Okay, so you may have read previously that I LOVED the Star Wars video game, Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight. But what you may not know, is that the game was accompanied by a series of novellas. Now when I say novellas, I'm referring to a set of three short stories, written as if they were a single story, but simply divided into a trilogy of short, hardcover books. These stories coincide almost perfectly with the story of Jedi Knight, (with a few creative liberties thrown in) and add a massive amount of depth and back story to the already excellent tale.
The first novella, Soldier for the Empire chronicles the start of Jedi Knight's main protagonist, Kyle Katarn, as he discovers that his place as a Stormtrooper among the Galactic Empire is unfitting. Kyle's journey from his young, unwise self at the start of 'Soldier', to that of a Rebel Agent to Jedi Knight to galactic hero and Expanded Universe icon is a truly epic one.
Some of the most intriguing characters, who also happen to be the main villains of the trilogy, are the Dark Jedi; a group of Force-wielding Dark Siders who are attempting to locate and infuse themselves with the power of The Valley of the Jedi, which holds the spirits of both Jedi and Sith from the final battle of the Great Sith War, told in the Tales of the Jedi comic series. The Seven Dark Jedi are led by Jerec, former Jedi and survivor of Order 66.
'Soldier' and it's subsequent sequels, Rebel Agent and Jedi Knight are all aided by gorgeous full-color illustrations by three separate artists. The illustrations fully flesh out Kyle's story and draw deeply from the live action cut-scenes created for the Jedi Knight video game.
In addition to both the video game and the novellas, Dark Forces was retold
in an audio drama format. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to hear or acquire these audio dramas, but if anyone wants to send me a donation... :P
Besides it being a fan favorite, and the fact that not mentioning it in one of my 'Expanded Universe Gems' segments would be blasphemous, Dark Forces holds a place as dear in my heart as the Star Wars films themselves. With its wonderful cut-scene enhanced video game predecessor, an awesome storyline, and wonderful illustrations, Dark Forces is truly an EU Gem!
Katarn as he appears in on of the cut-scenes from Jedi Knight; played by Jason Court.