Making peace with multiple Star Wars continuties

Mount Sorrow: Because not all EU is sacredI admit I’m sick of hearing from certain segments of fandom that the sequel trilogy absolutely must conform to the books – I’ve already written two posts about how that’s a completely unrealistic expectation that folks need to get over, and fast. I’ll probably write yet another post on this at some point, but for now, I beg you to go read Star Wars, Marvel, and the Multiverse by Brian over at Tosche Station.

One way or another, the sequel trilogy means that change is coming to the Expanded Universe. Denying it isn’t going to make it go away, and now is the time to make peace with all the possible directions this could go. Please. I promise it won’t hurt half as much as you think it will.

8 thoughts on “Making peace with multiple Star Wars continuties

  1. alex

    i like the idea of a star wars multiverse, there’s nothing in the movies to contradict it, and with the force all things are possible.

  2. Annalee

    To me, the biggest weakness of Marvel’s main timeline is the same weakness of the EU: they’ve got many cooks trying to make different types of soup in the same pot at the same time. One person’s trying to write a superhero story so suddenly Jedi can fly, and someone else is trying to write a boy’s adventure so now there are talking rabbits who ride around on R2’s dome, and someone else thought it would be a really good idea for Jedi to be able to ‘possess’ their toddler nephews. Then everyone else has to either include that goofiness, retcon it, or just quietly pretend it never happened and hope no one calls them on it.

    Marvel’s alternate universes give them a clean slate, but that doesn’t protect them from more goof coming in (rumors on the latest X-Men movie have the entire plot being an attempt to retcon X3 into the dark abyss where it belongs, and honestly the less said about Emma Frost’s bondage club in Ultimate X-Men, the better).

    So personally I favor an even more fractured approach: Let people write books that are not canon to the other books. Give every cook their own pot.

    That way, we get a wide sampling of stories, and the best elements can stick around for re-use without the more regrettable elements hanging on like barnacles to that weigh the franchise down.

    Kinda like we do with King Arthur and Robin Hood.

  3. SarahK

    Reboots can breathe new life into a storyverse and show it from interesting new angles. I think I could handle just about anything if Mara was still there. Thrawn would be icing on the Imperial cake.

  4. Mark Elwood

    I for one think Disney should at least tread lightly on certain points. Characters that are dead should stay dead, people that are married, be married, kids that exist should exist etc. It doesn’t need to be a perfect match, just a reasonable attempt. Whenever anyone makes a new game or even a new book they don’t need to run down the history of everything that has happened in the EU (although there was one book in I think the Legacy series that had Luke musing over everything that had happened and it was hilarious) I don’t think this new movie needs to spell out “There was an extra-galactic alien invasion that…” It just needs to not do anything to make it impossible to be patched up later. That’s what smart people in the SW franchise have been doing ever since they decided to tie everything into one timeline. The comic books, RPG books and short stories are particularly good at fixing mistakes and retconing confusing problems. I DO NOT think we should send the impression to Disney they can just have free reign and rewrite the EU. I love that Star has a pretty well defined timeline unlike other major franchises. It hasn’t had to have a reboot. So I’m probably one of those people you are “sick of hearing from” I’ll totally deal if Disney changes the EU, but I expect them to respect the EU. I don’t expect to see any mention of Han’s Sky House, but I would expect to see Jaina or Ben Skywalker (assuming it is set in that time period)

  5. Josh

    @Mark: I’d love to believe that’s possible, I really would. But I have absolutely no faith that the ST will honour the EU.

    What if Ardnt and Lucas want Luke to have a daughter? Or be married to a non-Force sensitive former Rebel? Or Han and Leia to have four sons?

    Do you really think that if they produce a brilliant script with one or more of these concepts, someone at Lucasfilm will tell them “err, actually, you have to change it to match these books, which only a small faction of Star Wars fans closely follow”?

    Is it fair to EU fans? No, not really. But it’s far and away the most likely outcome, and I think it’s better to accept that and be pleasantly surprised later than face crushing disappointment down the line.

    As for the Tosche Station article… has Lucasfilm EVER continued EU storylines contradicted by the films? I mean, we didn’t get any books or comics based on Timothy Zahn’s Clone Wars. And the books/comics we did get were overwritten later by another version.

    I hate to be a negative Norman, but I just don’t think the current post-RotJ EU has a future. Best case scenario? The fan-favourite elements find there way back into a new “Ultimate” EU.

  6. Jack Colby

    When I was a kid I followed Marvel Comics Star Wars. It was cool and imaginative and the first real “EU” I was exposed to. During this time Lucasfilm’s policy was that only the movies (and adaptations such as the novelizations of the films) were official canon.

    When I got older, I was given fresh new EU, based on the RPG materials, novels and new comics, and those folks did not want to acknowledge what came before in the form of the Marvel comics stuff. I guess they thought theirs was more grown-up and superior. I didn’t really agree, but ok, whatever. It’s all just “approved fan fiction” in a sense right? Only the movies and adaptations were canon, after all.

    Now we come to the sequel trilogy, and it is supposedly not going to take the EU into consideration. I see a lot of anger over that. I have to wonder why, as every EU fan should realize by now that the EU is a fun hodepodge but was never and likely will never be considered canon. And from someone who has followed SW since the beginning, I can tell you, the “EU” has been ignored and revised before… this is not something that you are the first to experience! The EU itself has even been revised and retconned in places to “fit” what came later.

    The nice thing is, you can still enjoy your favorite EU stuff, no matter what happens. You don’t NEED official approval to keep enjoying it. I still read those old Marvel comics, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy movies or other media that don’t explicitly acknowledge them, or take into account what happened in them.

    It essentially is today the way it has always been: only the movies (and adaptations of them) are canon. If you delve into the EU you must do so with the realization and acceptance that it is not absolute canon and may not match up with what Lucasfilm itself gives us.

    Personally, I welcome a fresh new future for our heroes, and am eager to see what Lucas and crew have imagined for them. The EU to this point has been one possible route, now we will see another. That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

  7. Mark Elwood

    It is exciting either way to see what happens! I enjoy everything Star Wars regardless. And as I heard Leland Chee say several times: “George Lucas is not beholden to the continuity database. He is only beholden to himself” (paraphrasing) I assume he would say the same thing about Disney too. I’m still proud of the timeline that exists, and it would be a shame to have it all become timeline “A”. Poor Star Trek fans have had taken to calling it “Prime Universe”.

    I love the Marvel comics and in my mind I make it all fit ;) Have you guys seen the kids book called “The Maverick Moon”? It portrays a very different future than even what we see in Empire Strikes Back. It’s pretty awesome/ bad.

    I pretty much agree with the articles that have been posted on the subject and although it is a long shot I’m crossing my fingers for that jump forward in time that won’t mess with too much continuity. What bothered me more is the article above which starts off “I admit I’m sick of hearing from certain segments of fandom that the sequel trilogy absolutely must conform to the books…” I think these fans have their place, and in fact are very important to the franchise. We need fans that get angry and upset to keep the creators of the star wars galaxy in check. Just as much as we need the fans that worship Star Wars and refuse to admit when something is bad…the apologist types. I admit, I fall in both camps. I defend Jar-Jar when I’m being harassed by coworkers that are non Star Wars fans, but then when I’m with my own kind I commiserate about him.

    Anyway. Here’s to the future of Star Wars. Main problem is I organize my Star Wars books by chronology in-universe. Not sure how I’ll do it if/when things change. Just kidding. ;)

  8. Paul Urquhart

    All the signs suggest that Disney are going for at least a medium-density reboot, and that’s their commercial prerogative.

    Personally, and for entirely hard-nosed and pragmatic reasons, I’d have preferred a stronger continuity.

    1.) I don’t see any reason why it would have gotten in the way of telling a story. All the movie characters are still in-play, settings like Coruscant or the Empire can be foregrounded or ignored as desired, and characters can be “cast” or “created” to fill other roles as required.

    2.) Casual continuity shifts can create an unintended dissonance for the audience. Self-aware retcons can get in the way of clear storytelling. Neither helps.

    3.) Bringing in new talent to offer an original new take sounds fine in theory. In practice, they often come up with the same “original new take” as the last several guys given the same gig, an unintended cliché.

    It’s completely understandable that a cumbersome backstory might seem offputting, undesirable and geeky.

    The thing is… you don’t have to put the cumbersome backstory IN the new movie at all. I just think it can be safer (commercially!) and more interesting (creatively!) to roll with it.

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