On Batuu, a young girl fights to save her siblings, and a smuggler tells a tale of deceit and greed in Star Wars: Myth & Fables.
This article contains plot points for Star Wars Myths & Fables: The Black Spire and The Ghost Chaser.
Since it was first announced back in January of 2019, Myths & Fables has caught the eyes of many Star Wars fans with its fantasy-inspired cover, showcasing a dragon (or is it a wyvern) turning to face a lightsaber-wielding Jedi-like character. Myths & Fables is written by George Mann, with magical illustrations for each of the nine stories by Grant Griffin.
“The Black Spire” is one of nine short stories within the pages of Myths & Fables. It’s a tale about a girl named Anya who is the youngest of four children of a single mother. The father, Saka, the proprietor of kettle corn is long dead at this point. Anya has an older brother and two older sisters, all who remain nameless. In fact, Anya is the only character in the story to have a name beside the antagonist, Sampa Grott. “The Black Spire” is the farthest in the timeline of any Star Wars story to date.
Once Upon a Time…
Myths & Fables is arguably the most Star Wars-y book ever written. Think about how the original Star Wars began:
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
That’s how fairy tales start. Another example is the famous “Once upon a time.” In the case of “The Black Spire,” it begins:
At the very heart of Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu, there stands the bole of an ancient tree…
To write a book of fables, Mann has to adjust his storytelling seat. Instead of transporting the reader into the story, Mann remains the narrator. And in doing so, the audience retains that childlike point-of-view. We’re that kid in our beds listening to a bedtime story.
The Hero’s Journey
Star Wars is built on tales of heroism, truths, and legends like King Arthur and The Odyssey. Lucasfilm emphasizes time and again that these stories are all part of one larger story with different iterations depending on the orator or storyteller. Some parts are accurate, and some parts are stretched into new truths or “Legends”.
A book like Myths & Fables takes that uncertainty and embraces it, contorts it, regurgitates it into myths and fables. Very much like the Legend of Luke Skywalker or the comic series, Vader: Dark Visions, all of these tales are told from a POV that is without influence. They don’t know what we know about Vader, Luke, and maybe in the future, Anya.
There are several references to Batuu in “The Black Spire”, including the Saka Homestead, the Trilon Wishing Tree (near Savi’s Workshop), and the Surabat river valley. For those who have visited Galaxy’s Edge, it’ll be fun to be able to picture where these events took place. This was an enjoyable tale that is a perfect personification of a fairy tale, right down to the mentor whose sole purpose was to give Anya a weapon and the encouragement to rescue her siblings. Once Anya receives the magic weapon and the wise words of a wizard-like figure, Anya begins her trek on the Hero’s Journey. Even the weapon she’s given, a wooden dagger, is nothing but a placebo. In the end, Anya rescues her brother and sisters and rids Batuu of Sampa Grott through bravery and guile.
The Ghost Chaser
The second tale that took place on Batuu is called “The Ghost Chaser” – a story about a scoundrel named Missok, who evades capture by hiding out in Black Spire Outpost. Misook concocts stories about a smuggler whose bounty was so high one could buy a small moon with the reward money. The tale was so believable, seeker’s of this reward chased this ghost smuggler in hopes of receiving the large bounty. In turn, allowing Misook to avoid capture.
The connections to BSO are superficial at best in “The Ghost Chaser”. The setting has little effect on the story, as it could take place at any local watering hole. There is an appearance of an RX-series pilot much like the one seen formerly at Star Tours and now at Oga’s Cantina and The Droid Depot.
A Tale As Old As Time
While many of the stories are cautionary tales with an air of darkness, Griffin’s art, which appears at the start of each story, capture’s a world of mystical wonder with his use of colors and shading. There are definite similarities between the stories in Myths & Fables and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. According to an article by Jack Zipes called “How The Grimm Brothers Saved The Fairy Tale” in the March/April 2015 issue of Humanities, the Brothers Grimm believed, “most natural and pure forms of culture—those which held the community together—were linguistic and based in history.”
Mann’s stories are exactly that. And what’s interesting about “The Ghost Chaser” is that it’s a tale within a tale. Coincidence or not, the Brothers Grimm are two of nine children, just like there are two of nine stories about Batuu.
Ronto Wrap Up!
For fans of fairy tales, Star Wars: Myths & Fables comes highly recommended. And for Star Wars bookworms who love the idea of in-universe myths for the Star Wars universe, nothing else compares. The stories, which average around 20 pages, can be read in any order, which is a nice bit of freedom. Read one a night to your padawan! Everything that has transpired within Star Wars owes its roots to these legends. Children will read tales of Anya and dream about becoming a galactic hero. These stories will give them the confidence to do things great and small. And stories like Misook’s will be passed on down through generations of spacers in their version of Blackbeard’s treasure. Enjoy! And ‘Til the Spire!’