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  • Brennan Renwick

SE Breakdown (Part 4)

Welcome back to Brennan’s Breakdowns of the new Star Wars novel Supernatural Encounters!

We have made it to chapter 2 of this colossal masterpiece! On today’s episode, we will be continuing through Book 1: The Trial. This chapter is called Prelude and Contention and continues the Historical Council’s debate where It left off in Chapter 1. Chapter Two” Prelude and Contention spans pages 28-30, and before we jump into the precise connection, easter egg, and reference analysis, here’s a brief summary of the chapter, but first a spoiler warning for Supernatural Encounters, that I feel obligated to mention every episode, you have been warned.

In Chapter 2, the Historical Council continues to debate about the authenticity of both Arhul Hextrophon and his manuscript. Additionally they begin to read the in-universe text to Arhul’s “Supernatural Encounters” , with a poet named Hari Seldona orally reading the manuscript to the Historical Council on record for the first time. The debate ultimately and inevitably spirals into angered yelling once more as the last chapter too had ended in uproar, and Q9-X7 on Voren’s command joins the fray for the first time. 

With the brief cliff notes plot summary completed, let’s delve into some analysis for Supernatural Encounters: Chapter Two: Prelude and Contention. 

We start off the chapter with Voren Na’al ending the needless tumultuous quarreling with a calm and timely statement that aims to undercut the Council’s worries that they will be discredited and dishonored if they were to release Arhul’s document to the public. And our first reference comes from the response to Na’al’s comments. The character, Tem Eliss mentions the severity of the disagreement and the importance of the issue that can not be understates. Tem Eliss first appeared in the short story An Extinct Guest by Trevor J Wilson and Craig Robert Carey from Adventure Journal #14. Tem was characterized as being an easy going amiable scholar of immense intelligence, and appeared throughout the EU in a lot of source material such as Galaxy Guide 12: Aliens: Enemies and Allies, The Essential Guide to Alien Species, Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, and in Joe Bongiorno’s short story in Gamer Magazine which we’ll talk more about shortly.

Supernatural Encounter’s next reference comes in the form of mentioning Tim Eliss’s species, the Iyra cephalopods that first appeared in Galaxy Guide #4: Alien Races. The Iyra also appeared in the video game Star Wars Rebellion. As with a lot of these historians and scholars that are on the Historical Council in Supernatural Encounters, author Joe Bongiorno takes the time to list some of their credentials, and with Tem Eliss it mentions his important extensive work on the University of Sanbra Guide to Intelligent Life.

The University of Sanbra Guide to Intelligent Life is a book about alien species written in-universe by Tem Eliss. This is yet another reference to the already mentioned An Extinct Guest short story. But author Joe Bongiorno has some experience with this concept, as he co-authored one of a number of articles in a regular series that appeared in the Gamer Magazine. His article, The University of Sanbra Guide to Intelligent Life: The Marvel Series which he wrote with Rich Handley was published in Gamer Magazine #1 in 2000, and featured Tem Eliss. As a huge fan of the Sanbra Guide to Intelligent Life, it’s always so cool to see it come up within the EU, so I was excited to see it mentioned here with the information given on Tim Ellis’s background.

Midway through page 28 we get our next reference, after Tem’s impassioned and intelligent comments. Voren Na’al reflects on the precarious times that they are currently in with the current galactic government. This line of thinking leads to the reference to the current Chief of State Cal Omas. Cal Omas appeared for the first time in RA Salvatore’s The New Jedi Order: Vector Prime, and would go onto appear throughout NJO, The Dark Nest Trilogy, and Legacy of the Force. Cal Omas was the final Chief of State for the New Republic and the first Chief of State for the Galactic Alliance. 

After the reference to Chief of State Cal Omas, we get a very interesting monologue by Tim Elias about how journalists faced persecution during the Empire’s reign, which sadly echoes our own world’s tragic treatment of journalist’s over history. Eliss’s statements are responded to by a very familiar character, making her triumphant first appearance here. It’s so cool that Leia Organa Solo appears here, sitting in on The Historical Council. Every single one of her comments and interjections is graceful, and Joe had written her with so much respect and grace. I found myself clinging to every sentence she uttered; as she is written in such an effortlessly charasmatic manner. Definitely a standout moment whenever she enters the debate fray as seen here. 

Leia calls for the manuscript to be read aloud, prompting a smirk from Janzikek, and approval from Mungo Baobab and Mammon Hoole. 

This leads to the manuscript being read aloud by a character named Hari Seldona. The character Hari Seldona is, as you may have come to expect with Supernatural Encounters, an obscure character from the Expanded Universe. Hari Seldona originally comes from The Illustrated Star Wars Universe by Kevin J Anderson. In that book, an accompanying art piece was given for her character. What’s interesting about this art, is that it originally wasn’t intended to be a new character; but concept art for Return of the Jedi depicting Leia. This Leia concept art was first featured in a book I own, The Art of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi!

This art was repurposed to be a depiction of Alderaanian poet Hari Seldona. Supernatural Encounters next makes reference to Hard Sheldon’s boyfriend. A character named Soltan Wostikian. Soltan’s first appearance was featured in the French role-player magazine Casus Belli issue number 103, in an article called Prélude à un Nouvel Espoir which translates roughly to “Prelude to A New Hope”. The Star Wars article in that magazine featured an appearance from the preestablished hair Seldona, but added her boyfriend Soltan Wostikian to the lore. Extremely interesting stuff. 

Hard has been selected to read the manuscript, something she considers a great honor; as It is stated that she greatly admired Arhul’s works, and likewise Arhul mutually respected her. This leads to the first reading of Arhul’s in-universe book itself, which begins with an introduction of sorts, where it sets the time period in place. It mentions that Arhul has retired from being Master Historian at this point; as he wishes to seek knowledge without it having to be mandated via government funding, and with this mention of the government we get another Mon Mothma namedrop; someone who we already know was a dear friend to Arhul based on the Prologue. 

Arhul’s reasoning for his journey into inevitably madness is outlined here, as a quest to know more about alien races in the Pre-Republic era, and the races that died out long ago; as well as where intelligent life comes from originally. He seeks to uncover the truth and untangle the myths, wherever that would lead. 

The manuscript reading is cut off right as Arhul starts to talk about what he at this point in time regards as religious extremism; which is in regard to creation accounts from ancient aliens across the galaxy. Which Arhul views at this early point in his journey as fanciful myths. The reading is cut off by Tem Eliss who mentions an important piece of information. In his interruption it is revealed that Arhul’s other work, “Cult Encounters: Excerpts from the Last Days of Arhul Hextraphon”, was the document which they read on the first day of debate at the Historical Council.

We already know that this is the second debate, which I had originally thought was just a weird detail; but it actually had a purpose in being set here, as it gets room for some light to have been shone on Cult Encounters. Out of universe Cult Encounters was written by Joe Bongiorno and Rich Handley, and published in 2017; 6 years before the final version of its much larger companion piece Supernatural Encounters. They are collectively referred to as the Encounters duology.  For those who want to know more about Cult Encounters, you can read it on; and it is even included in the back of the Supernatural Encounters pdf and in the SE physical copies. And, yes, I do plan on covering a breakdown for Cult Encounters, once we get to the end of Supernatural Encounters in a few years! I think it’s cool though to know that the Historical Council spent some time on Cult Encounters in addition to Supernatural Encounters, a very nice detail. 

In response to Tim Elias, Janzikek pipes up and calls Supernatural Encounters, “The Uncanny Adventures of Arhul Hextrophon”. This line cracked me up; but it also sent my mind straight to the incredible comic book series The Uncanny X-Men. Which may not have been a directly intended reference; but it’s certainly where my mind went upon hearing Janzikek’s wise crack. The wise crack leads to furious anger from the Pro-Hextraphon side of the room, including Mungo Baobab and two new character references, with the xenoarchaelogist Corellia AKA Henrietya Antilles who first appeared in The Gree Enclave short story from Adventure Journal number 8 by Timothy S. O’Brien; and archaeologist Fem Nu-Ar who first appeared in the original Marvel Star Wars comic issue number 84 by Roy Richardson; rushing to defend Hextraphon. Fem Nu-Ar even called Janzikek a “pompous dinosaur”, which is a hilarious little detail that I love. The word Dinosaur is additionally an EU reference though, as dinosaurs have shown up in various media throughout the EU, first being mentioned in Alan Dean Foster’s A New Hope novelization. 

The Velmoc Hanapen splutters back into the fray as a character named Hausen-Graf Well makes a comment; this is seemingly a new character, but may be connected to the Graf family of historians that were featured in Adventures in Wild Space.


The next reference is to another character who joins the collective babbling. The character is named Ualp Xathan and first appeared in issue #84 of the original Marvel comic series. Ualp Xathan’s species wasn’t revealed in that comic, he was simply visually an unidentified reptilian. In a genius connection, Supernatural Encounters references the reptilian Getkl species that first appeared in the LA Times comic strip Bring me the Children by Don Christensen. This is brilliant here, as Supernatural Encounters establishes that Dr. Ualp Xathan is indeed a member of the Getkl species. I love how neat simple tie ins like this are. Elegant stuff if you ask me!

Another reference occurs when it makes mention of Doctor Anki Pace who first appeared in The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide 1: Onslaught by Michael Stackpole and archaeologist Garv Debble who first appeared in the Erasing All Traces short story in the Last Command sourcebook by Eric Trainman as well as having later appeared in Specter of the Past by Timothy Zahn; who are both desperately attempting to calm everyone down.

Their attempts are in vain though as members of the Obroan Institute make a return from chapter 1, by injecting some hilarious negative puns into the fray. They call out in a mad chant that their opponents in the debate are “Hextremists” and “Hexorcists”, which is a very amusing yet disrespectful play on words. Details like this make me adore this section of the work; it just feels so well polished with stuff like that. Brilliant!

Myk Bidlor laughs amongst the chaos. The character was mentioned earlier in the Introduction, but he appears here in The Historical Council chambers. Myk Bidlor is a tucerization of EU writer and editor Mike Beidler, who first appeared in The Han Solo Trilogy Rebel Dawn by AC Crispin. 

To silence the chaos Voren Na’al calls up the amazing sidekick of Arhul to the plate. As Q9-X7, mentioned earlier in the book makes his first physical appearance in the Historical Council chambers. And it is revealed that his other name is Master Mnemom; that he is the companion computer intelligence to the great Misstress Mnemos who has repeatedly been mentioned in Supernatural Encounters already. Which is a neat touch! It mentions that Q9 has served as an errand boy essentially for supercomputer Mistress Mnemos, going to various planets for her. Including Fusai, which is a reference to another LA Times comic strip called Galmbler’s World; where the planet Fusai first appeared. 

As Q9-X7 prepares to be a hero; this is where the chapter ends.


This was yet another terrific chapter with so so much good lore packed tightly into these 3 pages. Let me know in the comments if I missed any references, and I’ll see you all next time, when we resume out break-downs of Supernatural Encounters with Chapter Three: Innocence and Wrath. 

But before I leave you all today, I have two brief news bulletins. For one, I just want to show off this absolutely sick Supernatural Encounters tattoo that editor Kyle Rawlings just got. Looks absolutely amazing, taken straight from Chris Cold’s art; and I was wowed when I saw the photos he shared! Absolutely awesome, and not yet finished… I can’t wait to see the final product. In addition to that, something extremely exciting has occurred.

Author Joe Bongiorno has very generously included YouTube video links to this very series of videos on his website He has posted the links to the previous episodes of this series, along with links to so many other awesome Supernatural Encounters videos from other creators on a specific Supernatural Encounters Media and Analysis tab on the Supernatural Encounters section of the website. What an honor! I absolutely can not believe to see the videos with the title up there. How cool! What a kind move from author Joe Bongiorno to put these up there; I still can’t believe it, to see these up there!

With the breakdown over, and the brief news blurb out of the way, I’m gonna get out of here, and start on my script for Chapter 3, see you guys then!



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