- "This is the first novel integrating input from the Lucasfilm Story Group, which manages story concepts across all media, and so in addition to working with Random House's team I both got inspiration and feedback from the series' executive producers, Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, and Greg Weisman, as well as Pablo Hidalgo, Jennifer Heddle, and Leland Chee."
- ―John Jackson Miller, on A New Dawn
A New Dawn is a canon novel written by John Jackson Miller, with a foreword by Dave Filoni. It was the first novel to be set in the current Star Wars canon, and it serves as a prequel to the animated television series Star Wars Rebels. The novel was first published by Del Rey on September 2, 2014, alongside an audiobook version. A New Dawn was later published in The Rise of the Empire (2015).
Ever since the Jedi were marked for death and forced to flee Coruscant, Kanan Jarrus has devoted himself to staying alive rather than serving the Force. Wandering the galaxy alone, from one anonymous job to another, he avoids trouble—especially with the Empire—at all costs. So when he discovers a deadly conflict brewing between ruthless Imperial forces and desperate revolutionaries, he's not about to get caught in the crossfire. Then the brutal death of a friend at the Empire's hands forces the ex-Jedi to make a choice: bow down to fear, or stand up and fight.
But Jarrus won't be fighting alone. Unlikely allies, including a bomb-throwing radical, a former Imperial surveillance agent, a vengeful security officer, and the mysterious Hera Syndulla—an agent provocateur with motives of her own—team up with Jarrus to challenge the Empire. As a crisis of apocalyptic proportions unfolds on the planet Gorse, they must stand together against one of the Empire's most fearsome enforcers—for the sake of a world and its people.
During the Clone Wars, a young Caleb Dume attends a lesson by the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi about the Jedi Temple's beacon. The beacon can be used to summon the Jedi back to Coruscant. Caleb creates an atmosphere of unease among the Padawans and their masters when he queries whether the beacon can also be used to warn the Jedi not to return to the Temple. Sure enough, Master Kenobi uses the Temple's beacon to warn the Jedi not to return to the Temple following the Great Jedi Purge.
A while later, after asking Master Kenobi, Dume asked his master Depa Billaba what a Jedi must do if warned away from the Temple but no further orders come. She counsels that the answer will perhaps come to him in a different form.
Phase One: Ignition
The Galactic Empire has a thorilide-mining operation in the Gorse system based on the planet Gorse and its moon Cynda. With production behind schedule, the Empire dispatches the Imperial technocrat Count Denetrius Vidian to restore production to acceptable levels. He travels to the Gorse system on the Imperial Star Destroyer Ultimatum, which is commanded by Captain Rae Sloane, a second point-of-view character. To demonstrate that the Empire will no longer tolerate production delays, Count Vidian destroys a laggard freighter holding up the moonward convoy called the Cynda Dreaming. Vidian also takes an interest in Gorse's labor and environmental problems. The arrival of the Ultimatum is witnessed by the Twi'lek Hera Syndulla, who has been tracking Vidian's activities. By masking another ship's transponder, Hera is able to sneak her ship Ghost into the space traffic.
Meanwhile, Caleb has adopted the pseudonym Kanan Jarrus and taken a job as a freight pilot. Kanan travels to the Gorse system on the freighter Expedient, which is hauling Baradium bisulfate for Moonglow Polychemical. Kanan's co-pilot is his landlord Okadiah Garson, who runs a cantina called The Asteroid Belt on Gorse. After verifying his ship's ID transponder with Captain Sloane, Kanan lands at a mine on Cynda. With Gorse's thorilide mines exhausted, the Empire had begun mining Cynda, which hitherto had been a nature preserve. These mining operations had caused extensive damage to much of the moon's crystalline caverns. Kanan catches a Gorse local named Skelly, a Clone Wars veteran, remonstrating with the Besalisk Lal Grallik, the chief of Moonglow Polychemical, to suspend blasting operations beyond Zone Forty-Two, where he plans to conduct a test bombing. Despite being friends with Skelly, Kanan does not back him up because his job depends on hauling baradium bisulfate, which is used to blow up the caverns for extraction.
Unknown to Skelly, his conversation with Lal is being monitored by Zaluna Myder, a Sullustan surveillance operator working for Myder's Mynocks, a surveillance subdivision of Transcept Media Solutions, a security company working for the Empire. Since Skelly's criticism of mining operations is seen as a threat to progress, her supervisor contacts the Imperial authorities, who send stormtroopers to Level Thirty-Nine to arrest Skelly. The stormtroopers try to apprehend Skelly but the former detonations expert escapes by exploding a large cylinder which crushes his pursuers. Now a fugitive, Skelly flees into hiding.
Meanwhile on Cynda, Count Vidian begins his tour of the planet's mining complex. He begins dismissing the oldest workers due to their advanced age. When the Neimoidian Director Palfa protests the summary dismissals, Vidian personally beats him to death with his mechanical hands. When Vidian accosts Okadiah, Kanan springs to his defense. Following a brief but heated exchange, Vidian and his stormtroopers leave to deal with the incident on Cynda's Level Thirty-Nine. In the background, Hera infiltrates the facility and knocks out a stormtrooper who gets in her way. She also witnesses the brief confrontation between Vidian and Kanan.
Skelly plants a test bomb in Zone Forty-Two which disrupts the Imperial mining operations on Cynda. Kanan and his fellow miners Okadiah and Yelkin find the bomb and barely escape a massive explosion, which damages the surrounding catacombs. Count Vidian is addressing a droidmaster and three aides when the floor beneath them collapses due to the explosion. Due to his cybernetic body, he manages to dig himself out. Count Vidian and Captain Sloan dispatch Imperial reinforcements from the Ultimatum to hunt Skelly down. Vidian's manhunt is compounded by his rival Baron Lero Danthe announcing that the Emperor had increased Cynda's weekly thorilide output by 50 percent.
Meanwhile, Kanan and his companions have a tense reunion with Skelly, who defends his actions on the grounds that the Empire's mining operations were destroying Cynda. Unwilling to get into trouble with the Empire, Kanan decides to hand Skelly over to the Imperial authorities at Moonglow's shipyard. On the Ghost, Hera decides to find Skelly and arranged a meeting with Hetto, an employee on Transcept Media and a fellow member of Myder's Mynocks. However, Hetto is arrested by Imperial personnel, who have been monitoring his HoloNet activities. Before his arrest, he told her that he had been meeting someone on HoloNet and had left a datacube in a potted plant. After finding Hetto's data cube, Zaluna soon discovers that Hetto's mysterious contact is Hera Syndulla.
Count Vidian is contacted by Lal Grallik, who informs him that he has captured the fugitive Skelly. Before Imperial forces can take Skelly into custody, Hera hires the criminal gang known as the Sarlaccs to stage a fight outside the Moonglow's headquarters so that she could rescue Skelly. Due to the distraction, Hera is able to rescue Skelly. However, the gang's leader Charko turns on Hera and tries to rob her. Before the Sarlaccs can assault her, Kanan comes to the Twi'lek's aid and helps her defeat the gang. The two then part company.
Aboard the Ultimatum, Captain Sloane and commander Nibiru Chamas discuss Count Vidian's micromanagement (including shutting down a medcenter) and his background. While his biography claims that Vidian was an engineer at a Corellian starship design firm who contracted Shilmer's syndrome, Chamas doubts the authenticity of that account. Meanwhile, at his home in Gorse City's Crispus Commons, Skelly encounters Hera, who had hoped to recruit him as a rebel operative. However, she quickly dismisses him as a crank and leaves, believing that she wasted her time rescuing him. However, she receives a note from Okadiah Garson telling her to meet him at The Asteroid Belt bar, which he owns. Using Hetto's data cube, Zaluna also heads to the Asteroid Belt to meet Hera.
At The Asteroid Belt, Kanan swiftly defeats another miner whom he had encountered in an earlier bar fight at Philo's Fueling Station in Shaketown. Shortly thereafter, Kanan is joined by Okadiah, Zaluna, and finally Hera. Hera reveals that she had come looking for Hetto, who had contacted her about abuses of authority in the Gorse system via HoloNet. Zaluna informs Hera that Hetto was arrested by the Empire but that he had downloaded sensitive Imperial information onto the Transcept database including a visit to Gorse by a mysterious man named Lemuel Tharsa twenty years ago. Zaluna then quickly departs shortly before the arrival of Skelly.
Skelly informs Kanan, Okadiah, and Hera that Count Vidian is coming to inspect Moonglow in a few hours. Seeking an opportunity to take Vidian out, Skelly asks his allies for help in securing an ID to get through the security cordon around that part of Shaketown. Due to Skelly's reckless nature, Hera and Kanan are reluctant to help. Before they can leave, an Imperial patrol enters the bar searching for Skelly. Kanan, Hera, and Okadiah outwit the stormtroopers by hiding Skelly in a closet and claiming that an intoxicated Wookiee is inside.
After the stormtroopers leave, Hera convinces Kanan to lend her his Moonglow security card so that she can enter the facility and spy on Count Vidian to find out why he is interested in the Gorse system. While he is wary of getting into trouble with the Empire, he agrees to lead Hera there on the condition that "no crazy stuff" takes place. Hera also takes an interest in Lemuel Tharsa, a mining consultant doing freelance work for the Imperial government. She suspects that he is somehow connected to Count Vidian and believes that Moonglow will have the answers she is looking for.
Phase Two: Reaction
Captain Sloane and Count Vidian travel in the Imperial shuttle Truncheon to inspect the Moonglow Polychemical factory in Shaketown. For the tour, they are hosted by the Besalisk chief operating officer Lal Grallik and her husband Gord. Meanwhile, Kanan and Hera infiltrate the factory in a hoverbus disguised as factory workers. Meanwhile, Skelly infiltrates the factory through the sewers with the help of the chef Drakka. However, Skelly is quickly spotted by Vidian, who assaults him after Skelly tries to hand him a Holodisc in an attempt to save Cynda. Sloane and her stormtroopers attempt to apprehend Skelly, but he flees onto the conveyor-belt system.
Following Skelly's escape, Kanan is spotted and detained by Sloane. After learning from Baron Lero Danthe that the Empire has tripled Cynda's thorilide output, an irritated Vidian callously murders Lal by throwing her into a bath of xenoboric acid. Desiring to increase production, Vidian dismisses Skelly's warning. Hera witnesses Vidian in the act of murdering Lal and informs Gord that Vidian murdered his wife. Initially disbelieving the rebel, he changes his mind when he sees the security monitor. Later, Hera convinces Captain Sloane to release Kanan by presenting his missing ID card.
Vidian and his entourage prepare to depart on their shuttle, but it is destroyed by a bomb planted by Skelly. Vidian and Sloane survive the explosion, but several Imperials are killed. Following the blast, a vengeful Gord attempts to attack Vidian for murdering his wife but is beaten up by several stormtroopers. Vidian commandeers the hoverbus in order to reach the spaceport in Highground. Kanan and Hera commandeer a nearby hover truck and follow Vidian, determined to kill him once and for all. Hera suspects that Vidian is up to something. Skelly also follows on a stolen speeder bike.
At the spaceport, Vidian prepares to leave on the shuttle Cudgel for Sloane's Star Destroyer Ultimatum. Before he can leave, Skelly destroys the shuttle with an explosive. Kanan and Hera arrive at the spaceport followed by a vengeful Gord. Vidian spots Kanan and Hera and orders them to surrender. The two escape when Gord attacks Vidian, giving them enough time to flee on their commandeered hoverbus with Skelly. After killing Gord, Vidian reprimands Captain Sloane for the poor security arrangements and issues an alert for Skelly and his companions, emphasizing that the former is to be shot while the latter brought to him.
Kanan, Hera, and Skelly escape the spaceport on their stolen hoverbus pursued by several Imperial Troop Transports and two TIE fighters. Following a wild pursuit through the streets of Gorse City, the rebels lose their Imperial pursuers and dump the wrecked bus in The Pits. After landing the hoverbus in a quarry, they find that Zaluna had accidentally stowed aboard the bus' toilet. Due to the bus' thick door, Zaluna had been unable to call for help. Kanan and Hera strike up an alliance with Skelly to stop Count Vidian. The three rebels are joined by Zaluna, who wants to make amends for running the surveillance camera that got him arrested. Meanwhile, Vidian and Sloane depart on a third shuttle, Bastinade. The Imperials are shamefaced by the loss of the transports, TIE fighters, and their quarry.
With the help of Zaluna, the fugitives make their way back to their safe house at The Asteroid Belt, where they are sheltered by the sympathetic Okadiah. During a private meeting, Hera tells her new-found allies that it is better for opponents of the Empire to work together rather than staging lone wolf attacks on the Empire. Zaluna's decision to aid the rebels is further promoted by the news that she had lost her job at Transcept Media Solutions due to her ties to Hetto. The rebels also examine a recording device that Zaluna had located on the hoverbus and learn that Vidian is planning to blow up Cynda in order to mine the moon's thorilide reserves. The rebels quickly realize that this was why Vidian had left Moonglow abruptly. Vidian had used Skelly's research on the moon's brittle surface as an inspiration for his scheme to meet the Empire's new thorilide quota.
Meanwhile, using Skelly's information, Count Vidian along with Lieutenant Kanna Deltic and Captain Sloane discuss their plans to blow up Cynda using Baradium-357 explosives. Sloane fears that destroying the moon would also cause the brittle thorilide molecules to dissolve. But Vidian is determined to proceed with his plans for reasons which he has not fully disclosed. The following day, the Imperials begin bombing the part of Cynda where mining operations had been occurring. This explosion is witnessed by many in Gorse City including Kanan and his companions. Seeking to stop Count Vidian, the rebels travel on Kanan's cargo hauler Expedient to Cynda. Upon landing on Cynda, they find a dying Okadiah at the site of the explosion. Kanan comforts Okadiah in his last moments.
Aboard the Ultimatum, Count Vidian expresses delight at the successful test bombing. Having received a report from the mining expert Lemuel Tharsa that 97% of the thorilide molecules in the test zone remained intact, he decides to proceed with his plan to destroy Cynda. Tharsa also claimed that Cynda would have enough thorilide for the next two thousand years. However, Sloane is skeptical of the report and suspicious of Lemuel. Vidian is also unperturbed that the test bombing had killed many mining personnel and justifies his decision to sacrifice their lives to maintaining the secrecy of his project. Count Vidian sees the Cynda gambit as an opportunity to outmaneuver his rival Baron Danthe and gain the Emperor's favor.
Imperial forces impose restrictions on space traffic in the Gorse system to facilitate Vidian's plan and order all empty mining cargo ships to follow the Ultimatum to the Calcoraan system. To hide Vidian's true agenda, Imperial HoloNews reported that Vidian was trying to stabilize the moon. After hearing the report, Skelly and Hera realize that Calcoraan is a major Imperial supply base in the sector and that Vidian plans to import a large quantity of baradium-357 into the Gorse system. The four rebels decide to travel to the Imperial depot on Calcoraan to stop Vidian's plot. Kanan agrees to serve as the pilot on the condition that Hera serve as the group's tactician.
Phase Three: Detonation
Despite her personal misgivings about the ethics of Count Vidian's plan, Captain Sloane still facilitates the marshalling of the mining fleet to the Calcoraan Depot, where massive stocks of thorilide reserves await them. While watching Vidian's staff preparing his personal starship Forager for the operation, Sloane is briefed by the Imperial science officer Lieutenant Kanna Deltic, who theorizes that the destruction of Cynda will cause debris to fall on Gorse. Later, Sloane is contacted by Baron Danthe, who was unaware of Vidian's project, and tells her to contact him if she had the "smallest need," a veiled warning about the Count.
Meanwhile, Kanan and the rebels follow the mining fleet to the Calcoraan system. Upon arriving, Kanan learns that his ship Expedient had been renamed "Imperial Provisional Seventy-Two." Shortly thereafter, Zaluna reveals that the Imperial authorities had blamed Cynda Moonglow for the blast on Cynda and dissolved the company. As they approach the depot, Hera tells them to load the ship while she destroys the station. Kanan convinces her not to follow that plan and to instead come up with another plan to falsify the data in order to deter the Empire from ever considering destroying planetoids again. The rebels then don hazmat suits to enter the facility.
On Calcoraan Depot, Captain Sloane accompanies Count Vidian on a tour of the station. When they come across several heat-proof mining drones from Baron Danthe's firm being reverse-engineered, Vidian claims that they were being checked for maintenance. Vidian then departs on the pretext of finalizing his report to the Emperor. In Vidian's absence, Kanan and his comrades shove a droid into a tube to disrupt the loading process. The rebel infiltrators then find themselves under Count Vidian's medlab. In private, Vidian reflects on his origins as a safety inspector for a mining company. After contracting a degenerative flesh disease that destroyed his body, Vidian spent two years being unable to communicate until he got the attention of a medical droid. After being rebuilt as a cyborg, Vidian took revenge on the mining companies by writing reports that discouraged surface mining on Gorse and many worlds. Knowing the Emperor's fascination with creating world-destroying weapons, Vidian wants to use Cynda's destruction as a case study for future Imperial projects.
Kanan and Hera attempt to attack Vidian, but he senses their presence due to the advanced sensors in his body. Using his cybernetic armored body, Vidian overpowers the intruders. Before he can torture them, the Count is incapacitated by an Imperial interrogator droid that was hijacked by Skelly, who injects a sleeping potion into his body. After downloading Vidian's brain into a nearby computer console, the rebels discover that Vidian's true reason for wanting to destroy Gorse is to disintegrate the moon's thorilide reserves. This is part of an elaborate plot to discredit his rival Baron Danthe and gain favor with the Emperor. The rebels discover that Vidian's true name was Lemuel Tharsa and that he falsified reports while pretending that Lemuel was a separate individual.
In order to expose Vidian's deception, the rebels decide to send a correct report about Cynda to the Emperor. Mimicking Vidian's voice, Kanan lures Captain Sloane into the Count's medlab. After restraining Sloane with a stasis beam, Kanan claims he is an Imperial agent and tells her to send a corrected report on Cynda to the Emperor, using the communication facilities on her Star Destroyer. Having completed their mission, the rebels depart on the Expedient to return to Gorse in order to warn the people of the impending cataclysm.
After freeing herself and Count Vidian, Sloane informed him about the "Emperor's agent." While aware of Vidian's true agenda, she still complied with his orders to dispatch the Ultimatum and other Imperial forces to the Gorse system to stop the rebels. Meanwhile, aboard the Expedient, Kanan and Hera attended to Skelly's injuries which he had sustained during an earlier fight with Vidian on Gorse. Despite Kanan's rapport with Hera, he still did not disclose his Jedi past to her. Hera also talked with Zaluna and urged her to break her mental chain to the Empire and to overcome her fear.
Upon arriving above Cynda, the rebels found that Count Vidian was trying to accelerate the moon's destruction by injecting xenoboric acid into its surface. Shortly thereafter, Vidian's ship Forager arrived to commence the moon's destruction. To disrupt the operations, Kanan used the ship's intercom to frighten the mining ship crew. At Kanan's instruction, Hera used the Expedient to harass the TIE fighters escorting the mining convoy. After a brief dogfight and pursuit, the rebels landed the Expedient in the Forager's rear hangar bay. Skelly had brought a bag of improvised explosives with which he intended to kill Vidian and destroy his ship. The rebels fought their way through the ship's factory complex as they made their way to confront Vidian on the bridge.
Meanwhile, Captain Sloane received a priority-one message from the Emperor. Despite the intruders aboard his ship, Count Vidian was adamant in proceeding with the detonation of the explosives. While trying to tamper with the ship's security cameras, Zaluna was captured by Vidian and his stormtroopers. Seeing Zaluna hurt, Kanan attacked Vidian. Zaluna attempted to shoot the cyborg but was blinded instead. Hera then entered the fray and turned the tables by charging into the room with a hover-forklift. Despite the intruders, Vidian was unperturbed since the detonation was only four minutes away.
Aboard the Ultimatum, Sloane deduced that Vidian's scheme to destroy Cynda and its thorilide reserves was part of a plot to discredit Baron Danthe and then herself and her crew. She also discovered that Vidian had defrauded the people of Gorse by concealing reports of thorilide on the planet's day side. Vowing to stop Vidian's plan, she ordered her crew to rescind the Detonation Control link to Forager and gave orders for her stormtroopers to arrest Count Vidian. She charged the Count with presenting false testimony to the Emperor and attempting to destroy strategic assets.
Unperturbed, Vidian revealed that he had a card up his sleeve: his ship Forager alone had control of the detonation. Before his crew could restore the uplink, Sloane ordered her stormtroopers to kill Vidian's ship crew. As the Ultimatum and other Imperial ship's began bombarding the Forager, a three-way battle ensued aboard the ship between Vidian, the rebels, and Sloane's stormtroopers. As the ship began to take damage from the Imperial bombardment, Kanan saved Hera from a falling catwalk by using the Force to intercept the falling object. However, he cautioned her not to tell anyone about his powers. Together, Kanan along with Hera and Zaluna escaped the doomed vessel in an escape pod. Meanwhile, a wounded Skelly caught up with Vidian and detonated his bag of explosives, killing the both of them. The ensuing explosion destroyed the Forager and anything around it. Kanan and his rebel comrades narrowly avoided the falling debris. Through the Force, Kanan sensed that Skelly had triggered the explosion and died killing Vidian. Their escape pod descended into Gorse's atmosphere.
Following the death of Count Vidian, the Empire covered up the events in the Gorse system by claiming that Vidian had died from a relapse of Shilmer's syndrome. Meanwhile, Baron Danthe was granted oversight of the Gorse system and immediately commenced mining operations on Gorse's dayside using heat-resistant drones. Sloane reflected on her encounter with the "mysterious agent" of the Emperor known as Kanan and wondered whether he was a rival to Vidian, not realizing that he was a Jedi. Due to her efforts to stop Vidian, Sloane was made the commander of the Ultimatum and continued working for her new boss, Baron Danthe. Meanwhile, the blinded Zaluna started a new life on an agrarian world with the help of Hera and Kanan. After dropping off Zaluna, the two rebels decided to continue their adventures together aboard Hera's ship, the Ghost.
- "I like to keep my characters in motion as a writer—but sometimes, the writers are the ones in motion. So it was in March, while I was finishing Star Wars: A New Dawn, my new novel for Random House."
- ―John Jackson Miller
John Jackson Miller had just finished and published Kenobi and was looking for his next project when Del Rey approached him to write a tie-in novel for the then-forthcoming Star Wars Rebels television series, as they were interested in doing a novel focused on the show's heroes. Once Miller was briefed about the series, he made proposals which led to feedback from Dave Filoni and the other producers, resulting in a conference call with Filoni, after which the book was approved.
Miller finished writing the novel in March 2014, though it was not publicly announced until April 25. A New Dawn was said to be the first narrative product created in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group. Miller was two-thirds of the way through writing the novel when he was informed that it would be the first novel within the new Star Wars canon. The jacket proof for the novel was finalized by July 8, with the novel itself set to enter press and printing the following week.
Prior to the novel's wide release, uncorrected, paperback proofs of A New Dawn were given away for free during the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. The giveaways were at select times, and Miller was on hand to autograph the exclusive editions. The edition includes excerpts for the then-upcoming novels Tarkin, Heir to the Jedi, and Lords of the Sith.
The composition for the cover art of the Brazilian edition of A New Dawn published by Editora Aleph originated from a concept sketch made by Two Dots while working on the cover of the Star Wars Legends novel Crucible. Although a different cover was selected for Crucible, the publisher liked the second concept and asked Two Dots to adapt it for the characters of A New Dawn. The original sketch featured the characters of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo with an X-wing starfighter, which were replaced by Hera Syndulla, Kanan Jarrus, and the Ghost in the version for A New Dawn.
- (No ISBN); July 24, 2014; Del Rey; Exclusive Advance Reader's Edition
- ISBN 9780553392869; September 2, 2014; Del Rey; US hardcover
- ISBN 9780553392876; September 2, 2014; Del Rey; US eBook
- ISBN 9780553391473; March 31, 2015; Del Rey; US paperback
|Organizations and titles||Sentient species||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
Notes and references
- Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide states that Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla met on Gorse, as depicted in the novel A New Dawn, six years prior to the events of Star Wars Rebels. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas states that Star Wars Rebels begins in the year 5 BBY, thereby dating the events of A New Dawn to 11 BBY.
- A New Dawn, Exclusive Advance Reader's Edition