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Literature / Guardians of the Whills

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Guardians of the Whills is a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel written by Greg Rucka (who had previously done Smuggler's Run, Star Wars: Shattered Empire, and Before the Awakening), centered around Baze Malbus and Chirrut Îmwe before they took part to the events of Rogue One.

Baze and Chirrut used to be Guardians of the Whills, who looked after the Kyber Temple on Jedha and all those who worshipped there. Then the Empire came and took over the planet. The temple was destroyed and the people scattered. Now Baze and Chirrut do what they can to resist the Empire and protect the people of Jedha, but it never seems to be enough. When a man named Saw Gerrera arrives with grand plans to take down the Empire, it seems like the perfect way for Baze and Chirrut to make a real difference and help the people of Jedha. But will it come at too great a cost?

It was released on May 2, 2017, alongside fellow Rogue One prequel novel, Rebel Rising.

Tropes in this novel include:

  • Bittersweet Ending: Played with. Chirrut and Baze successfully escort the orphans to escape beyond Jedha's Imperial-occupied surface. While the ship is confirmed to escape past the Destroyer, it is also emphasized before that even if they do escape Jedha, it's up in the air whether they would find appropriate shelter and Chirrut and Baze likely have no means of tracking their status and welfare. If anything, they at least gave them hope.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cycle of Revenge: The primary reason that Chirrut doesn't want to work with Saw Gerrara and the Partisans; his more organized violent rebellion has only increased the security and caused the Empire to view the Holy City as an active battlefield- complete with walkers and checkpoints, which in turn causes more desperate rebels to turn to Gerrara, and thus lead to harsher treatment from the Empire. With their numbers seemingly endless, the only thing Chirrut believes is being harmed by the conflict are the innocent of Jedha.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Chirrut, who's blindness has left him far more sensitive to his other sense, internally notes that one of the more prominent changes on Jedha after the Imperial occupation is the smell; as their mining operations have polluted the environment more, water has become scarce enough that few in the Holy City have access to baths.
  • Fictional Document: The book contains several excerpts from various books cataloged the Disciples of the Whills, usually in the form of Encyclopedia Exposita or Fictional Sacred Book which detail the beliefs and teachings of the Force as the Guardians of the Whills believe it.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Since Chirrut, Baze, and Saw are main characters in Rogue One, they have to survive the events of the book since it is a prequel to the movie.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The origins of Baze's heavy cannon. It was an Imperial cannon meant to be mounted on a vehicle or checkpoint, to be used against the citizens of the holy city as "crowd control"; and this was even before an organized rebel cell was active on the planet. Baze is infuriated at the concept so much, he mounts the weapon himself and uses it to "crowd control" Imperial Stormtroopers instead.
  • Refuge in Audacity: How do you slip three dozen orphaned children into a stolen Imperial shuttle? You just calmly walk them from the orphanage to the spaceport and into the ship without any attempt to hide. Even the Imperial garrison is too dumbfounded to react before the shuttle full of orphans is safely away.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Saw muses about this over drinks with Baze; while Onderon still exists, the Empire has stripped it of everything that made the planet *his* Onderon, and as one of the most infamous rebel fighters of his time, he'll never be able to step foot on the Imperial-occupied soil of the planet again.