Why was “The Duel” the episode of Star Wars Visions to be expanded into a tie-in novel?

A new Star Wars novel was recently released, based off of an episode of Star Wars Visions: Ronin, written by Emma Mieko Candon.

The book stars the mysterious former Sith known as “the Ronin,” who was the central figure of the episode “The Duel” of Visions. The book expands on that encounter and tells a new story as well, and it’s really cool to get a novel that ties-in to the series. But how did they settle on this episode to expand on?

Tom Hoeler, an editor at Del Rey who has worked on Star Wars projects, did a thread on Twitter when Visions released explaining why this was the episode that really grabbed their attention to write a novel about. You can find the whole thread here, but I’ll distill it into three primary reasons:

  1. First, they were immediately gripped by the characters, look, and style of this episode. “Immediately, the visuals of The Duel captivated us,” Hoeler wrote. “From the restrained use of color to the character designs, it was undeniable. So many design details raised so many questions about the characters and the world. All hinting at incredibly rich territory for an author to explore.”
  2. Second, they were intrigued by telling a story focused on a Sith. “We loved the chance to tell a Sith story,” Hoeler added. “We’ve published few purely Sith-focused books lately. And across the history of #StarWars publishing, Sith POV stories are rare. Add in the amazing design (and hat droid!)? Too good to pass up.”
  3. Third, and most significantly, they realized that there was a unique dynamic “The Duel” that made future stories intriguing: namely, that it was the only episode to not feature a massive turning point of development for the character(s). “In each Visions story, the plots involve turning points for the main characters,” Hoeler explained. “Even if the stories were to continue, what we glimpse in those 15 – 20 mins is pivotal. It’s a call to adventure, a meeting of destiny, a critical revealed truth, a new (or renewed) sense of purpose, etc. That’s true for EVERY main character, except, the Ronin. As we learn in the Duel – the events aren’t special to him…it’s just Tuesday. The banality of that begged the question. WHY!? Who is this guy? It demanded an investigation. And so, we had our choice.”

I think that’s a very interesting point, and one I hadn’t really considered or realized until Hoeler’s tweets. It was obvious to everyone who watched the episode that the visuals and style were intriguing, and that it was cool to see two Sith (or at least two dark side users) dueling each other. But I hadn’t realized that this is the one episode without a big turning point for the main character, but now it’s obvious. And with that in mind, it makes total sense why this was the one seized upon to continue the story, since there was tons of avenues and potential to do that. Whereas I think “The Ninth Jedi” is the one best suited for a follow-up series, Hoeler has me convinced that “The Duel” was the one best suited for a follow-up novel.

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