Family Trumps Distance: How Excluding the Fels from Apocalypse Goes Against Star Wars’s Use of Family
Crossposted at Racheal Ambrose’s blog – The Galactic Drift
It’s impossible to include every character in each Star Wars book. That said, Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse left out the most logical inclusion in the final scene.
At the wedding of Jaina Solo and Jagged Fel it would make sense for Jag’s family to attend, and yet they are nowhere in sight. There’s mention of others, like Kyp Durron and Lando, but not the parents and siblings of the groom.
The argument that loyalty to the Chiss would stop the Fels from attending their son’s wedding, or even maintaining some type of relationship with him, is ludicrous. Soontir shows loyalty to a government that he can believe in. The changing dealings of the Empire turned him to the New Republic, and then later Thrawn convinced him that the Empire of Hand was the way to go. Family played a role in both decisions. It’s hard to believe that Soontir turned into a narrow-minded man whose only loyalty is to the Chiss no matter what they do. In addition, there’s the appearance of the Empire of Hand in Ascension. If that’s not a clear indicator that Jag is in contact with the rest of the Fels, then nothing is.
Syal and Soontir lost children. What parent wouldn’t try to maintain a relationship with their surviving loved ones?
Given the scene Troy Denning wrote, it would have been easy to add in a sentence stating their presence. An actual conversation would have been even better, but that wasn’t going to happen. Wedge and his family weren’t even there. Wedge had a relationship with both of them and was friends with most of the guests. He’s a shoo-in for an invite.
Troy Denning stated in his interview with Suvudu that the wedding was planned from the start, yet the idea that Jag’s family attend the event was either ignored or cast aside.
Fans know very little about the Fels. No one knows exactly how Davin, Cherith, and Chak died. Facts allude to the Yuuzhan Vong regarding Davin and Cherith, but we don’t know for sure that’s what happened. For being tied to one of the main characters, there’s not much information about Jag’s life and upbringing.
It’s not as if the books show that there is some type of family division or feud occurring. There’s no evidence to support this theory. The cost of Jag guaranteeing Lowbacca’s parole is nothing compared to family bonds. Money, land, it’s all possessions. Never have the Fels given off the impression that material items or status matter more than family. Even if Syal or Soontir had some type of grudge against Jaina, would they truly cast their son aside? No. Soontir proved early on how easy it is to accept someone who may not hold the same ideals or perform the same actions as himself just because someone he cares for loves that person. He and Wedge were on opposite sides, yet that didn’t stand in the way of Soontir and Syal’s happiness. Their son would have to same consideration.
“We’re a family. Family does for family.”
~Soontir to his father, X-Wing: Rogue Squadron #25: The Making of Baron Fel by Michael Stackpole
Family plays a vital role in the Star Wars universe. The loss of his mother Shmi led to Anakin Skywalker’s first major step towards the dark side. The death of Anakin Solo had a similar affect on Jaina. Jacen rationalizes that he must turn Sith to create a safe galaxy for his daughter Allana. The Antilles family found members on both sides of the Second Galactic Civil War and yet their bonds weren’t broken. Sacrificing a life for a sibling or child is something we all can understand. Jacen’s fall to the dark side seemed more difficult to grasp because of who he was betraying. When he killed Mara, he killed a family member, not some stranger. It was a more powerful death (and not only because it was Mara Jade). With these bonds, it’s harder for viewers or readers to grasp onto what the characters are going through. While we can appreciate the need for saving a planet, saving one’s family seems more tangible.
The absence of the Fels also supports the remark about Jaina that Denning mentioned in the post-Apocalypse Suvudu interview:
“Now, some of the fans know that I was a Jaina/Zekk shipper early on, and everybody thinks that that was because I like Zekk better. It was really because I didn’t want to see Jaina go off to live in what early on would have been the Chiss Empire and then later would have been the Imperial Remnant. I didn’t want to lose Jaina for the main storylines. She’s an important Jedi, and we’ve known for a long time that she’s going to become more and more important to the core of the Jedi, so did we really want to have to go through plot hoops and come up with plot devices to bring her back into the main story every time we wanted to use her? Or did we want to risk losing her from the main story all the time? Once we came to terms with the need to use Jaina and decided to find a way to bring Jag back into the main story for a few years (so that Jaina could be in the main story too), that pretty much solved the problem.”
The Unknown Regions aren’t in another galaxy. There isn’t an electromagnetic band that forbids transmission or a lack of hyperspace routes leading in and out that prohibit travel. Even Star Wars: The Old Republic uses the Unknown Regions. There’s not much there now, just Illum, space combat missions, and class quest stops, but players can still travel there. Holograms and the holonet make it possible to converse with someone lightyears away. That idea is solidified into the base level of Star Wars canon in the prequels. The Jedi Council held meetings with half the members absent. Their projections were so good that the Masters appeared to be sitting perfectly in the chairs.
In addition, this is Star Wars. Very rarely do events in a book only occur on one planet. Location is no excuse to avoid using a character. Regarding Jaina, Denning’s concern is based solely on that Jaina could only join Jag, not the other way around.
It’s hard to believe that the Fels couldn’t find a way to communicate with Jag after his exile. How would the Chiss have learned of the death of Alema Rar, for one? It’s not as someone sent out a mass transmission stating, “It’s okay, Alema Rar, a Twi’lek you’ve probably never heard of, is dead. Go back to your drinks.” The only logical conclusion is that Jag filed some type of report to make the Chiss and his family aware of her demise. And what about the Empire of the Hand? There’s no way Soontir didn’t have something to do with their arrival.
We simply don’t know what the Fels are doing. Wyn could be a high-ranking member of the Chiss military or sent to some low level job after the events the Killik war. Cem’s status as a shadow child provides even less information. The entire family is a question mark.
Without knowing all the details of his exile, it’s difficult to discern the state of the Fels lives. Perhaps they would be so broke that leaving is a better alternative. They must have had some funds given that they hired rescue parties to find Jag. Any family that works so hard to find their lost child isn’t going to disown him for lost credits.
The exclusion of the Fels isn’t just a disservice to fans; it’s an illogical decision. The Chiss were the ones that cast off Jag, not Syal and Soontir. It fights their character to hop aboard the Starflare to fly to their son’s wedding. To deny them that is absurd.
And yet, that’s exactly what happened.
Racheal spent her childhood wishing to be like Princess Leia. She works as a freelance writer and copy editor and maintains a blog that discusses Star Wars and other “nerd” activities. As her parents say, she’s been a feminist since the age of five, often telling the boys in kindergarten that girls could play with the “boy toys.” She lives in central Indiana with her husband, two cats, dog and bird.
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6 thoughts on “Family Trumps Distance: How Excluding the Fels from Apocalypse Goes Against Star Wars’s Use of Family”
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I would love to read an explanation of this situation from the people involved.
The Empire of the Hand’s appearance in Ascension was disappointing. All that hiding the ball for books and books that just fizzled. I expected BOOM MOTHERF*CKER! when the Hand showed back up in the EU. And I agree with Racheal that the Fels appearance at the wedding wouldn’t necessarily have impacted the EotH/Chiss/Jag dynamic.
For somebody who wanted to keep Jaina around for the main storyline so badly he sure didn’t utilize her very well.
The crazy thing is, a brief half-sentence mention of them being there wouldn’t have required any explaining of where they’ve been or how they got there. That could have easily been left for someone else to explain in some later book. I understand not listing everyone there, but the Fels are kind of a big deal, being the groom’s parents and all.
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