I don’t know why I was surprised when James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis failed to blow my mind.
I bought the book on the release date, but didn’t start it until last Monday – mainly because I knew I’d have to recap the Luceno Facebook chat on Wednesday and I didn’t want to be spoiled for what folks on Twitter were labeling AMAZING REVELATIONS. So I forced myself through it in two days.
And I was not blown away. The revelations? Not that amazing. To me, anyway.
There are no overt spoilers for Darth Plagueis after the jump, though there are some references to the content which may be obvious to anyone well-versed in fandom.(more…)
So last week, it was leaked, and then substantiated that the Blu-ray edition of Return of the Jedi would contain a change that set the fan world into a buzz: As Palpatine zaps Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader would now say “Nooooooooooooo!” as he decides to shaft the Emperor.
Many fans were taken aback by this change by George Lucas – not only does it feed into one of the most laughed-at lines from Revenge of the Sith, it changes the tone of the scene, from Vader as the silent man of action, to him giving voice to his emotional turmoil. Some fans bemoaned the general state of constant changes with each re-release of the movies, while others felt that it is fine for the creator to update his work to help tie the saga all together. Celebrity fan Simon Pegg called it a “clueless revision” – but was it really clueless? (more…)
As it so happened, I did a few posts on the topic myself a few years back. Now yes, we do love the EU here, but let’s face it: There’s a lot of awfulness in them thar hills, and we here at Club Jade have always been fans of facing them head-on. With sarcasm!
I am not here to deny that Vonda McIntyre’s much-maligned 1994 Star Wars novel The Crystal Star is not a good book. It is perhaps one of the few Star Wars books that could be considered significant (Sorry, Ruins of Dantooine) that I cannot recall ever once being praised by anyone. (Except perhaps Abel G. Pena, and only then mildly.) Even my own personal Jar Jar, the works of one Kevin J. Anderson, have fans.
My own experience with Crystal Star is one of mixed reviews. Coming as it did on the heels of Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy, I found it kind of a relief. No, it wasn’t a great book, and it was kind of weird, but at least it was better than Anderson. (Granted, I rank the Jedi Academy trilogy among the worst things I have ever read, period.)
But that aside, there is one reason above all else why I give Crystal Star a pass: It is a completely self-contained book. There is absolutely no reason that anyone needs to read it – unless you’re undertaking some personal urge to read every single Star Wars book ever published, or have a deep interest in the childhoods of the Solo kids.
What is the lasting legacy of The Crystal Star in the Expanded Universe, really? Waru? He’s a punchline. Prozac Luke? McIntyre is far from the only culprit there: Luke is a mopey dope throughout the entire era spanning Dark Empire and the Hand of Thrawn duology.
There are a lot of bad books in the Star Wars stable, in every era. Your mileage may vary, but I find it hard to hate a novel that had no real lasting effect on the Expanded Universe as a whole. There’s something to be said for standalones: Whatever your opinion, they are generally easy to skip over.
Thankfully fannish attitudes towards the book seem to have (mostly) evolved from outright hatred to loving snark, and The Crystal Star is treated exactly as it deserves: As the Expanded Universe equivalent of the Holiday Special.
There’s been a lot of talk about continuity and canon in fandom lately. Well, there always is, but this latest round was prompted by the tail end of The Clone Wars S3 and the Petition of the 2000.
I mentioned the petition – and the reaction to it – in my last opinion piece on civility in fandom, but I didn’t really address the actual issues that prompted it. Mostly because, quite honestly? The whole thing bores the hell out of me, but the lack of casual/moderate voices bugs me even more. Go figure.
I’ve been reading Star Wars books and comics for nearly 20 years now: They have never been been perfect, and expecting them to be at this point strikes me as just plain naïve. The Expanded Universe is kind of like Millennium Falcon: It more than does the job, and many of us are awfully fond of it, but it’s not without flaws. Big, honking, flaws. And sometimes? It just flat-out sucks. (more…)
A few weeks ago, a few concerned EU fans started the Petition of the 2000, a request that asks George Lucas and The Clone Wars crew to take note of what’s been established in books and comics. They are not attacking George or the show. They are not demanding. They are simply asking that the show take more consideration of the existing Expanded Universe.
Think what you will of the petition – I think it’s a little silly, honestly – but I’m far more concerned with the reaction to it. From some of it, you’d think they were demanding that Del Rey firebomb Skywalker Ranch.
This is symptomatic of an attitude that seems more and more entrenched in fandom these days. See, this isn’t really about a petition: It’s just the most recent example. It’s about the ‘true fan’ mentality.
The Her Universe booth at Celebration V. Photo by popculturegeek @ Flickr.
Attention male Star Wars fans around the world! I say this from the bottom of my heart because us nerd girls, we love you (I should know, I have my own nerd boy). We know that you mean well and sometimes what comes out of your mouths or through the keyboard is not necessarily what you mean to say, but rather can become a bit of a mess in translation and that’s okay. Lately, it’s not. Let me tell you why. (more…)
I’ve never been big on the idea of Star Wars fiction having to be like movies: Novels are an entirely different format that requires different things. I don’t read Star Wars novels to experience the movies; I read them because they are different kind of stories. I’ve always been a reader above all else, and I don’t have any problem admitting that while it was the movies that turned me to fandom, it was the novels (and to some extent their illegitimate step-sisters, fanfic) that kept me here.
So if you really want to make me wince, you come out with a lazy, ill-thought-out list like Totalfilm’s 40 Star Wars stories that should be movies. Particularly when the list is inhabited by some of the worst stories the EU has to offer (Splinter of the Mind’s Eye) and things that are really only of interest to seriously hardcore fans (Luceno’s Millennium Falcon.) Hitting the random article button on Wookiepedia is no way to write a list.
Not all the stories on the list are from the EU, though that doesn’t mean they make any more sense as choices. Red 5 is a perfectly good web series, but I can see the concept getting old fast if you took it to two hours. Ryan vs. Dorkman doesn’t even have a plot.
I’m not completely against adapting the EU to other formats, mind. Splinter, Millennium Falcon or Rogue Squadron might might make good episodes of a Clone Wars-esque take on the OT period. (Let’s forget such a series would send the continuity-savants screaming into the night.) Knights of the Old Republic could function as an animated series or even a live-action mini-series. The concept of any Thrawn trilogy adaption makes me want to run screaming into the night (particularly if people start talking about live-action casting) but I could see it possibly working as serial animation as well. And I really hope that someone sent Seth Green some Star Wars Tales anthologies to mine for his upcoming humor series.
But as movies? A Star Wars movie should be epic, and the EU? Not so much. It’s there to continue the stories, let us know different characters and eras and cultures that we only get glimpses of (if that) in the films. It exists to build on the movies, not become them.
And I’d rather not be called a Sister of the Force, either. This is not a silly homebrew internet roleplay. We are not all 12, and we certainly don’t need any more reason to be treated like mythological beasts. And hell, Star Wars fandom on the whole has done pretty well without a label. I say we keep that tradition.