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  • Brennan Renwick

SE Breakdown (Part 1)




Hello there everyone!


For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Brennan and I’m an EU fan who operates the YouTube channel Quinlan Vos. After the new Star Wars EU Novel, Supernatural Encounters released, I decided to make YouTube videos breaking down all the easter eggs, references, and connections in a section by section series of analysis videos. To do this, I had to write extensive scripts for the videos. Rather then throw the scripts  immediately out, like I do with my other video scripts, I contacted Mr. Matt Wilkins, to ask if he wanted to throw these scripts up on the site with my notations and script breaking down the new book. And to my delight, he thought it was a cool idea. So here is the first of the text version of my video breakdown series. Hope you guys enjoy!


Welcome to the video script for Episode 1 of Brennan’s Breakdowns of Star Wars Supernatural Encounters. A series where I go through the 1,050 page behemoth, chapter by chapter, and point out every reference and easter egg I spot in the book. This series is going to take a long time and a ton of research and editing, so I hope you will enjoy the journey we are about to embark on. Before we go any further I will mention the obvious: Spoilers for Supernatural Encounters, so if you want to read Supernatural Encounters without knowing any of the connections or spoilers, stop right now, and come back after you’ve completed the first portion. Before we delve into the text itself, let’s start off by talking about what Supernatural Encounters is. I’ve done a few videos on the channel in the past about Supernatural Encounters, so I expect everyone here will know what it is, but just in case, here’s what Joe Bongiorno wrote about the behind the scenes history of the work: -What's the behind-the-scenes history of the Encounters duology?

 

"Cult Encounters of the Star Wars Universe" and “Supernatural Encounters of the Star Wars Universe” were originally intended to be published as articles in Star Wars Gamer magazine, as followups to "The University of Sanbra Guide to Intelligent Life: The Marvel Series" in Star Wars Gamer (2000), an in-universe article Rich Handley (my co-author of Cult Encounters) and I wrote for the first issue of the magazine, with illustrations by Joe Corroney.


Although Rich and I received the greenlight from Lucasfilm, only “Cult Encounters” was far enough along when Star Wars Gamer ended in 2002. They were later conceptually reworked as "Cult Encounters: Excerpts from the Last Days of Arhul Hextrophon" and Supernatural Encounters: The Trial and Transformation of Arhul Hextrophon, novellas that had been intended for publication on the Star Wars Hyperspace service, a Lucasfilm exclusive content initiative for which several articles, novellas, and short stories had been commissioned, such as Rich Handley's “Lando Calrissian: Idiot's Array” in 2008.


The framework of Supernatural Encounters was first written at the end of 2007. Pablo Hidalgo, an old colleague from my West End Games (and SWFA) days, who was then in charge of the Star Wars site, approved it for publication on Hyperspace. I signed a licensing agreement and a tax form and proceeded. A work of this nature--involving the ancient past--required a lot of work, research, and editing to make sure everything was right, and I was given the time time to continue working on the manuscript until it was put on the schedule. Work on Supernatural Encounters was yet ongoing when, in 2010, it was abruptly announced that the new management at LFL were discontinuing Hyperspace.

Since CE and SE were never cancelled, it was hoped that they would find a new home elsewhere and I continued working on the manuscript.


In the interim, creations original to the Encounters duology were incorporated into other works by my colleagues. Ampotem Za was added in the 2007 Hyperspace article “Aliens of the Empire,” by Abel G. Peña and Rich Handley. The Rozzum and Typhojem found their way into the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide and Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side, by Dan Wallace.


Then, in late 2015, Rich Handley and I approached Lucasfilm regarding the Encounters duology, as they had expressed interest in publishing the works on the new Star Wars Blog. Matt Martin (of the Lucasfilm Story Group, who then ran the site) and Dan Brooks (who ran the Blog) approved the works for publication, with the plan being to publish them in parts due to the length of Supernatural Encounters. I suggested an alternative means: posting them on my personal website as Abel G. Peña had done with SkyeWalkers, which had been published earlier that year. They could then be linked to or embedded in the Blog. They approved this and my plan to further edit the works over the coming months to ensure they were up-to-date.

 

And here’s what he said about its licensing: 


Yes; I filled out the requisite legal documents (a CA-587 form, which is called a Non-Resident Withholding Allocation Worksheet and W-9 tax form) when the stories were first approved for publication by Pablo Hidalgo, the same licensing process I went through for my previous contributions to the Expanded Universe. There isn't any Lucasfilm licensing process beyond this.  The 2008 and 2013 emails between me and Lucasfilm which attest to the veracity of this can be read here.

 

Now that we have an in depth understanding of what Supernatural Encounters is, from its original conception as a short story novella, that has now blossomed into a 1,050 page epic odyssey; let’s delve into the actual text. Before we get to Chapter 1, or even the prologue, first we have to take a look at the Introduction, which encompasses pages 12-14. 


We start with a paragraph quotation from an unspecified date, I assume a quotation from ancient times, that reads: “Over the Spirits of Mortals spread the Mantigrue Wings of Colossal Monsters and all manner of murky things that prey upon the heart and soul and body. Yet it may be, in some far day, the Shadows shall fade and their Dark Father be chained forever in his Abyss. Till then, Mortals can but stand up stoutly to the monsters in their own hearts and without, and with the aid of the Supreme Maker, he may yet triumph.” From The Teachings of the Dai Bendu, by Brother Rowade. 


In this paragraph we get our first reference, with the mention of the Mantigrue creature which are also known as Condor Dragons. The Mantigrue originally appeared in The Adventures of Teebo: A Tale of Magic and Suspense picture book, afterwards appearing in the Ewoks cartoon and in the Galaxies MMO video game. The Mantigrue is a creature native to Endor, so it is interesting that brother Rowade would be aware of an obscure Endorian creature for his analogy. 


We also get a reference to the Order of Dai Bendu, an ancient sect of Force Users who were precursors to the Jedi Order. The Order was founded before 37,453 BBY; and appeared in many EU sourcebooks as well as a prominent spot in the Dawn of the Jedi comic book series. 


Moving onto the true beginning Introduction of the book, we jump into 38 ABY, 2 years after the end of the Dark Nest Trilogy with the book’s introduction. An introduction that is in-universe, as it is revealed to be Mammon Hoole’s 2 page introduction to the history of Arhul Hextrophon’s in-universe writings and memoirs about his experiences, titled “Introduction to the Expanded Edition”.


This is another amazing reference, as Mammon Hole is a main character featured in the Galaxy of Fear books who popped up in a ton of source material. A renowned Shi’Ido geneticist Hoole has an incredibly in-depth historical knowledge of the galaxy. The man he writes about, Arhul Hextrophon, the main protagonist of Supernatural Encounters is a character that was first featured in West’s End Games Star Wars Sourcebook. Arhul would later go onto appear in further West End Games material, shown to be a in-universe writer and avid historian; before Leland Chee retroactively named him as a previously unidentified character in the original Star Wars film, A New Hope. A Rebel who was seen during the Medal Ceremony at the end, played by Nick Joseph. 


Moving further into Hoole’s introduction, he describes the history of historian Arhul Hextrophon’s writings, explaining their origin, and how they were written and revised at 3 different times, after Arhul’s trip to Otherspace 3 years prior in 35 ABY. The original writing, shaving of content, and then reapplication of cut content from Arhul’s written account is a reference that reflects the real world writing process of Supernatural Encounters that Joe Bongiorno went through in writing the book, which is quite clever. We also get the reference to Otherspace, an alternate dimension filled with horrors that originated from the West End Games sourcebooks. 


Mammon Hoole mentions that the manuscripts were found at the house of Arhul Hextrophon, after his apparent death, on Chandrila. Chandrila being a prominent planet seen throughout the EU, that originated in The Star Wars Sourcebook, perhaps best known for being the home planet of Rebel Alliance Leader Mon Mothma. Mammon Hoole also mentions the primary sidekick of the book in the opening introduction, Arhul’s droid companion Q9-X7. Q9-X7 is apart of the Q9-Series of Astromech Droids, which made appearances in The Corellian Trilogy and later New Jedi Order. The Q9 series were considered to be extremely advanced and high tech; yet experimental. Despite the Q9 line of Droid appearing in several EU sources, this was the first appearance of this specific model, Q9-X7. Mammon Hoole goes on to mention that Arhul and Q9 collaborated in archiving the written accounts via Mistress Mnemos and a new character named Professor Misqa Tonique. Mistress Mnemos is an AI supercomputer that was associated with the Rebels… that first appeared in Russ Manning’s LA Times Magazine comic strips; the first appearance in the strips being in The Gambler’s World arch. 


Next Mammon Hoole notes that The New Republic Historical Council finds Arhul’s works to be incredibly controversial for their potentially galaxy changing revelations. The New Republic Historical Council is a group associated with the New Republic and the New Jedi Order; that appeared in The New Essential Chronology, the Book of Sith, and The Written Word Hyperspace articles. They essentially existed to attempt to unravel the Galactic Empire’s information wipe and muddling of history with propaganda. 

Mammon Hoole then makes mention of an adventurer and Black Market dealer who managed to obtain and leak the Historical Council’s heated debate over Arhul’s texts, as he was present for it; a leaked transcript that will be included in the following text. The adventurer is a character named Myk Bidlor, a character that first appeared in The Han Solo Trilogy: Rebel Dawn by AC Crispin. The character from Rebel Dawn is a tuckerization of Mike Beidler a writer and editor who has worked on several Star Wars EU works, such as Empire’s End or Lightsider. 


Mammon Hoole’s introduction goes on to note that Arhul’s written accounts tracking his adventure through the stars, visions of the origin of the galaxy, and the transcript of the two days of The Historical Society’s debate over the writings accuracy, have been meticulously compiled and organized by a plethora of doctors. The doctors are named Rygel Lawlins, Wes Adod, Trace Piskem, Royce Crater, Aryn Hort Thorn, Raphe Nahys, Obern Wentham, Grigem Etchill, and Watkins Milt. All of these Doctors are tuckerizations of the real world editors of Supernatural Encounters, I think its cool to learn that a team of characters in-universe, named for the real world editors and assistants; worked with Mammon Hoole to assemble the in-universe book. It is pretty easy to unscramble the names, Watt Milkins is a tuckerization of Matt Wilkins, Rygel Lawlins is Kyle Rawlings, Wes Adod is Edward Dodds, Trace Piskem is Patrick Maes, Royce Crater is Corey Carter, Aryn Hort Thorn is Harry Thornton, and Grigem Etchill is Greg Mitchell. I am still not sure who Raphe Nahys or Obern Wentham are though. 


Another extremely interesting piece of info gleamed from the introduction by Mammon Hoole, is that the illustrations within Supernatural Encounters are in-universe art pieces based on sketches that Arhul himself stored within Master Mnemom (A new character, who will later be revealed as a companion supercomputer to Mistress Mnemos). The sketches Arhul made were turned into full color epics by characters named Dirc Ch’los and Claudius Gemulo, who are apparently famous artists in the galaxy. The characters are tuckerizations of the real world illustrators Chris Cold and Guillaume Ducos. 


We also get an important piece of information, Arhul wrotee down additional scribbled notes in the margins of the pages of his writings. These are called “Hexnotes”, by Q9; and will be important for later on. Hexnotes essentially give additional historical information and context to the narrative of the story, essentially editor’s notes by Arhul on his own book. With that Mammon Hoole signs off from his narrative portion of the story, though don’t fear Galaxy of Fear fans, we will see him again in the pages to come. 

However, that wraps up every easter egg and lore reference I found of note in the 3 page Introduction of Supernatural Encounters. Thank you everyone for watching, and let me know if I missed anything! I hope you will all join me next time when we jump into the next part: Prologue: The Life and Death of a Historian. 


2 comments

2 Comments


Joe Bongiorno
Joe Bongiorno
Apr 25

This is a brilliant breakdown and analysis!

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Carlos Balderrama
Carlos Balderrama
May 10
Replying to

That's your seal of approval!!!!

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