Last week, we brought you the full intel on the hotly anticipated novel Star Wars: Bloodline. Now we reveal how the book’s premise gets extended into Star Wars: Episode VIII.
Earlier today, a fan asked Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo if Bloodline holds any significance in the Star Wars films moving forward. Here’s his answer:
Rian Johnson is the director of Star Wars: Episode VIII. This means he directly influenced the plot of Bloodline to create continuity between the novel and Episode 8!
Let’s dissect Pablo’s response one by one:
1. The disposition of the New Republic
Following the signing of the Galactic Concordance, the reorganized Republic was the stronger power, while the Imperial Remnant was banished into the outlying sectors of the galaxy.
Following the end of the war, the New Republic instituted a massive demilitarization. The fleet was reduced to a fraction of its wartime strength and territorial defense became the responsibility of local sectors. After achieving victory and getting a huge swath of the galaxy, the new government became complacent with security.
But while the Republic was drawing down its military, the Remnant was doing the opposite. According to the novel, there are frequent reports of Star Destroyer squadrons and whole fleets disappearing from the monitored regions of Remnant space, and no one in the Republic knows where they ended up.
The Republic is also portrayed as being weak and divided due to partisan bickering and infighting, just like its pre-empire predecessor.
2. The political factions
With the fall of the Empire, Mon Mothma emerged as the face of the new government and its Chancellor. After she stepped down due to illness, two factions emerged.
Populists wish to retain the status quo: government should be representative and power distributed evenly across member worlds. They oppose the concentration of power in a single being and the expansion of a military force. Princess Leia belonged to this faction.
Centrists see the current system as ineffective. They argue that the representative form of government is too slow to act, and what the galaxy needs is a First Senator to bring order. They also advocate for a return to the stronger navy and military of the war years. Their primary leader is Ransolm Casterfo, a charismatic young Senator who becomes Leia’s arch-rival in the Senate.
3. “The Napkin Incident”
The hilariously named Napkin Incident is actually anything but. It refers to an assassination attempt on the Populists, including Leia.
Here’s the incident in full:
The conference building of the New Republic senatorial complex contained multiple rooms appropriate for every kind of auxiliary function imaginable, from memorial concerts to awards ceremonies. Leia Organa and Tai-Lin Garr headed toward one of the smallest banquet rooms. The breakfast meeting had been organized by Varish Vicly, who couldn’t imagine a bad time for a party.
Varish came loping toward them now on all fours. “There you are! I was worried you’d be late.”
“We’re still early,” Leia protested as both she and Tai-Lin were wrapped in quick, long-limbed hugs.
“Yes, but I worry. You know how these guys get.”
“Now come along and be introduced to everyone,” Varish insisted. Soon Leia found herself shaking hands and paws, murmuring greetings; thanks to some review holos Korr Sella had prepared for her, she recognized each senator in attendance and could even ask a few pertinent questions about their families and worlds.
They entered the banquet hall together, the entire group walking two by two. Leia knew the seat at the far end of the table would be hers, guest of honor as counterpart to the host. So she walked the length of the room, attentive to the senator at her side, before glancing down at the arrangements — sumptuous even by Varish’s standards, with a velvet runner stretching along the table and delicate paper streamers lying across the tables, beneath elaborately folded napkins. Leia had to laugh. “Honestly, Varish. For breakfast?” In other words, Leia thought as she listened to someone cheerfully talk about his grandchildren, this is going wonderfully for everyone but me.
This won good-natured chuckles from the room; Varish Vicly’s lavish tastes were well known, a foible she herself joked about. Today, however, she shrugged. “I didn’t request this. Maybe the serving staff heard my name and assumed that meant to go all out.” Varish smiled as she took her seat. “If that’s my reputation . . . you know, I can live with it.”
Leia settled into her chair, picked up her napkin — and stopped.
Something was written on the paper streamer on her plate. Actual writing. Virtually nobody wrote any longer; it had been years since Leia had seen actual words handwritten in ink on anything but historical documents.
But today, someone had left this message on her plate, only one word long:
Leia shoved her chair back, instantly leaping to her feet. “We have to get out of here,” she said to the startled senators at the table. “Now. Go!”
But they didn’t move, even as she dashed toward the door. Varish said, “Leia? What in the world’s —”
“Didn’t you hear me?” Damn fools who had never been in the war, who didn’t know an urgent warning when they got one. Leia held up the paper so they could see it. “Run! Everyone get up and run!”
With that, she took off, running as fast as she could, finally hearing the others stir behind her. Maybe they thought the note was only a prank, but Leia knew better. The inchoate dread that had swirled inside her all morning had solidified; this was what her feelings had been warning her about.
As they dashed through the hallways of the conference building, Leia glimpsed an alert box and swerved sideways to hit it. A robotic voice said, “No detected hazards at this — ”
“Override! Evacuation alert now!” Leia resumed running just as the warning lights began to blink and the siren’s wail sounded. Immediately people began filing out of various other rooms, mostly grumbling but at least moving toward the exits — and when they saw her, they, too, started to run. The sense of urgency built behind her like a wave cresting, preparing to crash.
Leia’s breath caught in her throat as she pushed herself harder, running full out toward the doors, so fast they almost didn’t have time to open for her. In the square beyond, security droids had begun herding people away from the building, but too many continued to mill around, staring in consternation at the scene. The others evacuating flooded through the doors behind and around her, but once they were clear of the structure, half of them stopped, remaining stupidly within range.
Within range of what? She still didn’t know. But every instinct within her told her disaster was near.
Leia didn’t stop. She kept running as hard as she could, never looking back, until . . .
Brilliant light. A roar so loud it resonated in her skull. And hot air and debris slamming into her, knocking her down, rolling her over, erasing the world.
Is the incident the result of one faction trying to decimate the other? Or is it simply an attempt to assassinate Princess Leia alone, after being outed as the daughter of Darth Vader? You’ll have to read the novel to find out.
Regardless, it seems that Episode 8 director Rian Johnson worked closely with Bloodline author Claudia Gray to shape the plot of the next movie! This was also confirmed by Jen Heddle, Lucasfilm’s senior editor for fiction, with some of novel’s elements coming straight from Johnson.
Based on what we know of Episode 8 so far, Leia will be returning to the Republic in the wake of Hosnian Prime’s annihilation. She will plead for war against the First Order and clash with Benicio del Toro’s character. Could Del Toro be Ransolm Casterfo? Or is he the new leader of the Centrists? And what about Laura Dern’s character? Is she reportedly a senior officer in the Republic military, or could she be the novel’s Lady Carise Sindian?
While The Force Awakens focused on the classic good guys vs. bad guys like the Original Trilogy, it looks like Episode VIII will be bringing back the political intrigue and gray areas of the prequels!
Can’t wait for Episode VIII? Satisfy your Star Wars hunger with this alternate look at the raid on Jakku!