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Literature / The Glove of Darth Vader

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"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. Introducing a new hero named Ken, this storyline also follows the continued adventures of the heroes of the movie trilogy as they fight the remnants of the Empire, now led by a sinister cult called the Prophets of the Dark Side and a man who claims to be Emperor Palpatine's son. The books 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)

In 1996, omnibus editions were released that collected the whole series in two volumes. There was originally supposed to be a concluding seventh installment, relating the final fate of the Prophets of the Dark Side, but this was never written, perhaps because of the backlash against the previous books and the release of other, more popular Expanded Universe works which followed a different timeline.

The series includes examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: In this series, it is strongly implied that Kadann, Jedgar and the other prophets are frauds who do not really see the future, but only pretend to in order to exploit the gullible. However, later books in the old Expanded Universe make clear that they were in fact extremely powerful Dark Side wizards — for example, Kadann foresaw Palpatine's downfall, which the Emperor himself did not.
  • All There in the Manual: While the Prophets as depicted here are mostly vague and ominous, The Dark Side Sourcebook provides a fleshed-out depiction of their whole vaguely Gnostic theology, which both grants it real philosophical depth and manages to make them genuinely terrifying, if they weren't already.
  • And That's Terrible: "I bid you Dark Greetings" and "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 of the Dark Side, 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!
  • Bed Trick: Teased. When Trioculus was to marry Leia, the Rebels substituted a human-appearing robot doppelganger for her instead. However, she/it killed him before the marriage could be consummated.
  • Big Bad: Supreme Prophet Kadann is the ultimate antagonist of the books; Trioculus only thinks he is.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Emperor Trioculus is a petty, incompetent idiot who thinks he is Palpatine's worthy successor. Yet he is a fraud, gets outsmarted by the protagonists easily and even loses to Zorba the Hutt and gets frozen in carbonite. Kadann knows he is a fraud, and saw him as just a puppet to kill and replace on the throne.
  • Big "NO!": C-3PO gets one of these.
  • Body Horror: What befalls Hissa on Duro. Specifically, having his limbs burned away with industrial chemicals.
  • Butt-Monkey: Trioculus' career as "Emperor" and a villain in general 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. Though subsequently, a later retcon retconned the retcon again.
    • 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.
  • Canon Immigrant: While this series was largely ignored by the old EU, some elements that it invented were included in later works:
    • Zorba the Hutt's Revenge introduces the titular character, who is the father of Jabba the Hutt. Zorba is referenced in a number of later EU works, including The Han Solo Trilogy and Karen Traviss's novelization of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
    • Queen of the Empire introduces a place called Hologram Fun World, which later appears in the Galaxy of Fear book The Nightmare Machine.
  • 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.
  • The Chooser of the One: Kadann. As Supreme Prophet of the Dark Side, he is the conduit through whom the Dark One of Ancient Times speaks, and chooses Emperor Palpatine's successor.
  • Cruella to Animals: Trioculus takes a break from pursuing our heroes to hunt animals.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Kadann speaks like this when pronouncing his prophecies, presenting ominous sayings in a sort of verse.
    Tormented and frozen alive
    The three-eyed ruler commands no more
    Never again shall he receive
    The dark blessing of the Supreme Prophet
    Eyes cannot behold the new ruler
    for the ruler is the Dark One of ancient times
    But from this day forth he speaks through me
    And I shall speak his commands to you.
  • 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.
  • Divided for Publication: A series Omnibus was published as Star Wars: Book One and Star Wars: Book Two.
  • Evil Laugh: Zorba the Hutt has this as his trademark, a deep, rumbling HAW HAW HAW.
  • Fanboy: Ken is essentially an in-universe Star Wars fanboy.
  • Fixing the Game: Zorba the Hutt takes Cloud City from Lando after beating him in Sabacc, using a deck of marked cards with UV-reflective symbols (which he can see.)
  • 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!
  • Hellhole Prison: The Imperial Reprogramming Institute on Duro is this with a side order of Bedlam House, being a psychiatric clinic for mentally ill criminals and dissidents. This was also where Triclops was put.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: To say Grand Moff Hissa is more competent than Trioculus would be an understatement.
  • 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.
    • Ditto, while Trioculus eventually bites the dust, Supreme Prophet Kadann never gets his comeuppance, and apparently remains in charge of the Empire (albeit trapped in the Lost City of the Jedi) as of the final pages. As with Zorba, later material (published in Star Wars Insider #66) retconned this by explaining how he ultimately escaped Yavin IV and was killed by Grand Admiral Afsheen Makati upon returning to his old base, while also being revealed as an impostor.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Zorba and Trioculus can't be taken seriously, but Kadann can sometimes be a serious threat.
  • 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!
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Extensively played with. Trioculus claims to be Palpatine's biological son, and for all his ineffectiveness is absolutely the Emperor's equal in cruel inhumanity, but is actually an impostor, with no force sensitivity. Triclops, Palpatine's true son, is allegedly so dangerously insane that even the cartoonish Imperial villains of this story fear letting him gain power. Then it turns out that he is a straight example: his "madness" is nothing more than pacifism and a desire for disarmament. However, his brilliant mind is not totally untouched by decades of mistreatment and electroshocks, and when he sleeps he dreams of weapons of war and horrific destruction, which the Imperials mine via an implant, hence their leaving him alive.
  • 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.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Both Hissa and Kadann are basically running the Empire by manipulating the rather fickle and buffoonish Trioculus who nominally rules. In the end, though, Kadann comes out ahead.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Trioculus", 'Tri' — meaning 'three', and 'oculus' — a form of the word ocular, 'of the eye'; so, three eyes. And the man he serves as a doppelganger for, literally named Triclops.
    • Hissa is a Smug Snake to the core, who even has sharp teeth.
  • Mister Big: Supreme Prophet Kadann is short, described as a dwarf several times. He is also the true villain of the series.
  • My Car Hates Me: In the first book with a minisub.
  • Not So Harmless Punishment: The Prophets of the Dark Side sentence two enemy moffs to three and four years in prison and a third to five years as a sentry. The prisons and sentry outpost are all on Death Worlds where people tend to die within a couple of years.
  • 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.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: The Grand Moffs apparently can fight much better than their Stormtroopers. Grand Moff Hissa even gets to take Ken hostage and personally defeat Zorba the Hutt. Also, the Prophets of the Dark Side are supposed to be even more powerful.
  • 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.
    • Triclops also has three eyes, except one of them is in the back of his head.
  • Religion of Evil: The Prophets of the Dark Side, a sort of clerisy that supports Palpatine's philosophy of the Force. They got more fleshed out in later supplements, but can be surprisingly sinister at times even in their original appearances here, considering how generally light-hearted the series otherwise is.
  • Robot Girl: The Princess Leia android who marries Trioculus and then assassinates him.
  • 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 (original trilogy) films.
  • The Theocracy: After Trioculus' fall from grace, Supreme Prophet Kadann decreed that he would rule the Empire in his own name while awaiting the true messiah of the Dark Side, effectively turning it into this.
  • Thrown from the Zeppelin: Zigzagged. When Trioculus claims Palpatine's throne during a summit of Imperial warlords, a Royal Guard and a Grand Admiral question whether he has the best claim. Trioculus shocks them with (apparent) Force Lightning but stops short of killing them when the two recant their doubts. Shortly afterward, a second Grand Admiral refuses to support Trioculus's decision to build a military base on Hoth until he finds the Glove of Darth Vader and is shot by Hissa.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: A near-literal example occurs when Zorba the Hutt is fed to the Sarlaac, only to be vomited up as his skin-mucus is too disgusting for even it to digest.
  • Unmoving Plaid: In-universe example. The Prophets wear jet-black cloaks studded with stars and constellations that behave in this eerie manner, creating an effect that is said to be akin to a cloth woven out of the fabric of deep space itself.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Trioculus believes himself to be the true ruler of the Empire, and Grand Moff Hissa believes he is, courtesy of being Trioculus' handler. Actually, however, both men are little but pawns for Kadann and the Prophets — as Hissa eventually finds out when the latter have no further use for him.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The books are goofy light adventures for young readers, and it shows: Trioculus, Hissa and Zorba are buffoonish much of the time, and rarely genuinely threatening. However, the Prophets of the Dark Side (and specifically Supreme Prophet Kadann) are much more sinister in just about every way, as well as surprisingly competent, to the point that they work quite well as serious villains. Especially with the upgrade they got in subsequent fluff.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Since the plotlines were rarely referenced by later books, what became of its main characters was left fairly vague. Ken, for example — did he become one of Luke Skywalker's Jedi trainees later on? Or did he just disappear again, as happened to some others? One somewhat popular fan theory is that he became the New Jedi Order character Kenth Hamner (due most likely to the similarity of the names), but this has never been confirmed officially.
  • 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.