Star Wars director Rian Johnson contributed to Bloodline novel

Cover of Star Wars: Bloodline (crop)

by Owen Williams |
Published on

UPDATE: With just days now left until publication, the official Star Wars website has revealed an intriguing new detail about Claudia Gray's new novel Bloodline. We knew it would explore how the First Order came into being. We didn't previously know that Rian Johnson, director of the currently-shooting Star Wars Episode VIII, had been involved in the writing. "Some of the story ideas and elements came straight from Rian," is the official quote.

We're also promised more Han Solo and, somehow, more Darth Vader in the book. We'll find out how they fit, and be able to muse on which bits are Johnson's, when Star Wars: Bloodline is published on May 3.

One of the more-or-less unanswered questions posed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens revolves around the First Order. Just how did it rise from the ashes of the Empire? TFA gives us little, although we may perhaps learn more in future episodes. But in the meantime, for those inclined to study outside the core texts, a new novel in Star Wars' expanded universe - Claudia Gray's Bloodline - is set to fill in some of that missing knowledge.

Taking place during the decades between Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens, Bloodline focuses on Leia, and the galaxy's recovery from the iron fist of the Empire in the aftermath of the second Death Star's destruction.

"It's about the role she's created for herself since the fall of the Empire," says Gray, "and the one she takes up by the time of The Force Awakens."

The novel will introduce a new character, Ransolm Casterfo, "an ambitious young senator who's Leia's political opposite in virtually every way. He even collects artifacts from the Empire, like pro-Palpatine banners." He's indicative, says Gray, of "a new generation doesn't remember the lessons of the Rebellion or recognize the wrongs of the Empire, and Leia begins to see the cracks in the foundation that could lead to a dangerous future for the galaxy."

Star Wars: Bloodline poster

This is, of course, part of an entirely new expanded universe for Star Wars. Literally hundreds of popular novels, published from the 1990s onwards, detailed the pre-and post-Jedi exploits of new and legacy characters, beginning with Timothy Zahn's bestselling Heir To The Empire trilogy about Admiral Thrawn. All that's now been scrapped, however, with the new tie-ins starting from scratch. So don't expect to see Mara Jade on screen anytime soon.

Bloodline is published by Century (UK) and Del Rey (US) on May 3, and you can read an advance extract here. The next Star Wars film, Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is out on December 16.

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