Hyperspace Theories Episode 43

Many Star Wars fans, including the team here at FANgirl, have long urged the franchise to release a novel centered on Padmé and her political career. That moment has finally arrived from Disney Lucasfilm Press, in the form of the Young Adult novel Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston, who previously wrote the YA novel Ahsoka.

As usual, we begin with our meta segment, in which we consider influential forces and figures that have shaped the Star Wars franchise. Part of what makes this Padmé novel special is that Johnston is one of the first Star Wars creators from the Prequel Trilogy generation to attain the opportunity to contribute as a professional. In interviews, she shares that she first saw The Phantom Menace on her fifteenth birthday, and immediately built her fandom around Padmé, Sabé, and the rest of Amidala’s handmaidens. From fanfic to her career as a published author to books about Ahsoka and Padmé, Johnston brings priorities, values, and emphases to her Star Wars work that differ greatly from most contributors from the Original Trilogy generation. As even more peers from her generation join the franchise, Star Wars will broaden with new perspectives from new voices.

We share our reactions to Queen’s Shadow in the storytelling segment. Padmé and Sabé are the principal characters, but the book has a lot of other elements to discuss, as well. In addition to the handmaidens from the Prequel Trilogy films, the novel includes appearances from characters in The Clone Wars animated series and connections to Claudia Gray’s novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan. Also noteworthy are several of Johnston’s new characters, as well as the variety of different forms of representation she includes in the story.

For the world-building segment, we discuss the recently revealed details about Black Spire Outpost on Batuu, opening later this year at that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge expansions at Disneyland (May 31) and Disney World (August 29). From cast member costumes to food and beverage options, in-universe toys and attire for purchase, the Imagineers have developed an impressive range of immersive qualities for the theme parks. Fortunately, Disney has anticipated the high demand for the openings, and has several guest-flow control measures prepared to keep the experience from being overwhelmed by dense crowds.

April brings the Star Wars Celebration convention in Chicago. Hyperspace Theories will be there, so check back for our coverage from the event.

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Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and the intersection of women within Star Wars fandom. She is co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars Visual Encyclopedia from DK Publishing, a featured writer for Star Wars Insider magazine with numerous articles on the Hero's Journey. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and Fangirls Going Rogue. Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.