- "The principal story arc in 'Darth Plagueis' spans several decades. The challenge was to create a 'history' of a kind without eclipsing the characters who are in effect making history. Fortunately, the Star Wars universe is so large that I was able to research the book almost in the same way I would have a more traditional historical novel. As it progressed, I was forced to hew more closely to established lore, but even then it proved possible to shed light on what was going on in the wings behind the scenes."
- ―James Luceno
Darth Plagueis is a novel by James Luceno that tells the backstory of Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Plagueis. It was originally scheduled for release in October of 2008, but its release was canceled. However, Sue Rostoni later stated that the book had been reinstated, and the novel was released on January 10, 2012. Narration for the audio version was performed by Daniel Davis.
Plagueis was the most powerful Sith Lord who ever lived. But could he be the only one who never died?
Darth Plagueis: one of the most brilliant Sith Lords who ever lived. Possessing power is all he desires. Losing it is the only thing he fears. As an apprentice, he embraces the ruthless ways of the Sith. And when the time is right, he destroys his Master—but vows never to suffer the same fate. For like no other disciple of the dark side, Darth Plagueis learns to command the ultimate power . . . over life and death.
Darth Sidious: Plagueis’s chosen apprentice. Under the guidance of his Master, he secretly studies the ways of the Sith, while publicly rising to power in the galactic government, first as Senator, then as Chancellor, and eventually as Emperor.
Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious, Master and acolyte, target the galaxy for domination—and the Jedi Order for annihilation. But can they defy the merciless Sith tradition? Or will the desire of one to rule supreme, and the dream of the other to live forever, sow the seeds of their destruction?
Darth Plagueis: Like all Sith Lords before him, he craves absolute power. But like no Sith Lord ever, he possesses the ultimate power—over life and death.
Darth Sidious: In secret he masters the power of the dark side, while publicly climbing to the highest government office.
One desires to rule supreme; the other dreams of living forever. Together, they will destroy the Jedi and rule the galaxy. Unless merciless Sith tradition becomes their undoing. . . .
- "A tragedy, really, for one so wise. One who could oversee the lives and deaths of all beings, except himself."
- ―Palpatine to Anakin Skywalker
The novel begins just after Darth Sidious kills his Sith Master Darth Plagueis. The Sith Lord experiences a moment where he feels a dramatic shift in the Force, which promises him that its dark side will use him as a tool just as he will use it as a tool for his own purposes. This moment in the Force is what promises Sidious that he will have a great impact on the galaxy in the future.
The book then cuts back 35 years, as Darth Plagueis and his Master Darth Tenebrous arrive on the world of Bal'demnic to examine its cortosis supply, which is being mined unbeknownst to either the Republic or the Jedi Order. Tenebrous plans to take advantage of the cortosis' natural resistance to lightsaber blades for his future attempts to overthrow the Jedi and replace the Republic with an empire ruled by the Sith. During the examination, the mining probe droid begins digging at a pocket of explosive lethane next to a cortosis deposit against orders, leading Tenebrous and Plagueis to rush back to their ship and escape the resulting explosion. The explosion occurs before they make it back to their ship, though Tenebrous was able to use the Force to contain the explosion so it doesn't kill him or his apprentice, while Plagueis makes sure that their ship isn't destroyed by the impact of the blast. In the process, Tenebrous is severely wearied, and Plagueis finds himself with the opportunity to end his Master's life and take on the role of Sith Master. He uses the Force to hurl falling debris on top of his Master and inflict a mortal wound, attempting to make it look natural as he rushes to his master's side. However, he cannot resist revealing to Tenebrous how he died, and what it means for the future of the Sith. The Muun tells his Bith Master that he will put an end to the old order of the Rule of Two before breaking Tenebrous's neck and observing his dying body through the Force in an attempt to manipulate midi-chlorians. However, Tenebrous dies before Plagueis is even able to at least prolong his Master's life for the sake of his experimentation.
Regardless, Plagueis makes it off of Bal'demnic by stowing away on the ship known as the Woebegone. He kills its crew and has the ship slagged, taking only the droid 11-4D as an assistant in his midi-chlorian experimentations. Plagueis then returns to his homeworld of Muunilinst as Hego Damask, CEO of Damask Holdings, in time for a clandestine meeting with several leaders of various companies and cartels on Muunilinst's moon of Sojourn. In particular, he confronts the representatives of the Subtext Mining Corporation, which was the company that supplied the faulty probe droid that was the indirect cause of Tenebrous's death. He threatens their lives, and in response, they tell him of a lode of plasma located beneath the world of Naboo, which will prove profitable for Damask Holdings, the InterGalactic Banking Clan, and the galaxy at large. Plagueis spares their lives and has them relocated to the most remote world on the Tingel Arm so they would be in reserve in case he needs them again (he has them killed later on anyway when it becomes clear that he cannot have anymore dealings with Malastare's Pax Teem, who is a supporter of Subtext).
After the meetings on Sojourn, Plagueis is confronted by Darth Venamis, a Sith who Tenebrous had been training behind Plagueis's back in case Plagueis failed to live up to Tenebrous's expectations. Plagueis bests Venemis in combat, forcing him to swear allegiance to him before forcing the lesser Sith to poison himself. Plagueis then proceeds to use Venamis as part of his experiments in manipulating midi-chlorians, whose ultimate end is to defeat death and make himself immortal. In the meantime, Plagueis tracks down the other Force-users that Venemis had met in order to determine whether or not they pose a threat to his plans. He promptly rules out the Force-users who pose a threat to him and eliminates them.
In exchange for the plasma located beneath the surface of Naboo, Damask Holdings and the Trade Federation begin a bid to support Bon Tapalo as king of the planet. Tapalo will open Naboo to trade, particularly for the plasma, which will then allow it to get involved with the rest of the galaxy. Among the political allies Plagueis sees in particular is a young man named Palpatine, whose motivations and actions go against those of his father, Cosinga, who wants Naboo to remain an isolationist world. Seeing potential in Palpatine in terms of ambitions and even actual power in the Force, Plagueis begins using him as a source of information regarding the campaign of Tapalo and his opponents. Palpatine, meanwhile, sees in Hego Damask the father figure he never had, even as he knows that he is being manipulated. Naturally, this attracts Cosinga's attention, who tries to separate his son from Plagueis. In retaliation, Palpatine kills his entire family and their honor guard aboard their personal starship by using his full, unbridled power in the dark side of the Force. He later informs Plagueis of the deed, who then congratulates Palpatine on "emancipating" himself. Soon, Plagueis takes Palpatine under his wing as his Sith apprentice after revealing to the young man the nature of himself and of the Sith, promptly naming him Darth Sidious.
In the eleven years that follow of Plagueis teaching Sidious the nature of the dark side and the ways of the Sith, Palpatine, as the last of House Palpatine, climbs his way up the political ladder of Naboo to become its ambassador throughout the galaxy. And with the help of new friends like Kinman Doriana and Sate Pestage, Palpatine arranges for the successful assassination of his former mentor and Naboo's representative Senator to the Republic, Vidar Kim. As a result, Palpatine becomes the new Senator of Naboo, taking a seat in the Republic Senate as Plagueis continues his plans of manipulating midi-chlorians to prolong his own life indefinitely. One such plan involves the cloning industry on the backwater world of Kamino, inadvertently setting the stage for the eventual Clone Wars. Meanwhile, amidst his own political machinations, Palpatine, in his urge to know more about the dark side than what Plagueis teaches him, manages to make a visit to the world of Dathomir, where he encounters a Dathomirian woman who gives him a Zabrak infant simply known as Maul. Palpatine later has Maul sent to Mustafar, where he could be nurtured at his young age in the dark side of the Force.
As Sidious and Plagueis promptly proceed to eliminate their political opponents, Plagueis is attacked during an Order of the Canted Circle ceremony for his assistant Larsh Hill by Maladian assassins. Hill and the other members of the Order of the Canted Circle are killed, but Plagueis, albeit severely wounded, is able to fight off and kill several of the assassins before Palpatine and Sate Pestage arrive to assist the superior Sith Lord. Palpatine had previously discerned that a powerful political opponent of his, Pax Teem, had outwitted Plagueis and had sent the assassins to kill him and his partners during the Canted Circle ceremony. In retaliation, Palpatine himself personally attacks Teem during a celebratory feast, killing him and all of his guests, leaving no survivors or evidence. In the aftermath of the attack at the botched ceremony, as Plagueis is forced to wear a transpirator to survive, he becomes more alert than ever about his surroundings, even going so far as forever renouncing sleep, and is even more obsessed with finding a way to live forever. As Damask, he trains Hill's son, San, to become the new head of the InterGalactic Banking Clan. Meanwhile, even though Plagueis managed to kill and then resurrect Darth Venamis in one of his experiments, he finds that he cannot do it again after Venamis dies for good.
More than two decades pass as Palpatine gains more power in the Senate as the reign of Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum comes to an end. The rest of the novel tells the events depicted in other, preexisting Star Wars stories, such as Jedi Council: Acts of War, Cloak of Deception, Star Wars: Darth Maul, and Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, until the novel takes place during the entirety of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. Throughout these events, it is learned that Plagueis had killed former King Ars Veruna of Naboo (thus, allowing Palpatine to have a teenaged Padmé Amidala elected as the planet's Queen) and that Plagueis also suggested to Sifo-Dyas to sanction a human clone army on Kamino. Palpatine, who had also named Maul Darth behind Plagueis's back, also sees a potential ally in the former Jedi Count Dooku. As the novel comes to a close during the events of The Phantom Menace, Sidious and Plagueis learn that a young boy named Anakin Skywalker, a former slave found by Qui-Gon Jinn on Tatooine, had been born of the Force. They discern that this is most likely due to Plagueis's experiment of creating life through the Force, which he had commenced about a decade earlier.
The novel climaxes where it began— as the Battle of Naboo occurs, Palpatine coerces Plagueis into sleep with the promise of making him co-chancellor of the Republic, just as Plagueis demanded decades earlier, now that Palpatine appears to be winning in the election to replace Finis Valorum as Chancellor. With that, Sidious attacks Plagueis and, as he kills him, he explains that he was the one who had really been manipulating Plagueis the whole time, with such deals as the clone army as an example. In the end, Sidious ends Plagueis's life with the dark side of the Force, although his feeling of triumph is ruined as he feels uneasy for some reason. He later attributes this to the supposed death of Darth Maul, though, as he initially suspected, it may very well have been Plagueis himself reaching out to him from beyond the Force.
As Palpatine is officially made Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, he begins to commence his solo plans of taking over the galaxy with the upcoming Clone Wars, such as seeking Dooku as a placeholder Sith apprentice and ally in the war. But the biggest part in Darth Sidious's plan is young Anakin Skywalker, now a Padawan to Obi-Wan Kenobi, who the Sith sees will be easily manipulated into becoming his true apprentice, and a harbinger of Palpatine's own power.
- "In dealing with Plagueis' quest for immortality, I originally structured part of the book as a kind of race between him and Qui-Gon Jinn, they inadvertently sabotaged one another without either of them realizing they were pursuing the same goal. In the end, Qui-Gon succeeded by making contact with the Whills- the mysterious species of immortals George Lucas mentioned in an epigraph for the first Star Wars novel. As a result, the first version of the Plagueis novel was all over the place, way too long, and trying too hard to resolve every loose end."
- ―James Luceno
A Darth Plagueis novel was scheduled to be written by James Luceno and released in October 2008 by Del Rey about Darth Plagueis and his backstory. In an interview with Star Wars Insider magazine, Luceno said that he would like to write a future novel dealing with the search for immortality that both Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Plagueis embarked upon in their own separate ways. However, in a talk show interview in February 5, 2007, he indicated that the novel was currently on hold due to issues surrounding the revelation of Palpatine's backstory and Expanded Universe continuity concerns.
- "I'm sure you've noticed that the Plagueis novel is not listed. It's true. The novel has been cancelled. We decided that this was not the right time to delve into Palpatine's backstory and Plagueis's beginnings. You'll still see Jim Luceno around, though, as he's an author we are not willing to lose."
- ―Sue Rostoni
The announcements for the novel stated that Plagueis was a Muun. Leland Chee has confirmed that, since Plagueis's species did not originate in the novel, it is still considered his canonical species by Lucas Licensing.
The novel was replaced with Darth Bane: Rule of Two; however, Luceno had said he still hoped he could convince the powers that be at LucasFilm to let him write the novel, and cited sales of Millennium Falcon could help influence that.
- "Plagueis was born into an historical setting that allowed him to bring many important beings under his influence, and to bring the re-emergent dark side fully to the attention of the Jedi Order."
- ―James Luceno
On July 27, 2010, Sue Rostoni stated that the book was back on schedule, with a release date of February 28, 2012. This announcement came following a sales database leak, which the fan site New Jedi Order Encyclopedia published. Believing it to be a replacement for the canceled Imperial Commando 2, fans asked for clarification. Rostoni confirmed that the book was going to be published in 2012, but that it is not intended to replace Imperial Commando 2. The release date was later changed to December 27, 2011, and then again to January 10, 2012.
On August 22, 2011, it was announced on the Star Wars Books Facebook page that Matthew Stover would be writing a short story, entitled The Tenebrous Way, that ties into the book. It was published in the Star Wars Insider 130 on December 13, 2011.
Original outline and inspirationEdit
Darth Plagueis was first set to be a first-person narrative. Sidious would have found Plagueis's holocron shortly after he murdered his master and it would have retold Plagueis's recorded life story. Ann Rice's The Vampire Chronicles served as inspiration for the storyline.
On page 407 of the paperback edition of Darth Plagueis, "Xizor" is misspelled as "Xixor."
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Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Star Wars Books Facebook update
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Essential Reader's Companion
- ↑ Meadows, Chris (2007-02-05). James Luceno Interview, Part Two (mp3). Space Station Liberty. Retrieved on February 7, 2007.
- ↑ Ballantine/Del Rey Fiction Schedule, StarWars.com blogs, posted by Sue Rostoni, March 27, 2007, 3:09 PM
- ↑ Holocron continuity database questions Leland Chee's comments
- ↑ Rostoni's confirmation at TOS
- ↑ James Luceno interview on Star Wars Action News Episode 166
- Luceno interview
- Darth Plagueis Novel by Luceno --- Canceled! on the Jedi Council Forums (Literature board; posted by 000 on Jun 7, 2006 at 7:56 PM; accessed September 22, 2013)