Bring On The Tales – Thoughts on Future Star Wars Anthologies


I’m sure most Star Wars Expanded Universe fans have read at least one of the “Tales from…”/”Tales of…” anthologies. Each book includes a handful of short stories fitting into one of several themes. Del Rey has published collections for the Mos Eisley Cantina; the motley assortment of Original Trilogy bounty hunters; Jabba’s palace; the Empire; and the New Republic. One of the most interesting things about these anthologies was their reliance on minor and brand-new characters, not established favorites like the Big Three, to carry the plot.

Since these titles were released in the mid-to-late 1990s, there’s been an explosion of EU material that the compilers of the ”Tales” anthologies couldn’t possibly have imagined. Given the wide variety of eras open to exploration and the wealth of new characters, conflicts, and organizations popping up in these eras, I think it’s time to imagine what a new wave of short story anthologies might look like.

Tales from the Clone Wars

With the animated TV series on Cartoon Network picking up steam and taking things to the next level, there’s no time like the present to put together a series of vignettes about life on the front lines of the Clone Wars. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a ton of ideas for brief stories set against the backdrop of the Prequel Trilogy’s three-year war. Tales from the Clone Wars might include: covert ops commandos gathering intel on Separatist installations; a battle droid factory suffering a glitch and accidentally producing a handful of droids that can think for themselves and decide to renounce their CIS allegiance; a Jedi Master searching the ruins of a battlefield for his Padawan and being haunted by his past failures until he makes a grim choice; a senator from the Core Worlds visiting the terrorism-plagued Outer Rim on a humanitarian mission and getting caught in the middle of a hostage situation.

Tales of Black Sun

Various books have touched on the galactic criminal syndicate famously run by Prince Xizor, but in keeping with its name, this shadowy organization has never been thrust into in the spotlight. I hope that will change someday, because as cool as Black Sun is as the secretive group that gets referenced in hushed tones, I’d like to see its inner workings and explore some of the Vigo-against-Vigo drama that must be brewing at all times. Imagine a book whose short stories reveal the extent to which one underground group has affected the course of galactic history. Imagine Darth Sidious reaching out to Underlord Dal Perhi in the early days of his Empire, intent on fomenting as much unrest as possible so that his stormtroopers would be seen as peacekeepers instead of terrible oppressors. (Xizor’s appearance on the scene, seizing power from Perhi and freezing cooperation with Palpatine due to the Empire’s murder of his family, would make a great short story too.) Or what if a small group of Republic politicians secretly used Senate funds to order Black Sun hits on prominent Separatist generals and financiers? With a group as shrouded in mystery as Black Sun, the sky’s the limit (or would it be the sun?) when it comes to ideas for an anthology.

Tales from Cloud City

Before I suggest ideas for this book, it bears repeating that, in keeping with Tales anthology tradition, Lando Calrissian cannot be the main character in any of these stories –– even if he is “the administrator of this facility.” Still, the city in the clouds depicted The Empire Strikes Back offers a treasure trove of material ripe for the literary picking. In one story, Ugnaught workers uncover an Imperial plot to bug the city that would have exploited its under-the-radar reputation to catch fugitives from the Emperor’s justice. On another side of the floating landscape, a prominent carbonite salesman’s son siphons off portions of his father’s yield and sells it on the black market, only to get caught in the crossfire between two vicious groups of pirates. Meanwhile, danger strikes a class field trip below Bespin’s clouds as they encounter the planet’s native velkers. And just think of the tales you could tell about Cloud City’s famous Ice Cream Maker Guy…okay, forget that last part.

Tales from the Coruscant Underworld

Sure, it might be interesting to read a Tales from the Galactic Senate anthology, but if I’m picking one location on Coruscant to receive its own collection of short stories, it’s got to be the seedy venues and risqué establishments of the city-planet’s nightlife. Even when speeders piloted by Jedi Knights aren’t crash-landing in front of them, the clubs and bars of the galactic capital are teeming with excitement of the less-than-legal variety. One short story might follow a reformed death stick dealer who, after going home and rethinking his life, aids local law enforcement in cleaning up his city block. Another could focus on a Twi’lek dancer (I think writers are contractually obligated to make all nightclub dancers Twi’leks) looking into the mysterious death of her employer. Another riveting tale might feature a squad of stormtroopers stranded far below the comforting glow of Coruscant’s orbital solar mirrors, desperately trying to escape whatever industrially-mutated creature is stalking them in the dim, murky light of the underworld’s streetlamps. The book series Coruscant Nights offers just enough glimpses of this gritty realm to demonstrate the appeal of a full anthology.

Those are my ideas for future anthologies. If you think of other regions or aspects of the Star Wars galaxy that deserve their own short story collections, share your thoughts in the comments.

  • I’d like to see all of the shorts/novellas in the various magazines (SW Insider, SW Gamer, etc) collected in paperback anthologies. If not there, maybe released as one-shot 99-cent e-books.

    I like the idea of more anthologies. Short, concise, intertwined stories are great.

  • Tales from the Clone Wars is a great idea! I would love to see the Clone Wars from the perspective of some Jedi and clones that we haven’t met yet.

  • I’d love to see a \Tales Of\ book set during the Yuuzhan Vong war, or one in the backdrop of the Galactic Civil War during LOTF.

  • Space Girl

    I wouldn’t mid some Tales of books based on the Moffs (starting New Hope era maybe?) Perhaps something around Daala? Always an intriguing character.

  • Brian

    I would love to see a Tales set between Episode 4 and 6!

  • And don’t forget, folks, we also have a short story anthology coming out this July — Lost Tribe of the Sith, which includes all the e-books plus a new novella by me, along with some other surprises.

    Interesting ideas, here! Short stories FTW!

  • Thanks John! I’m definitely picking up your Lost Tribe anthology!

  • While all of these ideas are great, probably the Tales from the Clone Wars might have the best traction. I’ve got some cool ideas for stories in this time frame, and some of those seem to match up with one or two of Eric’s. And there’s a chance to dive into the doings of some of those cool characters from TCW that only pop up once or twice: Tera Sinube, the bounty hunters, etc.

    If going back to the “tales from a particular scene from a movie” concept, then Tales from the Outlander Club (which would be probably pretty close to the Coruscant Underworld idea) would be my pick for a starting place.

  • I’d love to see more short story anthologies. A Clone Wars version sounds great. What about pushing into the EU with Tales of the Yuuzhan Vong or Tales from the Ebon Hawk?

  • Shadadukal

    I’ll echo what Michael Falkner said about collecting and publishing short stories that appeared in various SW publications. There used to be quite a few of them up on Hyperspace but alas, they’re gone now. My vote would be for paperback collections though.

    I’m definitely picking up the anthology about the Lost Tribe. Hopefully if sales are good, we’ll see more such anthologies.

    Tales from the Yuuzhan Vong war and or the Clone Wars are definitely books that I would pick up.

  • Liking your ideas Eric, given that sales of the original \Tales of…/Tales from…\ series were disappointing, perhaps Del Rey/RH could try to keep costs down and publish your ideas digitally as ebook collections before releasing in paperback?

  • I liked Skuldren’s suggestion – Tales from the YV War. Tons of possibilities for short stories and one shots in the EU. Would love to see shorts from Luke and Leia’s childhood or looks into the lives of some of the X-wing pilots families – Horns, Antilles, Fels, Tainers, Celchus.

  • There have been a few references (mostly during NJO, I believe) about fearsome things: beings and/or events in the Unknown Regions. They were the reason that the Chiss at least sent a recon squadron into the YVW. I would like to see \Tales from the Unknown Regions\, or even an anthology of stories from Chiss history. We’ve seen them quite a bit but they remain mysterious and interesting.

  • Jerec350

    I would like to see a Tales of the Sith anthology. A collection of short stories about some of the lesser known Sith Lords and their apprentices. Each story would follow the progression of an apprentice to master with each following story consisting of the winner training a new apprentice and fighting him at the end. Example: Story 1, Darth A is defeated by Darth B. Story 2, Darth B is defeated by Darth C. Etc…

  • I would really like to see a Tales of The Boonta Eve Classic for Episode I, Tales of Order 66 for Episode 3 and Tales of the Dark Times for the time inbetween ROTS and ANH.

  • I like Daniel’s idea for an Order 66 anthology: I mean, when the order was executed, there were numerous Jedi in the field who were killed by their own troops… Imagine stories telling about their fight, with an Order 66 ending…

  • ChrisVee

    I would love to see a Tales from the Sith Order.
    It would be awesome if it could span the entire New Sith Wars.
    There is so much of this time period that goes on, but hardly any material on it.
    And its such an interesting time period :]

    I would also love a story involving Freedon Nadd as a jedi, and his subsequent falling towards the dark side.
    (but that would HAVE to be a full novel)
    ((probably written by Drew Karpyshyn))
    (((hint, hint)))

  • Aaron S.

    Similar to what some have suggested, how about a “Tales of the Jedi Purge,” focused on stories set around the time of Order 66?

    You could have a Padawan who survives Order 66, though his master has died; a Youngling in the Jedi Temple (the story could end as Anakin enters the Council chamber…); one of the more pacifist Jedi who more-or-less sat out the Clone Wars; a clonetrooper’s story (it could open with the words, “It will be done, My Lord.”); maybe the story of Paxi Sylo from the Clone Wars microseries and how he takes the news of the Jedi’s “treason”; something on the almost-Jedi in the Agricultural Corps and what happens to them when the Jedi Order is wiped out… Lots of possibilities here.

  • Cosmosis

    Clone wars and Cloud city sound like the the most promising offers above. A tales from Coruscant could even go through several era’s of EU. Perhaps a Tales of the Jedi temple. I really like the ideas for the boonta eve and sith posted above.

  • Terafi

    How about Tales from the Kessel Run? Stories surrounding the goings-on of Kessel prior to Episode 4. You could also have Tales from Maw Installation with appearances by Tarkin himself. Find out all the neat little dangerous things that could have come out of that place during its hay day.

  • Chris

    I really enjoyed alot of the suggestions already made, tales of black sun, tales of the coruscant underworld, tales of the sith, and cloud city. I guess following on from the first two, I would really like to see a tales of the exchange, which focuses more on the old republic era, which seems difficult with the games, but there is a 300 year gap in the history of the exchange, between Kotor, when we thought them almost eliminated, and the old republic, where they are back in force.

  • I’ve always been fascinated with the Coruscant underworld so that would be a no-brainer purchase for me. Actually all four ideas sound fantastic. Tales from the Clone Wars sounds marketable, Cloud City will attract the Original Trilogy fans like myself, and since I find Shadow Games to be a fun read, I’m intrigued to know more about the Black Sun. Del Rey, please make at least 2 of the 4 ideas happen.

  • TC

    I’d buy any of those titles, but I think “Tales of Black Sun” would be a tough sell. Black Sun’s pure EU, and most folks don’t know what it is. Seems like a limited appeal.

    “Tales of the Old Republic” seems like a no-brainer to me.

    And I would totally buy “Tales of the Sith!” Gimme some Karness Muur, XoXaan, Darth Andeddu, or Naga Sadow action. Toss in a few post-Bane Sith and some more of those wacky Sith lords from the Knight Errant series. And Darths Talon, Nihl, Krayt, and the rest of the One Sith. Definitely Darth Talon.

    How about the already used title “Tales of the Jedi?” There’s 20,000 years between the new “Dawn of the Jedi: series and most of the Old Republic stories. Surely something interesting happened during that time.

  • Frank

    “Tales of the Sith” YES. I’d love to know more about Darth Gravid, and the lineage of Bane!

    “Tales of the Clone Wars” would be really great, but I’d love to hear stories of non-Republic characters from that era as well!

    I would LOVE a “Tales from the New Jedi Order” and “Tales of the Old Republic.”

    Please don’t tease us! Let’s see some more anthologies!!