Tarkin

Cheating Death: The Dark

When Darth Maul’s return was first flirted in Season 3 of The Clone Wars animated series, I was pretty skeptical. At the time, I thought it was a ridiculous stunt to bring back to life a character who had been sliced in half, his bifurcated body having fallen into an abyss in The Phantom Menace. Yet, the way Maul’s return was handled grew on me, and over time I not only accepted that he was still alive – something I could not argue since  he was literally on screen  – but that the way he was brought back was handled with care. While I certainly have my grievances with some of the story-arcs in Star Wars, Darth Maul’s return eventually became, and still is, one of my favorites.

As I said in a recent post where I discussed Maul’s return – The Power to Cheat Death – the fact that the young Dark Lord of the Sith survived his injuries opened the door to rethinking a number of aspects of the Star Wars universe. In keeping with this stream of thought, for this post I wanted to think about how Maul survived, the way he was able to sustain his life even though he had been horribly injured. 

Long before Darth Maul even arrived in person in The Clone Wars, questions began floating about how he could have survived his horrific injury. Thankfully, this was a question that was answered rather early on in Maul’s story-arc. In the Season Four episode “Revenge” – literally the episode that follows his re-discovery – Maul explains that while his body was broken, his hatred kept his spirit intact. Submerged in darkness, Maul became a self-described “rabid animal,” surviving on the junk world Lotho Minor until many years later his brother, Savage Opress, discovered him.

While his description of survival is brief, what Maul explains in “Revenge” is an intrinsic and fascinating aspect of the Dark Side of the Force.  Bathed in his hatred – hatred towards Kenobi, the Jedi, his old Master, etc. – Maul found himself consumed by the Dark Side in a way he had never prepared to encounter. In this regard, Maul’s survival was purely accidental. While he should have died due to his injuries, the Dark Side of the Force sustained his spirit – the Living Force within him – because Maul instinctively, although inadvertently, tapped into an intense and visceral level of hatred welling within his being. But the consequences of this deep level of hate and Dark Side submersion are clear: in cheating death, Maul lost all sense of his individuality, of “humanity,” becoming a wild animal.

darth_maul_3
Darth Maul, physically and mentally broken, living as a rabid animal on Lotho Minor. Notice that he is quite literally a beast, his mechanical “body” resembling that of an arachnid.

Photo Credit: The Clone Wars Season 4, Episode 21 – “Brothers”

With this in mind, it is worth recalling one of the most iconic and profound quotes about the Dark Side in Star Wars, a quote found in Revenge of the Sith. Speaking to Anakin Skywalker, Chancellor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) describes the Dark Side of the Force “as a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.” Darth Maul’s survival is a perfect example of one of the most unnatural abilities swirling within the Dark Side, the ability to cheat death. There is nothing natural about Maul’s survival, about the ability for one to physically cheat death. After all, as Yoda also states in Revenge of the Sith, “death is a natural part of life.” That all life must die is normal, a consequence of the gift of life. To cheat death is unnatural, a subversion of the gift.

Yet, as Maul proves through his hate-filled survival, the ability to subvert, to undermine, the gift of life is inherent within the Dark Side of Force. And since it is life which creates the Force – as Yoda also eloquently states, this time in The Empire Strikes Back – and it is also true that death is a natural part of life, how are we to make sense of this dark ability to cheat physical death?

Regarding this question, I would suggest two things. First, just because life creates the Force does not mean life necessarily dictates or creates the powers/abilities inherent within the Cosmic Force. In turn, this leads to my second point: that the Dark Side and Light Side of the Force are rich with powers/abilities that go far beyond the rationale understanding and capabilities of the Sith, Jedi, and other religious orders devoted to the mystical energy field. When Maul says that his path was”darker than I ever dreamed it could be,” this is precisely what he is pointing towards – the fact that there is a level of Dark Side potential he never could have rationalized or imagined, a level he only could only experienced by tapping into a well-spring of raw, unadulterated hatred. And, as we know, ill-prepared to reach this exceptional level of Darkness, Maul lost all sense of individuality, becoming more animal than “man.”

On this last point, another question arises: could one tap into and sustain the same level of hatred as Maul, preserving their corporeal existence through the Dark Side, while also maintaining their sanity and identity? To this I would answer yes, but to do so would require years of intense and methodical training. Just as one must first learn to swim before diving into the deep end of a pool, so too must a Sith, Knight of Ren, or other type of Dark acolyte learn to wade into the darkness if they are to cheat death, prolonging bodily existence and mental stability. While it is necessary to give into and cultivate the hatred that will take one deeper into the dark abyss and unlock the incredible powers inherent within, it is equally necessary that one exercise intense control over this hatred lest it completely strip them of rational thought.

Furthermore, in answering this question, I would also go one step farther and suggest that Darth Sidious was already treading the dark path towards cheating death. In the novel Tarkin, Sidious hints at coaxing the “final secrets” from the dark side and considers that “success would grant them [he and Darth Vader] the power to harness the full powers of the dark side, and allow them to rule for ten thousand years.” While he does not explicitly state the intention to cheat death, the sentiment is nevertheless implied in his wish to rule for ten thousand years. As Sith believe there is nothingness after death – a philosophical point raised in The Clone Wars episode “Sacrifice” – the only way Sidious could rule indefinitely is if he was to preserve his Life Force in his body, utilizing the Dark Side to forgo death and extinction.

And since Sidious was training to do just that, steadily submerging himself deeper into the darkness in order to unlock the unnatural powers it contained, I cannot help but wonder if he – like Darth Maul before him – was able to survive his “death” in Return of the Jedi. A thought worth pondering, but one I will leave for another day.

Imperial Profile: Admiral Tenant

“Nils Tenant is very competent.” – Moff Tarkin to Emperor Palpatine (from the novel Tarkin)

Admittedly, it is a bit odd that I decided to write a post about Rear Admiral Nils Tenant. On the one hand, with the recent revelation that my all-time favorite Star Wars character,  Grand Admiral Thrawn, will be making his glorious return to the universe, one would think I would be doing a post on him instead. It is certainly true that I am beyond excited to encounter Thrawn in a new novel and Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels, but at the moment, I am just not prepared to post anything about him.

On the other hand, doing a post on Tenant is odd because he is a rather minor Star Wars character. Actually, saying he is a minor character is being generous. The fact is, Nils Tenant has received only two canonical appearances in the Star Wars universe. His first comes in The Clone Wars episode “Overlords,” appearing rather briefly in the newsreel which serves as a prelude to the show. While he goes unnamed in the show, the episode guide for “Overlords” on StarWars.com at least puts a rank/name to his face, identifying him as Admiral Tenant.

In turn, James Luceno incorporated Tenant into his novel Tarkin. Given the first name Nils and the Imperial rank of Rear Admiral, Tenant’s story is slightly expanded in the book. Most notably, we discover that Rear Admiral Tenant and Moff Wilhuff Tarkin – the novels main protagonist – have a fond relationship dating back to their time in the Sullust Sector Spacefarers Academy. Crossing paths early in the novel when Tarkin travels to Coruscant, the two men have a short but cordial conversation as two friends. While I won’t spoil the dialogue for those who have not read Luceno’s book, I will note that the most revealing moment in the conversation comes when Tenant asks his friend to “put in a word for me” with the Emperor (whom Tarkin is heading to meet when the two cross paths).

TarkinCover
The cover of the novel Tarkin.
Photo Credit – Del Rey

Now, on the surface of things, this scene could just be interpreted as one officer trying to use his personal connections to gain more status. In fact, Tarkin even recognizes that this is precisely what Tenant is doing, thinking to himself that “he could understand wanting to be in the Emperor’s good graces…” However, Tarkin does not chastise Tenant for the request. While the Governor is slighty caught-off guard by it, he never-the-less validates his friend by clasping Tenant on the shoulder and stating “If the occasion arises, Nils.” In turn, Tenant smiles and states that Tarkin is “a good man.” And that, right there, is the point of the entire conversation – the exchange helps to establish Wilhuff Tarkin, a man we know will order the destruction of Alderaan thirteen years later, as a man who is also viewed by some as a decent individual. In other words, Rear Admiral Tenant’s brief appearance aids in the humanization of Moff Tarkin!!!

But that is the most I will say about Tarkin and his fascinating character development in the novel that bears his name. I encourage you all to read Tarkin if you haven’t – it is, in fact, my favorite novel in the Star Wars canon to date – but otherwise I wish to turn back to Nils Tenant. Of course, there is little more to say about him other than filling in small details from the novel. After serving in the Clone Wars as the commander of a Venator-class Star Destroyer (his ship is also in  “Overlords”), we learn that he was assigned to “pacification” once the Empire was formed. Unfortunately, what this means is never clarified in Tarkin, although I presume it refers to the pacification of worlds/species/groups rebelling against Imperial rule. Furthermore, we also learn through his conversation with the Governor that Admiral Tenant had returned to Coruscant for a meeting of the Joint Chiefs, a body made up of the top brass in the Empire’s Army and Navy. As if a moment of foreshadowing, at novels end, the narrator tells us that Rear Admiral Tenant has also become a member of the Joint Chiefs, a promotion perhaps resulting from Tarkin’s conversation with the Emperor. 

Beyond these basics, though, Nils Tenant receives no more major character development in the novel Tarkin. None-the-less, his brief conversation with Governor Tarkin was enough to capture my attention and write this post on him, and because of this I also hope that Rear Admiral Tenant makes some more appearances at various points throughout the canon. Personally, I have always had an intense fascination with the Imperial officers corps, a fascination responsible for posts on other officers in the past – Wullf Yularen and Maximilian Veers – and posts to come. While Nils Tenant and other peripheral characters do not necessarily drive the stories in the Star Wars canon, their presence/existence never-the-less deepens our understanding of the Empire and it’s powerful military. Plus, those officers who are major characters, such as Wilhuff Tarkin and Rae Sloane, benefit from a strong supporting cast which interacts with them, even if that interaction is a short conversation in a bustling hallway.

As for Nils Tenant, I don’t anticipate he will ever become a major actor in the Star Wars saga, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him again especially since James Luceno is the author of the upcoming novel Star Wars: Catalyst, a novel serving as a prelude to the film Rogue One. I just have a small feeling that we’ll encounter Rear Admiral Nils Tenant when the book is released. But hey, even if we don’t, I still think he’ll pop up again somewhere in the canon. 

Imperial Interdiction

Two things before the post heats up…

  1. This post is going to have a bit of information from the Star Wars Rebels animated series, and the novels Tarkin and Heir to the Jedi. If you haven’t watched the show or read these novels, then consider this a “spoiler alert.”
  2. This entire post is one very large geek out. As you read, you will understand what I mean.

In a recent episode of Star Wars Rebels (Season 2,  Episode  9 – “Stealth Strike”), the intrepid heroes of the show encounter an Imperial weapon they have never before come across. That weapon is an Imperial Interdictor cruiser, a type of ship that actually made its first appearance in the EU novel Heir to the Empire years ago. I have always had an intense fascination with Interdictors, though this hardly means that other ships interest me less. No, what makes Interdictors so intriguing is that they have the capability of affecting one of the most important concepts in the Star Wars universe: hyperspace travel.

Interdictors work by using gravity-well projectors, devices that can create a gravity field and pull a ship (or ships) out of hyperspace and/or keep ships from entering hyperspace. As hyperspace is the only way to get from one place to another in the Star Wars galaxy, you can see why this sort of technology would be a big deal, especially if you are a Rebel vessel and need to escape a more powerful Imperial ship. If running away isn’t an option, then you’d better have another contingency plan.

In “Stealth Strike,” Ezra Bridger, Commander Jun Sato, and other rebels are traveling through hyperspace when their Corellian Corvette is suddenly ripped from hyperspace by an Interdictor. Unsurprisingly, the rebels are in utter confusion as they attempt to make sense of what happened. As far as the Rebellion against the Empire is concerned, this is the first time that Rebellion encounters this form of technology/weapon. But this shouldn’t be confused as the first canonical appearance of an Interdictor. No, the novel Tarkin was actually the first appearance for Interdictors in the new canon, and Heir to the Jedi closely followed. What is weird, though, is that the Star Wars Databank page for “Imperial Interdictor” doesn’t actually reflect the appearance of Interdictors in Tarkin or Heir to the Jedi. Instead the page makes it seem as though the ship has only appeared in Rebels.

TarkinCover
The cover of the novel Star Wars: Tarkin.
Photo Credit – LucasBooks

Further, while the Databank discusses the “Imperial Interdictor,” it should really mention that there is not just one type of Interdictor, there are actually three: the Detainer CC-2200, the CC-7700 Frigate, and the Immobilizer 418. While it’s an Immobilizer that appears in Rebels and Heir to the Jedi, in Tarkin, which is set 5 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, the narrator indicates that it is the latest Interdictor to be constructed for the Deep Core Security Zone. As the novel points out, the Immobilizer arrives for an Imperial operation in the Obroa-Skai system “fresh from deepdock in the Corellia system” having yet to be tested, a clear indication that the other two vessels had, at the very least, been put through testing and/or utilized by the Imperial Navy previously.

Still, the Immobilizer,  which we learn in Tarkin has gravity-well projectors that are far more powerful than its cousins, does go on to become an important part of the Imperial Navy. This doesn’t necessarily mean the other vessels didn’t, but they also have not appeared in any other canonical source to date. The use of the Immobilizer by the Navy is confirmed, though, in Heir to the Jedi, a story which takes place between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. In that novel, Luke Skywalker’s vessel is pulled from hyperspace by an Interdictor in the Daalang system. Luke confirms that the vessel is an Immobilizer, and he explains to an individual traveling with him that “…the Empire has been using them against us [the Rebellion] on our raids.” However, Luke also notes in his inner-dialogue that “the Empire had stopped making these particular Interdictor cruisers because of their vulnerabilities” but “there were still plenty of them out there” even though they are no longer in production. In turn, Luke notes that the Empire had begun installing gravity-well projectors on Star Destroyers. From this statement, we can presume that along with the Immobilizer, the CC-2200 and CC-7700 were no longer in production either.

An Issue with Continuity

HeirtotheJediCover
The cover for the novel Heir to the Jedi.
Photo Credit – LucasBooks

For an otherwise less-than-stellar novel in the new canon, the scenario Luke and his companions find themselves in when facing the Immobilizer is a good one. In fact, I find it the best engagement that happens  in the book. But hidden within the situation is an otherwise off-the-cuff comment from Luke about the Immobilizer that makes little sense when we bring “Stealth Strike” into the conversation. In describing the Interdictor, Luke explains that “…this is one of the old models.” With the Immobilizer’s first appearance coming in Tarkin, at the very least 15 years (perhaps more) before Heir to the Jedi, then yes, Luke is correct, it is an older model. HOWEVER, “Stealth Strike,” which takes place 4-6 years before Heir to the Jedi, makes it very apparent that the aspiring Rebel cause has never encountered technology of this kind, which means they have never encountered an Immobilizer. To the rebels in the show, this ship and what it can do is entirely new, so how can it be an  “old model”?

Well, there are certainly some ways that we could fix this little continuity issue, but I also think it didn’t need to become an issue in the first place. Frankly, I am of the opinion that the showrunners of Rebels could have done more to connect the appearance of the Immobilizer in “Stealth Strike” to the vessels appearance in Tarkin. Had the rebels, even if briefly at the end of the episode, discussed the ship making its first appearance ten(ish) years before during an incident in the Obroa-Skai system, then Luke’s comment about the “old model” would make a lot more sense. But this isn’t what happens in the show. Instead, when the rebels are discussing this new ship, it is Sabine Wren, the young rebel and former Imperial cadet who states that when she was at the Academy, the Empire was developing gravity-well projectors. Disregarding the fact that the technology in question was highly classified and that a young cadet in an Outer Rim academy shouldn’t have access to that sort of information, the showrunners could have, at the very least, had Sabine mention the Immobilizer along  with the gravity-well technology when she brings it up. Or, she could have personally identified the ship as one of the models she had seen. Either option would have been fine.

SabineStealthStrike
Sabine Wren tells Hera Syndulla (foreground) about the gravity-well technology while Kanan Jarrus (background) listen on.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Rebels Season 2, Episode 9: “Stealth Strike”

But don’t take this to mean I dislike the use of the vessel in Rebels. Honestly, I love that it’s the centerpiece of the episode and that we get to see it in action. My point is merely that “Stealth Strike” could have, and should have, been used to create a stronger tie between the appearance of the Immobilizer/the gravity-well in Tarkin, the show itself, and Heir to the Jedi. In fairness, though, the show DOES create a fascinating technical tie with Tarkin, something that I think is worth exploring.

Overcurrent Resistors

In Tarkin, the Interdictors are brought to the Obroa-Skai system as part of an operation to capture a stolen Imperial ship. However, before the  operation gets under way, we learn from Kren Blista-Vanee, a member of the Imperial Ruling Council, that “the ships’ gravity-well projectors have not been tested” in the scenario that Moff Tarkin proposes. In short, the Interdictors have never been used to “yank” a ship out of hyperspace, making the situation all the more ripe for a mistake, particularly since the Obroa-Skai system is heavily trafficked.

And a mistake is precisely what happens.

When the Immobilizer powers up its gravity-well projects, the overcurrent resistors fail, causing the gravity-wells to redline and create an inderdiction field that is much too powerful. With the Immobilizer emitting an overly strong gravitational field,  all the ships in the system, Imperial ships and those being torn out of hyperspace, begin to be pulled inwards toward the Immobilizer. One of those ships is a Mon Calamari passenger liner with 10,000 beings on board and it is pulled directly into the Detainer, causing the passenger ship to break in half and many lives to be lost.  A chapter later, then, we learn that after the incident, the Immobilzer was sent back to Corellia so that the failure of the overcurrent resistors could be remedied.

Ten(ish) years later…

As the rebels in “Stealth Strike,” attempt to get off of the Immobilizer (they are literally on the ship for most of the show), the astromech droid Chopper connects with the ships mainframe and sabotages the gravity-well projectors. When the rebels finally make their get away from the Immobilizer, the commander of the Interdictor has his technicians turn on the gravity-wells to ensure that the rebels cannot escape to hyperspace. But something suddenly goes wrong. The rebel vessel, as well as two Imperial escort ships, begin to be pulled towards the Immobilizer. As the two frigates smashing into the Immobilizer, the rebel vessel is able to speed to safety as all three Imperial ships explode in a blaze of glory.

Immobilizer Destroyed
The rebels look on as a ship crashes into the Immobilizer.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Rebels Season 2, Episode 9: “Stealth Strike”

What did Chopper do to sabotage the ship? Answer: the little astromech messed with the overcurrent resistors, either turning them off or causing them to fail. Without the resistors ensuring that the gravity-wells did not redline, the interdiction field, like it does in Tarkin, becomes too strong and pulls all the vessels towards it causing havoc. A different situation, but an issue with the overcurrent resistors; one time due to malfunction, this time due to sabotage. And while the term “overcurrent resistors” isn’t even used in the show, the issue of ships being pulled towards the Immobilizer is really all the proof that is required for me to argue that Chopper did, in  fact, sabotage the resistors.

Then again, maybe the little droid does explain what he did to sabotage the ship and we just can’t understand what the heck he is saying. I mean, I dunno about you, but I don’t speak astromech….yet.

White Uniform Guy with a Mustache

“Of all the Jedi, why did I have to end up with Skywalker?” – Admiral Yularen 

Of all the iconic scenes in Star Wars: A New Hope, one that truly stands out to me is when Darth Vader chokes Admiral Motti due to Motti’s “lack of faith.” With an upraised hand, Vader begins to slowly crush Motti’s windpipe while the other Imperial officers at the table sit by and watch. Revealing that Vader has supernatural powers, and that he is even willing to turn these powers against his allies, this scene goes a long way towards bolstering Darth Vader’s status as an iconic villain.

But this post is not going to be about Vader. There will be plenty of those posts in the future. Rather, who I really want to focus on is the White Uniform Guy with a Mustache sitting to the right of Admiral Motti.

Admiral Motti in the foreground; Colonel/Deputy Director Yularen in the Background Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Admiral Motti in the foreground; White Uniform Guy in the background
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Mostly expressionless throughout the scene, his biggest reaction to what is happening comes when the choking takes place. However, this is not White Uniform Guy’s only scene in the film, as he also walks past Han, Luke, and Chewie when they are waiting for an elevator.

Two scenes, that is it. Who is this White Uniform Guy with a Mustache? What is his story?

Some May Know Him, Others May Not

Recently, I received a couple of new Lego Star Wars sets in the mail that I bought during the Lego May the Fourth sales event. During this event, Lego offers an exclusive promotional mini-figure if you spend a certain, not insignificant amount of money. I am not going to tell you how much I spent, but let’s just say I received the mini-figure and we will leave it at that, okay? Great!

Here is a picture I took of my new, totally sweet mini-figure:

LEGO Colonel (or Admiral) Wullf Yularen Photo Credit: The Imperial Talker

OH MY GOSH, IT’S WHITE UNIFORM GUY WITH A MUSTACHE! You had to see that coming…

Okay, so White Uniform Guy with a Mustache is actually a character by the name of Wulff Yularen. You would be hard-pressed to find Yularen by name in the film credits of A New Hope, though, because he isn’t actually there.

Portrayed by B-list actor Robert Clarke in the film, Mr. Clarke did not receive a film credit for his role as Yularen for, so far as I can tell at least, two reasons. The first is because a lot of extras in the film went uncredited. In fact, even James Earl Jones, the iconic voice of Darth Vader, did not receive a credit in the film.[i]

Colonel (or Admiral) Wullf Yularen  Photo Credit - Star Wars: A New Hope

Colonel/Deputy Director Wullf Yularen
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Secondly, the character Mr. Clarke was portraying was an unnamed background character at the time of filming. It would not be until the release of the Star Wars: Customizable Card Game (circa 1995) that the character Mr. Clarke portrayed would officially receive the name Wulff Yularen, as well as a very tiny snippet of back story as a Colonel in the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB).[ii] Though the Card Game no longer counts as part of the “official” Disney canon, Yularen and his back story have been maintained and even expanded.

From the Clone Wars to the Death Star

Wulff Yularen appears for his second stint in the Star Wars universe in The Clone Wars animated movie which was released before the first season of The Clone Wars animated series. Voiced by Tom Kane, Yularen, a Republic Admiral, is one of the first characters to debut in the film.

Admiral Yularen with Jedi General Anakin Skywalker. Photo Credit - Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Season 2 Episode 16

Admiral Yularen with Jedi General Anakin Skywalker.
Photo Credit – Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Season 2 Episode 16

Following the movie, Yularen would also appear in a number of episodes of the animated series itself, and new details about him would begin to emerge.

Throughout the Clone Wars, Admiral Yularen commanded Jedi General Anakin Skywalker’s flagship the Resolute. However, Yularen was not always thrilled to be working with the reckless, young Jedi (see the quote provided at the beginning of the post). None-the-less, Yularen would participate in a number of engagements in the war, including (to name a few): Christophsis, Quell, Ryloth, and Second Geonosis.

Though The Clone Wars animated series has ended, Yularen’s back story garnered a bit more development in the novel Tarkin from author James Luceno. In Tarkin, which takes place 5 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, the reader discovers that after the Clone Wars ended, Yularen resigned his naval commission for the rank of Colonel in the ISB, and served as a liaison between the Bureau and Military Intelligence. In turn, at the end of the book, Yularen is promoted to Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, a subset of Military Intelligence. As well, Colonel Yularen has also played critical roles in Timothy Zahn’s novel Thrawn, being a close confidant of the rising, Chiss officer, and also appears in an episode of Star Wars Rebels (Season 3, Episode 17 – “Through Imperial Eyes”). 

In A New Hope, then, Colonel/Deputy Director Yularen is an important intelligence figure serving aboard the Death Star. At this point, no official story has been established that explains his placement on the battle station, though one can imagine a number of reasons for the distinguished, albeit fateful posting.

Storytelling and Star Wars

Though on the surface of things his presence at the conference table on the Death Star still does not add a great deal of weight to the scene itself, Wulff Yularen’s backstory does contribute an additional dimension to the scene which did not originally exist. He may not participate in the dialogue itself, but he is now much more than the unnamed background character he used to be.

In a sense, Wulff Yularen’s character development points at the exciting intricacies of storytelling in the Star Wars universe. The fact that an unnamed background character can emerge from the shadows and be propelled into relevance is one of the many reasons that I continue to love Star Wars. Discovering something new about a character, particularly an unknown background character, and their connection to other individuals and events, is just one of the many reasons Star Wars remains so captivating. And perhaps even more importantly, this also creates different avenues for the imagination, as one is able to engage with and experience the stories in new and dynamic ways. Just think about all the other characters out there, new and old, who are waiting for their time to shine: to receive a name, a back story, the chance to be a promotional Lego mini-figure, and the ability to impact the way you and I experience Star Wars.

Of course, at least in my case, with new developments in Star Wars also come new thoughts and questions.

In the case of Wulff Yularen, I am left pondering a question that, without any of his added back story, would have never otherwise crossed my mind. In short, should I feel bad that he died on the Death Star? Knowing what I do about his background as a Republic officer, but also his loyalty to the Empire, how am I supposed to react to his death? Should I even care that he dies? Is it wrong for me to feel remorse for the death of a loyal follower of the Emperor? Or, did he get what he deserved when Luke’s proton torpedoes hit the main reactor?

Frankly, I am not really sure how to answer these questions.


[i] This was actually Mr. Jones own decision as he felt David Prowse, the actor inside the Vader costume, deserved all the attention.

[ii] I bet a number of you still have these cards from this card game! In fact, I know one friend of mine who had a ton of them…he knows who he is.