A New Star Wars Novel Finally Gives Us The Asajj Ventress Backstory We’ve Been Waiting For

A New Star Wars Novel Finally Gives Us The Asajj Ventress Backstory We’ve Been Waiting For

With Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi rapidly approaching, interest in the character is running sky-high, with a new novel on the way that’ll examine another key period in the Jedi’s life. Mike Chen’s Star Wars: Brotherhood will explore how Count Dooku’s Sith apprentice Asajj Ventress first met Kenobi at the very beginning of the Clone Wars.

Do I love a love-hate relationship? You bet. Do I admire noted sci-fi author Chen (who previously wrote for the franchise via a short story in the anthology From a Certain Point of View)? Absolutely. Am I entirely convinced that Kenobi is a legendary scoundrel who has made his way across seven systems by bed hopping? One hundred per cent. And if the excerpt from Star Wars: Brotherhood shared by StarWars.com proves anything, it confirms that Obi-Wan thinks that everyone is flirting with him at all times. Even if they aren’t, he’s convinced everyone thinks he’s absolutely fine as hell, and you know what, he’s allowed to think that.

The cover of Star Wars: Brotherhood (Image: Del Ray Publishing)

Here’s a taste of what to expect from the novel; you can read the full excerpt over on StarWars.com:

“This is interesting,” the woman said. She stood up, her cloak flowing back down to rest, and she presented the device in front of the gathered Neimoidians. “I’ve never seen such elaborate plating on a scanning device.”

“It was custom. A gift from a friend. Consider it,” Obi-Wan said, “a bit of a lucky charm.”

She tapped a finger against the underside where the alloy case attached before coming back to Obi-Wan, holding it up as they met face-to-face. “It’s very pretty. I didn’t know Jedi cared for such flamboyant things.”

“Sentimental value.”

“A sentimental Jedi.” The woman smiled, the harsh lines of her tattooed face bending in unnatural ways. “I think we’ll be friends.”

“Perhaps you can have it when I’m done with my investigation.”

“It would be a lovely accessory. And look, it’s even my colour.” She put the device back into the crate, then clamped the lid shut. “The Jedi is clean,” she announced, her long cloak whipping out to reveal a hint of a skirt underneath as she turned on her heel.

“Come, emissary,” said Minister Eyam. “We will send your belongings to your quarters. This shuttle” — he gestured to a small transport craft on a connected smaller platform, one likely used for city-to-city vehicles — “will take us to the disaster area.”

They walked in silence, though Obi-Wan noticed the mystery woman matched his exact pace stride for stride. “I’m sorry,” Obi-Wan said, “I didn’t catch your name.”

“Ventress,” she said. “Asajj Ventress. A pleasure to finally meet a Jedi. Count Dooku speaks so highly of your Order.”

Overall, it’s a charming excerpt that clearly sets up the push-and-pull dynamics of Ventress and Kenobi that we’ve seen before in the Clone Wars animated series. According to Chen’s site, the book will deal with the fraying of peace and politics in the wake of an attack on the Trade Capital of the Federation. There seems to be a rising sense of desperation in the summary, and the excerpt shared today deftly outlines the tension between the political factions at play. From Mike Chen’s blog: “Star Wars: Brotherhood is a character-driven examination of trauma, extremism, purpose, and letting go. With lightsabers. And the shadow of Qui-Gon Jinn weighs heavily on our heroes… I [dive] into [Obi-Wan’s] own internal pressures of living up to his promise to Qui-Gon while also basically becoming a parent when he wasn’t ready — that’s similarly great character fodder.”

And, of course, that means dealing with Obi-Wan’s taught relationship with his angry young Padawan, the stresses of which are already even clear in the full extract, as Obi-Wan contrasts Ventress’ frosty conversations with him to one’s he’s all-too-familiar with having with Anakin. The Clone Wars animated series remains one of the finest pieces of Star Wars worldbuilding and characterization in the contemporary canon, and it’s exciting to see Chen and other authors take advantage of the characters and conflicts established in the long-running and critically acclaimed show.