Rebuttal to a Requiem

Very recently, our own beloved Amanda Gayle wrote a lovely piece called “Requiem for a galaxy far, far away”, in which she decried the “death knell” of Star Wars.

So what has this lovely lass up in arms?  Are the new movies canceled?  Are they being set in modern-day Los Angeles?  Are they going to feature Wookiee porn scenes?

No, no, and hell, no.

It was announced that the Expanded Universe, that wondrous collection of books, video games, and comic books, that filled in the story before and after the original trilogy (and later, the prequel trilogy) is not being considered as part of the movie canon.

Pardon me while I yawn in boredom.

Look, I enjoyed the original trilogy very much, just like other kids who were born in the late 70’s and on.  It’s one of my favorite movie series.  (I never bothered to watch the prequels, because I have a thing against prequels.)  I can quote most of the lines with no problem.

I also don’t see the big deal.

I understand there’s an emotional attachment that people, including Amanda, have to the Expanded Universe.  Aside from “The Truce at Bakura” and the “Legacy” comic books featuring Cade Skywalker, I have not read any of the Expanded Universe stuff.  I really don’t know anything about it.  However, I do have an emotional attachment to certain comic book characters, and I sometimes have a problem when those characters get drastically altered.  *cough Electric Superman cough*  That’s the main reason I refuse to watch “Smallville”; I don’t like the changes they made to the story.

I just think that people, including Amanda, are going from “fandom” to “fanboy”.  (And I use “fanboy” as a derogatory term.)  In fact, I think her entire problem is that she’s too much of a Star Wars fanboy…err…fangirl.

Let’s go through her post, shall we?

“[C]ould have been the beginning of the end for Star Wars. The first part of this came with the announcement that Disney bought Lucasfilms from George Lucas which meant they now owned Star Wars! Within a week or so of them buying Lucasfilm, they started teasing ideas about an Episode 7-9 and possible character spin off movies. A lot of Star Wars fans cheered at this news but I myself was skeptical. You see, I’m not a big fan of the rat…errr mouse and some of their movies. I mean yes they’re cute and family friendly and done excellently but they have a habit of “Disneyizing” anything they touch. In other words, when Disney gets their paws on a story they have a habit of taking the source material and then making it cute.”

Oh, my.  The old “Disney makes everything stupidly cute” argument.  Remember back in 2009, when Disney shocked the world by buying Marvel Comics?  The internet exploded.

“There goes the Marvel cinematic universe!  We’re going to see them Disneyize it!”  I’m paraphrasing, but that was the reaction of fanboys/fangirls the world over.  People were in an uproar; “Iron Man” had come out the previous year, to universal acclaim, and “The Incredible Hulk” had also come out, to smaller acclaim, but still well-received.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe had been birthed, and now big, bad Disney was going to step in and ruin it.

So does anybody remember what happened?  Anybody?

That’s right: Disney stepped back and didn’t do a damn thing.  They let Marvel Studios make the movies.  No Disneyizing, no cutifying (is that even a word?), NOTHING.  We were gifted with a great series of movies.  (We could argue about the weakness of “Iron Man 2” and “Iron Man 3”, but that’s a different discussion.)  “Phase 1” of the MCU was completed with the release of “The Avengers”, which only became one of the biggest global sensations in history.

Still no Disneyizing in sight.

Simply put, and to steal a line from WWE, Disney does what is “best for business”.  They saw that Marvel had a good thing going on, both in the comics and the movies, and they just let it go.  What reason do we have to think that they won’t do the same with Episodes 7-9?  I haven’t seen one good reason to think that they’re going to “ruin” Star Wars.

Moving on.

The second nail was seen heading into the EU’s coffin the moment they announced J.J. Abrams was put into the directors position of the new movie.”

Ouch.

However he was just recently the director that was responsible for rebooting the Star Trek franchise…oh wait no never mind, it’s not a reboot it’s a retcon due to a time traveling spock and some time traveling romulans. Wait no no the history of the crew has been changed even before the major changes of the story take place so it’s a reboot again? Can you have a retconed reboot with time travel?”

It’s neither a reboot nor a retcon.  It’s an alternate timeline that does not contradict ANYTHING that came before.  The old series and movies still happened; they just happened in a different universe.  I don’t see what is so hard to understand about that.

This was done, in part, to bring in new fans to the fold.  My wife, for one, never really watched any of the original series stuff.  Not even the movies.  She just didn’t care.  These two movies, though, have brought her to the edge of her seat both times.  Sure, I had an idea of what would happen, having watched the originals, but she had no clue, and was on the roller-coaster cinematic experience of her life.  Both times, she has left the theater just gushing over the movies.

The stories in the new Trek movies have been solid.  Sure, there were weak points, but Star Wars had those, too.  (Hello, plot holes!  Leia has memories of her mother being kind but sad, but her mother died in childbirth; Kenobi doesn’t recognize the droids that he spent a lot of time with; Luke somehow completes his Jedi training in a matter of days/weeks; the Force doesn’t help Vader recognize his own daughter, etc.)  Trek tried to bring in new fans by making some changes to the characters.  They succeeded.  Next?

Well chances are you won’t see any Yuuzhan Vong or their prior influence. You may not even see characters like Mara Jade Skywalker, Jacen, Jaina or Anakin Solo, no Tahiri Veila and sorry guys no resurrection of Thrawn. For those fans that wanted to possibly see Star Wars Legacy, sorry but Darth Talon doesn’t exist in Cannon now and neither does the Lost Tribe of the Sith so no more Vestara Khai. I guess the good news is that Chewbacca will still be alive but if he snuffs it in the new films I can promise you that his death won’t be nearly as good as what was in the books.”

As Amanda herself noted, it has been said that they will still draw from the EU, so there’s a chance you’ll see Mara, Jacen, and the others.  And Chewie’s death won’t be nearly as good?  I’m sorry, but getting crushed by a moon while howling defiantly is just….lame.  Sure, he saved Anakin Solo (I had to look this up, because I’ve never read the story) at the cost of his own life.  Okay, it was heroic.  Still…howling at the falling moon?  Sigh.

We have 35 years worth of toys we bought, 35 years worth of books that now have nothing to do with the “real” Star Wars universe, 35 years worth or RP rules/history/characters/businesses that are just being tossed out, 35 years of Comic books that don’t mean a damned thing, 35 years of video games that now don’t count. But the new movie makers and such can pick and choose from the carcass of the old EU and create a bastardized version of what we knew and loved!”

Again, I understand this emotional attachment.  I get it.  It still seems like a fanboy reaction.  Let’s look at comic books for a moment.  I know Amanda will snarl at me about different mediums and interpretations of stories being different from Star Wars and its beloved continuity, but that’s okay.

In 1986, DC Comics had their “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, which rebooted their entire universe.  Some characters were not seen again, others had their histories redone in the new universe, and things we’d thought we’d known for decades were now erased.  DC kept some things and changed others, so they kind of picked and chose from the carcass of the old universe to create a bastardized version of what fans knew and loved.  Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, up until that stupidly horrible “Ultimatum” story arc, did basically the same thing: they picked and chose things from the “regular” universe to create a new, somewhat bastardized universe.

DC did it again recently with the New 52.  Some fans have hated it, while others have loved it.  (I fall into the second category.)  Again, some things were kept, others were changed.

My point is that these new universes, while having no direct connection to the Golden or Silver Age of comics aside from characters, have not thrown out those old eras and forced you to forget about them.  They’re still there; they can still be read and enjoyed.  The assorted movies that have been made don’t always have a lot in common with the comics, but that doesn’t mean I have to pick one or the other.

Personally, I think people with reactions like Amanda are ultimately hurting their own enjoyment.  They have already decided that they’re not going to like the new versions of their favorite stories, and are trying to find reasons to justify their dislike.  It’s okay to be “concerned” over the cinematic interpretation of a beloved story, but don’t just dismiss it as “I will go and see Episode 7 through 9 if only to see what they have done to butcher my most beloved fandom. However, I am holding little hope anymore that things will be done good.”  

It’s not healthy to go in with that kind of attitude.  You might end up costing yourself one hell of a fun ride.

1 thought on “Rebuttal to a Requiem

  1. I completely agree with this article. I have to admit that I have done the exact same thing – started with prejudiced notions and was completely sure I would hate a new adaptation – with many of my favorite stories. And I was wowed, dazzled and amazed many times over by what the team crew managed to do. Was it the same thing as the classics? No! Was it worse? No! It was a new view, a fresh one, a way to adapt the story to both old and new fans.

    Also, in terms of canon, although the movie might not take some things into consideration, ultimately it is the fans themselves who should decide what they see as canon and what they don’t. For example, Bioware has a several set elements it considers canon in its Dragon Age Universe. Does this stop anyone from considering the way their own stories ended are canon? No. Sure, if a movie will ever be made in relation to the games, these elements will come into play, but as it is now everyone has their own view about the world. Nothing is set in stone and nobody forces us to believe something if we do not want to.

    Ultimately, I think Star Wars 7 should be given the benefit of doubt. Sure, it might be a complete flop. But, at the same time, it might surprise people. I know that Star Trek Into Darkness made me want to watch the original series although I had never watched any Star Trek series or movie until then. Star Wars 7 could act as the same type of catalyst for new fans.

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