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Escape Pod: Noghri

How will we fill the roles of assassins and hit men in the new Star Wars movies? Mandalorians, Imperial Intelligence agents, and other unsavory elements have their place, but perhaps we might try something entirely different. The EU has one answer- the Noghri. Silent and stealthy, hidden thoroughly away from the rest of the galaxy, and astoundingly effective, they remain a mystery throughout much of their first appearance and bring a fascinating backstory. The Noghri are an excellent plot hook to tie together old and new Star Wars, bringing back the shadow of the Empire in a galaxy recovering from war.

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We first meet the Noghri when one of them, guarding Grand Admiral Thrawn, scares Pellaeon from the shadows. They are silent, stealthy assassins, described as looking rather unnerving and speaking in a gravelly voice. All we know of their history is that they had worked for Darth Vader and are now Thrawn’s personal bodyguards, quickly tasked with capturing Leia Organa Solo and delivering her to the Empire alive. Her befriending them gives us insight into what little we know about the Clone Wars at the time of Dark Force Rising, and their devastated homeworld goes from a potential sign of Imperial benevolence to a somber reminder of the might of the Empire. The Noghri will likely never be able to clean up their poisoned homeworld, and they instead join with “Lady Vader” as her faithful bodyguards. They remain in the position throughout the rest of the EU, with various Noghri watching over Leia and Han and their children. Though they are not free from controversy- they are, after all, the former personal assassins of Darth Vader- they are endlessly useful to the Solo family. Read More

Storytelling and Perspective: History in the GFFA

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One of the many things that drew me into the Star Wars universe was the detailed worldbuilding. For many of us, we started by seeing Tatooine and the idea of a fully desert planet with two suns, and then saw the coldly artificial Death Star and then the vibrantly alive jungles of Yavin IV. The prequels brought us Coruscant and many other worlds, and we saw not only the geography of planets but also customs and culture. There comes a point when it’s nigh impossible to keep track of the immensity of the GFFA without a few reference guides, and sooner or later, we run into guides written from an in-universe perspective. How their stories are told is in itself a telling view of how the GFFA views its own history.

We are all aware that our GFFA has witnessed years of catastrophic warfare. A common thread in warfare, real and fictional, is the loss of history and the challenges of telling the stories afterwards. When Luke first meets old Ben Kenobi and hears about the Jedi Knights, we realize in retrospect that thousands of years of Jedi history has indeed been utterly destroyed in only twenty years. Has the Empire really been in power so long, and so firmly, that the younger generation know nothing of the past? Real-world historical revisionism is a well-known phenomenon, and controversial subjects are often glossed over in the name of politics.

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According to My Design – The Staff Re-Revisits Infinities

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Shortly before continuity exploded, the staff of Eleven-ThirtyEight gathered to ponder some of our own “what if” ideas for the Original Trilogy, in honor of the classic Star Wars Infinities comics of the early aughts. I’m now proud to present round two, in which we push further than Infinities ever did, by which of course I mean go backwards, into the great goldmine of ill-considered decisions that is the Prequel Trilogy.

You may notice a new name below, so let me also take this moment to welcome Rocky Blonshine, she of our recent feature article on the Rule of Two, and now our newest full staff member here at ETE! Welcome aboard, Rocky—you break it, you bought it.

Jay: After watching Revenge of the Sith, we’d all wondered how it was possible that Obi-Wan could jump over Maul without injury while the same maneuver pretty much destroyed Anakin. As everyone knows, possessing the high ground gives you a +5 attack bonus. Suppose, then, that Kenobi was the one diced in half at the end of The Phantom Menace instead of Darth Maul — what changes? Read More

One Sith Two Sith: Evil and Sustainability

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The Sith are the iconic antagonist of the Star Wars galaxy- black robes, red lightsabers, some cackling laughter and lightning- the very image of evil. We first meet them with the condition of one Master and one Apprentice, and later find out that they have a much richer history. This Rule of Two is perhaps the riskiest idea for long-term Sith survival, as their very nature would make it far too easy for just one overly ambitious and underpowered apprentice and one overconfident master to both end up dead, almost ensuring the extinction of the Sith. However, a large group of constantly infighting Sith could cause the death of many valuable Lords. Throughout Sith history, they tried several power structures, and their newest was perhaps the most sustainable and threatening. Who wouldn’t want a good villain that could sneak up on us at any time?

As we all know, the Sith began as Jedi who explored the Dark Side more deeply and were banished from Republic space for doing so. They found the Sith species in the Unknown Regions, and through a blend of alchemy and interbreeding plus years of isolation, became a powerful empire. We start to see the Sith again in the Great Hyperspace Wars, when the Sith accidentally find the Republic again and general chaos ensued. Every time we see the Sith of the Old Republic, the constant infighting and plotting amongst themselves is a common theme- sometimes to the point that we have to wonder how they get anything else done. We meet several versions of the Sith- the Hyperspace War, Revan and Malak creating a new Sith Empire, the triumvirate of Traya, Nihilus, and Sion descending into a civil war that nearly consumes the Sith as well as the Jedi, and the treaty of Coruscant that ends with a cold war between Jedi and Sith. Throughout this, the pattern is of a large group of Sith Lords, often plotting against each other to the detriment of their fellow Sith. However, the Sith still manage to survive and often win, constantly bouncing back and doing damage to the Republic and the Jedi. Read More