- "Jaina Solo is on a mission to stop a scientist from offering villains that most terrible weapon: eternal life."
- ―Star Wars Insider 75's synopsis of "Or Die Trying"
"Or Die Trying" is a short story written by Sean Williams and Shane Dix that was published in the seventy-fifth issue of Star Wars Insider, released in May 2004. In 2003, Williams and Dix had written the Force Heretic Trilogy, three volumes of The New Jedi Order book series, and "Or Die Trying" was set between the trilogy's second and third installments. The two originally had no plans to write any tie-in stories to Force Heretic, but after The New Jedi Order wrapped up its line of novels at the end of 2003, they were contracted to write an additional story that fell within the series' scope.
The six-page story builds on the continuity of Force Heretic and features the Jedi Knight Jaina Solo infiltrating the headquarters of Onadax Droid Technologies on the planet Onadax. The company has manufactured a Human replica droid that betrayed the citizens of Bakura, and Solo hopes to bring them to justice for the crimes that their clients commit. She confronts an HRD named Stanton Rendar and engages in a discussion with him regarding the moral implications of immortality and near-invincibility, but ultimately remains firm in her convictions and prepares to apprehend him. Rendar looses a group of battle droids on her, however, setting the compound to self-destruct and fleeing the planet. Solo defeats the droids and escapes with her life.
"Or Die Trying" was also published in the fifty-ninth issue of Star Wars Magazine UK, and later went on to be archived online as part of StarWars.com's Hyperspace fan club. It featured numerous references to existing Star Wars stories, but its own events have yet to be referenced in any Star Wars work published since. Stanton Rendar's HRD has been mentioned in several sourcebooks, however.
- Potts: "Will there be any E-Book tie-ins to the Force Heretic trilogy? A prologue? Short story between books? Epilogue?"
- Williams: "At this point, none that I'm aware of."
- Dix: "Interestingly, there was one small section taken from book 3 that we thought would make a nice little e-story, but nothing has been talked about it."
- ―Michael Potts of TheForce.Net interviewing Sean Williams and Shane Dix in 2003[src]
In 2003, authors Sean Williams and Shane Dix wrote the Force Heretic Trilogy, three novels that respectively served as the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth volumes in The New Jedi Order book series. Refugee, the trilogy's middle installment, featured a plot that took place on the planet Bakura, in which representatives from the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances led by Han, Leia, and Jaina Solo visited the world to reestablish communications between its government and the Galactic Alliance in the midst of a galaxy-wide war. After arriving, they discovered that the planet's Prime Minister, Molierre Cundertol, had been promised immortality by the alien Ssi-ruuk and undergone their entechment process in order to have his soul transferred into a Human replica droid. His subsequent betrayal of his people allowed the expansionist Ssi-ruuvi Imperium to invade Bakura before being foiled by an uprising among their slaves, the P'w'eck. At the end of the novel, the Solo family was told by their ally, the Ryn Goure Conor, to proceed to Onadax and meet with another member of the information-gathering Ryn Network. The Force Heretic Trilogy's concluding novel, Reunion, opened with the Solos on Onadax.
The New Jedi Order''s series of novels wrapped up in November of 2003 with James Luceno's The Unifying Force. However, Williams and Dix later wrote "Or Die Trying", a short story that was published in the seventy-fifth issue of the magazine Star Wars Insider the following year. Although there had initially been no plans on the part of either Williams and Dix or The New Jedi Order's planning team to produce a Force Heretic spin-off story, "Or Die Trying" is set between Refugee and Reunion and became the third short story to fall within the scope of The New Jedi Order. Including a full-page illustration by Leanne Buckley, it is a six-page tale that introduces an additional reason for the Solos to have traveled to Onadax: they are following a trail of credits that Cundertol laundered off of Bakura in order to have his Human replica droid built. "Or Die Trying" sees Jaina Solo infiltrate the headquarters of Onadax Droid Technologies, the company that built the droid. Onadax Droid Technologies is known only as "ODT" during the opening pages of the story, an acronym that also applies to the story's title.
Star Wars Insider 75 was published in May 2004. "Or Die Trying" was also included in Star Wars Magazine UK 59, and was later published online for members of StarWars.com's Hyperspace fan club.
Jaina Solo was created by author Timothy Zahn and first appeared in his 1993 novel The Last Command. She played a major role as a Jedi Knight and X-wing fighter pilot throughout The New Jedi Order, including all three volumes of the Force Heretic Trilogy. She is the protagonist of "Or Die Trying", which follows an adventure of hers between the events of Force Heretic II: Refugee and Force Heretic III: Reunion.
After arriving on Onadax and catching wind of a company called ODT, Solo infiltrates the organization's compound in search of the manufacturers of Molierre Cundertol's Human replica droid. She encounters an HRD named Stanton Rendar who admits to having served a client on Bakura, and who offers her immortality via having her soul enteched into an HRD. Solo considers the implications of HRDs roaming the galaxy unchecked and refuses the offer, prompting Rendar to loose a group of battle droids on her. He flees the planet while she fights them off; Solo quickly disposes of them before rushing away from the self-destructing compound. Although she is furious that Rendar escaped, she takes comfort in the fact that the two of them may one day meet again.
Stanton Rendar was first mentioned in Steve Perry's 1996 novel Shadows of the Empire as the deceased brother of Dash Rendar, a mercenary who played a major role in the Shadows of the Empire multimedia project. The 1998 comic series Shadows of the Empire: Evolution established a partnership between Dash and the Human Replica Droid Guri, and "Or Die Trying" reveals the fruits of their labors by resurrecting Stanton Rendar in the form of an HRD.
Rendar is an HRD working within a small team of researchers at Onadax Droid Technologies, who recently provided a droid body for a client at Bakura. He believes that every sapient being has the right to life, and is prepared to provide wealthy clients with immortality by using the Ssi-ruuk entechment process to transfer their souls into HRDs. Solo asserts that he is responsible for the Ssi-ruuvi Imperium's invasion of Bakura, and, doubtful of his motives, prepares to apprehend him. Rendar orders a group of battle droids to attack her and uses the distraction to flee the planet. He programs the compound to self-destruct in five minutes' time, confident that another one will be built elsewhere.
- "Life is all we have, girl. Do you think I'm about to let you take it away from me? I plan to live forever or—"
"Or die trying. Yes, very droll."
- ―Stanton Rendar and Jaina Solo
The Jedi Knight Jaina Solo is on Onadax on a mission to infiltrate the headquarters of a company called ODT. She is part of a group of representatives from the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances that has come to Onadax from Bakura after helping foil an invasion of that world from the Ssi-ruuvi Imperium; the invasion was made possible by a Human replica droid that was in league with the Ssi-ruuk, and Solo hopes to confront the creators of that droid. After using the Force to distract the compound's security guards, she enters the main building with a stolen security pass and follows the Force signature of an HRD to a room. The HRD calmly greets her, and Solo asserts that he is responsible for endangering the people of Bakura.
The HRD argues that his company can not be held accountable for what their clients do after receiving HRD bodies and deflects Solo's claims that the HRD procedure allows criminals to indefinitely put the galaxy at risk. He introduces himself as Stanton Rendar, a formerly dead Human who was resurrected into an HRD body, and tells Solo the history and mission objectives of ODT, also known as Onadax Droid Technologies. Believing that every sapient being has the right to life, they create HRDs for wealthy clients and use the Ssi-ruuk's entechment process to transfer their souls into the droid bodies. Nonetheless, they operate in secrecy, believing that the galaxy would not understand. Rendar offers Solo an HRD of her own, but she envisions an army of dark side–using HRDs and steadfastly refuses. She prepares to apprehend him, but Rendar has anticipated her refusal and sends a group of battle droids after her as he flees the planet in a prepared shuttle. Solo swiftly destroys them and is forced to flee from the exploding building that Rendar programmed to self-destruct. She is furious that Rendar escaped, but is confident that she will meet him again in the future.
- "I'm very interested in tying up loose ends, both because we're coming in toward the climax of the NJO series, and because there are so many places in the Expanded Universe that have been visited once or alluded to but never seen again. Those places fascinate me."
- ―Sean Williams, on writing within the Star Wars Universe
While they were writing the Force Heretic Trilogy, Sean Williams and Shane Dix were eager to reintroduce characters and elements from past Star Wars stories that had not appeared in some time and whose fates were unresolved. Williams thus spent time researching dangling story arcs that he felt were ripe for being further explored. "Or Die Trying" addressed the fate of Dash Rendar, a major character from the 1996 Shadows of the Empire multimedia project. After Shadows, Solo's parents and uncle had believed Dash dead, and "Or Die Trying" marked the first time that a member of their family learned of his survival and subsequent work done in HRD development. The story also referenced Project Decoy, an HRD-related project undertaken by the New Republic in the 1993 young reader novels Mission from Mount Yoda and Queen of the Empire.
Stanton Rendar had himself been mentioned in several previous Star Wars works, such as the Shadows of the Empire novelization and the Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook. "Or Die Trying" was the first appearance of his Human replica droid, who went on to be mentioned in 2006's The New Essential Guide to Droids and in Rendar's entry in 2008's The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia.
In Force Heretic II: Refugee, the Solos were told to go to Onadax by the Ryn Goure Conor in order to meet another member of the Ryn Network. "Or Die Trying" established that they were also on the planet in search of the creators of Molierre Cundertol's Human replica droid. Despite the explicit mention of Onadax by Conor in Refugee, however, "Or Die Trying" stated that Solo telepathically learned of the world from an associate of Rufarr, Cundertol's former pilot.
"Or Die Trying" was the final chapter of The New Jedi Order to be written and published. Many novels taking place after The Unifying Force have been written, but none of them have referenced the events of "Or Die Trying". Stanton Rendar's resurrection as an HRD has been acknowledged in several sourcebooks, however.
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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 "Or Die Trying"—Star Wars Insider 75
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Star Wars Insider 75
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Star Wars Magazine UK 59
- ↑ 4.0 4.1
- ↑ The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Force Heretic I: Remnant
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Force Heretic II: Refugee
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Force Heretic III: Reunion
- ↑ The Unifying Force
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Interview with Sean Williams & Shane Dix - Co-Authors of REMNANT. TheForce.Net. Retrieved on October 5, 2010.
- ↑ Emissary of the Void
- ↑ The Apprentice
- ↑ The Last Command
- ↑ Vector Prime
- ↑ Dark Tide I: Onslaught
- ↑ Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
- ↑ Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream
- ↑ The Final Prophecy
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Shadows of the Empire novelization
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Shadows of the Empire video game
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 Shadows of the Empire comic adaptation
- ↑ Shadows of the Empire: Evolution
- ↑ Star Wars Q&A with Sean Williams & Shane Dix - Co-Authors of NJO Force Heretic Trilogy. TheForce.Net. Retrieved on October 8, 2010.
- ↑ Mission from Mount Yoda
- ↑ Queen of the Empire
- ↑ Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 The New Essential Guide to Droids
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (see "Rendar, Stanton")
- ↑ Dark Nest Trilogy
- ↑ Legacy of the Force
- ↑ Millennium Falcon
- ↑ Crosscurrent
- ↑ Outcast