I, Jedi Rivalry?

I-Jedi

There’s a really great article about I, Jedi over on Tor.com. Ryan Britt has some very nice things to say about the the book. I’m really happy to see that it’s so well remembered after all these years.

I would like to correct an impression from some of the comments readers have left concerning the article: Weaving Corran’s story through the Jedi Academy books wasn’t an attack on Kevin J. Anderson, or the Jedi Academy novels.

1) Kevin knew what I was doing. I spoke to him about it both face to face and over the phone. The authors tended to do that back in those days.

2) I did to the Jedi Academy novels what Frederick Forsythe did with history in “The Day of the Jackal,” which is a novel I’ve adored since I read it. Forsythe was brilliant in the way he spun the story of an assassin through real events. I’d always wanted to try to do that, and I, Jedi gave me the perfect opportunity. It’s more challenging than you’d imagine and required me to reread and index everything in the Jedi Academy books.

3) Kevin actually specified that the first class of trainees was a dozen, but only named six specifically so other authors could slip characters in there. As he’d told me at the time, Lucasfilm had really wanted him to name everyone, but he convinced them otherwise. That was good for me. Had all the apprentices been named, I’d have had to slip Corran in there as a janitor or something, and he’d never have gone for that.

By way of perspective on any “rivalry,” I’ve known Kevin since the early 1980s. I was one of his first editors back in the old gaming days. When Bantam suggested me as a possible author for the X-wing novels, Lucasfilm called Kevin to asked if I could do the job. He told them I could, and the rest is history.

We’re still friends and have done work together, and are planning to do more. Back in those days there wasn’t a case of rivalry among the authors, as much as an unbridled joy at being able to use bits and pieces of the universe that others had created to lock our stories into a greater web. All the authors know the readers like that sort of thing, and we get a thrill out of having another author use a bit of our stories.

In the case of I, Jedi, in that era, there was only one place Corran could have gone for Jedi training: the Academy. Had I made up my own school, without Luke, the howls of rivalry with/disdain for Kevin would have been even louder. Inserting Corran as a bit player in those books (and recall that his actions contributed nothing to the resolution of the Jedi Academy trilogy’s storyline) was the absolutely appropriate thing to do at the time. To do otherwise simply would have been wrong.

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13 Responses to “I, Jedi Rivalry?”

  1. Since I was one of the commentors, I’ll apologize! Probably not wise of me to speculate on impressions that were formed nearly two decades ago.

  2. Colin, no apology is necessary. I’ve just lived long enough to know that stories like that, when they go uncorrected, can start rumors, which then get folks upset—and that does no one any good. I’ve also been in the business long enough to have heard some of these things, and to have sought the truth. I find that’s always more fun.

  3. Corran Horn has been my favorite Star Wars character since i first read (well actually “heard”, it was an audio book) “The Bacta War” so of course “I, Jedi is my favorite Star Wars book and you, Mr. Stackpole, my favorite SW author.

    You might not believe this, but my first son was born at 8AM EST this morning and my wife has allowed me to name him Corran, something I’ve been wanting to do for over a decade now. I actually came to the site today to order a signed copy of “I, Jedi” from you to give to him when he’s older.

    I can’t believe this post was made today. Must be the will of the Force.

  4. I fell in love with the EU reading the Stackpole books. “I, Jedi” was the second book I read and it was all downhill from that point.

  5. I confess to being oblivious that this was even a rumor going around. Mike talked with me as soon as he was even thinking about inserting Corran Horn into the Jedi Academy storyline, and I told him I had intentionally left a lot of elbow room and unnamed characters for other writers to play in the sandbox. If anything, I, JEDI cemented the Jedi Academy storyline in the EU. And when I was plotting the Jedi Academy series, Tim Zahn was writing THE LAST COMMAND. I asked if he could drop a hint of one of my characters, Moruth Doole, into his story and he did. We authors were all talking with each other and brainstorming.

    I suppose it doesn’t make for very interesting flame wars, but Mike, Tim, Dave Wolverton, and I have all been pretty good friends for a very long time.

  6. Wow, Chris, that is super news (congrats on your son). You’re not the first to name your son after Corran, but I am humbled every time I hear someone has done this. I’ll set aside a copy of I, Jedi for him.

  7. Kevin, I’m so glad you remember things the way I do. :)

  8. I’m not surprised I’m not the first person to take the name. At this point a lot of the reason I still wanted to name my first son Corran is that I really liked the name and since it was a real world name it’s not as crazy as if I wanted to name him Yoda.

    I’ve actually been trying to place an order for the book since yesterday but unless I’m missing something I can’t seem to get past the calculate shipping part of check out. The page just reloads and nothing happens.

  9. Weird. I will have to get my trusted website staff on that. I’ll hold a copy here in my office until then.

  10. Quint Ashburn 26. Apr, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    One of my FAVORITE EU books! It was the first Star Wars EU book I owned as a kid! I was at a Barnes and Noble and my aunt told me she would buy me 1 book. I saw it on the front counter and was so excited to read a book with the title I, Jedi! Such a fond memory!

  11. I, Jedi was a great book for the sheltered twelve year old I was when I found it. Plot and other details aside, the character of Corran Horn impressed me immensely, and I like to think that many of the truths that are still part of my life were first found there.

    Thank you for creating Corran, Mike. And thanks for giving his stories the thought and wisdom that I’ve so often needed.

  12. Thank you. I’m really happy the book was entertaining and useful for you.

  13. To this day I, Jedi is one of my favorite Star Wars novel and Corran my favorite Star Wars character. I, Jedi was what first introduced me to your other works and the amazing worlds you’ve created.

    I share the same appreciation for I, Jedi as Anthony. Corran’s journey and personal insights helped me through my life and my personal beliefs.