Star Wars, yes. Movies? Not necessarily.

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.

17 thoughts on “Star Wars, yes. Movies? Not necessarily.

  1. Austin

    I’ll be honest. If it were 25 years ago, I would welcome a film adaption of the Thrawn Trilogy, because they could still use the original actors. Heck, I’d welcome any post-ROTJ film if they had done it when the actors were still young.

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  2. Paula

    I couldn’t even get through the list. How I loathe that constant reloading of screen to get to the next idea!

    However, I have to agree with you. I love the EU. (My whole basement is filled with EU books.) But they’re not of the scope that makes a great movie.

    And the ones that tried to be that way (NJO, for example) are too convoluted and detailed to translate well into a movie.

    Nope. Leave them alone; especially atrocities like “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.” I knew that was a mess when I read it as a 9-year-old.

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  3. Andrew Liptak

    Yeah, I started reading through that and I think that they just grabbed everything that came up on a random google search. Some I agree with: Thrawn Trilogy? Totally suited for films. Most everything else though? Nope.

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  4. Anika

    But live action casting is the most fun part!

    If they were going to make more movies, I’d prefer they be stories we haven’t gotten at all over an adaptation of another media. So. Yes.

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  5. Josh

    The Thrawn Trilogy wouldn’t make good films. Too many plots, too many planets, just too much stuff to condense into films. They work as novels and should stay that way.

    And lest we forget that Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was a film option… as the cheap alternative to ESB.

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  6. Annalee Flower Horne

    Personally, I’d be thrilled if the EU would try to be less movie-esque. The EU stories (and fics) that I’ve liked best have been the “smaller” stories about adventures that don’t actually have galaxy-ending consequences.

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  7. darth sig

    Yeah, the Thrawn trilogy was disappointing, but I would love to see movies made of the Darth Bane novels. I’d just be so curious how far they decide to go in making the protagonists “sympathetic.” Agreed that the list is random and lazy though.

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  8. Nanci

    I’ve been calling for an X-wing TV series for years now, either set during the Rebellion or post-ROTJ. I would absolutely love to see an animated TTT miniseries. And if they pared it down severely, I’d sit through an adaptation of the NJO. But as long there are books to keep reading, I don’t care what they do in regards to film/TV.

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  9. Erika (Jawas Read, Too)

    Novels should stay novels. Some of them include too many subplots that would wind up being cut or edited heavily to fit the format. Something in the spirit of the Tales books or the X-wing series would be okay since there are so many smaller side stories that could be made up and are plausible enough to be entertaining stand alones or television episodes…

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  10. jawajames

    You could probably do a fair version of the Thrawn trilogy into a film trilogy, paring down some of the subplots. After all, they managed to turn each of those novels into a six issue comic (and most movie adaptations are just a four issue comic).

    However, for film-worthiness, there’s not a lot of EU out there that would be right for film. Probably the best options would be to not look at the literature, but focus on more visual stories, like video games and comics. As Erika says, “Novels should stay novels”

    KOTOR (the game) could make a good film. The Force Unleashed could work, with a little tweaking. Some of the Republic comic arcs would be awesome.

    and if they did have to pick a novel to translate to film, something that is more action oriented without so much side plots would work best:
    Shadows of the Empire or Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter.

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  11. Alex Johnson

    Like you said, it’s the movies that drew us in, but it’s the books that kept us here.

    Even through it’s highs (Thrawn Trilogy, X-Wing series, Wild Space,) and lows (Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, Ruins of Dantooine,) the EU is what continues to keep my attention to that galaxy far far away.

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  12. Doyle

    This list is ridiculous. The laundry-list of name brand directors attached to wildly incompatible projects, the disregard for film-making conventions, the referring to LotF as a “realistic and believable political drama.” It’s fantastic proof of how being able to write something isn’t reason enough to actually do it.

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  13. Amaranthine Degada

    I would LOVE EU television series/movies if they had a magical director/producer that stayed true to the original plots of the books, and found a way to incorporate the backstory perfectly. However they don’t. So I wouldn’t.

    Bottom line: I don’t want EU movies, because screen would just butcher them. They were made for the written page. Keep them there, please.

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  14. Snap

    Blech. That was ridiculous.

    You know, what I REALLY want is for the powers that be to make a Star Wars cartoon or show with a Timmverse DCAU sensibility…set it after the movies, but let it have its OWN canon. It could draw bits and pieces from the best of all the stories in all mediums. You wouldn’t have to do any straight adaptions or worry about people having strokes over trying to wedge it into the existing EU timeline.

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  15. Mark Newbold

    Given the advances in CGI technology I think there’s a goiod case to argue for adaptations (TCW style) of some of the ‘big’ novels. How about we finally see that Shadows of the Empire movie (we have everything BUT the film back in ’96) or as said a Thrawn Trilogy adaptation over a number of episodes.
    Perhaps a SW anthology series, covering these books and novels would be worth investigating? There are plenty of great moments that could be ‘converted’, and given the visual style of the comics (for example) not necessarily in the exact same style.
    Just a thought, but essentially agree with Dunc, books are books, comic are comics and they all have their own unique plus and minus points in making a good story.

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  16. James Gomez

    I don’t think that anything involving the main original trilogy characters would work, period, so all of those parts of the EU are immediately discounted in my mind.

    However as Nanci above said, the X-wing series could be interesting in a tv-series format, but in all honesty I doubt it’d be done justice. I don’t think it’d work if the novels were adapted for the screen, but fresh stories surrounding Rogue/Wraith squadron could make excellent viewing. As I say though, it could work, but I doubt it’d ever even be contemplated – so the point is moot?

    I actually think that the KOTOR/Old Republic era is ripe for giving the tv-series treatment. The writers/producers could be given much more creative control and it wouldn’t just be a case of “you can’t kill off this character unless I give you permission to” like there is with the original characters.

    Anyway, I’ve digressed, my stance is that EU novels/comics should stay not be turned into screenplays, however I feel that there is still massive scope for fresh stories in all the various timelines that could be given the tv-series or silver screen treatment, whether they’d work or not, who knows… But we can hope.

    “This baby’s got a few surprises left in her, sweetheart.”

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