How E.K Johnston and Claudia Grey Made Me Love Phantom Menace Even More

With this year being the 20th Anniversary of the release of ‘The Phantom Menace’, it wasn’t surprising that we would get some prequel era content that tied in with the film in some way and whilst we only really got two novels they are two of the best we have had.

Claudia Grey gave us ‘Master and Apprentice’ which I reviewed HERE, a phenomenal book that dives deep into the relationship between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan as well as the Force.

Not long after, ‘Queen’s Shadow’ by E. K. Johnston was released and my review can be found HERE. This one deals with Padmé’s transition from Queen of Naboo to the Senator of Naboo in the Republic Senate and her first year or so in office.

In the scenes between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon in ‘The Phantom Menace’ and seeing how close their relationship is, the back story that is now given to us from ‘Master and Apprentice’ shows how long it took the two to get to that point, quite a few years, both even contemplated leaving the other, Obi-Wan to find a Master he felt more suited to and Qui-Gon considered taking a place on the Jedi Council, a role that would lead to him having to abandon his role as Obi-Wan’s Master to give more time to his would-be role on the Council.

This context even plays into the scene where Qui-Gon announces that he would take Anakin as his Padawan, that look Obi-Wan gives Qui-Gon feels so much more meaningful now and his attitude towards his Master afterwards is reminiscent of Kenobi’s attitude throughout Claudia Grey’s novel. Granted, without ‘Master and Apprentice’.

With ‘Queen’s Shadow’, whilst the bulk of the book takes place after The Battle of Naboo, we learn some things about the Trade Federation occupation of the planet, especially about one of Padmé’s handmaidens who was left behind, Saché, who was tortured by the Federation to give up the pockets of resistance on the planet. As well as how Padmé and Sabé felt whilst they were away from Naboo during its time of crisis.

Whilst the films all work on their own, the extra material we get through the books and comics really help develop more of a sense of the Galaxy and when they tie-in so directly it’s hard not to think of them when rewatching the films. This was something that I never felt when I would read the ‘Legends’ novels as there was always a bit of a disconnect for me.

I think we can definitely Ty and the Lucasfilm Story Group for their attention to detail but also the authors who are all able to really connect with the characters from the films and write them so convincingly that the lines between the mediums are so blurred.

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