Image: Lucasfilm/Del Rey.
From a Certain Point of View, the new Star Wars anthology novel released to celebrate 40 years of the beloved franchise, is unlike any other book we've seen so far in Disney's Star Wars canon. It's all about the little details rather than the major events of the movies -- but that doesn't there aren't a few interesting secrets in there, too.
Set directly in and around the events of A New Hope -- the plot of the movie slowly rolling on in the background as each of the 40 short stories progresses -- From a Certain Point of View really is more about enriching the tapestry of the Star Wars universe that it is dropping major reveals, meaning it shares more in common with the likes of the classic EU books Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina and Tales from Jabba's Palace than it does something like the Aftermath trilogy or Bloodline.
So i you've ever been interested about the tiny little questions about the Star Wars galaxy -- who was that Cantina alien? What happened after Darth Vader choked out Admiral Motti? How exactly do you transcribe the bizarre wooping noise Obi-Wan Kenobi made to those Tusken Raiders? -- it's definitely worth a read. But for now, here are a few of the best secrets it holds tucked away in its pages.
There's Literally Only About an Hour Between Rogue One and A New Hope
The very first story of the anthology gives us the perspective of Raymus Antilles, captain of the Tantive IV, pretty much immediately as Rogue One's opening scene comes to a close. Many had assumed Rogue One immediately followed into the opening of A New Hope, but the journey between Scarif and Tatooine takes a little bit longer than planned.
Why? Well, the reason Tantive IV was docked with the Profundity in the first place: Its previous mission before Scarif had seen the ship badly damaged, and it was docked for repairs when the Rebel Fleet scrambled. Tantive IV barely has working deflectors, weapons, or a hyperdrive, but the crew spends an hour attempting to wring as much of an escape as they can, hoping their dodgy engines didn't leave a trace for the Imperials to find (spoilers: it did). Antilles plans to scuttle Tantive IV when the ship gets to Tatooine, so the crew can find a new ship and escape. They were just eight minutes away when the Devestator shows up and A New Hope begins.
The Real Reason R5-D4's Motivator Exploded
The mystery of the Red Astromech that nearly got sold to Owen Lars and Luke Skywalker has been an endless source of wonder for Star Wars. R5's been turned into everything from a Rebel agent working with R2 and 3PO to, well, a Jedi, but the new canon's imagining of his explosive sacrifice reveals the droid is a desperate hero... and that R2-D2 is kind of an arsehole.
One story in the anthology follows R5 in the days before the sale at the Lars Homestead, revealing a droid on the verge of death due to the Jawa's lack of proper maintenance, yearning for a new owner and freedom. It gets overjoyed when it overhears the Jawas plan to sell him to the Lars, heartbroken when R2 and 3PO are brought on as "competition," and then, shocked... because R2 tries to sabotage R5's systems to ensure he gets sold to the Lars family instead.
R5 begs to know why, and R2 goes on and on about how if he doesn't fulfil his mission the galaxy is doomed. He's a real drama-droid about it, but it gets through to R5. So when R5 is picked by Owen over R2, the droid purposefully decides to pop his motivator, heavily damaging but not destroying himself so that R2 can go on to complete his mission. R2 promises to never forget R5's sacrifice -- despite the fact he was basically willing to commit droid murder the night before -- and R5 escapes the Jawa sandcrawler, looking for a new owner himself.
The Mysterious Power of Qui-Gon Jinn's Force Ghost
One of the most important stories in the anthology revolves around Obi-Wan receiving a visit from his old master while Luke went off to find his aunt and uncle's toasty skeletons. In the old Star Wars canon, Qui-Gon was revealed to have been one of the most adept masters of becoming a Force Ghost, a rare art for Force users, and much the same applies here -- except he seems far more powerful than any other Force Ghost we've seen before.
It's remarked multiple times that Qui-Gon can practically (but not quite) make himself fully corporeal when he solidifies his form in the Force, and he has been visiting Obi-Wan for around 10 years by the time of A New Hope. He can smell and sense things like a real person, but he also has an intimate connection to time itself. When talking to Obi-Wan about Luke and his former padawan's exile coming to an end, Qui-Gon sees not just Old Ben, but Obi-Wan as a Jedi General, a young Padawan, and even a child at the temple, all at once.
But it's not just the past -- Qui-Gon can clearly see the future, too, and knows that Obi-Wan's death is practically imminent. He can't tell his former apprentice that, of course, but Qui-Gon admits to himself that he's rather eager for Obi-Wan to transcend to the Force and experience what he has. Seems kind of dickish to be distracted by a friend's upcoming death while you're talking to him and he's very much not-dead, but there you go.
Greedo's Hatred of Han Was Surprisingly Personal
Greedo's always been imagined as a bit of a useless sap, and From a Certain Point of View reinforces that belief across several of its stories. But one, told from Greedo's perspective in the moments before Han kills him (and yes, Han does shoot first) reveals just why Greedo has it in for Han specifically.
Turns out, they were in a love triangle with a woman named Uncelta -- or, more accurately, Greedo seemingly had a major overprotective crush on her, but she got together with Han. Han being Han, he loved and left her, breaking her heart, and Greedo has been furious ever since that the object of his desire would be treated so poorly by Han. It's never really made clear if Greedo actually attempted to get into a relationship with Uncelta, but, still, this seems to be the grudge than Greedo has held against Han for years.
Why Mos Eisley Cantina Doesn't Serve Droids
Mos Eisley Cantina serves all kinds, but not droids, as Wuher the bartender growls at Luke when R2 and 3PO set off the bar's droid detector in A New Hope. It's not just robo-racism though: there's inevitably a tragic backstory behind the reason Wuher doesn't want droids in his Cantina.
As a teen, Wuher was one of the few survivors of a separatist attack on his home colony station during the Clone Wars, and saw Battle Droids gun down his parents and neighbours in a bloody battle, scarring the young lad for life. But the battle also enamoured Wuher to the Jedi, who rescued him from the droids before he was killed as well -- and that's the reason he doesn't tell the Imperials inspecting his bar about the mysterious old man who cut off a patron's arm with his laser sword.
Boba Fett Is as Full of Himself as You'd Expect
Thanks to an extract from the audiobook version of the anthology, we've already told you about Boba Fett's penchant for being involved in basically everything to do with Star Wars, an annoying trait that cropped up in the old Expanded Universe. But there's a couple of new reasons why his story in the anthology is fascinating. Mainly, because the book shows how Boba really believes in the hype around him, a meta acknowledgement of fans' adoration of a character whose brief movie appearances make him seem more incompetent than anything else.
Boba's story, "Added Muscle" by Paul Dini, has Fett slink around behind Jabba's run-in with Han in A New Hope acting as arrogant as possible -- it feels more like Robot Chicken's Boba Fett than it does anything else, as he ponders to himself how easily he could kill Han and skin Chewie because he's a badass. It even gives a reason as to why Darth Vader has to remind Fett not to disintegrate his targets. Turns out Boba disintegrated some Rebel spies during a mission on Coruscant and attempted to claim a bounty from Vader, without their bodies. Of course, being full of himself, Boba doesn't think that was a mistake.
Bea Arthur's Holiday Special Character is Canon
Plenty of the old Expanded Universe was disavowed from canonicity even before Disney wiped the slate clean a few years ago, but nothing so fiercely as the much-maligned Star Wars Holiday Special. George Lucas loathed it, so only the bits that were referenced in the EU remained canon -- the rest of the special everyone tried to forget happened. And once again, a few things have been making their way into the new canon. From a Certain Point of View adds one more: Bea Arthur's delightful night shift bartender at Mos Eisley Cantina, Ackmena.
She only briefly appears in a few of the Tatooine-set stories -- and is even mentioned as having a wife, Sorschi -- but it's a playful homage to one of the most derided pieces of Star Wars material around.
Why Obi-Wan Doesn't Call Vader Anakin
OK, so the real reason why is that no one wanted to reveal, or really knew, that Vader was Anakin's dad in A New Hope. But one anthology tale, set in the moments Obi-Wan dies fighting Vader, references the classic lines from the duel:
Vader: When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the Master.
Obi-Wan: Only a master of evil, Darth!
It's a wonderfully silly line in the context we now have, but the anthology gives Obi-Wan an out for not actually calling Anakin by his name. In anguish, Obi-Wan can't bear to acknowledge what his fallen friend has become, and can't conceive calling Vader Anakin without choking up, putting him in a compromised position for their climatic duel. Awww.
Yoda Wanted to Train Leia, Not Luke
Another story set shortly after Obi-Wan's demise sees him make an appearance on Dagobah to Yoda. You know, like, a "just checking in to let you know I'm dead now" sort of thing.
Obi-Wan dutifully informs the venerable Jedi Master that he's sending a Skywalker to him, so that their training can continue under Yoda. Yoda is of course, very excited... until he learns that it's not Leia being sent to him, but Luke. Yoda senses that there's too much of Anakin in Luke, too brash to be set on the Jedi path, and fears training him could push him to the Dark Side like his father, but Obi-Wan implores Yoda to at least give the boy a chance, no matter how much he'd prefer training his sister, already sensed as a potent (if untrained) Force user.
Why Mon Mothma Isn't on Yavin IV During the Battle
Mon Mothma is on Yavin IV during Rogue One, but the audience doesn't get to see her again until Return of the Jedi -- and weirdly enough, we don't see one of the Alliance's crucial leaders helping to run the operation to destroy the Death Star. From a Certain Point of View gives us the answer. Mon actually left Yavin IV when it was confirmed the Death Star had the moon in its sights, and she was intending to dissolve the Alliance in the wake of the moon's inevitable destruction.
At the time the Rebellion was launching fighters in its desperate bid to destroy the Death Star, Mon was on route to Coruscant to deliver an address to her former colleagues in the now-defunct Senate, a speech that would have seen her denounce and end the Rebel Alliance in the wake of the Death Star's destruction of both Alderaan and Yavin IV. She'd then offer herself to the Emperor for interrogation and a formal dissolution of her rebellion, hoping that her speech -- and the Empire's horrifying destruction of two planets and countless lives -- would inspire a new, stronger rebellion that could do what Mon's couldn't, even if she would likely not live to see it.
As we know though, Mon Mothma never had to give that speech, as she learns of the Alliance's victory en route -- deciding to return to Yavin to join the victory celebrations, and never reveal her plans to surrender to anyone else.