You take the good, you take the bad: Not-so-proud moments of the Expanded Universe

The other day i09 published a list of weirdest stories from the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Several of us – who’ve actually read the books and comics, not just looked them up on Wookieepedia – found their choices to be a tad uninspired.

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!

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This list was originally published in 2005 at Blogs.StarWars.com in two entries: The Top Ten Most Eye-Sporking Moments in the EU and More Eye-Sporking EU Moments… As usual, this is only my opinion, and your mileage may vary!

Luke keeps Leia on a leash; Sexual tension abounds
(Splinter of the Mind’s Eye) I bet this made a lot more sense in 1979. Now, it’s just creepy.

Ben Skywalker kidnapped!
(Star by Star) Of the many kidnapping scenes in the EU, this one takes the cake, for two reasons. First, SBS was already overstuffed with action. Secondly, HAVE WE NOT HAD ENOUGH KIDNAPPINGS WITH THE SOLO BRATS?

Toddler Jedi Knight!
(Champions of the Force) Two year old Jacen. With a lightsaber. Need I say more?

“Did he call you Master?”
(Destiny’s Way) Luke and Mara prove that bad romantic dialogue is not only genetic but sexually transmitted. Seriously, this scene made me ashamed to have ever been a shipper.

The one armed wampa
(Darksaber) Because KJA is incapable of leaving any movie scene untouched.

Anakin Solo feels Mara’s labor pains
(Rebirth) Dude. Come on.

Winter and Ackbar’s true luv
(Champions of the Force) He’s a fish. I’m sure someone is going to call me an interspecies racist, but… seriously. A fish.

Spores!
(Vector Prime) Mara cries about the the spores attacking her womb. Sob. Silly idea not helped along by the worst writing in the entire New Jedi Order series. Best thing to come out of this was the ‘pin the spores on the womb’ game Club Jade played at the following JadeCon.

Bria
(The Han Solo trilogy) Bria Tharen was not only Han’s real TRUE LUV, she also started the Rebellion and did a ton of other ‘important’ stuff. If Han hadn’t found out about her death moments before walking into the Mos Eisley cantina, Leia wouldn’t have stood a chance. Superwoman? No. Raging Mary Sue. (Yes, it’s an overused term, but when the shoe fits…)

Now here’s where I am sure to piss someone off. Sorry, folks.

The entire Young Jedi Knights Series
Jacen’s jokes. Tenel Ka, the one armed-Jedi. More random movie stuff. Characterizations that make cardboard look supple. Just when I didn’t think it was possible to write down more to one’s audience than the Jedi Academy did, this came along. Seriously, these things made Sweet Valley High look like Wuthuring Heights.

Courtship of Princess Leia
The whole book. Here’s a summary of the book I wrote a while back: Race of extremely beautiful women want Leia to marry their prince, Fabio, and become their Queen. Leia considers it. Han, driven to an out of character experience by Fabio (Isolder) making the moves on his woman, drugs and kidnaps Leia and they end up crash-landing on a planet of Force witches. Luke, having fended off the romantic advances of Fabio’s mother, goes after them, communes with wild animals, finds a crashed Jedi spaceship, and finally is captured by the Force witch princess Teneniel Djo, who, to paraphrase a friend of mine, traps him between her muscular thighs and claims him as her mate. After some rancor riding and yuffa wrangling, there’s a muddled battle involving good witches, bad witches, and more bumbling Imperials. The good guys win, Leia chooses Han, Fabio chooses Teneniel Djo, and Luke, fated to be the Anthony Michael Hall of the intergalactic Breakfast Club, gets a crashed spaceship full of Jedi stuff. Han and Leia get married on the very last page, breaking the heart of hardcore shippers everywhere with the lack of a big fluffy wedding.

The Gun of Command
Okay, this is how Han kidnaps Leia in Courtship, but it’s so awful that it deserves it’s own bit. This is wrong for so many reasons, the chief one being we’re supposed to believe that HAN SOLO needs an obedience gun to get Leia to go somewhere with him. There are other, far more disturbing implications that can be taken from such a object, but this is a family website. (Granted, a ‘family’ maybe more in The Sopranos sense, but still.)

The mating habits of Hutts
Did we really need to know? A.C. Crispin thought so. Sadly, it’s one of the more interesting points of her Bria-ridden and mostly useless Han trilogy.

Obvious Indiana Jones references
Crispin is guilty of this one, too – teenage ruffian Han insisting some trinket he’s stolen should only be sold to a museum. (Denning’s done it, too.) Harrison Ford plays both Han and Indiana Jones. WE GOT THAT, thanks.

Overthrawn
When I first posted this, people wondered where the Zahn was. I actually like Zahn, but there is one thing that really annoys me… Having characters talk about how great Thrawn was in his later books. Yeah, he was a neat villian. But enough already.

“I just want to be worthy of the Jedi Master that I love.”
Anderson strikes again! This tragically sappy line of dialogue from Callista in Darksaber pretty much does her in as a character and cemented many shippers firmly with Mara in the Luke Shipping Wars of the 90’s.

Yes, I’m sure I missed some, but these are only based on what I’ve read and seen myself. My apologies to Mount Sorrow.

35 thoughts on “You take the good, you take the bad: Not-so-proud moments of the Expanded Universe

  1. Pabawan

    Why doesn’t anyone do a cheeky Han Solo reference of him raising a barn, too?

    And this list amazingly does not scratch the Republic Commando surface, which is probably for the best.

  2. Austin

    If you had posted a negative word against the Republic Commando stuff, you really would have to worry about flaming.

  3. Dunc Post author

    Yes, I’ve received a few choice comments from Traviss fans in the past. They are very, um, ‘dedicated.’

  4. Mark "Jedi" Hurliman

    Commando’s were decent enough set of books if one could get on board with the future Empire’s Anti-Jedi pov. After all we knew the Jedi couldn’t always be golden in the eyes of the galaxy.

    Toddler Jedi. Ah yes, that and the Gun of Command- almost blanked those for good. lol

  5. APG

    The whole Darksaber book was just weird.

    Oddly enough Once The Courtship book got to “Hans Planet” I enjoyed it. But the lead up was complete insanity.

  6. Paula

    You have single-handedly managed to open up every repressed memory I had about the EU.

    Thanks bunches, Dunc!

  7. jawajames

    What, no mention of the three-eyed mutant pretender to the Emperor’s throne, Trioculus, who was usurping the spot of the three-eye mutant and alleged Emperor’s son, Triclops?

    or the Obi-wan torture fic, Wild Space?

  8. Dunc Post author

    I don’t remember all that much from the Jedi Prince series. That stuff was just flat-out dumb.

    And I didn’t read Wild Space, either. It’s that whole thing where the PT EU bores me to tears.

  9. Andrew Liptak

    Agree with most everything – RC novels probably deserve some mention, if only for the insane mando stuff.

    I’ll bethe one to stand up for the Han Solo trilogy though – I’ve always had a soft spot for those books.

  10. Eric

    I’m sorry – I don’t like Troy Denning’s books. They are like Michael Bay movies — they are supposed to be emotionally moving, but big explosions don’t move a person.

    And Anakin Solo’s death was horribly, horribly written. We have a depressed teen decide he’s a failure and basically kill himself… oh, it’s so his squad can escape… but then they spend the rest of the book fighting over Anakin’s body. Yeah… great noble sacrifice there… just…. just horrible.

    If I didn’t like Aaron Allston, given the Denning-Traviss influence, the last few years would have been really, really depressing.

  11. jedifreac

    AND LUKE WAS LATE TO THE WEDDING.

    Mofferences.

    Triceratops Jedi.

    Bunny Jedis.

    And when I was 15 I had the Japanese cover of Edge of Victory as my wallpaper, with that picture of Mara in labor. I had to explain awkwardly to my mother that Mara was “giving birth” not “orgasming.”

  12. Mark "Jedi" Hurliman

    ~And I didn’t read Wild Space, either. It’s that whole thing where the PT EU bores me to tears.~

    This is me too. Aside from Secret Missions and the Commando books, all other PT EU does the same for me. Can’t place a finger onto one solid reason why though. Many little reasons that it could be I get bored with it.

  13. Aaron

    I’m with a lot of things on that list, but I loved the Han Solo trilogy (it’s frikkin Han Solo! ;-)) and actually liked KJA’s writing style. His stories mostly sucked, but at least he managed to entertain (me at least ;-)).
    Plus: Where is Barbara Hambly? Her love for critters continually made me cringe (also there’s the above mentioned Callista).
    And don’t even get me started on Dark Rendezvous and Jedi Trial… Seriously, even NJO: Dark Journey didn’t put me to sleep like that.
    Final thing: Characters like Valenthyne Farfalla and Lusa – I mean, come on. Centaurs, fauns and satyrs. In Star Wars? Love the old wizard theme, love the knights, the dragons, the Anakin Modred thing, all of that is really cool, but fauns and centaurs are just too Narnia (and without Liam Neeson as a lion, that just doesn’t work ;-)). Stars that come to life, on the other hand, just might work. Hmm… :-)

  14. Bardan Jussik

    I’m gonna have to admit I like Courtship. Don’t know why but I do. I like the Hapans I guess.

    Worst but best line ever? Kiss my Wookie!

  15. ErrantEndeavour

    Generally I agree – although I liked the RC stuff.

    Eric – I thought the fighting over Anakin’s body was a good touch. It reminded me of the battle of Thermopopylae, and the death of the Spartan general, whose name escapes me at this moment.

    Oh, and freac, the plural is Jedi ;)

  16. Dunc Post author

    Aaron: Plus: Where is Barbara Hambly? Her love for critters continually made me cringe (also there’s the above mentioned Callista).

    Was never a big Callista fan, but I actually don’t hate Hambly. In case blogs.starwars.com vanishes, here’s what I wrote about that in ’05:

    Poor Hambly gets a lot of hate, most of it for Children of the Jedi. Most of the hate is because COTJ spawned Callista, short-lived Luke love interest. But really, COTJ wasn’t that bad a book – in fact, for the era when Kevin J. Anderson Ruled The EU, it’s actually quite good. A little silly, yes, but let’s face it – what in that era wasn’t? COTJ featured a very good Han/Leia subplot, and even the Callie stuff didn’t turn that sour until the whole body-snatching thing. I freely admit that Planet of Twilight was putrid, but hey, if KJA wrote a sequel to something I’d done, I’d be phoning it in on the third book, too.

    Plus, the whole ghost sex thing was hilarious.

    Mark “Jedi” Hurliman: This is me too. Aside from Secret Missions and the Commando books, all other PT EU does the same for me. Can’t place a finger onto one solid reason why though. Many little reasons that it could be I get bored with it.

    It’s pretty simply for me: I’m just not that invested in the PT characters, period.

    I did like Yoda: Dark Rendezvous. That and the ROTS novelization are about the only PT novels that I actually enjoyed, out of the handful I’ve attempted to read.

  17. Eric

    EE,

    Yes, fighting over a body can be a very nice touch — but only if said body isn’t a 16 year old who’s been lamenting what a failure he is and then sacrifices himself so his friends can escape. Fighting over the body really kind of brings the escape to a screeching halt – makes the point of the death off. Besides – his body should have just vanished – that would have been the sign that he was in touch with the force.

    I think this is the thing – there are many things in the EU that are fairly neat – like this or Valenthyne Farfalla’s ship – but they just don’t *fit* the Star Wars Universe… they are jarring and slightly disconnected. That’s my standard – does this “feel” like something you should run into in the Star Wars Universe.

    Some things are very enjoyable — and if they didn’t say “Star Wars” and had entirely different names, I’d probably like them better.

  18. Eric

    Oh – can I ask a question. Whose idea was it to bring Daala, the weakest “villain” of the entire series back and make 7 books center around her as a political foil? Daala is the anti-Jade.

  19. Lyn

    I liked Wild Space a lot (probably a kinky tortured Obi-Wan thing). But Miller’s Clones Wars: Gambit duology? OMG, ghastly with the worst Star Wars Mary Sue ever. Taria Damsin: Jedi knight, ex-lover of Obi-Wan, loved by everyone, complete with special blue hair and, despite in the process dying beautifully in long drawn out fashion, saves Obi-Wan and Anakin.

    Bria Theran could only dream of being such a black hole Sue (black hole Sues are so stupendously perfect and powerful they suck the light and everything else into their sphere).

  20. Erika Kim

    *shamefaced* I actually love the Young Jedi Knight series, probably because they’re so corny. Jacen’s joke crack me up–most likely because my sense of humor is really lame–and I kinda like Tenel Ka a lot… *covers face in shame*
    but… Anakin Solo feels Mara’s labor pains? o.O somehow I missed that… and am quite glad too.

  21. Sean

    Erika: Yes! I totally agree! We few YJK fans have to stick together! Tenel Ka was my favorite EU character ever, and “Shards of Alderaan” is still one of my favorite books. Yeah, the series in cheesy and over-simplistic–it’s for kids. It seemed like the most awesome thing ever when I was 12, and my inner 12 year old still thinks so! :)

  22. jawajames

    I enjoyed the YJK when it came out, even though i was probably a little older than its target audience. sure the plots were a bit simple, and Jacen’s jokes were gag-inducing at tmes. would i consider it bad? no. Jacen, Jaina, Lowie, Tenel Ka and M-TD made for a great team.

  23. Donsinluv

    Aha! A(n) SW Expanded Universe discussion! Uh, Courtship of Princess Leia was a comic book in prose. You got into it because you kept thinking, and I paraphrase, “It has to get better.” It probably would have been better, or at least more coherent, had it been published by the old Dark Horse outfit, which would then have given us a graphic depiction of those muscular female thighs, thus distracting readers from the nagging notion that the story made little sense. Same thing goes for KJA’s contributions. A.C. Crispin basically caused me to stop reading anything SW — Han-frikken Solo!, maybe, but putrid writing negated the whole business. As for the IED that is Hambly’s dual contribution, she’s basically a flowing horror writer as opposed to the precise tech0/military sci-fi sort and, therefore, out of place in the GFFA, expanded or otherwise. I still maintain she wrote the best robots/androids anywhere. With the possible exception of Zahn, she was the author who seemed to suffer most from Lucasfilm’s we-are-not-a-committee editing.

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  25. Jack Colby

    I think Splinter of the Mind’s Eye is a pretty decent story, you just have to accept it is not the same Luke and Leia (or Darth Vader) that we saw in TESB onward. I think that might be hard for people who didn’t live through that time period, but for me it’s still possible. Star Wars had a different feel back then, and Splinter fits in well.

    I hated Courtship of Princess Leia, and agree it is awful. So much wrong with it I would not even know where to begin.

    Not a fan of KJA, either. Nice to see him make the list more than once…

    I haven’t read any of the more recent stuff, but it’s because people like KJA turned me off the novels completely.

  26. Zannah Jade

    The quote is “He could have called you Master. Like I do sometimes,” not “Did he call you Master?” I just had to scald my eyeballs again as I looked it up for my own list of the most face-palm moments.

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