A Padawan’s Journal, Entry #8: A Star is Born—Characters and Where They Come From


The very first Star Wars book, of course, was a novelization of the first Star Wars movie (now known as A New Hope). As such, all of its characters were generated from the movie directly and did not say or do things much differently than they did in the film. Likewise, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were novelized and the plots and characters left intact. You might think of this as the first generation of Star Wars novels.

The next generation of books still starred the main characters from the movies, only now the writers were making up back-story for the characters—that is histories—or projecting what they did after the time period covered in the movies. This gave the writers more freedom, obviously, to tell a unique story. In Ann Crispin’s back-story novels, Chewie marries Mallatobuck (and they eventually have a son named Lumpawaroo). Post Return of the Jedi, Han and Leia marry and have kids; Luke meets his wife Mara Jade and they have kids. Now in this case, the kids don’t all turn out as well as might be hoped and … well, buy the books.

Then came the next-next gen of “properties”: comic books, animation, card games and video games. All drew their raw material from the movies and the books that came before. These, in turn, became places that writers could find characters to feature in yet more Star Wars novels. Some of these characters have taken on a life of their own, appearing first in one project, then another.

There’s been some speculation about where the characters for Holostar are going to be drawn from. (If you missed that memo—ahem: Holostar is the working title of the novel that Michael Reaves and I are currently working on.) A number of fans have asked for more Jax Pavan and I-5YQ—both the products of Michael’s brilliant imagination. Other fans have hoped that the Holostar cast will include characters that they’ve known and loved.

Well, one of those two groups may be disappointed (for a time, at least) because the protagonist of Holostar is (drum roll here)…

150px-dash_rendar_soteeDash Rendar, of Shadows of the Empire fame.

Handsome devil, isn’t he? (If you like those two-dimensional comic guys…)

Dash was part of several SOE projects, including the comic book, novel and customizable card game (I played Magic, so I missed all of this.) But he was the absolute star of the Nintendo 64 game in which you, the player, got to pilot him through various scenarios in the battle for Hoth.

Okay, this is my favorite part of the story—being as how I’m also a singer/songwriter: the artist who created Dash, Mike Butkus, apparently listens to tunes while he works. He designed Dash while listening to—get this—Elvis. Does it show? And in a bit of karmic appropriateness, Dash even has his own musical theme written by Joel McNeely.

All I can say is: Viva Mos Eisley!

No, seriously, that really is a song. Well, okay not seriously exactly, but it is as song. It’s a Star Wars parody of Elvis’s Viva Las Vegas written by the inestimable Chef Jeff Vader All-Powerful God of Biscuits. It resides on our newest parody CD release Grated Hits (available from CDBaby). Keeping it company are two more Star Wars parodies — (Wastin’ Away on) Tatooine and Midichlorian Rhapsody 🙂

So, does Dash look like Elvis? Well, that depends on who you ask. Hm. I feel a blog comin’ on.

To read my published scribblings, browse my bookshelf at the café.

[Images used in this article are from the SOE Nintendo 64 video game and the SOE comic book.]



A Padawan’s Journal, Entry #8: A Star is Born—Characters and Where They Come From — 13 Comments

  1. Dash Rendar! I love it when Expanded Universe material crosses over with each other.

    Also, I think it is great that you have your own blog. Keep up the posts. I look forward to your upcoming novel.

  2. I’ve been out of the Star Wars loop for a while now, but this news could almost tempt me back in…
    I first heard of Dash in an explanation of the Outrider being added to the Special Edition and soon, after laying my hands on the ‘Shadows…’ novel, I fell in love with the character.
    It very good to hear he’s going to be making another appearance. Bravo!

  3. I LOVE the idea of fleshing out Dash Rendar. SotE was not only one of my favorite N64 games, but to this day is the novel I’ve re-read the most (and I’ve read every Star Wars novel printed). I always wished more was done with Dash, and now it seems my wishes are coming true. 🙂

  4. I’m finally all caught up with your Padawan’s Star Wars Blog entries and I’m definitely looking forward to the next one! 🙂

    I wanted to tell you I enjoyed reading the Coruscant Nights trilogy. I had no idea you were a part of that project–Reaves got all the credit! I wrote a review for each book and had as much fun writing them as I did reading the books. The trilogy was good fun and I can’t wait for Holostar!

  5. Maya sighting! My son Simon, of the SW Wookkiepedia, says he met you today! Talk about serendipity!

  6. Brenda, it was amazing.

    “Are you the Maya Bohnhoff who…” he begins. And then says, “I’m Simon — from Wookieepedia — Brenda’s son.”

    We geeked out together over the smallness of the world we live in.

    Who’d a thunk that THAT Simon would show up in THAT comparative religion class at OUR Baha’i Center. What’s especially serendipitous is that someone else was scheduled to do the talk and I was called on Monday and for some reason, in the middle of the talk I mentioned that I wrote SF.

    Your son, by the way, is delightful. What a sweetie. But then you know that ;=)

  7. fragrant wookie, Chris and Erika,

    Thank you all for your kind comments.

    I’m glad to hear that Dash is a popular guy. I promise you we will try to do him proud and put much flesh on his character’s bones.

    And Erika, I’m glad you loved the CN series so. Michael is a splendid writer and our styles are so close, we sometimes forget which of us wrote what passage of a book (we’ve also collaborated on two other novels — a Del Rey original MR. TWILIGHT and BATMAN: FEAR ITSELF)

    I loved working with him on Patterns of Force and working on those characters was more fun than I can describe.

    Happy reading, all!

  8. Simon as so thrilled to meet you, HE CALLED HIS MOTHER, which 20-year-old college boys rarely do!

  9. Thanks for the insight into the new project! The Star Wars customizable card game is still alive and growing. For fans of the genre, there are backstories to thousands oc characters built into the game that brings them to life. Come join us!

  10. Pingback: Canon updates for April 27th - May 3rd « Wookieepedia Newsnet

  11. Hi,

    I will like to know more about human character and how it is influenced by season in relation to month of birth.


  12. Hm, well we’d have to do it by the writer’s month of birth ’cause months are different on different planets. Especially in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.

    So if you’re thinking about astrology, all bets are off, because the constellations would be entirely different in another area of space.

    I can’t say that I’ve ever written a character as having been influenced by the month or season of their birth … at least not a human one. There are so many other influences that are more significant when it comes to personality.