On September 4, LucasFilm will release the first wave in a series of over 20 books entitled Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, bridging the 32-year gap between 1983's Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi and this year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Today, Entertainment Weekly has revealed the prelude of the first book, Star Wars: Aftermath, written by Chuck Wendig, which takes place directly after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. The Death Star has been destroyed and the Emperor's reign of terror has finally came to an end. But it's not over yet. The prelude below contains a victory speech from the beloved Star Wars character Admiral Ackbar, and it's rather rousing.
"Today is a day of celebration. We have triumphed over villainy and oppression and have given our Alliance-and the galaxy beyond it-a chance to breathe and cheer for the progress in reclaiming our freedom from an Empire that robbed us of it. We have reports from Commander Skywalker that Emperor Palpatine is dead, and his enforcer, Darth Vader, with him. But though we may celebrate, we should not consider this our time to rest. We struck a major blow against the Empire, and now will be the time to seize on the opening we have created. The Empire's weapon may be destroyed, but the Empire itself lives on. Its oppressive hand closes around the throats of good, free-thinking people across the galaxy, from the Coruscant Core to the farthest systems in the Outer Rim. We must remember that our fight continues. Our rebellion is over. But the war ... the war is just beginning."
The prelude then picks up in Coruscant, showcasing a scene that was included in the Special Edition, where mobs of people are seen bringing down the massive statue of Palpatine. However, in this new book, the celebration doesn't last for long, as remnants of the Empire start to attack. Here's another excerpt from the prelude, which takes place just as this scene from the Star Wars Special Edition ends.
"And then: The whooping of klaxons. Red lights strobe. Three airspeeders swoop down from the traffic lanes above-Imperial police. Red-and-black helmets. The glow of their lights reflected back in their helmets. There comes no warning. No demand to stand down. The laser cannons at the fore of each airspeeder open fire. Red bolts sear the air. The crowd is cut apart. Bodies dropped and stitched with fire. But still, those gathered are not cowed. They are no longer a crowd. Now they are a mob. They start picking up hunks of the Palpatine statue and lobbing them up at the airspeeders. One of the speeders swings to the side to avoid an incoming chunk of stone-and it bumps another speeder, interrupting its fire. Coruscanti citizens climb up the stone spire behind both speeders-a spire on which are written the Imperial values of order, control, and the rule of law-and begin jumping onto the police cruisers. One helmeted cop is flung from his vehicle. The other crawls out onto the hood of his speeder, opening fire with a pair of blasters-just as a hunk of stone cracks him in the helmet, knocking him to the ground."
The book then introduces us to a father named Rorak and his son Jak, who take cover behind the fallen statue as the boy tells his dad he thought the battle was over. The mob of revelers start throwing hunks of the statue at these ships firing at them from above, as the prelude comes to an end. The first chapter catches up with the Rebel Alliance pilot Wedge Antilles, played by Denis Lawson in the original trilogy. Wedge is on a mission in the Outer Rim, trying to track down the remaining factions of the Empire, who are still waging war on the Rebels, months after the destruction of the Death Star. Here's how he pitched this mission to Ackbar in another excerpt.
"Wedge told Ackbar, Mon Mothma: 'Could be that's where they are again. Hiding out there.' Ackbar said that it made some sense. After all, didn't Mustafar hold some importance to the Imperial leadership? Rumors said that's where Vader took some of the Jedi long ago. Torturing them for information before their execution."
Wedge has been to five planets so far, and he is about to visit his sixth planet, Akiva, when he runs into a bit of trouble. A pair of massive Star Destroyers, one of which is lead by Rae Sloane, a character first introduced in last year's Expanded Universe novel A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, which served as a prequel to Star Wars Rebels, spots his ship and asks him to identify himself. The perspective then shifts to Sloane, who teases that there is some sort of meeting on Akiva that is of incredible importance, as you can see in another excerpt.
"All the more reason for her to remain vigilant, as the name of this ship suggests. The meeting on Akiva cannot misfire. It must take place. It must have a result. Everything feels on the edge, the entire Empire standing on the lip of the pit, the ledge crumbling away to scree and stone."
The extended book excerpt ends with Wedge, after correctly presuming that something big is either happening on the Destroyer or on the planet Akiva itself, letting the tractor beam bring his one-person "Starhopper" ship into the Destroyer, where he sets off an explosion, presumably to create a diversion. You can check out the full-length prelude and Chapter 1 excerpt at Entertainment Weekly, and let us know what you think below. Are you excited for all of these new books that will fill in the gaps between Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi and this year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens?