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Literature / Shadows of the Empire

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Shadows of the Empire is an entry in the Star Wars Legends, coming out in 1996. Conceived as an interquel between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, it's a multimedia project, like The Force Unleashed after it, designed to have all of the media that would surround a new movie without actually making a movie.note  There is a novel (with an accompanying junior novelization), a video game, a role-playing game, a six-issue comic series, a soundtrack, a toyline, trading cards, and a Making Of book. Not all its elements overlap—to get the full story, readers would have to see each story-related component.


The novel is the centerpiece of the project and tells the overall story, focusing on the main characters. The comic book series has generally the same focus, but includes interludes to bounty hunter Boba Fett's battle to keep possession of the frozen Han Solo, and the antics of Wrenga Jixton, a spy sent by Darth Vader, as he infiltrates Jabba's swoop gang and ensures they are unable to kill Luke Skywalker. The video game allows players to control new character Dash Rendar, whose adventures in the game weave in and out of the overall storyline.

Throughout each of these, Prince Xizor, the head of the criminal organization Black Sun, finds out why Darth Vader, his bitter rival for the Emperor's favor, wants the Rebel hero Luke Skywalker. In order to gain the Emperor's favor and punish Vader for killing Xizor's family, Xizor plans to kill Luke, while the Rebels try to find Han.


Shadows of the Empire provides examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Dash's plan to fake his death lasts at most a year, as an RPG article has him on a mission with Kyle Katarn, Jan Ors and Bey to infiltrate the Tof homeworld.

  • Abandon Ship: When the heroes need to escape from Xizor's palace, Lando decides the best way to do so is amidst the associated confusion of a mass-evacuation of the building (not entirely unlike their escape from Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back). He invokes this trope by tossing a thermal detonator down a garbage chute.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: How Luke, Dash and Lando sneak into Xizor's palace. The trope is justified by the novel by explaining that the large sewer is needed because it's a huge building.
  • The Ace: Han Solo's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Dash Rendar. He's annoying even to the characters, but they do acknowledge that he's a good pilot.
    [narration from Luke's POV] This guy was so full of himself it was a wonder he didn't explode and spew ego all over the place.
  • As Long as There is Evil: Palpatine muses about this upon hearing the news from Vader that Xizor has been killed, reasoning that someone similar will replace him.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The novel and comic has Dash abandoning the other heroes on Gall as soon as trouble arrives, because they didn't pay him to fight. The video game instead has him going into Gall alone and blasting his way through the Imperial outposts to do the job.
  • Affably Evil: While he's Faux Affably Evil with his enemies, Xizor is more Affably Evil when dealing with the everyday parts of his job of ruling a criminal empire, as he generally prefers to use the carrot rather than the stick when he deals with his subordinates. Barring the traitors of course.
  • Affluent Ascetic: As the head of the largest criminal enterprise in the galaxy, Xizor is one of the wealthiest people alive yet dislikes Conspicuous Consumption. He even throws away a valuable jewel that one of his clients sends him as a gift since he has no use for it. He notes that Vader is the same way, since he has access to all the resources the Empire can offer but doesn't care for money at all.
  • Ascended Extra: Durga the Hutt, who previously appeared as the Big Bad of Darksaber the year previous (set years after this novel), shows up as a Vigo of Black Sun (The Han Solo Trilogy explains how he got there). Xizor pulls a Blofeld Ploy on him to remind him not to have any ideas of taking over. After Xizor's death, however, Durga manages to do this.
  • Attempted Rape: Xizor's attempt at seducing Leia becomes a lot creepier than it otherwise would be since his species' pheromones act more or less like a date-rape drug. She is saved partly by Chewbacca intervening, and partly because she uses Heroic Willpower to rid herself of his mind control and knees him in a very unpleasant location.
  • Bad Boss / Benevolent Boss: Xizor zigzags between the two, as he is just as prone to reward a hardworking employee as to punish (sometimes in unpleasant ways) those who fail him.
  • Badass in Distress: Leia and Chewie's attempt at infiltrating Black Sun's headquarters doesn't end so well. He escapes and Xizor decides not to pursue him, but Leia has to be rescued by Luke and the others.
  • Baddie Flattery: Xizor is impressed with Luke batting at shots with his lightsaber.
    Guri: He is related to Vader.
  • Been There, Shaped History:
    • Dash Rendar was at the battle of Hoth. A brief mention in the book, but a playable event in the game, which was notable in that, thanks to how well the level turned out, every Star Wars game set in or after the classic trilogy since then has had a Hoth level if the devs could find an excuse to add one (plot relevance and doing something other than just adapting the battle from the film optional).
    • We learn in the video game that luring the Rebels to the Death Star II to wipe them out in the Battle of Endor was all Xizor's idea, not the Emperor's. Xizor even provided the ships to construct the new station.
    • Dash was also integral to the theft of the Imperial supercomputer containing the plans of the Death Star II, an important enough event that we get to see him do it again in X-Wing Alliance.
  • Berserk Button: The novel explores the notion of Luke absolutely hating losing men under his command, especially since he's lost some in every mission he's led up to and including this point. In unleashing More Dakka to disable the freighter, the narration explicitly mentions him being too enraged to use the Force.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Luke often feels protective towards Leia in this way, despite not yet knowing he's literally her brother at the time the story is set.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rogue Squadron shows up during the escape from Coruscant at, of course, a dramatic moment when the Falcon and the Outrider are being hemmed in by Xizor's private navy.
    Wedge: Hey, Luke! Mind if we join your party?
  • Big Damn Villains: Vader's Super Star Destroyer saving the day for Luke, Leia, and Rogue Squadron.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Going from the cutscene model of the Imperial freighter Suprosa compared to the scale of the Outrider as it docks with it, the ship's exterior is far, far too small to possibly house the fairly large and quite elaborate interior environments it hosts.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Xizor has Guri as his bodyguard despite being a skilled martial artist who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. Dash also shows up to protect Luke from a swoop gang that comes after him on Tatooine. Luke protests that he could have handled it himself, but Dash points out that he still evened the odds for him quite a bit.
  • Body Horror: The novel shows Vader meditating in his chamber without his helmet and armor, where he thinks about the horrific injuries he got long ago in his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi, such as his burned skin and destroyed lungs. He attempts to use The Power of Hate to heal himself and breathe again without his mask, but has only limited success.
  • Boldly Coming: Prince Xizor, a humanoid alien with green skin (of reptilian evolutionary descent) seems to primarily like human women, as that's all we seem him pursue. He also has human replica droid Guri, who is almost entirely indistinguishable from a blonde human woman (whom Xizor occasionally has sex with).
  • Bookends: The prologue and epilogue each center around an alternate perspective of a holographic-communication scene from the film preceding and following the book, respectively. In the prologue, Prince Xizor is privy to the conversation between the Emperor and Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, learning Luke Skywalker's name and relation to Vader. In the epilogue, Luke records the message that R2-D2 plays for Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi, thinking to himself all the while how unlikely it is that Jabba will actually take him up on his offer to negotiate.
  • Boss Corridor: There's one before the AT-ST in Echo Base, one before Boba Fett and the Slave I, and one before the Gladiator Droid.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Getting all 87 challenge points on Jedi difficulty. Whereas the other modes offer nice benefits for getting them all (i.e. invincibility, a scanner, being able to play as an X-wing or TIE fighter in the Skyhook battle) this mode reward is that you receive no damage... from Wampas. All nine of them, eight in one level.
  • Break the Haughty: Dash becomes a lot less arrogant after he fails to destroy a missile aimed at some of his allies, resulting in the deaths of several Bothans. It's later revealed that this missile couldn't be damaged by his weaponry, meaning that he did hit it, but it was no use.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Prince Xizor is attacked by a young man named Hoff, who yells "You Killed My Father" to him, to which Xizor replies, "I'm sorry. Have we met?" It's subverted, however, since Xizor does remember the father once Hoff tells him the father's name. Also subverted in the sense that Xizor didn't directly or intentionally kill him. The guy was a competitor who ended up Driven to Suicide after Black Sun bankrupted his business. Vader also has this reaction after being told he killed Xizor's family (along with many other people on their world).
    Vader: A regrettable incident.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lando, just a little bit. "It's not my fault!" is practically his catchphrase.
  • The Cameo: Jabba the Hutt makes a brief appearance when Xizor talks to him via holoprojector in the novel. Jix's story in the comic version focuses more heavily on him and the thugs he commands.
  • Camera Screw: The game boasts a "Cinematic" mode which has no practical application whatsoever besides allowing you to see Dash's face. Even the normal camera modes are hellish when it comes to the game's platforming segments.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • "There seems to be a slight problem, my prince." "So I noticed. Why are your ships blowing up, Commander?"
    • "You resist me."
  • The City Narrows: Coruscant's seedy underground districts.
  • Collapsing Lair: The heroes escape from Xizor's palace just before it implodes on itself.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The radio drama for Return of the Jedi makes an offhand mention of these events, namely the trip to Coruscant and allowing the droids to fly the Falcon.
    • And of course, since it's an interquel, a lot of references to the sixth film are made. For instance, we're shown how Luke built his new lightsaber, how the Rebels got the plans of the Death Star (and that indeed, many Bothans died for this information), and how Leia got Boushh's clothes, among other things.
  • Continuity Snarl: In the video game, Dash arrives in the Echo Base hangar just in time to see the Millennium Falcon take off. In the movie, Vader and a whole platoon of stormtroopers were right there to see it take off, but he's absent from the video game's depiction of the scene.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Dash unexpectedly shows up behind the swoop gang that attacks Luke on Tatooine, taking potshots at them and forcing them to scatter.
  • Cool Chair: Xizor's "Myostim unit". You sit in it and it makes you buff.
  • Cool Starship: The Outrider is a later model YT-series freighter (it's a 2400 to the Millennium Falcon's 1300) with plenty of modifications in the form of better engines and extra weaponry.
  • Corporate Warfare: Black Sun has its own fleet, which Xizor deploys against the Rebels and, unwisely, the Imperial Navy.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Xizor, in addition to being the leader of the galaxy's premier criminal organization, is also the CEO of a mostly legitimate shipping business, Xizor Transport Systems, that would make him quite wealthy on its own. This gives him legal cover to participate openly in Coruscanti high society.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Vader in his Interceptor single-handedly obliterates an entire squadron of X-wings during the Empire's assault on the Rebel shipyard. It's so easy he gets bored and allows the last X-wing to escape.
  • Cyborg: Guri is a Terminator-like one, a human built around a robot core rather than the other way around. Her outer layers are cloned human material, but her "brain" and inner mechanisms are robotic.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Dash Rendar's family, it turns out, were once wealthy Corellian merchants, and he was in the Imperial Academy. Then his brother accidentally crashed into the Imperial Museum on Coruscant flying a ship, dying in the process (it had been sabotaged by Xizor, because they wouldn't sell their company to him). In revenge, the Emperor had Dash expelled and exiled his entire family from the Core while seizing all their property, ruining them. Since then he's been a smuggler. It's brought up by a Rebel to appeal for his help as he has good reason to despise the Empire, but Dash still doesn't join them full on.
    • Xizor, although the villain, also has one. After a deadly virus escaped from a lab in a city on his planet, the Empire destroyed everything within 40 kilometers to contain it. This resulted in the deaths of his parents, siblings and two uncles, along with over two hundred thousand other people. It's implied he really did love them, and wants revenge against Vader (who ordered the virus project) due to this.
  • Death Mountain: The canyons of Gall.
  • Debug Room: Typing in " Wampa Stompa" (case sensitive—one space before Wampa, two spaces before Stompa) as a file name and putting in an elaborate cheat code as soon as you start a level note  will grant you access to the game's Debug mode, where you can cycle through options with the shoulder buttons, which includes getting 50 lives, wall ghost, next level, gravity, jump power etc.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Xizor's constant needling of Darth Vader.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Luke tries to save his dying Bothan friend, but it doesn't work, and Luke winds up getting captured anyway.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Xizor's (and by extension all of his species') pheromones basically act like a mind control drug. Once you smell them, there'll be an intense desire to have sex with them. While this isn't portrayed as good when Xizor's trying to coerce Leia into having sex with him this way, it's also not described as rape, nor are all his many previous "conquests". Basically, he is a serial rapist, which adds an extra layer of evil to his character. He has also "made use" of Guri's anatomical correctness, at one point pondering if he should tell her to join him in his bath. As she is a droid and owned by him, it can lead a reader to wonder just how consensual this is. The sequel comic book Shadows Of The Empire: Evolution says she literally cannot disobey any of his orders, so the answer it gives would be "not at all". Apparently for Xizor Guri's his occasional sexbot. Given that even the nice people in Star Wars tend not to think of droids as people (despite all evidence) it's probable they wouldn't view this as rape regardless.
  • Down the Drain: The Imperial City sewers.
  • Dramatic Irony: Leia looks into Black Sun, hoping their spy network can figure out who's trying to kill Luke, unaware that it's Black Sun themselves. Prince Xizor, meanwhile, believes Leia already suspects Black Sun and plots to lure her into a trap.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Luke and Lando liberate some elite stormtrooper uniforms for their jaunt to Imperial Center.
  • Drives Like Crazy: C-3PO briefly gets the chance to pilot the Millennium Falcon for a Gunship Rescue on Coruscant. His flying is a bit rough, to say the least.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: If you beat the game on Easy Mode, you don't get to see if Dash survives. The novel implies that he dies at the end, so you have to play the game on at least Normal difficulty to find out what really happens. He lives, using a well-timed hyperspace jump as Xizor's skyhook blows apart to make it look like he was caught in the blast. As he says, after all the trouble he's caused the Empire is going to have all sorts of bounties out for him—but if everyone thinks he's dead, nobody's going to be looking to collect. Plus, it's nice to be thought of as a martyr for a good cause without actually being dead.
  • Eternal Engine: Xizor's Palace.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Xizor apparently loved his family. At least enough to try to bring down the second most powerful man in the galaxy in order to avenge them.
    • Same with Vader. While he wants to turn Luke to the Dark Side, Vader will absolutely not abide anyone who is out to kill his son, to the point that he willingly works with the Rebels to bring Xizor down.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Vader doesn't like politicking, spying, and mucking around with double-dealing and triple-crossing, which is how he's forced to handle Xizor. He'll do it, but he feels soiled.
    Striking a man down with your blade was clean and honorable. Shooting him In the Back from the darkness of an alley and hurrying to blame it on another was something else altogether.
  • Evil Is Petty: Xizor is so impressed by the park on the Emperor's skyhook, he offers the Emperor's horticulturist twice as many credits to work for him instead. A short while later...
    Palpatine: "I really must see about hiring your spies away from you. Especially after you stole my best horticulturist. A pity the man had that fatal lift accident before he could start working for you."
    Xizor: "Yes, a pity."
    If ever there was a poor loser, it was the Emperor.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Xizor and Vader... don't play well together. It's implied in the novel that Palpatine sets situations like this up so that his underlings would become rivals and work even harder to gain his approval by trying to outdo the other in obedience to the Empire—nothing gets results like a threat to job security.
  • Expy:
    • Dash Rendar is an expy of Han Solo.
    • The Human Replica Droid Guri is basically a Terminator. Simulates all human functions, so perfectly imitates a human that special tech or the Force is needed to tell otherwise (dogs probably wouldn't work), implacable, Nigh-Invulnerable, faster and stronger than any human, and there is no being which can best her at hand-to-hand. Except Luke Skywalker. Yet she's also starting to understand emotion, particularly the search for new challenges. A later-set comic has her looking for ways to reprogram herself so she's not so violent.
  • Eye Scream: Luke blocks a shot from Xizor that would have hit him in the eye if he hadn't. Also, in the video game, the dianoga in the sewers that Dash shoots in the eye. (In the novel, Luke cuts off its eyestalk instead.)
  • Fatal Flaw: Xizor arrogantly relies too much on his ability to read and predict people and their actions. This costs him his life during the climax when he is convinced that Vader wouldn't dare kill him and risk the Emperor's anger at losing a powerful ally. That may have been the case had Vader not found out about Xizor's scheme to kill Luke.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Xizor is this towards his enemies, especially around Vader (and Leia after she resists him): plotting their downfall or death while being unfailingly polite. Although he's more Affably Evil when dealing with the everyday parts of his job of ruling a criminal empire, as he generally prefers to use the carrot rather than the stick when he deals with his subordinates. Barring the traitors of course.
  • Final Boss: For the on-foot levels of the video game, the Gladiator Droid at the end of Xizor's Palace serves this role, as the only level after that is the second and last space level. For the game as a whole, the reactor core of Xizor's Skyhook is the last target.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Xizor is trying to kill Luke. Also, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and Lando are trying to rescue Han, still in carbonite, from Boba Fett before Boba turns him over to Jabba. Since Luke is still alive in Jedi, where he finally rescues Han from Jabba, you can guess how well those plans work out.
  • Foreshadowing: At one point in the novel, Darth Vader attempts to locate Luke with the Force only to sense his presence in two different locations. Since most readers are likely familiar of the big reveal in Return of the Jedi, it is pretty obvious Vader is now sensing Leia, especially given that Luke is contacting Leia through the Force at the time.
  • Gender Reveal: Leia is momentarily surprised that her contact with Black Sun is a woman, but then reasons that as a high-ranking woman in the Alliance herself, it shouldn't be that much of a shock.
  • Genius Bruiser: Xizor is a criminal mastermind, martial artist, and a skilled marksman as well. On the other hand, his rival Darth Vader fits this trope too.
  • Go for the Eye: In the game, you meet a giant Dianoga as a boss in the semi-final chamber of the Imperial Sewers, and amongst all the Dianoga tentacles is one that has the monster's eye. You must destroy the eye to kill the thing and get to the room with the door to Xizor's Palace.
  • Good Is Not Soft: When it is time for the heroes to make good their escape from Xizor's palace, Lando takes a high-yield thermal detonator and drops it down a garbage chute. This earns him a What the Hell, Hero? from the others, but he justifies it by pointing out that anyone working there has to know how evil their boss is.
  • Groin Attack: Leia explains to Xizor that no really does mean no. Immortalized on a playing card.
  • Hallway Fight: Guri, being a Challenge Seeker, confronts Luke in a hallway during the escape from Xizor's palace, looking to fight him one-on-one. After narrowly being defeated, she then asks him to Get It Over With and kill her, but he refuses and instead urges her to leave with him and the Rebels instead.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Jedi difficulty setting in the video game. Most enemy attacks (except from Droid enemies) will kill you in two or three hits, and health and ammo is much more scarce and their placement is changed around. Nintendo Hard doesn't even begin to describe the hair pulling insanity of this mode—basically, one or two slip ups anywhere, and you're done for. You'll struggle to even get past the first two stages on this setting. On the upside, Dash's own laser pistol does much more damage as well (it can kill Imperial Troopers in one hit when the laser pistol is fully charged) so you can have some fighting chance of winning in this mode.
  • Healing Magic Is the Hardest: Being a practitioner of the Dark Side, Darth Vader can't heal his injuries but hopes to one day.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Rendar gets one of these when he fails to shoot down a missile and twelve Bothans on his side are killed by it; previously he'd thought he was invincible and never missed. It turns out he didn't miss—the missile was made of diamond-boron, impervious even to starship cannons.
    • Luke gets one at the same time, because the dead Bothans were under his command, but his anger snaps him out of it, even delivering a Big "SHUT UP!" to Dash to stop whining and start shooting.
  • Hero of Another Story: Shadows of the Empire is a multi-media mini-franchise, with a game, a novel, and comic books each centering on different characters running through the same plot in parallel. Wherever any two versions of the story intersect, this trope is brought into play.
  • Heroic Willpower: Leia's righteous anger, once Chewie awakens it, lets her resist Xizor's supposedly irresistible pheromones; she feels a ghost of attraction still, but can shrug it off. Xizor is disbelieving. Possibly her latent Force powers also helped.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Spearing two fleek-eels with the same trident.note  Another day, another credit—before taxes, of course.note  Going to entropy in a turbolift.note  What I know about programming you could inscribe on a microdiode lead with a dull sword.note  Like shooting snakes in a shoebox.note 
  • Honor Before Reason: Luke refuses to leave a dying Bothan ally and run for cover; this leads to him being captured.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Luke is depicted as still learning to become a Jedi, and there are several times when he struggles to use the Force. He does build his own lightsaber without it blowing up, though.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Though descended from reptiles, the Falleen have the same basic body plan as humans, with some hair (enough to form a topknot) and only slightly scaly skin (although it's green). Female Falleen also have breasts.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Gladiator boss. The AT-ST counts as well, given that it's fought inside a hangar that can barely fit it and there are none of the larger AT-ATs around to dwarf it. You get a second one as a mid-boss in a similarly-sized hangar in Gall Spaceport.
  • Hypocrite: Both Xizor and Vader, regarding their Even Evil Has Loved Ones. Xizor, who wants to avenge his slain family, feels complete No Sympathy for a would-be assassin attempting to do the same for his own father (whom Xizor caused to be Driven to Suicide). Vader, meanwhile, feels Papa Wolf outrage upon learning about Xizor wanting Luke dead, yet doesn't even offer so much as a Noble Demon nod of understanding about the kingpin's own family-related vendetta against Vader.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Jabba the Hutt apparently can speak Basic perfectly well, as well as understand it. He just chooses to speak Huttese most of the time, considering other languages beneath him—but when a bigger crime boss such as Xizor summons him all the way to Coruscant and tells him to speak Basic, he speaks Basic.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Not the main point of Xizor's Evil Plan, but definitely a side benefit along with Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me when he uses Leia as a way to lure Luke to his castle.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Leia resisting Xizor's advances only makes him more interested in her. Guri points this out to him.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Xizor is an incredibly good shot who practices marksmanship constantly. However, he can't bring down a Jedi.
  • Inferred Survival: Luke notices that one of the paragliders on the landing platform of Xizor's palace is missing as the heroes take off in the Falcon, implying that Guri may have escaped.
  • Insecurity Camera: Lando comes up with the idea of destroying the surveillance network in Xizor's palace to help them escape. It only partially works, since they're traveling upward through the palace and he can only shoot out the camera transmission wires for the floor they're on at the time. Xizor simply notes which floors still have cameras and which don't, then goes to intercept them.
  • Interspecies Romance: Xizor, a Falleen, tries to seduce Leia with his pheromones. Chewbacca interrupts.
  • I Owe You My Life: Luke comes to respect Dash a lot more after the latter shows up to help him fend off the swoop gang on Tatooine.
  • It's All My Fault: Luke blames himself for the twelve Bothans killed by a missile, and is convinced he's a lousy commander since he always loses men when he's in charge. He has a brief Heroic BSoD, but it quickly turns into anger, causing him to unleash More Dakka on the ship they're trying to capture to disable it. The narrative outright states he was too angry to use the Force, light or dark side.
  • It's Personal: On Prince Xizor's home world, when Xizor was off ruling his criminal enterprise, there was a lab that a biological weapon escaped from, and Darth Vader had the city around it and the two hundred thousand people in that city "sterilized" (i.e. incinerated with turbolasers) from orbit. This included Xizor's mother, father, brother, two sisters, and three uncles. The way this is phrased actually makes it seem like a comparatively benign decision on the Empire's and Vader's parts—this spared the billions of other people on the planet, potentially trillions if it escaped into the rest of the galaxy, from "a horrible, rotting, always fatal infection for which there was no cure." However, It Makes Sense in Context: Xizor describes the laboratory as one of Vader's "pet projects". It's actually not clear that Vader was in fact personally responsible for the cleanup that killed Xizor's family or if it was just the Imperial officers at hand, but either way Xizor blaming Vader makes sense since if it wasn't for his lab, the planet wouldn't have needed sterilizing in the first place.
  • I Want Them Alive:
    • Subverted. Xizor orders his forces to shoot down the Millennium Falcon, adding that capturing it and securing its crew and passengers would also be acceptable.
    • Vader himself, as expected, wants Luke taken in alive—it's intercepting Xizor's order to kill him that gives Vader the justification he needs to just blow him up.
  • I Will Find You: Vader's personal mission is to find Luke before Xizor does.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Luke fumbles his way through doing this to make the guard to his cell open the door, let Luke out, and go to sleep. Later, with fewer mistakes, he gets a suspicious but not currently hostile Imperial officer to follow him into a refresher, strip, and go to sleep. Seems to be Luke's thing in this book.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dash Rendar. Early on he leaves the Falcon to fight its way out of an ambush alone because the Rebels had paid him to guide them, not to fight Imperials. Later on, his arrogance gets several allied Bothans killed and this shakes him. After he seems to die, Wedge informs Luke that Dash didn't actually miss and the missile that destroyed the Bothan ship was an experimental diamond-boron weapon invulnerable to blasters.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Xizor has an "exercise chair" that strengthens his muscles while not having him actually exert himself since he considers exercise for its own sake to be boring, though it's also established that he does practice martial arts and is a crack shot. Vader is shown practicing with his lightsaber, which he uses to duel and cut down several lightsaber-wielding droids.
  • Leitmotif: Listen to the soundtrack. Vader's leitmotif is played a few times and Xizor has one of his own. The composer has expressed regret that he didn't include Leia's Theme.
  • Literal-Minded: An obstructive droid clearly is this.
    Droid: Master Melan is a very busy Bothan. Perhaps I can arrange for you to see him in, oh, perhaps a standard week? Your names?
    Dash: Okay, Goldie. My name is Man with a Blaster About to Cook You. Either you open the door or your busy Bothan is going to have to get himself a new receptionist.
    Droid: Oh dear. Very well, Man with a Blaster About to Cook You.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: In the sequel comic, the heroes learn that Guri is headed for trouble. Luke, Leia and Lando immediately begin discussing the situation. As Han was frozen at the time, he keeps asking in increasing irritation who this Guri is.
  • Locomotive Level: The hover trains in Ord Mantell Junkyard. In this level, you have to jump from train to train until you find IG-88.
  • Love Is in the Air: Xizor's creepy, creepy pheromones.
    An excited Falleen who loosed his full pheromonal arsenal was, for all practical purposes, irresistible to a member of the opposite sex. It did not matter what a woman's stance was on fidelity, that she had been a faithful partner to another for years or decades. Falleen pheromones were more potent than the strongest spice. Leia might want to resist him with her mind, but her body would ache for him. There was no antidote save one.
    Xizor smiled. He would enjoy administering the single antidote to Leia. He would enjoy it very much indeed...
  • Macross Missile Massacre: In the video game, the final boss of the foot levels—the gladiator droid—can fire clouds of seeker missiles towards you.
  • A Master Makes Their Own Tools: Luke spends almost a month working on his new lightsaber at Obi-Wan's former house, since it's his first time making one and he wants to be as exacting as possible.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The battle droids encountered in many levels of the game.
  • Mighty Glacier: Wampas are slow, but one swipe from them can take out a third of your health.
  • Mildly Military: Rogue Squadron, even moreso than in the X-Wing Series. Here, they apparently have free rein to help Luke with whatever, and other than Leia the Alliance High Command is nowhere to be seen.
  • Mob War: Between Black Sun and the Empire.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Guri. Despite this, Lando notices there's something not quite right about her.
  • Neck Snap: Guri kills one of Xizor's underlings this way for double-crossing him. Xizor himself uses it to kill a man with a vendetta who accosts him on Coruscant.
  • Never Found the Body: Dash Rendar. And it turns out, he survived.
  • Nothing Personal: A Barabel holding Luke Skywalker captive tells him that they're now involved in a bidding war for a bounty between those who want him dead and those who want him alive, but that it's not personal, just business.
    Luke: You'll excuse me if I take it personally.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Averted; in the first instance of the Running Gag regarding Xizor's gadgets never pronouncing his name right, his chair slurs his name, drawing it out and allowing the narration to spell it phonetically for the reader.
    Chair's voxchip: What is your wish, Prince Sheeezor?
  • Not Worth Killing: While destroying a Rebel base, Vader allows an X-wing to escape, as he sees the entire battle as beneath him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Xizor's reaction to Luke blocking all of his shots.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The first part of "Xizor's Theme", and "The Destruction of Xizor's Palace", the climax of which is used in the final stage of the video game.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Prince Xizor's skyhook, a space station above Coruscant that has its own space elevator.
  • Papa Wolf: Vader is... displeased about Xizor's efforts to kill his son.
  • Parrying Bullets: Naturally, Luke is able to parry blaster bolts with the lightsaber he builds.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Xizor towards the two ship guards who remained at their post to guard the Virago even when the evacuation of his castle was being sounded. He takes the time to tell the guards to take one of the airspeeders and get away before the building blows up, noting to himself that he will keep said guards in his employ and possibly even give them a promotion for their loyalty.
    • Even Vader himself gets a moment; in an inversion of his habit of choking subordinates for failure, when one officer succeeds with his work by finding critical information that reveals Xizor's motive for revenge against Vader,note  the Dark Lord rewards the man with a hefty paycheck, so to speak.
      Vader: When you finish this project, you will no longer have need to worry about money, such is my gratitude.
  • Pheromones: The Falleen of both sexes emit them, and this is the source of their attraction ability. Once a person is exposed to them, a strong desire for the individual who emits persists until they have sex. Leia only resists it due to Chewbacca interrupting her with Xizor, plus her own strong willpower (possibly her latent ability with the Force).
  • Play-Along Prisoner: At one point, Leia, Lando and Chewie get Guri to submit to being bound to her chair with carbonite cuffs. They then interrogate her about her master and get her to agree to arrange a meeting with Xizor. After this, Guri just gets up and walks out the door. You will notice we didn't mention Leia or Lando undoing the carbonite restraining cuffs first, because Guri breaks them like sugar glass when she stands, as if they weren't even there in the first place.
  • The Pornomancer: Xizor's pheromones allow him to boink any woman without so much as a struggle.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    • Vader to Xizor.
      Vader: I will risk the Emperor's displeasure. However, you will not be there to see it.
    • IG-88 to Dash.
      IG-88: You will detain me no further.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Barabel who captures Luke insists it's only business, and she has nothing against him personally. In fact, Barabels generally have a great respect for Jedi.
  • Racing Minigame: Mos Eisley & Beggar's Canyon; Get to Luke before the biker gang does, or kill all of the bikers before they reach Luke.
  • Reactor Boss: The skyhook core.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Prince Xizor, a Falleen, looks like he is about thirty, but he is over a hundred years old. According to Legends, the average Falleen lifespan is 250 years, while a rare few can live up to 400.
  • Red Shirt: This becomes a Berserk Button for Luke when he considers himself a failure of a commander for always losing men. He becomes so enraged that he single-handedly cripples a ship without the aid of the Force.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Xizor is a reptilian humanoid Falleen. Subverted since the Falleen are generally thought to be one of the more beautiful races of the galaxy (their pheromones help). Double subverted since the only Falleen we meet is Xizor, and he's a duplicitous creepy bastard.
  • The Reptilians: Xizor's people, the Falleen, had evolved from reptiles. However, they look more like humans than most examples, even having some hair, though only enough for a single topknot (oddly). Their females have breasts as well (though none appear in the book). Aside from green, slightly scaly skin, they don't have much "reptilian" features.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Xizor wants Luke dead and Vader in disgrace as payback for Vader killing his family. And neighbors. And anyone else within a hundred-mile radius of Xizor's old home...
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Guri, Xizor's very expensive Human Replica Droid. She breathes, she has muscles and a heart that pumps fluid. Even a full-body scan can't tell that she is a droid, other than her weight being higher than it should be for someone of her build and her skin being only ten years old.
  • Robosexual: Xizor and Guri.
    As [Xizor] watched her walk away, he briefly considered telling her to disrobe and join him in the water. He had made her do that a few times when he wanted company he could trust absolutely, and she had demonstrated to his satisfaction that she could pass for a woman in virtually every way during those times.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Xizor was a prince on his home planet but keeps himself busy running a massive company—and an even more massive criminal empire—and practices martial arts and shooting in his spare time in case he has to fight anyone himself. And as usual for Star Wars, Princess Leia.
  • Running Gag: None of the voxchips in any of Prince Xizor's cool chairs seem to be able to pronounce his name to his satisfaction.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Lando tosses a thermal detonator down a garbage chute, Xizor barks at his men to find it. 'We're not paid enough', comes the reply.
  • Sequential Boss: This applies to Boba Fett in the Gall Spaceport and the Gladiator Droid in Xizor's Palace. For the former, you first fight Boba Fett on foot, and after you deplete his health, he jumps into his Slave I ship and continues the fight from there. As for the Gladiator, when you start that fight, you're fighting the full droid, but you have to deplete three health bars. After the first one, the droid loses its legs and begins floating, plus the floor opens up to reveal a maze. After the second one, only the head is left, but it still has its sweeping laser and your jetpack breaks.
  • Sequence Breaking: Using a cheat code (type in "Joe" as a case sensitive name and set the difficulty to Easy) allows you to skip all of the flight based missions.
  • Sexbot: Guri sometimes serves as this for Xizor, in addition to his personal assistant and assassin.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In a Star Wars tradition, this line references THX 1138: "Thix? What is going on down there? Thix? Come in, sector one-one-three-eight, come in—"
    • In the N64 version of the game, when Dash locates the supercomputer aboard the Suprosa. If the player steps far enough back and looks at it head on... Looks an awful lot like an N64 with a Shadows cartridge plugged in, doesn't it? Also, one of the Challenge Points is shaped like Max.
    • Also in the N64 version, the credits contain "...and Weena Merkatur [sic] as The Hopping Woman", a reference to Freakazoid!. Several more are hidden via an Easter Eggnote : "Narf!", "Don't be a weird boy!", "United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama...", and "...G'dnight Everybody!" Someone at LucasArts was a big fan of Kids' WB! circa 1996.
  • Sky Face: The comic adaptation that takes place just after A New Hope features Luke remembering Obi-Wan with his face in the sky.
  • Smug Snake: Xizor is a high-functioning example. He's certainly clever and he's got style, but his arrogance leads him to make several mistakes that end up biting him hard—most notably underestimating Darth Vader.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Xizor is apparently pronounced "SHEE-zor," with the X pronounced as in Portuguese. This issue is still being debated almost 15 years later.
  • Standard FPS Guns: In the video game, the blaster, seeker missiles, flamethrower, pulse cannon, stunner, and disruptor take the roles of Pistol (complete with Bottomless Magazines), Rocket Launcher, Flamethrower, Automatic Weapon, Gimmicky Weapon, and BFG respectively. Plays all associated tropes relatively straight, save for the seekers, which are actually fairly weak for a rocket launcher (their main strength is their heat-seeking abilities).
  • Statuesque Stunner: Guri is noted to be beautiful, and sources state that she stands at 1.8 meters tall: 5'11". To put things in perspective, this is only slightly less than Xizor's height of 1.83 meters (as per The New Essential Guide to Characters) and considerably more than Leia's 1.55 meters (the height of Carrie Fisher, the actress who played Leia).
  • Super Reflexes: Luke gets this when he opens himself to the Force during his fight with Guri—the narration says that he "felt as if he were moving at normal speed, though there was a crackling feeling to his motion, a sound like strong wind whistling about his ears."
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Dash Rendar in place of frozen Han Solo. Several characters actually comment on his similarity. If anything, though, Rendar is even cockier.
  • The Syndicate: Black Sun is the most powerful criminal organization in the galaxy. It's an Empire within an Empire (though predating it by centuries) and has a cozy arrangement with Palpatine (for example, providing logistical support to the construction of the Death Star) who considers it valuable enough that its leader, Xizor, is a respected member of the Imperial Court, the third most powerful man in the galaxy, and a rival to Darth Vader himself. Its upper-level members are all rich and powerful in their own right—Xizor is the CEO of the galaxy's largest transportation company, one of his underlings Durga leads a Hutt crime family that rivals Jabba's, etc. Star Wars: Scoundrels reveals that Black Sun accumulated most of its power not by bribery or intimidation, but by gathering information to blackmail high-level officials into cooperating, making it as much a private intelligence agency as a crime syndicate (which is why Leia reaches out to it in the first place), and one the Bothans alone can outdo.
  • Tank Controls: In the N64 game, to an extent—pushing the joystick to the left or right causes Dash to rotate rather than just face that direction.
  • Turns Red: In the video game—as you destroy the Gladiator from the feet up, its attacks become deadlier. On top of that, the floor opens up and creates a maze (which has a few droids in it), and once the head is left, it will only use the sweeping laser and your jetpack will malfunction; it won't refill when you exhaust the fuel.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe, Lando Calrissian notes that while Guri is beautiful, there's something "spooky" about her.
  • The Unfought: Dash never directly encounters Xizor or Guri in the game.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Xizor has one near the end.
  • Villainous Rescue: During the final battle over Coruscant, Vader saves Luke by ordering the Imperial fleet to attack Xizor's forces.
  • Villain Shoes: There are several cheats that let you play as the bad guys in the video game:
    • In the Echo Base level, if you already have the Wampa Stompa code as your filename, you can trigger a cheat code note  to play as either a Snowtrooper or a Wampa.
    • There is also a cheat code that allows you to play as an AT-ST in the Battle of Hoth level.
    • If you're in the "Sewers of Imperial City Level" or "Xizor's Palace", you can use a similar cheat to play as one of Xizor's guards.
    • During the Skyhook battle, there is a cheat that allows you to play as a TIE fighter, in addition to an X-wing. You can also unlock them by getting all 87 Challenge Points on Medium difficulty.
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    • The book sometimes cuts to Xizor doing mundane things that aren't linked to one of his evil plans. It once cuts to him going to a restaurant, wondering what dish he'll order. It also cuts at one point to him trimming a six-hundred-year old bonsai tree while thinking that he will reveal this patient, cultured side of himself to Leia, among other things. Later it cuts to him luxuriating in a bath, having invited Leia to join him (he was rejected), thinking that soon his pheromones will overcome her willpower.
    • There's quite a few of these cuts in the novel—one shows Xizor inspecting a mansion he bought for his mistress as a good-bye gift, and in another he's contemplating his navel while dining on the Star Wars equivalent of fugu.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Quasi-meta example. Most official artwork shows Xizor as having a rather Bishōnen appearance, yet the book describes his voice as being very deep and manly.
  • Warm-Up Boss: The AT-ST you fight inside Echo Base in the video game. Even on Jedi difficulty, its a ridiculously easy fight, since it moves and turns so slow, allowing you to circle strafe behind it and shoot it into submission.
  • We Will Not Use Stage Makeup In The Future: Subverted, as with nearly all disguises in Star Wars Legends.
  • Wham Episode: Vader of all people is on the business end of one when he figures out why Xizor is hell-bent on killing Luke: Xizor knows Luke is Vader's son, and he wants to kill Luke in revenge for Vader killing Xizor's family. It's notable as one of the few times in the old canon that Darth Vader is caught on the wrong foot. But, true to form, he takes zero chances in dealing with Xizor after that moment.
  • Wicked Cultured: Xizor. Part of the reason the heroes know he's dead is that he never shows up again at any of Coruscant's most expensive restaurants, one of which he co-owns.
  • Worth It: During the final battle, Vader is fully aware that he'll be risking the Emperor's wrath by killing Xizor (who currently has the Emperor's favor as a major resource-provider), but still invokes this trope after finally having enough of Xizor's crap.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Xizor sees Vader as this, disliking him on a personal level but respecting him as a warrior. Guri also sees Luke as this since as a droid programmed for combat, most humans are no match for her but a Jedi is.
    • It's also notable the Vader explicitly says in the book that he doesn't consider Xizor this, considering his duplicitous scheming to be beneath him.
  • You Got Spunk: Xizor to Leia.
  • You Have Failed Me: After learning that a rescue party broke into his palace, Xizor plans to replace his entire security staff—and those other than foot soldiers, the supervisors, would find their dismissals particularly painful. On the other hand, when it comes time to flee the palace, Xizor takes note of the two guards who kept watch over his personal fighter, the Virago, and decides that they will keep their jobs when the situation is taken care of (and possibly even earn a promotion).
  • You Killed My Father: Comes up quite often, actually. Vader killed most of Xizor's family, Xizor drove a would-be assassin's father to his death, the Empire killed Melan's schoolteacher father for espionage... Also, Dash's parents were exiled and he was expelled from the Imperial Academy because his brother crashed a ship into one of the Emperor's personal museums. Vader wants to kill Xizor over his attempt on Luke.

Alternative Title(s): Shadows Of The Empire


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