The New Jedi Order
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The New Jedi Order (or New Jedi Order or NJO) is a series of nineteen science fiction novels, published from 1999 to 2003, set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. The series revolves around the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of the galaxy 21–26 years after the events depicted in Return of the Jedi. The New Jedi Order was the restored and reformed Jedi organization, in the wake of the Great Jedi Purge and subsequent fall of the Galactic Empire. The Jedi Knights, reduced in number to only a handful, were slowly restored, primarily under the leadership of Luke Skywalker. Additional stories, generally published as e-book novellas (some published as recently as 2006) and comic books (as recent as 2010/2011), take the total number of published NJO-related stories to twenty-six.
The series begins twenty-one years after the Rebel Alliance destroyed the second Death Star. The New Republic is facing internal conflict while trying to maintain peace. A new, powerful enemy, known as the Yuuzhan Vong, emerges from the outer galaxy, beginning what will be known as the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. The Jedi, along with the New Republic, struggle to resist this new alien race while it steadily pushes forward, annihilating or occupying different parts of the galaxy.
As the longest continuous series of novels in the Expanded Universe, the NJO was able to establish several long-term character arcs. Many new or previously underused characters were put into the spotlight and were developed extensively over the course of the series. Among the most prominent character arcs:
- Ganner Rhysode: Rhysode began the series as an arrogant young Jedi, a trait best shown when, on assignment with Corran Horn, he mocked Horn’s inability to use telekinesis, claiming that this made him a lesser Jedi. Rhysode gradually became more humble over the course of the series, especially after watching many of his friends die on the mission to Myrkr. After Jacen Solo was captured during this mission, Rhysode went searching for him, even though, in Jacen’s words, “we weren’t even friends”; Rhysode died fighting thousands of Yuuzhan Vong warriors so that Jacen and Vergere could escape. It was foreseen that in the future, the Yuuzhan Vong would eventually worship a new god called “the Ganner”, who guarded the entrance of the Yuuzhan Vong realm of the dead, referring admiringly, to Rhysode’s last stand.
- Tahiri Veila: Not fully developed in her original role—Anakin Solo’s friend from Junior Jedi Knights—Tahiri was pushed to a starring role in the NJO. When the Yuuzhan Vong captured Yavin 4, she was taken prisoner and subjected to experiments designed to create a Vong-human hybrid. Anakin eventually rescued her, which stirred the romantic feelings they had had for years; when Anakin died above Myrkr, Tahiri was devastated. At this time, the Yuuzhan Vong personality implanted in her began to periodically take control, and Tahiri would wrestle with this for the duration of the series. Unlike most of the other Jedi, she had a peculiar empathy with the Yuuzhan Vong; at the end of the series, she chose to stay on Zonoma Sekot in order to continue learning about the Yuuzhan Vong and to help them build a better society.
- Jacen Solo: Jacen underwent perhaps the most complete and controversial arc of the NJO. He began the series as someone who actively questioned whether it was right to use the Force as a weapon. After being captured by the Yuuzhan Vong he withstood weeks of torture at the hands of Vergere, an Old Republic Jedi and Vong familiar. He emerged with a new view of the Force, including a willingness to use it offensively. During the battle to retake Coruscant, Jacen achieved a state of oneness with the Force that gave him a “perfect mastery.”
Many major characters die within the New Jedi Order series. In a number of New Jedi Order books the characters who die seemed to be of key importance in the novels. The books also revealed the death of some major characters in the Star Wars universe that were not introduced in the movie trilogies. Chewbacca dies saving Anakin on the planet Sernpidal, which causes some friction between Anakin and his father Han.
In 1999, Mark Hamill reprised his role as Luke Skywalker in a brief speaking role for the series. Hamill spoke as Luke in a TV commercial for the first novel in the series, Vector Prime. In the commercial, Luke recalls the state that the galaxy is in at the present, compared to the times of the Empire.
- The New Jedi Order books at Random House
- New Jedi Order Encyclopedia
- The Unofficial New Jedi Order Homepage
- Vector Prime commercial on the Official Star Wars site.