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)…
Dash 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.]