Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover (Legends)
Lady nerds and nerdy gentlemen: LET ME TELL YOU — a lot of things in Star Wars inspire my comedic impulses. Many more things about it inspire my need to shout/sob. Few things so perfectly combine both of these feelings as the 2005 Ultimate Star Wars Drama-Rama known as Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. Laugh at the patented Star Wars dorkiness! Marvel when Crazy happens! Swoon at the unrelenting handsomeness! Cry when it all goes exactly where we already knew it was going!
I’ve written a lot about this film already, given that I have recapped all of its actual content, plus everything that was made available that was cut from the final version. But one thing I haven’t touched on, fully, is the Soap-Operatic Event of the Century that was the film’s novelization — something that is a frequently requested item from Snark Wars readers. It’s not technically considered canon now (and there are a few things here and there that contradict other things we have in Actual Canon,) but it was based directly off of George Lucas’ initial script and, if memory serves, he also more or less gave it his blessing at the time, which means that from where I’m sitting, this book is in a grey area that puts it as close to canon as non-canon gets.
I’ve referenced this book several times in my other recaps, and so it seemed only fitting that it get its moment in the sun here. I was looking for something I could keep short and sweet to be a bit of a one-shot kind of deal in the midst of the many in-progress items I have going already. I figured I’d just swing through, make a few quips about that time this book declares Obi-Wan and Anakin to know each other more intimately than lovers (yes), and be on my way. Naturally, I made a grave miscalculation, and here I am having gotten through like 10% of this book before I had a full-length recap written. Uh, whoops.
Since the primary plot of this book is, well, something I have already more than discussed at length, I thought I would focus on the parts you can only find in this book. (Incidentally, if you are looking for more of a full plot summary, you may want to check out my recaps for this film first.)
OK, so, brace yourselves. This recap is going to be…something.
Recurring Theme: A Galaxy With the Memory of a Goldfish
The book opens with an introduction that can be summarized thusly: Get Ready For Bad Times! It goes on and on about how all this terrible stuff is gonna happen, and it almost seems to be taking PLEASURE in being like HA HA GUYS YOU CAN’T MAKE IT THE SADNESS CEASE. HIP HIP HOORAY I CAN’T WAIT.
Then it shifts into the first chapter, whose primary objectives are to inform us about the Current State of the Galaxy (The Clone Wars! Separatists! Explosions! Etc!), and also to make sure we know that Obi-Wan and Anakin are fucking GODS AMONG MEN, and everyone in the entire universe thinks they are hardcore amazing. As if I needed telling, Star Wars, I HAVE EYES, EARS, AND A HEART, OK? That said, as we all know, I am always up for more gushing about these two. This book and I are getting along REAL WELL right from the get-go.
There’s a whoooole bunch of stuff in here about how little kids idolize them, and BOY did I ever relate to this passage:
EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE WITH MY YOUNG CHILDREN, I tell you all.
So: I love this all, and also it CRACKS me UP, because…how in the HELL did we go from “Obi-Wan and Anakin were basically more famous than anyone in the entire universe and beloved everywhere” to “Obi-Wan can poorly hide his identity and no one will have any idea who he was and in a couple more decades many people will think the Jedi were a myth. I mean…good GRIEF, people. Aren’t there beings that can live for hundreds of years in this galaxy? DOES NO ONE HERE EVER GO ON WOOKIEEPEDIA? This is right up there with the Sith being this Huge Ridiculous Secret during the Clone Wars. Didn’t the Sith ALREADY TAKE OVER THE UNIVERSE AT LEAST ONCE BEFORE? WHY DOES NO ONE EVER REMEMBER ANYTHING EVER WHYYYYY. I am side-eyeing every history teacher in the entire GFFA. Leaving “that time Dark Wizards took over some planets” out of the curriculum seems like KIND OF A LARGE OVERSIGHT.
Anyways, the book would like us to know, before we go any further, that Poor Palpatine’s been kidnapped and adults the galaxy over are worried the Republic will fall. Because who — WHO I ASK YOU — would be brave enough, good enough, able to stop such treachery?
Behold, Team Handsome
Just in case you were as bad at catching onto things as Anakin is, we then get some little introductions to The Team.
OH GOD. Well, thanks, Star Wars. I mean, I knew Obi-Wan was without peers, but it’s just nice to see it in writing sometimes.
Yes, it’s been a hard few years for Obes Kenobes, what with the war and all those times Darth Maul came back from the dead, but also? Being with his BFF/Husband Anakin Skywalker has made him a better man. A happier one, too:
I AM FINE JUST IN CASE ANYONE WAS WONDERING.
Anakin, meanwhile, is feeling some Angst, go figure:
YEAH ANAKIN. WHAT COULD YOU POSSBLY BE AFRAID OF? The book spells it out for us: basically, he is afraid of everything. There is a dragon — metaphorically speaking, of course — that lurks within him. He is consumed by a fear of loss, going back not only to losing his mother, but also the fact that one time Obi-Wan accurately told him that everything — even stars — eventually die.
…oh, you never know, Skywalker. Could be all of the above, too! SIGH.
Recurring Theme: Oh Just Kill Me Already, Star Wars
SO: our boys are flying in to go rescue poor helpless Palpatine, just like they do in the movie. And after they make their final Dramatic Landing onto the Foreshadowingly-Named Invisible Hand — buzz droid attack and all — there’s a Moment where Anakin thinks he has to save Obi-Wan, and then Obi-Wan is standing right behind him all “I was already coming to save you” and I just…it gets…so much worse, you guys.
They’re setting off on their quest to go have a few intimate moments in an elevator, when the book decides that we should probably back up for a second and reflect on These Two Together:
Well, I will be sure to buy them a nice gift off their registry, for one thing. What’s more, they’re unstoppable, and everyone knows it: they pack more of a punch than Yoda, Mace, Shaak Ti, on and on it goes. Children everywhere have arguments amongst themselves about who would win in a fight: Anakin or Obi-Wan (spoiler alert: first one, then the other.) People get all riled up over arguing their position on this, but then they all ultimately realize that it doesn’t matter. Why’s that, you ask?
…oh. Thanks a lot, Star Wars. Thanks. a. lot.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Palpatine
Now it’s time to go find the Chancellor, and oh for the love of God, Anakin is Very Very Concerned About Poor Palpatine. Ugh. Artoo identifies Sheev’s location on the ship, and the boys see an image of him “handcuffed” to that chair that totally is not meant to look exactly like his Eeeeeeevil Throne from Return of the Jedi. At this, Anakin is SO RELIEVED OH THANK GOD because if ANYONE had tried to hurt his beloved Chancellor he’d probably have to go on yet another murder spree. Great.
Then Anakin and Obes have a bit of a back and forth about how Anakin can sense Dooku — his prosthetic hand feels like it’s on fire despite it not having pain sensors in it — and Obi-Wan speculates that Dooku might still try to turn one or both of them to the Dark Side. Anakin, of course, is like PFFFT LET HIM ASK I DARE HIM AS IF I’D BE INTERESTED, because this book hates me.
They make to go find Sheev now, and Artoo complains about being told to stay behind:
…well, not YET I don’t, Skywalker. But I presume The Suit has at least one. So just give it a couple of days. (Sorry.)
Recurring Theme: Dreaming My Evil Dreams
As the boys head out, Anakin suddenly is hit with a brief vision of sorts, of himself slicing off Dooku’s head. Well then. And what’s more, it fills Anakin with a sense of elation and glee:
DUN DUN DUUUUUUN!
The Jedi Order, Bad At Math
Hahahaha, OK. Count Dooku’s watching the boys make their way closer to the Chancellor. He has a brief chat with Grievous (during which he mostly thinks about how gross Grievous is and also what a good scapegoat he makes for all the bad shit they’ve done,) and then the book takes some time to talk about Dooku and his Jedi Backstory a little bit more. It culminates in this little gem:
LOL. What? I guess this is kind of touching — I mean, certainly it shows that the Jedi don’t harbor hard feelings, for one thing — but like, this is the weirdest thing? If you QUIT, you get a statue? (Who am I kidding — I know the Jedi Order and their penchant for statues. Maybe it’s that ONLY getting a bronze bust of yourself in the Archives is considered a downgrade, while everyone else gets one of those monstrously gigantic full-body statues like the ones on Jedha.) Also, I refuse to believe that the Order’s been around for like 25,000 years and they’ve ONLY EVER LOST 20 PEOPLE TOTAL, especially since it feels like the Jedi dance with the Dark Side or just general dissatisfaction both in the Old EU and in canon CONSTANTLY. I demand access to their records, here. Surely someone miscounted. We know of FOUR JEDI (Dooku, Ahsoka, Anakin and Kylo) who jumped ship JUST WITHIN THE TIMELINE COVERED BY THE CURRENT SKYWALKER SAGA.
Anyways, Dooku’s all smirkity-smirk to himself about how Obi-Wan and Anakin are so stupid (I feel you, Dooku,) and is excited because Surely Victory Is At Hand.
Recurring Theme: The Dark Side Is Not Your Friend
The book also spends some time explaining to us that Dooku has become a bit of a symbol — that he was some Brave ex-Jedi who told the Republic to go fuck itself because it was corrupt, and that he’s going to use the CIS to uh, drain the swamp, as it were. What a great guy who clearly just wants to help the little guys in this galaxy!
But this public perception — that he was just so woke that he had to Leave It All Behind, what a noble guy — does not exactly match reality. Yes, as should surprise no one, given that the man is a damn Sith Lord, Dooku’s not in it for your revolution: he’s in it for himself. He doesn’t understand love, or friendship — and what’s more, he’s got something in store for his current allies:
Recurring Theme: Our Ridiculously Circuitous Plan Is One-Quarter Complete
He tells Sidious, who’s in the room with him, that it’s going to be a wee bit embarrassing, this part of their plan. You see, what Dooku thinks the plan is is that they’re going to let Anakin take Dooku prisoner. Then, Dooku can renounce all his former evil cohorts from prison after he Sees The Light, and ride out the rest of the war in safety, and then embed himself in the New Government that results from the end of the war, and he and Sidious can rule together with an iron fist.
Before you feel too bad for your Cranky Sith Grandpa’s imminent double-crossing, though, the book makes sure you feel basically zero good will for this guy by noting that part of Dooku’s plan all along was to stack the Separatist Alliance with aliens, because he is a racist (species-ist? Same difference here,) piece of crap! Yes, PART OF HIS PLAN WAS TO USE AS MANY ALIENS AS POSSIBLE, so that he could use it as a reason to argue against their inclusion in the new galactic government:
Wow. What an asshole. He also reflects on how, once this is all over, he’ll rebuild a new Jedi Order that kicks ass and takes names and doesn’t have to worry about stupid bullshit like negotiating or meditating, only making people do what they want them to. My feelings on all of this, in summary: GOODBYE EVIL UNCLE DOOKU.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Everyone’s Favorite Grandkid
Oh God, OK, this part is terrible but also really really funny. So Sidious and Dooku are chit-chatting, and Dooku is like “SIR. Really. Are we suuuuuuuper-duper sure we want Anakin on our side? Really? Wouldn’t Obi-Wan be a way more stable and better and classier choice than oh, anyone else but ESPECIALLY ANAKIN?”
Sidious is all smug about this and is like oooooohhhhhh yes, that guy. You really like that guy, huh? YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ENTIRE GALAXY.
Dooku, almost-touchingly, admits that YES, he’s got a soft spot for Ol’ Kenobes, because — and he literally says this — Obi-Wan is practically his grandson. Aww. But also? Obes doesn’t need any evil racist shitty grandpas, Dooku, k thanks bye.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Obi-Wan
Sidious retorts that they can’t take Obi-Wan even if his hair swoosh IS the prettiest, because for one thing he’s too old and too good and too set in his Lightsider ways. Anakin, on the other hand, is an unstable crazypants and LOL FOREVER at how much these two have Anakin’s number:
Dooku thinks to himself that he knows Sidious is right — that Anakin will go insane if Obi-Wan dies — and that also Obi-Wan does too good of a job taking care of Anakin and so as long as he’s alive Anakin couldn’t possibly be swayed to the Dark Side (WOMP WOMP.)
Recurring Theme: I Shouldn’t Laugh But I Can’t Help It
Dooku persists one last time, though: are we 1000000% sure we want Skywalker? Sidious replies that Anakin is super-powerful — perhaps even more so than Sidious himself. Dooku is like “…OK, but…is that even something we’d want? Maybe I should just kill him now instead.”
Sidious, smarmily, is like “Do you think you even COULD kill Anakin? Hmmm?” and Dooku then goes off on a rant about how gross Anakin is for HAVING A PROSTHETIC ARM, which leads Sidious to comment with the obvious:
LOL. OK, first off, I love Sheev’s observation here. Secondly, I love every Evil Guy Conversation in Star Wars ever. Thirdly, I am dying because “having a robot arm IS TACKY, he should have learned to fight with one hand LIKE A GENTLEMAN” is just so absolutely ridiculously evil AND snobby AND partially just confusing that I am just…dead. I hate this. I love it. I have a very complicated relationship with Star Wars.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, The Poster Boy
So Dooku blahblahblahs a bit more about all of this and ultimately relents: Skywalker’s their man. His only concern now, though, is whether or not Anakin will actually listen to them. You see, part of their plan (which is not actually the plan, as we all know,) is to have Dooku kill Obi-Wan, then use Anakin’s destabilized psyche to get him to — reluctantly, perhaps — become their Wicked Poster Boy:
Sidious replies that Anakin’s creativity in following orders makes him even more of an asset than someone who just blindly takes step-by-step directions — he notes that even the Jedi don’t demand that Anakin do things a certain way because they recognize his ability to always get the job done no matter what (AHEM. THANK YOU STAR WARS.)
I’m not even gonna lie; this presents a sort of amusing alternate universe concept where Anakin is basically Obi-Wan’s grieving, Sithly war widow hell-bent on reshaping the galaxy that took his beloved away from him.
Dooku thinks about how great it’s going to be when Anakin announces a new order of Force users in this future that never comes to pass, and what a great General of the Sith Army Anakin will be.
It’s Still Sort of True
At long last, the bad guys are nearly done with their pregame discussion, and Dooku thinks to himself that it’s showtime:
…and he’s just, you know, so moved by all of this? All of their hard work killing people and ruining shit and starting fires for the last many years — especially Sidious, who’s been working the Longest Long Con EVER — it’s all happening! Dooku literally tears up as he realizes that all their Evil Dreams are about to come true, and that’s when Sidious is like “get it together, cupcake: the boys are here.”
And THAT, my friends, is about all I can bear to recap at this time, but rest assured there is more waiting for us just around the corner with this book, including one of Obi-Wan and Anakin’s most romantic moments. Which, if you’ve been reading along for a while, you know that’s saying something. See you then!
This is the first entry in this series.
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Categories: Revenge of the Sith (Novelization, Legends)