Star Wars celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this year but the festivities are far from over. October will see the release of the highly-anticipated anthology, From a Certain Point of View, a diverse collection of short stories which will retell the events of the much-loved 1977 film from the perspectives of the film’s unsung heroes, Imperial staff, and villainous scum.
Considered to be one of Del Rey Books’ most exhilarating and ambitious projects to date, here are eight reasons why you should be excited for From a Certain Point of View!
1 – It Pays Homage to ‘A New Hope’ and its Ongoing Legacy
It may be hard to believe but, back in 1977, there was no guarantee that A New Hope (then simply titled Star Wars) would go on to become a best-selling blockbuster, let alone the cultural phenomenon it is four decades later.
From a Certain Point of View was borne out of a desire to pay tribute to the film’s ongoing legacy and recapture the sense of wonder we all felt when we were first introduced to that galaxy far, far away. To achieve this goal, Del Rey has enlisted the help of authors whose personal and/or professional lives have been inspired in part by the Skywalker saga.
2 – Its Diverse Range of Authors
Putting together an anthology like this one is no mean feat but Del Rey Books has successfully recruited a total of 43 authors – both old and new – for this project.
Authors who will be getting their first shot at writing a Star Wars story include Nigerian-American science-fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor (whose novel Who Fears Death was recently optioned by HBO), New York Times best-selling author Madeleine Roux, Pakistani-American YA writer Sabaa Tahir, and New York-based Latino author Daniel José Older.
Madeleine Roux (@Authoroux) September 14, 2017
Returning authors include Claudia Gray (Lost Stars, Bloodline, and Leia: Princess of Alderaan), Christie Golden (Dark Disciple, Inferno Squad), Chuck Wendig (the Aftermath trilogy), Greg Rucka (Shattered Empire, Guardians of the Whills), and Delilah S. Dawson (Phasma). Even the Lucasfilm Story Group’s Pablo Hidalgo has made his own contribution to this commemorative anthology by penning a story told from the point of view of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.
3 – Everyone Gets a Story
From a Certain Point of View shifts the focus from the film’s main cast and turns the spotlight on the motley crew of humans, aliens, creatures, and droids whose lives were impacted by – or influenced – the events of A New Hope.
From mouse droids to disgruntled Imperial staff, from grouchy Cantina barkeepers to rebel pilots, from Bith musicians to the anonymous scribe tasked with writing in the Journal of the Whills, the authors have gone to extraordinary lengths to explore every conceivable angle. And with forty stories to choose from, there’s bound to be something to suit every fan’s literary tastes and needs.
4 – It Ties the Star Wars Universe Together
This anthology won’t just expand on the events and characters seen in A New Hope; it will also draw upon the rest of the canon Star Wars universe and bring in characters we’ve seen in other Star Wars media.
Two notable examples are Chelli Lona Aphra (aka Doctor Aphra), the quick-thinking, morally ambiguous archaeologist first seen in Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader series, and Miara Larte, one of the two Larte sisters first introduced in E.K. Johnston’s young adult novel, Ahsoka.
Yoda, Lando Calrissian, Mon Mothma, and Leia’s adoptive parents, Bail and Breha Organa, will all be making an appearance in From a Certain Point of View despite the fact that they didn’t make their on-screen debuts until after the release of A New Hope. They may not have been in the 1977 film but it appears they all had vital roles to play… albeit off camera.
Fans of the prequels, Rogue One, and both animated TV series can also expect references and callbacks to the events and key figures of the pre-ANH timeline, poignant reminders that Lucasfilm is devoted to crafting one larger, more cohesive expanded universe.
5 – There’s Greater Female Representation
If there’s one complaint many of us long-time fans have about A New Hope (and the Original Trilogy in general), it’s the lack of women visible on screen. From a Certain Point of View tries to remedy this somewhat by offering a selection of stories told from a female perspective.
Canon newcomers Aphra and Miara Larte will be retconned into the events of A New Hope and some of the film’s existing background characters will have some time in the spotlight. The Tonnika sisters are the stars of Zoraida Córdova’s short story ‘You Owe Me a Ride’, while fantasy and sci-fi writer Nnedi Okorafor’s story, ‘The Baptist’, will tell the tale of the female dianoga that lives in the Death Star’s trash compactor.
This is out Oct 5th. I've given the trash compactor monster from a New Hope a story. 🦑Now you'll know how she got t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…—
Nnedi Okorafor, PhD (@Nnedi) September 16, 2017
Readers can also look forward to meeting a few new female characters, including Reirin, a female Tusken Raider created by Pakistani-American writer Sabaa Tahir, and Nera Kase, a character that author Greg Rucka has declined to shed any more light on prior to the book’s release. All we know is that she isn’t Alderaanian.
And if you’ve ever wondered what Mon Mothma and Breha Organa were doing after the Battle of Scarif, fear not. Writers Alexander Freed and Madeleine Roux will explore these women’s points of view in their stories ‘Contingency Plan’ and ‘Eclipse’ respectively. Luke Skywalker’s aunt, Beru Whitesun Lars, will also have her moment to shine in Meg Cabot’s story.
6 – Ashley Eckstein Has Lent Her Voice Talents to the Audiobook Version
If you prefer audiobooks over text, you’re in luck. There will be an audiobook version and one of the celebrities lending their voice talents to the project is none other than Ahsoka Tano herself, Ashley Eckstein. While Ashley will not be narrating an Ahsoka story this time around, she will be narrating E.K. Johnston’s tale ‘By Whatever Sun’ among others.
Ashley will be joined by a full cast of other celebrities, including Janina Gavankar, who plays Iden Versio in the upcoming video game Star Wars: Battlefront II and recently narrated the audiobook edition of Inferno Squad; Saskia Maarleveld, who narrated Claudia Gray’s young adult novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan; actor and comedian Neil Patrick Harris; and Mad Men star John Hamm, who will be narrating Paul Dini’s Boba Fett tale, ‘Added Muscle’.
If you’d like to listen to a preview clip from the audiobook edition, check out Marc Thompson’s narration of Gary D. Schmidt’s story, ‘There is Another’, which promises to be a treat for Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy fans alike. Thanks to Jedi-Bibliothek for the heads-up!
7 – It’s for a Good Cause
According to Del Rey, all of the authors involved in this project have forgone compensation for their stories and the proceeds will instead be donated to First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides new books, educational resources, and other essentials to children in need.
So, before you write off this anthology, as non-canon or “unnecessary”, keep in mind that it isn’t just commemorating forty years of Star Wars; it’s also raising money for a very worthy cause.
Update: With regards to canon, it’s worth checking out what Pablo Hidalgo has to say about the canonicity of these stories. Remember, this anthology is a tribute to the film and isn’t meant to be a visual guide or encyclopaedia of Star Wars lore.
8 – It May Be the First Step into a Larger World… of Anthologies
This one may be a case of wishful thinking but if there’s enough support for this anthology, there’s a greater chance we’ll see similar anthologies for other Star Wars films and TV series in future. When asked about the possibility of similar anthologies for the other films and The Clone Wars, Del Rey replied with “If people enjoy this book, sure, we’ll do more if we can”.
@shadowhive If people enjoy this book sure we'll do more if we can—
Star Wars Books (@DelReyStarWars) September 14, 2017
Therefore, if you’d like to see an anthology of short stories commemorating the tenth anniversary of The Clone Wars next year, let Dey Rey know about it via Twitter and get yourself (or a friend) a copy of this book! (UK readers, click here)
From a Certain Point of View will be released on October 3, 2017, and will be a collection of short stories by the following authors: Ben Acker, Renée Ahdieh, Tom Angleberger, Ben Blacker, Jeffrey Brown, Pierce Brown, Meg Cabot, Rae Carson, Adam Christopher, Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Paul Dini, Ian Doescher, Ashley Eckstein, Matt Fraction, Alexander Freed, Jason Fry, Kieron Gillen, Christie Golden, Claudia Gray, Pablo Hidalgo, E.K. Johnston, Paul S. Kemp, Mur Lafferty, Ken Liu, Griffin McElroy, John Jackson Miller, Nnedi Okorafor, Daniel José Older, Mallory Ortberg, Beth Revis, Madeleine Roux, Greg Rucka, Gary D. Schmidt, Cavan Scott, Charles Soule, Sabaa Tahir, Elizabeth Wein, Glen Weldon, Chuck Wendig, and Wil Wheaton.