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Literature / Star Wars: Aftermath

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As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance — now a fledgling New Republic — presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but is taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.

Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former Rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world — war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is—or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.

Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit — to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on Norra and her newfound allies — her technical genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate Imperial defector — who are prepared to do whatever they must to end the Empire’s oppressive reign once and for all.

Aftermath is a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel by Chuck Wendig and the first Post-Endor story released following the Continuity Reboot by Disney.

The Rebel Alliance is busy trying to make the switch from guerrilla military movement to a legitimate government, but the Empire, though crippled by the events at Endor, is still a force to be reckoned with and now one of its powerful fleets is marshaling at the Outer Rim world of Akiva in preparation for a devastating counter-attack on the fledgling New Republic. Fighter Ace Wedge Antilles has learned of this fleet's movements but before he can warn the Republic leadership of the danger he is captured by Imperial forces. Now it is up to veteran rebel soldier Norra Wexley and whatever forces she can scrape together to rescue Wedge and report back to the New Republic about the Imperial plans.

Aftermath's sequel, and the second novel of the Aftermath trilogy, is Aftermath: Life Debt. The third novel of the series is Aftermath: Empire's End.

The novel contains the following tropes:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Norra Wexley's plans to reconnect with her son and leave her past as a Rebel soldier behind are put on hold when she intercepts Wedge's distress call.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Sloane asks Wedge during interrogation why he joined the Rebel Alliance. Wedge replies to destroy the Empire and tyranny. Sloane counters that this is a smokescreen and that it usually boils down to something personal. Wedge hesitates before answering.
  • The Artful Dodger: Temmin, Norra Wexley's son. In the time since the war took away his parents he has become quite involved in the local black market.
  • Authority in Name Only: Tattooine's self-appointed lawman Cobb Vanth is this during his scene in this novel (albeit with a worthier cause than usual), but once he gets his hands on Boba Fett's armor, by the time of the sequels (and later The Mandalorian) he's gone From Nobody to Nightmare in the eyes of the local criminals, and becomes a savior to the common people of Tatooine.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Pretty much everyone at the gathering on Akiva realizes that the Emperor ordering the construction of two massively expensive superweapons instead of thousands of Star Destroyers (which would have been more useful in a wide variety of ways) was a stupid idea.
  • Badass in Distress: Wedge Antilles is captured by Imperial forces led by Rae Sloane at the start of the story.
  • Bad Liar: Wedge knows that he is one; he is just a pilot and not somebody who can convince a Jawa to buy a bag of sand like Han Solo.
  • Ballistic Discount: Defied. When a junk dealer tries to sell a lightsaber to a group called the Acolytes of Beyond, he asks how he knows they won't just use it to kill him.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Norra is the Y-wing pilot that flew beside the Falcon in the attack on the second Death Star, the one that broke off and headed back to the surface on Lando's orders, taking about half the pursuing TIE fighters with her and her wingmate.
  • Benevolent Boss: Sloane, in contrast to the other Imperial commanders on Akiva with the possible exception of General Jylia Shale. She is supportive and protective of any competent officer under her command, especially her longtime shuttle pilot Morna Kee and attaché Adea Rite.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: How the Happy Ending Override scene in the prologue ends, with the crowd throwing pieces of the destroyed statute at the police shooting at them, while Rorak mentally reflects how he'd always felt that the war wouldn't just be won with one big battle, and that it still needs to be fought. They then jin the crowd, with a later chapter mentioning that Rorak was killed but his son survived: "He holds his son close. Then he puts a hunk of statute in the boys hand. And he picks up one himself."
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Admiral Sloane mentally repeats Count Denetrius Vidian's old catchphrase "Forget the Old Way" to herself when first confronting Wedge Antilles.
  • Bounty Hunter: Jas, a Zabrak mercenary who is related to Sugi from the Clone Wars.
  • But Not Too Gay: Jas, a female Zabrak, has (non-explicit) sex with a male human. Sinjin is gay, and gets a boyfriend. Norra's sister Esmelle is married to another woman. Sinjir and Esmelle are not even described as kissing their partners.
  • Callback:
  • Cannon Fodder: After Endor, the Empire is desperate enough to fill in slots in the front line that half the Vigilance's crew hadn't finished training before being tossed into combat.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Wedge notes there are stories about Mustafar saying that was where Darth Vader took Jedi to execute them. Much like how Rebels said Mustafar was where 'Jedi go to die'.
    • Sloane uses Denetrius Vidian's old catchphrase, "Forget the Old Way", from A New Dawn.
    • Wedge was recruited by Fulcrum. The events of how this unfolds are explored in the later-released Season 3 of Rebels.
    • An interlude chapter on Saleucami has characters discussing their war-weary neighbor, "Old Man Lawquane", from The Clone Wars episode, "The Deserter".
    • Jas is the niece of Sugi, a Zabrak bounty hunter.
    • Mister Bones' programming is strongly implied to be partially based off that of General Grievous.
    • On Tatooine, a group of Jawas are shown selling debris and artifacts recovered from the remains of Jabba's pleasure skiff. This includes an acid-scarred suit of Mandalorian armor, implied to have belonged to Boba Fett.
      • The Season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian outright confims that the armor is Boba's... and that he's still alive.
    • Another interlude mentions a New Republic art installation on Chandrila made of painted-over Imperial helmets, with one of the characters about to say the artist's name before being cut off. Sounds like the work of a certain Mandalorian warrior.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Done unintentionally. Wedge was flying under the identity of a Devaronian smuggler named Gev Hassan during his recon mission, but he was unaware said smuggler had died in Imperial custody a few weeks prior. Naturally, this gets him into trouble.
  • Defector from Decadence: Sinjir used to be an Imperial Loyalty Officer, the Star Wars equivalent of The Political Officer or Commissar, who deserted in the aftermath of Endor.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Jas matter-of-factly says that Sinjir can have sex with her once their mission is done after she thinks he's interested in her. It turns out he isn't though.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Imperial loyalist Borgin Kaa has this during the Cloud City interlude when he sees his friend Jintar Oarr has thrown in with the rebels. Jintar feels this in turn when it becomes clear that Borgin isn't going to abandon the Empire's ideals due to his own self-interest, and a bad case of I Reject Your Reality:
  • Fantastic Racism: After Sinjir tells Jas he isn't interested when she agrees to have sex with him at a later date, she initially thinks it's because she's an alien, and reacts angrily. He quickly corrects her by saying he's just not interested in ''any'' women.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The book ends with the ad-hoc rebel team that rescued Wedge becoming a regular New Republic special forces unit.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Webb and Dav Taffral. Dav is an idealistic, hard-working member of the Rebel Alliance while Webb is a washout from the Imperial Academy who attempts to turn his brother in for a reward. Fourtauntely, there isn't enough real hatred, or a tragic ending for them to be Cain and Abel.
  • Four-Star Badass: Sloane, despite being a fairly high ranking admiral, personally takes charge on the front lines several times in the book. She personally leads the team hunting for Wedge through the Vigilance and is the one who captures him, then a few pages later she uses her personal shuttle as a gunship against Jas. Then, she personally leads the stormtrooper unit that captures the heroes and when Mr. Bones tries to intervene Sloane is the one who destroys him. Finally, when Moff Pandion tries to seize command she beats the crap out of him, shoots him in the gut and leaves him on-board an exploding shuttle.
  • Happy Ending Override: Remember the people cheering and pulling down Palpatine's statue at the end of Return of the Jedi? The prologue of the book opens up with Imperial Military Police busting up that celebration and opening fire into the crowd.
  • Heel Realization: General Jylia Shale accurately spells out why the Imperial military were not the good guys in this war.
    This isn't some kind of inspirational story. Some scrappy, ragtag underdog tale, some pugilistic match where we're the goodhearted gladiator who brings down the oppressive regime that put him in the arena. They get to have that narrative. We are the ones who enslaved whole worlds full of alien inhabitants. We are the ones who built something called a Death Star under the leadership of a decrepit old goblin who believed in the 'dark side' of some ancient, insane religion.
  • It's All About Me: Borgin Kaa has a bad case of this.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Sloane throws several corrupt and incompetent Imperials under the bus throughout the book. She tosses the Satrap of Akiva to an angry mob, shoots Moff Pandion in the gut and leaves him in the New Republic's tender loving care, etc....
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: From what's described, Esmelle and Shirene, her wife, are an example. Esmelle is long-haired, thin and her manner is more girlish. Shirene is short-haired and bulky with a more practical, down to earth personality.
  • The Man Behind the Man: It turns out Sloane is actually operating under orders from a mysterious Fleet Admiral, who most of the galaxy thinks is dead and is regarded as one of the Empire's best officers.
  • Mistaken for Racist: After Sinjir turns down Jas's offer of sex, she thinks at first this is because she's a Zabrak, and gets angry. He quickly corrects her that no, it's because he's gay.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: After Sinjir informs Jas that he's gay, he tells her they need to talk about Temmin (since he noticed something was burdening the boy). Jas responds by telling him Temmin is way too young for him.
  • The Mole: The New Republic has one in the Empire's ranks with the code-name Operator. Or so they think. The Operator is actually the Fleet Admiral Sloane works for and he is using the New Republic military to do his dirty work.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Temmin has this reaction when his plan to stay on Akiva by selling out Sinjir and Jas blows up in his face and he learns the hard way about making deals with Imperial Stormtroopers breathing down your neck.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Mr. Bones. The fact that he is a heavily modified war droid doesn't help either.
  • Now What?: Briefly wondered by some slaves liberated in a revolt against the Emprie, although more with wonder and hope than the usual trepidation.
  • Obliviously Evil: Sloane has a bad case of this.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Characters often swear "by the stars."
  • Only Sane Man: Jylia Shale, as all of the other warlords, especially Sloane herself, are too fixated on preserving the Empire and its rotten ideals while she feels they should surrender.
  • Pet the Dog: After capturing Wedge, Sloane provides him medical treatment while apologizing for having to shoot him.
  • The Political Officer: Sinjir used to be an Imperial Loyalty Officer.
  • Punch-Clock Villain /Punch-Clock Hero: One interlude chapter shows that many recruits looking to enlist in the Empire in hopes of a better life don't see much difference in joining the New Republic instead.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The team assembled to rescue Wedge consists of a Rebel pilot suffering from PTSD, her con-artist and tech savvy black-marketer of a son, a heavily modified B-1 battle droid, an ex-Imperial Loyalty Officer, and a Zabrak bounty hunter.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Norra pulls this twice.
  • Rousing Speech:
    • The book opens with Admiral Ackbar's victory speech at Endor, where he thanks the soldiers for their sacrifices and efforts but at the same time reminds them the Empire is still the dominant force in the galaxy despite the loss of the Death Star, the Emperor and Darth Vader.
    • Leia gives a propaganda broadcast that is repeated several times throughout the book.
  • Secret Test of Character: Sloane's mysterious commanding officer, the Fleet Admiral, secretly used the events of Akiva as a test to see if Sloane and the other Imperials were worthy of being included in the next parts of his plan. Sloane passed with flying colors, the others failed miserably.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Who is this mysterious Fleet Admiral in charge of the Super Star Destroyer Ravager and its fleet? What does he know about the Empire's secret expansion into the Unknown Regions?
    • A group of dark side fanatics known as the Acolytes of Beyond appear, and purchase what may be Darth Vader's lightsaber. The group may be connected to Kylo Ren and the First Order, the villains of The Force Awakens. This aspect drew a large amount of attention from fans, since J. J. Abrams has hinted that Kylo Ren worships Darth Vader, much like the Acolytes.
    • Han Solo is convinced to take part in a campaign to liberate the Wookiee homeworld. If its title is any indication, the second novel in the trilogy will follow up on that plotline.
  • Sexual Extortion: Implied to be the case with Borgin Kaa's mistress, given that as she's throwing in with the Rebels, he's threatening to punish her family by canceling the loans he gave them.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Valco Pandion was just a regular Moff in command of one Star Destroyer who fled the battle of Malastare as his garrison was overrun. By the time of Aftermath he has promoted himself to Grand Moff and thinks he should be the one in command of the SSD Ravager while completely unaware that its original commander is still very much alive.
  • Smug Snake: Moff Pandion, who has promoted himself to Grand Moff, and thinks he is the most fit to rule over what is left of the Empire. Sloane finally gets tired of dealing with his ass, shoots him in the gut, mocks him for thinking he had it all figured out, pointing out exactly what he didn't know, and dumps him for New Republic troops to capture.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: Sinjir responds to Jas propositioning him by revealing that he's only into men.
  • Spiritual Successor: The book is an X-Wing Series novel in all but name.
  • Straight Gay: There was only one slight hint Sinjir was gay (calling the male officer he beat badly as punishment for stealing a Moff's ring "beautiful") before he has to explain to Jas that the reason he was turning down her proposition for sex was not because she was an alien, but because she was a woman.
  • Stupid Evil: Pretty much everyone at the gathering on Akiva realizes that the Emperor ordering the construction of two massively expensive superweapons instead of thousands of Star Destroyers (which would have been more useful in a wide variety of ways) was a stupid idea.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Poor Sloane, she has to put up with half-trained raw recruits on the Vigiliance and incompetent rivals like Moff Pandion throughout the book.
  • Tempting Fate: In one of the later "Interlude" chapters, a man named Corwin Ballast comes to the desolate Outer Rim planet of Jakku to escape the ongoing war between the Empire and New Republic, because even though he was unaffiliated with either side, his wife and daughter were caught and killed in the crossfire between the two. The bartender of the dive he's in assures him Jakku is far too remote and worthless for the war to ever come to it, promising him all the free drinks he wants if it ever does. A year after the battle of Endor (also after this chapter takes place), the Empire and New Republic would engage in another massive battle directly over Jakku, which would lead to the planet being littered with debris even thirty years afterward. One assumes the bartender came to really regret making that offer with Corwin...
  • Took a Level in Badass: Temmin has a B-1 battle droid bodyguard named Mr. Bones. Yes, those B-1s from the Prequels and The Clone Wars, the joke characters. Well, guess what they can do when you heavily mod one.
  • The War Has Just Begun: Endor hurt the Empire bad but it didn't collapse outright and now its forces are rallying for a counter-attack. Admiral Ackbar says as much during his Endor victory speech at the start of the book.
    "But though we may celebrate, we should not consider this our time to rest. We struck a major blow against the Empire, and now will be the time to seize on the opening we have created. The Empire’s weapon may be destroyed, but the Empire itself lives on. Its oppressive hand closes around the throats of good, free-thinking people across the galaxy, from the Coruscant Core to the farthest systems in the Outer Rim. We must remember that our fight continues. Our rebellion is over. But the war … the war is just beginning."