Give Me Those Star Wars 26: Shadows of the Empire

The Irredeemable Shag and Andy Kapellusch hijack GIVE ME THOSE STARS WARS for a very special episode! 

A Long Time Ago (1996 to be exact) in Stores Far, Far Away (actually not that far at all) came… SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE! This was a massive multimedia event from Lucasfilm telling the story between EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI, exploring all the commercial possibilities of a full motion picture release, without actually making the film. Novels, comic books, a video game, toys, trading cards, RPG supplements, a soundtrack, and more! Shag and Andy discuss it all!

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15 responses to “Give Me Those Star Wars 26: Shadows of the Empire

  1. “I would shiv you, Andy” is easily the highlight of this episode. But close behind that is the rest of this discussion. I lived through the entire SotE hype, and everything you guys have said is correct. Everybody who had an N64 played the hell out of that game. SW nerds all read the book. Even Nintendo Power magazine showcased select pages from the Dark Horse comic issues (including a very rapey Xizor/Leia scene). Even then I knew that was just creeeeeeeeeepy.

    I’m glad to hear some expansion into the…well, expanded material. Not so much of a “Hey, this is what you should all be beholden to” but more of a “Hey, this is a thing that happened and I still enjoy it.” Really hoping more episodes like these happen while Ryan…recovers from fatherhood. Should only take another 20 years or so.

  2. Long time listener, first time commenter…

    Prince Xizor: the Harvey Weinstein of the galaxy far, far away.

    I cracked up a little when Andy admitted he didn’t finish reading the book. Shag and I discussed covering SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE two years ago for what would’ve been the twentieth anniversary. One of the reasons we never got around to it was because I couldn’t get more than fifty pages into the book on my re-read. It’s so poorly written and just boring. The first four or five chapters are just characters sitting alone in rooms thinking about their backstories and what happened in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

    Also, Guri, the Life Model Decoy sexbot never belonged in Star Wars. Bad concept on every level.

    I never liked Dash Rendar because I thought he looked like a younger, ginger version of X-Force’s Cable. Calling him Star Lord, though… brilliant. Still, I really liked his ship and his droid partner. Leebo and The Outrider for the win!

    1. Is this a network precedent? Can I wake up one day and find Shag or Rob replaced? Or worse yet, myself replaced as EP of Pod Dylan?

      Ryan – was recording equipment all that was stolen from your home? Shag was showing me pictures of a lot of fishnet stockings he recently “found.”

  3. Fellas – nice episode! More space wizards!

    I remember reading the novel and Comic – barely. Were R2 and 3PO used sparingly in these?

  4. If you’re a fan of the expanded universe new or old look up the “Star Wars Timeline Gold”. It is a MASSIVE chronology that you can download as a pdf that is split up into five volumes. You will get lost in that sucker!

  5. Great episode guys! I like how Shag brought back the “good” theme song. Wonder why he likes it so?

    I remember the SOTE campaign well, and even then I wondered, “Why not just do an animated movie or special and get the actors back to do the voices?” Seemed like a no-brainer then, especially with Hamill in the second leg of his Batman run.

    Those Applause figures stunk up the comic shop I worked at the whole time I was there. And they literally stunk. They had a very petroleum smell to them. My boss got at least one case of them, and we sold the older characters like Jedi Luke, 3PO, etc. But we couldn’t give away Xizor and Rendar. I’m with Ryan, I thought he looked like a red-headed Cable too. Or some Image-castoff.

    My boss finally put them in some blind “grab bag” prizes at our annual Halloween party, just to be rid of them!

    I’m going to have to check out Andy’s Star Wars POTF podcst. I didn’t collect those, but I had a college buddy who I drove around with looking for those. I once found him a brown-vested Luke, and you would have thought I had given him the Holy Grail…literally!


  6. Actually, no, I’m kidding, this was a good discussion on a weird asterisk in the SW history.

    IIRC Shadows was the first time my fandom for the SW franchise was tested, the first time I actively decided not to follow something closely. Once I learned there was a no movie, I kind of dismissed it all and the little bits and pieces I saw didn’t interest me. TBH Prince Xixor just looked goofy to me and I gave up at that point. I probably judged it too quickly, but I realize that my SW fandom really pivots around the movies–if there’s no movie, my interest wanes.

    Good show Shag, I didn’t even miss Ryan!

  7. Fun opening, but so creepy for RyRy!

    Shag and Andy have the perfect type of obsessiveness to do this successfully. I discarded a lot of EU Star Wars novels over the years, but always held on to the SotE novel and the comic tpb because I felt they ‘counted’ more somehow. It may be time to let them go now.

  8. When I saw how long this was I thought “oh no, a two hour car waxing on something I only kind of know.” But this was way more fair than I expected and that made it good listening.

    Not being an EU guy, I only ever played the video game. Ok, I also bought the soundtrack to the video game even though I knew it was pretty much all recycled tracks from the films. But in my defense, it was WAY cheaper than the actual movie soundtracks.

    I don’t even know how many times I played that opening Hoth level… However I’m pretty sure the entire back half of it I only played through once or twice. Talk about an epic opening to a mediocre game. I would usually stop at or after the asteroid field (which I mostly wanted for the music anyways.) That everything on the junk planet was just the worst. I have no idea how Dash came off in the other media, but man oh man. Even at the age of 14 I thought “wow, this guy is really lame.” Han Solo crossed with Cable. Just, no.

  9. Thanks for a great episode! I’ve always been a fan of the expanded universe but I wasn’t “all in” for Shadows of the Empire when it came out. I didn’t get around to reading the book until about a decade after the fact and I really don’t remember all that much from it. The one thing I do remember is my terrible pronunciation. From being a comic book nerd, I knew how to spell words and parse their meaning, but never really knew how to pronounce those words. “Excelsior!” is not an everyday word that people use. Having said all that, even though the book tells you how to pronounce Xisor, in my head, I always heard it as SIGH-zor. To which I thought was funny because it was so close to “scissor” so, to me, he will always be Prince Scissors.

  10. That intro was great haha!!! Nice ep guys. I didn’t realise SotE was anything more than one of the launching games for the N64. I only ever played it at friends’ houses as I didn’t both getting an N64 until the amazingly brilliant Rogue Squadron was released and then I didn’t get many other games because none could draw my attention away from Rogue Squadron, just ask Mrs Rift. Poor lady still has nightmares about the Hoth mission… “One more pass” and “Cable out, let her go!”

    I’m not immediately dismissive of the EU stuff but there is a lot of rubbish out there. A lot of the novels are great, Thrawn trilogy and a few others, the Clone Wars animated series is just amazing and does a lot to repair the damage done by the prequels, but a platform that always seems to be right on the money as far as aesthetic looks, sounds and story are the video games. Now some of the games did fall down in the “game” category that’s true.

    Thanks for the great ep Shag and Andy.

  11. A great walk down memory lane. My two points of contact with the Shadow of the Empire campaign were the novel and the video game. I haven’t read the novel in ages, but remember enjoying the way it set up the opening of Episodes VI, particularly Luke’s transformation into a confident Jedi. I was also a fan of West End’s Star Wars RPG, but, to my regret, do not have the Shadows of the Empire supplement.

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