It’s rare that a week passes here at GFR without at least one Star Wars: Episode VII rumor coming down the pike. And sure, rumors are always going to vastly outnumber confirmed facts at this early stage in the movie’s production, but it’s kind of fun to imagine the various different paths Episode VII might take. At least until those aforementioned facts arrive and start narrowing those paths down to only a few possibilities. One thing we have maddeningly little information about at this point is whether the new Star Wars films will respect any of the Expanded Universe content as canon. If you’re a fan of both Star Wars and the EU content, this batch of artwork is almost certainly going to make you long for what Episode VII could be…even if that isn’t the path it follows.
This gorgeous Star Wars artwork was created by artist Darren Tan for the Star Wars Essential Readers Companion. It features many of the EU characters many fans have come to know and love: Luke Skywalker as an elder Jedi Master, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Mara Jade, the Solo and Skywalker children. While Episode VII is said to involve older versions of Luke, Leia, and Han Solo, as well as their children, it seems unlikely that the new trilogy will directly adapt any of the EU content, so these images may be the closest we’ll come to seeing these characters and moments brought to life outside of the written word.
We’ve picked out a few of the images we love the most and we’re including them below, along with some of Tan’s commentary. There are tons more on his DeviantArt page, and you can purchase the Star Wars Essential Reader’s Companion right here.
First up, the header image above, entitled “Duel at the Valley of the Jedi.”
Kyle Katarn and Jerec duke it out at the Valley of the Jedi in Ruusan. This scene is from one of my favorite Star Wars game franchises, Dark Forces. Though I have to admit that Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight is the only one in the series I’ve not actually played through. Nevertheless I do find it baffling that Kyle was able to defeat Jerec even after he was imbued with the power of many Jedis. I know gameplay factor had alot to do with this but perhaps there’s a canon explanation of how Kyle Katarn overcame the supposedly “invincible” Sith that I’m not aware of.
“The First Encounter”
I have another one for you Mara fans. This one is from the first book of the New Jedi Order series called Vector Prime and it shows Mara Jade dueling Yomin Carr. She’s the first Jedi to ever encounter, duel and defeat a Yuuzhan Vong in single combat, albeit with great difficulty. This was an enemy unlike any other the Jedi has faced before and one that is formidable even to an experienced Jedi like Jade Skywalker. On top of looking like a pure badass the one thing that makes Yuuzhan Vong cool to me is their use of living bio-weapons like thud bugs (thrown projectiles) and the amazing amphistaff, which is a whip, sword, spear, and venom shooter all rolled into one and its apparently so tough that it can resist a lightsaber cut.
“The Hand of Judgment”
This scene is from the book Allegiance. Mara Jade is the Emperor’s Hand here and is being questioned by Darth Vader about a group of rogue stormtroopers. Jade pretends that they are with her and calls them the Hand of Judgement, her own personal stormtrooper guard.
“Lair of the Supreme Overlord”
This is the final showdown scene, found in The Unifying Force, between Jedi Grand Master Skywalker, the Solo twins and the Supreme Overlord of the Yuuzhan Vong, Shimrra along with his retinue of Slayer bodyguards. Skywalker’s strike team is part of a larger campaign Galactic Alliance is fighting in an attempt to retake Coruscant and end the Yuuzhan Vong threat once and for all.
I read the excerpt for this scene and it just thrills me to see how powerful and badass Luke is as a Jedi Master. I would absolutely love to see this as a movie but alas I can only dream.
“She’s Had Enough!”
That’s one way to end a squabble. This scene, from the book, Darksaber, is when Admiral Daala puts an end to the petty infighting amongst the Imperial Warlords after trying, unsuccessfully, to convince them to work together.
“Voss Parck Meets Thrawn”
This scene is found in a short story by Timothy Zahn called Mist Encounter and its one of my favorite fan pieces. Here Captain Voss Parck of the Victory Class Star Destroyer, Strikefast, and Colonel Barris meets Mitth’raw’nuruodo (Thrawn) for the first time. Following this event Thrawn joins the Empire and eventually becomes the Grand Admiral we all know and love, and also founder of the Empire of the Hand. If you look closer you’ll also notice that the clone troopers are wearing hybrid, transitional armor, a combination of phase II and the new stormtrooper armor.
Star Wars: Episode VII is slated for release sometime in 2015. It will be directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Oblivion. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford are all expected to return, though nothing has been officially confirmed yet.