Last year’s Star Wars: Myths & Fables short story collection was an intergalactic take on Grimm’s Fairy Tales, delivering a series of intriguing parables as children might hear them in A Galaxy Far, Far Away. And now author George Mann (The Human Abstract) has written a follow-up to that release which puts a decidedly more sinister spin on the concept: Star Wars: Dark Legends.
Dark Legends takes familiar scary stories and sets them in the George Lucas-created Star Wars universe. For example, there’s a Star Wars version of nocturnal specters like Nosferatu or even Slender Man (depicted here as a Sith Inquisitor who comes in the night to steal Force-sensitive children from an orphanage in the period after the Clone Wars have ended), a Star Wars version of a werewolf (members of the already wolf-like Shistavanen species revert to a more feral state when taken to a certain abandoned planet bathed in radioactive blood-red moonlight), and a Star Wars version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (a clever reinterpretation of the constant battle between the light and dark sides of the Force ever raging in the hearts and minds of Jedi Knights).
Readers will also pay a visit to Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities in a Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge-inspired take on Stephen King’s Needful Things, in which Dok sells a cursed mask to an aristocrat who uses it to claim more power and fortune, only to have it corrupt his soul and lead, of course, to his eventual doom. I would guess that this story is also intended to dispel the persistent rumor that Batuu’s popular antique shop contains the mask of Momin, as introduced in the Star Wars: Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith Marvel comic book series– a rumor consistently denied by Lucasfilm Story Group member Matt Martin.
Another story recontextualizes one of the more memorable tales from Star Wars: Myths & Fables in an interesting way, demonstrating that Mann is capable of skillful world-building within his own additions to this long-established universe. And the final chapter brings us to the planet Exegol and serves as an intriguing precursor of sorts to the events of last year’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But my favorite yarn in this book is its ghost story, which sees a newly promoted Imperial officer haunted by the man he replaced under mysterious circumstances. That one ends with a scene that made me laugh out loud– not because it’s silly, but because it finally gets across just how absurdly terrifying working for the Galactic Empire under a certain Dark Lord of the Sith would actually be.
Each story in Star Wars: Dark Legends is accompanied by a single new piece of gorgeous artwork by Grant Griffin, who also collaborated with George Mann on Myths & Fables. All of these portraits and landscapes would be suitable for framing, and they beautifully convey the eerie foreboding that immediately pays off in the narrative to follow. My only legitimate complaint about this book is that it’s too short– it took me just a couple hours to get through it, and I’m a very slow reader. Luckily, there’s more from this team on the way, as a Galaxy’s-Edge-exclusive edition of Star Wars: Myths & Fables (with six additional stories) is due out soon. And given this franchise’s history with trilogies, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we saw a third collection in this series of short fiction and art from Mann and Griffin before long.
Star Wars: Dark Legends becomes available tomorrow, July 28 wherever books are sold.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.