In the latest novel from the High Republic era, set 200 years before The Phantom Menace, the heroes arrive at a previously abandoned space station in the wake of the Great Disaster.
As such, Into the Dark by Claudia Gray sees the majority of the book take place on this space station, with four Jedi and the three-person crew of their ship exploring the mysteries of this place. The station is lush with planet life and surrounded by a number of rings to explore. Throughout the course of the book, they discover a number of the station’s secrets: it’s a place filled with the dark side of the Force and killer plants called the Drengir (who are themselves strong in the dark side); it’s a place the ancient Amaxine warriors used to stage their attacks on others; the rings give a unique opportunity of hyperspace travel through the use of pods; the Byne Guild uses the station as an outpost; and more.
But you may be surprised to learn that this actually isn’t the first time we’ve had a Star Wars story set on this station. In fact, over two centuries after Into the Dark takes place, this luscious space station is inhabited by Snoke when Ben Solo visits him.
The tremendous comic mini-series The Rise of Kylo Ren, written by High Republic author Charles Soule, tells the story of Ben Solo’s fall to the dark side. In the first issue, we see him turn against Luke Skywalker and the resulting aftermath, as he flees the scene. But he doesn’t feel like he can go home to his mother, and instead heads off somewhere else: this station, where he meets Snoke. In the second issue, Snoke and Solo talk and walk through the gardens, before Ben heads off to find the Knights of Ren. Speaking of this place, Snoke tells Ben:
“I am very fond of it. The people who built it were trying to hold back the dark. That was the entire point. To create an oasis of light here in the great shadow. You see how well it worked. You see what denying the nature of things brought them.”
He says this as we see skeletal remains, with vines growing through them. Amidst the beauty and life that surrounds them, the skeletons are a reminder that this place is nonetheless touched by the darkness. This novel fills that in more, as we know that the Drengir inhabit the world. Are they still around at the time Snoke and Ben are there? It’s impossible to know right now, but I wouldn’t be too sure that they’re gone. And it makes sense for Snoke to be there, as it seems like a place strong in the dark side yet appearing beautiful – the perfect location for him to dwell while waiting for Ben Solo to come to him.
There’s a lot we don’t know about Snoke still, especially since when Ben sees him in this comic he remarks about what Luke Skywalker had done to him. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Snoke knew about the significance of this place, and that probably means that Palpatine did too.
It’s a very cool connection, one minor enough that you don’t need to know it to enjoy either story, but one that makes it all the richer and the connections all the stronger. I love it when we see the inner-connectivity of Star Wars storytelling like this!