The Star Wars Customizable Card Game Part 3: Premiere Base Set & A New Hope Expansion
By Scott Johnson
A New Hope was the first expansion set released in July 1996, seven months after the game’s Premiere base set release in December of 1995. These first two sets covered everything from the original film. Like the base set, A New Hope featured a slew of characters from Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina referencing several events from those short stories in the lore sections of the cards including Greedo’s backstory and the Modal Nodes band members. The first expansion was also the official source which first established the names and background for several more imperial officers from the film including Captain Khurgee who would later appear in Michael Reaves and Steve Perry’s Death Star novel as a lieutenant, Commander Daine Jir that has the “holding her is dangerous” line early in the film, Lieutenant Pol Treidum who was named based on antagonist Captain Rolf Treidum from the DarkStryder campaign from West End Games, the anti-alien cell-block operator Lieutenant Shann Childsen who gets shot by Luke, and the intelligence officer Evax who appears in the scene as Luke, Han and Chewie are waiting on the Death Star lift tube.
Did you know the other protocol droid behind C-3PO in the hallway of the Tantive IV in the beginning of the film was an imperial spy? Well, according to U-3PO’s card its was a reprogrammed to spy for the Empire, suggesting this droid was the double agent on board as was speculated in the A New Hope radio drama. This expansion was also one of the first official sources identify the one of the two Nimbanels (walrus aliens) from the film as Mosep (later given the surname Binneed by the Ultimate Alien Anthology) who would later appear in John Jackson Miller’s Kenobi and is possibly the character who pretended to be as Jabba in the Marvel comics What Ever Happened to Jabba the Hut? [sic] and In Mortal Combat. The Premiere set also had a few more characters officially named for the first time including the 3.5-meter tall Quor'sav bird Kal'Falnl C'ndros (affectionately known in the game as KFC) who you only see the legs of in the film and her fellow pilot Rycar Ryjerd (identified in his lore as a Bimm from Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire) who both would be featured later in the West End Games adventure Secrets of the Sisar Run. Decipher employee Carol Wisely also used an anagram of her name to create the official name of cantina pickpocket, Swilla Corey.
An interesting legal issue arose with many of the background characters in film shortly after these first two sets were printed. While many characters where hired actors in the film, some characters like the Tonnika Sisters were only brought on as extras. A few of these characters, seen for only a fraction of a second in the film, denied allowing Lucasfilm permission to use their likeness in subsequent action figures and other Star Wars memorabilia unless they were compensated. The original Tonnika Sisters card from the base set is possibly the reason behind why there are no action figures of Senni Tonnika. Rumor has it that Angela Staines, who portrayed Mistryl Shadow Guard Karoly D’ulin disguised as Senni Tonnika, had a son who in the 1990s bought some cards from the game and one day showed the Tonnika Sisters card to his mother who had played one of the sisters years many earlier. Although amused to see her character as a game card, Staines and her husband felt they should be compensated for her likeness and subsequently sent a request to Lucasfilm requesting compensation since her original contract didn’t provide allowing merchandise with her likeness. Evidently Lucasfilm did not agree to this leading some to speculate this to be the reason why there is no official Senni Tonnika action figure. Commander Bob Hudsol whose name is in the lore of the Rebel Commander card portrayed by John William Ault as an uncredited extra also expressed similar reservations prior to his passing in 1990 not wanting an action figure of him to be made unless he was able to receive royalties. Curiously, they didn’t create a unique card for him and instead left him as generic Rebel Commander. In the next article, I’ll cover the Hoth and Dagobah expansion sets.