I’m always excited by the opportunity to add a bit of original fiction to a universe that’s been such a huge part of my childhood.
Hammer, which takes place in the final days of The Clone Wars, follows Telloti Cillmam’n, a troubled, envious Padawan washout regulated to the Jedi Explorer Corps who discovers an ancient Sith relic resting in a mysterious structure on the far-flung, ammonia-washed world of Nicht Ka. It also sees the birth of Malleus, an heir to the power of the glorious Sith dynasties of the past and the armor of a forgotten dark warrior called Warb Null.
Taking a page from some of my favorite fellow Star Wars contributors, Jason Fry and Dan Wallace, I thought I’d devote the old blog today to a couple of the in-universe Easter eggs and behind the scenes stuff for Hammer, and at the same time, showcase some of the awesome art Joe Corroney and Brian Miller did for the story.
Firstly, Warb Null was the corrupted persona of a Naddist cultist named Shas Dovos on the planet Onderon 4,000 years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. He appeared in the Tales of The Jedi comic ‘The Freedon Nadd Uprising’ written by Tom Veitch for Dark Horse, and was further expanded in the West End Games RPG supplement for Tales of The Jedi. I always liked the design of the character as a sort of primeval proto-Vader in gleaming, almost Satanic black armor with a huge two handed lightsaber. Yeah he looks a bit like Sauron now, but remember, this was before the LOTOR movies so actually, Sauron looks like him. He gets taken out pretty quickly a la Darth Maul in the comic, but he stuck in my mind over the years, and I was always looking for an opportunity to do more with him.
Part of the inspiration for Telloti’s personality was, believe it or not, George C. Scott’s portrayal of George S. Patton in the titular movie, Patton. There’s a quote in it that sums up Patton’s character – “There’s only one proper way for a professional soldier to die. That’s from the last bullet, of the last battle, of the last war.” This mantra is fortified when, after a political faux pas causes Patton to be removed from his battle command, he reacts to news of the Allied D-Day invasion by storming at his stoic valet, “The last great opportunity of a lifetime – an entire WORLD at war, and I’m left out of it? God will not permit this to happen! I WILL be ALLOWED to fulfill my destiny!” That last bit sort of became the springboard for the character for me. Telloti’s frustration at having failed to become a Jedi and being, in his mind, shuffled off to a harmless profession under the direction of a warrior who has lost the will to fight. Telloti wants glory, and all around him, his opportunities are passing him by. This mindset of course, combined with his temper, wind up making him fertile ground for the corruption of the Sith.
As a reader of wookieepedia, I’m a little obsessed with seeing unnamed background characters get an official moniker. The maimed Jedi master in the story, Ekim Ryelli, is meant to be the mulleted guy pictured in this still from Episode II: Attack Of The Clones. On wookieepedia he’s been called ‘Unidentified Balding Human Male Jedi,’ since the movie’s release, which is really a bit of a mouthful and not a very impressive name for a Jedi. So I asked Joe Corroney if he could use the guy in the arena in Episode II as a character model, if Leland Chee was OK with it, which I guess he was, ‘cause that’s him.
For Ekim’s padawan, I needed another combatant in the Petranaki arena on Geonosis from Ep II, in this case, one that hadn’t made it back. I found Lumas Etima in one of Leland Chee’s blogs on the Geonosis battle, and in Pablo Hidalgo’s Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia. He’s another guy with an on screen appearance, but he one-ups his master as Hasbro made a figure of him at some point (this and bounty hunter Bane Malar make two Star Wars figures I’ve written backgrounds for – coolness!).
At one point in the story, Telloti’s mind is flooded with visions of the ancient past, in which he sees another armored Sith warrior, and hears his name chanted. This is King Adas, an ancient overlord of the Sith stronghold world Korriban. The spirit which inhabits the spellbook which Shas Dovos uses to craft the Warb Null armor is never named, and I don’t name him here, but I can’t help but see an aesthetic allusion to Adas in the design of Null’s ebony armor…
The last points are mainly trivia. Since my first contributions to Star Wars in the old Database and my story Fists of Ion, I’ve always played around with portmanteaus in my character naming, as a lot of authors I know do. I don’t feel a Star Wars piece is complete till I’ve included the name of a loved one, in particular, my children, who have become the main driving force between any ambitions I have as a writer since they’ve come into my life.
Wollwi Enan, the girl padawan who Telloti mentions as having defeated him during the Apprentice Trial, is named for my middle daughter, Willow Anne, and the Givin astrogator (Givin are my favorite Star Wars alien species) Staguu Itincoovar for my son, August Victoriano.
Welp, that’s all folks. Hope you enjoy the story.
May The Force Be With You!