Zahn, Timothy: Star Wars: Heir to the Empire
(researched by Brandy May)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Timothy Zahn. Star Wars: Heir to the Empire. New York: Bantam Books, 1991. The copyright is held by Lucasfilm Ltd. and the first edition was published simultaneously in Canada and the United States. A Limited Edition was produced in 1991 as well.

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

The first edition is published in hardcover.

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

184 leaves, pp. [4] [1] 2-11 [12-13] 14-26 [27] 28-34 [35] 36-50 [51] 52-55 [56-57] 58-63 [64-65] 66-75 [76-77] 78-84 [85] 86-96 [97] 98-108 [109] 110-117 [118-119] 120-128 [129] 130-135 [136-137] 138-150 [151] 152-157 [158-159] 160-167 [168-169] 170-183 [184-185] 186-191 [192-193] 194-204 [205] 206-221 [222-223] 224-230 [231] 232-244 [245] 246-259 [260-261] 262-276 [277] 278-291 [292-293] 294-304 [305] 306-309 [310-311] 312-322 [323] 324-339 [340-341] 342-358 [359] 360-361 [3]

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

There is no introductory material. There is a leaf preceding the title page with the Star Wars logo on the recto and a list of other works by Timothy Zahn on the verso. The text of the list is as follows: Also by Timothy Zahn The Blackcollar Cobra Blackcollar: The Backlash Mission Dead Manís Switch Cascade Point Cobra Bargain Cobra Strike! A Coming of Age Spinneret Time Bomb & Zhandry Others Triplet Warhorse

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

The first edition is not illustrated.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

The pages are 14cm by 22.8 cm. The text block measures 10.5 cm by 18.2 cm. The type is 86R. Chapter headings and numbers use a different typeface than the text, and the same typeface is used on the title page and for the title heading on each page and for the page numbers. The text appears to be serif, and the chapter headings are sans serif. The text appears straight on the page and is not noticeably faded or smudged. The margins are wide enough for note taking and the text is easy to read and not crowded on the page.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The paper is smooth, white, with a straight edge on all sides. It is thicker than that which would be used in a trade paperback.

11 Description of binding(s)

The book has a dustjacket with cover art and information, but the front and back cover of the book are blank. The binding is a case binding with endsheets on the front and back boards. The boards are light blue, while the cloth covering the spine is dark blue, with a dotted line grain. The following text is stamped horizontally on the spine in orange gilt: Star Wars Heir to the Empire Timothy Zahn "Star Wars" is the Star Wars logo at the top of the spine, with "Star" above "Wars." The logo is printed horizontally. Below the logo (or to its right if the book is laid flat on its back cover), "Heir to the Empire" is printed above "Timothy Zahn, with a line horizontal line between the two. This unit is horizontally printed--"Timothy Zahn" is not lower down on the spine than "Heir to the Empire." The Bantam Spectra logo is printed vertically at the bottom of the spine. An image of the spine of the book and the spine of the dust jacket, as well as an image of the back cover and flaps of the dust jacket can be found in Supplementary Materials.

12 Transcription of title page

Recto: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE | STAR WARS | VOLUME 1 | TIMOTHY ZAHN Verso: STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE | A Bantam Book / June 1991 | All rights reserved. | Trademark and text © 1991 by Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. | Used Under Authorization. | Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 91-4550. | No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted | in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, | including any photocopying, recording, or by any information | storage and retrieval system, without permission in | storageand retrieval system, wihtout permission in | writing from the publisher. | For information addres: Bantam Books. | ISBN 0-553-0732327-3 | Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada | Bantam Books are publsihed by Bantam Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday | Dell Publishing Group, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words "Bantam | Books" and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark | Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada. Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, | New York, New York 10103. | PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA | BVG 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

No information availble.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

On the front flap of the dust jacket, the price is printed in the upper right hand corner: "IN U.S. $15.00" with a line beneath it, and below that "In Canada $18.00" The location and price are on two separate lines in both places. The title of the book is printed in gold lettering. Below the title is printed a summary, the opening paragraphs of which are as follows: Here is the science fiction publishing event of the year: the exciting continuation of the legendary Star Wars saga. Picking up where the movie trilogy left off, Heir to the Empire reveals the tumultuous events that take place after the most popular series in motion picture history--masterfully told by Hugo Award-winning author Timothy Zahn. In spring 1977 a film called Star Wars was released--and a cultural phenomenon was born. Its epic story, about a young man named Luke Skywalker, whose destiny was to save the galaxy from conquest, caught the imaginations of millions and broke all the box-office records. Today Star Wars and its sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are acknowledged as the most popular series in movie history, and rank among the top ten films of all time. The three Star Wars films form a spectacular saga of bold imagination and high adventure. But the stories of its characters did not end there. Now for the first time, Lucasfilm Ltd., producer of the Star Wars movies, has authorized the continuation of this beloved story. In an astounding three-book cycle, Timothy Zahn continues the tale of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and the other characters made world famous by Star Wars, as he brilliantly expands upon George Lucas's stunning vision, "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." The summary then goes on to describe Heir to the Empire in particular, giving the book itself two paragraphs out of five for this summary. The final paragraph of the summary is on the back flap, which also contains a picture of Timothy Zahn and a small blurb as follows: TIMOTHY ZAHN is one of science fiction's most popular voices, known for his ability to tell very human stories against a well-researched background of future science and technology. He won the Hugo Award for his novella Cascade Point and is the author of ten science fiction novels, including Cobra, The Black Collar, and Dead Man's Switch, and two collections of short fiction. He has just completed the novel Angelmass, which Bantam Spectra will publish in 1992, and is currently at work on the second book in the new Star Wars cycle. Timothy Zahn lives in Central Illinois. The back flap also notes that the jacket was illustrated by Tom Jung, and contains a trademark and copyright as follows: TM and copyright 1991 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under Authorization. The Bantam rooster and the address for Bantam Books is at the bottom of the flap, and it is marked "Printed in the United States of America." The summary of the book on the back cover is printed in a font that looks slanted, with narrow lines and small text at the top. The text size and line width increase gradually from the top line to the bottom, making the text block appear trapezoidal. The text is in all capital letters, and reads as follows: IT IS A TIME OF RENEWAL, FIVE YEARS AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF THE DEATH STAR AND THE DEFEAT OF DARTH VADER AND THE EMPIRE. BUT WITH THE WAR SEEMINGLY WON, STRAINS ARE BEGINNING TO SHOW IN THE REBEL ALLIANCE. NEW CHALLENGES TO GALACTIC PEACE HAVE ARISEN. AND LUKE SKYWALKER HEARS A VOICE FROM HIS PAST. A VOICE WITH A WARNING. BEWARE THE DARK SIDE... The final line is in bold. The spine of the dust-jacket contains the Star Wars logo printed horozontally in gold, with "Heir to the Empire" to its right in white, and "Timothy Zahn" printed in white below the title. To the right of the white lettering is a vertically oriented picture of C3PO and R2D2, and beneath them, also vertically oriented, is the Bantam Spectra logo above the Bantam rooster, with the word Bantam printed horizontally along the bottom. For images of the back cover, spine, and flaps of the dust jacket, see Supplementary Materials.

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

No other editions have been produced by Bantam Spectra as of October 2002.

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

There were at least three printings of the first edition. 60,000 copies were produced in the first printing.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

Dark Horse Comics: 6 issue comic book edition October 1995-April 1996 Comics compiled into a paperback edition, December 1996 Limited Edition hardbound compilation of comic books, March 1997

6 Last date in print?

Books in Print lists Heir to the Empire as "Out of Stock Indefinately" as of October 2002.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?) claims that over 15 million copies of the Heir to the Empire trilogy (which includes Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command, all by Timothy Zahn) have been sold, but there is no date attatched to the number. The page on which it appears is marked copyright Lucasfilm 2002.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

The Scott Meredith Literary Agency lists Heir to the Empire trilogy (which includes Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command, all by Timothy Zahn) on its annotated backlist for 2002 as selling over 100,000 copies per year.

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

None available.

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

No information available.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

There are five audio editions of the book as of October 2002: --Read by Denis Lawson, Abridged version, 1991, Bantam Audio, New York, NY. --Read by Larry McKeever, 1995, Books On Tape, Newport Beach, CA. --Read by Jim Frangione, 1991, G.K. Hall Audio Book, Boston, MA. --Read by Daniel Lawson and Anthony Daniels, the Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command) abridged, 1993, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Pub., New York. --Read by Anthony Daniels, Denis Lawson, and Laura Esterman, the Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command), 1992, 1994, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Pub., New York. (Notes on this editon: "Includes a special collector's cassette available only in this set, an unabridged recording of T. Zahn's short story, Hammertong"--Container./ Each program features original Star Wars music and sound effects./ Participants: Featuring performances by Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Denis Lawson (Wedge Antilles).)

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

Russian: Naslednik imperi Sankt-Peterburg : Izd-vo "Azbuka" : Izdatelískii tsentr "Terra", 1996 Polish: Dziedzic imperium Warszawa : Amber, Edition: Wyd. 1., 1994 Translated by Mickiewicz, Anna, and Mickiewicz, Jan. Spanish: Heredero del imperio Barcelona : Edicones MartÌnez Roca, 1993 Translated by Eduardo G. Murillo

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

Heir to the Empire was the first Star Wars novel published since 1985, but Publisher's Weekly reported over 350 Star Wars novels in print in an article dated 8/20/2001. The same article states that Bantam has published 40 original novels for adults, with 7 titles coming out per year. Because Heir to the Empire is part of such a large franchise, there are many works which fall either before or after it in the Star Wars timeline and so can be considered prequals or sequals. In addition, a number of reference works (such as "Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Characters") draw on the material from Heir to the Empire and its two immediate sequels, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command, also written by Timothy Zahn. The books are collectively referred to as the Thrawn Trilogy. Two more books in the Star Wars series were written later by Zahn, dealing more directly than most of the other sequels with the characters and situations created in Heir to the Empire. The following is a partial list of sequels and prequels as of October 2002. Prequels: The Han Solo Trilogy (by A.C. Crispin, Bantam Books, 1998): The Paradise Snare The Hutt Gambit Rebel Dawn The Lando Calrissian Adventures (L. Neil Smith, Ballantine Books, 1983) Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka The Han Solo Adventures (Brian Daley, Ballantine Books, 1979) Han Solo at Star's End Han Solo's Revenge Han Solo and the Lost Legacy Star Wars IV: A New Hope (George Lucas, Del Rey Ballantine Books, 1976) Splinter of the Mind's Eye (Alan Dean Foster, Del Rey Ballantine Books, 1978) Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Donald F. Glut, Del Rey Ballantine Books, 1980) Shadows of the Empire (Steve Perry, Bantam Books, 1998) Star Wars VI: The Empire Strikes Back (James Kahn, Del Rey Ballantine Books, 1983) The Truce At Bakura (Kathy Tyers, Bantam Spectra, 1994) The Courtship of Princess Leia (Dave Wolverton, Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1994) Sequels: The Jedi Academy Trilogy (Kevin J. Anderson, Bantam Spectra) Jedi Search (March 1994) Dark Apprentice (July 1994) Champions of the Force (October 1994) I, Jedi (Michael A. Stackpole, Bantam Books, 1999) Children of the Jedi (Barbara Hambly, Bantam Spectra 1995) Darksaber (Kevin J. Anderson, Bantam Spectra, 1996) Planet of Twilight (Barbara Hambly, Bantam Books, 1997) The Crystal Star (Vonda N. McIntyre, Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1994) Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy (Michael P. Kube-McDowell, Bantam Spectra) Before the Storm (1996) Shield of Lies (1996) Tyrant's Test (1997) The New Rebellion (Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Bantam Spectra, 1996) The Corellian Trilogy (Roger MacBride Allen, Bantam Spectra, 1998) Ambush at Corellia Assault at Selonia Showdown at Centerpoint The Hand of Thrawn Duology (Timothy Zahn, Bantam Spectra) Specter of the Past (1997) Vision of the Future (1998)

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

Timothy Zahn had established himself as a science fiction author prior to the release of Star Wars: Heir to the Empire and its sequels, as the author of many short stories, several novels, and as a Hugo award winner. Bantam approached Lucasfilm in 1988 with the suggestion of a three-book trilogy to follow the movies, and in 1989 Lucasfilm agreed. Lucasfilm picked Zahn as the most likely candidate out of a selection of Bantam authors presented to them. Zahn claims he had an outline of all three books prepared within a month of receiving the contract, but he was unable to immediately pursue writing them while he finished other projects. Zahn stated in an interview with fan site Echo Station in 1998 that he had concerns about how the book would do in the marketplace, and doubts about his own ability to write well within the Star Wars universe. Zahn also said, both in the 1998 interview and a 2000 interview with, that coordinating his vision of the trilogy with Lucasfilm Limited's plans for the saga did not pose a significant problem, as they required only minor changes to his outlines. Approximately one year after the publication of the full Thrawn Trilogy, Zahn received an offer from Bantam Books to write a novel to serve as a conclusion to the Bantam line of books that the trilogy began. In the end this final novel became two novels. Zhan went on to work with Dark Horse Comics in the production of a line of comic books based on Mara Jade, one of the characters he created in the Heir to the Empire trilogy that became very popular. Zahn had previously worked with the comic genre when he did Starlorde for Marvel Comics in 1996. In the Echo Station interview Zahn said that he would like to continue to work with comics, and at the time had plans for another Star Wars related comic which has not been published as of October 2002. Zahn's trilogy is frequently credited with re-energizing interest in the Star Wars universe, though he downplayed this role in the Echo Station interview: "?I hardly consider myself to be the "savior" of Star Wars in any respect. I didn't revive Star Wars so much as I simply tapped into the interest that was already simmering below the surface." Zahn stated in the Echo Station and interviews that he did not plan to do any more Star Wars novels, and as of October 2002 he has not produced any further Star Wars novels. However, the character of Mara Jade has become a strong player in the New Jedi Order books written by other authors. Timothy Zahn continues to write original science fiction novels, including the Conquerors trilogy and The Icarus Hunt.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Available contemporary reviews were few, and Heir to the Empire did not seem to receive much attention outside of the science fiction community. Though based on a popular franchise, the new Star Wars novels were unproven, and Timothy Zahn, while an accomplished science fiction author, had not achieved the sort of fame that would attract attention from the popular press. "It's great fun to romp with the Star Wars cast of humans, droids, and aliens again. While it is not on a par with Zahn's creative, powerful works such as Cascade Point (Baen, 1987), Heir is well written for what it is." School Library Journal, v. 38, Feb 92 p. 122, John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, Virginia

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

"You can't fault him for writing style. He has a very explanatory narrative that expresses both action and thought and this combined makes a nice way to tell a story. At the end of the day, it wasn't his style that ultimately put me off the book. First off, I didn't get the feel that I was in the Star Wars universe."* This reviewer's approach is a representative one. Zahn's writing style is usually dismissed quickly, in favor of more subjective judgements depending not only on the reviewer's perception of Zahn's work, but on the original work of George Lucas, on which Heir to the Empire is based. Many of the reviews focus on the same aspects of the novel, alternately praising or criticizing the book according to the reviewer's taste and preconceptions. The most commonly addressed issue is whether the characters and ?feel' of the novel are in keeping with the original Star Wars trilogy. Treatment of the characters from the movie also got a lot of attention. Reviewers varied widely on questions of this sort. To find two diametrically opposed reviews is not uncommon at all. For example, one reviewer wrote: "When introduced in A New Hope, Leia Organa possessed many admirable qualities for a young woman of eighteen (or twenty, depending on who you talk to): feisty, headstrong, intelligent, emotionally closed off, and willing to sacrifice almost anything for the Rebellion. Through the other movies of the original trilogy, these qualities are tempered by age and experience, but remain a large part of her character...This growth disappeared when Timothy Zahn wrote Heir to the Empire."** A second reviewer said rather that: "The characters are extremely well written, with depth and background that would stand up to any inspection (Imperial or otherwise), and the interactions between them are almost as interesting as the plotline itself. The original characters are portrayed in a manner true to the movies, and yet this does not shunt their development in any way shape or form."+ Obviously these opinions are based strongly on perceptions reviewers had of Lucas' work, and in some cases these perceptions matched more strongly with Zahn's than in others. Zahn is also both praised and criticized for the complexities of his plot. Some reviewers found his multi-threaded writing well pulled together and thought out, while others felt it was too complicated. Zahn's use of dialogue and catch phrases from the original trilogy also receives a mixed reaction. Some reviewers feel that it adds to the continuity, while others feel that it is a play to the nostalgia of movie fans. Zahn's portrayal and conception of the Force also come under fire on occasion, by fans who don't like the idea of the greatest power in the Star Wars universe being easily countered by small furry animals. Criticism was almost universal when reviewers compared Heir to the Empire with Zahn's previous, original work. In almost every instance where such a comparison takes place, the conclusion is that Heir to the Empire doesn't measure up to Zahn's original work, but that it "is good for what it is." Zahn's original characters, however, those who were not originally introduced in the movies, receive on the whole a great deal of praise from reviewers. The tactical genius Grand Admiral Thrawn and especially the strong-willed female character Mara Jade are generally considered positive additions to the Star Wars cast, though there are dissenters (most often in the case of Grand Admiral Thrawn). Arguments on both sides are numerous, though it is widely acknowledged that the Heir to the Empire trilogy is for better or for worse a trendsetter in Star Wars fiction. The majority of reviewers feel that it represents the best of the "Extended Universe" novels, and that the book itself is well written. While Zahn's trilogy has to stand up to the original movies, subsequent novels have had to stand up to Zahn. Comparison in both directions is inevitable, and reviewers are on the whole much less critical when comparing Zahn to his successors ? in the worst cases, however, he is blamed for trends occurring in subsequent novels that reviewers don't care for. *Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, Jonathan Hicks **The Outer Rim: The Review - Paper cuts, K.J. Kofsuske - 1997-2002 +The 11th Hour Web Magazine - Book Reviews: "Star Wars Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command, by Timothy Zahn," Tal Rosenzweig - 2000

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

The Name

Heir to the Empire began with a name ? not with an author's name, or a book title, but with the name "Star Wars." Bantam approached Lucasfilm without an author or a plot, asking only permission to publish a book based on Star Wars. Later, Timothy Zahn was selected as the author, and he created a plot for the trilogy. Though Zahn is and was at the time an award-winning author in his own right, his authorship was not the motivating force behind the creation of Heir to the Empire. Bantam obviously saw marketing potential attached to the Star Wars movies, and Bantam was correct. Heir to the Empire sold quickly and prolifically, and even Zahn himself credits the Star Wars name for its success: "The fact that the first 60,000 copy printing vanished within a week shows that it wasn't the quality of writing that people were first buying, but the name "Star Wars" on the cover. I'd like to think that the quality helped the sales later on, but the fact remains that the audience was hungry for anything that dealt with Star Wars."

An examination of the book reveals Bantam's expectations. Carrie Fischer, Mark Hammil, and Harrison Ford are featured prominently on both the dust jacket of the hardback edition and the cover of the later paperback edition, immediately recognizable. Fischer's image portrays her in the uniform and hairstyle that movie fans will immediately recognize from the forest scenes in Return of the Jedi, holding her blaster with a pose that is also reminiscent of the movie. Chewbacca also stands in miniature to one side, X-wing fighters straight out of the movie, and stormtroopers in their unmistakable uniforms are also featured. R2-D2 and C-3PO are on the spine of the book, just in case the potential buyer missed the large Star Wars logo in gold above them. The Star Wars logo is also on the front cover in embossed gold gilt letters outlined in white, dwarfing both the subtitle and the author's name, which appears in much smaller type at the bottom of the cover.

Two of Zahn's original characters from the story made the cover. The book's main antagonist, Grand Admiral Thrawn, sits in the left corner, his entire body about the size of Hammil's head. The once-Jedi Jorus C'Baoth is the central figure, shooting dramatic rays of light from his fingertips. The cover at once recalls strongly the movies and pokes at the reader's curiosity with the promise of new faces to be introduced and explained.

On the hardback edition, the majority of the material on the jacket flaps is devoted to assuring the buyer both of the popularity and cultural impact of the original Star Wars movies, and promising that Heir to the Empire by "Hugo Award-winning author Timothy Zahn," will continue the saga in a way "worthy of the name Star Wars." The chapter titles also call the movie to mind, printed in a font similar to the "Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away," intro. The paperback edition contains a page inside the front cover of "Praise for STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE." Out of the seven blurbs on the page, four center on the book's relationship on the movies. Of the remaining three, two praise Zahn independently for his work as a science fiction writer. Four blurbs don't mention Zahn's name at all.

Clearly Bantam was expecting to draw on an existing Star Wars fan base. However, this tactic had been tried before. Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster was published by Del Rey less than a year after Star Wars: A New Hope, but never achieved the fame that Zahn's books did. In 1983, Del Rey publsihed three books later collected as The Lando Calrissian Adventures written by L. Neil Smith, and Brian Daley wrote The Han Solo Adventures (also for Del Rey) in 1979. None of these books precipitated the sort of explosion that Zahn's books appear to have kicked off. There are six years between Heir to the Empire and its most recent predecessor, and such a hiatus has not occurred since. The Star Wars book franchise has grown more prolific over the years rather than dwindling out. In a way, this confirms Bantam's belief that there was a market out there for the Star Wars name, but Heir to the Empire must have had something else going for it in order to help start off the revival.

The Movies

The original Star Wars movies told an adventure story in space, a classic tale of an unlikely hero with a mysterious past fighting on behalf of what is Good and Right against the Evil of the world. Black, white, and grey are all clearly defined. The Rebellion is good, the empire is bad, and rogues like Han Solo and Lando Calrissian inhabit a grey area where people are self-absorbed and profit-motivated, but not necessarily bad. There is a love triangle, there is brother against brother (or rather, son against father), and there are lots of aliens. There are also a lot of loose ends. Do Han and Leia get married? What does Luke go on to do, now that he is the last Jedi? What about Chewie and Lando? Does the Rebellion just take over and rule happily ever after?

These loose ends make Heir to the Empire possible and make it appealing. Unlike most of the previous books, Heir deals with events that take place after the events of the movies, rather than before or during. The fans are finally given the answer to "What happened next?" Zahn is also able to deal with more of the characters familiar to readers from the movies. The Han Solo Adventures, for example, could incorporate only Han and Chewbacca, since the books take place before Han and Chewbacca meet the other characters that inhabit the movies. The author must come up with a full new supporting cast, with whom the audience has no previous contact or attachment.

Two years after the publication of Heir to the Empire and its sequals, Lucasfilm Ltd. released the new special edition of Star Wars in theaters, putting the name of Star Wars back into the public's eye. The release of the remastered movies on video and then the announcement of the upcoming prequels kept Star Wars in the limelight, and certainly this could contribute to the continuing success of Zahn's novels, and the production of more novels based on the movies.

The Book

Zahn carries many elements of the movies through to the books. As in the movies, black, white, and grey are clearly defined. On the side of good, there is the New Republic, while the Empire remains on the side of evil. Han Solo and Lando Calrissian are now firmly allied with good, and Zahn creates the smugglers Talon Karrde and Mara Jade to take their place in the grey. Han and Leia are married, and the conflict of the love triangle between Luke, Leia, and Han in the original movies is replaced with a theme of conflict between love for each other and duty to the Republic. Luke's anxiety over his training and then his father is replaced by his anxiety over how he is to guide the next generation of Jedi, and dealing with the animosity of Mara Jade. By following the formula of the movies Zahn appropriates some of the things that make the movie appealing, as well as situating the book strongly as a continuation of these past issues.

Zahn also works within the text to weave sensory and most importantly verbal elements of the movie into the book. The second chapter begins with Luke receiving a visitation from Obi-wan Kenobi, calling to mind scenes from the movie, and to add to the effect, Zahn has Luke remember Yoda's death, and quotes Yoda's last words. Descriptions of Admiral Ackbar's ?gravelly' voice resonate with the scenes featuring the fish-like alien commanding the space fleet at the end of Return of the Jedi. Zahn makes a running joke out of Leia's protest of "I am not a committee!" in The Empire Strikes Back. In Chapter 13 Luke says to R2-D2 "Let me worry about the Star Destroyer; you just keep trying to find a way through that jamming," a line which very closely resembles one Luke delivers during the battle at the end of A New Hope, "You worry about those fighters, I'll worry about the tower."

Reviewers tended to judge the book in relation to the movie along these lines, and gloss over the Zahn's style and contributions, but association with the movie alone is not enough to justify 29 weeks on the bestseller list. These parallels provide a sense of nostalgia for the reader, but Zahn expands the universe as he continues it, so that the novel is also interesting, giving it staying power and the ability to attract a new readership. Zahn deals with issues largely ignored by previous Star Wars writers. The problems of setting up a new government, political maneuvering and the interaction between other cultures are themes in Zahn's book, while past Star Wars books tended to focus on single-book, short adventures with less sweeping ideas.

Beyond being a Star Wars book, Heir to the Empire is also a science fiction novel. Spaceships, alien cultures, and fantastic technologies are staples of the sci-fi genre and they aren't lacking in Zahn's novel. Heir has action, space fights and crashes, narrow escapes and chilling enemies. The elements that are more general sci-fi than Star Wars are similar to elements in Zahn's original works. In addition to appealing to Star Wars fans, Heir to the Empire appeals to younger sci-fi fans who might not have as much attachment to those who remember the original movies.

Supplemental Material

Spine of the actual book.

Back flap of the dust jacket.

Front flap of the dust jacket.

Spine of the dust jacket

Back cover of the dust jacket for the first edition.

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