growing up near the tree, Poe actually develops as a Force sensitive being? Could we be seeing him learn about his abilities in The Force Awakens? I guess we’ll see soon enough.
But the anticipation may kill me.
Shattered Empire, issues 1-4 arrive November 17th. Pre-Order Now!