February 26, 2008

The Sharpton Challenge Strikes Back

There are two good reasons for selecting that title for my response to this. The first is that this is a sequel. As to the second, well . . . The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that I don't have many favorite sci-fi characters outside of Star Wars, I have favorite sci-fi authors: Wells, Verne, Asimov, Clark, Bradbury, LeGuin, Zahn, etc.

There are a few exceptions to this: R. Daneel Olivaw (Asimov's epic, multi-series future earth saga), Academician Prokhor Zakharov (Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri), Sarah Kerrigan (StarCraft). Then there are movies and TV shows . . . Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Back to the Future, Firefly. But with a few exceptions, what I really appreciate there, too, are the plots (and, it has to be said, the special effects).

So this has to be a list of my favorite characters (pretty much a list of scum and villainy, as it were) from the Star Wars Expanded Universe, as anyone who ever read this post will understand:

1.) Han Solo: Han Solo is, very clearly, the best character from the movies (although generally far cooler before he let a certain princess get his number). So, if you really like that pre-infatuation Solo, you'll love the fact that there are several EU books devoted to that period of his life, and several more that let him go off on his own and really live up to that name. And several of them are pretty good. Favorite moments: Anything involving Han in an asteroid belt. Most notably the chase scene from The Empire Strikes Back and the hilarious attempt to live up to that former glory and best piloting records (set by his own children) in Vector Prime.

2.) Corran Horn: This guy has it all. He's a Corellian fighter pilot who becomes a Jedi, and stars in a significant percentage of my favorite Star Wars books, including the amazing X-Wing series. Favorite moments: His derring-do investigations as a member of CorSec in "Side Trip," revelation of the jaw-dropping twist at the end of The Krytos Trap and unexpected battle against five saber-wielding Dark Jedi in I, Jedi (which Luke has to bail him out of).

3.) Grand Admiral Thrawn: A blue-skinned, red-eyed Chiss alien who managed the rank of Grand Admiral in the extremely xenophobic Imperial Navy by dint of his unmatched tactical genius. He attributed his insight into the enemy to a rigorous study of the art of whatever race he came up against. Whatever works, man. Whatever works. Favorite moment: Pretty much anything he says or does in the Thrawn Trilogy.

4.) Mara Jade Skywalker: Kinda like Han, Mara was much cooler before she married into the Skywalker family. She was much closer to the right idea when she attempted to kill Luke on their first meeting, a holdover response dictated by her days working as a Force-sensitive secret assassin taking orders directly from Emperor Palpatine. Ah, well. She still pulls some pretty sweet stunts from time to time. Favorite moments: Probably the exciting investigation of the Hand of Thrawn complex in the Thrawn duology.

5.) Wes Janson: Janson is actually a character from the original movies, but not many casual viewers could tell you when or where. He's one of the pilots during the Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. However, his best work is collaborating with Wedge Antilles as part of both Rogue Squadron and Wraith Squadron, as detailed by Aaron Allston. Favorite moments: Three words, "Yub yub, Commander."

Posted by Jared at February 26, 2008 11:44 PM | TrackBack