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Only Sith Deal In Absolutes!
date posted: Feb 24, 2006 2:14 AM  |  updated: Aug 30, 2006 1:26 AM
Endnotes for Droids and the Force, Part 1
Inspired by the awesome Endnotes for The New Essential Chronology recently published on StarWars.com, and as a primer for my upcoming Endnotes for the Story of General Grievous, I thought I'd publish an article outlining all the obscure references I included in Droids, Technology and the Force: A Clash of Phenomena, published in the online supplement to Star Wars Insider #81.

These notes were originally posted at the Droids and the Force discussion thread at TheForce.net, in an abridged and slightly less complete form.


The idea of droid discrimination in the Star Wars universe goes back to A New Hope, when the Mos Eisley Cantina bartender yells to Luke, "Your droids! We don't serve their kind here!" Since then, various authors contributing to the Star Wars mythos have elaborated upon the origins and scope of this prejudice.

The Coalition of Automaton Rights Activists and the Mechanical Liberation Front are two droids rights' groups with distinctly differing approaches introduced in the roleplaying game supplement Cynabar's Fantastic Technology: Droids (1997, West End Games).

San Herrera and Nia Reston's "Droid Rights" essay is from the Living Force update by the same name at the Wizards of the Coast website (2004, Wizards.com). There's also a sequel of sorts, called "Cause of the Month," was also published (Wizards.com, 2004). Arhul Hextrophon's "The Problem of Droid Abuse" is a reference to the article by the same name found in The Official X-Wing Strategy Guide (1993, Prima Publishing). Its attribution to Hextrophon, the mentor to reputed Alliance historian Voren Na'al, is new. Hextrophon is the original in-universe historian of Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope (1989, West End Games), Galaxy Guide 3: The Empire Strikes Back (1989, West End Games), and Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi (1989, West End Games).

Section 1: The Problem

This is the first anyone has heard of the pre-Republic philosopher Plaristes and his views on droid consciousness. The glosses of his arguments come from real-life philosophers, including John Searle's "Chinese Room" theory from the book Minds, Brains, and Science (1984, Harvard University Press) and Jorge Luis Borges' essay "The Postulation of Reality" from Labyrinths (1964, New Directions).

Though the number is likely short, the reference to fifty billion droids in service is a deliberate reference to the comic "Rust Never Sleeps" found in #156 of the UK Star Wars Weekly publication, an oversized comics magazine that reprinted the familiar Marvel Star Wars comics in serial format. The story is more easily found in Devilworlds #1 (1996, Dark Horse Comics).

The concept of "Artificial Sentience" comes from the roleplaying book Cynabar's Fantastic Technology: Droids (1997, West End Games). Droids were first stratified into degrees one through five in the first edition of The Star Wars Sourcebook (1987, West End Games).

Mention of an Akurian Geyser is a throwaway referring to the rare Star Wars comic published in Pizzazz magazine. The storyline referenced here appears in the first nine issues of Pizzazz and was reprinted in Star Wars #0 (1997, Dark Horse Comics). Another throwaway, the character Joon Odovrera is a stand-up comedian who made his debut in the Rodian entry of the first edition of the Essential Guide to Alien Species (2001, Del Rey).

"The One Who Creates" is the simple definition given for "The Maker," extrapolated from See-Threepio's famous exclamation, "Thank the Maker!" (before the prequels revealed he was unwittingly referring to Anakin Skywalker), in multiple editions of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe (1984, 1994, 2000, Del Rey). C-3PO's explanation in Return of the Jedi, "It's against my programming to impersonate a deity," serves as the basis for the fact here that impersonating deities is a general droid taboo. The world Ronyards and its religious order of droids is again from "Rust Never Sleeps" in Devilworlds #1 (1996, Dark Horse Comics). Meanwhile, the alien Sunesi and their worship of the Maker are found in multiple sources. The first is in the short story, "Only Droids Serve the Maker" in Star Wars Adventure Journal #10 (1996, West End Games).

The Great Droid Revolution is originally referenced in relation to Master Arca in Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith #3 (1994, Dark Horse Comics). Meanwhile, the Arkanian Revolution was first mentioned in Gorm the Dissolver's entry in the first edition of the Essential Guide to Droids (1999, Del Rey), and slightly elaborated upon in the timeline included with the New Essential Guide to Characters (2002, Del Rey). The arrogant Jedi Master Jorus C'baoth's disdain toward droids is inferred from a similar attitude held by his clone in Dark Force Rising (1992, Bantam).

The idea of inanimate objects having a touch of the Force is a concept dating back to the George Lucas' earliest scripts. According to Star Wars: The Annotated Screeplays (1997, Del Rey), in the third draft of A New Hope Obi-Wan explains to Luke that the Force can be collected and amplified using a "Kiber Crystal." This Force-endowed crystal, now spelled "Kaiburr," became a legitimate part of the Star Wars universe in the novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978, Del Rey) just one year after the film's release.

River stones are a reference to the Force-sensitive rocks from Qui-Gon Jinn's home planet, introduced in Jedi Apprentice #3: The Hidden Past (1999, Scholastic). However, the idea that a lifeless rock can have any significant kind of natural connection with the Force is first suggested in The Empire Strikes Back. As Yoda tells Luke: "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere. Yes. Even between the land and the ship."

"Skippy" is the nickname given in the Star Wars Tales #1 story "Skippy the Jedi Droid" (1999, Dark Horse Comics) to the astromech R5-D4 (called "Red" by Luke during the Jawa swap meet in A New Hope). Reference to "wild rumors about Jedi droids named Skippy" is carefully worded so as not to suggest that the events presented in the Tales parody are actually canonical. Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope (1989, West End Games) had already created a backstory for R5-D4. The reference to Skippy here is just the proverbial wink to fans in the know.

Reference to mechu-deru, Belia Darzu, and the Technobeasts is an amalgamation of multiple sources. The power of mechu-deru was first mentioned in "The Lost Art," an adventure hook for the darksider Roganda Ismaren in Star Wars Gamer #5's "The Emperor's Pawns" (2001, Wizards of the Coast). Also mentioned in that adventure seed are "mythological half-being/half-mechanical abominations." These are Belia Darzu's Technobeasts. Though the name here is new, such monsters were first mentioned in the Tales of the Jedi Companion sourcebook (1996, West End Games). Smitten with the potentially horrific effects of nanogene droid "super technology" from the Gamemaster Handbook for Second Edition (1993, West End Games), I added that concept to the Technobeasts' arsenal as well. Finally, Belia Darzu herself is mentioned briefly in the "Dark Armor" section of The Dark Side Sourcebook (2001, Wizards of the Coast), which calls her "one of the Sith Lords who kept the Sith cult alive before the Battle of Ruusan." I later picked up this thread for "Path of Evil" in Vader: The Ultimate Guide (2005, IGN Entertainment) and christened her a full-fledged Dark Lady of the Sith.

The parade of cyborgs in the last paragraph of this section comes from a variety of sources. Jedi Master Even Piell, of course, is from the Jedi Council scenes in The Phantom Menace and General Grievous is the villain of Revenge of the Sith. The others, however, are a bit harder to recognize. Gorm the Dissolver makes a blink-and-you'll-miss it introduction in the comic Dark Empire #3 (1992, Dark Horse Comics), though his name wasn't made officially known until the release of the second edition of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe (1994, Del Rey). Gorm later appeared in a legitimate role in "A Hunter's Fate: Greedo's Tale" in Tales From the Mos Eisley Cantina (1995, Bantam), and in the webstrip adaptation by the same name (2005, StarWars.com).

Kligson is a Clone Wars veteran introduced in "Droid World," #47 of Marvel's monthly Star Wars comic (1981, Marvel Comics), also reprinted in Classic Star Wars: A Long Time Ago Vol. 3: Resurrection of Evil (2002, Dark Horse Comics). High Inquisitor Tremayne makes his debut in Galaxy Guide 9: Fragment From the Rim (1993, West End Games) and Lumiya makes her first appearance in "Figurehead," #88 of Marvel's monthly Star Wars comic (1988, Marvel Comics), reprinted in Classic Star Wars: A Long Time Ago Vol. 5: Wookiee World (2003, Dark Horse Comics). Finally, the amputation of the Jedi Tenel Ka's arm occurs in Young Jedi Knights: Lightsabers (1996, Berkley/Boulevard) while Jedi cyborgs Empatojayos Brand and Daye Azur-Jamin were introduced in Dark Empire II #4 (1995, Dark Horse Comics) and Star Wars Adventure Journal #10's "Only Droids Serve the Maker" (1996, West End Games), respectively. ~ Abel G. Pe´┐Ża

Click here for "Endnotes for Droids and the Force, Part 2"