Some days, all I want out of Episode VII is for nobody to ever say “Leia Solo” ever
I ran across this old site the other day: Star Wars Episode One Rumors and it’s amazing. First of all, its a time capsule of late 90s web design. Now I know a lot of you on Tumblr are too young to remember any of that, but for me, it’s a total nostalgia trip. It’s a Tripod page, for God’s sake! I haven’t been to a Tripod page in probably 15 years.
More importantly, though, it reminds me so much of what’s going on now with the Episode VII rumors. Crazy speculation, shoe-horning in of every imaginable EU character, rumors too crazy to imagine they were every believable, and in fact, some very legit and 100% true information.
I’m going to try and keep that site in mind whenever I read Ep. VII spoilers. A lot of the spoilers we’re getting are going to be totally bogus. But there are probably some we’ve already heard that are entirely true. It’s a tricky balance. And I’m already looking forward to looking back at my rumors tag in late 2015 to laugh at everything that never happened.
And here are a few of my favorite Episode I rumors from that site. But be sure to check it out - it is just gold.
C-3po will be introduced as a consultent for Anikin’s parents…don’t know what this means, perhaps C-3po once worked as a child psch. for dysfunctional jedi families? (11/16/97)
When someone says they’re going spoiler-free for Episode VII
Star Wars canon and the Expanded Universe
Books, comics and games in Star Wars have generally been referred to as the Expanded Universe. (Not extended. Expanded.) From the handful of novels published in the ’70s and early ’80s to the leading edge of the ’90s revival, Star Wars has always had plenty going on offscreen. But not all of that is canon any more.
Canon in the context of Star Wars is ‘what counts’ in the eyes of Lucasfilm. The image above is a laser cannon.
When people claim the old EU was perfect
I’ve never seen anyone claim it was perfect, just that they don’t want to lose all of the rich and interesting stuff that’s been massively developed over more than two decades.
That’s the magic of getting too attached to licensed fiction in a movie-centric franchise! Seriously, none of this should have been a surprise to anyone, once Episode VII was announced. Ask any SW author at any point in the last 20 years and they’d have told you that if George Lucas ever did change his mind about movies, this was exactly what was likely to happen. Timothy Zahn at one point compared it to “playing in George Lucas’ driveway.”
But, see, here’s the thing: We’re not definitely losing anything. The stories and characters still exist. They’re still there, no one is taking them away. Lucasfilm still owns them; GL/Disney did back out a big SUV, but they made sure to clean up all the toys and put them in boxes for later use.
The stories aren’t canon anymore; That’s all. Personally that doesn’t bother me, because fiction is fiction. What excites me about the whole Legends thing is that they can cherrypick the good stuff and leave the crap behind. (Or use the crap and make it better.) And I like the EU, I read it for those 20+ years, in real time, from Heir to the Empire to Crucible. But a lot of it is just bad. So many characters, concepts and ideas were wasted, from early on (poor Solo kids, you never had a chance) to the very last. (Crucible was so, so bad.)
And we are getting MOVIES. Episodes VII, VIII and IX. They might suck! Who knows! But as a post-ROTJ fan, who watched the franchise shoot itself in the foot time and time again in various bad and mediocre books (punctuated with occasional genius,) I’m okay with it. I want something new. I want something fresh. I want something not hampered by things we didn’t know about the GFFA in 1991 and 1999, and not hampered by shitty story decisions made in books published in 1995 and 2007. And for the love of pete, WE ARE ACTUALLY GETTING MOVIES. MOVIES!
We’ll see those toys again. Some of them may survive pretty much intact. Some of them may find themselves in all-new playsets. But they’re still out there. They didn’t get all smashed up and run over, they just got put away for a time. And personally, I’m excited to see what new uses Lucasfilm finds for my favorites.
This isn’t a bad response, but I think, like a lot of “it’s still on your shelf,” arguments, it characterises sorrow as naivety or something unfairly proprietary. It simultaneously requests that we approach the new thing with optimism and good will while telling us we were daft not to have been more cynical and careful with our emotions regarding the original, because we should have expected this to happen.
The EU was always sold to us as more coherent than the average licensed fictional universe.
One of the things that was overwhelmingly important to my investment in it was the way it kept going. It’s not the books that are on my shelves that I’m mourning. It’s the opportunity to see those stories and those characters continue. It’s the books that will now never be on my shelves.
I don’t begrudge anyone who thinks this is a chance for a new start, with fewer mistakes and more coherent artistic choices.
But I see nothing in the conservative opening line-up of books and comics that makes me think this will be a new golden era and a lot that makes me feel the books and comics will be relegated to tie-in status, backstory and plot-hole filling.
And while I think most of us would agree that the EU is large stretches of mediocrity punctuated by occasional instances of dire awfulness or wild genius, I doubt very much that we’d all agree on which is which.
It’s probably easier to be excited about burning it down and starting again (albeit, I’m sure, with inspiration from what came before) if you were bitterly disillusioned with the state of things as they were.
I never got to that point, and instead, after waiting more than half my life for a story about Jaina Solo as triumphant, messianic hero, found it was quietly mothballed three months after it was announced. Instead I get yet another novel about Luke Skywalker.
The EU was, in many ways, not good. But it was also thirty years of stories, across mediums and genres, that was curated and interlocking to an unprecedented degree, and deliberately characterised as something that was official and longlasting. I don’t think being unable to let that go easily, even if it was flawed, is naive or unfair.
I don’t want to feel this way. I’ve loved Star Wars and the expanded universe since I was a child and in a week I’ll be 31 and I literally do not know how to be a person who isn’t, on some level, in love with Star Wars. Which is why I keep trying to fake it. I want to be excited about the films. I want to be excited about Rebels. But I’m…not. I hate that. I’m so heartbrokenly sad to admit that. But I’m just… not.
That’s a fair enough reading, truthfully. I can’t help but see a lot of EU fans as being pretty naive about this whole thing. (I suppose we’re always hardest on our own.) Towards the end, I was very much not in a good place with the EU; One mega-series too many and my long-running patience was fading. But having seen the EU go from the pre-HoloCron mess to post-HoloCron and STILL mischaracterizing some of my favorite characters, it was hard not to be cynical. My hopes had been dashed way too many times, and things like SoTJ seemed like too little, too late. There were bright spots, but they weren’t bright enough. And I’ve never been one much concerned about canon to begin with - fanfic got me through a LOT of dark spots in the past, but even that had been drying up. Episode VII gave me a reason to hope and be excited again.
It’s particularly hard when I see people talk about how they’ll never see their favorite character’s story end… And I think of Sacrifice. It’s a mixed blessing. Yeah, you won’t get to see your favorite character through officially, but here on the other side, it seems like that’s not always such a bad thing.