2009 featured a massive amount of Star Wars news, books, comics, and more. We had our first Star Wars horror novel, build up and announcements for four new video games, The Clone Wars TV show, and plenty of contributions from the fans. Austin Blankenship, head of EUCantina.net, gives us his list of the very best and biggest events of the year.
Spoilers in the article.
Biggest and Best Novel: Star Wars: Death Troopers
In October, Joe Schreiber brought us what was hyped as the first Star Wars horror novel. Star Wars.com had a zombie week, (all zombie images are now a cute Ewok book. If you can’t stomach Death Troopers, I don’t advise reading The Ewok who was afraid.), there was a trailer contest, and we dealt with more build up than Palpatine’s dentist. It’s rare that anything can live up to so much hype, and to be honest, I thought Death Troopers fell a little short. If anything it was gory, not scary. However, it was still an excellent novel, with surprises and suspense. It marked a new step in the Expanded Universe, as the genre of the novels expand. The sheer amount of attention that Death Troopers received, along with the fact that I simply could not put it down once I started reading, makes it the biggest and best in this category.
Biggest and Best Comic: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 48: Demon, Part 2
Many people were extremely disappointed to hear that the KotOR comic series would be ending with issue 50. I am satisfied with the wrap up, so far, and I’m not alone. In the final days of 2009, issue 48 was released, with many people singing praises for its story. I really enjoyed it, from the art to the plot. With much speculation about a secret future series, the quality of this issue makes it bittersweet. I will miss KotOR, but I am highly anticipating great things in the future.
Biggest and Best Video Game: Star Wars the Clone Wars: Republic Heroes
Send in the hate mail (email@example.com). I probably deserve it. But before you get out your pitchforks, allow me to explain. In 2009, we had three Star Wars video games. The aforementioned Republic Heroes, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition, and Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron. The choice of Republic Heroes comes from the process of elimination. The Force Unleashed: USE is the original game, but with three additional levels, two of which are non-canon. I personally don’t consider it a new game. The levels could have been downloadable content. As for Elite Squadron; it’s a handheld game that wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been. Republic Heroes may have been a game for a younger age, but it was fun and entertaining, and also a good tie-in to the TV series. Note: When this is my favorite video game of 2009, you know it has been a low year for Star Wars games.
Star Wars the Clone Wars is what I would consider visually stunning and pleasing. In season 2, I can watch any episode and appreciate it solely for its animation. What sets this episode apart is the story and emotion. To me, this wasn’t an episode about the difference between Jedi, about Ashoka becoming more mature, or about sacrifice. This episode was about Anakin Skywalker and his conflicting view of death with the Jedi. The entire plot set up the moment when Anakin wishes to find Ashoka, when he knows she must be alive. We see how he can not lose her, and how he can not grasp the concept that Luminara has mastered: a Jedi must let go of attachments. This episode gave us a terrific glimpse at what will happen if Ashoka dies, as many people are predicting. I originally disliked the idea of Ashoka, but I now see the purpose. If Ashoka dies, I think we will have a major change in our thinking about Anakin’s state of mind in Episode III.
Biggest and Best fan audio project: Star Wars: In the Shadows.
For those who don’t know, Star Wars: In the Shadows is an audio drama written and produced by Dany Pépin. It features 6 episodes, each ranging from 30-70 minutes. This audio drama is above anything else the Star Wars fan audio community had to offer this year, be it podcasts or other projects. Featuring a cast of over 20, SWITS is extremely professional, with an excellent plot, terrific sound effects and music, and voice acting that will amaze. A ton of work went into this, from Dany and his cast and crew, and it was likely the most vast and expansive project from the fan community this year. I highly recommend listening to all 6 episodes now.
Best and Biggest Reference Book: Star Wars: The Essential Atlas
If you think this is just a nice book of Star Wars maps, don’t be fooled. The Essential Atlas provides an intense and fulfilling look at the entire Star Wars galaxy, from its history to its planets. Want to learn about the Great Sith war? Read about it in here. Wish to discover the entire story behind the Mandolorians? It’s in The Essential Atlas. Everything you could ever want to know about the history of the Star Wars galaxy can be found in this book. It does feature some awesome maps too, along with pictures and information on major planets. Overall, this was my favorite Star Wars item of the year.
Best and Biggest Online Fan Contribution: Star Wars Joke-A-Day.
I’m not joking. This year, the Star Wars.com blog that has been giving us gags about the galaxy far, far away since 2006, passed 1,000 total entries, with nearly every single one containing a Star Wars joke. The blog was a neat idea, and to me, seems like something that could last a month. Going on four years now seems impossible. Unthinkable. Yet the author, YZ Freedman (The Stooge) has somehow managed to go on for this long, for 1,009 entries. I have to shake my head. I barely got two jokes, neither of which were funny, into this article. I can’t imagine coming up with 1,000 that are all based on one topic. Congratulations on 1,000 jokes!
Happy New Year to everyone, and a big thanks to all who contribute to or use EUCantina.net!