Aside from the multitude of new Star Wars shows that were recently announced during the recent Disney Investors Day presentation, it seems Lucasfilm is ready to bring the Star Wars franchise to greater heights among its Chinese audience with the first-ever Star Wars original web novel.
News of the web novel, Star Wars: The Vow of Silver Dawn, was first released on the official Star Wars Weibo account. It announced that the online novel will be released to literature apps under Chinese Literature, a group owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent.
The web novel is set 200 years prior to the original Star Wars trilogy and tells the story of a young Padawan by the name of Sean and his Jedi master, who are sent of a journey by the Republic to investigate the murder of a political ruler.
The journey will bring Sean and his master to a uniquely Chinese corner of the Star Wars universe, inhabited by a race of humans with black hair and dark eyes with space-food, habits and culture similar to those of the Chinese.
The general reception to the novel has been a positive one, with fans praising the idea and expressing their excitement to read the novel in the comments. Unfortunately, there are also some Star Wars fans who believe that having a new Star Wars project released in the form of a web novel to be a slight against the franchise, with a Weibo user even commenting, “Could you please not ruin your own brand?”.
For those unaware, web novels are often not released as a whole novel, but are written and released in instalments, with the ongoings of the chapters shaped by readers’ feedback as they are released. It is a more social and interactive form of novel writing which is widely popular among readers in China. There have been numerous TV adaptations of web novels too, such as Nirvana in Fire and Love O2O. However, web novels are also often regarded as low-brow fiction among the public.
In response to that, The Vow of Silver Dawn’s author Wang Shiyuan said in an interview with Sixth Tone, “What we care about more is actually the reader’s daily reading experience, and not how the novel will be read in one go once it’s finished.”
Wang, under the pen name His Majesty The King, has been an author for the past decade, and has written close to 10 million Chinese characters worth of online stories. He is also the author of Spirit Blade Mountain, which received an anime adaptation in 2016. According to Wang, the web novel was created as a way to help build a bigger audience among the Chinese, especially the younger generation who aren’t familiar with the series.
Having been a fan of Star Wars since the age of 12, Wang seemed like the perfect author to pen Star Wars’ first-ever Chinese web novel. He revealed that after the project was announced, he worked together with Disney China to formulate a plot that was then sent over to Lucasart to be revised and approved. Hence, there is still a set story for Wang to follow, but the flow of the novel and minor details will still be up to him as he will be adjusting it based on reader’s feedback.
Star Wars: The Vow of Silver Dawn is already available online, though only in Chinese, an English translation of the novel is unavailable as of yet.