So, about From A Certain Point Of View…
Finished it - the book is a work of genius.
Rather than talk of the individual stories, only a couple really didn’t work for me, the overall picture is very, very clever. On the one hand this is a retelling of ANH, but on the other, it is a retelling with all the knowledge of the films that followed, which then looks to see how they impact ANH too. The result is it’s ANH but also not, it’s wider, more expansive.
The other aspect that the book really makes clear is something I’ve held for a while now, that ESB is not the darkest film in SW - it’s ANH. Sure, in ESB the Rebels get their arse handed to them at Hoth and in 1980 that was a radically unexpected move. After that? They get chased, it all ends up with a lightsaber duel at Cloud City and a frozen, captured Han and that’s it. ANH has Luke and Leia lose their families, an entire world be destroyed and a final battle where the Rebels accrue 90% casualties. Never mind what happens if they lose - one story makes that abundantly clear too. In ANH the Empire is at the point of being able to dominate the galaxy forever, only by the narrowest, infinitesimal margin does it lose.
That’s all the film, but what the book does is it puts you in the head of everyone, including Bail and Breha on Alderaan, Biggs, so their deaths register far, far more and you get a much expanded sense of just how much evil the Empire is doing to the galaxy. Were it all that, of course, it’d be a depressing, mind-numbing read, so there’s moments of comedy in it - the buraucracy of empire, Motti’s complaint to Imperial HR, the Emperor waxing Shakespearan in an extended soliloquy at the news of Obi-Wan’s demise - provide moments of relief amid the darkness.
As ways to celebrate ANH’s 40th anniversary, this is very artistically done.
So, what are the odds of doing the rest of the OT in this way too? Plenty of time to prepare.