Conspiracy Report: Scoundrel’s Luck on the way to CrucibleJuly 20, 2012 at 11:27 am | Posted in Conspiracy Report, Regular Feature, Speculation, Star Wars Books | 1 Comment
Tags: crucible, scoundrel's luck, Troy Denning
Our conspiracy theorist have rose to a new challenge: connecting the dots between the villain’s in Troy Denning’s upcoming novel Crucible to his old days at West End Games. Bear with us because this will not be a short journey. In fact the first step in this conspiracy theory starts with our review of a book called Scoundrel’s Luck.
Scoundrel’s Luck is a very odd West End Games book by Troy Denning published back in 1990. Before Zahn’s epic Thrawn Trilogy, Denning took a stab at a Han Solo adventure. However, Scoundrel’s Luck is not your typical Star Wars novel.
First off, Scoundrel’s Luck is a choose your own adventure novel. Choose your own adventure books were very popular back in the 80s and 90s with kids, and first debuted back in 1976. In this story, Han runs into trouble with a character named Alfreda Goot. Alfreda has kidnapped Leia and challenges Han to a race to Mos Eisley. Along the way, Han runs into some Imperial deserters with a mysterious cargo. Depending on how you choose your adventure, there are dogfights in space, a battle on a snow planet, and bar fights on Tattooine. There’s certainly plenty of action.
As an adult reading a book geared towards ages 10 and up, I have to admit, I did enjoy it. There’s a certain amount of fun getting to choose your hero’s actions as well as trying to guess which one will progress the story. Not every choice will get you to the end, and many dead end into premature failures. Scoundrel’s Luck sets the reader as Han Solo and it’s up to you to get him through the adventure and rescue Leia. Honestly, it took me a couple tries to get to the end (and there appear to be several endings, some happier than others).
There’s also a bit of nostalgia involved. I can remember back in the early 90s reading some choose your own adventure stories and I really liked them. They added an interactive aspect to reading that was fun. Reading Scoundrel’s Luck brought back some old memories, and that aspect alone is worth the time. However, there’s some rather interesting continuity aspects as well.
Keep in mind this takes place before the Thrawn Trilogy. The Star Wars Expanded Universe at this point was still wide open with just a few books and the Marvel comics. For instance, one glaring continuity error I caught was talking Gamorreans. I’m not sure when it was established that Gamorreans could only grunt and squeal, so it’s likely Scoundrel’s Luck was written before that aspect was nailed down. Another aspect that’s rather interesting is the timing of the story. This takes place right after the destruction of the Death Star in A New Hope. In fact part of the story involves trying to locate Darth Vader who has gone into a hibernation trance in his marooned starfighter. The other half of the story is the bounty on Han’s head. On top of all that, this is a choose your own adventure novel, so it’s anyone guess where continuity stands.
The story itself is fun, and the characters tend to stick to the characters we’ve come to know and love. Sometimes the dialog seems a little odd and clunky, and it’s weird seeing Chewbacca’s growls written out as unpronounceable words, but overall it works well as a kid’s story…mostly. Now I did not read every possible option, but there was one path that contained some rather odd content for a kid’s book. For instance there is a scene where two female Twi’leks are erotically dancing with each other for the entertainment of a customer. The word “erotic” is actually used in the story, and the highly suggestive nature of the scene seems a bit much for a book for ten year olds. Plus there also illustrations in the book and that scene in particular get’s a picture. It’s not the most detailed picture, but there’s definitely two Twi’leks entwined together and one of them is in a thong. Kid’s material? Well, nowadays, it’s probably not that bad considering what kids are exposed too. Regardless, I did find it interesting.
All that aside, there’s a reason I decided to read Scoundrel’s Luck. It’s been mentioned that Troy Denning’s upcoming Star Wars novel Crucible will have a connection to West End Games. At San Diego Comic Con, Troy said that new villains in Crucible will have a connection that goes way back to his days with West End Games. The villain’s mother knew Han “way back then.” Plus this new threat they have to worry about is worse than everything else they already had on their plate: Abeloth, Sith, etc.
Connecting the dots between West End Games and Troy Denning leads us to Scoundrel’s Luck. Troy wrote three Star Wars books for West End Games: Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races (first edition), Scoundrel’s Luck, and Jedi’s Honor.* Han is only mentioned in Jedi’s Honor, and does not appear in Alien Races. Scoundrel’s Luck, on the other hand, stars Han Solo. So, if Scoundrel’s Luck is the West End Games connection, then who is this “villain’s mother” that knows Han? Well, there are only two significant female characters (other than Leia) in Scoundrel’s Luck.
*Note: Troy did have another book called Gambler’s Luck, however it was canceled.
One is an information broker named Mama. According to Wookieepedia, she’s a Columi, although in the book itself, it’s stated that Han had never seen her species before and had no idea what species she was. While the Columi are a bit secluded in the galaxy, it seems a stretch that Han wouldn’t know about them considering Han has a pretty extensive knowledge about alien species. The description of her in the book says that about one fifth her body weight was contained in her skull and that she had a immense hairless head with large, black, unblinking eyes, and throbbing temples. She has some dialog and it’s very very strange. She sounds like a living computer speaking of probabilities and numbers. Her part is really small. If the connection in Crucible is to her, that would mean the villains are Columi.
So who are the Columi? They’re one of the oldest sentient species in the galaxy. They’re characterized as a species that became so advanced that their evolution focused on brain power to the point that their limbs are nearly non-functional. They came to rely on devices to move them around and they used their minds to control the devices. When they traveled to the stars, they found other species lacking, and thus retreated to their homeworld in isolation, confident that the rest of the galaxy had nothing to offer. It’s worth noting that the Columi also appeared in Troy Denning’s Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races. Troy seems to have a love for the aliens he wrote about in that book, such as the Squibs, so it would not be too much of a stretch for the Columi to be the villains in Crucible.
The other female character in Scoundrel’s Luck is Alfreda Goot. Alfreda is a female Togorian bounty hunter who tries to collect on the bounty Jabba placed on Han’s head. She kidnaps Leia in order to draw Han out, and depending on continuity, is killed by Han. Han shoots through her duralloy armor suit with a blaster pistol. He removed her helmet, and for all appearances, she was dead. Of course it wouldn’t be too hard to bring her back to life. And if so, would that mean the badguys in Crucible are Togorians?
Well, the Togorians are a feline race who at times have been associated with the Mandalorians. Yet as a species, they don’t pose much of a threat, not as much as the Columi could. If the Mandalorians are brought in, that could change. Mandos are pretty popular, so it’s conceivable they could be the villains in Crucible. However, all the speculation is on “the villain’s mother.” If the villain’s mother is Alfreda, that would make the villain a Togorian, and if the Togorian is also a Mandalorian, would that make them the new Mandalore, the new leader of Death Watch, or a new faction altogether?
Then there is always option C…something else. For now we can only speculate. Will Crucible lead to a technologically advanced Columi threat, resurgent Mandalorian forces seeking revenge, or something unforeseen? Perhaps Star Wars Celebration VI will reveal some answers.