Literature / The Glove of Darth Vader

"Quite surprising. I've certainly never heard any gossip that Emperor Palpatine had a son by a three-eyed alien woman."
— The series in a nutshell, courtesy of C-3PO

The Glove of Darth Vader is the first installment of a series of Star Wars Legends novellas for younger readers written by Paul and Hollace Davids and published in the early 1990s. They are most remembered nowadays for their questionable quality, but occasional references to them crop up in later Legends books, and they've been neatly fitted into the official Legends timeline (with a little bit of retconning to make them fit better). The title of the first book has been adopted for the (untitled) cycle as a whole, which is also known by the names of Jedi Prince and Son of Palpatine.

Books in the series include:
  • The Glove of Darth Vader (1992)
  • The Lost City of the Jedi (1992)
  • Zorba the Hutt's Revenge (1992)
  • Mission from Mount Yoda (1993)
  • Queen of the Empire (1993)
  • Prophets of the Dark Side (1993)

The series includes examples of:

  • And That's Terrible: "I bid you Dark Greetings", anyone? "I grant you my Dark Blessing"? They really wanted us to know that they knew the Empire was evil. And apparently even the Empire wanted the Empire to know that the Empire was evil. It makes some sense with the Prophets, who are, after all, a regular Religion of Evil, but less so with the secular politicians and military men.
  • Audience Surrogate: Ken is quite clearly intended to be one of these for the series' young audience. Wish Fulfillment indeed!
  • Big Bad: Supreme Prophet Kadann is the ultimate antagonist of the books; Trioculus only thinks he is.
  • Big "NO!": C-3PO gets one of these.
  • Body Horror: What befalls Hissa on Duro.
  • Butt-Monkey: Trioculus' career as "Emperor" and a villain is really just one long list of one humiliation after another.
  • The Caligula: Trioculus. Murderous tantrums, sexual obsessions, grandiosity, whining? Check. Of course, since he's a G-rated villain, he rarely succeeds at killing anyone in his rages.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Whaladons (take a big fat guess as to which endangered Earth animals these stand in for in the book's Green Aesop) and "braze" (brown haze, i.e. smog), among others.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Even before being relegated to Legends with the rest of the Expanded Universe, this series suffered from this. It wasn't total, but the events of the books have been made a lot less significant to the overall Star Wars story than the writers probably intended. The decision to cancel the series just as other, better received, EU novels (such as Zahn's trilogy) were getting big has been interpreted by some observers as a damage-limitation exercise. At one point it was pretty much treated as completely non-canon (some gaming sourcebooks aside), but later Lucasfilm policy seemed to be that nothing was so contradictory to the rest of the EU that it can't be fixed with a big enough retcon. Some examples:
    • Rather than taking place over the span of five years as stated by Paul Davids, it takes place within a year.
    • While the series ends with Han and Leia walking down the aisle to be wed, Davids himself explained that in his plans for the unwritten seventh book, they are interrupted, and their plans for their marriage fall by the wayside, leaving them to be married in The Courtship of Princess Leia.
    • The villains of the series (Trioculus, the Central Committee of Grand Moffs, the Prophets of the Dark Side) are revealed by The New Essential Chronology as being a splinter faction of the Imperial government trying to wrest power from Ysanne Isard, and lacked authority over most of the Empire. The Dark Side Sourcebook explained that the Prophets of the Dark Side were not the real Prophets of the Dark Side, who were much more powerful and dangerous servants of Palpatine, but Imperial agents masquerading as them as part of a "Church of the Dark Side", a propaganda tool.
    • Aliens of the Empire reveals that Triclops is not really Palpatine's son (and thus Ken is not Palpatine's grandson), but an experiment created under Palpatine's orders, similar to how Anakin Skywalker may have been "created" by manipulation of midichlorians.
    • The Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide resolves in the inconsistency with Yavin IV having been terraformed by the Jedi (via the "Lost City of the Jedi") with its depictions of having always been a rainforest world in Tales of the Jedi by explaining that the war with Exar Kun, depicted in Tales of the Jedi, severely ravaged the moon, and the terraforming process was implemented to repair it.
    • The New Essential Guide to Characters also states that Lando Calrissian quickly regained control of Cloud City from Zorba the Hutt, who won it from him in Zorba the Hutt's Revenge.
    • According to an article in issue 103 (October 1994) of the Polyhedron Tabletop RPG magazine (unlicensed, but written by one of the RPG's main writers), the series was actually a youngling-friendly retelling of those events by Leia Organa Solo to her children.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The baddies in these books take this to the level of Narm - see that entry below as well as And That's Terrible, above.
  • Cruella to Animals: Trioculus takes a break from pursuing our heroes to hunt animals.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Trioculus; he's frozen in carbonite at the end of the third book, then thawed out halfway through the fifth only to be assassinated at the end of it, dying in the first chapter of the sixth. While he's out of the picture, the Prophets solidify themselves as the real antagonists.
  • Fanboy: Ken is essentially an in-universe Star Wars fanboy.
  • Green Aesop: One in each book except the last one, invariably Anvilicious.
    • The Glove of Darth Vader: Save the whales!
    • The Lost City of the Jedi: Save the rainforest!
    • Zorba the Hutt's Revenge: Smog is bad!
    • Mission from Mount Yoda: Toxic waste is bad!
    • Queen of the Empire: Overzealous dairy farming will lead to global warming, causing catastrophic hurricanes!
  • Interspecies Romance: Again, implied by the Back Story.
  • Karma Houdini: Since the series was never finished, Zorba the Hutt goes unpunished and still controls Cloud City in the end. Later sources Retconned that he was forced to cede control of the city back to Lando and returned to Hutt Space, where he ended up a penniless social outcast due to his mismanagement of Jabba's fortune.
  • Kick the Dog: What does Trioculus do when his forces are out looking for the glove, ignoring plenty of strategically significant discoveries on the way? He tootles around hunting endangered wildlife. Green Aesop ahoy!
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Ken finds out that he's Triclops' son - and hence Emperor Palpatine's grandson.
  • MacGuffin: The titular glove, which is a MacGuffin in the classic sense because without its clever gadgetry it really doesn't do anything but drive the plot.
  • Mad Dreamer: Triclops, who spent most of his life locked up in an asylum, dreaming of war, destruction and terrible new weapons.
  • Meaningful Name: "Trioculus", 'Tri'- meaning 'three', and 'oculus'- a form of the word ocular, 'of the eye'; so, three eyes.
  • My Car Hates Me: In the first book with a minisub.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Several incidents (one egregious example: the starship carrying R2-D2 and C-3PO being discovered by The Empire and having to take refuge in an asteroid belt) are merely mentioned in passing.
  • Portmanteau: The Moffs hold a Mofference on the Moffship.
  • Raised by Robots: Ken was raised by droids in the Lost City of the Jedi.
  • Red Right Hand: Trioculus' three eyes. Plus, he literally receives a Red Right Hand as one of the unintended side-effects of his medical droid's modifications to Vader's glove.
  • Small Reference Pools: When suggesting where to put the interim Imperial capital, the council only seem to have heard of planets that appear in the films.
  • They Fight Crime!: Actually, they save the whales, rainforest, polluted atmosphere, etc.
  • Written Sound Effect: One of the series' major Narm sources. It's hard to escape the conclusion that the writers might have been better off doing a comic book. Or that they were being paid by the letter - "KRR-RR—AAAAAAANG!" is the sound of two submarines docking. Even R2-D2's beeps and buzzes are written out as dialog.