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Literature / Aftermath: Empire's End

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Every end is a new beginning.

As the final showdown between the New Republic and the Empire draws near, all eyes turn to a once-isolated planet: Jakku.

The Battle of Endor shattered the Empire, scattering its remaining forces across the galaxy. But the months following the Rebellion’s victory have not been easy. The fledgling New Republic has suffered a devastating attack from the Imperial remnant, forcing the new democracy to escalate their hunt for the hidden enemy.

For her role in the deadly ambush, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane is the most wanted Imperial war criminal—and one-time rebel pilot Norra Wexley, back in service at Leia’s urgent request, is leading the hunt. But more than just loyalty to the New Republic drives Norra forward: Her husband was turned into a murderous pawn in Sloane’s assassination plot, and now she wants vengeance as much as justice.

But Sloane, too, is on a furious quest: pursuing the treacherous Gallius Rax to the barren planet Jakku. As the true mastermind behind the Empire’s devastating attack, Rax has led the Empire to its defining moment. The cunning strategist has gathered the powerful remnants of the Empire’s war machine, preparing to execute the late Emperor Palpatine’s final plan. As the Imperial fleet orbits Jakku, an armada of Republic fighters closes in to finish what began at Endor. Norra and her crew soar into the heart of an apocalyptic clash that will leave land and sky alike scorched. And the future of the galaxy will finally be decided.

Empire's End is the third and final novel in the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig, following Star Wars: Aftermath and Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt. It was released on February 21st, 2017.

The novel contains the following tropes:

  • Acrofatic: In combination with her strength and durability, Niima the Hutt is surprisingly agile for a Hutt, moving with enough force to topple an Imperial shuttle.
  • Allergic to Routine: As Leia sadly realizes, an adrenaline junkie like Han is going out of his mind with boredom in the more hundrum roles of husband and father. This, combined with his son turning to the Dark Side, will eventually result in him jetting off with Chewie by the time of The Force Awakens.
  • Apocalypse How: Rax, as ordered by Palpatine, attempts to blow up Jakku by throwing Sith artifacts into the planet's core, causing a Class X apocalypse – Planetary-scale Physical Annihilation. Their actual goal, however, is to destroy as much of the galaxy's military as possible, having it lured here for that reason, in order to invoke a Societal Collapse.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Brentin Wexley is killed by Rax, Sloane is rebuilding the Empire into the First Order out in the Unknown Regions, and Jom and Mr. Bones die during the Battle of Jakku. But on the bright side, the Galactic Civil War is over, Rax is dead and some characters, like Sinjir, do indeed have a happy ending.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Lando carries a beautifully engraved Rossmoyne Vitiator pistol during the liberation of Cloud City. He ends up buying a similar one as a gift for Han and Leia's unborn son.
  • Call-Back:
    • Just like in The Phantom Menace, Jar Jar has been living in exile, this time for inadvertently helping Palpatine rise to power.
    • Palpatine's contingency plan from Shattered Empire is expanded on.
    • Thrawn is mentioned as to having something to do with the Unknown Regions, his last appearance at the time of the novel's release being Rebels and thus with a currently unknown fate. This is expanded on in Thrawn, which was released after this book.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Upon returning to Cloud City, Lando says "Lobot, we're home", a reference to Han's first line in The Force Awakens.
    • Commandant Brendol Hux has trained savage children from Jakku to work for the Empire, continuing from the previous books and Servants of the Empire on how he was training skilled youth to become members of the Imperial military, better than the average Stormtrooper or Clone Trooper. Armitage Hux is told that he's going to have to learn to order these children around, meaning that these kids are the predecessors to the First Order Stormtroopers.
    • The earthed AT-AT on the rear cover of the book is in the same pose as Rey's AT-AT and is pictured from an exact same camera angle from The Force Awakens, heavily implying that it is, in fact, the same AT-AT.
  • The Cameo: Jar Jar Binks, of all characters, appears in an interlude chapter, having fallen on hard times since the rise and fall of the Empire.
  • Canon Immigrant: Chewie has a son named Waroo and a wife named Malla. Remember Lumpy (also known as Waroo) and Mallatobuck (her full name) from The Star Wars Holiday Special?
  • Character Death:
    • Sloane kills Rax at the end of the book and becomes the new leader of the Imperial Remnant as they retreat into the Unknown Regions.
    • Jom, Brentin, and Mr. Bones are killed during the Battle of Jakku.
  • Chess Motifs: Motifs from Shah-Tzeh, the Star Wars version of Chess, are used heavily by Palpatine and Rax. Specifically, how every piece's ultimate purpose is to protect the King/Imperator (Palpatine) and if the Imperator is gone, the other pieces have failed and therefore serve no further purpose.
  • Child Soldier: Hux's savage children.
  • Colony Drop: Remember the Falcon flying through the upside-down wreck of a Super Star Destroyer in The Force Awakens? Among other things, this book tells the story of how that massive ship ended up in that place and in that position.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • There's a mention of Lando Calrissian's victory over Governor Adelhard after the events of Uprising.
    • The events of Star Wars: Lando, where Lando is tasked with stealing a ship that turns out to belong to Emperor Palpatine himself, are also referenced.
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn is mentioned, along with the fact his knowledge of the Unknown Regions is one of the main reasons Palpatine recruited him.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Sloane kills Rax, becomes the leader of the Imperial Remnant and leads the retreat into the Unknown Regions.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At the end of the book, Sloane leads the Imperial Remnant into the Unknown Regions with the intent to reform and rebuild it in secret.
    • The Eclipse, the Emperor's flagship, is out in the Unknown Regions. And Snoke is said to operate from a mobile command post, so no prizes for guessing the nature of that mobile command post...
      • Turns out Snoke's mobile command post is not the Eclipse but a different and far larger ship called the Supremacy.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Rax tries to blow up Jakku to destroy most of the Imperial Remnant (except for his loyal followers) and New Republic militaries. Luckily, Norra and Sloane manage to prevent it.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Palpatine's secret research facility on Jakku, called the observatory. Amongst other things, it contains a hangar with a replica of his private yacht, an ancient computer system that might have belonged to the old Sith Empire used to chart out the Unknown Regions, store rooms full of old Sith artifacts and a borehole drilled directly into the planet's core.
  • Enemy Mine: Norra and Sloane find themselves teaming up in order to bring down Rax.
  • It's All About Me: Fitting for a Sith, Palpatine's contingency plan involves destroying the entire Empire, saying that if the Empire can't defend him, then it doesn't deserve to exist.
  • Kevlard: Niima the Hutt is lot physically tougher than you would expect a Hutt to be, as she's able to withstand blaster bolts. She's also strong enough to topple an Imperial shuttle.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Jar Jar's interlude, it's stated that while children love his act, adults despise him... essentially how reception to the character goes in real life.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The title of the book is the same as the third entry in the Dark Empire trilogy.
    • When he gets damaged at one point, Mr. Bones briefly channels HK-47, right down to the assassin droid's unique manner of speech.
    • The Journal of the Whills makes its first proper appearance in a Star Wars work.
    • The trajectory of Norra and Wedge's relationship, with a potential romance being derailed by the reappearance of her presumed-dead husband, who turns out to have been turned into a Manchurian Agent, and is then killed is quite similar to Wedge's relationship with Iella Wessiri in Star Wars Legends.
  • Raise Him Right This Time: Well, raise the Empire the right way, as Sloane plans to after killing Rax and taking the Empire back into the Unknown Regions. And it's kind of obvious that what Sloane means by 'doing it right' isn't a morally good future for the Imperial Remnant.
  • The Remnant: One of the interludes shows Lando, Lobot, and some New Republic soldiers going up against a few Imperial holdouts on Cloud City.
  • Rousing Speech: Rax gives a rather lengthy one to his troops before the Battle of Jakku begins.
  • Sad Clown: What has become of Jar Jar Binks in an Interlude chapter, shunned by all on Naboo for his role in giving Palpatine his power except for refugee children he entertains at a local orphanage. Bringing happiness in even small ways are what he sees as a way to atone.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: One way of looking at The Church of the Force interlude, as it ends with most to all of the pilgrims dying while they return the crystals, and on top of that we find out that the visionary who inspired their quest was drunk at the time, and may have just been seeing things.
  • Shout-Out: Leia once told Lando “The Rebellion was easy, Lando. Governing’s harder.”
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The book also takes place around the final act of Victroy's Price.
  • Synchronous Episodes: The Battle of Jakku also takes place from the perspectives of Ciena and Thane, the Blade Squadron in Blade Squadron: Jakku, and the soldiers in both Battlefront and its sequel.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Rax is Palpatine's contingency plan. Not only did Palpatine wish to destroy the Rebellion and other civilians in the event of his death by having Rax lead the Imperial Remnant in his place, but to also destroy the Empire itself, because he wanted the galaxy all to himself and no one else. Had Rax succeeded, it's possible that he would've taken at least half or two-thirds of the Galaxy down with him. This was touched upon in Shattered Empire.
    • Two in a row during the space battle above Jakku: The mortally wounded Imperial Star Destroyer Punishment does a kamikaze run on a Republic ship, destroying both ships. The debris from that collision then slam into Commodore Agate's ship, the Concord, forcing Agate to order a full evacuation. But Agate stays onboard and quickly improvises a plan that leads to the Imperial flagship Ravager being dragged down into Jakku's surface by the dying Concord.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Just what is out there in the Unknown Regions that gave Palpatine concern?
  • Would Hurt a Child: Rax convinced other orphans on Jakku to do his bidding and then killed them to keep secret what he was doing for Palpatine.
  • You Have Failed Me: Palpatine's justification for destroying the Galactic Empire in the event of his death is that no Empire incapable of defending its Emperor deserves to exist.