‘Star Wars: Aftermath’ Includes A Character Named After Balki Bartokamous

Star Wars: Aftermath may be revealing the fate of the galaxy after Return of the Jedi, but along the way, author Chuck Wendig included a nod to 80s sitcom character Balki Bartokamous, after using the series Perfect Strangers as an unlikely cover story.

For a long time, Wendig couldn’t discuss the fact that he was writing a canonical Star Wars sequel novel with anyone. Aftermath has been a highly anticipated property ever since it was announced (as it offers one of the first official looks into Disney’s new continuity for the Star Wars universe), and in order to keep his involvement quiet, Wendig resorted to joking on Twitter about penning a sequel to another pop-culture series.

“I kept lying about how I was writing this Perfect Stranger official, canonized novel that was coming out. People were like, what are you talking about?”

Airing on ABC from 1986-93, Perfect Strangers was a sitcom that focused on uptight Cousin Larry Appleton and his relationship with his naïve foreign sheepherder relative Balki Bartokamous. Though the show went off the air over 20 years ago, it provided Wendig the perfect cover, and in an interesting turnabout, the author actually slipped an homage to the series into the finished work.

“Balki’s in there. There’s a Viper droid named BALK1.”

Larry Appleton ve Balki Bartokomous Perfect Strangers 1986 Bunu hatırlıyorsan eğer korkma yaşlandık hacı :) pic.twitter.com/5M1Guibz9Z — erhan tuzkan (@erhantuzkan) August 23, 2015

Though Star Wars fans who came of age in the late 1980s and early 90s will no doubt find the reference entertaining, other fans of a galaxy far away will also find much to love about the novel. As Entertainment Weekly notes, Han Solo and Chewbacca pop up in the story, as does Dengar (a bounty hunter seen in The Empire Strikes Back), while a new character discovers Mandalorian armor in the desert of Tatooine. The larger story, however, focuses on the planet Akiva, where another familiar character from the original Star Wars trilogy discovers remnants of the Empire’s forces regrouping after the Battle of Endor.

Aftermath represents the first major look at Disney’s new Star Wars canon post-Return of the Jedi. In the 1990s, a multitude of authors fleshed out the decades following the original Star Wars trilogy, but their work has now been set aside in favor of a new continuity, established in the wake of Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, as IGN points out. While Aftermath gives Star Wars fans their first hints of what to expect when The Force Awakens is released later this year, eagle-eyed readers will no doubt appreciate the reference to one of the 1980s most beloved characters.

[Image: Lucasfilm/ Del Rey via IGN]