Beginning in 1991, Star Wars saw a resurgence in popularity among fans, partly by the comic book series Dark Empire, but also by the release a new novels by author Timothy Zahn. Heir to the Empire brought back all the main characters...Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Lando Calrissian and introduced them to a whole new threat in the form of Grand Admiral Thrawn, an alien Imperial leader who was attempting to restore the Empire to its former glory. Thrawn recruited the mad Jedi clone Joruus C'baoth, who had sinister plans for Han and Leia's unborn children. An alien race called the Noghri pursued the heroes to Bimmisari, Bfassh, and Kashyyyk. The story also introduced smugglers Talon Karrde and Mara Jade, a woman who had a dark secret in her past and outright hatred for Luke Skywalker, on the planet Myrkyr, home of the Ysalamiri, small creatures who could negate the Force.
The second story in the "Thrawn Trilogy" was Dark Force Rising, and dealt with the trial of Admiral Ackbar orchestrated by Borsk Fey'lya, Mara Jade's past as the Emperer's Hand, as Leia travelled to the Noghri homeworld, finding a new ally in the war against Thrawn. Han and Lando seek out Garm Bel Iblis, to try and convince him to return and help the New Republic.
The trilogy of novels came to an end in The Last Command, where Thrawn is creating a new army of clones in an effort to defeat the New Republic. Leia gives birth to Jedi twins Jacen and Jaina, and Master C'baoth plans to kidnap the twins and raise them as the first of a new legion of dark Jedi! Mara Jade turns into an unlikely ally as must fight off the last order of the Emperor to kill Luke Skywalker, and instead fights to protect them all. Meanwhile, Ackbar is cleared of all charges, Karrde tries to organize the smugglers, and Luke and Mara travel to Wayland to put a stop to C'baoth. But the mad Jedi is ready for them both, allied with a clone of Luke Skywalker. It all comes down to a final space battle with Thrawn and his fleet, culminating with Ruhk's betrayal and Mara completing her final mission for the Emperor.
The comic book adaptations were all written by Mike Baron with covers by Mattieuu Laffray. Artists for the series were Olivier Vatine and Fred Blanchard on Heir to the Empire, Terry Dodson and Kevin Nowlan on Dark Force Rising, and Edvin Biukovic and Eric Shanower on The Last Command. Kilian Plunkett painted the cover to the Dark Force Rising trade paperback.
|HEIR TO THE EMPIRE|
|DARK FORCE RISING|
|THE LAST COMMAND|