top of page
  • Brennan Renwick

SE Breakdown (Part 3)


Welcome back to Brennan’s Breakdowns of the new Star Wars novel Supernatural Encounters, potentially the final novel in the Expanded Universe for a little while.


Today we are delving into the meat of Supernatural Encounters, finally reaching Book One: The Trial! In the previous episodes of this series we covered the Introduction and the Prologue, and now we have made it into the first book of 6. Supernatural Encounters is divided into 6 separate “books” within it. And Book 1 contains the first 8 chapters  of the novel. In today’s episode we will cover Chapter One, which is subtitled Division and Debate. Chapter One spans pages 21-27, making it a total of 6 pages. Before we get into the text today, here is your obligatory spoiler warning! With all that said, let’s delve into some Supernatural Encounters!


Before we get into the core of the chapter, there is a quote on page 21 from an individual named Yman Veli’kosyk. The name of this individual makes me think he’s either a Caamasi or a Bothan, as typically both of those species have similar sounding names due to the mix of vowels and apostrophes. Yman Veli’kosyk’s quotation is, “The authorities in astronomical chronology made their calculations and announced their expert results. The authorities in pottery took the results of the specialists’ computation as a firm base on which to build. Authorities in the history of art, religion, philology, and history in general followed. Difficulties were swept away. Thus there came into existence an elaborate, entrenched system, rooted in fallacy, that bears very little resemblance to the real past.” - which is apparently from Yman Veli’kosyk’s in-universe book titled Mortals in Amnesia: Vol VI: The Test of Time.


While I try not to use the end notes in making these videos, as I prefer to find the references myself, the Supernatural Encounter’s so-called “Infernal Endnotes”, revealed that this quote by Yman Veli’Kosyk was inspired by a real world quote from a real world book called Peoples of the Sea: A Reconstruction of Ancient History. This book was written by a real world Russian pseudoscientist, pyschoanalyst, and writer named Immanuel Velikovsky, which explains the inspiration of the naming for Yman Veli’Kosyk. I think it is so cool to learn about the real world inspirations for portions of Supernatural Encounters. 


Before I get into the lore reference connections from page 22 and onwards, I will briefly summarize what happens in the chapter. This portion of Supernatural Encounters describes the second hour of the second day of debate amongst the previously mentioned Historical Council. What are the Historical Council meeting to debate? To debate the validity of the manuscript that Arhul Hextraphon barely managed to get out and distributed before his murder. And the Historical Council has convened to debate whether or not to release the manuscript to the public. In this chapter, we get to hear arguments from the proponents and advocates for Hextrophon’s work; as well as the naysayers and doubters who don’t want to see the controversial manuscript released. 


On the very first line of chapter 1, we get our first reference of the chapter, as we begin with an astonished question from Ulm-Aaa-Janzikek of the Historical Council upon hearing that Arhul’s body was found to be drained of blood. Ulm-Aaa-Janzikek was a character first mentioned in West End Game’s 1993 resource guide, Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook by Michael Allen Horne. Janzikek was referenced in that guidebook as an in universe author, though his species wasn’t revealed until Supernatural Encounters. In this opening paragraph, Janzikek is revealed to be a Tiss’Shar. The Tiss’Shar have appeared throughout the Expanded Universe, in a ton of source material, RPG material, and even comics. But their first appearance goes all the way back to Brian Daley’s Han Solo at Star’s End. Janzikek isn’t just a mere Tiss’Shar but is revealed to be a member of a rare subspecies of Tiss’Shar. The rare Isk-ar subspecies, known for their translucent scales. Janzikek being of the Isk-ar subspecies is another reference, as the Isk-ar subspecies were first mentioned in Ultimate Alien Anthology from Wizards of the Coast.


It’s awesome to get Janzikek’s species finally clarified, with some super cool connections. And it’s cool to know that Janzikek made it onto the Historical Council as well. The work Janzikek is known for is referenced here, as he authored Minds and Perceptions: A Comparative Study of Persuasive Techniques During the Galactic Civil War. Which is stated to be an incredibly influential work. The book appeared alongside Janzikek for the first time in The Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook, as well as having an entry in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia. Janzikek’s character is given as tenacious, observant, outspoken, and quick to conclusions. He’s an incredibly fun character, and will be featured prominently in the pages to come. I think it’s so cool that instead of making a new character for Janzikek’s role, Joe Bongiorno took a preexisting obscure character and really fleshed them out into a super interesting character. 


Janzikek’s question regarding the nature of Arhul’s death is answered next by another important character. Voren Na’al one of the most prominent characters in Supernatural Encounters, first appeared in Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope, as an in-universe writer and historian, who wrote all the Galaxy Guide books in-universe as well as numerous other in-universe articles from West End Games source material. Voren Na’al’s name was given to a previously unnamed Rebel Alliance character in A New Hope, portrayed by actor Derek Lyons. Voren Na’al was always portrayed as a very close friend, protege, and eventual colleague to Arhul Hextrapohon in West End Games material, and that trend was continued in Supernatural Encounters. Voren mentions that the eery circumstances around Arhul’s death were kept out of the media by the Chandrilan authorities. And it also establishes that Voren is now one of the leading members of the Historical Council. We’re proud of you Voren! 


Voren goes on to mention that the reports on Arhul’s death’s odd circumstances took so long to be revealed, in part due to The Swarm War breaking out recently. This takes place in 38 ABY, chronologically just after The Swarm War as depicted in The Dark Nest Trilogy by Troy Denning. It’s really cool that the conflict got a namedrop here! 


We are next introduced to a character named Abric Hanapen. I don’t believe we’ve met Abric Hanapen anywhere prior in the EU, though there is a small time ship thief named Abric featured in Timothy Zahn’s Dark Force Rising. I don’t think the petty ship thief Abric is the same character as Historian Abric though. Abric Hanapen is a member of the insectoid Velmoc species, which is a cool reference to issue 49 of the original Marvel Star Wars comic. The issue titled “The Last Jedi” by Mike W. Barr explored the Velmoc species and homeward, so it was awesome to get a call back to those original comics.

 

Hanapen offers a rather venomous view of Arhul and casts doubt on the legitimacy of Arhul’s writing. Calling into question why a supernatural demise validates Arhul’s Supernatural Encounters. Here is where another returning character appears, as Mungo Baobab retorts Hanapen’s statements. Mungo Baobab first appeared in an episode of the Star Wars Droids cartoon called “Tail of the Roon Comics”. He would go into appear in 3 subsequent episodes, the TV Special episode The Great Deep, 2 Droids picture books, and even a short story; as well as being featured in heaps of source material. Mungo even had an action figure back in the day, and he’s a personal favorite character of mine. Supernatural Encounters mentions that he is aged by this point in time, but I was shocked at just how aged he was. After doing research his birthdate is listed as being in 45 BBY (Which according to Wookieepedia comes from information from


The Droids Re-Animated Part 2 Article from starwars.com, which established that the character Auren Yomm was 15, and hadlfthe age of Mungo when they first met in the Droids cartoon, meaning Mungo was 30 in Droids. The RPG Magazine Polyhedron #170 contained an article by Abel G Peña which established that the Droids cartoon took place in 15 BBY, meaning Mungo was thus born in 45 BBY. Crazy connections and jumps to get that age.) With the complicated process of getting Mungo’s birth year out of the way, Supernatural Encounters takes place in 38 ABY, which means for all you math whizzes that Mungo Baobab is officially around 83 years old in this story. 


I love that Mungo Baobab, despite his age is still written as having a passionate energy to him. His energetic report to Abric results in a reprimand from a longtime member of the council and yet another returning character. Donn Gulek is an obscure historian from yet another piece of West End Games material. Donn Gulek’s sole prior EU appearance was in the West End Games sourcebook Cracken’s Threat Dossier. Which established that he was a male Historian and Chief at the Keller Institute of Galactic History. Donn Gulek has an article attributed to him in-universe titled “Ten Years After: Notes on the Mature Organizational and Administrative Structure of the New Republic" an article that Voren Na’al assisted him on.


Aside from that information, Donn Gulek is pretty much a blank slate prior to his appearance here in Supernatural Encounters, which takes the opportunity to flesh him out. Our next reference is in relation to Donn Gulek, as it mentions that as of 38 ABY, Gulek is still the Chief Historian of the Kellmer Institute of Galactic History. This means Donn Gulek has served for at least 21 years as Chief Historian. The Kellmer Institute of Galactic History was mentioned first in Cracken’s Threat Dossier as well, though it would later go on to appear in Walter Jon William’s The New Jedi Order: Destiny’s Way, making this the 3rd EU mention or appearance of the Institute. 


We learn that Mungo is retired from active participation on the Historical Council and no longer possesses voting power, so is just there as an honorary member. And here is where we get the return of another EU character. Auren Yomm Baobab first appeared in an episode of the Droids cartoon titled “The Room Games”. She appeared in subsequent episodes, before making an appearance in the short story Lando Calrissian: Idiot’s Array, which established that she married Mungo Baobab. Auren is now 68 years old in Supernatural Encounters, which makes note of their marriage still existing. 


Next we get a reference in a little reminiscence from Mungo, where he thinks on his time on Roon fighting Governor Koong. Both the planet Roon and Governor Bisad Koong first appeared in the Droids cartoon; and both would go onto appear in numerous EU reference material. Another neat connection back to the 80’s cartoon, we love to see it!


We also get a connection to Dark Empire, as Voren Na’al thinks to himself that the Historical Council can behave like wild Neks. This is a reference to the Neks also known as Cyborrean Battle Dogs which first appeared in Dark Empire. Nek Battle Dogs would go onto appear prominently within the EU, so as always it’s a nice touch to see them pop up again here.


We are then reintroduced to the concept of Supernatural Encounters, Arhul’s manuscript written account; exists in the Star Wars universe. In a similar fashion to The Journal of Master Ghost-Dural, The Book of Sith, or The Jedi Path. In universe Supernatural Encounters by Arhul Hextrophon goes by several names. We learn it has been called The Cosmic Wars of Ancient Skyriver; The Last Days of Arhul Hextrophon, Supernatural Encounters; or simply Hextrophon’s Manuscript. In my opinion, the numerous in-universe titles continue to add in a beautiful way to the mystique surrounding the work. We then get a reference to the NewsNet accusing the council of suppressing Supernatural Encounters. The NewsNet is essentially a branch of the HoloNet that deals with News.


The NewsNet was featured prominently in a large body of West End Games source material; specifically and quite prodigiously in all of the Adventure Journals which has a specific article series built around the NewsNet. We also get a Killik name drop which is both in the context of being an ancient species and having been a recent threat in The Swarm War; which is yet another Dark Nest Trilogy reference. 


We learn that the Historical Council is funded by the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances. The GA having made their first appearance in The New Jedi Order book series, its foundation being dealt with primarily in Destiny’s Way and The Force Heretic Trilogy. The GA rose from the ashes of the New Republic when it fell in the Yuuzhan Vong War. But the GA funding has apparently lead to some comparisons and concerns to the Empire and the next reference, COMPNOR. COMPNOR being the propoganda machine that wiped history and only sanctioned Imperial Propaganda that first appeared in the short story Payback: The Tale of Dengar by Dave Wolverton from the short story collection Tales of the Bounty Hunters.


COMPNOR, which stands for Commission for the Preservation of the New Order would go onto appear heavily in West End Games material and throughout the wider EU all the way up until the EU’s end. This is a great reference, and I’ve always loved and been fascinated with the concept of COMPNOR. So I was thrilled to see a nod to it here.


After the nod to COMPNOR, our next reference is found on the beginning of page 24, where we’re reintroduced to a returning character named Tchaka Marshall. Tchaka Marshall appeared as Tchaka, without the surname in Han Solo at Star’s End by Brian Daley. In that novel, he was presented as a young man, and student at the University of Kalla who had disappeared. His Uncle, Rekkon who is also referenced here with a Supernatural Encounters namedrop, searched for him with the help of Han Solo, Chewbacca, Bollux, and Blue Max; and would eventually recover his nephew; but sadly perished in the process. It seems Rekkon’s sacrifice was not in vain as Supernatural Encounters established that the now grown up Tchaka is a senior professor at Kalla University.


Another awesome reference, and I love how all these obscure academics and historians are pulled into this novel and fleshed out. In the paragraphs covering Tchaka, Rekkon, and Calla University, we also got mention to the Roundtree System of the Galaxy, from which Reckon hailed from. Roundtree’s first appearance was in West End Game’s Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook and It would later get a spot in The Essential Atlas. On the added surname of Marshall, to both Tchaka and Rekkon, Joe Bongiorno notated his decision with an anecdote in the endnotes which says the following: “the surname Marshall I added to play on the similarity between Tchaka and Cha-ka, the Pakuni character who became part of the Marshall family in the American children’s TV series Land of the Lost (Sid and Marty Krofft/CBS, 1974-77). Given that there’s a Pakuuni planet (Star Wars: TIE Fighter, LucasArts), it seemed a not inappropriate homage”, which are some super in depth connections and homages to be sure. 


We are treated with yet another reference in the next statements, which comes from another returning character, the Mrlssi scientist Dee Savyest, who first appeared in X-Wing Rogue Squadron issue number 7, a part of the Phantom Affair arch. In the comic he was mentioned as working at the Mrlsst Trade and Science Academy, and Supernatural Encounters establishes that he has now ascended the ranks to being the Head of Research there. The Mrlssi species in which he’s a member of first appeared X-Wing Rogue Squadron issue number 5, and went onto appear prominently in West End Games and Wizards of the Coast source material. 


Reina Solov is the next familiar face we encounter, who is a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Byblos. Both Reina Solov and her profession at the university were first mentioned in Peter Schweighofer’s Platt’s Starport Guide from West End Games.


She mentions something called the SD’s, a new concept which stands for Spurious Directories, and refers to events that the Historical Council can’t confirm or deny actually happened in the history of the galaxy, but they can’t find reason enough to say they did concretely happen due to other events conflicting with those events. The SD’s are files the Historical Council keeps of fanciful tales that could have happened. I believe this is a deeper reference here, as SD also could stand for secondary-canon, an out of universe concept that was a tier below Continuity Canon also known as C canon in the hierarchy of canon tiers of the Expanded Universe.


Secondary Canon or S canon were works that didn’t fully fit with the continuity, meaning it gave room for them to occur within continuity, but room for elements that contradicted other sources to be disregarded. S Canon was a massive grey area and an example of something that fit within S canon were the alternate video game endings, such as the Dark Side Endings to The Force Unleashed or Knights of the Old Republic. I believe that the in universe concept of the Spurious Directories are an equivalent to the out of universe concept of Secondary Canon. A genius little wink from Joe Bongiorno.


Next we get a little kind of potshot reference that I absolutely adore. A touchy subject and name within the Fandom nowadays that will bring groans of despair to many within the 2023 EU fandom. Pablo Hidalgo. The man has done it all. Been an amazing champion of the EU and a celebrated figure and writer for it, whom I greatly admired. And now a man who has made himself one of the EU’s biggest critics on Twitter. Pablo is no stranger to controversy within the wider Star Wars community, becoming embroiled in drama with popular creator Star Wars Theory which resulted in a forced formal apology from him due to LucasFilm mandates, saying that there’s no market for the EU anymore because no one wants it, and quite disturbingly speaking out multiple times against Supernatural Encounters on Twitter over the years.


At certain points in time Pablo has denied that he ever even worked on the project as well as repeatedly saying it wasn’t canon and was rejected from approval or interest by LucasFilm, despite multiple emails and correspondences showing that he was involved quite heavily at times within the project from an editorial perspective and that he represented a very interested party at LucasFilm on the project. Pablo’s recent venomous attitude towards Supernatural Encounters and the wider EU, is highlighted with a character appearing here in Supernatural Encounters in reference to him. A tuckerization acronym of Pablo Hidalgo, we are reintroduced to an in-universe character named Palob Godalhi. Palob Godalhi first appeared in the novel Rebel Dawn by AC Crispin. In that story, as a young man Godalhi is presented as being apart of the Tethan Resistance against the Empire.


Now in Supernatural Encounters, as a much older gentleman, Palob Godalhi is now a historian and is thought of by Voren Na’al with this quotation from the book: “Historian Palob Godalhi had privately confessed to him that he felt the same way, and if it came down to a vote, as it likely would, he’d have to vote against publication by the Council.” So we get a little reference to Pablo’s outspoken adversarial nature to Supernatural Encounters, with his in universe character Palob Godalhi making his 2nd appearance and likewise being completely against the in-universe Supernatural Encounters manuscript. A perfect beautiful mirror reference that I just love so much!


We get the return of Mammon Hoole from the Introduction to Supernatural Encounters and long before that, protagonist of Galaxy of Fear, as he roars against Savyest’s claims that the depiction of gods and demons is a fantastical myth and is a mere fable. Mammon Hoole’s boisterous tangent is impassioned and impressive, as he and Gulek have a tense exchange of viewpoints. Mammon makes reference to a character named Doctor Bowen of the Obroan Institute to make his point. Dr. Insmot Bowen first appeared in the starwars.com article The Essential Guide to Warfare Author’s Cut Part 1: The Celestials by Jason Fry and Paul R. Urquhart.


Bowen was renowned and respected but controversially had postulated comments on his theories of creative design by Celestial beings, something some on The Historical Council would rather forget. Bringing back obscure characters with a reference like this is a huge part of the genius that is Supernatural Encounters. 


Our next reference is to members of an institution called Lekua University, which is a reference to the planet Lekua V in the Centrality sector that first appeared in A Campaign Guide to the Centrality from Star Wars Gamer Magazine number 5 by Michael Kogge. The article established that there were several universities on Lekua V, and members of the university make an appearance here on the Historical Council. The Lekuan University was also mentioned in L. Neil Smith’s Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu.


Next we get a reference to the Rakata species that first appeared in the Knights of the Old Republic video game. The Rakata are an ancient prominent species who appeared prominently throughout the rest of the EU, and were notably a major part of the Dawn of the Jedi comics. The historian who name dropped the Rakata is a professor named Roi Tenne. I believe Roi Tenne is an original character, but they are stated as being from the Obroan Institute of Archaeology, which first appeared in the Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy from Michael P. Kube-McDowell. The Obroan Institute of Obroa-Ski is a prestigious school that’s renown made it into a heap of various EU source material.


Next we meet a new character, one Hectia Ruleth-Hoole, the newly established wife to Mammon Hoole. Hectia is only 4 foot 9 inches. So her height indicates she is perhaps not of the human species, but we don’t learn what species she is in this portion. Hectia is a botanist and outspoken member of the council. Seated with the is another new character, a geologist named Odin Grimar who is a member of the Devonian species. The Devaronians are prominent within the EU and date back to A New Hope. But it was the short story Empire Blues: The Devaronian’s Tale by author Daniel Keys Moran from The Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina that first fleshed out and established what the species was like. Always cool to get a Devaronian in there. Hectia showcases her tenacious spirit as she gets in a row with Hanapen and Janzikek. 


We learn that Hectia was apart of an anthropological Valkyrie Team with Odin, Odin’s sister Lorol, a Bothan named Hird Sohor, and a biology illustrator named Jippil Fiss. Only Odin and Hectia made it out of the Valkyrie mission, which ended up in complications with the Empire, and after a series of double crossings Hird ended up allied with the Empire, and Jippil and Lorol were dead. This backstory for Hectia was suggested with input from a top tier contributor on the book named Natalie Asplund according to the endnotes. 


Hectia’s tangent makes several more references, as she talks about how biographies and stories have been one of the most key ways that history has been recorded. She mentions that she can pull up and has access to Darth Maul’s Journal accounts. Which is a reference to the real world book Episode 1 Journal: Darth Maul by Jude Watson existing in-universe. Super cool to know it survived and made its way to the public. It’s a super fun little first hand account read and we get insight into new lore aspects of Maul’s trainings, failures, and his relationship with Sidious. Hectia also mentions that she could read Han Solo’s journal too, which is a reference to a real world book once again, this one being Journal: Hero for Hire by Donna Tauscher.


This book was presented as an in-universe data pad that recorded a conversation between Han Solo and a B’ommar Monk while he was at Jabba’s Palace. In the account Han talks about his adventures that led to him being there. Again, super cool to learn that what we read there out of universe is accessible to the characters within the universe. Hectia next mentions personal diaries of Anakin Skywalker, which I believe there are several of Anakin’s first hand accounts throughout the EU. This probably is in reference though mainly to yet another real world book by Todd Strasser Episode 1 Journal: Anakin Skywalker, which saw Anakin as a young boy recounting his life on Tattooine and adventures on Naboo.


Finally, and most interestingly, Hectia mentions the lover of the Despot Queen of Shikaakwa. This is a reference to the Dawn of the Jedi comics. Which features a character named Hadiya who was the Despot Queen and united the crime barons of Skikaakwa leading to a battle with the Je’Daii. A Je’Daii named Daegen Lok went undercover and became her lover under false pretenses, getting closer to her during the war until he eventually killed her. Daegen Lok is thus the lover that hectic makes reference too. I think a reference to Hadiya and Daegen is so super cool, and it’s interesting to hear that a journal was written by Daegan Log and that some 25,000 years later it is still accessible. Very cool stuff.


It is mentioned then, midway through the final page 27 that after the COMPNOR information wipe it has been incredibly hard to untangle the propaganda from truth and discern the real events that occurred within the Clone Wars era. This is I believe a reference to the out of universe messiness of the clone wars era, with the clashing and conflicting Clone Wars Multimedia Project and The Clone Wars show. A clever way to show that even in-universe that area of history is a jumbled mess and it’s hard to figure out what actually happened where during that war. Which is a brilliant reference.


Tenne and Hoole then have a little altercation in which Mistress Mnemos is once more name dropped as well as the Keeper, who we will learn much more about later on. Savyest jumps back into the debate fray and gets called a “vexing bird” by Hoole, which is something I found hilarious. 


Hoole mentions holobook sales which is a reference to the crystalline stores of information, known as holobooks that appeared throughout the EU, but were first featured in Attack of the Clones, as the glowing things on shelves in the Jedi Archives. With that last reference out of the way, the chapter ends with the debate room falling into another. Heated uproar. 


I hope you guys enjoyed this breakdown of all references and easter eggs in chapter 1 of Supernatural Encounters. This is everything I found and notated, but please let me know in the comments if I missed anything. Before I let you go though however, I have some really exciting news that I can share, that I received from the good people involved in Supernatural Encounters. The Supernatural Encounters Atlas Appendix by editor Corey Carter has been finished! I can personally attest to this, as I had the honor to take a peak at it.


And I can say it’s a super exciting companion piece to Supernatural Encounters! From what I saw, it’s going to be super helpful and a must have for fans of Supernatural Encounters to get a little more information helpfully organized regarding Supernatural Encounters. Corey did a fantastic job, and it should be releasing not long from now, hopefully around this October’s Halloween. I’ll make a video about it when it’s released where we can take a look at it together! For those of you who wonder what The Atlas Appendix is, it’s essentially a list of every planet named or referenced in Supernatural Encounters, and there are plans down the road to continually update and add to it with new information, such as information from the eventual Hungarian Han Solo translations. I, for one am super thrilled about the project, and think Corey’s work is invaluable for the EU community! Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for its upcoming release! Exciting times for sure!


With that little news blurb out of the way, I’ll see you guys next time when we delve into Chapter 2: Prelude and Contention! See you guys then!


0 comments

Comentarios


bottom of page