Although “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” showed up in 2015 as a game-changing installment in the popular science fantasy franchise, it did so with a lot of exposition about a time of great turmoil that the audience never got to see. Now, thanks to the release of a novel set in the “Star Wars” gap years, fans are getting some insight into the three decades between the movies.
[SPOILER ALERT: The remainder of this article will discuss the plot of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”]
Leia Organa (also known as princess, senator and general) has had a rich history in the franchise since Carrie Fisher first played the character in 1977. The book follows the events of “Return of the Jedi,” where it is revealed that she lived an impressive life climbing the political ranks, having a child with Han Solo (Harrison Ford), hanging out with her brother Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and eventually dealing with the realization that she’s related to the galaxy’s most infamous villain, Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones).
Now these lost days of Leia’s life have been chronicled in a new novel, “Star Wars: Bloodlines.” Focused on Fisher’s character, the novel takes place in the three decades between the end of “Jedi” and the beginning of “The Force Awakens.” The book was released Tuesday, and fans everywhere were immediately struck by the looming presence of Vader. The character, although dead, is featured on the cover of the book, and author Claudia Gray has a good reason why.
“We see so little of Leia’s reaction to this knowledge in the movies. We see her find out right before the Battle of Endor, she’s clearly very upset. But they have a war to fight,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “You see Luke struggle with this, be tempted to darkness, and he gets to see his father leave darkness behind. But these are not experiences Leia got to have.”
Sadly, those who watched “The Force Awakens” know that “Bloodlines” doesn’t have a happy ending. Sure there are new characters and hurdles for Leia to overcome, but the movie reveals that her son, Ben, succumbs to the dark side of the Force despite intervention by Luke. However, despite the ending being revealed, critics say that the book doesn’t falter because of it.
“The plot keeps moving, the mystery predictably but adequately unravels, and the occasional silliness is sufficiently couched in the overall adventuresome tone to remain palatable,” IGN writes in its review.