Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The Destruction of the Expanded Universe
Recent news from Disney was exactly what I was expecting after they announced the new Star Wars trilogy. They are going to go through the extensive expanded universe of Star Wars (Everything done outside of the movies themselves) and decide what is and is not official canon for the Star Wars universe.
Twenty years ago this would not have been a big deal. Up until that time frame there was very little in regards to the Star Wars expanded universe (EU). That was when Lucas decided to do the prequels and knew that he was going to stop after that with a basic six movie saga. That meant that the books and comics could go on and tell whatever stories they wanted without having to worry about conflicting with the movies. So starting with what is known as the Zahn trilogy various authors have taken the storyline out well past where Return of The Jedi ended. Luke has been married and widowed. Han and Leia are grandparents. Chewbacca met his fate. The EU has just had so much put into it over the years. So many character and ideas that have been both good and bad have been introduced. Lucas himself took from it for some aspects of the prequels.
As soon as the announcement was made that there would be a third movie trilogy, I knew that it would have a huge impact on the EU. I had noticed that suddenly no more new books were being announced. It was clear that the EU was being put on hold.
So now they have made the announcement that they have a team who will be going through all of the EU and decide what will fit in with the storyline for the new trilogy and what won't.
Regretfully there will be a lot of good stuff that will most likely be discarded. There is just so much that takes place in or after the timeframe the new trilogy is to happen and my guess is all of that will have to be declared non-canon. Shadows of the Empire will most likely be considered canon, one of the worst pieces of EU ever. It is a storyline that takes place between episode 5 and 6, which is the main reason it will make the cut. It also was created in a huge multi-media event with the full backing of Lucasfilm, but it was really, really bad. Yet there are so many great ideas that were introduced in the EU that are going to be made irrelevant to the bigger storyline now.
I really hope that those who are putting the new trilogy together have enough sense to look at the better aspects of the EU to draw from. Lucas did this for the prequels, and the EU elements he added in worked. I can understand the need to not follow the EU storyline, but there is no need to leave it all in the dust. Characters like Mara Jade deserve to be saved and used.
Of course in the end this classification does not take away from the good stories that will be marked as non-canon or in the case of Shadows of the Empire, make the poor stories any better if they get considered canon.