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General SF&F Chat > Rebooted, the Star Wars "Expanded Universe" is.

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Any fans of the Star Wars expanded universe novels here?

I confess I don't read Star Wars novels (or Star Trek novels or Halo novels or whatever.) I'm aware of them, but I just don't care for stories set in universes from other media. That's just me.

But I read this article today, and it got me wondering: Disney and Del Rey Announce New “Unified Canon” for Upcoming Star Wars Expanded Universe Novels

If I understand this correctly, the new Star Wars powers at Disney have decided to “repudiate" all the old Expanded Universe stories and push the reset button and start over with their upcoming new Star Wars movie(s).

It just seems to me that if I was invested in those existing books, I'd feel somehow... betrayed? I mean, the stories weren't real anyway, but now they're not "real", either? Am I overthinking it?

message 2: by Daran (last edited Apr 25, 2014 02:45PM) (new)

Daran | 73 comments This is probably the best decision that Disney can make, and I understand why they are doing it. That said, I grew up on the Star Wars books, and I do not like the new stuff as much. I think the movies are fine, but Timothy Zhan's Thrawn Trilogy books are great in a way the Lucas never really achieved. Beyond that, I think Stackpole got closer to the World War II in space vibe with the X-Wing series than Lucas ever did, and man did he try!

These books were coming out when I was in High school, when the movies were something remembered from childhood. My friends and I read the books, and thought this was how they were continuing the story. When the prequels came out, our chief disappointment was the lack of Expanded Universe content. That and the horrible editing, acting, etc.

Despite myself I get mad every time some executive or screen writers expresses their antipathy toward these books. To my mind they are simply saying the best of Star Wars story telling is not as important as immediate merchandising. I'm also annoyed that so many of the people tasked with writing the new movies don't want to take the time to read the books and get caught up where EU is. Does Lucasfilm not have a department tasked solely with fact checking that stuff?

While I get that the generation that grew up on the prequels is where the money is now, it does not diminish the sadness I feel that the Star Wars that grew up in the 20 years between the movies, My Star Wars, is now ignored. To, I think, the determent of the franchise.

message 3: by Randolph (new)

Randolph (us227381) | 13 comments Daran wrote: "This is probably the best decision that Disney can make, and I understand why they are doing it. That said, I grew up on the Star Wars books, and I do not like the new stuff as much. I think the ..."

Great analysis of the SW film tragedy.

message 4: by George (new)

George Hahn | 89 comments Oh great! And I just started "Planet of Twilight."

message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan (jonathan_1995) | 5 comments I don't consider it to be a problem. Even if the works of writers like Timothy Zahn, Drew Karpyshyn and the multitude of Star Wars EU writers are stripped of their canonicity, I don't think that the quality of the novels are in any way degraded.
I tend to not take the EU too seriously, and I've found that stressing over exact chronology and validity in Star Wars is really laborious.

message 6: by George (new)

George Hahn | 89 comments Kidding aside, I agree. There were always novels not really in the EU anyway: Crystal Star and the three Han Solo novels, for example. They're still just as entertaining. I'll probably get in trouble for this, but I don't really consider SW or ST serious science fiction for the most part. I love 'em, but I don't take them seriously.

message 7: by Daran (new)

Daran | 73 comments I think it was easier to ignore the EU in the prequels and Clone Wars stuff. When you start telling stories set after Return of the Jedi, then it becomes harder. I know what happens in the years immediately after Return of the Jedi, I read the books.

Disney is going to have to convince me that the Episode VII experience is not going to be me spending the entire movie wondering how much better it would be if Mara Jade were in it. As I've thought about this at odd moments today, I realize that the lack of the Mara Jade element may very well be reason I don't watch these movies. I don't need to pay money for cognitive dissonance, I can get that for free.

message 8: by George (new)

George Hahn | 89 comments If they did follow the books, though, I think it would be quite a while into things before Mara Jade appeared. Before her, there was Callista as a love interest for Luke. I could be wrong about the chronology, though. Mara wasn't a love interest at first.

message 9: by Daran (last edited Apr 25, 2014 06:46PM) (new)

Daran | 73 comments Callista was between meeting Mara in the Thrawn Trilogy and their romantic relationship, which started in Spector of the Past. The actual relationship mostly took place in the comics. It is worth mentioning that Lucas initially approved her as the love of Luke's life when Zhan pitched Lucas back in the early 90's. Bur since none of it was part of the story, it didn't really matter.

When you get down to it, the only authors who made changes to the main characters were Zhan, Stackpole, Anderson, and Crispin. Everyone else had to leave the characters just as they were at the start of the story. Which is how franchise fiction usually works. It's also why Star Trek books are always tedious and boring.

message 10: by Jonathan, Reader of the fantastic (new)

Jonathan Terrington (thewritestuff) | 525 comments It's not a complete restart. It's more about finding out which works should be considered part of the canon or not. Great as things like the 'Thrawn trilogy' are, they hold direct contradictions to what Lucas did in Episodes 1 - 3.

That said I like that they are weeding out a lot of the trashier 'fanfiction' style works in this universe and clearing out a lot of the contradicting storylines.

message 11: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas | 46 comments I could care less anything that contradicts the prequels. I do not like those films aside from Darth Maul and General Grievous. I also do not really care that Disney is shooting off from the installed EU as I've never read any of the EU books and comics, though I am interested in the Thrawn Trilogy.

The only EU anything I've experienced is Knights of the Old Republic (and the MMO but I chose to forget that). I would absolutely love to see that story turned into a film as Darth Revan is one of my favorite SW characters. He was my character.

message 12: by Daran (new)

Daran | 73 comments My opinion, supported by many people I've talked to over the years, is that in terms of character development and story, the Thrawn Trilogy is better than any of the movies, original trilogy included. Lucas built a great world, but then wrote a story which is essentially a Campbellian checklist. One made without any real idea of how such elements work together. The inclusion of the immaculate conception in Episode I, for example, changes Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader from a Faustian character as presented in the original movies into Pouty Jesus. The worst part is it is a completely unnecessary addition. But it's in the heroes journey, so it had to be included.

Compare that to Thrawn, a character who makes you actively root for the Empire, and I think it's pretty clear which is the better story.

message 13: by Michael (last edited May 01, 2014 07:01AM) (new)

Michael Casey | 44 comments I tried a couple of the Star Wars novels when they first started coming out, and they really disappointed me. Some of the recent ones have gotten glowing reviews, so I'm tempted to revisit them, but part of me is resisting.

The thing about sci-fi I love the most is originality. Sci-fi isn't like romance where the reader knows they can expect a happily ever after. It's not like a cozy mystery series where the reader falls in love with a detective, at least, it's not that for me. The thrill is that the author has created a unique universe. Plopping new characters into an old set of rules takes away a large part of the joy. It's the reason IMO that you find fewer series in sci-fi. (And, yes, I'm aware there are series out there like Scalzi's, which I enjoy.)

message 14: by infael (new)

infael | 65 comments Assuming the EU includes the New Jedi Order, Fate of the Jedi, Legacy of the Force and Lost Tribe, those have been by far and away the best SW books I've read. I also enjoyed Dawn of the Jedi, immensley.

I don't recall Revan being a Darth. I think he was a Jedi?

Disneyifying SW can't be a good thing, IMO. WIll wait and see what happens.

message 15: by Deeptanshu (last edited May 04, 2014 02:20AM) (new)

Deeptanshu | 120 comments infael wrote: "Assuming the EU includes the New Jedi Order, Fate of the Jedi, Legacy of the Force and Lost Tribe, those have been by far and away the best SW books I've read. I also enjoyed Dawn of the Jedi, imme..."

Revan was a jedi who became a sith lord and then later on was redeemed and became a jedi... again. He led a complicated life.
As for the EU becoming non canon I cant say that I am happy about it. I grew up reading those books after all, but having said that I can understand why they did it and if the new movies are sufficiently awesome I am quite willing to forgive and forget.

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