Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View (Del Rey, 2017) Star Wars fanatics may enjoy reconstructing A New Hope from this collection of short stories, each moving a peripheral character to centre stage. Mostly, though, background characters have been placed there for a reason. Some of these tales are truly, epically pointless.
Spaceballs dir. Mel Brooks (1987) The ultimate Star Wars spoof, corny beyond belief but laugh-out-loud funny in places and well worth watching every thirty years or so. Most of the highlights come courtesy of Rick Moranis, who surpasses genre as the nefarious if vertically challenged Dark Helmet.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi dir. Rian Johnson (2017) Not so much a clear, compelling story as a collection of moments modelled on someone’s favourite Star Wars memories. The balance of action and humour is about right, though, and The Last Jedi makes for a fitting end to the original saga.
Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle Books, 2013) A peon to parenthood, expressed through a comic (and comedic) imagining/retrofitting of the father/daughter relationship between Darth Vader and Princess Leia. Amidst the Star Wars in-jokes, there lie such simple pleasures as tiny Leia cutting love hearts from Vader’s cape.
Star Wars – Fate of the Jedi: Ascension by Christie Golden; audiobook read by Marc Thompson (Books on Tape, 2011) After a slow start, Ascension builds into the classic Star Wars sweep of political intrigue and Jedi action, undermined by Golden’s obligation to keep the story unfinished and — at least in the audiobook — an often laughably melodramatic delivery,…
Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn (Century, 2017) Grand Admiral Thrawn must rank as one of the all-time favourite Star Wars characters (including those from the films). Redacted by Disney to accommodate Episode VII, the Chiss strategist has been reinstated in this much-welcomed origin story charting his rise to prominence.
Star Wars – Fate of the Jedi: Conviction by Aaron Allston (Random House, 2011) Allston makes little allowance for the passing of time, allowing (grandparentally) old favourites Han, Leia and Luke to nimble about the Star Wars Expanded Universe, having adventures just like they did back in the day. As non-demanding escapism goes, it’s not bad.
Star Wars Downunder dir. Michael Cox (2013) [http://swdufanfilm.com/] This 30-minute fan film is a parody, conflating Star Wars, beer commercials and cringeworthy Australian stereotypes. Given the excellent production values, it seems a shame that Cox and company didn’t stick with just the first two, omitting the slang and silly voices.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dir. Gareth Edwards (2016) Vader seems oddly diminished and the Ewok-on-a-hot-tin-roof scene-cutting may bamboozle new viewers; but other than this, Rogue One is rousingly true to the sea change of ’77: SF, action, drama, comedy. Alan Tudyk steals the show as the mordant, Marvin-like droid K-2SO.
Star Wars – Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig (Del Rey, 2016) Wendig writes in the present tense (a corollary of his game design work?) and in an oddly chummy manner. His characters have proper Star Wars personality, yet the story — nominally Han Solo’s liberation of Chewbacca’s home world — jinks evasively before making planetfall.