Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Star Wars: Out with the Old, In with the New

Recently, there have been two major Star Wars developments of note: the questionable fate of the Star Wars Extended Universe (the fiction outside of the movies, through books, comics, video games, etc...) has been decided, and the major cast members for Episode VII have been revealed.
There's your EU...

Whelp. Some of this news is good, and some of it is very bittersweet.

The Star Wars Extended Universe is officially being removed from canon, the official Star Wars history. Only the 6 feature films and the CGI Clone Wars movie/series are currently considered canon. Going forward, every newly created Star Wars story, be it in movie, book, or video game format, will supposedly be canon.

This is bad news on two fronts. First, and foremost to a long-term, loyal Star Wars fan, all the stories and characters I've been following for the past two decades no longer "exist." Yes, their stories are still out there to read, but no longer will they impact the Star Wars universe and, going forward in the series, we'll never see them again. They may use the names and faces later, assuming the re-introduce them, but it would be as if a reboot took place for that character -- their history, as we knew it, is gone.

Dash Rendar, the scoundrel
Mara Jade, the... well, badass.
This means characters such as Mara Jade, Dash Rendar, and Darth Revan no longer exist (and never did). This spreads to every single character introduced in EU that never made it into the films. Even Boba Fett is still rotting in the Sarlaac Pit, as far as this announcement goes (though I suspect this won't be kept for too

That's a real bummer. And all the current storylines, from comics set in the past to novels following the children of Han & Leia or Luke & Mara won't get the ending they deserve. Series like Star Wars: Legacy are also dead in the water. Partially because of the announcement, but mostly because Dark Horse, who has produced some of the best Star Wars comics to date, will no longer be publishing them.

It will be nice to meet new characters and see new stories and even to avoid some of the really depressing moments in the EU that follow up the films (we'll miss several character deaths, until the movies decide to use them for emotional pull). But it's not enough. Unless they introduce all of my favorite characters, how can I be happy with this?

I can't.

The other end is that, with everything being canon going forward, the lore will stay pretty tight knit. This is good from a base storytelling angle, but ignores the fact that novels and comics get a lot of their attraction from being able to explore more outrageous moments. Jedi in the EU do immensely crazy things that would, potentially, no longer be the case. That's why the "levels" of canon was a nice option. Zombie Stormtroopers? It could happen! Crashing a Star Destroyer with the Force? Why not!

Well, now the 'why not' is because it sounds as if there won't be any more levels of canon, and all the stories will need to play with the relatively same power base. Again, good for cohesive storytelling. Bad for the level of outlandish adventures we had imagined in a universe where something like the Force exists.

Oh, and I guess this is also bad if the movies suck. Because some of the EU moments have truly been the best in the series, and many of them are much, much better than any of the prequel movies (and some even top the original trilogy. Com at me, nerd).

The new cast. Google 'em, I'm not interested enough to find names...

For the casting... I really don't care. I'm glad that Harrison Ford is coming back as Han Solo, even though he's gone on record about hating the character. I guess the butchering of the Indiana Jones franchise weakened his resolve. It will be pretty awesome to see Mark Hamill on the big screen again. Not quite as pumped for on old Princess Leia, but that may be sexism coming into play. I'm just a bit concerned that they'll all feel old and then I'll feel depressed.

For the rest, I either don't know them or don't have a comment until I see what role their actually being cast in. There does seem to be an AWFUL gender ratio, though. From what I've seen, only one of the new cast is female? What the what? Plenty of aliens in outerspace, but the women must still be trapped in the space-kitchen. A long time ago and all that, right? COMPLETE BUMMER. The original Star Wars was especially great due to a strong female role... but they don't always have to play it solo.

I did read that they tried to get Wedge Antilles back, but the actor said the role was to small and boring. WHY AREN'T THEY GIVE WEDGE HIS OWN DAMN MOVIE!? Seems nothing from the EU will be sacred :/
An "X-Wing" series of movies are in order.

Bah. Guess I'm bitter 'bout the ol' Star Wars. VII better be good, Abrams.

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