The Dexter Jettster Renaissance: Twenty Years of a Literary Classic

In 2002, we were blessed with a scoundrel of a space cook with an arm gimmick, a ready grin, and a menacing chuckle. Dexter Jettster – the one-scene wonder of Jedi Quest #2: The Trail of the Jedi.

Oh, and also of some movie, I suppose.

While created and developed for Attack of the Clones, the Besalisk actually debuted in Legends literature. His first appearance came a month and a half before the film’s release, in Jude Watson’s middle-grade series Jedi Quest. Though the movie would obviously make a bigger impact, this pulp-fiction book set the stage for how Dex would grow into a more complex character: through literature.

Over the course of the Legends Expanded Universe, Dex would make enough scattered appearances across novels, comics, and magazines that certain character traits began taking root outside of the movie. Traits that held a distinct similarity to a literary classic.

In 2002, we were blessed with another scoundrel of a space cook with an arm gimmick, a ready grin, and a menacing chuckle. Long John Silver – the villain of Disney’s Treasure Planet.

Oh, and also of some novel, I suppose.

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Even His Droid is Called “Aces” – How Padawan Opens the Door to Exploring an Aromantic/Asexual Obi-Wan Kenobi

This involves a close read of a passage of Padawan, but it does not contain plot-related spoilers.

I am the type of person that Padawan by Kiersten White was written for. I am very much the fan being served by the various elements therein. Obi-Wan Kenobi is my favorite Jedi. My favorite minor character gets a handsome cameo. And, most importantly for this article, it intersects with my youthful introduction into Star Wars novels: Jude Watson’s Jedi Apprentice.

Published in the Legends continuity between 1999 and 2002, this mass market pulp fiction series about Obi-Wan’s Padawan years has left a mark on many a fan. Fandom celebrated when Apprentice characters like Siri and Bant were later integrated into the new canon. Siri in particular was an interesting choice to include in Padawan, as Jude Watson later wrote her and Obi-Wan into a romantic relationship.

Padawan, however, tackles that Legends relationship a little differently, and it was this that ultimately dominated my thoughts after setting the book down. For everything I loved about the entire novel, I kept returning here, to a single passage. Because I could hardly believe what I was being given.

Padawan gave textual support for a queer Obi-Wan Kenobi.

I have hardly been shy about asexuality and aromanticism in this column before, and Obi-Wan Kenobi himself has come up in said discussion:

“There’s also Obi-Wan, who feels a-spec (on the aromantic or asexual spectrums) to me, especially in the context of Satine Kryze. Their dynamic challenges the idea that romance and sex are innately good and should override every other motive in a person’s life. Obi-Wan and Satine decline to pursue a relationship in order to uphold their oaths to others, and neither is painted as cold or unloving in doing so.”

For everthing I took from Obi-Wan and Satine’s arc as an aromantic man, I expected it to remain wholly within the realm of headcanon.

And yet, here Padawan is.

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Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga – The Game Star Wars Didn’t Know it Needed

For all that I was expecting great things of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, it still managed to exceed them. It did particularly well in its version of the main story, bringing new emphasis to certain aspects and expanding and improving upon others. Above all, it did something entirely unexpected: not only did it treat the nine films as a series of nine films, it made the story flow from the start to the end. Yes, that does include the sequel trilogy.

My route through the set was originals then prequels then sequels, but by all accounts, the game is rather smart in enabling any structure. You want to play in the machete order? Off you go. Two ace cards the game plays early and frequently are the assumption that the audience knows the material and a very smart sense of humour. The humour turns up all over the place in surprising ways and, at times, takes a very meta tack. For instance, one Phantom Menace level is called Better Call Maul. Similarly, a quest in The Rise of Skywalker that you play to unlock Beaumont Kin is called Second Breakfast, a sly nod to Dominic Monaghan’s role of Merry in The Lord of the Rings films. These jokes and others show that Traveller’s Tales (henceforth TT) were aiming this game at everyone. Sure, kids are the primary audience, but not exclusively.

George Lucas’s approach was mostly on the big-picture, grand-themes stuff — details, consistency, these were not his forte. This was demonstrated in how he syncs up the end of Revenge of the Sith and the start of A New Hope — it kind of works but when you start looking at the details it gets a bit iffy. The sequels, in some sort of weird homage to Lucas, replicated this freewheeling approach to its component parts. The result was three films but not a trilogy. It had the pieces to be so but the films just do not work together. The game cannot entirely fix all this but it has a very good go at it.

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The Case for Continuing the Queen’s Series—With or Without Padmé

The final section of this piece contains major spoilers for Queen’s Hope. There will be another warning immediately beforehand.

There’s something about Star Wars and threes. Queen’s Hope, which released yesterday, is the third young adult book about Padmé Amidala in as many years, and while I have no special reason to assume this will be the end of that particular line of stories, it feels likely, doesn’t it? If nothing else, E.K. Johnston is quickly approaching the end of Padmé’s life; having covered her transition from queen to senator and now from single to married, there isn’t much more of significance for her to write about beyond retreading the events of Revenge of the Sith—and even those the series already touched on briefly in the epilogue to Queen’s Shadow.

On top of that, there just isn’t much precedent for Star Wars doing four or five of something; even the perpetually-bestselling Thrawn books have always ended up resetting in one way or another after no more than three. While junior novel series are a common exception, you’d have to go back to Legends and the New Jedi Order for an example of adult novels telling a single linear narrative across more than three books—even the High Republic has broken its meta-arc, so far at least, into “phases” of three books per format.

On the other hand, “young adult” novels as they’re currently understood don’t have a lot of precedent in Star Wars to begin with. While they tend to be smaller in scope and more limited in their perspective than Del Rey’s novels, the modern Star Wars young adult line has displayed a range of quality and, er, maturity in its writing equal to and sometimes even surpassing Del Rey’s.

I’m hopeful, though, that the line can embrace its position “between” the adult and junior novels in one respect: by embracing the junior novels’ willingness to go long. It’s hard to say authoritatively how well the Queen’s books are selling compared to anything else, but given how quickly we got the first two follow-ups (even with a six-month delay this time around) it certainly seems like they’ve found an audience. And if it were up to me, E.K. Johnston would keep going for the foreseeable future—even if that means leaving Padmé behind.

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Eye of the Storm: The Hole at the Center of The High Republic

Phase One of The High Republic has come to an end, and with that came the surprising announcement that Phase Two will actually be going back another 150 years, apparently to flesh out how certain long-forgotten events led to the mess our heroes are currently dealing with in the (relative) present day.

In this respect, The High Republic seems to be mirroring the release structure of the Skywalker saga, which introduced the battle against Emperor Palpatine in the original trilogy, then showed the origins of that conflict, then jumped forward again to resolve it once and for all, now with the benefit of hindsight.[1]Depending on how one views the sequel trilogy’s efforts to integrate into the larger story an even more apt comparison might be machete order, in which the prequels are treated as an extended … Continue reading

If the creators really are intentionally mirroring the films, that suggests that Phase Three will be a conclusion of some sort—if not to the era in general, at least to the threat of Marchion Ro. For the purposes of this piece, I’m assuming as well that said conclusion will be meant to be genuinely happy, rather than the pyrrhic victory of The Phantom Menace; it’s fair to believe otherwise considering where things end up a couple centuries later, but it’s my feeling that they called this saga “The High Republic” for a reason, and the defeat of Marchion Ro will be presented as a rousing triumph of the Galactic Republic and its Jedi, rather than the first in a long line of compromises that will lead to the Empire.

Since we don’t know what we don’t know, it’s hard to say exactly what Phase Two will be about, what important context it will add to the story we’ve gotten so far. But allowing for the above priors, I have a pretty good idea of what the era is currently missing: a satisfying, multidimensional antagonist.

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References
1 Depending on how one views the sequel trilogy’s efforts to integrate into the larger story an even more apt comparison might be machete order, in which the prequels are treated as an extended flashback between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.