- "Among all the Expanded Universe’s unrealized projects of which we are aware, Alien Exodus is perhaps the most unusual."
- ―Alexander Gaultier, "Abandoned Universe: What Could Have Been", Eleven-ThirtyEight, December 2, 2013.
Alien Exodus was the proposed title for the first book in a trilogy of Expanded Universe novels by Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer. Unlike the Bantam Spectra novels that were being published at the time, these novels would have been published by Ace Books. When the focus of the project shifted from a story set in the Star Wars galaxy to an original storyline using new alien designs, Sawyer dropped out of the project. In 2003, he released the material he had completed—the first two chapters and an outline for the first novel—to his website as fan fiction.
Sawyer's proposed storyline is divided into two parts, both of which focus on the history of Humans in the Star Wars galaxy. In the main storyline, the ancient history of the Star Wars galaxy is explored. The protagonist is Cosmo Hender, the leader of the Human slaves on the planet Forhilnor, part of the Varlian Empire. The story of his struggle to free his people, as well as the non-Human slaves on Forhilnor, also touches on the origins of the Force, the Hutt civilization, and the name "Skywalker." The secondary storyline, told through excerpts from a document called The Human Exodus, traces the origins of the Human species to a lost expedition from 25th century Earth. It also makes references to George Lucas's previous films, American Graffiti and THX 1138.
Though Sawyer's novel was never completed or officially published, it has been noticed by the online Star Wars fandom. The Ace Books project that used the all-new designs, Deborah Chester's Alien Chronicles trilogy, has also been referenced in some published Star Wars works.
In 1994, Ace Books was negotiating with Lucasfilm Ltd. to publish a series of novels that would tell the backstories of the aliens found in Monsters and Aliens from George Lucas, a book of creature designs and concept art for the original trilogy, the Ewok TV-movies (Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor), and other Lucasfilm productions. When Ace Books approached Robert J. Sawyer, he wrote a 10,000 word story outline and two sample chapters, using A Guide to the Star Wars Universe and Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races as additional sources.
However, as negotiations went on, it was decided that the project would use entirely new alien designs, and be set in a new universe. According to Sawyer, this led him to bow out of the project. After Sawyer dropped out of the project, Deborah Chester became the project's new author. In 1998 and 1999, she published three novels in the Alien Chronicles series—The Golden One, The Crimson Claw, and The Crystal Eye.
The Alien Exodus storyline is divided into two parts. The main storyline followed a Human slave named Cosmo Hender, and his struggle to free his people from their Varlian overlords. The second storyline consisted of excerpts from The Human Exodus, a chronicle of the origins of the first Humans to find their way to the Star Wars galaxy.
- "An even longer time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …."
- ―Robert J. Sawyer's opening lines for Chapter 1 of Alien Exodus
The main story opens with Cosmo Hender, leader of the Human slaves on the Varlian planet Forhilnor. Forhilnor's slaves include Humans, Bith, Ithorians, Kubaz, Ortolans, Kitonaks, Twi'leks, Mon Calamari, and Sullustans. The Varlians—giant insectoids who rule a large star empire—have Rodian and Gamorrean henchmen to oversee the slaves. The slaves are being forced to build a massive stone temple, which by this point has reached a height of one thousand meters. A secret council, consisting of the leaders of each slave species, plots to somehow gain freedom, though their people have been enslaved for at least five generations. The slave council note that all their people are weary, even more than can be explained by the hard work and short rations.
When Hender is temporarily taken from his regular job in the quarries, and from his pregnant mate Sallee, to serve in the palace of the Varlian governor, Kaxa, he learns several important things. Firstly, he discovers that the Varlians have advanced technology and machinery that could easily complete the stone temple without the use of slave labor. Secondly, he hears about a plague called the Changa Bloodrot that nearly wiped out the Varlians centuries ago (a disaster that they believed to be divine retribution for failing to enslave the primitive Wookiees.) Most importantly, after the governor's daughter Delba teaches him to read, he comes across a book called The Human Exodus, which tells of the origin of Humanity in the galaxy. The story of Humankind's escape from a previous group of oppressors inspires him.
When he rejoins his people, Hender sets in motion a plan to free the slaves. Hender makes it appear that several slaves who died of overwork really died of Changa Bloodrot. Of all the species on Forhilnor, only the Rodians would be immune to this plague—a fact that inspires the Rodians to put their own plan in motion to find a sample of the Bloodrot and spread it amongst the Varlians. Meanwhile, Hender and three other slave leaders (Ridbrek the Mon Calamari, Ugerat the Kubaz, and Galarax the Bith) put their own plan into motion, and poison the water supply in the palace.
Governor Kaxa realizes that a plague outbreak could ruin his plan to seize control of the Imperial throne. He orders that his plan be put into effect quickly. It turns out that the temple was merely a means to keep the slaves occupied, while a crystal in the palace drained their Force energy. Kaxa is using this energy to physically move the Forhilnor system towards the center of the Empire, where he plans to seize power using his slaves as a ready-made army. The movement of the planet causes earthquakes on Forhilnor. When Hender rescues another slave from the rubble, it turns out that Hender has somehow developed the ability to tap into the Force, giving him telekinetic powers. The other slaves nickname him "Skywalker" for his ability to levitate.
Eventually, a disease appears to spread to the Varlians in the palace, causing the Varlian larvae to continue to grow without entering the pupal stage of their life cycle. Astute readers would recognize these giant Varlian larvae, who are petulant and selfish as only an overgrown child could be, as Hutts. The Varlians think this is a mutation of Changa Bloodrot. Believing the slaves to be infected, a panicked Governor Kaxa sends them on board a fleet of ships to leave the planet.
The Rodians turn on their Varlian masters, and attack the palace with what they think is Changa Bloodrot serum. When the Rodian serum is ineffective, Kaxa discovers that he has been tricked, and that the slaves themselves were never infected. As well, Hender and the other slaves managed to steal the Force crystal from the palace. Kaxa sends a fleet of Gamorrean warships against the escaping slave fleet. However, the slaves escape by flying their ships into the Bloodstars, a nearby star cluster. In order to make a path for their escape, Hender uses the Force to move the Bloodstars aside. Though the strain of using the Force to move the Bloodstars mortally wounds Hender, the former slaves continue to their destination—the garden world of Corellia. On his deathbed, Hender names Ridbrek as his successor. The story closes with Sallee holding her infant son Freedom, promising to write down the tale of the Skywalker for future generations.
- "Another place, another time. A world called Earth, in its early 25th century, is moving toward a totalitarian, computer-controlled society."
- ―Robert J. Sawyer, Alien Exodus outline
The Human Exodus begins on Earth, in the 25th century. The three main characters—computer hacker Dale Hender, space pilot Antonia Corelli, and her lover Paxton Solo—are leaders of an underground movement resisting the computers who have taken control of Earth's society. Hender discovers that the computers intend to force-feed the people of Earth drugs to control their emotions. They also learn that the computers intend to strip away the identities and family ties of the Humans under their control by replacing their names with serial numbers (Hender is to become the first of the THX series, THX-0001).
Powerless to stop the computers, the underground decides to secretly convert a comet-mining ship called the Oort Raider to a colony ship, carrying five thousand Humans on a multi-generational journey to Alpha Centauri. After a narrow escape from the computers' forces on Earth, the Oort Raider escapes the solar system. Their long journey is interrupted when they fall through a "cosmic whirlpool" leading to another solar system in another galaxy. To their great surprise, the wormhole is not only a bridge to another galaxy, but to another time, billions of years in the past.
The Humans discover a habitable planet, and land. On this new world, they encounter another ship that had arrived in order to investigate the wormhole. This ship turns out to be a Rodian-crewed slave transport, carrying a cargo of Biths. The Rodians intend to enslave the Humans as well. When the Humans discover this, they try to free the Biths, only to be interrupted by a group of Gamorrean slavers, followed by a group of Varlians. The militarily superior Varlians take control of the situation, taking all of the Humans and Bith as slaves to Forhilnor, and hiring the Rodians and Gamorreans to oversee the slaves. As the slaves are taken away, Paxton Solo and Dale Hender look back on what could have been their new home. To honor Antonia Corelli, who was killed by the Rodians, they agree that the planet should be named Corellia. They also vow that one day Humanity will return to Corellia, and build a free society there.
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References to other worksEdit
In his outline for Alien Exodus, Robert J. Sawyer made several references to other George Lucas films:
- Cosmo Hender and his ancestor, Dale Hender, are said to be descendants of Curtis Henderson, the Richard Dreyfuss character in American Graffiti.
- Cosmo Hender is also referred to after his death as "The Skywalker," an obvious reference to Anakin and Luke Skywalker.
- Paxton Solo is likewise a reference to Han Solo. Paxton Solo even pilots a ship called the Century Eagle, paralleling the Millennium Falcon.
- The futuristic society that the crew of the Oort Raider flee is obviously meant to be the one found in THX 1138. Dale Hender is supposed to be the first of the THX series, which might make him a relative of THX 1138s title character (played by Robert Duvall).
- On Corellia, the Human refugees encounter a two-headed dragon-like beast that resembles the "Eborsisk" in Willow.
In addition to the parallels with other George Lucas films, several elements of the story (such as the plagues, the escape of a slave people from bondage, the parting of the Bloodstars, and the liberator who does not live to see the promised land) are reminiscent of the Biblical Book of Exodus.
Sawyer would also reuse "Forhilnor" as the name of an alien species in his novel Calculating God.
Comparison with Star Wars canonEdit
Alien Exodus identifies Corellia as the first home of Humanity in the Star Wars galaxy, while The New Essential Chronology identifies the Zhell of Coruscant as the source of Humanity. On the other hand, the New Essential Chronology's description of the Humans of Coruscant as enslaved by the Rakatan Infinite Empire parallels Alien Exodus, as both stories depict Humans as being enslaved early in their history by an empire that later falls due to a plague.
The ancient history of the Hutts, first given in Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races, would have been explored in Alien Exodus. However, this exploration of ancient galactic history obviously does not include the Infinite Empire of the Rakata or the Killiks, since Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and The Dark Nest Trilogy had not yet been produced. Likewise, during the scenes on Corellia, no mention could have been made of Centerpoint Station or other peculiarities of the Corellian system, since The Corellian Trilogy had not yet been written.
The origins and behavior of the Varlian allies and slave species would also have been discussed in Alien Exodus. In several cases, providing this ancient history to these species would have contradicted published works—including Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races, one of the sources Sawyer used— establishing that species such as the Mon Calamari and the Rodians were not early spacefarers. Of course, many plot elements may have been changed had the novel actually been completed, and later Expanded Universe material would have been written with information from Alien Exodus taken into consideration.
The Alien Chronicles trilogy and Star WarsEdit
The Alien Exodus project eventually became Alien Chronicles, a trilogy of novels written by Deborah Chester set in an original universe. The titles of the three novels are The Golden One (1998), The Crimson Claw (1998), and The Crystal Eye (1999). Though Monsters and Aliens from George Lucas served as an inspiration for the project, none of the aliens appearing in that book, and no existing Star Wars designs, were used in Chester's trilogy.
While the trilogy takes place outside of the Star Wars universe, a few references to Alien Chronicles have appeared in official Star Wars sources. The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia includes an entry for the Aaroun, one of the main alien species in Alien Chronicles. The Encyclopedia entry also references the Viis Empire, the main antagonist organization in the trilogy. The Viis Empire was mentioned again in The Unknown Regions, where it is said to have been devastated by the Mnggal-Mnggal plague. A picture of a group of New Republic senators which appears in The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide includes one senator who resembles the Viis as depicted in Alien Chronicles.
- "I… I… Um. Okay."
- ―Dunc, "Weird Things on the Wookieepedia", Club Jade, December 20, 2006.
As an unfinished and unpublished work, Alien Exodus is obviously non-canon, even within the continuity of Star Wars Legends. However, some fans, notably Nathan Butler in his Star Wars Timeline Gold, have incorporated the story as part of the origins of Humanity in the Star Wars galaxy. Butler, however, has only included this information as an "historical curiosity" for fans, not to be mistaken for canonical information. Alien Exodus has also been mentioned on Star Wars fan blogs such as Club Jade and Eleven-ThirtyEight.
In October 2013, Rich Handley mentioned Alien Exodus in "Stan Lee and Artoo’s Astonishing Adventures", a post on the Star Wars Blog. Handley noted that Alien Exodus, along with Earth-centric references in officially published Star Wars material, could be taken to mean the stories in R2-D2's tales from the Data Banks could be wedged into Star Wars continuity despite being set primarily on Earth.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 Alien Exodus Outline
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 Alien Exodus Sample Chapters
- ↑ Deborah Chester Bibliography
- ↑ Calculating God, Opening chapter
- ↑ "A New Universe of Adventure—Lucasfilm's Alien Chronicles", originally published in SENSE OF WONDER, the B. Dalton Science Fiction, Fantasy & Role Playing Newsletter, republished on Lucasaliens.com, the official site for Alien Chronicles (snapshot taken September 20, 2013.)
- ↑ Star Wars Timeline Gold, Release 75, August 2008
- ↑ Dunc, "Weird Things on the Wookieepedia", Club Jade, December 20, 2006.
- ↑ Alexander Gaultier, "Abandoned Universe: What Could Have Been", Eleven-ThirtyEight, December 2, 2013.