In celebration of Star Wars’ 40th anniversary, Del Rey is going to shine the spotlight on those unsung weirdos, heroes, and villains with a unique, new anthology. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, coming October 2017, will bring together more than 40 authors for 40 stories. Each will be told from the perspective of background characters of A New Hope — from X-wing pilots who helped Luke destroy the Death Star to the stormtroopers who never quite could find the droids they were looking for.
This was a New York Comic Con 2017 special edition cover
Experience Star Wars: A New Hope from a whole new point of view.
On May 25, 1977, the world was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In honor of the 40th anniversary, more than 40 contributors lend their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the 40 short stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a supporting character. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by best-selling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from the literary history of Star Wars:
Gary Whitta bridges the gap from Rogue One to A New Hope through the eyes of Captain Antilles.
Aunt Beru finds her voice in an intimate character study by Meg Cabot.
Nnedi Okorofor brings dignity and depth to a most unlikely character: the monster in the trash compactor.
Pablo Hidalgo provides a chilling glimpse inside the mind of Grand Moff Tarkin.
Pierce Brown chronicles Biggs Darklighter’s final flight during the Rebellion’s harrowing attack on the Death Star.
Wil Wheaton spins a poignant tale of the rebels left behind on Yavin.
Plus 34 more hilarious, heartbreaking, and astonishing tales from Ben Acker, Renée Ahdieh, Tom Angleberger, Ben Blacker, Jeffrey Brown, Rae Carson, Adam Christopher, Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Paul Dini, Ian Doescher, Ashley Eckstein, Matt Fraction, Alexander Freed, Jason Fry, Kieron Gillen, Christie Golden, Claudia Gray, E. K. Johnston, Paul S. Kemp, Mur Lafferty, Ken Liu, Griffin McElroy, John Jackson Miller, Daniel José Older, Mallory Ortberg, Beth Revis, Madeleine Roux, Greg Rucka, Gary D. Schmidt, Cavan Scott, Charles Soule, Sabaa Tahir, Elizabeth Wein, Glen Weldon, Chuck Wendig
Narrated by a full cast, including:
Neil Patrick Harris
Daniel José Older
All participating authors have generously forgone any compensation for their stories. Instead, their proceeds will be donated to First Book – a leading nonprofit that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to educators and organizations serving children in need. To further celebrate the launch of this book and both companies’ longstanding relationships with First Book, Penguin Random House has donated $100,000 to First Book, and Disney/Lucasfilm has donated 100,000 children’s books – valued at $1 million – to support First Book and their mission of providing equal access to quality education. Over the past 16 years, Disney and Penguin Random House combined have donated more than 88 million books to First Book.
I bought the NYCC edition and read most of it, but mostly I listened to the audiobook. Sometimes I followed along as I listened.
I’m trying to decide how to write up this review. I loved the stories, so this is not a negative review. It’s just I feel like I have to talk about all 40 stories.
Overall, I enjoyed every one of the stories. Mostly the stories are told in chronological order of the movie, though some jump back and forth to set up a character or setting. You can feel the authors’ different personalities and styles. You can also tell the authors didn’t communicate because events in the stories of the same setting (e.g. the Cantina) contradict one another. However, this is just for fun. A chance to see A New Hope from other characters’ eyes and it’s a beautiful way for fans to relive that feeling of experiencing ANH for the very first time again.
5 out of 5 Galaxies.
Now for my thoughts for each story. All 40 of them.
“A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away.”
I’ll explain that error at the end 😉
“Raymus”, Gary Whitta, Raymus Antilles
Great start, like the movie. You know what will happen but you feel the suspense and nerves of the crew of the Tantive IV as they escape Scarif with a damaged hyperdrive. There also some great quotes about sacrifices made when one is part of the Rebellion.
“The Bucket”, Christie Golden, Tarvyn Lareka
Tarvyn is TK 4601, the stormtrooper who stunned Leia. What I liked about this story was Tarvyn’s humanity was still there. He was reluctant to follow orders of senseless cruelty. You also see Leia’s defiance and strength through his eyes.
“The Sith of Datawork”, Ken Liu, Arvira
This story was so very, very funny. Arvira, the fleet logistics liaision aboard the Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator, gives Bolvan several forms to fill out in order to cover up the gunnery officer’s mistake in letting the escape pod go.
Office work is often boring, but not in this story. It shows the ridiculous side of paperwork and forms, but also how smart and manipulative one can be.
“Stories in the Sand”, Griffin McElroy, Jot
I thought this story from a Jawa’s POV would be boring at first. But I really felt for him and loved his fascinations with stories. I especially loved R2 memories of Anakin and Padmé’s wedding.
“Reirin”, Sabaa Tahir, Reirin
Ok, if I am going to pick my least favorite story, it is this one. I actually found it a bit pointless and thought this spot could have been used for a more observant character. It’s about a teenage Tusken Raider girl who ran away and sneaks aboard a Jawa’s sandcrawler to steal a kyber crystal. It’s too prologue-like for a short story.
“The Red One”, Rae Carson, R5-D4
This one starts so sad and ends with such hope. I’ll look at the Red One with different eyes when watching ANH.
“Rites”, John Jackson Miller, A’Koba
I am not that into Tusken stories but this is a good one. It goes into the rites and traditions of the clan, as well as their superstitions. They avoid the area where Ben lives. He’s a powerful shaman and “the air answers him.”
“Master and Apprentice”, Claudia Gray, Qui-Gon Jinn
Instant favorite story. I loved it so much. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan talk about their failures with Anakin but it was ultimately Anakin’s decision. He had the training and wisdom to choose a better path. Qui-Gon also admires Obi-Wan’s strength and patience all those years.
“Beru Whitesun Lars”, Meg Cabot, Beru Whitesun Lars
Another favorite. It is so sweet and sad, and bit funny. Beru is telling her story from the afterlife. She had dreams before Luke came. But she gave them up for him. She has a few jabs at Anakin but also sees how Luke has the best parts of his parents. And she also did achieve her dream but in a different way than her teacher suggested.
These are now the Cantina/Mos Eisley stories. Some of them contradict one another, but there is always more than one side to a story. I also really love how differently the characters view Obi-Wan and Luke when they are in the cantina.
“The Luckless Rodian”, Renée Ahdieh, Greedo
I can’t believe after all the years I have been a huge fan of Star Wars, not just watching the movies but reading the EU and being a part of the online fandom, that now is the moment I learned that the cantina’s owner was a Wookiee named Chalmun.
“Not for Nothing”, Mur Lafferty, Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes
I love how this is like an excerpt from her memoir. Yea, Tatooine would not be good for a Bith. The events wove together very seamlessly in this story and it was my favorite cantina story.
“We Don’t Serve Their Kind Here”, Chuck Wendig, Wuher
The bar tender is very much the grump he appears to be in the movie. And his hate for droids is not just economical, it’s personal.
“The Kloo Horn Cantina Caper”, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction Kabe; Muftak, Myo and Djas Puhr
This one took a little getting used to listening to because of the alien like voices. I had to follow along with the book in order to keep track of who’s who and what’s what. I liked the theme of survive long enough to live another day and that’s a tomorrow problem.
“Added Muscle”, Paul Dini, Boba Fett
I did not realize at the time that Jon Hamm was narrating this story. Now, I so very much dislike the added scene with Jabba in the Special Editions. I always fast forward it. This story from Boba’s POV was funny. He calls Jabba soft (not to his face, to the reader) and we get some backstory on “no disintegrations.”
“You Owe Me a Ride”, Zoraida Córdova; Brea Tonnika and Senni Tonnika
They’re the brunette twins we see. I like this sisters stick together story. I also like the planet name dropping (Naboo). They even mention Canto Bight which surprised me since The Last Jedi was not out yet. They have a history with Solo and tried to rob the House of Organa. Fun little Easter eggs.
“The Secrets of Long Snoot”, Delilah S. Dawson, Garindan ezz Zavor
He’s the snitch who tells the stormtroopers which direction the droids headed. But we find out what his motivations are. This story’s character building was well done. I also liked how it came right after “You Owe Me a Ride” because they had a theme of wanting to get off Tatooine.
“Born in the Storm”, Daniel José Older, Sardis Ramsin
This story is hysterical! What makes it even funnier is the narration. You have to hear the audiobook version to hear Raisin’s attitude. He’s filing a report and he complains from everything to his fellow troopers, his uncomfortable gear, the sand, the heat, etc. All he wants is to do is get a stiff drink and to ride a dewback. What is also so funny, is the encounter when Obi-Wan mind tricks them.
This one is one of my favorites.
Now we’re getting into the stories that are from the POV of Death Star officers and the Rebellion. I liked how many of them tied Rogue One in.
“Laina”, Wil Wheaton, Ryland
Another sad story about oppression in the Empire and familial sacrifices the rebels make.
“Fully Operational”, Beth Revis, Cassio Tagge
It’s fun to see different characters’ views on the Darth Vader. I also liked the ants in a jar analogy to describe the rebels.
“An Incident Report”, Mallory Ortberg, Conan Antonio Motti
Motti’s HR report about Darth Vader choking him and how religious beliefs are not welcome in the work environment. Motti finds Vader’s lack of faith in the Death Star disturbing!
“Change of Heart”, Elizabeth Wein, Unidentified Imperial Navy Trooper
I like this one because we get to see Leia through an Imperial’s eyes. She’s strong, defiant, and composed but still scared.
“Eclipse”, Madeleine Roux, Breha Organa
I loved, loved this story. It was so sad but we also get a glimpse into the life of a Queen and her worry for Bail and Leia. This one is a really beautiful and sad tale.
“Verge of Greatness”, Pablo Hidalgo, Wilhuff Tarkin
Told as a “then” and “now” perspective about Tarkin’s views on the DS and Krennic. This one ties nicely with Rogue One.
“Far Too Remote”, Jeffrey Brown (Writer and illustrator), Cassio Tagge
I was so confused when the audiobook skipped this. It’s a cartoon!
“The Trigger”, Kieron Gillen, Chelli Lona Aphra
Aphra is a scavenger and weapons dealer on Dantooine and gets caught by the searching Imperials. I really liked the philosophy about executions she makes to the young stormtrooper. This story was a nice surprise. I assumed Dantooine was totally abandoned.
“Of MSE-6 and Men”, Glen Weldon, MSE-6-G735Y
I have a lot to say about this one. On the one hand, it makes for a really annoying audiobook. It’s told through the POV of a mouse droid so when it tells the time, commands, and does a diagnostic – IT IS SUPER ANNOYING! When you read you can skip all that. I had to look at the book to figure out what all the numbers meant.
On the other hand, this story is so funny when the human voices are speaking. And it’s such a crack!fic as TK-421 and Tarkin are having an affair! I was dying when Tarkin’s reaction to TK’s hologram mimiced Luke’s reaction to Leia’s hologram.
So yeah, if I could just fast forward all the receptive droid thoughts that would be great.
“Bump”, Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, TD-110
I always wondered if TK-421 was knocked out or killed. He was killed.
TD-110 deals with the aftermath of Obi-Wan’s mind trick. And he loses the droids – again!
“End of Watch”, Adam Christopher, Pamel Poul
The funny POV of the officers on the other side of Han’s “boring conversation anyway.”
“The Baptist”, Nnedi Okorafor, Omi
I was not expecting such interesting and deep world building from the dianoga in the garbage chute! Well done!
“Time of Death”, Cavan Scott, Obi-Wan Kenobi
This is such a good story and is pared well with the next one. Transitioning to become one with the Force was not what Obi-Wan thought it would be. The pacing and weaving of past, present and future are well done. There are so many little details mentioned in this story that I adore.
“There is Another”,,Gary D. Schmidt, Yoda
I find it so funny that Yoda rather train Leia in the ways of the Force. It was also interesting to see Yoda’s life in exile on such a remote planet, as well as his loneliness.
“Palpatine”, Ian Doescher, Darth Sidious
Palpatine/Sidious was the perfect character for Doescher to write in iambic pentameter. This is one story I feel is best “read” in the audible version. Iambic pentameter is meant to be heard, not read.
Now we get the stories from the Rebellion’s pilots. I love Rogue One and I love all the references. I feel like this batch has the most continuity with the details. Mainly because there’s a whole roster and scripted space battle as the source material.
“Sparks”, Paul S. Kemp, Dex Tiree
I liked how it linked the stories of Alderaan, Jedha, and Scarif. That everyone knew someone from there and now they are fired up to fight.
“Duty Roster”, Jason Fry, Col Takbright
He’s “Fake Wedge” and he didn’t get to fly. There is great character development in this story. I like that it showed the rivalry and competition between some pilots. And it is really suspenseful even though we know the outcome.
“Desert Son”, Pierce Brown, Biggs Darklighter
This is a no brainer because I love Pierce. I loved the memories and friendship with Luke, the added deleted scene,of course, but also the faith and hope Biggs has at his moment of death.
“Grounded”, Greg Rucka, Nera Kase
I was racking my brain trying to remember her so then I looked her up. This is her first appearance. She’s the chief in charge of starfighter maintenance. She also has a crush Garven Dreis. I loved her amazing memory when it came to knowing each pilot and their flight hours and confirmed kills. Impressive. Most Impressive.
“Contingency Plan”, Alexander Freed, Mon Mothma
Mon has several plans for serval outcomes. Thank goodness they won the day’s battle! I liked how we got to see the guilt she felt because others go into battle and while she waits.
“The Angle”, Charles Soule, Lando Calrissian
The voice for Lando was SPOT ON. It was great to see his POV when he sees the Falcon on the rebel’s dark net footage of the Death Star attack. Classic! All of this story was classic Lando, and Lobot is with him!
“By Whatever Sun”, E. K. Johnston and Ashley Eckstein; Miara Larte
Miara made her first appearance in Johnston’s book Ahsoka. It was good to see her inclusion here, especially at the medal ceremony. I also loved hearing Ashley’s voice again.
“Whills”, Tom Angleberger
This was a great way to end the anthology. Two unnamed and unknown characters are writing the journal of the Whills. They banter the whole time about the opening crawl and which stories to tell, the wording. One character argues that it should say “A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away.”
Listening to this story was laugh out loud funny.
And just because Pierce is good looking and he signed my book.
In conclusion if you love Star Wars this is a must read/listen.
I hope they do this for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and the prequels for their anniversaries!