Happy Star Wars Day to all those who enjoy a tall glass of blue milk and dream of twin Tatooine sunsets on the horizon.
To add to the annual Star Wars revelry of all things from a galaxy far, far away, we bring word of a new space opera novel from Del Rey titled "Star Wars: Brotherhood (opens in new tab)," coming to Earthly bookshops and online outlets May 10. (You can save 29% if you pre-order it now at Amazon (opens in new tab).)
Written by Mike Chen ("From A Certain Point Of View: The Empire Strikes Back"), this latest Star Wars tale is the ideal primer for the upcoming Disney Plus live-action miniseries, "Obi-Wan Kenobi," which stars Ewan McGregor as the aging space wizard in exile and lands on the streaming platform starting May 27.
“Star Wars: Brotherhood” is set during the turbulent times of the prequel era, just after the chaotic events that unfolded in 2002’s “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.”
The narrative centers around how Count Dooku's sly Sith apprentice Asajj Ventress initially met Kenobi at the onset of the devastating Clone Wars, and delves into the complex relationship between Anakin’s former master and the newly-anointed Jedi Knight as they’re called to investigate a shocking tragedy on the Trade Federation planet of Cato Neimoidia.
Here's the official synopsis from Del Rey:
"The Clone Wars have begun. Battle lines are being drawn throughout the galaxy. With every world that joins the Separatists, the peace guarded by the Jedi Order is slipping through their fingers.
"After an explosion devastates Cato Neimoidia, the jewel of the Trade Federation, the Republic is blamed and the fragile neutrality of the planet is threatened. The Jedi dispatch Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the Order’s most gifted diplomatic minds, to investigate the crime and maintain the balance that has begun to dangerously shift. As Obi-Wan investigates with the help of a heroic Neimoidian guard, he finds himself working against the Separatists who hope to draw the planet into their conspiracy—and senses the sinister hand of Asajj Ventress in the mists that cloak the planet.
"Amid the brewing chaos, Anakin Skywalker rises to the rank of Jedi Knight. Despite the mandate that Obi-Wan travel alone—and his former master’s insistence that he listen this time—Anakin’s headstrong determination means nothing can stop him from crashing the party, and bringing along a promising but conflicted youngling.
"Once a Padawan to Obi-Wan, Anakin now finds himself on equal—but uncertain—footing with the man who raised him. The lingering friction between them increases the danger for everyone around them. The two knights must learn a new way to work together—and they must learn quickly, to save Cato Neimoidia and its people from the fires of war. To overcome the threat they face they must grow beyond master and apprentice. They must stand together as brothers."
For Chen, "Brotherhood" was a dream project that unspools in his favorite era of the "Star Wars" saga and chronicles the transition between Anakin and Obi-Wan as bickering master and apprentice to the bonds of brotherhood forged under extreme conflict. Here’s how it all came about:
Space.com: What was the genesis of "Brotherhood" and why was this a story you wanted to tell?
Mike Chen: I've been pretty vocal with my agent about wanting to do a character-focused story for the prequel era, so on the business side of things, it really started with that and my short story in the "From A Certain Point Of View" anthology. That being said, this is a literal dream project for me, as I love the complexity of both the Clone Wars era and Anakin Skywalker as a character. The galaxy is shifting in ways our heroes know and don't know, and that makes their path from point A ("Attack of the Clones") to point B ("The Clone Wars" movie) fascinating and ripe for exploration.
Space.com: Where did your research process lead you in composing this Obi-Wan and Anakin tale?
Chen: I rewatched "Attack of the Clones" quite a bit, along with a shortlist of "Clone Wars" episodes and parts of "Revenge of the Sith." Once the narrative outline was in place, a lot of that rewatch focused on voice and physical mannerisms, along with trying to get into the characters' heads at specific times so I could riff on that in prose. I also constantly researched links to other material to weave connective tissue in there, along with talking with E.K. Johnston, author of "Queen’s Hope" (which takes place immediately before my book).
Space.com: What were some of the geeky goodies you included in "Brotherhood?"
Chen: I have a spreadsheet of 70-some references, tie-ins, and easter eggs woven throughout “Brotherhood.” Of those, there's one standout for Anakin and Obi-Wan that I'm thrilled they let me do. For Anakin, it's carrying over the motif of the sun-dragon from Matthew Stover's “Revenge of the Sith” novelization and grounding it into Anakin's childhood and his relationship with his mother. For Obi-Wan, it's expanding on his personal history with Satine Kryze of Mandalore, and in particular connecting to a detail from the Legends novel “Kenobi” by John Jackson Miller.
Space.com: Do you have a favorite “Star Wars” memory and do you have special plans for "Star Wars" Day?
Chen: I was born in the late 1970s, so I've been a fan my entire life. Which means there are a lot of memories to pick from, but I think something that I'm really holding onto is my daughter's reaction to watching the saga using the Machete Order (as I documented in this essay (opens in new tab)).
When we finished, it was clear that rather than simply being cool spaceships and laser swords, this would be something that carried an emotional weight for her. To know we built that deep bond for her and can enjoy it together is very special. So we'll probably spend "Star Wars" Day as a family just watching something together and knowing that it will always be there for us.
Mike Chen's "Star Wars: Brotherhood (opens in new tab)" arrives May 10 from Del Rey Books.