#starwarscanon – Assembling the Pieces: Interludes of Aftermath and Life Debt
Star Wars canon novel releases have become an event unto itself, with many of us running to the book store on release day and devouring them as quickly as possible. Last month saw the release of Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig. As I was going through it myself, I began to see the brilliance of what was happening before me. It was not the story itself, but the world building that had been done within the context of the first book in the series Aftermath. Little did we know just how important those interludes would be in the course of Life Debt. A quick diagram will show us just how connected and these interludes were to the novel we have grown so fond of.
I once had a professor who said when analyzing, draw a diagram or a picture and talk about it. As you can see from the diagram above, it is clear that these interludes have had a significant contribution in the narrative of Life Debt. I could write an article on each one of these connections, but for now, let’s take a big picture look at how these interludes connected over the course of the two novels.
Aftermath Interludes Supporting Life Debt’s Main Narrative
Several of the Aftermath interludes directly impacted or supported the main narrative of Aftermath: Life Debt.
Chandrila: The Chandrila interludes established in the narrative New Republic politics and Mon Mothma as chancellor, which set up the political landscape that Life Debt navigates.
Naalol: We are first introduced into Mon Mothma post-Empire political position on Naalol, which frames up her character throughout the narrative of Life Debt.
Coronet City, Corellia: This interlude introduced us to the bounty hunter Mercurial Swift. With the opposition of his character to Dengar, a Bounty Hunter whose character has been developed over The Clone Wars and Marvel’s Star Wars comics, we are given the background for a character which serves a critical role for Admiral Rae Sloan, without us needing a description written into Life Debt’s narrative, which would have slowed the action.
Servarcos: The three main characters in this interlude essentially “walk off into the sunset” with no clue as to their destination. As we are reading Life Debt, we find this one-armed Wookiee, Weequay, and Quarren have joined our friends in the fight for Kashyyyk. This interlude now stands to provide us with context for this trio.
Hyperspace: It probably goes without saying, but this interlude informs us as to why Han Solo went off to Kashyyyk in the first place. I cannot imagine going into Life Debt without having been exposed to this particular interlude.
Jakku: Towards the end of Life Debt we meet a bartender of a local “bar” on Jakku. The Jakku interlude in Aftermath provides us with the backstory for this man, and explains his reaction to the sudden approach of Imperial ships towards the end of the narrative.
Coruscant: A narrative about a young boy who is planning to cause damage to the Imperials on Coruscant. While the characters do not reappear in Life Debt, the concept of a civilian uprising and non-military raids on Imperial forces gives us a deeper understanding of the fight Admiral Sloan found herself in on Coruscant in Life Debt. Theed, Naboo, ties into this interlude with some of the references that are made to the children’s past. It also supports a theme of post-war recovery which we see echoed in Life Debt’s Darropolis, Hosnian Prime.
Lastly, Uyter and Saleucami are both mentioned as locations within the main narrative of Life Debt. While not exactly impacting the narrative, these interludes provide a visual picture of life on these planets and an added layer of context to the statements that they are found in.
Connected Interludes Between Aftermath and Life Debt
Aftermath’s Taris and Life Debt’s Coronet City, Corellia: When I first saw Coronet City, Corellia in Life Debt, I expected the continuing story of Dengar or another bounty hunter, but what we had was the continuing story of the Acolytes of the Beyond. These individuals worship Darth Vader. From Taris to Corellia, we have seen them develop from a dark, monk-like cult into a violent band of activists. It will be interesting to see if this story is an aside to the main Aftermath trilogy, creating some sort of tie into future stories, or if it will have a direct impact in Empire’s End.
Tatooine: These are the only two interludes that take place on the same planet, with similar characters. In Aftermath, we find a local citizen taking the law into his own hands, trying to fend of the mining companies encroaching on Jabba’s former territory. He acquires a suite of Mandalorean armor which we are lead to believe is Boba Fett’s. In Life Debt, we see more men have gathered around him claiming to enforce the law, and are attempting to grow their ranks.
Aftermath’s Chandrila and Life Debt’s The City of Binjai-tin, Nag Ubdur: While Chandrila does inform the landscape of the main narrative, its characters are seen on Nag Ubdur, in a touching story of friendship and loss. There is so much emotion wrapped up in this one interlude, and is only really effective due to the amount of time went into developing their characters in their Aftermath interludes.
Life Debt’s New Interludes
There are six new interludes in Life Debt that have no direct connection to Aftermath that I have noticed on this first pass. However, many of them continue the work done in other mediums of Star Wars canon and they serve as a great way to see those elements play out in this era.
Velusia: This narrative has a direct connection to the main narrative of Life Debt, and the inclusion of Mas Amedda also ties this interlude to the prequel era. This story is also left unresolved, and, given the pattern we have seen here, I would be surprised if this story did not finish out in some manner within Empire’s End.
The Alderaanian Flotilla: This interlude, along with the inclusion of Evaan in the latter half of Life Debt brings relevance to Marvel’s Princess Leia miniseries. While many have read or are made aware of the story within in that series, it was still a surprise to see a story cross genres to that effect and is greatly appreciated.
The Annihilator: This interlude has potential to continue to play out in some form or fashion, but at this point, the only connection we can find is to the Darth Vader comics, where The Annihilator served as General Tagge’s flag ship. It shows us a look at criminal factions within the
Takodana: A look at Maz Kanata’s infamous watering hole and perhaps a bit more clue as to her force sensitivity and understanding of her philosophies.
Darropolis, Hosnian Prime: While this interlude seem unconnected to any existing narrative, it does provide context for many things. We know Hosnian Prime is the future home of the New Republic government, and this interlude gives us a glimpse at their culture and technological proficiency. The patent in the hospital got his injuries from the cleanup efforts on Endor, which we saw in Marvel’s Shattered Empire. Lastly, he is given a prototype therapy droid QT-9, which is described as a ball droid, which conjures up images of BB-8.
Ryloth: The narrative of Ryloth seems to be of paramount importance in the galaxy, so much so one has to wonder where the story group is taking this planet. We are introduced to some familiar names, such as Cham Syndulla, and Yendor. We find that Ryloth gained its independence on its own, a sentiment we saw echoed in episodes of the Clone Wars. Interesting connection here is the character Yendor. He was first seen in Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars as a pilot in Thane’s Corona Squadron, and then later on, he serves as the ambassador of Ryloth to the New Republic, as seen in Gray’s Bloodline.
Just to be a completionist with this discussion, Aftermath’s Bespin, Cloud City does not have a relevant connection to anything within Life Debt that we can tell at this time, but does serve to connect this narrative to that of Empire Strikes Back as well as the mobile game Star Wars: Uprising.
This is just the beginning…
This brief look at the depth of these interludes only scratches the surface of the world building and canon development that they serve. It is amazing to image the outline for these stories and how they all connect, and it will be a delight to revisit this topic next year after the release of Aftermath: Empire’s End to see how it all plays out. It is great to see Wendig’s narrative so connected with the larger tapestry of the canon, whether the Story Group’s influence or his own, the depth of storytelling being achieved in Star Wars at this time is nothing short of astonishing.
Let me know your thoughts by posting in the comments below. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also be found on Twitter (@starwarstce) and Instagram (@starwarstce). You can find our coverage of #starwarscanon stories at our YouTube channel Star Wars: The Canon Explained, including a complete look at Aftermath interludes.
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