Star Wars: Bloodline contains several huge revelations about the state of the galaxy far, far away just a handful of years before the events of The Force Awakens—a period still barely touched in Disney’s new canon. Some of those elements were provided by Episode VIII director Rian Johnson for the novel, and now we know which ones.
Just a warning going in: there will be major spoilers for the events of Bloodline below. Turn back if you’ve not read it yet!
We knew going in that Rian Johnson would provide some story elements for Claudia Gray’s latest Leia-centric novel, but over the weekend Lucasfilm Story Group executive Pablo Hidalgo confirmed just what Johnson added—and it gives us a hint to some of the story elements we’ll likely see picked up in Episode VIII:
In the novel, set just six years before The Force Awakens, the New Republic has become deadlocked and highly ineffective as it splits into two ideological factions: Populists, who want to see New Republic governance shared out among member planets, and Centrists, who believe in a centralized government backed by a powerful military. Eventually, a large number of the Centrist faction officially secedes from the New Republic, joining up with Imperial remnants hiding out in the far flung reaches of space to form the First Order. (The “napkin incident,” by the way, is an assassination attempt on Leia and a group of senators.)
Although this might just be backstory provided for Gray’s novel, considering it came directly from Johnson, there’s a decent chance that the Senate (or what’s left of it after Starkiller Base turned the Hosnian System into intergalactic rubble) and these other factions will play major roles in Episode VIII.
Hidalgo also revealed something interesting about the book’s big reveal, namely Leia’s “outing” as the daughter of Darth Vader, which almost completely destroys her reputation as a Senator, and leads to her abandoning politics to create the Resistance. It was almost an animated short to be released before The Force Awakens, before it became part of Bloodline:
Bloodline is a delightful read, but man, it’d still be great to see this moment played out as a short (or even live-action) some day. What might have been!