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Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Return of the Jedi From a Certain Point of View’

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Return of the Jedi is one of my all-time favorite Star Wars movies. The adventure and the feel-good ending always make me emotional, remembering the journey all these beloved characters have been on. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi celebrates its 40th anniversary with the newest installment in the From a Certain Point of View book series. The title comes from Obi-Wan Kenobi’s line in the film. When Luke asks why lie about who killed Anakin, Obi-Wan responds, “What I told you was true… from a certain point of view.” 

The books tell the story of the Original Trilogy from the point of view of the background characters we see on screen. I thought this concept has been so entertaining and it’s such a Star Wars thing. So many fans always wonder what’s the Empire thinking, or what are the other Rebels up to. The moments I was most looking forward to getting a new perspective on were the events at Jabba’s palace and the celebration on Endor. I was pleasantly surprised at how deep some of these stories were, given the authors had roughly ten pages each to tell their story.  

When the list of authors was announced this became one of my most anticipated books. A few authors have previously written for Star Wars such as Emma Mieko Candon, Mike Chen, and Adam Christopher. Two new authors new to Star Wars that I was so happy to see on the list were Olivie Blake and Ali Hazelwood. I wanted to highlight three of my favorite short stories that stood out to me.  

[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Random House for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of Return of the Jedi From a Certain Point of View contains some spoilers!]

“The Man Who Captured Luke Skywalker”

This short by Max Gladstone tells the point of view of Commander Altadan Igar, the man who brought Luke to Darth Vader on Endor. Igar believed in the Empire, the order that Palpatine preached about. After Vader dismisses him we find out he did overhear the start of their conversation. His world was turned upside down when he heard what Vader said to Luke. 

return of the jedi commander Igar. return of the jedi from a certain point of view
Commander Igar brings Luke to Darth Vader. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Disney/Lucasfilm)

Not everyone knew what Palpatine was. The regular people, like Commander Igar, leading the Empire’s army believed he just wanted order from the dangerous magical chaos that was the Jedi Order. When he heard that the Emperor had been expecting Luke, that’s when he knew. There were no coincidences in this war. Nothing happened by chance. Palpatine is the very thing they are looking to destroy. I wonder if he ended up having second thoughts before facing the Rebels. 

“Then Fall, Sidious”

This story from Palpatine’s point of view, during the final fight between him and Luke, is by Olivie Blake. Her writing is so well done, Blake truly dove into Palptine’s psyche and it was chilling. She shows how much Palpatine planned and how little he truly thought of Vader. Palpatine had said Vader was replaceable and if he couldn’t have Luke he’d find another. He never cared about his apprentice he just cared about control. 

Palpatine electrocuting Luke in Return of the Jedi. (Disney/Lucasfilm)
Palpatine electrocuting Luke. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Disney/Lucasfilm)

Blake’s writing is poetic in a way that truly pulls you into a character’s mindset. As I was reading, I felt so wrapped up in Palpatine that I didn’t realize what scene had played out until it was over. This story has stayed with me since I finished the book as well. I can’t seem to shake the feeling I got while reading and it makes me excited to pick up her newest book. 

Out of all 40 stories do not skip this one. This one is a must-read for all fans.

“Brotherhood”

Titled to match his 2022 book, in Mike Chen’s short we see Obi-Wan and Anakin reunited in the Force. I thoroughly enjoyed Brotherhood when it came out and I highly recommend it if you are looking for an Anakin and Obi-Wan story. In the book and short Chen uses a lot of beloved concepts from the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, especially the sun dragon story Anakin remembered from his mother. While reading, this short genuinely brought tears to my eyes. Reading through Anakin’s peaceful transition into the Force after twenty years of torture and manipulation from Palpatine was so relieving. To know Obi-Wan forgave him after everything they went through was the best happy ending for them.

Anakin reuniting with Obi-Wan and Yoda (Disney/Lucasfilm)
Anakin reuniting with Obi-Wan and Yoda (Disney/Lucasfilm)

We finally find out Anakin was redeemed for the choices he made and that’s why he’s wearing the lighter Jedi robes when we see his ghost. Another question that was finally answered is, Could Leia see them? No. Obi-Wan explains Leia isn’t there yet. Her journey with the Force was just beginning. I do wonder if she ever saw Obi-Wan or Anakin’s ghost when Luke started to train her. I like to think Obi-Wan appeared just once for her.

This was a fun read and for sure something you want to pick up if you enjoyed the previous two books. I can’t wait to see what the ones for the prequel trilogy will be and who will end up writing those shorts. It’s amazing how after forty years we’re still learning new things about moments in Star Wars.

Return of the Jedi From a Certain Point of View is available now! Will you be reading this novel? Let us know on X or in The Cosmic Circus Discord!

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