Big Changes To Expanded Universe: Open Thread

Lucasfilm and Del Rey dropped a big bomb today on the world of apocryphal books, comics, and games known as the expanded universe, then announced four new books.

Are you thrilled? Sad? Don’t care either way? Share your thoughts!

Personally I’ve long since regarded the expanded universe as paid fan fiction and this move was inevitable since the new films were announced. Oh well.

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72 Responses to “Big Changes To Expanded Universe: Open Thread”

  1. Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

    Old Republic and stuff that is set WAAAY in the past will most likely remain untouched for now given how far removed it is from the main timeline and isn’t connected except in setting of the events of the movies. Darth Bane has been shown to be canon and the creator of the Rule of Two in Clone Wars so up to him will largely remain untouched, possibly for another 15-20 years or more.

    As for around the films era… I will only be furious if Mara Jade is removed. She to me IS the EU and without her going forward, it will seem a little more than incomplete. Kyle Katarn, Kyp Durron, Jacen, Jaina, and Ben would be nice, but they are undermined and useless without the EU’s most popular creation on every level.

    So Mara NEEDS to stay, or I go. And that hurts me as a long-time Star Wars fan.

    • Keith Palmer Says:

      Reading all the stuff said online in the latter half of the 1990s about how Mara Jade had to be Luke’s destined soul mate from the start as opposed to assorted other, apparently more clearly stated, romantic interests in other novels just sort of made me think I wasn’t getting it (and to this date I’m still not very good at picking up on the subtle details of interaction others swear tie into their “shipping” theories). When that tied into insisting Timothy Zahn completely “got it” and all the other Star Wars novels were inferior to the extent that they tried not to follow his lead, though, that did make me start to think there were things about them too that didn’t quite feel right to me. Then, the novels finally started “following his lead,” but right at that point I had drawn back from Star Wars altogether, afraid that experiencing it again in any capacity would shatter my tender un-offended feelings towards The Phantom Menace, and when the novels started being held up as “prequel antidotes” that was just one more reason why that was it for me when it came to Star Wars prose fiction…

      After all of that, though, when I saw rumours reported about Peter Mayhew playing Chewbacca I did wonder in an amused way how many would conclude this could also annul Mara Jade’s death in one of the later novels. If Luke has a wife in these new movies with a significant name and an implied past (and she doesn’t look ridiculously well-preserved compared to Carrie Fisher), that in itself wouldn’t bother me.

      • Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

        well what IS confirmed is that Episode VII takes place in 34ABY, which by old EU terms is just before the Swarm War. At that point Mara would’ve been alive at any rate anyways. But fans are going to know who she is supposed to be if she goes by any other name and the people running Lucasfilm are as passionate about Star Wars as we are.

        Look at Aayla Secura and Quinlan Vos. They were used in the films AND TCW with their names in tact. Labyrinth of Evil was even mentioned in Episode III by Obi-Wan. I think the creators would look and go “well if we use Mara Jade but not call her Mara Jade, fans are going to know it’s still Mara Jade…” And they would look pretty stupid. As they’ve stated, they fully intend to mine all the good bits of the EU and bring them to the new canon. Well Mara Jade isn’t the most popular EU character apart from Revan and Kyle Katarn without a very good reason to be there.

        Fans are more willing to forgive continuity and storyline changes if the CHARACTERS remain and go off in this new direction. Mara’s story, thankfully, is fairly simple to explain:

        “She’s a former Imperial Assassin a la Asaaj Ventress. After Palpatine dies, she becomes a Smuggler and eventually meets Luke Skywalker and becomes a Jedi… and his wife.”

        That was her backstory in about 2 sentences. By keeping that core element of her character in tact, much like with comics, it’s Mara Jade. The rest can go ape shit. People just want their characters to be nodded to and appear, they don’t care much about the storylines they were in. We are a very character driven fandom and that’s what people want to play with: more toys in the toybox.

    • maychild Says:

      I would be THRILLED if Mara was removed. I loathe her and everything she represents.

      • Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

        Do you even know what she represents? What her characterization is? Or you just “oooh, just a sexy female character mary sue rawr bunnies, fuuuuuuuu.”

        Matt, read the Rules of the House. No insulting other posters.

      • maychild Says:

        Oh my dear boy. Do NOT talk to me as if I know nothing about that vile character.

    • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

      There is just no way Mara fits in with what we learned about the Jedi in the prequels. Since the Jedi are forbidden to have emotional relationships with their lovers then there is no way Mara can exist.

      It made sense to give Luke a serious girlfriend back in the 1990s before the continuity of the prequels was established.

      The point of no serious emotional relationships was such an important plot element of the prequels that there is no way they could ignore that in the sequels.

      There is no way Luke would do anything that he thought might lead him to the dark side. That is why Luke will still be a swinging bachelor in his old age.

      If there are any Skywalker children, then they will be Leia’s.

      • Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

        and the other major plotpoint was the absurdity of the no attachment policy which in Episode VI, Luke threw out in order to save his father. He used his attachment as his son as the means to redeem Anakin Skywalker, going against what Obi-Wan, Yoda, even the Emperor, wanted. In the pre-established timeline, that is also how he garnered Mara’s respect and eventual love as well. It’s not too much of a stretch given what was established, who is part of the story group now (mostly EU people might I add) and her popularity as a character with the fanbase.

        I agree that Jacen and Jaina will be part of this, but it is established to be a new trio. So having Ben be part of it isn’t a stretch either. And it would be a signal TO the fans of this pre-established timeline that it will be okay. In a lot of ways, Mara IS the EU. Look at any tweet when someone tags the EU on twitter alone and it always pops up #MaraJade when in reference to the EU.

        And to me, the EU, and by proxy Mara Jade as a character is what kept Star Wars alive for me AS a fan after Episode 3 had come and gone, the wait between the films as well, and even during the Clone Wars. And her origin and characterization isn’t much of a leap given what we ARE going to be seeing in Rebels.

      • Andromakhe (@KentressCrazy) Says:

        Actually, I would argue that “no attachment” runs through the entire saga. That is, if you define attachment as no possession/no fear of loss. It’s a real pet peeve of mine when people say the Jedi were against attachment as though they meant for people to not feel love or joy or affection. It was Anakin’s attachment that got him into trouble, Luke’s lack of attachment to his own life and willingness to risk death rather than become a vessel for the Dark Side that called to the remnant of Anakin still alive in Vader. Perhaps it reminded him of Padme. I don’t know.

        I don’t think no attachment is a ridiculous policy. I think it’s a smart one. Kind of like enjoying people’s company and not taking them for granted, but being mindful of inevitable change.

        As for Luke having a wife and children, I’m not sure it’s out of the question. Yes, Yoda and Obi-Wan didn’t have them, and Luke would take that very seriously. But at the same time, there was his dad. Granted, what happened to Anakin would make him wary, but I could also see Anakin and Obi-Wan convincing him that he would not fall to the Dark Side if he lost his family. I think it could go either way.

    • maychild Says:

      Mara goes. It’s official. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Really? Mara’s Tim Zahn’s creation, not George Lucas’s. You’ve got to ask yourself what are you really a fan of if that’s how you see things.

  2. M. Marshall Says:

    I know they’re not cannon but in light of what Disney did to the Clone Wars and prequel related merchandise, this can’t be good. I have to write more about it on Tumblr.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Well if it’s any consolation, the announcement specifically said that the prequels and TCW are just as cannon as Rebels, the OT, and the ST. Not trying to defend Disney’s management of Star Wars, but just something I thought I should mention.

      • M. Marshall Says:

        Well if they actually did consider The Clone Wars to be cannon, then why did they abruptly cancel it? Why don’t we see more prequel-related merchandise at the Disney Store?

      • Tarrlok Says:

        Disney may not have been the most appreciative of TCW, perhaps just seeing it as “that prequel cartoon”, until it won an Emmy award and then became the most viewed show on Netflix USA. It’s hard to declare something like that non-canon right after that.

        Something I wonder about is the placement of the Clone Wars microseries (2003-2005) in the new One Nation Canon. It was a huge influence on TCW from the very beginning, with various designs and even whole characters (eg. Asajj Ventress) originating in it. It even fits well with TCW’s chronology. I see no reason why it can’t co-exist with the rest of the new unified canon.

      • Eddie Says:

        I’m no defender or fan of Disney at ALL, I don’t trust them one bit (I don’t know why any mega-conglomerate deserves anybody’s trust), and I regard them at best as the least of all evils that could be controlling Star Wars, but I think their cancellation of TCW and de-emphasis of Prequel stuff is all about shifting focus to a closer/more relevant-to-the-ST point on the timeline, and doesn’t affect the status of the PT or TCW as canon. They’ll exploit the side effect of having the OT back front and center for sure, and will ride that horse as far as they possibly can…but I think that even if LFL was still independent/Lucas-controlled and was launching into the ST era, they would do basically the same thing.

        When it really comes down to it, it’s probably for the best that Disney stays away from the PT/TCW for now, for a couple of reasons. First, because if they’re ignoring that era, some dip**** execs won’t be tempted to muck around and start retconning things within it. Second, and I don’t think this will be a popular opinion, but I feel that the long-term legacy and appreciation of the Prequel Era will only be strengthened if it has its own version of the “Dark Times” that the Original Trilogy went through from the mid-80’s to the early-90’s. Not only because “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, but when all the people who were little kids in the 2000’s hit their late teens or early twenties, they’ll do what every generation seems to do, and start looking back to whatever they loved in their childhoods. There will also likely be a “rebellious” element to it, as they’ll be reacting to both an older generation mainly into the OT, and a younger generation raised on the ST. Whether Disney realizes it or not, making the PT/TCW into “forbidden fruit” will ultimately make it more alluring.

        Interesting point. One misgiving I have about continuing the movies is that while Eps IV-VI got to have their validation party, the prequels never did. I’m just concerned it either will never happen or it won’t happen within my lifetime. Or Lucas’s for that matter. And that’s darn depressing.

      • discoewok Says:

        Ditto exactly on what Eddie said. Well put.

      • Eddie Says:

        Thanks, DiscoEwok! And LP, I think it’ll happen…who knows, I feel like no matter how Ep.7 and beyond turn out, that same brand of curdled geekā„¢ that’s spent the past 15 years(!) screaming about the PT is going to have brand new targets, allowing the PT to stand on its own and just kind of “breathe” for the first time. I’m not naive enough to think that those types will suddenly have a change of heart or grow up; it’s more that like the jackals they are, they’ll just move over to the fresher carcass. ;)

  3. Rednax Says:

    It’s certainly a bold move. The fandom is going crazy! I don’t really care that much, but I am a little disappointed: the fans invested years worth of time into it. I would think they’d be a bit more sympathetic. I mean, it’s certainly their right, but it’s still a strange move.

  4. Rednax Says:

    It’s not unexpected, but it still makes me a bit mad. Respectfully mad, but still mad.

  5. Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

    While I still feel trepidation over the existence of the story team, this isn’t a bad move at all.

  6. peacetrainjedi Says:

    Even though this announcement was supposedly the “big bomb” – it really wasn’t. We all knew this was coming – ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm. I’m just a bit perplexed as to why Disney didn’t make this announcement sooner. I’m thinking this whole “story group” was just publicity to appease the fans who would otherwise be upset if Disney merely stated “Okay let’s start over! Back to formula…”

    I personally love the EU and the creative works it has spawned. Was every story a gem? That would have been impossible, as every long-running book series/TV show has proven time and time again. Since I love history and studying it is my specialty, the idea of a unified galactic history spanning over 35,000 years is massively appealing to me. The concept of picking up a book, comic, game, etc. and knowing it was all part of a one UNITED tapestry was the big appeal of the Expanded Universe. The fact that George let people play in his sandbox was a genius move – and to this day I can’t help but smile uncontrollably when I see “A Very Special Thanks – George Lucas” at the end credits of every single Star Wars video game and in quite a few of the novels and comics as well.

    The fact that Lucas himself was a fan of the EU, shown by the inclusion of – Quinlan, Aayla, Asajj, etc….only legitimizes it in my eyes as more than just “fan fiction.” Stories like KotOR, the Darth Bane novels, the Republic comics, Jude Watson’s brilliant Jedi Quest series, and the more recent Legacy will always be favorites of mine. Although it sounds a bit corny, labeling such past stories as “Legends” is a good move going forward as it means these stories will not just be shunned.

    Although I am understandably sad to see the unified Star Wars universe as I know it go by the wayside, I look forward with eager anticipation to delving into the new stories that galaxy far, far away will offer, on screen, in a book, comic, or game. I also would be happy to see inclusion of EU characters (a la Aayla in Episode II) in the upcoming films. History gets rewritten all the time and this is just another example of it. I can accept that and can smile at the hard work that was put into these stories over the years. The Star Wars EU isn’t going anywhere – it’s just turning another page.

    • Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

      for the most part, I firmly believe this as well, but to be only ONE character mattered to me and to me she defined the EU. Actually the more I think about it she was the thing that made Star Wars for me once the movies began to fade out of the collective conscience in a way the video games didn’t.

      Mara Jade Skywalker.

      She stays, and to me it legitimizes their claims to make one unified continuity and understandably so:

      She’s the most popular EU character and every time people make Star Wars countdowns, she’s always the only character to make the top 20, while the other 2 popular EU characters, Revan and Kyle Katarn, rank around the Top 50.

      I think, because this is being created as an immediate response to Episode VII, get Mara, they will accept the whole of what is to come, because it’s now known WHEN the story happens (34 ABY) and the retcons because what do they care? It’s their favourite characters being brought to a new medium and a new generation.

      • maychild Says:

        There is no Mara Jade. I will NEVER consider her a Skywalker. She was named 20th on ONE list of the 20 most popular SW characters, in 1998.

      • Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

        bud, look again. She was named to IGN’s Top 100 Star Wars characters in 2012, and frequents the “who should be in Episode VII” lists typically atop the list. Grow up.

      • maychild Says:

        I’m in awe of your polls. IGN’s Top 100 and vaguely referred to lists, the origins of which you don’t bother to state.

        [low voice silky with menace] You have clearly not been exposed to the length, breadth and width of my hatred for that character. If it sounds like I am warning you, it is because I am. [/low voice silky with menace]

      • Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

        Whose the child now? The guy making a half-baked threat? Over the internet? You are a sad strange little man… And you have my pity. Farewell!

      • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

        I’m actually curious why the two of you love/hate Mara so much. I like the idea of her as a character, but have seen nothing in the way of execution except for a couple of Tales one-shots, so I’d like to know what makes her so indispensable/objectionable.

      • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

        Oh, and civilly, please.

      • maychild Says:

        “Whose the child now”? I think you meant to say “Who’s the child now?” Anyway, I don’t recall calling you a child, though you certainly act like one…a child who has a crush on a ridiculously endowed comic book character and is angry to see her written out of a storyline.

        And I’m not male.

        Feel sorry for me all you want, I’ll happily watch the back end of you as you stomp off in a huff because your pweshus Mawa has been taken away.

        Everyone needs to knock this off. If you can’t act like grownups here, I’m going to lock comments and will probably scrub some of what’s posted here later. Not everybody likes Mara or the EU and some people love both. It shouldn’t be hard to be respectful about others’ opinions. We’re here because of the crappy way Star Wars fandom treats US. Don’t bring the disease here.

  7. Bob Clark Says:

    I don’t really care that much about the canonicity of the EU, because frankly I don’t think anybody outside of the fanboy enclave really cares about it, either. Sure, there’s some fun bits here and there, but “paid fan-fiction” is the perfect description. The only canon I recognize is the stuff that originated from George Lucas himself, and really that means the current 6 films, “The Clone Wars” and whatever backstory conversations he had with select novel writers. Everything else is just heresay.

    At any rate, I would really like to doubt that much or any of the major EU stuff would be included in these new films. There’s just too much backstory fluff that would be distracting after a while. I’m reminded of the disjointed feeling I had watching “Crystal Skull” in the theater, realizing that there’s something like a twenty year stretch between that and “The Last Crusade” where Indy joined the Allied effort in WWII in Europe, spied on the Russians and wound up being forced by Men in Black to consult on the wreckage of the Roswell UFO crash site.

    Each and every one of those tidbits was a massive red flag that made me want to stop the movie so it could explain itself. Hell, I liked the film, but it’s a little distracting to have a backstory that overshadows the actual story you’re supposed to be watching. Wouldn’t it be just as disorienting for new viewers to come into Episode VII and find out that there’s thirty years’ worth of nonsense with some blue-skinned guy, clones of Palpatine and Leia’s angsty kids, to say nothing of Luke being married? Do you really think it’s a good idea for a major character like Luke’s wife to be defined only through her past? Movies are all about “show, don’t tell”, and including the EU means that there can only be a whole poodoo-load of unnecessary exposition. It would be one thing if we were talking about long distant events or minor character histories, but for the most part, if somebody’s going to be a protagonist, their story had better be in the here and now.

    • Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

      Oh and I’m sure the other Star Wars films didn’t reference past events that we have no idea wtf most people are talking about and influencing the now…

      Oh wait. Yes they did.

      And I’m sure that NOOTHING from the Expanded Universe isn’t worth merit like Aayla Secura, Quinlan Vos, or the Nightsisters and DID NOT appear at all in the films or other media because they were so bad.

      Oh wait, yes they did… A lot in fact…

      Fans who know the characters like Mara, Jacen, and Jaina will recognize the backstories and their personalities and events going on in the now inform the new audience what is going on in the now.

      Star Wars was, and is, based on the 40s serials where if you missed a chapter, they’re going to reference events to it and “wait, when did this happen?” “Oh that was back in Episode II. Where were you?”

      Same rule applies to whatever they decide to mine from the EU moving forward. “Mara’s a former Imperial Assassin? When did this happen?” “Read the books.” “When did Anakin get that scar on his eye in Episode III?” “Read the books.” “What happened on Cato Nemoidea that Obi-Wan mentioned?” “Read the books.”

      There is already a precedent of this happening with the other 6 films. ALL 6 films. Nobody is going to worry so much if they meet these new characters with complete backstories because technically speaking EVERY character in Star Wars had an established backstory and for 2+ decades NOBODY knew where Obi-Wan and Anakin met, or how they came to be. So stop thinking this is something new and “distracting” when they’ve been doing this already before, and will continue to do it well after we’re dead and gone.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        The difference is that after 2+ decades, we eventually DID see how Obi-Wan and Anakin met. We had three films to see how their friendship soured and they became enemies. Nobody had to “read the books” to connect the dots there.

        The other difference is that even when EU material found its way into the films or TCW, it was relatively minor stuff– the name of a planet, or some background characters given more time on television than they ever did on celluloid. You can afford to bring in some of the established continuity there, as long as you do it in a way that new viewers don’t feel like they have to do homework to catch up.

        That simply wouldn’t work with major characters and their life events. You can’t simply say to mainstream moviegoers “Oh yeah, Luke has a wife now. And she used to be a bad guy, or something. Want to see how they met? Well too bad, that happened a decade or two ago back in some books, so you’d better read those if you want to really get what’s going on here”.

        The EU has to be off the table if SW is to remain user-friendly to more than just the super-fanatics.

      • Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

        “They won’t accept major characters and their life events.”

        It’s been 35 years for crying out loud. People will accept that he got married and had kids, it’s been 35 years. They accepted it pretty well in Tron: Legacy, which was basically Star Wars in its own right.

        I can sum up Mara’s entire backstory in 2 sentences:

        “Former Imperial Assassin turned Smuggler turned Jedi Master who cultivated a friendship and later married Luke Skywalker.” Oh shit sorry, ONE SENTENCE.

        That one sentence carries a lot of weight for story potential as much as Han being a Smuggler who “Made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs” or Lando “going waaaay back” with Han Solo. So don’t give me that steaming pile of BS that is “it has to be user-friendly.” When Star Wars was never really user friendly, you just sort of ran with it the first time viewing and then went back in VHS/DVD to get all those little in roads.

        So please, don’t give me that, that is the most pitiful defense I’ve ever seen. Yes there is a lot of EU material, yes there are a TON of inconsistencies, but when you can sum up an entire character’s backstory in ONE SENTENCE and the fact it’s been 35 YEARS since Return of the Jedi, both in real time AND in the story itself, they’re going to buy that somewhere down the road Luke found a hot chick and got busy with her.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        First, there’s all kinds of huge red flags that are raised in that one sentence that would require a lot more than just a cursory explanation for viewers. You can’t just casually toss out that Luke’s married to a former Imperial Assassin. It’s the sort of thing that you can accept if you know the characters well enough from the past, but as an introduction it’s kind of abrupt and awkward. Again, it’s the risk of having a backstory that’s way more interesting than the story you’re telling– odds are viewers would rather SEE Luke meeting this Imperial Assassin chick and watch them go through their love story, not just hear about it breezed over as exposition. Maybe it would work if you got Dave Filoni or whoever to do an animated adaptation of the necessary EU material, but even then, it would still be mighty weird to tell some of the most important parts of these characters’ lives in an animated form, and then go into live action. The same would be true if you tried to shoehorn Ashoka into the new films, somehow– yeah, it’d please fans, and thanks to TCW it wouldn’t be entirely without backing, but it would still be really weird and probably unnecessary.

        Second, if the best we can hope for from Disney is the “Star Wars” equivalent of “Tron Legacy”, then this is going to be the shortest franchise reboot of all time…

      • Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

        First off, continuity is determined by a story group despite who claims to be “writing” the script. Non-Issue. Second, if Mara shows up in Rebels, that’s your problem solved on how to explain Mara Jade’s beginnings and introduce her to a larger audience than just the EU (ratings average in the MILLIONS might I add,) and that only takes ONE LINE of lip-service along the lines of them discussing the Imperial’s plans and Mara going “well they would do this,” “Oh, I forgot you use to be one… How did you end up with him?” “Sometimes I wonder…” BOOM! Problem solved. There’s history, we know some of it, but it’s not pertinent to the story in the now. What’s that? Oh right, JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHER STAR WARS STORIES THAT HAVE COME BEFORE.

        Second, you don’t think Han being a Smuggler working for Jabba the Hutt, a notorious crime gangster who has a price on his head, yet the characters went with them anyways?

        You don’t think back when Episode IV came out originally that people raised red flags when Obi-Wan told Luke about Vader’s history? If you want to play it safe, go watch Mickey Mouse or Marvel’s Avengers flicks. Star Wars was NEVER without risks, EVER, and yet it averages 150 million dollars PER YEAR, more than that during a movie year.

        You need to stop thinking that casual fans are that incredibly rock stupid, or that kids are rock stupid. You don’t need to insult their intelligence by starting with every character you see as a blank slate to start. If anything, the alluring mysteries deepen and enrich the experience. “oooh so some of these events might influence them now. Wonder what happened, I want to know.”

        So I firmly re-state the obvious: When I can sum up an entire character’s backstory in one sentence, especially during such a time when there’s other media for the character to be introduced to more fans, there is plenty of opportunity unlike ever before,especially when the past experiences still to this day inform the future.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        Again, expecting casual fans to fill out the backstory of a supposedly important character with a mere animated cameo and piles of books is just going to be off-putting. The EU stuff is fine for fans who apparently need to eat, sleep and breathe this stuff without reprieve, but to everyone else it’s just tie-in merchandising, and to expect people to keep up with it is just asking too much.

        Think of how so many viewers didn’t really understand the “Matrix” sequels, only to find out they were supposed to watch the “Animatrix” shorts, read the comics and play the game to fill in the gaps. Or how “Southland Tales” didn’t make any goddamn sense at all until you read the comic-book prequel. Films need to be stand-alone for mainstream viewers to really embrace, without putting so much exposition into books and stuff that nobody except the die-hards are going to read. It’s why so many people skip reading a book a movie’s based on when a film comes out– nobody wants to do homework to enjoy the new blockbuster.

        Besides, this sort of thing has already been a problem in “Star Wars”, anyway. The whole Syfo-Dias story really should’ve been cleared up in the films themselves, and not simply dropped into the books or a belated sorta-explanation in TCW. And that’s just a small bit of a mystery that didn’t quite make sense– it would be exponentially more alienating to include a character whose presence raises all kinds of questions that can’t be answered without slowing down the story. Han’s a bad example because at least his position as a smuggler could be shown to us in present tense– we don’t need to hear anybody be told that he’s a smuggler, we just need to see him doing smuggling right now. All of Mara’s actions are way in the past, though– unless you stop the movie to tell the audience that she used to be an assassin and whatnot, all she’s going to be to viewers is Luke’s middle-aged wifey. And I really don’t think that’s worth it, just for a triffling amount of fanservice.

      • maychild Says:

        — Fans who know the characters like Mara, Jacen, and Jaina will recognize the backstories and their personalities and events going on in the now inform the new audience what is going on in the now. —

        All 20 of their fans. Jacen, Jaina and the Mara skank are not known outside of a fraction of SW fans. Mara had her peak in popularity, and it wasn’t much of a peak — Admiral Piett ranked far above her in the Popular Characters poll — in 1998.

      • buick runner Says:

        I agree with most of Bob’s throughts except about the Syfo-Dias story. AOTC made it pretty clear that the Sith used a recently dead Jedi’s name as a cover to order the clone army for the Republic. I don’t care how the EU tries to spin the Syfo-Dias story, but in the films his name is simply used by the Sith. The film implies it was Dooku who really ordered the clone army under Syfo-Dias’ name. It was clearly Dooku who tampered with the Jedi’s maps before he left the order and it was him who recruited Jango to be the Stormtrooper template. Not some lame story about Syfo-Dias foreseeing the Republic needing a clone army and the Sith just finding out and hijacking it. That story really weakens the threat of the Sith even.

        But this shows what I really dislike about the EU, it often tried to hijack the Star Wars story from Lucas by changing plot points often in bizarre and convoluted ways not remotely suggested or implied by the films.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        I actually agree that AOTC makes it clear enough what’s really happened with the whole Syfo-Dias thing, it’s just that it’s done a little too subtly for a mainstream film, and understandably created some confusion. I mean hell, even Palpatine = Sidious wasn’t clear to non-fans from the start (not that it was meant to be). As such, I like how the TCW arc only really reiterates the stuff from the film, and lets the Jedi become aware of things the audience already knows. But it was still a little weird how it was this set of loose threads in the films, even if that’s how it was intended.

        Anyway. At least it wasn’t as bad as what you had with the Matrix films, where the backstory of the man/machine war and its invaluable additions was only given in “The Second Rennaisance” short in “The Animatrix”, thus muddying up the story for mainstream audiences even further. I like the films, but that was still something of an unforced error.

      • buick runner Says:

        A New Hope made a mistake like the Matrix did. Even through the film never outright states Stormtroopers are clones (through there are a few hints), an early 1978 Lucasfilm sourcebook states they are clones. The book even states how they are grown and trained which closely matched what we would see in Attack of the Clones. But then the early Marvel comics had them as recruits and resulting in the confusion which exists to this day (IMO, Stormtroopers are clones, but it’s just my opinion). The EU does contradict with itself and with the films at times Either way it’s bad for a film to rely on tie in stuff to explain it’s plot points. That is why the new films should just reboot what happens after Return of the Jedi so the manstream audience and mainstream fans of the films don’t have to research decades worth of EU to understand the next film. It would be box office poison otherwise.

  8. Eddie Says:

    From every account I’ve read over the past 15 years, things like the inclusion of Aayla Secura are down to Lucas merely seeing her on the cover of a comic book and digging her look; it wasn’t the result of him deeply poring over the material. He wasn’t like, “Oh damn, I love the dynamic between Quinlan Vos and his apprentice! AWESOME work, Ostrander and Duursema!”, he was like, “this blue mid-riff-baring space chick will look pretty striking on film.” I’ve always laughed over the years when, in interviews, Lucas has casually referred to something from the EU as an idea “from publishing”, as if he’s a Walmart manager referring to something from the housewares department. I’m not saying he/LFL didn’t appreciate the ancillary value of the EU as an idea farm, and the vast number of characters/stories within it was surely a nice pot-sweetener in the sale to Disney, but the primary purpose of it, as much as some of us might love huge swaths of it, was to sell merchandise in the form of books and comic books…and those merchandise sales were necessary to help finance the film-making operation, which was always the most important thing to George Lucas.

    As far as the need for the new films to be “user-friendly” going forward, that’s truly the case–that’s why this whole EU realignment is taking place. Disney didn’t pay $4bil USD to tell mass audiences, “Don’t understand this film? Well, read the books!!” These new films aren’t fan service for a small but die-hard group of readers who want to see their favorite characters; they’re a huge global financial venture. If “read the books to understand our movies!” doesn’t fly in the West, and it doesn’t, it absolutely isn’t going to translate to the new biggest fish: the foreign film market. Disney wants and NEEDS Star Wars to be massive in China, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, etc. Look at the new Captain America movie; as of today, it’s made $614mil USD worldwide, and only $208mil of that is domestic (US)! If Ep.7 makes any less than $1bil USD globally, it’ll be seen as falling short of expectations, so doing the math, more than half of its gross needs to come from foreign markets…and every attempt will be made for the movie to be as easily accessible and enjoyable to as many people across the planet as is possible, which doesn’t involve requiring that audiences read novels in order to familiarize themselves with niche characters from a licensed tie-in book.

    • Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

      but that doesn’t explain what they do, or what they plan to do, going forward. The currents heads aren’t George and nearly all of them have written or drawn for the EU, Dave included. So while we don’t know for sure who is going to appear or not, they will mine elements, planets, and yes characters, for the story. So the EU is now a place where “if we like it, we’ll use it, but if it contradicts our story, assume it to be non-canon” going forward, which thus puts it under the “Legends” banner. Had a long Twitter chat about this with the Senior Editor Jen Heddle, who is a card carrying member of the story group. Even she doesn’t have all the details on what is considered “Legends” or canon and it got to the point on her Twitter where she was being bombarded left and right, though mostly about the Old Republic for example.

      But her direct response to me was:

      “For now she is Legends. But that doesn’t mean she won’t show up sooner or later going forward.”

      So if they use Mara Jade (and given who is in the story group, past experiences with the films, and so forth that is WELL within their capacity to do) I’m happy. And really it’s a HUGE sign to the diehards they know what they are doing. And it doesn’t take much to do with Mara’s story (seeing as I can tell it in just one sentence.) and make it fit with the new timeline. Maybe not all the specific details may be the same per say, but it’s clearly Mara Jade, former Emperor’s Hand turned Jedi Master and Luke’s wife.

      • maychild Says:

        Mara Jade, former Emperor’s plaything who thought she was important, who got everything she had while flat on her back, including the unearned title of Jedi Master, who the authors tried, and failed, to use to oust Leia as main heroine.

        And that’s in the ALTERNATE UNIVERSE that is the EU. The red-gold harlot does not exist in the SW universe. If Episode VII shows Luke married, which I’m hoping it doesn’t, it should NOT be to a…thing like Mara. Including her worthless carcass would simply be a wank to a minority of a minority of a minority: SW fans/EU fans/Mara fans.

        Lucas allowed the EU hacks into his playground, not the other way around. When making the prequels, he ignored most of what they wrote, thank goodness, and borrowed a name or a character here and there, as is his right. He did NOT include Mara. He probably doesn’t know who she is, lucky guy.

        And no, this or that random female seen for two seconds in Jabba’s palace in ROTJ is not Mara “in disguise,” therefore she’s “cannon” (sic). ROTJ was scripted and filmed long before that horrid creature was so much as a stain on Zahn’s sheets.

  9. Matt Robert McKenzie Says:

    @JediTimarick She's part of "Legends" now. Does that mean she'll never show up in something going forward? Your guess is as good as mine.— Jennifer Heddle (@jenheddle) April 25, 2014

  10. Daniel Xie Says:

    I am somewhat sad to see the EU go. The so-called Traviss retcons in TCW never bothered me, Adi Gallia and Evan Piell dying differently never bothered me because it made for more dramatic effect(which may not be a good thing, as I watch Game of Thrones and was disgusted by the last episode because of how they handled the scene on the altar, but it worked for TCW IMO). I really hated the NJO and everything after that(found the Legacy comics enjoyable through). However there are many things I love about the EU–KOTOR, the Thrawn Books, Darth Plagueis, the Kyle Katarn games. I believe the EU does not need to be dropped, but a lot of stuff can be referenced or can mesh into canon. For instance GL said that the Jedi fought millenia ago with the Sith, and that described the situation in the KOTOR trilogy perfectly. I can accept many of the stuff about the Imperial Remnant because honeslty? You think an Empire that big will just implode like that>?

  11. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    i have mixed feelings about the EU series. Are the EU stuff “after” ROTJ the only ones that will be dismissed by Disney? To be honest, with the exception of Mara Jade – whom I like a lot – I wasn’t a die hard fan of the post-ROTJ material.

    If Disney is talking about “all” of the EU material – including those stories before and during the six-movie saga – well, I would probably find that disturbing.

    • Eddie Says:

      It’s all of it, but the post-ROTJ stuff is the first on the chopping block. I think this is everything that’s “officially” canon now:

      -The Phantom Menace
      -Attack of the Clones
      -The Clone Wars
      -the upcoming Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comics
      -Revenge of the Sith
      -Rebels
      -the upcoming “Tarkin” and “A New Dawn” books
      -Star Wars: A New Hope
      -The Star Wars Holiday Special
      -the upcoming “Lords of the Sith” and “Heir to the Jedi” books
      -The Empire Strikes Back
      -Return of the Jedi

      …and that’s it!
      (I’m just kidding about the Holiday Special…but I wish it really was on that list! ;) )

      • Bob Clark Says:

        This raises a weird question to me about what “officially” counts as canon, and to who. For me, it’s just the six films and TCW, all of which had Lucas’ direct involvement. Everything else? Not so much. Even the new films sound like they’re tied less and less to the original story Lucas pitched to Disney, and more to do with Abrams’ OT-reunion wish fulfillment. Really, at best the Disney era of SW might very well be labelled nothing but fanfilms from start to finish.

      • Eddie Says:

        Yeah Bob, I think what you’re saying, and what Simon says below, is basically the way to go: at this point, everybody should just stick to whatever their own definition of “canon” is, “official” mandates be damned…especially now that Lucas isn’t calling the shots. Why should anybody let Disney decide what feels like “Star Wars” to them? If somebody wants to go by only the movies/TCW, great; if somebody wants to go with I-VI+TCW and then the post-ROTJ EU over Eps.VII-IX, great. If somebody even wants to just go IV-IV, whatevs—but along with all that pick-and-mix comes the necessity to respect somebody else’s “Star Wars” and not attack them (even if you loathe their personal SW), which has always been a problem for fans, as we all know too well. I mean this figuratively, and I can only speak for myself, but taking a “spiritual” approach to SW rather than a “religious”/dogmatic approach is extremely liberating. **** canon!! :)

      • Andromakhe (@KentressCrazy) Says:

        I’m with Bob. Totally. It does not sound as though Rebels or the next movie eps will respect the entire saga. I intend to give Ep VII and Rebels a try if possible, but I have a very strict definition of canon and therefore, what must be honored in fanon. Everyone’s fanon. But I’m sure if I don’t like Rebels or Ep VII, I’ll be driven away from fandom by the rabid people that tell me I must accept the new regime and its vision of Star Wars because it’s “canon.” So I will wait and see and prepare to depart.

    • Simon Maxwell Says:

      Speaking personally, I’m going to stick with the pre-Disney idea of Star Wars canon (ie G-canon, S-canon etc). I’m going to ignore Disney’s definition of canon.

      My interest in the Disney era of Star Wars decreases with each new announcement. Whether it’s the cancellation of The Clone Wars, Dark Horse losing the comic licence or this latest announcement, I’m feeling more and more that I’m done with Star Wars. Episodes 7, 8, 9, 10 and so on, and all the umpteen spin-off films hold little or no interest for me. Before Disney, the films were Lucas’s vision. Now they’re simply a cash cow for Disney to milk dry.

      There’s also the fact that Disney/Lucasfilm seem to want to forget that the prequels ever happened – an example of which is companies such Hasbro being told to stop producing products based on the prequels. So, you see, I do not like the way Star Wars is going under Disney.

      • Tarrlok Says:

        The new “One Unified Canon” system makes little sense. The old tiered structure was implemented for a reason, specifically because it allowed more prominent media to take precedence and to retcon lower-tier materials. The tiers made sense because, ultimately, films are seen by more people than TV shows (G>T), which are seen by more people than the comics and books (T>C), and so on.

        I can see the merits of unifying G- and T-canon, so as to ensure a wholly continuous on-screen SW experience, but bringing the tie-in materials up to the same tier? That’s patently absurd. Is a screenwriter for a multi-million dollar project in 2024 really going to be bound by a tie-in comic that came out in 2014? That’s when the strength of Disney’s grand unified canon system would disappear. It would then be back to the tiered structure, and good riddance to the unified canon.

        This is why I hate these “grand gestures” from corporate behemoths like Disney. They accomplish nothing. The old tiered structure already had a mechanism that would allow lower-tier Expanded Universe materials to be retconned. It was repeatedly done for the PT and TCW. Wiping clean the post-ROTJ EU makes sense, but declaring even the OT- and PT-era stories non-canon is peculiar and, IMO, ill-advised.

        Disney seems fond of vapid “grand gestures”, as their attempt to forget the prequel era demonstrates. That doesn’t accomplish anything substantive either. Well, perhaps it could be said that these gestures send “strong messages”. That seems to be their sole purpose. Criticism could be made of Lucasfilm’s management, but it never demonstrated this sort of ham-handed arrogance and megalomania.

  12. drush76 Says:

    Does this hostility toward Mara Jade stem from her starting out as a villainess in the novels?

    • Bob Clark Says:

      I think it stems more from her being something of a Mary Sue, if not for her irrelevant non-canon status.

    • maychild Says:

      The hostility toward Mara doesn’t stem from her starting out as a villainess; I actually liked her pretty well in Zahn’s first three books. The problem stemmed from her being steadily whitewashed from Zahn’s third book on, until she was “really doing the work of a Jedi” when she slit throats for Palpatine, and because she instantly became a major character once she married Luke in the EU, thereby becoming a kind of “Big Fourth” — a position she hadn’t earned, however “popular” she may have become. There was also no corresponding development of her character…she remained the same insensitive, mean-spirited, selfish shrew she’d always been, only now she was in the majors, so her quips were no longer amusing.

      She became a Jedi and a Jedi master after she took up with Luke. It’s not hard to think that she basically slept her way to both positions, particularly because she hadn’t earned either one. And her ascension was inversely proportional to the degradation of Leia. Prior to the NJO, Leia was declared a full Jedi. Then in the NJO, she was suddenly “half-trained and uncertain in the Force,” while Mara just as suddenly became Superwoman, SuperJedi, SuperJedi Master, etc. Han and Leia were separated while Luke and Mara were glorified. Leia grew old while Mara stayed young and stunning. Leia’s kids all hated her and latched onto Aunt Mara. Luke and Mara got all the love scenes and most of the personal scenes while Han and Leia got the crumbs brushed off their laps, if they were lucky.

      This, among other things, snowballed into a torrent of dislike against Mara among a faction of fans. The authors didn’t bother to write her more sympathetic and likable — they simply tried to turn her into the premier herone by degrading the actual heroine, Leia. She continued to act like an insensitive tauntaun’s ass throughout the NJO, but no one called her on it, and the authors continued to let her off the hook when they could have given her some much-needed development through humbling her and making her actually sorry for her wrongs, past and present. Instead, she thought crashing her ship (which was replaced in six months with an “even kewler” vessel) cleared her slate. And more than one EU author said that they wouldn’t dare harm Mara because her fanbase would go after them. Even when she was “fatally ill,” it didn’t dim her beauty, her libido, or her ability to kick ass without displacing one single red-gold hair. Her nephew drooled over her, for pete’s sake.

      So, basically, she turned into Mara Sue and became the pet of practically every author. (She was also the harbinger for a number of other red-haired Mary Sues who plagued the EU.) I and many others got to despise her so much that her mere appearance in a book repulsed us, but the authors didn’t help by continuing to pile more unearned honors on her. Even when she was killed off, she died a martyr and got to disappear, as if she was in the same level as Yoda and Obi Wan. And Zahn wrote a couple more novel-length love letters to her focusing on her work for the Emperor, wherein she was practically his backup Sith apprentice (but still pure as new-fallen snow on the inside), while Vader feared and envied her.

      Sorry about writing an essay, but the question you asked didn’t have a simple answer.

      • buick runner Says:

        Mara Jade sounds alot like Thrawn. Both are puffed up at the expense of Vader and Leia. That is the EU writers tell us how stupid and awlful Vader and Leia are and how superior Thrawn and Mara are to them. If we have to be told how much better they are, then they really aren’t. It’s just bad writing, like the Cheese from Wacky Deli.

      • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

        So would it then stand to reason that Mara would be less objectionable if the execution of her character was handled differently?

        Like, keep the “former-villain-turned-love-interest” angle, but make the character development more natural?

      • buick runner Says:

        I don’t really care about the EU myself. But I can understand why many fans object to EU characters being treated better than film characters. I don’t really like that aspect myself, it is almost like EU writers are trying to one up Lucas with his own art.

  13. M. Marshall Says:

    Remember guys, let’s not start acting like the prequel haters who want the prequels and the Clone Wars to be thrown out with the EU because in their eyes “they aren’t canon”. Let’s not turn Mara Jade into Jar Jar Binks because some of us don’t like her. Art is subjective and there is no right or wrong way to enjoy Star Wars. Let’s let bygones be bygones because in the words of Obi-Wan; “we’re smarter than this.”

    • maychild Says:

      The SW canon is the PT, OT and the CW cartoons. Simple enough. I’m not going to embrace the EU. And Jar Jar, whether he’s “universally despised” or not, is something Mara is not and never will be: canon.

      • M. Marshall Says:

        I’m not arguing what’s canon or what’s not canon. I’m just saying let’s not stoop to the prequel haters’ level and start getting too heated in our arguments. I may not agree with everything in the EU but it did help prepare me for the prequels. That’s my experience as a fan. I’m calling for a star peace. I’ve already seen enough geek wars on the internet and I come to view the SWPAS as a safe haven for star warriors.

    • Tarrlok Says:

      As someone who counts myself as a fan of both parts of the SWEU and the PT (not to mention TCW), I agree wholeheartedly.

    • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

      I agree. Whether one likes or dislikes a character, we become what we fight against when we let that turn into foul epithets.

      And slut-shaming is never okay.

  14. Obi-rob Says:

    I was always glad when they first announced they would be doing away with most of the EU. All it ever was was glorified fan fiction that the hateboys always held up and used to bash George Lucas’s cannon.

    80% of the POST Episode 6 EU always made me cringe anyway, as specially when I was younger trying to enjoy the PT when it was still coming out. Hateboys would complain and bash the movies…ya know THE ACTUAL SW SAGA simply because some random trivia in this or that post Episode 6 EU book might not have matched up to the films.

    All it ever did was provide a place for hateboys to rally behind and use as another tool to bash The George Lucas Saga with…so im glade its GONE. This news pleases me very much.

    Now that being said I enjoy playing SW video games and exploring established SW lore as much as the next guy. I would like to see some little (BASIC) things kept as part of the cannon like for instance Shadows of the Empire which never hurt anybody or KOTOR because it takes place thousands of years in the past safely far away from the films. Thats reasonable.

    Also I would bet my life this is something Lucas has always wanted to do since 1999 and Im so glad it finally got done.

    And could you even IMAGINE how the hateboys and the geek media machine would react if it was Lucas that did this?!!! OMG forget about it!

    This is a huge win for us actual fans of George Lucas’s SW Saga! A huge win and you guys should all be glad and gloat about it too!

    Its a lot cleaner now and alot more respectful/centered around the FILMS the way it was always supposed to be.

    • M. Marshall Says:

      I’m one of the few exceptions. I was never one of those haters that expected to have the films revolve around the books. In fact I always felt that the EU enriched the films even further. Characters that were minor and in the back ground (like Aurra Sing) got to have their stories expanded in the EU. And when the midi-chloreans were introduced in episode 1, I wasn’t put off by the concept because I heard a similar concept in the Kevin J. Anderson novel “Jedi Search”.

  15. Eddie Says:

    I just saw this…a real human being, who at the very least has the capacity to form words, string them together into thoughts, and then communicate them, wrote this—and was serious:

    “Im gonna be honest if I had the money to hire a lawyer I would sue Del Rey books for selling me fake stories and taking my money. Or lucasbooks. They sold fake stories and should be sued.”

    W
    T
    F

    “fake stories”, as opposed to the REAL ones they told in films and on TV.

    • Paul f. Mcdonald Says:

      Lol. You guys are awesome. Especially Maychild. And Eddie, you’re another person I would love to hear on Coffee with Kenobi. Honestly, all I had to do to know the EU wasn’t canon or even Star Wars was read about fifty pages of Heir to the Empire. It’s not rocket science. I just have an internal SW meter honed from decades of use. At the risk of being really snarky, if you want and/or need a book that actually has something to do with the SW galaxy GL actually created, read mine. Nuff said.

  16. jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

    Wow…this is some thread.

    Look, the nice thing about the expanded universe is that they are like imaginary “what if?” type of stories. Marvel comics used to do these and DC has their alternate earths and “elseworlds”.

    As long as these stories don’t have any major contradictions to the new films then they all “could have” happened. So…it is really in the eye of the beholder. It’s all just fiction anyway.

    Personally, I have stayed away from everything except the stories that take place not long after ROTJ. I don’t pay attention to anything after Courtship of Princess Leia. I like the X-Wing series and Truce at Bakara.

    I read much of the Zahn stuff when it first came out, but it really just rehashes the original trilogy again. But look, all of those stories dealing with the New Republic fighting the remnants of the Empire could have happened during that time period. The new trilogy takes place thirty years after ROTJ, a whole generation and a half…long after the remnants of the Empire would have been dealt with.

    The new trilogy should go in a completely new direction with its villains. Lucas clearly wanted to tie up most of the loose ends from the original trilogy in ROTJ, and he did. So, no Clone Emperor, no Boba Fett surviving the Sarlaac.

    But once again, many people will only be happy with a (darker) remake of the original trilogy and nothing else.

  17. Kenny Kraly Jr Says:

    Agreed well said Lazy!!!

  18. james Says:

    I say get rid of alp the EU start fresh. I began reading alot of it recently though I see it as purely gorified fanfiction. No offence to those who like it there are a few entertaining storys and all but lots of it just dont Jive with me. I never liked the idea of jedi getting married, it just seems odd to me. I also dont like many of the half backed retcons trying to shoehorn pre 1999 with post PT continuety that just makes the saga look clutered an confusing. Though thats just my opinion make of it what you wish.

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