The Unity Wars got its start in June 2015, as “Alternate Star Wars Prequels.” (This was about six months before The Force Awakens was released, so the dumpster fire that is the Disney/Lucasfilm sequel trilogy had yet to begin.) I had been dissatisfied with the prequels (and the direction they led Star Wars as a whole in) for quite a long time, as much as I hadn’t wanted to be, and had a weird little writing prompt pop into my head one day. “How would I do it differently, more in keeping with what was hinted at in both the original movies and novelizations, as well as some of the West End Games material and the Timothy Zahn Heir to the Empire trilogy?”
I scribbled some notes, but later abandoned it, because I had no desire to get sued into oblivion by the juggernaut that is The Mouse. I always kind of wanted to finish it, but I had other projects.
It was Galaxy’s Edge that showed the way, and I’ve since made The Unity Wars it’s own thing, even though it still follows many of the elements I wanted to explore with the alternate Clone Wars. Clone tech is supposed to be as scary and dangerous as Zahn posited in the Thrawn trilogy, and the clones are supposed to be borderline psychotic enemies of the good guys (though I scrapped the Republic altogether, for various reasons).
Along the way, however, I delved into some of the alternate ideas about the Clone Wars that were out there. There’s not a lot of pre-’99 lore left aside from what was in print from West End and some of the other affiliates. But that alone provides some semi-cohesive inspiration.
And, a friend pointed out the following videos. They’re interesting, and better than what we got, in my estimation, though I went in a considerably different direction.
I wrote before on this blog about a sense of scale in space opera. Some do it better than others. I decided early on in the planning phase that there were going to be multiple arcs throughout this series, since one set of characters wouldn’t necessarily be able to see every facet of a true, galaxy-spanning war (or the forces that have set it in motion). There are three to start; Erekan Scalas is the main character for one, Gaumarus Pell for another, and the third has yet to be introduced.
Where I took a chance was introducing each arc in its own independent novel. Continue reading
Lest anyone think that I don’t like Star Wars, given some of the earlier posts here, I have to make this point. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s why I have issues with some of the later entries in the franchise; I think that they don’t do justice to what Star Wars could be. The Original Trilogy remain classics, and having just gone back and rewatched all three, back to back, they still hold up. (Which is why I don’t care for the argument that, “Star Wars is full of plot holes anyway, so you’re dislike of later installments is invalid.”) There’s an ever-expanding universe of new worlds, new aliens, new ships, and hints of a long history.
Star Wars is a huge source of inspiration for The Unity Wars. Because when you watch the movies, there’s a lot that’s implied without being said. And that stuff that’s implied lends huge opportunities for storytelling. Continue reading
Okay, it is possible. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation features humans only. But a mainstay of the genre has long been the appearance of strange alien races, some far more advanced than humans. They were in E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series, in Buck Rogers, and of course in Star Wars and most of the major space operas on TV, such as Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Farscape.
Part of any adventure story has long been visiting the strange, the foreign, and the exotic. From Allan Quatermain to Tarzan to John Carter to Luke Skywalker, the adventurer has found himself surrounded by those unlike himself. Aliens provide that exoticism and sense of a far bigger universe. Continue reading
STAR WARS introduced a standard of spaceship design.
And it’s a standard that really makes no sense. The deck plans are parallel to the axis of thrust, leading to airplanes and seagoing ships in space. Most of it came from a simple “rule of cool.” George Lucas wanted to replicate old WWII gun camera footage for the trench run, as well as evoke old war movies, most notably The Bridges at Toko-Ri. It was purely aesthetics.
But over time, it’s become a standard. Granted, Star Trek does the same thing, I think largely as “Horatio Hornblower In Space.” (Hornblower was an inspiration for Captain Kirk.) All of the ships are glorified surface navy cruisers, even if they are styled like airplanes or flying saucers. Continue reading