This week Lucasfilm has made an announcement that to me seems to be the Death Knell of one of the greatest Science Fiction Saga’s ever. There are only a handful of universes that have been around for as long as I have been reading. Of those Universes there was Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, and Star Trek all three of which I have enjoyed over the years. However D&D and Star Trek have had some problems over the years. D&D has a habit of changing things in the games which then gets changed in the novels and thus continuity in some things gets screwed up. However, there have been some great Story Lines that have survived the ages and have really made a huge impact. Drizzt Do’urden was the backbone of creating a great land that stayed pretty true to itself until just recently when once more the game changed and thus changes had to be made in stories. DragonLance was headed by the Twins and their companions and spear-headed a great world of stories. Star Trek while always entertaining is also rife with inconsistencies. Movies contradict the series, new series contradict the old series, the books contradict everything from the movies and series. Star trek has always failed on continuity.
This brings us to the Star Wars Expanded Universe. One of the greatest things about the Star Wars EU is that for almost as long as I have been alive people have been putting out new stories about the cast of the original trilogy. What makes this better than Star trek though is that Star Wars has a huge staff at Lucasfilm that finds the authors and asks them to write a Star Wars story. They then get some guidelines for the story and have an entire team to consult with to make sure they don’t contradict any other Star Wars publications. However, they don’t just try to keep things consistent through the books. This level of consistency runs through all comic books, it runs through all books, it runs through all video games and tv/film specials. These books have had great care put into them to make one huge and coherent Universe that doesn’t contradict anything else in the Universe. They have books that delve into the future of the characters that keeps them about the age they would be in real life if the stories were taking place this far along from the movies. They also have books, games and such that take place thousands of years in the past exploring how the Sith got to be how they are and how the Jedi have evolved. Some of these extremely “old” stories of the Old Republic directly effect the present day Star Wars EU. One of the interesting things was with the EU you had some Star Wars the Old Republic books and material before the prequels but then the prequels come out and the EU now expands to fill in the spaces between the movies and to do some lead up to the prequels and once again they stay true to everything going on in the cinematic universe.
We now come to the present day and not too long ago there was a major announcement from Lucasfilm and George Lucas that I think could 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. So many people know the Disney versions of Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella yet if they read the original stories they would be amazed at the differences. Not to mention the blatant rip offs of certain stories (Toy Story is simply a retelling of the muppets Christmas special “The Christmas Toy”). So when I heard that Disney now owned Star Wars I had a feeling that it may go the same way. From some of the things I have been hearing about Star Wars Rebels and a certain Mandalorian character in it this seems to have already started.
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. Now don’t get me wrong I love some of JJ’s stuff. Alias was awesome and what I have seen of Lost so far seems great. 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? Anyway while Star Trek was visually stunning in my mind the story line sucked and ruined the already crumbling continuity of an existing saga. So now J.J. Abrams is in command and I can’t help but wonder can he kill the continuity of Star Wars as readily and easily as he did Star Trek. Well with the latest help from Lucasfilm he sure can.
The final nail in the proverbial coffin comes from LucasFilm themselves just this past week! This was posted to StarWars.com “While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the EU consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, George Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU. In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, ‘Star Wars’ Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-‘Return of the Jedi’ Expanded Universe.” They also released this video which to me is disturbing because they act like their new Story Group was never around before, yet they always did have a group to keep things in line.
So what does this mean for Episodes 7 through 9? 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.
So, 35 years of new material is being tossed out into the trash. People try to console me by pointing out that they say not everything will be discarded. Here’s the thing though, I have been spending money on Star Wars for as long as I have been able to spend money! So have a lot of other people. 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! The SW Universe is so beloved you have groups of people dressing as characters from the movies in MOVIE REALISTIC outfits. These people are so well loved that they were honored by having their group written into the EU as Darth Vader’s personal Stormtrooper elite unite. Guess what? That’s post RotJ so sorry 501st legion after all you have done for charity in the name of the SW universe you just might not exist to them anymore!
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. For me now and forever the true cannon Star Wars universe was written by greats such as Timothy Zahn, Aaron Allston, James Luceno, R.A. Salvator, Troy Denning, Karen Traviss, Drew Karpyshyn and Michael A Stackpole just to name a few.
Images courtesy of:
Welcome to the club- Comicsbeat.com
Starwars era symbols- Infothread.org
All Other Images Made by Amanda Gayle