From next year, the licence for Star Wars related novels has reverted back from Bantam to Del Rey. In my opinion, I feel that Del Rey needs to reinvent the 'Expanded Universe'. Nearly every year after the Battle of Endor up until 'The Hand of Thrawn' duology there has been some major crisis; I think that this time period has been jam packed enough, and other events, times and places need to have their stories told. I think that by now, the idea of a new superweapon or someone trying to bring back the Empire has grown a bit tired. Thankfully, Timothy Zahn has tried to bring conclusion in his latest novel - 'Vision Of The Future', with a peace treaty signed by the New Republic and the Empire. This novel, easily one of the best so far has created avenues that future story weavers can follow. We now know that the Unknown regions were mapped by Thrawn, and his race are now known - the Chiss. It would be great for stories to be located in that area - find new enemies, etc . . . something to replace the Empire. Zahn hinted that the Chiss have important family structures and traditions, so to explore that more in depth would be cool. Add to the fact that Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade are to be married, that in itself leads to story possibilities. George Lucas has set the time period of +25 years after 'ROTJ' for the fabled sequel trilogy. Ok let him have that, but why not have story arcs 35, 40 to 50 years after 'ROTJ' when Anakin, Jacen, Jaina Solo and Luke and Mara's eventual children are grown up and Jedi Knights. Are why not go one further, why not have stories set around 4,000 years after 'ROTJ' - like an opposite to the 'Tales of the Jedi' comic series, in this case, the adventures of Luke Skywalker are fabled tales of myth, etc . . .

  One area I would LOVE to see covered, is for Del Rey to do a giant novel (500+ pages) about the formation of the Old Republic and the Jedi knights! That would be one of the best ideas so far to do, and it is a good example for what I mean - explore new area's, and not be bogged down in a ten to twenty year time period. With the advent of the prequels, we will have a ten year period between Episode I and II, and a year period between II and III. This opens up story opportunites, but I hope that it isn't flooded and saturated like at present. I think that is a good point, the Star Wars market is a bit flooded at the moment. I would be happy with around four major Star Wars novels a year with the quality of Timothy Zahn. Getting back to the prequels, characters like Qui-Gon Jinn and Mace Windu can have their back stories told. I would also love to see Del Rey go out on a limb and experiment with ways of story telling that are untried. 'I, Jedi' is a great example of what I mean - a story told from the first perspective. If we do have to go over old ground with the Empire, why not have a story from the BAD guys point of view! That would be cool, I don't believe that has been done in mainstream science fiction before. Imagine a story in Palpatine's point of view, etc . .

  I hope that this has given you something to think about, maybe we should drop Del Rey and email or two to their site and give us their opinions. I think it is our right as a fan to have input where are loved 'universe' is headed, after all, we pay their wages by buying their books!

  Until next time!