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  • Writer's pictureMatt Wilkins

The Crystal Star's Unknown Legacy

By Lance Leibrock



As EU fans, we’ve experienced many amazing stories, but we’ve also experienced our fair share of lame stories. One of these stories is the most infamous of them all: The Crystal Star, written by Vonda N. McIntyre and released in 1994. It’s known for its wacky ideas, characters acting abnormal, and the rehashing of ideas previous stories had already used. But you might be surprised there was quite a positive legacy and impact this novel had on the overall Expanded Universe .



One of the things this novel did was create the character of Lusa. Lusa was a centaur, and she was one of the many children captured by Lord Hethrir. During their imprisonment, the Solo children had become friends with Lusa, and Lusa had assisted the Solo children in escaping Lord Hethrir’s prison. One thing that people often forget about is that Lusa actually appeared in the Young Jedi Knights series, during the ‘Diversity Alliance’ story arc. She had briefly joined the Diversity Alliance herself, but she quickly realized how evil Nolaa Tarkona was, so she ended up defecting and traveling to Yavin IV, where she told Luke everything about the Diversity Alliance. Lusa ended up actually being a pretty cool character, despite her ridiculous species. She would eventually be killed in The New Jedi Order series.



The second thing this novel did was create the Ghostling species. This species was very similar to humans, except their skin radiated a bright aura of light, and they were also extremely brittle due to their homeworld of Datar having a low gravitational pull. In ‘Episode I Adventures 5: The Ghostling Children,’ written by Dave Wolverton, Ghostlings would be brought back. In this story, a group of Ghostling children would be captured by an evil trader where they’re going to be sold to Gardulla the Hutt, and Anakin Skywalker, a young slave boy at this time, is their only hope of being freed. Again, much like with Lusa, the EU would continue to weave The Crystal Star in the continuity, regardless of how weird the ideas were.


Another example of The Crystal Star’s impact on the Expanded Universe is its relationship with one of the most well known EU stories: “Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast.” Abel G. Peña, in his series The Dark Forces Saga for Wizards of the Coast, he would actually retcon the faction seen in The Crystal Star as the very same faction seen in “Jedi Outcast,” known as the Empire Reborn. Desann was actually in allegiance to Lord Hethrir, and Kyle Katarn destroying Desann was merely the event that incredibly weakened the Empire Reborn


The last positive impact this novel had is it taught Lucasfilm a valuable lesson: Star Trek and Star Wars are rapidly different universes and stories. Vonda N. McIntyre had written a few Star Trek books prior to being asked to write this novel, and Lucasfilm assumed if you wrote good Star Trek, you must write good Star Wars. They didn’t understand that both franchises are extremely different. Star Trek focuses more on the science fiction element of its franchise, while Star Wars focuses more on the fantasy aspect. And, if you have read/seen Star Trek, you know that this novel reads like a weird Star Trek episode.


After this book came out and the negative reactions started flowing in, Lucasfilm realized the differences between the two, which is why you didn’t have a whole lot of stories like The Crystal Star afterwards. As we can see, The Crystal Star has had continuity references in other media, some as small as a species showing up in a children’s novel or having entire connections to some of the EU’s most well known video games. Because of this, I think it would be foolish to ignore The Crystal Star in the overall scheme of things just because of its weird story. If you like continuity, you should definitely give this book a read.

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