As you can probably tell from looking around the site, we at Geek Power love ourselves a bit of Star Wars…and by bit, I mean a lot! And we’re no strangers to Star Wars controversy, with some of my colleagues putting forward some pretty ‘unique’ ideas like those Boba Fett v Jar Jar posts in which he conveniently ignores the Expanded Universe, and that is where I come in.
First off, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. Obviously, the original trilogy is where it all started and I love it, but for me the real reason I love Star Wars is/was the Expanded Universe.
What is the Star Wars Expanded Universe?
For those that aren’t aware, the Star Wars Expanded Universe consisted of all media, be it books, games, TV series’ etc which tie into the Star Wars story. Chief amongst them were the books. All told there were more than 100 of them, covering periods of time way before the events of even Episode I all the way through to generations after Luke Skywalker was no more. These books were penned by a number of different authors who all brought their own style and panache to each series.
That’s no moon…
The EU is, however, no more. When they took over the franchise Disney made like a Death Star Superlaser and destroyed pretty much the entire Expanded Universe. Almost all of the books are now no longer considered to be canon – only those published in the last year or so. The only things which remain outside of that are the 2 TV series’ Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
I should be angry about this. It was the stories about Darth Bane and his introduction of the Rule of Two which helped flesh the Sith out into a proper sect. It was the events on Sernpidal in the early stages of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion which rounded out the character of Han Solo and the children he had with a certain Princess. Even details about the first hours after the issuance of Order 66 came to light in one book, as well as insight into how Darth Vader first adapted to his new look.
It was these entries which helped breathe life into the Star Wars universe for me, and now it’s gone. That’s a good thing.
…it’s a spacestation
When it was first announced that the EU would no longer be considered as canon and would be rebranded as ‘Legends’, it was no great surprise. It was important to ensure that the new series of films could play in a space in which they didn’t have to worry about already existing canon and therefore stepping on the toes of other stories. They didn’t have to follow the path which had already been laid out in front of them very prescriptively.
While the books hold some fantastic ideas and however much I’d love to see them come to life on the big screen – they were too much of a bind for the scriptwriters. Instead, we’re going to be treated to a whole new story from the incredibly well qualified mind of Lawrence Kasdan. With the announcement of other spin-off films in the series, such as Rogue One, we’re going to get a whole new EU with live action and – hopefully – a continuation of the time and practical effects which are being poured into the new films. From what we’ve seen so far from Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams, this is something to be very excited about.
It’s [not] a trap!
All in all, the retconning of the Expanded Universe looks like it’s going to pay dividends and leave Star Wars fans plenty to be excited about in the next few years. There should be a raft of new stories which explore the beloved Star Wars universe and, hopefully, continue the legacy left by the books.
Disney and JJ – may the Force be with you.