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(My View of) ‘The Empire Strikes Back: A Certain Point of View’

Written by Austin Walker, Hank Green,
Tracy Deonn, Martha Wells,
Mark Oshiro,
Seth Dickinson,
Tom Angleberger, Sarwat Chadda,
S.A. Chakraborty, Mike Chen,
Adam Christopher,
Katie Cook,
Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson,
Alexander Freed, Jason Fry,
Christie Golden,
Rob Hart,
Lydia Kang, Michael Kogge,

R. F. Kuang, C. B. Lee, Mackenzi Lee,
John Jackson Miller, Michael Moreci,
Daniel José Older, Amy Ratcliffe,
Beth Revis,
Lilliam Rivera, Cavan Scott,
Emily Skrutskie,
Karen Strong,
Anne Toole, Catherynne M. Valente,

Django Wexler, Kiersten White,
Gary Whitta, Brittany N. Williams,
Charles Yu, Jim Zub

Published by Del Rey


What do you call a baby tauntaun?

What’s the deal with that guy who awkwardly cuts between Han and Leia in the South passage on Hoth?

Someone had to prepare the refreshments for Darth Vader’s soiree with the Rebels leaders on Bespin.

Do giant space slugs have feelings?

Admit it. At some point across your 378 viewings and counting of The Empire Strikes Back, those thoughts crossed your mind.

The answers to these and thirty-six other ponderings are given form in The Empire Strikes Back: From a Certain Point of View. Forty short stories that give you perspectives from characters involved both on and off screen from the legendary film.

Forty authors. Forty voices.

Forty years of The Empire Strikes Back.

Beginning with those responsible for tracking the thousands of Probe Droids across the galaxy and ending with 2-1B’s practical bedside manner while performing Luke’s hand replacement, these stories seamlessly interweave with the events of The Empire Strikes Back.

Some more vividly than others, but all with expected due reverence.

I found myself more personally connected with the material on Hoth and in the Asteroid field, than on Cloud City.

The events surrounding Hoth have a focused and intimate feel by default. We know the Rebels and what they stand for as a group, even though we don’t know each one by name. That guy who cut between Han and Leia? His name is Chase Wilsorr, finally becoming the hero everyone said he wasn’t. Toryn Farr, the Ion cannon control operator? Critical to the Rebels escape more than you know. The Wampa who attacked Luke and lost an arm for his troubles? Just looking out for his family.

Cloud City felt more foreign. Expansive. Characters from all walks of life who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. A Tailor, a Chef, Gas Miners. Ordinary citizens looking to make better lives for themselves (I’m looking at you Willrow Hood!) Along with a beloved long eared, buck toothed, green furred Marvel Comics character given one further adventure.

Motives varied. Some we can’t quite get behind.

We get healthy dose of Imperial stories, or should I say power plays, as well. How did Admiral Ozzel, chief poor tactical strategist, rise to command Darth Vader’s flagship? Who was that Captain whose holotransmition flickered out as his Star Destroyer’s bridge gets slammed head-on by an asteroid? Did everyone fighting for the Empire actually believe in the cause?

Mynocks, the Dagobah dragon Snake and the dark side cave entity are not forgotten either.

Perhaps my favorite reads, in true and appropriate fan service, each bounty hunter from the famous Executor bridge scene gets their day.

In the end, it’s the varied voices and storytelling techniques, including a comic strip, that sell this collection making this a great read for casual fans and super-fans alike.

The audio versions give you what you’d expect; slick sound designs read by Star Wars fans, including Clone Wars and Rebels voice artist/performer Sam Witwer, Emily Woo Zeller who voices the breakout expanded universe character Doctor Aphra and TV and Film leading man John Hamm returning a second time to the From a Certain Point of View series reading Boba Fett’s adventure.

I more than obligated to note that I was quite pleased to read that no authors took compensation for their work. Instead, all proceeds are going to First Book, a program designed to encourage young people to read. An important and worthy cause.

However, I must admit that I lied earlier. 2-1B’s story was not the very last. For story number forty, we’re treated to a quazi-forth wall breaking button that gives us a fun brainstorming session over the creation of the opening crawl for The Empire Strikes Back.


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