Minor spoiler–it sure isn’t a power converter.
This article contains spoilers for The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry.
The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure
By Jason Fry | Illustrations by Phil Noto
The REBEL ALLIANCE has destroyed the Empire’s dreaded DEATH STAR, but the galaxy remains convulsed by civil war, and the Imperial starfleet is hunting the rebels throughout the galaxy. LUKE SKYWALKER, the pilot who destroyed the Death Star, is now hailed as a hero. But Luke seeks only to support the freedom fighters, serving the Rebellion behind the controls of his X-wing fighter. Even as he flies alongside the pilots of Red Squadron, Luke feels stirings in the mystical energy field known as the Force. And this farm boy turned fighter pilot begins to suspect that his destiny likes along a different path…
An ongoing theme of the new canon of Star Wars storytelling is how Luke trained as a Jedi when there was no mentor available to reveal the ways of the Force. The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry, continues with this theme, and perhaps is the most successful in expanding Luke’s education within the confines of the new canon. The events of the main story take place after the events of A New Hope, but exactly when before the story of The Empire Strikes Back is unclear.
The story is introduced as a tale about Luke Skywalker as told by C-3P0 to Jessika Pava, also known by her call sign as Blue Three. As the use of a call sign indicates, she is a pilot for either the Rebel Alliance, its successor, the New Republic, or the Resistance, sometime after the events of Return of the Jedi. Stuck on droid duty, Jessika encounters C-3P0 who offers to assist her, and then tells her the story of Luke’s first duel with a lightsaber.
While running a mission for the Rebel Alliance, Luke feels the presence of the Force calling him to Devaron while conducting a mission to retrieve intercepted Imperial intelligence on behalf of the Rebellion. He also experiences visions in the Force of a stone structure, training remotes, and a mysterious individual holding out a lightsaber. After narrowly escaping destruction in a battle with Imperial TIE Fighters, Luke retreats to Devaron to secure repairs for his fighter and while there, decides to investigate whatever it is he believes the Force wants him to find. His instinct is that the Force is directing him to an ancient, stone structure, but every guide in the nearby town of Tikaroo, save for a young woman and a mysterious alien scavenger, refuse to take him. After weighing his options, Luke elects to employ the services of the scavenger, Sarco Plank, and his adventure begins. Along the way, Luke expands his knowledge of Jedi meditation, lightsaber dueling, and Force telekinesis.
As mentioned earlier, one of the major plot lines of this novel is Luke’s continued training as a Jedi in the absence of Obi-Wan or any other Jedi master after the Battle of Yavin. Two other sources have recently depicted some of Luke’s training. Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne first attempted to detail some of Luke’s struggles and frustrations as he attempted to further his understanding of the Force without a Master to guide him. Heir to the Jedi was a fairly unique Star Wars novel in that it was told from a first person perspective, but it had many elements that took the reader out of the Star Wars universe. Some examples include the insistence on detailing what the characters were eating (which often seemed like Chinese-American cuisine), the many references to where the restrooms were, and a main character that talked as if she was in a novel with a contemporary setting. Digression aside, one of the more unsatisfying aspects of that story was how Luke learned to use Force telekinesis through the advice of non-Force users to push noodles around a plate.
Canon Alert! The Weapon of a Jedi does not take into account any of those events. Luke experiences difficulties in using a Jedi’s telekinesis powers when he arrives at the ruined Jedi temple on Devaron. He is drawn to a lever in a stone pillar that he cannot reach and resorts to attempting to use Force telekinesis to move it. After a great deal of frustration, Luke remembers advice given to him by Obi-Wan Kenobi concerning meditation and the living Force to finally resolve the secret of moving the lever. Of course, if this novel were set after Heir to the Jedi, then this scene would largely be unnecessary. Conversely, if Heir to the Jedi came later, then Luke would not have needed to rely on the advice of those unacquainted with the Force in order to crack the secret to moving objects with his mind.
Readers of the Star Wars comic may also be familiar with Luke’s battle with Boba Fett in Obi-wan’s hut on Tatooine. Luke had returned to the old hermit’s homestead in an attempt to find any clues on how to continue his training as a Jedi only to be ambushed by the galaxy’s most notorious bounty hunter. Blinded by a flash grenade, Luke relied on his instincts and his senses to combat Fett. However, as the battle proceeded, Luke subconsciously, it would seem, called on the force to strike Fett in the head with a container, which made it possible for Luke to escape. He had no idea what had happened. It would make the most sense that Luke’s encounter with Fett occurred prior to this story, otherwise, it would seem likely understood what had happened at Kenobi’s hut.
The portrayal of Luke’s training in The Weapon of a Jedi is the most satisfying. First, unlike Heir to the Jedi, Luke does not stumble through the training only to have others that have no exposure to the Force point out the obvious to him. Second, Fry captures the impatience Luke exhibited in A New Hope when Luke was still a farm kid and in The Empire Strikes Back when Luke was arrogant after being instructed by Obi-Wan to find Yoda, and had developed a large ego about his importance. Fry captured Luke’s flaws and brought them to the forefront. His impatience was part of what held Luke back, and it was something Luke had to work to overcome. In the end, Luke exhibits growth as he focuses on the techniques Obi-Wan taught him prior to his demise, and starts on a path that will allow him to become the man capable of defeating Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi.
The Clues to The Force Awakens
The new novels that were released on Force Friday were promoted as containing clues and hints as to the events of The Force Awakens. While that may be true, it is not obvious in a pre-movie release read of this book what exactly those clues are.
Trying to nail down the exact setting of when the story is told by C-3P0 is difficult. It is certain that the story is told after Return of the Jedi. For one, C-3P0 has a red arm, which he did not have in any of the original trilogy movies. How he came about his new appendage will be the subject of an upcoming comic book. Second, in the prologue, Jessika remarks to C-3P0 that Luke Skywalker has the reputation of being the best star pilot in the galaxy, and he is known for having defeated the Emperor. Any other clues as to where Luke is at that time are not apparent and C-3P0 doesn’t mention what has become of his master.
Happabores make an appearance on the planet Devaron. The happabores are large, reptilian, pig-like creatures that many beings around Tikaroo use as mounts and pack animals. These animals have been pictured in some behind the scenes material and images for the new movie. However, they seem to be found on Jakku, and it is unclear what the connection to this film, if any, would be.
C-3P0 also teases futher adventures of some of the other characters in the book. It is unclear whether any of these characters will appear in The Force Awakens or possibly be reappearing in later Star Wars novels, but the possibility remains that any of these characters could make their way to the big screen.
Then there is the temple on Devaron. Apparently this temple holds some significance. It could be that the Force directed Luke there in order to further his training as a Jedi, and that is the end of the story. However, pure speculation suggests this could be an environment for further stories. Luke does promise Farnay that he would one day return to Devaron to help Tikaroo escape the yoke of Imperial oppression. Again, this promise, and C-3P0’s insistence that Luke did in fact return one day might simply be all there is to it, but one can imagine how this temple, which was helpful to a young Luke Skywalker in advancing his training, might one day be helpful to a more experienced Jedi that is attempting to instruct his own padawans.
The Weapon of a Jedi is an engaging tale of a young Luke Skywalker as he seeks to further his knowledge of the Force. This novel has nearly all the elements of a classic Star Wars story including space battles, the Force, droids, exotic creatures and aliens, and lightsabers. Special mention should be made of the artwork of Phil Noto. Noto provided illustrations of some of the key scenes, and they are a simple but effective method of highlighting Fry’s work. Fry’s take on Luke Skywalker is reverent of the character portrayed in movies that came before, but does well in creating a portrait of the young Jedi as he progresses through his Force training. One can only hope that Fry will have another opportunity to pen further adventures of the young Jedi.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.