Star Wars: Union

Star Wars: Union
Alternative editions:
Star Wars Union review
Alternative editions:
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse - 1-56971-464-9
  • Release date: 2000
  • UPC: 9781569714645
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

Union is a story wiped from the canon by the great Star Wars continuity reboot, but in 2007 it was considered important enough to be just one of a dozen selections re-issued in hardcover to celebrate thirty years of Star Wars.

Formerly the Emperor’s personal assassin, Mara Jade fell in love with Luke Skywalker, the man she was once set to kill. By the time of Union they’ve put that behind them and are preparing for their wedding, something Princess Leia feels ought to be a public event to show the galaxy that the past can be forgotten in the early days of the new republic. That’s the heart of Union as it begins. The assorted requirements of protocol have to be delicately managed for a showpiece, ensuring no-one of importance feels snubbed.

This is primarily a successful character piece by Star Wars novelist Michael A. Stackpole. Everyone has doubts before their marriage, and in the case of Luke and Mara these uncertainties take in their baggage. Pretty well every wedding in comics is an exercise in self-indulgence as beloved characters are dragged away from their normal activities, dressed up and set to circulate and spark off each other. We don’t want anything different, and Stackpole sticks joyously to the template.

He’s greatly helped by Robert Terenishi being an artist with the vision for a big occasion. His pages are those of a workhorse with a gloriously decorative imagination, oozing style and class. Additionally he’s great with the cast likenesses, as Union features plenty of people who’ve been seen on the cinema screens.

As the wedding preparations continue and the doubts manifest there’s also a threat from disgruntled discards who were doing well under the Empire, and resent the new regime. A few deaths at the wedding will make their statement. Stackpole doesn’t do more than the minimum in building a threat only required because Star Wars is an action series, and the intended tension of following the plotters throughout never manifests. When they do make their presence known, given Mara’s previously active career it’s strange she’d remain at the altar while Luke deals with the thugs, and the way it plays out is in the spirit of reconciliation, but not greatly realistic.

Despite that Union is likely to push all the right buttons for people invested in the original Star Wars cast, and the art is sumptuous.