Welcome to Super Blog Team Up. This time out, we are looking at expanded universes. I’ll be focusing on some of my favorite Star Wars characters you may not have heard of unless you are a fan of Star Wars books. If this is your 1st time visiting Between the Pages, this is a pop culture cake blog, so I’ll also be serving some yummy cakes.
I love Star Wars! One of my favorite things about Star Wars is all of the amazing characters that inhabit this wonderful make believe universe. There are so many fun characters that have been largely forgotten over the years from Jaxxon (the green rabbit like smuggler) to Piggy (the Gamorrean pilot, mathematical genius, and exotic dancer).
Years ago, I either read or heard that great stories are ones that mix two things together that at first glance don’t belong together. Piggy is a great example of this. Mixing a Gamorrean with intellectual genius is definitely two things that do not normally appear together because Gamorreans are known for their low intellect.
For this post, I want to focus on amazing forgotten characters created by my favorite Star Wars author Timothy Zahn.
One of the reasons Timothy Zahn is my favorite author is because he applies this rule to the characters he creates. He creates characters that have depth and gives each character a dimension that you would not normally expect.
SPOILER WARNING: This post contains minor spoilers for Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy – Heir To The Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command and for Allegiance and Choices of One. All five of these books are highly recommended.
For Super Blog Team Up, I’m going to focus on six characters.
My favorite character is Grand Admiral Thrawn. I really like his character in the legends expanded universe. He is portrayed as a very powerful and influential character and a force to be reckoned with. He is the head of the Empire. He uses intellect, strategy, and cunning over show of force to take an Empire that had become not much of a threat to setting the Empire on a path to its former glory. I did not include him in my list of six characters though because these days, everyone knows Thrawn.
Mara Jade / The Emperor’s Hand – is my 2nd favorite Timothy Zahn character.
What makes Mara Jade so great? From the very 1st time you meet her, you realize she is different because she admires the Emperor and hates Luke Skywalker. She is introduced in Heir to the Empire, she works for Talon Karrde and is a normal person who is neither Jedi nor Sith. In a very short amount of time she gains his trust and respect. She is very resourceful. She saves the day for Karrde’s organization on multiple occasions.
Even though she hates Luke Skywalker and wants to kill him, many times she finds that she and Luke Skywalker have a common goal and enemy and must work together to make it through.
One thing that really makes Mara such an intriguing character is that Timothy Zahn reveals her backstory gradually over multiple novels. As time goes on, you find out she has a prior association with the Empire and she worked directly for the Emperor. She could hear his voice from anywhere in the Empire. Even with her close association with the Emperor, she was not part of the Dark Side of the force like Darth Vader. By the end of the trilogy, you find out why she wants to kill Luke Skywalker. Does she succeed? The answer may surprise you.
Mara is a reverse image of Darth Vader. Both serve the Emperor. Where Vader is a public figure, Mara is secretive. She is a spy, where Vader is a soldier. Vader is injured and armored where Mara is beautiful.
Talon Karrde – Because Han Solo was a smuggler and is my favorite Star Wars character, I like to see what other smugglers were like in the Star Wars universe. I find that stories that have Han Solo as one of the main characters always prove to be interesting and engaging.
One of my favorite things that Timothy Zahn does is he fleshes out what it means to be a smuggler by creating a bunch of new smugglers and explaining how they work. My favorite of these new smugglers is Talon Karrde. Talon isn’t a scruffy nerf herder. He is handsome, smart, and runs a large smuggling organization.
He knows how to recognize the talents of his people and give them jobs that best use their talents and abilities. He is the first person in a long time who realizes Mara Jade's abilities and talents.
His character evolves over time. He is a smuggler, but he is also interested in the galaxy around him. In addition to cargo to be smuggled for the right price, he sees information as a valuable commodity.
Where the Millennium Falcon goes, Han Solo is there as her pilot with Chewbacca at his side.
At the beginning of the Trilogy, Talon Karrde meets Grand Admiral Thrawn, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo. For a while you don’t know if he will stay neutral or choose to help either the Empire or the New Republic. How he decides and the consequences of that decision makes a very interesting story.
Some of the smugglers, put profit above everything else. Even though Talon Karrde runs one of the largest and most successful smuggling organizations and cares deeply about profit, he does not go against his own moral code to meet the bottom line. Like Han, he lives by his own moral code.
Imperial AT-AT’s arrive near Talon Karrde’s hidden base. Will they attack or are they there to defend from another foe?
This epic AT-AT cake was made by
Jorus/Joruus C'baoth – Be careful what you wish for. You may get it. Luke finally gets a new Jedi Master to train with. I want to be very carefully about not spoiling much, but it is obvious from his first appearance that Joruus isn’t Yoda. One thing which makes Joruus so cool is that he is introduced in the Thrawn Trilogy and then a younger version of him appears in later novels.
Joruus C’baoth starts as a forgotten character from the clone wars era and evolves to a character that might conceivably become the most powerful character in the known galaxy.
He too has a hidden secret that is slowly revealed to Luke Skywalker near the end of the story.
Gilad Pellaeon – The commander in charge of the Empire’s flagship, the Imperial Star Destroyer Chimaera. He is more Jean Luc Picard than James T. Kirk. In many ways, he is Grand Admiral Thrawn’s right hand man.
Many Imperial officers are seen as ruthless and somewhat evil. Pellaeon is a great character because he stands so many Star Wars conventions on their head. Pellaeon isn’t just part of the Empire, he commands their flagship. So, he should be a villain. But, he is shown to be a good leader with strong morals and it is really hard to see him as a bad guy. All of these contradictions make him a great character who appears in a bunch of novels.
The Hand of Judgement – A team of five Stormtroopers who are forced to leave the Empire because one of them refuses to obey an order to kill helpless civilians.
This amazing Stormtrooper Cake was made by Amanda Oakleaf Cake.
These Stormtroopers are proud to still wear their armor.
They see themselves as loyal to the Empire and its citizens and want order in the galaxy. They would never think of joining the chaos and disorder of the Rebel Alliance, even though they are no longer part of the Imperial military and would be arrested if their identity were revealed. They seek justice for oppressed Imperial citizens.
One of them is a Scout Trooper who enjoys riding his Imperial 74-Z speeder bike.
The TV series Clone Wars gave unique personalities to Clone Troopers and the character Finn really fleshed out what it means to be a Stromtrooper, but this was the first place I really saw Stormtroopers treated as individuals who see themselves as no longer part of the Empire, but still following what it means to be a Stormtrooper and protect the Empire.
The Noghri – Even though the Noghri Rukh appears in Rebels as Thrawn’s body guard and as an assassin, the Noghri race is not talked about.
I really like the way the Thrawn novels show the Noghri as a whole species of assassins who were fiercely loyal to their planet’s savior Lord Vader. Again, I’m going to be vague because I don’t want to spoil much, but the story of how their planet was nearly destroyed and why they view Vader as their lord is fascinating. It’s interesting to see why Vader chose to help them and to use them, instead of having them and their planet destroyed. During most of the novels, Vader is no longer alive so they now serve Grand Admiral Thrawn. My favorite thing about them is their relationship with a character whom they call Lady Vader. I love the story line that puts Chewy secretly on their planet.
This terrific Chewbacca cake was made by
As assassins and servants of the Empire, the Noghri are tasked by Grand Admiral Thrawn to capture Leia Organa Solo and bring her and her unborn babies to the Grand Admiral. Why he wants them and the Noghri pursuit of her and her children is one of the main plots of the books.
I hope you enjoyed this brief description of these memorable characters and I highly recommend that you gain an appreciation for them yourself by reading Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy – Heir To The Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. Then follow up by reading Allegiance and Choices of One.
If you enjoyed this post, it was only the tip of the iceberg. There is a ton of additional awesome Super Blog Team Up material bellow.
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Comic Reviews By Walt: SBTU - Expanded Universe: Aliens and Predator
Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog: Logan’s Run Marvel Movie Adaptation
The Telltale Mind: Archie Andrews - Superstar
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The Source Material Comics Podcast: TMNT/Ghostbusters
Unspoken Issues: Mad-Dog (Marvel Comics, 1992)
Bronze Age Babies: Seven Decades of Apes-mania, and We’re Afflicted!
Echoes from the Satellite - Tales from the Forbidden Zone - The Pacing Place
Black & White and Bronze Comics - Beast on the Planet of the Apes Review
The Daily Rios - Little Shop of Horrors
Lost N Comics Youtube - Expanding the Medium: Motion/Audio Comics
Pop Culture Retrorama: The Phantom Universe
Cavalcade of Awesome - Jumper Universe
MichaelMay.Online: Treasure Island Universe
DC In The 80s: The TSR Universe