After 11 comic book issues, four novels, and one short-story anthology, we’ve finally come to the end of Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge publishing program, which endeavors to tie the brand-new theme-park land into the greater Star Wars mythos. And what an interweaving it is – this month’s two books of Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate and Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire in particular lay out how General Leia Organa’s Resistance arrives on the remote, neglected planet of Batuu, how the vile First Order follows them there, and, even, how certain specifics, such as the Datapad app that guests’ smart phones magically transform into when they set foot in the new themed area, pop up.
It’s a lot to go over, but we’re going to lay it all out in nice, easy, simple terms, starting at the very beginning.
Why is the Resistance on Batuu in the first place?
During the events of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, right before the First Order utilizes its mega-weapon Starkiller Base to destroy the entire Hosnian star system, General Leia Organa meets with a number of her top agents to discuss the possibility of finding new nooks and crannies in the galaxy to utilize as back-up Resistance bases or secondary recruiting areas. This ancillary plan suddenly jumps in importance, however, after the twin devastating developments of the Hosnian Cataclysm and the Battle of Crait (at the end of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi), when there are only a small handful of Resistance members left and the very existence of the organization is suddenly hanging in the balance.
It is under these suddenly-dire straits, just four months after Crait, that Leia’s top spy, Vi Moradi, turns back to her marching orders. She selects the distant planet of Batuu, given its (somewhat) built-up infrastructure and relative lack of interstellar interest, for her new staging grounds, and then gets to work – with the most unlikely ally at her side: Archex, an ex-stormtrooper in the First Order who formerly went by the grandiose name of Captain Cardinal (the story of how Vi turned Archex from the dark side to the light is told in the 2017 novel Phasma, which takes place just several weeks before Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire).
How the Resistance sets up shop
Vi, Archex, and their (not so) trusty construction droid arrive on Batuu with all of the supplies needed to set up a rudimentary base of operations – bunks, a basic medbay, an older-model long-distance comm. Unfortunately, Vi crashes her shuttle upon entering the planet’s atmosphere, with local thugs (working for Oga Garra, the local crime boss and proprietor of Oga’s Cantina) stealing most of the damaged belongings when the Resistance agents are rendered unconscious from the accident. This forces Moradi to improvise, gaining local employment at Black Spire Outpost and, thereby, getting entangled in the various social, political, and economic alliances that dominate life at the settlement.
In an effort to get into Oga’s good graces – and to, perhaps, acquire the opportunity to buy back some of her stolen goods – Vi ultimately agrees to run a dirty job for the Blutopian: sneak into the ruins that sit just outside of town and recover a relic of some sort that the Ancients, as the locals refer to the mysterious people that had originally inhabited the area millennia ago, had left secured behind. (Garra has an off-world client willing to pay quite a bit for the item, and if she could procure it without the involvement of the middle-man Dok-Ondar, whose province such a transaction would normally fall into, she’d be most glad to do so.) There’s only one problem with the arrangement – the ruins are riddled with a series of Indiana Jones-esque booby traps, and all of the previous lackeys Oga had sent into the caverns to recover the artifact have perished.
For Vi, however, who has been explicitly trained in scouting, recon, and various martial arts, detecting, avoiding, and disarming the deadly traps is a relatively easy affair – and in exchange for retrieving Oga Garra’s precious relic, she is awarded the “right” to reside in the ruins and to make them her new base of operations (the crime lord will even allow the Resistance to recruit in Black Spire, to boot, though under her constant, unfriendly eye).
Despite a mountain of hardships and endless setbacks, the Resistance finally has its desperately-needed toehold on Batuu.
The personalities of Black Spire Outpost
As Vi Moradi gains employment at a local business (more on which in just a bit) and starts to fall into the rhythms of small-town life, she begins to gain a slow understanding – and appreciation – of the social web that runs through the various market stalls and street vendors of BSO (as the residents call Black Spire Outpost). While many of these little tidbits of gossip may not amount to anything substantial in terms of either plot or character, they do add quite a bit in the department of scene-setting and atmospherics – exactly the sort of thing that a theme-park land thrives off of.
One needs to start, of course, with Oga Garra herself. Essentially a hardened gangster, Oga arrived on Batuu at some point within the last three decades or so and took over the local watering hole, transforming it into a private personal hideaway and hub of illicit activity – secret passageways are riddled throughout the structure that the bar calls home (it was actually built by the Ancients – hence the propensity for such secrets), and it is within these hidden areas that Oga has crafted for herself a spartan chamber from which to conduct business and to keep an ever-watchful eye on all corners of her cantina. (Our favorite hidden door is located in one of the stalls of the ladies’ room, which is, apparently, often employed to catch patrons unawares.) Such a backstory explains why guests at Galaxy’s Edge can never see the Blutopian but do often hear her, usually berating her employees.
Nothing happens in the outpost – ranging from the smallest of daily activities to the conducting of major off-world business deals – without Oga’s knowledge and, more importantly, her explicit go-ahead. In exchange for such an ironclad rule, the residents of Black Spire rest easy in the knowledge that she acts as their unofficial mayor and police commissioner, keeping them safe – even from the brewing conflict between the First Order and the Resistance.
Next up is Dok-Ondar, the shopkeeper of the Den of Antiquities. Although he barely factors into Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire, he does feature prominently in Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate (and, of course, stars in his own comic book miniseries) – and, when taken altogether, we get a pretty complete picture of the wizened Ithorian. He acts almost as the opposite of Oga Garra, controlling nearly everything within his own, black-market sphere of influence, but he seems to have come to an understanding with the cantina owner that allows both to co-exist peaceably (an accommodation that was probably helped along by the fact that Dok had been set up in BSO for a lot longer than had anyone else).
Over his years amassing a sizeable collection of “esoteric, strange, and valuable” treasures, Dok-Ondar has had multiple dealings with the likes of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate (as seen in the film Solo: A Star Wars Story), Jabba the Hutt, Han Solo, and, even, the Guardians of the Whills (featured in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). The end result is a collection of ancient trinkets and massive relics which not only fetch a fortune in the underworld but which also allow him to feel ever closer to his archeologically-inclined dead parents. Unsurprisingly, along the way, the alien shopkeeper has earned a reputation for being nothing other than ruthless; should you get on his “Doklist,” Vi is explicitly warned, your days are numbered. (And just like Oga, his Den of Antiquities has its own off-limits areas, including his artifact-strewn living quarters – locations that theme-park guests may never end up seeing but which can be explored in the various books and comics.)
Each of the remaining places of business available in Galaxy’s Edge come with its own respective proprietor, and although most of these individuals remain just as unseen as is Oga Garra, they also get their brief moment in the narrative sun: Mubo, the owner of the Droid Depot, has a crush on Bina, the “fiercely independent Amani who lovingly ran the Creature Stall,” while Zabaka, who presides over Toydarian Toymaker, all but worships Oga. (And here’s another fun little tidbit for you: it is Zabaka who purchases the wooden carvings that Archex ends up doing during his down time back at the Resistance base, providing even more backstory for even more of the real-world wares that patrons can purchase in the theme-park land.)
And, finally, there’s Salju, the exceptionally exuberant operator of a filling station that also happens to double as a mechanic bay. Used to the flow of visitors to Black Spire that may be less than savory, she’s able to take having blasters pointed in her face in stride, never allowing it to break either her smile or cheery disposition. (She’s also something of a savant, able to fix nearly any mechanical monstrosity in no time flat.)
Batuu: A treasure trove of Jedi and Sith artifacts
Forget Dok-Ondar’s tangled relationship with Oga Garra – it’s his (mostly friendly) competition with Savi that’s where our attention should really lie.
Savi runs a business that is officially called Savi & Son’s Salvage, which consists of a small storefront within the settlement proper and a large junkyard located beyond its boundaries. It is here that a surprisingly large and varied flow of trash finds its terminus, and it’s here that his friendly and dedicated (and not to mention borderline-Force-sensitive) workers sort through it all, rebuilding whatever vessels they can and recycling any true refuse. (It is at Savi’s that Resistance spy Vi Moradi comes to find employment – a particularly noteworthy development, as it says something about Vi’s character and where Savi’s secret preferences in the growing galaxy-wide conflict lie.)
But this operation stands as something of a front, with the junker’s real interest residing in specific treasures – specifically, all those items that hail in one way or another from the Jedi Order or the Dark Lords of the Sith. In this way, it’s easy to see where the human’s efforts overlap with Dok-Ondar’s, although, Moradi discovers, “Dok is more focused on black-market treasures and Savi is looking for historical objects of religious or spiritual value. It’s almost a gentleman’s game between them – much respect.” In point of fact, Savi is a lifelong member of the Church of the Force (a collective of individuals who are not Force sensitive but who nonetheless attempt to live by the Jedi Code of service, harmony, and self-sacrifice) and a childhood friend with Lor San Tekka (the retired explorer who helped Luke Skywalker track down the site of the very first Jedi temple – the place that Rey finds him at the end of The Force Awakens), until his recent death, that is, at the very beginning of the sequel trilogy. As a devout believer – and also as a major member of the BSO community who has to answer to Oga Garra – Savi has dedicated himself to the ever-elusive balance of the Force without, as of yet, actively participating in that seemingly-never-ending struggle between the light and the dark side; as he himself explains his current literal and figurative situation to one of his employees:
We are gatherers, not Jedi. The flock, not the shepherds. We have no powers, no edict. We can only wait and watch and listen, not guide. We hold a candle but will not light any fuse. We do protect the balance, but not always by shifting the scales. This conflict is far from over. I’m certain we will play our part one day – but not today.
As such, Savi has been actively amassing a collection of lightsabers, which he secretly helps those who have been touched by the Force assemble for this future day of reckoning (what the basis is for the Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers premium experience), which means that, by definition, he undoubtedly has one of the biggest collections of Force-related items in the known galaxy. This – in conjunction with some of the more peculiar items that Dok has managed to amass himself, including an ancient and immensely powerful Sith sword – could help explain why Kylo Ren has just recently arrived on the backwater planet.
Speaking of which…
How the First Order arrives
It doesn’t take very long at all for Vi Moradi’s sudden presence on Batuu to be reported back to the First Order, and the newly-ascendant organization likewise wastes no time in dispatching a small company of stormtroopers to investigate. Through a series of cat-and-mouse operations, including allowing herself to be captured so that her newly-formed team of local Resistance members can slip aboard the neo-Imperials’ vessel to hack its computer systems, Vi is able to eliminate the troopers and their commanding officer through one means (firefights) or another (sabotage), and to plant a fake message back to General Armitage Hux and the supreme leader that the Batuuan Resistance cell has been stamped out.
This series of fake-outs may initially be successful for a brief period of time, allowing Moradi the respite needed to expand her toehold on the planet (and also allowing her recruits to get their hands on a First Order datapad, which, in turn, enables them to decode all of the regime’s communications [the very basis for guests’ Datapad functionality on their smart phones]), such success isn’t fated to last. At some point and in some way, the First Order leadership does, indeed, learn of the ever-growing Resistance presence in and around Black Spire Outpost, and it is enough to send a far larger, far more serious presence to the world – one that not only sets up an entire planetary blockade, but which is also headed by Kylo Ren himself.
It is during this process that we discover that the man formerly known as Ben Solo may have another, more insidious reason for being on the planet: he has engaged in a hunt for anything having to do with either the Sith or the Jedi, presumably in an effort to consolidate as much power as possible in his effort to dominate the entire galaxy (in the Star Wars canon, Sith artifacts can be imbued with a great deal of Force energies, including a sentient imprint of the Dark Lords who wielded them). It’s not implausible to think that Kylo has learned not only of Dok-Ondar’s formidable library of relics, but also, possibly, of Savi’s treasure trove, as well – potentially setting the stage for a particularly explosive Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.
And, indeed, we already see something of this explosion happening at the very end of Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate: the tension between the two rival organizations that has been simmering for the past two weeks or so suddenly explodes out into the open, with a massive dogfight raging in the skies over Black Spire Outpost. The Battle of Batuu is the purview of the theme-park land’s second (and final) attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and it is an experience that has been hinted will somehow get carried forward to the “Skywalker Saga’s” grand conclusion.
For even more discussion of all that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has to offer (both in terms of its narrative as well as its vacation planning), be sure to visit our OI Community Facebook group, where thousands of like-minded fans already gather.