This year is the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, a film that continues to stand out in the saga as perhaps the best of the best, widely considered to be the greatest of all Star Wars films.
There has been a lot of celebration, and that continued with the recent release of From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back! The book is an anthology collection of 40 different stories, written by 40 different authors, about 40 different side characters.
A number of familiar characters receive a story from their point of view, including Palpatine, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Boba Fett, Bossk, Wedge Antilles, General Veers, and more. Plus, of course, any anthology of stories about characters from Empire has to include Willrow Hood, and this one certainly does! We also get stories focusing on the wampa, the space slug, the dark side cave on Dagobah, and the cook who prepared a meal for Vader on Cloud City! And we also get stories about characters not yet created by the time of Empire but who have since featured in Star Wars, like Rae Sloane and L3-37. There’s a ton of different perspectives to read here.
There are also a number of authors contributing, and like the characters, some are familiar and some are new. Among the authors are familiar Star Wars authors such as Delilah S. Dawson (Phasma, Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire, The Perfect Weapon), Amy Ratcliffe (Women of the Galaxy, and more), Gary Whitta (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Christie Golden (Dark Disciple, Battlefront II: Inferno Squad), Jason Fry (The Last Jedi novelization), John Jackson Miller (Kenobi, A New Dawn, Lost Tribe of the Sith), Daniel José Older (Last Shot), Zoraida Cordova (Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate), Cavan Scott (Dooku: Jedi Lost), Alexander Freed (Rogue One novelization, Battlefront: Twilight Company, Alphabet Squadron), and more – plus a number of newcomers as well. A collection like this is a great way of getting more people involved in writing Star Wars, which is always a great thing!
I really like this format of storytelling. I loved the previous book in this series, and I loved this one. I really hope we get books like this for the other films in the saga, as I think this is a really effective way of telling short stories. As you would expect in a collection like this one, some of the stories were terrific, most of them were good, and there were a few that I didn’t really love. But that’s the beauty of a collection like this, as there’s sure to be enjoyable stories for pretty much everyone.
One thing that was interesting to me was the amount of stories that felt only very loosely connected to Empire. Perhaps I just need to go re-read the previous book, but it felt like this one was more about telling stories about a person who then loosely connected into the film. I don’t think that’s a negative, but it was just interesting to me. I suppose part of hte reason why is because of the difference between Empire and A New Hope too: whereas A New Hope establishes a huge galaxy and a number of characters (particularly in the Cantina), Empire is more focused on a select few main characters. That plays out in the book too, and there are a lot of new characters introduced.
So yeah, overall, I really loved this book. I like the format of this storytelling, and I liked the stories that were told and the characters that were chosen. I really hope this series continues!