So today is a month and a day since the announcement that Disney is buying Lucasfilm and making Episode VII. It’s been… A month. Don’t get me wrong: It’s been a great month, an occasionally frustrating but revitalizing month. A month to reevaluate.
It’s a little scary, too. I ran and quit my first fansite before The Phantom Menace and started this blog well into the production of Revenge of the Sith, in an entirely changed landscape. I did work on the prequel section of Jedinet for about two seconds back in ’97, but stayed mostly out of the chaos and cutthroat competition that characterized that entire era of fandom – the ‘spoiler wars.’ And I don’t regret that decision in the least.
I never expected us to be at this point, of there being more movies – real movies, actual episodes. More spoiler wars? I hope not. But the internet has changed as well, and the sites that are breaking news and rumors so far are mostly the professionals – New York Magazine and The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly, not fansites. It’s different world. I hope that means there’ll be better behavior than last time. And it will depend a lot on what StarWars.com does – they cut the original spoiler wars off at the knees with the launch of Hyperspace’s Revenge of the Sith set diaries and webcam. Will they repeat that success, or will we be treated to fansite mole ‘reports from the set’ as we were for The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones? Don’t know about you, but I’m hoping for the Hyperspace angle, or blog entries from the set at the very least.
I was on the sidelines for most of the prequels, but I was also – as I’ve written before – never really that into the prequels to begin with. I was interested, but not obsessed. Sequels, of course, are another matter. Particularly now.
There’s a lot of fear and worry out there about what this means for the Expanded Universe and while I addressed some of that early on, the panic from some quarters is (of course) not dying down, nor will it. We’ve had no official word of what stance the sequel trilogy will take on the established EU – the bulk of which is still set post-Return of the Jedi – but it’s a pretty safe assumption that a lot of it is going to end up on the wrong side of things.
I’ve already explained my position on canon and continuity. It hasn’t changed. The best possible explanation for it from Lucasfilm’s perspective can be found in Pablo Hidalgo’s introduction to Essential Reader’s Companion. Basically? Anything that George Lucas doesn’t have a direct hand in can be considered canon until it’s contradicted by something he does. That’s how it works. That’s how it’s been working with The Clone Wars. To reiterate what I said last time: Get used to it now, if you haven’t already. We might avoid spoiler wars, but we’re already seeing the signs of discord in EU fandom… And that might be just as terrifying.
I’m a reader by nature, and I’ll always be a reader, but you can’t come into a movie-centric franchise and expect books to be held sacred. Look, I’ve never been one to shy away from acknowledging the EU’s flaws. And there’s much of the Expanded Universe that I love, and will still be able to love, as they’re sitting on bookshelves 4 feet away from me as I type this. Stories are stories, and having them becoming slightly more fictional in 2015 than they are right now won’t make much of a difference to me. Lucasfilm is not pulling a James Frey; The writing has been on the wall for years. How many times have we heard Timothy Zahn talk about how writing in the Expanded Universe is playing in George’s driveway?
And, to be honest? I think this might be the kick in the pants that the post-Return of the Jedi galaxy needs. The EU is old and tired and chock-full of bad decisions and missed opportunities, but the reason it has so much traction was that it was all we had. It was the only game in town if you just weren’t that into the prequel era or The Clone Wars or The Old Republic stuff. Now we have a chance at a fresh start at it, and I find that unbelievably exciting.
So right now, I love this. It’s made me more more excited than anything has about Star Wars in a long, long time. I even love the rumors. This is what I’ve spent almost a decade training for with this blog, and I didn’t even know it.
The next few years will continue to be exciting and frustrating in so many ways, I’m sure. I might get sick of it. Or Episode VII might end up being all about Boba Fett’s epic manpain and I’ll have to quit blogging and go write fanfic with bitter postscript rants about how things should have happened instead. Who knows?
But for now? I’m all in. Bring it, Disney.