Monday, April 30, 2012

Endnotes: Silya Shessaun

The following was originally published on the blog I kept at Now that the blog feature has been discontinued, I've re-edited these endnotes and moved them to this blog for posterity. These are the endnotes for my two contributions to the Star Wars mythology: a pair of databank entries written as part of the amazing and still-missed What's the Story feature.


Silya Shessaun was a Senator, originally appearing in Star Wars Chronicles: The Prequels and later in a deleted scene from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Had the scene remained, you would have met her in the funeral scene for Anakin Skywalker's star-crossed counterpart Padmé Amidala. Her name is a tuckerization of Lisa Shaunessy, the Lucasfilm publicity assistant who cameoed as her in the film.

I was at my in-laws' house, eating supper with my wife, and had somehow convinced them all to play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit Saga Edition with me (oh yeah, I smoked them). I took a break from the festivites to check to see if the latest round of What's the Story winners had been selected. My wife was looking over my shoulder as I checked...and then I saw my name at the bottom of Silya's entry. I sat there for long moments, elated and relieved.

"Though she was extended an invitation to the Delegation of 2,000, she declined. She felt that undermining the Supreme Chancellor during such trying times was tantamount to a Separatist act." (taken from the original Silya Shessaun databank entry, 2006)

With those words, I became a Star Wars "author" and Silya Shessaun's life took a dramatic turn.

My contribution to this character is comparatively small. To the best of my knowledge, Hyperspace member Twi'LekEntertainer did the bulk of the work, laying the groundwork and creating the heart and soul of Silya while fellow members ShadowCultist, Master Starkeiller, and I (writing as "HedecGa") got to add moments in the senator's life that shaped her fate.

Nevertheless, discovering that I had a hand in creating this character was a defining moment for me.

For my part of the entry, I wanted to show a Senator who, in her heart was prime Rebel Alliance material and who, in fact, had many good friends who had already joined, yet she was unable to for very real, ethical reasons. Was she right in standing by the Republic during hard times? Could she have made a difference from within, or was rebellion utterly necessary? One of my favorite exchanges in Episode III is when Padmé is confiding in Anakin that she wonders if they're fighting on the wrong side of the Clone Wars, and Anakin tells her that she's "starting to sound like a Separatist". I thought that was a really intriguing paradox and wanted to explore that in my small portion of Silya's story. Silya was faced with a tough ethical question with no easy answer.

Also, it always struck me as a bit unfair to assume that all good, noble, just senators joined the Delegation and formed the Rebellion and all who sided with Palpatine were crooked, conniving evil senators. The focus of my original submission for Silya was that she was good and noble but sided with Palpatine. Not because she liked the guy, but because she felt the Delegation wasn't the right way to end the war. I'm very happy that that aspect was selected for the final entry.

"Winning" Silya is a moment that still gives me chills. I am very thankful to God and the WTS judges for allowing me to be a small part in her life. At the time, I was fully willing to kick back and rest on my laurels, and had all but given up on ever contributing to that galaxy far, far away again. But little did I know that, in a few short months, I would see my dreams further realized.

Stay tuned for Part 2...

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