For this week’s Recycle Bin, we’ll present the second half of last week’s Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi project. We’ll jump back into the extended synopsis right where we left off, so see the previous post for details about the characters and about previous plot elements. Again, keep in mind that (a) this concentrates more on plot detail and less on characterization, (b) it’s very rough around the edges so there are plenty of plot holes and discrepancies that have not been (and probably never will be) ironed out, and (c) all character names are placeholders and not final. With that said, we’ll pick up where we left off….
The next significant plot point has Ranyar, Dirahn, and Myra sent upon a mission to a distant world in the Outer Rim to investigate the disappearance of some sort of scientific research team. Both Dirahn’s and Myra’s padawans have been left behind (Ranyar to date has refused to take a padawan), as the mission has been deemed too dangerous. The three Jedi arrive on a barren desert world. There is a brief skirmish with a band of disorganized smugglers that ends with the smugglers steering clear of the Jedi some distance away. They arrive at the expedition’s battered, half-buried ship and all clues eventually lead them underground into a series of deep caves. As they progress, Dirahn becomes more and more uneasy. He feels a great sense of foreboding, as if an oppressive numbing coldness is burrowing into his skin.
The reason becomes quickly evident: The trio are attacked by another “Force vampire”, the same type of creature that drained Dirahn years before. Before long, they discover that the creature is far from alone; somehow, an entire hive of the creatures escaped the great extermination by the Jedi centuries before and have laid dormant, awakened by the scientific expedition. The implications are staggering; if this many creatures survived, they could pose a huge risk to not only the Jedi Order by to the entire galaxy. Ranyar strongly suspects a trap: he believes Darth Scathe lured the scientists here with the sole purpose of awakening the creatures and forcing the Jedi to investigate. Three Jedi would prove to be ample sustenance to drive the creatures to seek more, and with their ship parked just outside the cavern and with their memories sucked from them, the creatures could easily bypass all Jedi security protocols, land on Coruscant, and be inside the Jedi Temple before anyone would be aware of it. If the Temple falls, then all Coruscant will fall followed by the rest of the galaxy. Ranyar makes his colleagues swear that the creatures not be allowed to reach the surface at all costs. The three of them must be expendable; if any of them fall or become injured, they must be left behind and the creatures stopped by any means. Dirahn reluctantly agrees, but Myra protests strongly. There is no time for argument, however, as the creatures quickly attack. Dirahn succumbs to the lead creature’s mental attacks—an artifact of his prior contact as a padawan—and the creatures separate him from Ranyar and Myra, making their way to the surface. With Dirahn under their control, the creatures could easily infiltrate the Jedi Temple without suspicion by bypassing all the Temple’s security codes.
As Ranyar and Myra pursue them, they argue over Ranyar’s order that they are expendable. During the arugment, they both reveal, rather reluctantly, that they have romantic feelings for each other. The argument is cut short when they are attacked again and Myra is injured. While she kills the creature that attacks her, the blow knocks her over a cliff, leaving her dangling precariously over a seemingly bottomless pit. Ranyar is faced with a terrible choice: spend precious moments rescuing Myra and let the creatures reach the surface and the ship, or leave her to intercept the creatures and likely let her perish. In a much more Star Trek mentality, he reluctantly decides that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. He promises to return for her and leaves her screaming for help as he rushes toward the surface. Just as he is beyond any hope of returning in time, the ledge gives way and she falls, presumably to her death. Racked with guilt, shame, and frustration, Ranyar dashes with Jedi speed to the surface just in time to watch their ship streak into the sky. He quickly surveys the landscape and spots a glint of reflected light on the horizon. Summoning all his Force skill, he races across the desert to find the smugglers’ ship. He commandeers it, nearly killing the smugglers in the process but leaving them alive. He sends a desperate coded signal to the Jedi Temple, which arrives just in time for the Council to take defensive measures. The battle is fierce but brief; with sufficient warning, the Jedi are able to wipe out the creatures and rescue Dirahn with minimal losses.
No one within the Council or the Order questions Ranyar’s difficult choice… except Ranyar himself. Even though he knows that logically it was the right decision, he finds himself constantly battling guilt and self-loathing. This becomes all too apparently when he watches Anya, Myra’s padawan, bounce from temporary mentor to temporary mentor, as no female Jedi are currently available to take her on full time. Anya is struggling; without dedicated mentorship, her skills are suffering and she begins to lose her focus. Ranyar approaches the Council with an unconventional proposal: he wishes to take Anya as his padawan. Many on the Council vehemently oppose; there are rules in place governing padawan apprenticeship, including strict guidelines forbidding mentors and apprentices being of opposite sexes, lest certain temptations arise to interfere. (Fans of the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series will note that undoubtedly by the time of the Clone Wars, these rules must have been relaxed.) However, the same female Master who prophesied Ranyar’s battle with the Dark Lord eventually sways the Council. It is unquestionable that Anya’s skill with a lightsabre are astounding, and there could be no better mentor for her than the Order’s finest duelist. Both Ranyar and Anya must come to terms with Myra’s death and their personal parts (or lack thereof) in it; learning from each other could be most helpful and therapeutic. The Council eventually relents, and Anya becomes Ranyar’s padawan.
Several smaller adventures ensue, focusing on Ranyar and Anya’s new relationship. Gradually, Ranyar comes to accept his difficult decision and Anya begins to understand the weight he bears. Together, the two heal their wounds and become an astounding team. Several times, the Council awards them special recognition for their incredible efforts.
One mission, however, changes their entire future. While the details that bring them there are nebulous (I told you this was a rough outline), Ranyar and Anya find themselves on a distant world in a series of derelict ruins. The two become separated by a collapsing hallway, and Ranyar instructs Anya to double-back so they can meet in another chamber. Anya stops short, however, when she runs into none other than Darth Scathe. Anya is terrified; although she has heard many tales of the Dark Lord of the Sith, this is her first real encounter with him. Although she moves to defend herself, he does not attack. He only moves to prevent her from catching up with Ranyar. When she demands that he let her pass, Darth Scathe simply responds that Ranyar is busy, “catching up with an old friend.” They do battle, but it is very one-sided. Scathe deflects all of her attacks, but never with deadly force, ensuring she remains alive.
Ranyar enters a large chamber to be greeted by a voice from the shadows. It’s a familiar voice, but at first he cannot place it. Eventually, its owner emerges from the darkness; it is Myra, alive, well, and royally ticked off. She is furious with him for leaving her behind on the planet of the vampires. After she fell, she lay dying at the bottom of the pit. Scathe emerged; it was indeed a trap for the Jedi, but more importantly for her. He offered to heal her and help her gain revenge on Ranyar for his betrayal. Ranyar insists he did not betray her; the choice was clear, it was her one life versus the lives of untold billions. But she’s not having any of his “lies”. She confesses that she was in love with him, but that he left her to die because he valued Dirahn’s friendship more than hers. A climactic battle ensues, ending in a draw as a walkway collapses, leaving them on opposite ends of a deep chasm. So vile is her hatred of him that the ruins quake slightly around them as she screams. Shaking his head, Ranyar walks away as she screams after him. Although he believed he came to terms with his choice, now it seems even worse that before. Now he’s no longer responsible for her death, but her fall to the Dark Side as Darth Scathe’s apprentice.
Now that Myra’s fall has been revealed, the Sith begin to execute their plan in earnest. Darth Scathe has enlisted the aid of a warlike race known as the Klithzir (another placeholder name), a race subjugated by the Sith centuries ago who have quietly served the dark lords and hidden their activities from the Jedi and the Republic. Isolated attacks begin along the Outer Rim; it is apparent that the Klithzir have been raising a massive army and space navy, readying for an all-out assault on the Republic. They have quietly stockpiled weapons (remember those smuggling pirates again?). The Senate turns to the Jedi Order for advice, and as stated in Episode II, the Jedi are a peacekeeping force, not a militia.
Ranyar, meanwhile, becomes more and more frustrated with his current situation. He and Anya keep being assigned to trivial tasks, far from the rumored skirmishes with the Klithzir. Ranyar repeatedly petitions the Council to let him hunt down Darth Scathe; after all, he is the one prophesied to duel the Dark Lord to the death. But the Council repeatedly refuses. Ranyar suspects they fear that the prophecy predicts his fall to the Dark Side; this at once frustrates him but makes him feel cautious at the same time. He struggles internally between the rational and cautious view of the Council versus his own desire to end the conflict with the Klithzir before it really starts. Eventually, his frustration takes hold and he rushes off in search of the Dark Lord, with Anya reluctantly in tow.
We’ll gloss over the annoying (and unscripted) details that lead to tracking down a Sith Lord and jump straight to the meat of the story. Ranyar and Anya track the Sith to another isolated location (funny how all these duels take place in out-of-the-way locales). Once again, they are separated by suspicious circumstances (which I haven’t bothered to script either). They both strongly suspect a trap but have little choice but to proceed. Eventually, Ranyar encounters Myra. Ranyar prepares for an attack but it doesn’t come. Myra offers to lead him to Darth Scathe so he can destroy him… “and so you can become the Dark Lord of the Sith”, Ranyar observes sarcastically. “That’s beside the point,” she replies. She says that Scathe has also seen the vision of the future and he knows that he is the one to fall. But the only way Ranyar can defeat the Dark Lord is to lower his defenses and draw from his emotions and hatred—by using the Dark Side of the Force. Ranyar scoffs, but with a twinge of doubt as if he fears she may be right.
Myra makes good on her promise and leads him to another chamber, then disappears. Scathe is waiting for him. There is some ominous, climactic banter, followed by a titanic lightsabre duel that should give the Anakin/Obi Wan duel of Episode III a run for its money. Meanwhile, Myra intercepts her old pupil Anya, dueling her to prevent her from interfering with Ranyar’s duel with Scathe. The two battles carry on for some time, giving us lots of juicy Jedi-on-Sith action.
Eventually, Anya manages to get away from Myra long enough to try and track down Ranyar. She arrives to find the two Masters dueling even stronger than ever. Scathe incites Ranyar with comments about all his failings: the death of Kandir, the fall of Myra, etc. Eventually, Ranyar becomes so enraged in the heat of battle that he overwhelms the Dark Lord, first lobbing off his dueling hand and then beheading him. As he stands over the body, slightly swaying from the exertion, an explosion of hatred wells within him to the point that he hacks Scathe’s corpse to pieces with his lightsabre (off-screen, of course, so we won’t be too gruesome). He screams with rage, causing huge sections of the surrounding ruins to collapse from the quake in the Force. As he slumps backwards, the full weight of what he has done begins to press upon him. He glances up to see Anya on a balcony above him, on her knees with her hands over her mouth and tears streaming from her eyes. Ranyar realizes he has crossed a line that can never be uncrossed, and he wearily trudges back toward Myra, waiting at the other end of the chamber.
After one of the Masters picks up Anya and returns her to Coruscant, the Council begins to debate what needs to be done. Surely Ranyar’s fall poses a huge security risk. When they begin to debate if he will become Myra’s new apprentice, Dirahn objects. True, it is the way of the Sith for the apprentice to become the Master, but he doubts that Ranyar will have much to learn from her besides a handful of new tricks. Even before his fall he had far surpassed her in skill and raw power; it is unlikely that he would make himself subordinate to her. It is also unlikely he would embrace the ways of the Sith as she had. He had spent so many years opposing the Sith, fighting them after the death of his father/mentor that it would be unthinkable that he would wish to become that which he despised. At the same time, he will likely view his actions as irredeemable, and returning to the Jedi Order would be impossible. Dirahn proposes a new theory: while Ranyar has indeed fallen and may stay with Myra long enough to learn a new new Sith-like skills, he will leave her and attempt to walk the path of the Gray Jedi (remember them?).
Sure enough, the Republic’s spies seem to confirm Dirahn’s theory. They manage to track enough of the Klithzir movements to confirm that Ranyar traveled with them for a time, then eventually went his own way. What’s more disturbing is where he has gone. As the Council begins to analyze his movements, Dirahn recognizes a pattern in the star systems displayed. All are along the Outer Rim, spaced at oddly similar intervals. He asks the computer to adjust the galactic map for ten-thousand years in the past. The star systems immediately line up into a perfect sequence, equidistant around the galaxy’s spiral arms. Dirahn announces that he believes Ranyar is looking for the Crown of Stars, an ancient Jedi artifact.
The legend of the Crown states that ten-thousand years prior, a very powerful Jedi Master once created the artifact to amplify his access to the Force as a means of defeating a powerful Sith Lord. Unfortunately, the raw power of the concentrated Force overwhelmed him, driving him mad with godlike power. He nearly destroyed the entire galaxy but was finally stopped by his apprentice, who was forced to kill him to stop him. The padawan then broke the Crown into many pieces and scattered them across the Outer Rim as far as possible from the other pieces lest one be found and lead someone to the others. Dirahn fears that Ranyar, seeing Myra continuing Darth Scathe’s road to war, believes the situation so grave that he will take the desperate measure of finding the Crown, reassembling it, and using it against her. The Council reluctantly agrees with his theory and sends him to track down his old friend with Anya in tow.
Dirahn and Anya have a long discussion during their lengthy trip about Ranyar’s and Myra’s fall. Quite obviously, Anya blames herself for not being there to support either of her former Masters. Dirahn reassures her that only they can make such choices and no matter how much guilt they heap upon themselves, only Ranyar and Myra themselves can be blamed for their current states.
The next part is, unfortunately, really sketchy. Dirahn and Anya track down Ranyar and confront him, confirming his plan to find the Crown. Dirahn and Ranyar duel and Dirahn is injured (and maybe killed, but I’m leaning against that). Anya continues to follow him with the assistance of another Master on the Council, who is also likely killed in a duel. Meanwhile, the Council and the Senate receive word that several systems on the edge of the Republic have been attacked with entire worlds being destroyed, and rumors abound that an attack on Coruscant itself is imminent.
When the Klithzir fleet arrives at Coruscant, the Senate has gathered a rag-tag militia led by the Jedi. As the battle begins, the Republic fleet engages the Klithzir fighters and light frigates, but the heavier Klithzir ships hold back. Myra orders that their secret weapon be readied. When the Klithzir admiral asks why they shouldn’t deploy it immediately and ensure victory, she replies that she wants to instill false hope in them before crushing their spirits.
Anya, now on her own, manages to track Ranyar down to a Republic listening post just outside the Coruscant system. The listening post has been taken over by the Klithzir, but Ranyar makes short work of them. When Anya reaches the observation center, Ranyar informs her that he already knows of her presence. She begs and pleads with him not to reassemble the Crown, but he tells her they have no choice. Soon Myra will deploy the Klithzir weapon—a special missile that is heavily shielded, impervious to all blaster fire, and with a warhead that will turn Coruscant’s atmosphere into an inferno of burning plasma. By the time the Republic fleet figures out what’s going on, the missile will be unstoppable. Using the power of the Force, he manipulates the pieces of the Crown into position, which resist being reassembled. With all of his Force mastery, he manages to fuse the pieces together and dons the Crown. He is instantly overcome with searing pain as he fights the Crown for domination over his own body.
Myra gives the order. The missile is deployed, streaking across the battlefield and homing in on the planet. Several Republic fighters try in vain to attack it, but either miss or have their weapons quickly deflected.
Ranyar awakens from his struggle, his eyes unnaturally peaceful and his voice hollow and nearly void of emotion. He gestures with his hand and the missile dissolves into nothingness, its constituent atoms scattered across the universe. He waves his hand again and every weapon on the battlefield, Republic and Klithzir alike, ceases to function. With another gesture, Myra is lifted from the Klithzir flagship and materializes in the listening post with Ranyar and Anya.
Unfortunately, the final confrontation between Ranyar and Myra is sketchy, and while I’m sure I could come up with some really great, poinent dialog, I haven’t gotten that far (and likely never will). Suffice it to say that Myra is unrepentent and Ranyar decides to enact his vengence “for the good of the galaxy”, slowly and painfully disassembling the molecules of her body and scattering them as he did with the missile. He does the same with the entire Klithzir fleet, wiping their very existence from the galaxy (which explains why we never hear of them anywhere else in the Star Wars universe). Anya pleads with him to stop during the entire incident, begging him to see what he has become. Evenutally she succeeds, and in one horrible moment Ranyar realizes he has just committed genocide and murdered one of his oldest friends. The Crown, however, is apparently sentient and begins to fight him for control of his body. Ranyar battles the artifact internally, eventually realizing that the only way to destroy it is to destroy himself. He apologizes to Anya and thanks her for never giving up on him, then tells her to destroy the Crown in such a way that it can never be reassembled again. He then scatters his own molecules as he did to Myra, disappearing in a swirling wisp of thinning mist. The Crown clatters to the floor. Anya takes it back to her ship, fastens it to a missile, and then finds the nearest black hole and fires the missile into it, destroying it forever.
There are bound to be a few closing scenes where the Council decides to bury Ranyar’s fall and herald him a hero, redeemed in the end to save the galaxy. We’ll also assume there’s a heart-felt scene where Anya and Dirahn (assuming he’s still alive) come to turns with the loss of their loved ones and look over a Coruscant sunrise/set as a new hope dawns for the Republic. But that’s all I’ve got, and that’s all you’ll get. Now I’ll go collapse and soak my aching wrists in ice water. Whew!
As stated in our previous Recycle Bin entry, my Star Wars anthology idea wasn’t really going anywhere. Besides the usual Recycle Bin killers such as, oh, being a copyrighted and trademarked world that I’d never be asked to write for, it was too broad and covered far too much ground. Eventually, I kept returning to a series of ideas following a single set of characters through several successive adventures. Since I naturally tend to lean toward long-form story telling, this idea became more comfortable to me and I eventually began to concentrate on it exclusively, completely abandoning the anthology idea. In continued to bear the same working title, Tales of the Jedi, mostly out of laziness.
As with the previous Star Wars project, the ideal format for this would be an episodic live-action television with hour-long installments. Borrowing a bit from Babylon 5, I saw it having a set number of seasons with a single cohesive story arc, but allowing for isolated smaller stories to be told during individual episodes. Thus, there would be a definitive beginning, middle, and end, primarily chronicling the adventures of a single Jedi knight and his mentors, colleagues, and apprentices. The events take place approximately one thousand years before the events of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, for the same reasons as mentioned in the previous entry.
As with every Recycle Bin project, this one is very rough around the edges and focuses more on the core plot and less on characterization and window dressings. That said, many of the characters are actually very well formed and have their own personal time lines. Sadly, none of the characters have been given names; this is one of those things I tend to focus on last, letting the choice of name stay in flux until the project becomes more solid. This way, I can look at the character’s entire arc from beginning to end and come up with a name that suits them, maybe even summing them up into a pair of succinct words. Therefore, the names listed below should be considered placeholders only, just so we’ve got something to call them.
Also note that this is a summary of an entire series with multiple seasons and many different running plot threads. Thus, this is a gross distillation of a much more complicated story and only covers the highlights of the plot. There’s actually a ton more detail than what I’ll list here, but for the sake of my bandwidth bill and your patience much of that has been omitted.
An episodic live-action television serial chronicling the rise of one Jedi from padawan to Knight and to Master, then his ultimate fall and redemption as he battles the return of the Sith and his own failings.
The series begins with young Ranyar and his mentor Kandir on a mission to track down pirates raiding freighters and passenger ships along a distant trade route. There isn’t much to really say about the story synopsis itself, other than it introduces the main characters of Ranyar, Kandir, Dirahn, and Myra. At one point the three padawans must go “under cover” as young, wealthy socialites to draw the pirates’ attention, a move the Jedi Council disapproves of but which Kandir convinces them may be their only chance of solving the mystery. Naturally, the padawans become separated from their mentors and end up resolving the situation on their own. The only other notable plot note in the pilot is a hint that the pirates are also involved in some sort of weapons smuggling, which is meant to seem very insignificant at the time (but which readers of GPF will likely note would be a classic Darlington foreshadowing of things to come).
Individual, mostly isolated episodes would make up the majority of the first season, several of which I’ve actually plotted out in detail. However, only three episodes bear any real significance:
In the first, a mysterious attack on a youngling within the Jedi Temple surprises the Council and terrifies the pupils. The young pupil is killed, seemingly having his life energy drained from his body. Only a single witness to the event can be found; another student, slightly older, notices a cloaked figure in the vicinity shortly before the body was discovered. Not long after this, the witness is likewise attacked and nearly killed; Dirahn interrupts the attacker and attempts to protect the victim, driving the attacker off. Unfortunately, Dirahn can provide nothing more useful for tracking down the murderous stalker. The entire Temple is placed on alert, with younglings confined to their dormitories while the Masters, Knights, and older padawans search the grounds.
It isn’t long before the next attack comes, and this time Dirahn is the victim. Ranyar and Myra are in the vicinity and Ranyar briefly duels the attacker, who happens to wield a lightsabre with considerable skill. After the attacker flees and Dirahn is taken to the infirmary, the Council believes it has unraveled the mystery. The attacker is an ancient species of creature (with an appropriately Star Wars-y funky name) that is essentially a “Force vampire”, feeding on the Living Force within a living thing. A Jedi would make for a most succulent meal for such a beast, and it would grow stronger with each successive feeding. It is believed that the creature somehow survived the great extermination of its race by the Jedi millennia before by becoming dormant and hiding in the catacombs beneath the Temple, staying alive by absorbing the ambient eddies of the Force given off by the hundreds of Jedi above. The Masters also take note of the attacks: in each case, the witness of the previous attack ultimately becomes the next victim, and apparently the creature chooses its targets to gain successively more Force energy with each feeding. It is unanimously agreed that Ranyar must be its next target, and that should he fall victim the creature will gain enough power to attack any Jedi in the Temple. Ranyar volunteers to provide himself as bait to draw the creature out. The Masters object, but Kandir convinces them otherwise. Even if Ranyar falls to the attack, the creature will need time to recuperate after the feast, leaving it vulnerable.
Eventually, Ranyar flushes the creature out and duels it. The battle is intense; Ranyar has his raw talent and youthful skill, but the creature draws upon the skills of hundreds of Jedi it has drained over the centuries. Ultimately, Ranyar defeats the beast and beheads it. The Council analyzes the battle and determine that Ranyar’s willingness to sacrifice himself, combined with his ability to control the emotional response to fighting a creature that nearly killed his friend, is enough to count as Ranyar’s padawan trial. He is promoted to the full rank of Jedi Knight, although he continues to operate in conjunction with his mentor for some time, much like Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi served side by side after Anakin was promoted.
The second key story (which may or may not run before the previous one) involves Kandir and Ranyar encountering a bad of “gray Jedi”, Force-sensitives skilled in the Jedi arts who reject the strict teachings of both the Order and the Sith and seek to walk the delicate, fine line between them. They view the Force as not divided into Light and Dark, but as a gradual blend of grays that can be traversed with appropriate discipline. There is very little actual plot scripted here, other than having Kandir and Ranyar discuss why they believe the Jedi path is more appropriate. But the importance of this story is to introduce the concept that some see the Force not as two opposite extremes, a theory that will come into play later.
The third key story may or may not have been part of the first season. In some ways, I feel it should be later, but then I wouldn’t want to push its revelations too late in the series run. Kandir and Ranyar are sent on a mission to a planet on the edge of the Republic to investigate rumors of arms smuggling passing through the system. (Remember the pirates from the first story? I knew you would.) The pair meet with the queen of the planet, who seems genuinely shocked and appalled that someone within her government would be involved in such a detestable practice. (Remember that prior to Episode II, the Republic had been at peace for thousands of years, so the prospect of large scale arms smuggling could be a possible hint of oncoming war.)
Kandir and Ranyar agree, however, that the queen’s story doesn’t seem to add up. Due to the nature of the facts at hand, it would be impossible for the smuggling to occur in this system without someone high up in the government giving the pirates their blessing. There is also the fact that the queen herself wears a strange amulet, which she claims is an “heirloom” of the royal line, but which Kandir recognizes as a being composed of a mineral known for suppressing detection of the Force. Was she trying to dampen the Jedi’s ability to detect something? Or perhaps she was trying to hide her own Force sensitivity?
The entire situation makes Kandir uneasy, and he confesses to Ranyar that he [wait for it…] has “a bad feeling about this”. He has seen visions of tragedy in their immediate future that seem to overwhelm him. Ultimately, he reveals a closely guarded secret: He is Ranyar’s biological father. He was sent to escort and protect his mother, a very important diplomat, and the two unexpectedly fell in love. The pair tried to keep their affair secret until Ranyar’s birth made it unavoidable. The Jedi Council nearly stripped him of his rank and position. But when Ranyar’s mother was assassinated, Kandir proved to be the only one capable of solving the mystery. When Ranyar proved to be Force positive, he was accepted into the Jedi academy for training. While his mother’s death nearly drove Kandir to the Dark Side, it was the hope that Ranyar instilled within him that kept him on the side of Light. Against incredible odds and many protests, Kandir petitioned to becomes Ranyar’s mentor, a decision the Council eventually admitted was the right one based on Ranyar’s current status. Raynar is, of course, shocked by the revelation, but somehow in his heart the Force tells him it must be true. Kandir begs him to keep his emotions in check, to not let them influence him. He fears that the following day will sorely try both of them.
The next day, the two Jedi part company to continue their investigation. Kandir tells Ranyar to confront the queen with their suspicion of her involvement, while he will investigate suspicious activity down at the space dock. When Ranyar arrives in the throne room, he finds the queen is dressed in much different attire (think something more in the black leather realm) and no longer wearing the amulet. There’s some witty banter, followed promptly by her drawing a red-bladed lightsabre. As the two begin to fight, Kandir suspects that his former apprentice is in trouble and begins to head back to the throne room. He is cut short by the sudden appearance (the as-yet unnamed) Darth Scathe. Two duels ensue. Ranyar eventually makes short work of the queen, running her through. Sensing his father may also be in trouble, he uses his Jedi speed to arrive at the other fight just in time to see Kandir fall. Overcome with a wave of grief and fury, Ranyar leaps the distance between himself and the Dark Lord and begins to duel him. The Sith Lord replies only in a deep, gravely voice, “Today is not your day to die, young one,” and blasts him away with a bolt of Force lightning. Before Ranyar can recover, Scathe closes the blast doors between them, leaving Ranyar and the dying Kandir on the other side. Kandir dies in Ranyar’s arms just as the palace guards arrive to arrest him for assassinating the queen.
Eventually, a representative of the Jedi Council arrives. Given the evidence (the queen’s own lightsabre, etc.) and the Council’s testimony, Ranyar is released and all charges are dropped. However, the message is clear; the Sith have returned yet again where they were believed to be extinct. The fact that they are smuggling weapons is also troubling. Ranyar struggles with the impact of both gaining and losing his father in the span of a day, but resolves to master his emotions as his mentor taught him and concentrate on solving the puzzle of the Sith before them.
The middle portions of this project are less distinct and would probably concentrate on smaller stories less important to the overall plot. A number of events have to happen, however: Both Dirahn and Myra both graduate to Knighthood (probably well before the previous story), more hints and rumors of the Sith emerge, and Myra accepts Anya Mistrider as her padawan (although this may occur largely off-screen). The most significant item here is that an elder female Master on the Council has a prophetic vision in which Ranyar and Darth Scathe will ultimately duel to the death. One must fall, but she is uncertain of which. After the duel, the Republic will be cast into a new period of darkness which will threaten the entire galaxy. The Council decides to keep this prophecy from Ranyar lest it affect his judgment, but the prophet Master decides on her own that it is in his best interests to know the truth. The facts of the prophecy trouble Ranyar. It is not so much the specter of death at the Dark Lord’s hand that frighten him, but the fact that even if he apparently wins this final confrontation, the entire galaxy will be at stake. This ominous foreshadowing will, of course, be echoed periodically throughout the remainder of the series to ensure nobody forgets it. 😉
And… that’s all you get for now. This post is already getting long enough; time to move to the next one. The second half of this Tales of the Jedi idea will be in next week’s update. Stay tuned….
For this edition of the Recycle Bin, I’m throwing out one of many, many Star Wars related ideas I’ve had over the years. Star Wars has always been a major influence on me, ever since it was released on my third birthday back in 1977. From the childish stick-figure doodles I drew back in elementary school to the premises I’ll be sharing with you here, I like many others have taken George Lucas’ space opera epic as my own and expanded it with my own ideas. I’ll just never get paid for my contribution, so I might as well throw it out here and hope I’ll never get sued. 😉
Actually, this is (at least) a two-part entry, mostly because there was an original premise that eventually morphed into something else. This time, I’ll introduce the original version; sometime later (probably the next update) I’ll include the “final” version into which this one eventually evolved.
This edition of the RB is even less polished that last time’s Powerpuff Girls idea. (I still can’t believe I posted that.) It mostly consists of the central premise, onto which would be tacked various specific stories that would be developed later. Ideally, it would take the form of a live action television drama with hour-long episodes, some of which may consist of multiple parts. This idea is actually pretty old (within my own personal time line, that is) and probably predates Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Of course, many of the ideas it may have presented would likely already be covered by much of the “Expanded Universe” material orbiting George Lucas’ films, but it could also have served as a vehicle to bring some of those items to television as episodes of the show.
And yes, I am aware of the Dark Horse Comics series Tales of the Jedi. The choice of my working title is an unfortunate coincidence and may or may not have preceded that series, but since I’ll never be able to do anything with my version anyway, it’s not very important in the long run.
A live-action, hour-long anthology series chronicling the history of the Jedi Order and its battles to protect the Galactic Republic (and its preceding organizations) from the machinations of the Sith.
As an anthology series, the principle characters of any given episode’s story would change from week to week. However, each episode would have had a framing element set in the years after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in which an aging Luke Skywalker (ideally played by Mark Hamill himself), founder of the resurrected Jedi Order, teaches his students object lessons relevant to their studies through adventures and legends taken from the recently rediscovered Jedi archives. Each episode would begin with one of his pupils encountering a problem, to which Skywalker would relate a tale from the archives that the viewer would see as a flashback. The episode would conclude with the student drawing a moral from the story and applying it to the problem at hand. Of course, to add variety, things could always be mixed up to let the pupils share stories with each other, showing that they too learn and grow from their experiences (and to potentially give Mr. Hamill the occasional vacation).
Unfortunately, besides Skywalker himself, no other characters were developed. There were a few unnamed padawans of various ages, genders, and species, but they mostly existed to run into trouble until Luke helped talk them out of it. As such, the “characters” in my head were largely unformed, nebulous, and completely interchangeable. As a tip of the hat to other “Expanded Universe” material, any of Skywalker’s pupils from the post-Return material could have been substituted, of course. I didn’t plan to include any other characters from the original films, although ageless characters such as R2-D2 and C-3PO could have been added fairly easily.
All of the stories would be set far into the Jedi Order’s past, probably at least a thousand years before the events of Phantom Menace. (This time frame stems primarily from the statement in Phantom Menace that the Sith had not been seen for a thousand years.) This would provide significant freedom to explore many new characters, locations, and themes not dealt with in the theatrical films without having to worry too much about conflicting with the established canon and story arc. However, this would also be the series’ Achilles’ heel; without a set time frame or the film references to draw on, the series’ designers would be forced to “devolve” the civilizations and technologies of the films to earlier times, much like they did while producing the prequels, but on a much more limited television budget. This would be compounded by the fact that the setting would change from story to story, meaning that the likelihood of reusing sets, costumes, and 3D models as cost-cutting measures would be pretty much nullified.
The more I thought about this idea, the more I realized how much of a problem this would become. True, some locations like the Jedi Temple could be realistically reused even over a supposed time frame of thousands of years, but it just became far too daunting to prove feasible. (Mind you, that’s not really a problem for a writer, who can help his readers imagine any time or place with a few choice words. That said, even as unrealistic as it may be, I envisioned this as a TV show and tried to approach it with that mentality.) Add to this the fact that I’ve found I’m not that great at writing anthology fiction. I’ve discovered through GPF that I’m much more drawn toward long-form story telling, where I can spend time developing characters, stories, and themes.
As I swapped in the occasional non-GPF processor cycles on this idea, I began to realize that the anthology angle wasn’t going to work for me. A single, solitary story began to emerge focusing on a core set of characters in a fixed time frame, and the more I tried to expand upon the anthology concept, the more it became lost next to the fledgling monolithic saga. Eventually, I decided to give into the change in focus and abandoned the anthology altogether. Next time, I’ll share with you at least part of the larger Star Wars idea; because of the depth involved, it may actually require multiple updates!
Every so often, my wife receives one of those women’s magazines. Sometimes it’s a gift subscription from someone, sometimes it’s a free complimentary issue fishing for a subscription. On extremely rare occasions, it’s because it has a cover article she’s interested in. Rarest of all we may actually have a paid subscription; we get a parenting magazine or two that have actually proven useful over time. Either way, these magazines somehow arrive at our home, where they invariably find their way into the official reading room. You know, that one room with the special white ceramic chair where you’re stuck for a good portion of time with nothing else to do.
I could expound at length about what it’s like being a man reading one of these magazines. That topic, though, might be so exhaustive it would merit a treatment much more long-form than a simple blog post. However, I would like to share one interesting little anecdote that isn’t necessarily related to differing genders and likely to be much more entertaining to my particular audience.
One morning this past weekend, I was flipping through one of these periodicals during my morning constitutional. (I won’t mention which magazine this was to avoid both accidentally endorsing it and exposing my mild copyright infringement in quoting it.) I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but happened upon the inevitable parental question and answer page. While I had mild interest in the article about the son taking out a credit card in his mother’s name so he could gamble online, a different question quickly caught my attention. Here’s a paraphrase of the query (both to minimize said copyright infringement and because I don’t have the magazine in front of me now anyway):
While we encourage our fourteen-year-old son to be himself, we were dismayed to find him pursuing some unusual activities recently, such as building a four-foot-tall replica of the Star Wars Death Star made out of LEGOs in our living room. How can we encourage him to engage in activities where he won’t be made fun of by his friends?
Now, if you’re like me, the instant you read the phrase “four-foot-tall replica of the Star Wars Death Star made out of LEGOs”, you mentally broke out in a rousing chorus of John Williams’ Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme) or maybe started Googling to see how many Lego bricks it would take to build a spheroid with a four-foot diameter. (I’m guesstimating 193,059.*) After this initial lapse in attention, though, I began to see the real problem with this question. If you read between the lines, what this troubled parent was really asking is, “Help! My son is turning into a geek! Can he be saved?”
As you might guess, this irked me somewhat, as if this misguided parent thought geekiness were some leprous social disease. To the magazine’s credit, they caught the undercurrent of the question and replied appropriately. “Who’s really anxious here, you or your son?” they replied. The editors gave the advice that the parent should check their attitude at the door and let their son be who he wants to be. The only place of real concern here is if he isn’t making any friends, and in this case they suggested taking him somewhere where he might find people with similar interests, like (Gasp!) a Star Wars convention.
I have some additional unsolicited advice I could offer. Perhaps the first nugget of wisdom is the matter of his “friends”. If his “friends” are making fun of him for building Star Wars LEGO sculptures, they aren’t his friends. I’ve had many non-geek friends over the years who read my hand-drawn comics on lined notebook paper or who tolerated my extra credit speech on how Star Trek warp engines worked. They took these little elements of my personality in stride and counted them as part of who I was. If any of them “made fun” of me for these traits, it was as playful banter between friends who were mature enough to laugh at themselves. None of those individuals who made fun of my geekier activities were ever my true friends, except the few who eventually matured to the point that they accepted others for who they were and apologized for their past insensitivity. The point here is that if his “friends” are hazing him for being a Star Wars fan, those kids aren’t his friends. Either this boy’s parents need to be more observant or the lad needs to invest in better company.
What I really see as an issue, though, is the parent’s misunderstanding of their own child. How is he going to learn to make friends who respect him if his own parents can’t? Perhaps my own childhood isn’t a good example as my parents were a bit geekier than most, but I’m certain my parents would be just as proud of me whether I was a computer programmer, cartoonist, professional athlete, or plumber. As long as what I did was legal and moral, I did the best at it as I possibly could, and I was happy doing it, I’m sure they would approve. Sure, the likelihood that he’ll take up building LEGO sculptures as a profession is slim (yet still possible in this day and age), but I don’t build Star Trek model kits, play piano, or play with model trains for living either. Geeky hobbies may lead him toward other interests; maybe his interest in building LEGO sculptures could lead him to be a digital artist, modeling 3D characters in the next big Hollywood movie? Don’t squash his dreams just because you think they’re nerdy. Geek is the new cool; after all, without geeks all this crazy Internet junk would have never happened.
What is really needed here is communication. This parent must come to understand their son, and that only comes through sharing and talking. We have no idea from the submitted letter whether or not the boy communicates well with his parents. It’s a safe bet that, since he’s a teenager, sharing all his feelings accurately with his parents isn’t necessarily his strongest trait, but we can’t assume that to be true. But as with any relationship, communication is key. Only together can they come to a consensus on what geeky habits are acceptable or not. Building four-foot tall Death Stars is OK, but only in the garage, not the living room. Cosplaying as Darth Maul is fine at conventions, but dressing up as Princess Leia in a metal bikini isn’t healthy for a fourteen-year-old boy.
Dear parent, if by some miracle you’ve found this site and are reading this, please talk with your son. It’s your best way of learning to understand him. If you need help, let me offer this one little bit of advice, just to break the ice: Dip into his LEGO stores and find all the blue, green, brown, and white LEGO bricks you can find. Look at his Death Star sculpture and find the circular “dent” in one side. Scatter the bricks you’ve collected on the floor in front of this feature of the sphere. Be elaborate if you can; place a few bricks on furniture, door and window frames, etc. ideally evenly spread out in a cone radiating out from the “dent”. For extra credit, tie some bricks to fishing line and suspect them in midair at varying heights within the cone. Now be prepared for your son to freak out a little when he comes home and finds out you’ve been messing with his bricks. Try to calm him down and assure him you haven’t affected the original sculpture in any way. (You haven’t, right?) Eventually he’ll look to you completely flabbergasted and utter something to the effect of, “Mom, what is this?” Reply simply and plainly: “Alderaan.” (“All-dur-on.”) It may take a minute for this to sink in, but when it does, he’ll laugh his head off. Once he’s able to breathe again, use this as an opportunity to open a dialog. You may even get him to help you clean up the bricks you scattered once you’re done.
* Based on an average 8-stud LEGO brick size of 9.6 mm x 32 mm x 16 mm or 4.9152 cm3, taken from here. Please excuse rounding and metric-to-Imperial conversion errors; this was a quick and dirty calculation.