A Pre-Sequel Worth Discovering – Shadows of the Empire

Benjamin Himes

        Back in the day, oh, sometime in the year 1996, was the year when I was shown the Star Wars trilogy by my parents; and so began what would become a still-burning passion that has delved into many a medium that incorporated film, books, video games, essentially anything that had the Star Wars logo on it immediately caught my eye.

Fast forward a year, when Christmas 1997 rolled around, an N64 came to our house; and my passion for video games went from occasional fidgeting’s of Game Boy and NES bouts to a full-fledged obsession for everything our N64 had to offer; that and frequent trips to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. One in particular that had my cross-hairs was Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, at this point in time the original trilogy was fresh in my mind. What could be better than a middle story that improved upon Empire and Jedi, and the fact that we were treated to a new set of characters ingrained within the universe that were joined seamlessly with the stories of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and the rest of the Rebel Alliance vs. The Empire.

A defining characteristic of this tale was the fact that it was it’s own thing; despite taking place during and after the events of Empire, we were intrigued and invested in the adventures that Dash Render and Leebo were getting into that would eventually set up the events of Jedi. This was not a tale deliberately shoe-horned in for the sake of merchandising opportunities, although I will admit that was an end goal with the creation of this side story. What makes it work is that the creators took their time in realizing this narrative, which it did not have to fit precisely into the narrative weave of Han, Chewie, Luke, Leia, and Lando. Rather, they were accessories to a story that was consolidated exclusively around the side-dealings that involved Dash Rendar and Prince Xizor. A story and characters that give context to the overall narrative that takes place within the trilogy without feeling and playing-out as just another slapped-on side mission.

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