- Matt Wilkins
Star Wars by Era: (Part 4) Dark Times
See also: Star Wars by Era: (Part 1) Dawn of the Jedi and Star Wars by Era: (Part 2) The Old Republic and Star Wars by Era: (Part 3) Prequels
As I continue my reviews of the different Era’s in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, I’m finally at the point where I can discuss the “Dark Times”
Being careful not to repeat much from my YouTube videos, I can say that I was surprised by the enormous amount of material that was published in this Era. While starting my timeline I didn’t think my reviews would take as long as they did, yet here I am, mid-November, just now finishing up something that took MONTHS to cover.
As I discussed in my reviews, some of it was good, while others were a waste of time or a cash grab (like a lot of the Darth Vader comics that came out around that era)
As for missed opportunities I have to say there were a lot:
No stories about the “good” in the Empire
As we all know, Palpatine’s Empire was evil at the core but that doesn’t mean it was evil throughout the entire army. As we know from the Rebellion Era, many leaders of the Empire later deserted when they saw things getting too corrupt. And a lot of that happened years, months or days prior to a New Hope. So where are their stories? Where are the stories of an Empire used for “good”? An Empire people once praised and brought order to the galaxy.
I’m not sure why someone didn’t think to tell this story. I can’t imagine Lucasfilm saying “No” either, because a lot of the leaders from the Rebellion started in the Empire. The fact that we didn’t get any stories talking about those characters and instances seems to be the biggest missed opportunity from the Expanded Universe.
Think about it, Pellaeon, Dodonna, Madine and countless others could have had stories revealed about their Empire days and the things they did for the “good” of the galaxy. I would’ve loved to have seen this! Even a Stormtrooper recruit who joins after the Empire saves his family from a Separatist uprising would’ve been great fiction! But alas, it was never meant to be.
The Purge hardly being explored
Yes I know they had some comics about it, but wouldn’t it have been fantastic if someone would’ve written a Darth Vader trilogy of novels about the Purge? Focus on a group of Jedi (similar to the Dark Times comics) that were from prior Prequel-era stories and one by one have them meet their fate at the hands of Vader. I think that would’ve been great!
And again, I’m clueless as to why this never made it past a few pages from Dark Horse comics. Was no author interested? Surely they didn’t think novels of Star Wars most iconic character wouldn’t have sold?! Whatever the reason it’s once again another wasted opportunity the EU could’ve pursued in this era.
Though lightly referenced here and there, the fact that we don’t get any more stories of our favorite character beyond the grave is once again confusing. Maybe John Jackson Miller wanted to do another Obi Wan novel with the focus on Old Ben learning the ways of the Force from his old master beyond the grave. Further explaining how life in the Force beyond death operates and why some Jedi fade away while others die a “natural” death. And also explain how so many Jedi are able to keep their corporal form for so long.
Heck, if we can talk about midichlorians we could’ve at least tried to explain this.
Though my last point is a minor one it is important to note that several wasted opportunities lie within the era. If Legends were to continue I think all of these would be acceptable avenues to pursue when coming up with new and unique stories within the Expanded Universe.
Overall this era will be known as the one with the most missed opportunities in addition to having an occasional good story every once in a while. Though not the massive expanse that the following era would incur, “Dark Times” remains one of the greatest eras in the Star Wars timeline with potential to tell amazing stories we’ve yet seen before.