Weapon of a Jedi
The Force Awakens movie was a Star Wars Renaissance. An explosion of stories, media, video games and more have rushed in to fill the thirty year gap between Episode VI and VII, and the Disney engine shows no sign of stopping. In the coming years we can expect to see fan favorites like Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antillies (the guy that shot down the second Death Star) getting their own backstory. This article will focus on The Weapon of a Jedi, a young adult novel detailing one of Luke Skywalker’s earlier adventures.
Word of warning: this is a young adult novel, which means the targeted demographic is twelve-to-eighteen year olds. So don’t expect some huge, ground-breaking plot that will turn the entire Star Wars franchise on its head. Got it? Good. Keep reading.
Remember that scene in a New Hope where Luke was getting his ass kicked by a remote control laser orb? Remember in Empire Strikes Back he was holding his own against Darth Vader? For decades the only logical explanation for that skill is thanks to Yoda’s training. But here, in Weapon of a Jedi, it’s revealed that isn’t the full story.
It’s directly after the destruction of the Death Star, and Luke Skywalker has become a household name. It’s bad enough that he’s being put on a pedestal, but Luke also has to deal with the uncertainty of his goals. He wants to be a Jedi worthy of his father’s name, but without Ben Kenobi to teach him, Luke is set adrift, unsure about his future.
One point where the novel really nails the characters is Luke in this transition stage. Luke is given a mission which he almost immediately abandons when the Force comes calling. This raw, un-focused attitude fits right in with Luke’s stage of maturity – or rather, immaturity – in the saga’s early movies. This is the Luke who whined incessantly about his bad luck. Never mind the fact that his true mission could help the Rebellion, no. Once Luke discovers the Force calling to him, it’s the only thing he thinks about.
The novel’s strongest point is that it creates a stage for Luke to hone his skills. The entire book is about Luke practicing with the Force. Remember those remote drones I was talking about earlier? Well, expect to read about them. Page after page, we see Luke practicing his skills. With Threepio chatting incessantly behind him. I don’t care how strong in the Force you are; there is no challenge of focus greater than a gold droid who won’t shut up. Yoda, eat your heart out.
Beyond that, the plot’s ho-hum. The aforementioned undercover mission has no resolution, which doesn’t speak well for the farmboy destined to rebuild the Jedi Order. The characters are predictable caricatures. There’s the bounty hunter/guide who decides to take Luke out for the bounty, the stubborn young girl whose curiosity lands her in a heap of trouble. Even the Imperial officers are the same arrogant, vicious jerks we’ve seen in the movies. War and Peace, this is not.
In A New Hope, Luke could barely use his lightsaber. In Empire Strikes Back, he manages to hold his own against Darth Vader, one of the finest swordsmen the Sith ever produced. So what happened between the two movies? Well, the Weapon of a Jedi happened. Luke’s nowhere near being a Jedi Knight, but here, at least, Luke is one step closer to being the hero that we all know him to become.
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