Del Rey recently released the
second third new Star Wars novel in the line of Star Wars novels which will be crazily scrutinized because they have been deemed officially part of the “canon” of Star Wars. This started last fall A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, which is a prequel to the show Rebels. It was followed by James Luceno’s Tarkin. Now we get our very first “canon” Star Wars novel featuring characters from the original trilogy; Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne. And it’s told to us through the viewpoint of Luke Skywalker himself. Prior to this book, the most notable Star Wars novel told in the first person was Michael Stackpole’s I, Jedi, which was awesome but doesn’t put inside the head of any of the original trilogy characters, so Heir to the Jedi is something of a rarity. From power converters to pet phrases, here’s what we learn about how Luke really sees everything.
1. Luke Uses that One Word A lot of People Hate
At a certain point, Admiral Ackbar is in this book, which is great and definitely not a (narrative) trap. If you ever read the “old” Star Wars expanded universe books, you’ll recall thast NO ONE, real or fictional, can resist using water or ocean analogies in relation to the good Admiral. Here, Luke tells us that Admiral Ackbar has a “moist” charm. Whoa! Don’t tons of people really hate that word? Watch out Luke, don’t make any enemies you don’t already have.
2. Luke Talks Just Like Us. Even in His MIND
If you ever wondered if Luke Skywalker would be someone you could relate to, the answer is “probably.” Charmingly, in his head we get to see Luke saying things like “No way!” He also likes the word “funky,” and when restless, he once describes himself as feeling “wired.”
3. When He’s Younger, Luke Is Sort of a Gun Nut
Early on in the novel, Luke’s primary job is secure some new weapons suppliers for the Rebel Alliance. Because Heir to the Jedi takes place just a little bit after A New Hope, Luke is a hot shot and everybody likes him, but he’s not really clear as to his role. Why would Luke be the person you’d want to send to trade for weapons? Well, for one thing, he knows a little bit about shooting womp rats. When Luke meets Nakari Kelen, they talk a bunch about blasters, killing big animals and her awesome rifle which Luke thinks would be dope for killing “sand scorpions.” I can’t really blame the guy for digging guns. He kind of grew up in a trashy neighborhood with no friends. Plus, he is fighting a giant war.
4. Luke Is the Kind of Person Who Will Take Apart His Toys and Break Them
When Luke gets a second lightsaber by hanging out in the tomb of a Jedi he never knew, he does the only thing any of us would do: he takes the lightsaber apart! We’re told this is primarily because he’s interested in figuring out lightsabers work, because nobody has told him how lightsabers work. This is a tiny bit weird, because he also makes references to knowing the basic principles of how lightsabers work. Oh, but he still breaks this spare lightsaber, which I guess is why he doesn’t have it in The Empire Strikes Back.
5. Luke Notices and Respects a Good Moustache
When Major Bren Derlin shows up, Luke mentions this guy’s legendary “moustache.” He also notices that when this guy shrugs, his moustache seems to shrug too. Of course, this is kind of an inside joke to the fact that in The Empire Strikes Back, Derlin was played by John Ratzenberger, who rocked a famous moustache on the show Cheers as Cliff and also, IRL.
6. Luke LOVES Soup and Crackers
At one point while hanging out on a Rebel spaceship Luke gets “loaded up on soup and crackers.” WHOA LUKE. Slow down.
7. Luke Correctly Guesses that Anakin Wasn’t Charming
As though intuition or the Force is actively trolling Anakin, Luke mentions that “He [Anakin] might have had all the charm of a bantha.” (Banthas are those hairy ram/cow things that Tusken Raiders ride. In Star Wars, the phrase “bantha poodoo” is like saying “bullshit.”) This isn’t too say Luke is super-charming in this book either. But unlike his dad, at least Luke’s goofiness is sweet.
8. For Awhile, Luke Lets Blowing Up the Death Star Turn Him Into an Egomaniac
After making a joke about how much room he has “in his shorts,” Luke talks a bit about how HUGE his ego was after he blew up the Death Star. This makes a lot of sense, and when he admits it to Nakari, it comes across a bit like a plea for her to treat him normally. Luke’s not a complicated person at this point in his story, but he’s had some complicated stuff happen to him.
9. From a Certain Point of View, Luke’s Not Sure He’s Sane
If your new teacher who you really liked got killed right in front of you and then started talking in your ear the next day, you’d probably see a shrink. Luke can’t verify if he’s hearing voices or not, so in a very normal move, he questions if he’s crazy or not. Right at the start of the book, Luke wonders if he “really” heard Ben talk to him when he blew up the Death Star. This checks nicely from that moment in A New Hope when Luke taps the side of his helmet when the ghost of Obi-Wan tells him to trust his feelings. Luckily, throughout this novel, Luke totally trusts his feelings.
Heir to the Jedi is out now from Del Rey. The next new “canon” Star Wars novels will be Lords of the Sith in april, followed by Tarkin (but only in my head, it came out last November.)
Ryan Britt is the author of Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths, forthcoming from Plume Books on 11.24.15. His writing has appeared with The New York Times, The Awl, Electric Literature, VICE and elsewhere. He is a longtime contributor to Tor.com and lives in New York City.