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Exclusive preview: Star Wars Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire is 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine in space'

By Jeff Spry
Black Spire Hero

Spinning straight out of Disney's immersive new Star Wars Land at Disneyland (and soon at Walt Disney World), a new theme park tie-in prequel novel from Del Rey Books seeks to provide vivid details about this exotic fictional outpost and its clashing ideals existing at Galaxy's Edge — and SYFY WIRE is presenting an exclusive excerpt and illuminating comments from its prolific architect.

Written by New York Times bestselling author Delilah S. Dawson (Star Wars: Phasma, The Tales of Pell), Star Wars Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire lands Aug. 27 and centers on the daring exploits of master spy Vi Moradi as she endeavors to gather forces for the resistance and carve out a rebel foothold on the remote world of Batuu, a destination uniquely populated by scores of smugglers, merchants, and travelers from every nefarious nook in the galaxy.

Black Spire Cover

To thrive and survive on this distant planet of verdant forests, jagged mountains, and colossal, petrified trees, Vi will have to seek out the warm-hearted heroes hiding in a realm that redefines the nature of scum and villainy. With the aid of a traitorous trooper and her wisecracking droid, she begins to collect a colorful crew of notorious outcasts and misfits, and embarks on a dangerous mission to ignite fire with the resistance on Batuu before the First Order extinguishes it entirely.

"Black Spire picks up closely after Phasma where General Organa gives Vi Moradi a new directive to go to a planet nobody cares about and start building a base," Dawson tells SYFY WIRE. "As we know at that point the resistance only really has a small number of people left over, their allies aren't coming and they need to recruit bodies. Vi ends up at a planet called Batuu that's a gateway cantina town, the last stop before Wild Space. With almost no resources, she needs to start a resistance base, find warm bodies, and hold off what turns out to be the First Order invasion."

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Dawson did some traveling of her own to research the rich world of Black Spire Outpost and jetted out to California to experience it first hand.

"I was so fortunate to go there for the media opening and we got to meet the Platonic ideal of the original Vi Moradi," she recalls. "We got to ride the Millennium Falcon ride and try all the foods and drinks and I got to do one more editing pass after that so I could put some of those details into the book. If you can't get there right away, reading the book will be like your travel guide to that area. In addition to having the usual scoundrels vs. bad guys, hair-raising plot, you also get to see what the world is like."

Authors entering the Lucasfilm domain often have special restrictions in crafting their narrative and this novel was no different.

"Before I wrote Phasma I got to read the script for Episode Eight so I could have some insight into what was happening, but I did not get to read the script for [Episode} Nine, nobody has, so there were lots of things we were told," Dawson adds. "Don't use this person or that person, take out this ship. But that happens a lot in the new canon where instead of using existing things, they tell us to just make something up. We can have a lot more fun actually and create new characters. This book does have a little more humor than Phasma because Vi is building a ragtag group on this planet and everything that can go wrong will.

"So on one side of the book I liken it to Brooklyn Nine-Nine In Space. It's this group of lovable misfits who are all banded together and learning how to be part of the resistance. The flip side of that is we do have the First Order show up and when you have spies and resistance tangling with the First Order there's going to be some violence. I felt like this was a book where we had to deal with things we don't see in Star Wars, insofar as people dealing with heavy trauma."

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Now blast into our exclusive excerpt from Star Wars Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson and published by Del Rey Books. 

Salju led her to an outdoor counter under a sloping awning and told a smiling worker that she was looking for Savi. They were asked to wait, and moments later a wrinkled old white man appeared, bowing with gentle formality. He had gray hair with a matching mustache and beard, and his left arm was a silver prosthesis that seemed as if it had always been a part of him. For all that he looked utterly ancient, there was an energy about him, a vitality, as if he could stay up all night arguing over philosophy or helping a shaak give birth. He was dressed in the usual natural colors and layers of Batuu but also wore a slender scarf tied jauntily around his neck.

This man did not at all fit Vi’s mental image of a salvager, the sort of big, brusque fellow who bullied his way to better deals and bought dead ships from desperate people for the lowest price he could pressure them into. There was something soft and gentle about him, a serenity as well as a curiosity. Vi liked him immediately.

After Salju explained Vi’s predicament, Savi gave her a long, measuring look. She returned the stare and fought the urge to straighten her posture and look competent; this guy wasn’t General Organa, after all. Why would she need to please a backwater junk seller? Having a brain and a mostly functional back should be adequate skills to work as a scrapper.

“I can always use more Gatherers,” Savi told her, “but I’d like to know a little more about you. How did you end up on Batuu?” His eyebrows rose in question, and Vi felt like she was being tested. But at the same time . . . well, something about Savi made her want to open up, to tell him the truth. There was something familiar or some fellow feeling here. She looked at Salju, whose warm smile and nod suggested it was safe to trust the old man. And if he knew her goal, perhaps he could help her along the way.

“My ship crashed, and my cargo was stolen, and now I need to earn credits to buy back my goods,” she told him. In other circumstances, she might’ve said that she just wanted to get offplanet and go her merry way, but no employer ever wanted to hear that from a potential hire.

His eyes crinkled up. “Yes, that answers the ‘how’ part, but it cleverly evades the ‘why.’ What business brought you here?”

“I was delivering a shipment,” she said, and it was true. Some people, Vi included, had a sort of sixth sense for lies, and she suspected Savi was one of them. You didn’t get as old as he was without being, well, savvy.

The old man’s eyebrows rose. “Delivering a shipment to whom?”

Vi felt like a little kid caught out by a kindly grandfather. They were toying with each other, and the old man wasn’t going to give in until he was satisfied.

“I hear you’re not a fan of the First Order,” she said, changing the subject to put him in the hot seat.

Savi nodded as if finally satisfied by the conversation. “I believe what you’re really asking is if I’m a supporter of the Resistance. My longtime friend Lor San Tekka was a great believer in the Jedi Order, and together we decided it was our calling to help keep the Force in balance. Perhaps it’s not mine to choose others’ paths for them, but I believe in supporting those who are strong in the Force, who are fighting for the same ideals.”

Vi considered how to move forward. On one hand, she was far from any allies and had been specifically assigned to recruit new members for the Resistance. Savi had already identified himself as being in the same camp. On the other hand, directly telling anyone on Batuu that she worked for the Resistance could result in the wrong people finding out and alerting the First Order.

Well, they were going to find out soon, anyway. And there was just something about Savi; all Vi’s instincts told her he could be trusted. As hard as it was for a spy to lay bare her truth, that was the only way to find allies and move forward.

“I’m with the Resistance,” she said, carefully watching his face to see how he would react. “I was sent to this place to build a new Resistance waypoint away from the First Order’s territory. It’s true that I crashed and that my supplies were stolen, and I need to earn credits to buy them back or replace them with something better.”

Savi nodded, a smile playing at his lips. “So you are with the Resistance. And it’s still led by Princess Leia, yes?”

Vi bristled, just the tiniest bit. “General Organa is her formal title.”

The old man chuckled. “Some of us have many names, live many lives. And her brother was Luke Skywalker.”

It wasn’t a question, so Vi didn’t answer it.

“Our allies are in trouble, Savi. We are in trouble. Our greatest hope now is to find footholds to help us regroup and rebuild so that we can continue to fight. General Organa sent me here to do just that.”

Savi clicked his tongue and fussed with a ring on his right hand. “Building something from nothing. A difficult task, even when you have all the resources you require.” He met her gaze, and this time she didn’t only see the old, kind man. She also saw the fierce, strong core of him. “I can hire you. And I can help you find some of the supplies you’ll need to build your refuge. But I need to know that you are trustworthy. This business is called Savi and Sons Salvage, not My First Priority Is My Other Job. When you’re on the clock, you’re working. Not recruiting, not giving speeches, not begging my customers and employees to join your cause. I must protect my livelihood and that of my other scrappers, and we can’t have Oga slamming her fist down on my counter, complaining about one of my people.”

It was a fair enough statement, and Vi nodded.

“I appreciate your position, Savi. I’m a hard worker who knows when to keep her mouth shut. During work hours, I’m a scrapper.” She leaned in and let the strength and tenacity of her own core rage in her eyes. “But outside of work hours, I am my own person. I’ll tell my own truth and collect what allies I may. It’s hard to believe, out here on the edge of nothing, that the First Order could ever destroy your safe little world, but I’ve seen it happen. One day, they’ll land here, too, and you’ll be glad to have us on your side.”

Their eyes locked in a battle of wills so electric that Salju had to

clear her throat and inspect an old thruster. Finally, Savi blinked and the crinkles returned around his eyes and mouth.

“The world needs true believers,” he said with a creaky laugh. “After all, I can’t force you into silence.”

The way he said “force” stood out to Vi, but Savi bustled back behind his counter, his former presence replaced with the sort of cheerful friendliness that kept customers in a good mood. “When would you like to start?”

“Day after tomorrow would suit.”

Savi picked up a datapad and typed, all business now. “You’ll start at the scrapyard, on the outskirts of town, near the old post. Do you know it?”

“We’ll pass by there on our way back to her ship,” Salju said.

“Good. Work starts at dawn. Ask for Ylena. She’ll get you on your feet.”

Vi inclined her head. “Thank you. I won’t let you down. May the spires keep you.”

It felt like a promise, using the BSO phrase, like she was becoming part of something good.

Savi returned the small bow and murmured, “And you.”

As she followed Salju toward the market, Vi thought she heard the old man softly say, “And may the Force be with you,” but when she glanced back over her shoulder he was gone.