Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens revitalized the franchise and brought a new hope to many fans, but it also left a number of unanswered questions in its wake, following its blisteringly paced two and a quarter hour run time. Despite a satisfying (if vaguely derivative) conclusion, many fans were left wondering who exactly Rey is, what happened to Luke and his new Jedi order, and of course, how Ben Solo fell so far from the light side of the Force.
Hopefully, many of these questions will be answered in the upcoming films, Episode VIII and IX. Since Lucasfilm now has Disney's vast resources at its behest, keeping fans engaged with novelizations, short stories, comic books, TV shows, video games, etc., seems to be priority numero uno between Star Wars film releases. And it now looks like some of the answers fans are seeking will come in a new novel called "Star Wars: Bloodlines", by Claudia Gray.
Interviewed by USA Today (via /Film), the author discussed her sequel of sorts to 2015’s "Star Wars: Aftermath" by Chuck Wendig. Returning to a time well before Episode VII, Bloodline occurs during a period of relative peace and prosperity. However, not all is well with the galaxy, and New Republic key figure Leia Organa smells the decay within the rebuilt Republic. The book primarily focuses on Leia and her evolving part in the events that eventually lead up to The Force Awakens. Gray says Bloodline, “isn’t fundamentally about Leia as a wife, sister or mom; this is about the role she’s created for herself since the fall of the Empire, and the one she takes up by the time of [Episode VII].”
And while Gray’s addition to the Star Wars pantheon should fill in a lot of blanks regarding Leia’s role in the post-Imperial universe, it also explores the fledgling New Republic, glimpsed only briefly in The Force Awakens, and may even offer drop a few hints as to the rise of the First Order. Here’s an excerpt from her upcoming book (you can read more excerpts on USA Today's site):
“An entire generation has prospered during an era of peace. The New Republic, governed by the Galactic Senate on Hosnian Prime, has held power for more than two decades. Yet conflict has begun to take shape within the Senate. As political gridlock threatens to cripple the fledgling democracy, the quarrels of the New Republic will soon radiate throughout the galaxy. . .”
In addition to the upcoming book, fans were also treated to a young Princess Leia in action during a recent episode of Star Wars Rebels. Her expanded presence in the Star Wars universe comes none too soon for fans who felt her role in the Episode VII was too brief.
Ex-princess turned General Leia Organa, archetypal to the original trilogy, had a fairly minimal if central role in The Force Awakens – which is understandable, since J.J. Abrams concentrated on Han Solo and the next generation of characters. Still, for many fans of the original series, her role felt like a flyby, even if a significant one. Her part in the third trilogy does illuminate the widening schism between the light side and the dark side, as well as the rotten branches within her own family tree. And since her lineage has always been the focal point of the Star Wars saga (aside from the Anthology standalones), General Organa will hopefully play a more integral role in the upcoming films, along with her hirsute brother.
Fans hopeful for more information about where the General and Han Solo’s parenting went awry may have to wait a little longer, though. Although Bloodline may drop some clues as to the origins of the First Order and could even explain more of her and Han’s relationship, there’s no indication exactly how much of the next Skywalker generation will be revealed. We may have to wait until Episode VIII for the full story.
Star Wars: Bloodline lands in bookstores on May 3rd, 2016.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released on December 16th, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017 andd the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by a third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.