Despite being perfectly positioned to offer a tantalising glimpse into the new post-ROTJ canon, Shattered Empire feels utterly insubstantial.
The erasure of the EU has reopened the vast post-ROTJ timeline to be re-populated by new stories. Details on this era have been scarce, however, and likely deliberately so, in order to keep things fresh for the new movie.
So far, only three works of Star Wars fiction have touched on this otherwise unexplored era: Aftermath, Lost Stars and Shattered Empire.
I expected Shattered Empire to lead the way to the telling of more stories in the era. But it really is a self-contained story, or rather a compilation of self-contained stories, detailing individual missions undertaken by the victorious Rebel Alliance in the days and weeks following the Battle of Endor.
There are only a few elements that suggest that the story will have some bearing in the greater span of Star Wars history – the fact that the protagonists are the parents of TFA character Poe Dameron, the force trees that Luke rescues in volume IV, and a brief cameo of Darth Maul’s spirit in volume III.
The stories themselves, while gorgeously drawn and detailed, are short, forgettable affairs, derring-do tales with little character development, and predicated on a fundamentally silly premise – that the Emperor would be so petty as to order random planets to be attacked by Imperial forces in the event of his demise, in comic-book dastardly fashion – like creating planet-sized storms on Naboo. I thought the EU was shelved so that we could avoid such wackery in the new continuity.
As far as I’m concerned, Shattered Empire is pretty but empty filler, and doesn’t offer much that is compelling in terms of adding texture and interest to the new canon. Lost Stars is a much more rewarding (and tantalising) glimpse into the future of the franchise.
I give this book: 2.5 out of 5 Force Trees