• Matt Wilkins

Special Additions


Tim from Open-Airlock Policy here. I’m back to start a new article and video series called Expanded Universe: Special Additions. Be sure to click on the link to watch the video.


In the mid-1990s, Lucasfilm decided to re-release the Star Wars trilogy for the 20th anniversary. It wouldn’t just be any re-release; it would be a “Special Edition,” with restoration, improvements, “corrections,” and even additional material. The plan was revealed to the public in 1994.


In this video and series, we will track the implementation of the Special Edition changes into the Expanded Universe. Interestingly, a hugely impacted publication, Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, would be released in summer 1995 without taking into account the changes that would be coming a few years later. Lucas Licensing had been unaware of some of the coming changes, either due to secretiveness or plans for the revised films still being fluid. Through the canon process developed by Lucas Licensing, the films, being in a higher tier that would eventually be referred to as G canon, would overwrite and retcon some of the events from books such as Tales. You may find some of the first mentions and appearances of the Special Edition elements to be surprising.


The Sentinel-class landing craft shown taking off from the surface of Tatooine in the enhanced scene depicting the search for R2-D2 and C-3PO was first referenced a year before in The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels. Narrative wise, it appeared in the Shadows of the Empire video game.


The ronto riding beast was shown very early on in the Special Edition preview shots in Star Wars Insider, but you will be surprised to find that the creature first appeared earlier in the month of the film’s debut in January 1997 in the Young Jedi Knights novel Shards of Alderaan.


Who didn’t love the cantina with masks by Stuart Freeborn and Rick Baker’s teams in England and the United States, respectively? Due to complications during the mask-making process, Rick had to go with a few “off-the-shelf” masks, namely two different wolfmen. Defel Arleil Schous became Melas, a member of the Sarkan species, in the Special Edition. Shistavanen Wolfman Lak Sivrak became the Pacithhip Ketwol. Interestingly, the same mask was used for both new aliens. In may of 1997, a Pacithhip was shown on the cover of the West End Games publication Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy. In the narrative, we wouldn’t see one until Anakin’s Fate from May of 1999, a few weeks before The Phantom Menace came out. The Sarkan species was first mentioned in The Last Command by Timothy Zahn. After the Special Edition came out, the West End sourcebook for the film would retcon Melas as a member of the species. The species would appear in the story The Great Herdship Heist in Adventure Journal #15. Please note that Lak Sivrak and Arleil Schous would retain their characters in the continuity.


See you next time to focus on the novel developed in conjunction with the Special Edition.But was it just a novel…?


For a video regarding this article check out the link here.

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