Tom Veitch, a fantastic comic book author and poet, passed away on February 18th, 2022. While he worked for the comic industry in general, it’s in Star Wars his impact is most clearly felt. For those unaware, Tom Veitch was the author of both the Tales of the Jedi and Dark Empire comics, the names of which have likely brought up specific memories for fans old and new.
The following list has been compiled for those unaware of what Tom Veitch’s work meant, not just for comic book fans but Star Wars fans as well. Many may not realize some of them came directly from his scripts.
10 The Old Republic Era
As mentioned, Tom Veitch wrote the original Tales of the Jedi comics for Dark Horse. These ’90s comics may not be well known to casual fans; However, their impact certainly is. They were the first major dive the Expanded Universe took into the era of The Old Republic. Much of the time before the films was kept off-limits by Lucasfilm. However, by setting the story thousands of years in the past, it provided the freedom not just for Veitch’s story, but for little-known companies Bioware and Obisidian to develop three of the most cherished Star Wars games of all time.
9 The Fall Of Freedon Nadd
Freedon Nadd was a Dark Jedi who lived and died well before the time of the Tales of the Jedi comics. He ruled with an iron fist on the savage planet of Onderon, and his ghostly specter would prove more dangerous than his living body ever was. The first few tales involving Ulic-Qel Droma (who will be spoken of later) involved the espionage and intrigue of the planet’s politics, as well as its ancient cult-like worship for the fallen man. Freedon Nadd’s ghostly machinations would set the stage for much Star Wars lore in the future.
8 Ancient Sith Society, Culture, And Lore
During the writing of the Hair to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, the Noghri (the book’s race of alien assassins) were at first intended to be the Sith. It may be hard to think of a time before the term was so well explained and explored, but outside of Darth Vader’s title as “Dark Lord of the Sith,” there was next to no info.
Lucasfilm had Zahn change the name of his race, meaning it was Tom Veitch who got to show readers the ancient Sith people and their Egyptian-like culture.
7 The Great Sith Lord Naga Sadow
Speaking of ancient Sith, there is no Dark Lord more infamous than Naga Sadow. Claiming the throne of his people through manipulation and intrigue, the dark sorcerer would start a galactic conflict known as “The Great Hyperspace War,” which would devastate much of the galaxy.
Before returning to the world of Yavin IV to have his Massassi constructing grand temples for him, he’d go out with a literal bang by igniting twin suns and causing a supernova.
6 The Great Hyperspace War Conflict
The Great Hyperspace War itself was one of the largest conflicts in the Star Wars galaxy back during Legends continuity. A war so brutal and widespread that not even the galactic capital of Coruscant was safe from its wrath. Naga Sadow was the manipulator and instigator by claiming two innocent hyperspace explorers from Republic space were actually scouts for an invasion force. Many characters within the Tales of the Jedi series were swept up in the conflict as the battles raged and caused possibly the greatest fall from grace the Old Republic had seen up until that point.
5 The Double Blade Weilder Exar Kun
Exar Kun’s double-bladed lightsaber likely looks familiar to some due to how commonplace the weapon is in modern Star Wars lore. However, Exar Kun was actually the first character in the mythos to use such a weapon, and it’s a picture of him that George Lucas described as giving inspiration for Darth Maul’s iconic weapon in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Exar Kun was a great warrior who slaughtered all before him and would eventually team with Ulic-Qel Droma to take control of the galaxy for the dark side.
4 Heroine Of The Old Republic, Nomi Sundrider
Nomi Sunrider was the wife of a Jedi Knight shot down before her eyes due to the machinations of the criminal underworld. With their child in tow, she left to learn the ways of the force and honor her husband’s pledge to defend the galaxy from evil. She would become one of the primary heroes during The Great Hyperspace War and even due some of the strongest dark side warriors of her era to their own submission. The Sunrider name and legacy would continue throughout the Old Republic era and leave many impacts across the galaxy.
3 The Tragedy Of Ulic-Qel Droma
Ulic-Qel Droma was a brave Jedi and the initial hero of the Tales of the Jedi books. However, after multiple interactions with Darkside users, it would be Droma who would fall. Becoming an armored juggernaut intentionally resembling the future Darth Vader, Droma teamed with the evil Exar Kun and ended up killing his own brother in a fit of rage. Droma eventually accepted defeat and, before dying, trained a young force user for the side of good. In a small way, this was his attempt to make up for his past sins.
2 The Return of Boba Fett
Boba Fett had already escaped the Sarlacc pit in a Marvel Star Wars Comic, but was quickly thrown back in. (This was due to the need for spin-off media at the time and putting everything back in its place to avoid conflicting with future films). However, once Tom Veitch began writing Dark Empire, he was given free rein with the cast and characters. This allowed him to once again and this time permanently return Boba Fett to his former glory. He also sported a very silly new Slave-II ship, but it was thankfully very short-lived.
1 The Ressurection of Palpatine
Anyone who’s read Dark Empire knows that it’s the most important and singular influence on Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. While Tom Veitch was hopefully paid well for his contribution, considering how Disney has handled other authors such as Alan Dean Foster, he doesn’t seem likely. Clone Palpatine and Imperial forces from unknown space all come from this series of comics by Veitch and, if anything, should be credited as such – along with the screenwriters of the film. Here’s hoping Disney is more respectful of the people it pulls clear influence from for its billion-dollar properties in the future.
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