Monday, April 17, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Empire's End

Star Wars: Empire's End is the third arc of the Dark Empire trilogy.  This 2-issue mini-series chronicles Emperor Palpatine's final death.  During the Dark Empire trilogy, Palpatine is resurrected by using clones and his final clone body is defective and aging at a fast rate.  He makes one last attempt to keep himself alive by occupying the body of Han Solo and Princess Leia's third child, Anakin Solo.  Han kills Palpatine's clone body, and Palpatine's spirit attempts to inhabit Anakin's body, but Jedi Knight Brand, a member of Luke Skywalker's fledgling Jedi Order, makes the ultimate sacrifice to prevent this from occurring.

Star Wars: Empire's End 1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 1995)
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Star Wars: Empire's End 1b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 1995)
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The cover to Empire's End #1 shows Leia, Luke, and Han.  The Galaxy Gun is a super-weapon able to fire projectiles that can traverse hyperspace and are shielded and capable of defending themselves.  The projectiles are able to destroy entire planets and one is shown on the cover above the heroes.

Star Wars: Empire's End 2a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (November 1995)
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Star Wars: Empire's End 2b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (November 1995)
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Emperor Palpatine is shown flanked by his Royal Guard in the Valley of the Dark Lords on Korriban on the cover of Empire's End #2.  Dave Dorman provides the painted art for both covers.

Empire's End is written by Tom Veitch, the writer for Dark Empire and Dark Empire II.  Unfortunately, Cam Kennedy was not available for the interior art due to resigning, so the interiors are done by Jim Baikie.  Baikie does an okay job of mimicking Kennedy's style for this final arc, although the artwork does at times lack some of the detail of the previous mini-series.  To be fair, this final chapter in the Dark Empire trilogy is rushed, so Baikie cannot be entirely blamed.

Tom Veitch explains in an interview the reason for the rushed final mini-series.[1]  Pertaining to a question about the cancelled Lightsider novel which was to take place between Dark Empire and Dark Empire II:

Tom Veitch: I can tell you the book was written and well-received by LucasArts.  George read it and approved it.  But due to the stodgy side of the business, we never received a contract!  When George found out that he had approved the book without a contract, he killed the project.  There was a tremendous uproar at that point and the axe fell in a number of ways.  One of the major consequences was that a proposed third series of Dark Empire was cancelled, Cam resigned, and I was told to wind up the whole plot-line in the two-issue series that Jim Baikie drew.  It was a sad day, but it shows you how the business side can hurt the creative side, even on a popular project.  The legal beagles were slow to get out the contracts, and "1000’s of Bothans died", so to speak.

References:

  1. Interview with 'Dark Empire' Writer Tom Veitch

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