Star Wars: Canto Bight

Synopsis: Welcome to the casino city of Canto Bight. A place where exotic aliens, captivating creatures, and other would-be high rollers are willing to risk everything to make their fortunes. Set across one fateful evening, these four interconnected stories explore the deception and danger of the lavish casino city

– An honest salesman meets a career criminal as a dream vacation turns into the worst nightmare imaginable, in a story by Saladin Ahmed.

– Dreams and schemes collide when a deal over a priceless bottle of wine becomes a struggle for survival, as told by Mira Grant.

– Old habits die hard when a servant is forced into a mad struggle for power among Canto Bight’s elite, in a tale by Rae Carson

– A deadbeat gambler has one last chance to turn his luck around; all he has to do is survive one wild night, as told by John Jackson Miller.

In Canto Bight, one is free to revel in excess, untouched from the problems of a galaxy once again descending into chaos and war. Dreams can become reality, but the stakes have never been higher–for there is a darkness obscured by all the glamour and luxury.

“Derla settles into her ship’s chair like she is coming home–and in a very real way, she is. Canto Bight was only, is only, ever a port in the storm.”

Canto Bight is an anthology of four novellas which focuses on background characters from the gambling resort in The Last Jedi & their stories. That’s one of the (many) beautiful things about Star Wars. There are just.. so many characters.

In the film, Resistance members Finn & Rose venture to Canto Bight on a mission. The inclusion of the Canto Bight sequence has been divisive among fans, to say the least. Personally, I loved the themes that were handled within these scenes. They are such an integral part of the movie. At the core, masked in all the glitz of the capital city, the fundamental theme is hope. Sure, the mission doesn’t pan out. But underneath those failures, something powerful remains. The ability to grow from those losses & fight for what you believe in.. what you love.

“Arriving on the dark side of the world merely for the sake of this moment is a small indulgence. It wastes time, which is the only resource more limited than wine itself. But the time is hers to waste. Time that is never spent in any frivolous way will turn to vinegar even as wine does, as wasted as too much time spent heedlessly. Balance in all things.

She could never live here–the costs, in every sense, are simply too high–but there is a sweetness to the lie of Canto Bight that sings to her sommelier’s soul. It began, as most beautiful things do, with money, with ambition, and with deceit.”

To quote Rian Johnson, Canto Bight is “a playground, basically, for rich assholes.” It’s a coastal city on the desert planet of Cantonica that attracts the wealthy & the privileged. However, there is more than meets the eye. Canto Bight is corrupt as fuck. War profiteers, gangsters & gamblers inhabit the legendary city.

The four novellas within this collection work well together as one continuous world-building piece of the puzzle. Although I do not think each one stands as strongly on their own, this is still a decent assortment. Shocking no one, Mira Grant’s was the one I enjoyed most! Of the respected authors that are included (John Jackson Miller being one of my top favorite Star Wars authors of EVER), Saladin Ahmed is the only one that I hadn’t read anything by before. Although I do follow him on Twitter & I think he’s pretty amazing! I will for sure check out more of his work after this!

As I sit here listening to The Last Jedi soundtrack while I write this review, I can’t help but wish for even more stories surrounding the casino city of Canto Bight. There are certainly more to tell, especially down the road with the opportunity to expand on the story of the stable boy with a broom.

Hope. Always there is hope.

-Holly

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