The new reality: Star Wars is getting a reboot

Disney CEO Bob Iger and George Lucas

The events of the past month have made it clear that Star Wars is undergoing a major shift, and it’s made a lot of fans question the Disney sale.  And those words – the “Disney sale” – are part of the problem.  The sale is over and done with.  What we’re going through now is more jarring, and a lot more ambitious.  We’re going through a Star Wars reboot.

Dunc’s written extensively about how we should expect the Expanded Universe to get jettisoned once the new movies are out, because Star Wars has always had a tenuous grasp on continuity.  But while the stories were constantly in flux, the franchise was relatively stable.  Now, everything’s a bit more fluid, and we should recognize that the old rules are kaput.  The new Star Wars is different in a few key ways:

1. The news will come fast and furious
You have to understand, we Star Wars fans are good at waiting.  We’re used to book releases being pushed back, shows being delayed, toys being canceled.  And shout-out to the older fans (whoop whoop) – we waited a long sixteen years for the first prequel, then as soon as it ended, we knew we’d have another three years until the next, and a solid six before the new trilogy wrapped up.  But now we’re in the opposite scenario: news is coming so fast that it’s almost hard to keep up.  Think about the announcement of Episode VII.  I suppose some people can claim they’d been waiting for it their whole lives (we’re a dramatic bunch), but most of us had given up hope.  Then, one day, badabing badabantha, it’s announced, it’s in pre-production, and it’ll be here in around two years.  For fans used to waiting, two years is nothin’.

Punch it!Since then it’s been a blur.  Even ignoring all the rumors, a writer was announced, then a director, producers, not to mention the standalone movies.  And it won’t slow down.  When production kicks into gear, things will get even crazier – and thanks to the standalones, we won’t even get the traditional three-year lull to catch our breath.  The trend these days is to create product efficiently and get it into theaters before the momentum wears off – think Harry Potter, Twilight, the Marvel movies, and now the Hunger Games sequels.  There’s no reason to think Disney doesn’t have the same model in mind with Star Wars.

2. We won’t have Lucas to kick around anymore
We called him Uncle George because he’s been a constant.  Back when he owned it, Lucasfilm was not a public company – one man called the shots, and he tended to call them about everything.  He was a micromanager, but he was our micromanager, and there was a certain comfort in knowing what to expect.  We knew his interests, his politics, his goals.  (It helped that his movies were usually in development for at least a decade or two.)  We knew he could laugh at himself.  We knew he had stories coming out of his ears.  And we watched as he became more and more comfortable with his legions of fans.

George LucasThe one thing nobody knew was that he’d one day sell the company and approve the Sequel Trilogy, especially after years of saying it wasn’t going to happen.  Now there are new people in charge, and I say this honestly: we have no idea what to expect.   Our assumptions about Lucasfilm were always based on one man, and he’s effectively out of the picture.  We don’t even really know if Disney is going to use his treatments for the sequels.  (How did Bob Iger describe them?  Ah yes.  “They had a lot of potential.”)  Maybe they’ll be followed to the letter, but Disney certainly isn’t obligated.

3. We don’t know who’s in charge
The other thing about George Lucas was that fans knew who to blame.  Confused by an episode of The Clone Wars?  That was George’s idea.  Angry about the last Indiana Jones movie?  Blame it on Lucas.  Don’t like the prequels?  By all means, write a book about how George Lucas destroyed your childhood.  He was almost too easy a target, which wasn’t fair but at least it was mostly accurate.  Then a few years ago, when he started to talk about retirement, fans began wondering who would take over.  I remember a Star Wars Insider article which proclaimed that Dave Filoni and Katie Lucas were the heirs apparent.  That didn’t work out so well.

Kathleen Kennedy on the cover of The Hollywood ReporterNowadays, we know who the heirs are, but everything else is a mystery.  Decisions are being made left and right but nobody on the outside knows who’s behind them.  Is Kathleen Kennedy in charge?   J.J. Abrams?  Lawrence Kasdan?  Even Bob Iger seems happy to pass the buck.  When asked whether the Mark Hamill and co. would return for the Sequel Trilogy, Iger said it depended on Michael Arndt’s screenplay.  I don’t buy that for a second, and obviously Iger wants to hold news until it’s ready to be announced.  But still, when the CEO claims the screenwriter is calling the shots, the power structure isn’t quite clear yet.

4. The news won’t all be good
With LucasArts closing shop and Lucasfilm Animation a fraction of its former self, a lot of folks are understandably depressed.  But at the risk of being a Debbie Downer, we should probably expect more of this.  Divisions of Lucasfilm may be gutted and licensees could suddenly find themselves outbid.  And virtually every high-profile project from the old regime seems to be a goner: The Clone Wars, Detours, 1313, First Assault, the 3D re-releases, etc.

TCW-520-TheWrongJedi-clouds-walkout

This is what I mean by a reboot.  Disney has basically declared that right now there’s too much product available, and it looks like they want to clear house before Episode VII hits.  This sounds crazy but it’s not at all unprecedented.  Take, for example, Star Trek.  Back in 1996, both Voyager and Deep Space 9 were on the air AND a Next Generation movie was in theaters.  For many Trekkies, this was a golden age.  But the franchise was so popular that Paramount became determined to keep it alive at all costs (hello, Enterprise!).  Too much of a good thing quickly turned into just a lot of an okay thing.

Abrams' first Star TrekRemember what happened then.  Around the time that Star Trek was turning 35 years old, the overall Trek audience (not the die-hards) dried up and the franchise went on ice for a few years.  That turned out to be a good move because eventually, people were hungry for more.  At that point, Paramount decided that the best plan was a full-on reboot.  And J.J. Abrams got a call.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m upset that The Clone Wars got the axe, especially after it had gotten so damn good.  And I wish we could have seen at least some of the other projects.  But oversaturation is a real thing, and we may have been hitting it with Star Wars.  If Disney wants to step back a bit and – like Paramount did with Star Trek – get back to basics, it’s probably for a good reason.

5. The news won’t be all bad
I really and truly want the The Clone Wars to be saved, but I believe the decision to end it was based on more than just viewership.  That’s why, as much as I support it, I don’t really expect the letter-writing campaign to work.  Still, there’s plenty to be positive about.  The new movies are right around the corner.  Disney is exploring the idea of a Star Wars theme park.  The novels and comic books seem to be thriving.  And while the layoffs have been brutal, they’re industry-wide at this point… and at least many of our favorite folks inside Lucasfilm are still there.  So yeah, the news sucks these days, and the next few months might be similarly rough.  But when all this bloodletting is finished, Star Wars might just be stronger for it.

Let’s hope.

33 thoughts on “The new reality: Star Wars is getting a reboot

  1. Annalee

    I really and truly want the The Clone Wars to be saved, but I believe the decision to end it was based on more than just viewership. That’s why, as much as I support it, I don’t really expect the letter-writing campaign to work.

    My favorite thing about Club Jade is the mature, even-tempered way folks around here approach fandom. There seem to be some corners of the internet where saying that you think TCW really is gone for good is tantamount to declaring abiding hatred for the show, all its characters, and the entire prequel trilogy while you’re at it.

    I really want The Clone Wars to stick around, too. But since that’s probably not going to happen, yes, I’m glad that at least we get to keep Filoni.

    Really I think the biggest problem right now is, we’re in the ugliest, scariest part of the shake-up. We’re hearing about all the things that are getting deep-sixed, but we’re not hearing about the things that will be taking their place, because they’re not ready for the public yet. So we’re left with, pretty much, worrisome news and a lot of speculation.

    Once the dust has a chance to settle, I’m sure we’ll start seeing more of the kind of news we can get excited for. Here’s hoping the more strident parts of the fandom are willing to actually give the good news a chance when it finally comes.

    (Also yeah I just called CJ mature and even-tempered–where’s Obi-Wan and his head-sized martini when you need him?).

    Reply
  2. Papa Kal

    Disney clearly doesn’t give a damn about the fans. A big, bad sign. I’d be on board for a reboot if they’d given Clone Wars the final season it deserved and the fans needed, because while it got off to a goofy start, Clone Wars wound up as the best storytelling to come out of Lucasfilm.

    I saw the first three Indiana Jones movies dozens of times. I saw Kingdom of the Crystal Skull once, then never saw it again. Similar with Episodes I and II. I hope this isn’t the case with Eps VII, VIII and IX. Thank god for Dave Filoni, though; at this point, he’s our only hope.

    Reply
  3. Dunc

    Annalee: Thanks. if there’s one thing we strive for, it’s to be a somewhat rational voice in fandom. ;)

    Papa Kal: I think it’s obvious that Disney and Kathleen Kennedy care very much – they could get any bozo in Hollywood to write and direct Episode VII, and they didn’t. We don’t know much about how Arndt signed on, but we do know Kennedy PURSUED Abrams. Pursued him, when from accounts she had other top notch talent lining up for the privilege.

    I think they know very well what’s on the line after the mixed response to the prequels (and Crystal Skull,) and they don’t want a repeat. They show every sign that they’re pursuing talent to uplift the franchise, talent that’s capable of making a movie that, hey, a lot of people might actually like. Granted, the stakes are high, but I think that what we know so far is proof that they are trying.

    The Animation and LucasArts decisions came from a business perspective, but LFL is going through an unprecedented course correction right now. They’re moving from nearly a decade of ‘how do we keep a movie franchise alive without movies’ mode to ‘MORE MOVIES,’ and collateral damage is inevitable. Particularly when there are redundant resources and an industry that is in itself not in the most stable place right now.

    The Clone Wars may not have gone on as long as folks hoped it would, but it still got a lot more than anyone expected and managed to end at a very natural point – which is more than you can say about a lot of very expensive animated shows. And I really don’t think we’ve seen the last of those characters… If 20+ years of the EU has taught us nothing else, little in Star Wars goes untouched for very long, barring command from on high.

    Reply
  4. Gahmah Raan

    The news may have been distressing, but like the occasional retcons that happen every now then, I get over them eventually and come to accept them. Wounds do heal over time, after all. And some changes are for the better. And I’ve learned not to cling too tightly to canon.

    As sad as it is to see LucasArts go, they haven’t really made many in-house games in the last 10 years, and the best one I can remember coming from them during those years was Republic Commando. Other than that, they had pretty much become just a licensing house already, and most of the games published or produced in its final years didn’t do so well critically or sales-wise. The Old Republic may have been well-received by critics (Even I can admit to enjoying it and still playing it to this day, although it’s a better story than an actual game as usual where BioWare’s concerned), but it lost plenty of subscribers early on (because of problems with the game in the early months, being overhyped, and terrible business practices on EA’s part *cough*Origin exclusive, let’s just say this game is the only reason I have the service; otherwise, I stick to Steam) and was forced to go Free-to-Play (albeit an admittedly poorly-executed F2P model) barely a year after release.

    How does this affect Paranormalities for me since it takes place post-New Jedi Order? Very little, and not just because it’s a fanfic, albeit one I’ve put years of focus into. While it does reference previous EU mythology, they have little to no impact on the overall story, and for a fanfic that sticks mostly to original characters, the only canon character with significant screentime is Luke Skywalker. On the off-chance it does get licensed, those other references can be easily adjusted. And like all those other previous works, it’ll still just be licensed fanfic in the end.

    Good article, Stooge.

    Reply
  5. Dunc

    Profic still a “we’ll call you” situation for stuff like Star Wars. They pick already-published authors and then those folks write on commission – they don’t pick up stories randomly, and they don’t take submissions. Best you can hope for an already written fanfic is to file off the serial numbers and sell it as an original. (Ala pull an E.L. James – but even that can be a little skeevy, and I don’t mean the porn aspect of my example.)

    Also, please don’t pimp your fanfic in a completely unrelated conversation – so gauche, and epically off-topic to boot.

    Reply
  6. Papa Kal

    Dunc, I hope you’re right. I understand Disney’s desire to draw a solid line between Lucas’ SW and theirs, but it would have been a simple matter to release Clone Wars Season 6, for the fans, who ultimately keep the whole thing going. Instead, they treated the CW staff like redheaded stepchildren. They could have run the story up to Ep III and still kept the ultimate fates of Tano, Rex, et al, open-ended. Then again, business is business.

    Getting Abrams was an awesome move. But so far, everything else they’ve done has just hollowed us out.

    My faith remains strong though, because Filoni’s still there. He clearly loves Star Wars and also loves the fans. He GETS it and he’s proven himself. I’m hoping they’re seeking his input for the new movies and not just this new animated show.

    Reply
    1. Dunc

      As Paul suggested in his column the other day, I think it’s very likely we’ll see some of The Clone Wars storylines continued in other mediums. Maybe not everyone, but certainly folks like Ahsoka aren’t just going to vanish forever. Aside from the possibility of a second show, I can’t think of a reason for LFL to make TCW stuff off-limits to the EU, and if sales were iffy for Clone Wars books in the past, well, they’ll probably be a lot easier to sell now.

      Reply
  7. derp

    The problem is that over-saturation of the marquet isn’t the reason behind the cancellation. If it were, they wouldn’t be making a new animated show.

    Also, what I don’t understand is why release so few bonus content? It won’t be released in a ”saturating” way, and not completing it is is a waste of money, some stories are almost done.

    Papa Kal: the problem is that, even though Dave Filoni is on the new show, Disney is the one ruining it ultimately. And I doubt they will let that new show be even close to being as dark and mature as TCW. I doubt Disney would ever dare to have an arc as brutal as the Maul arc, or as sad as the Ahsoka arc.

    Reply
  8. Stooge Post author

    I would add that Michael Arndt was also a great pick. I like everything he’s written so far, and for goodness sake he’s an Oscar-winning screenwriter whose movies have made a boatload of money. He could have had his pick of any project in the world, but LFL convinced him to take on the most scrutinized movie since Episode I. Good on them, and good on him.

    Reply
  9. ImperialGirl

    Regarding #3: It’s safe to say that Bob Iger is not exactly the one calling the shots. He’s CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation–that now includes Disney proper, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Henson, Pixar…there are a lot of irons in the fire and he is not Michael “Rule With an Iron Fist Until I Completely Screw Up” Eisner. Disney obviously has final veto, but really, does their Marvel stuff give the impression of micromanaging?

    And I’m honestly very confident about their choices so far. There is WAY too much “stuff” right now. I haven’t been able to finish a Star Wars book in forever. Even “Mercy Kill” was full of characters I didn’t know or care about in situations where I really had lost the context. Meanwhile, I cared about Star TREK for the first time in years because I watched the reboot, after having given up on series after series of random characters, and for the first time in ages felt like “Now THIS is Star Trek.” I *am* one of those people who’s quite happy they opted for Abrams. His Trek was like he cleaned house top to bottom, kept a few sentimental favorites, and went back to basics. After only really loving RotS, and finding out from the DVD special features most of the cringeworthy parts of Crystal Skull were down to George, I’m about ready to let someone clean house and go back to basics.

    Yeah, I love the Zahn trilogy, I love the X-Wing and Wraith books, but you know, I can reread those.

    Reply
  10. Annalee

    but it would have been a simple matter to release Clone Wars Season 6, for the fans, who ultimately keep the whole thing going.

    Well, simple matter except for the part where they would have to pay for it, and TCW is anything but cheap to produce.

    As far as running it up to Ep III, my understanding is that it’s supposed to take place during season 3 of the previous Clone Wars cartoon– s2 of Clone Wars ends about ten minutes before Ep III begins, so unless the new series overrides the old (which it may; I’m not fussed about continuity) they’d have to stop before EpIII.

    Reply
  11. Stooge Post author

    derp, neither you nor I *know* the reason TCW got canceled. But since we’re both guessing, I’ll take a couple of stabs at your questions: first, we don’t know when we’ll see this upcoming animated show. Given how long it takes to get a cartoon on the air, I’d be very surprised if we see if before Episode VII. A little less likely is that it will lead into the sequels, in which case it’s solidly part of the new era, not a holdover from the old.

    Second, the bonus content was probably already nearly done, if not entirely (the Clovis arc seems like it was done and delivered), and to bury it would have *really* gotten fans upset. And they no doubt figured that releasing it would soften the blow of the cancellation — and it did console most fans after the initial announcement. As for the other episodes, they may have been written and tracked but I doubt they were anywhere near being finished. As Annalee said, completing them would have meant continuing production, and that’s obviously not what Disney had in mind. When a show’s canceled, it’s canceled.

    Reply
  12. Stooge Post author

    ImpGirl, good points about Iger. He seems very involved but that may be because he’s been interviewed more than the other main players.

    And I’ll totally second your reasons for liking Abrams. (And I’ll totally second some other folks’ reasons for disliking the choice, but I’ll keep those to myself for now.) Plus, even though I’m not a hardcore Trek fan, I appreciate that he makes serious efforts to keep the new Star Trek within the old Star Trek’s continuity. Considering that it was the story of young Captain Kirk, he certainly didn’t have to do that. I’m hopeful that’s one of the reasons LFL wanted him for the job.

    Reply
  13. Gahmah Raan

    Noted, and I apologize for coming off like that.

    I was just trying to relate an example of how fans (particularly on any part of the Internet with an incredibly active community) can be pretty touchy when it comes to major changes (such as this series of them) to the canon of their franchises (and how I work around that). Especially when it nullifies some of the better-known fanon. And Star Wars isn’t the only franchise this kind of stuff happens to; it happens with pretty much every franchise or series ever made.

    For these types of people, they just can’t seem to accept that they have little to no control of their favorite series (but they may influence it a little). In my case, I don’t do any “wishful thinking” for the established canon; I just write for fun. And I wasn’t serious about licensing my work; it was just a what-if scenario.

    On a side-thought, could it be possible the old post-OT EU may turn into an alternate continuity since so much of it exists already? If not, the new trilogy continuity may salvage some of the really good or well-known stuff from the old (like the Thrawn Trilogy for instance).

    Reply
  14. Gahmah Raan

    Wow, a lot posts happened while I was typing that.
    My point is that fans freak out about major changes for tons of reasons, and not just for what happens officially and what it will mean for previously established canon. It also affects the people that spend a lot of time building up an idea only for unexpected news to come flying in their face.

    Reply
  15. Annalee

    To be fair, it’s much easier to keep Star Trek lined up continuity-wise, because 1. time travel and 2. they have always been absolutely crystal clear that the media tie-ins (books, comics, etc) are in no way canon.

    Which is why they’ve got Memory Alpha (the wiki for things that are canon) and Memory Beta (the wiki for things that are not), whereas we just have the one wiki that doesn’t always make it clear where individual parts of an article are drawing from.

    Reply
  16. derp

    Stooge: according to The Force.net, at least one arc touching bounty hunters like Boba and Cad Bane was almost completed. http://www.theforce.net/topstory/story/Report_TCW_Bonus_Content_To_Be_Two_Story_Arcs_150831.asp

    Your point on the series coming after Episode 7 is a good one, it is ver probable.

    But did they didn’t have to end literally everything to avoid over-saturation. After postoning 1313, Detours and the 3D prequels, it seems to me they had done more than enough to avoid over-saturation in the future. I don’t think the presence of one star Wars animated show is enough to over-saturate the marquet.

    Reply
  17. Stooge Post author

    No disrespect to TFN, but the story’s anonymous source could (a) have been wrong in how far along that arc was it was in its production and (b) may have been pushing an anti-cancelation agenda. But since it was anonmyous, we don’t know.

    I agree that financial considerations were probably behind some of Disney’s recent decisions. My point is that other reasons were also probably involved — as I’ve pointed out before, canceling The Clone Wars doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as a pure business decision — and they’re most likely related to an overall vision for the franchise.

    Reply
  18. Jason Ward

    Great article and it is hard to disagree with it. I do take up some issues with the semantics of “reboot,” as it is really a redirection, steering the ship to another place.

    Strangely, fans, probably out of habit, are still ignorantly blaming Lucas for the LucasArts closure, one photo even proclaiming “in your greed you killed it.” These people are obviously dim, but to me it just proves the Lucas discourse over the last fourteen years is not one maintained by the best and the brightest amongst us.

    I’ve never really been that crazy about the idea of looking to blame someone because you didn’t get what you wanted. That bratty, almost baby like side of fandom bores me to tears.

    At the risk of looking to blame something or someone, I do think it was unfair and an irresponsible handling of the franchise to not wrap up The Clone Wars while “winding it down.” As I’ve said before, why should I trust Disney’s big vision for their next series if they didn’t finish what was started last time? I understand we are at a unique moment in the history of this franchise that will likely not be repeated within our life time, but it does say something about their commitment to its legacy. I’m okay with ending The Clone Wars, as long as they would have had the decency to shell out a few more dollars to give us some closure on the bigger points. This lasts forever. As of today, it will be forever be incomplete. Finishing things up in a book or comic is not the same. Changing mediums mid story is unacceptable.

    I’m really looking forward to the Episode VII era of Star Wars. I’m ready to put the explored eras of Star Wars on the back-burner of my leisure time imagination for new frontiers set “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”

    Reply
  19. derp

    Oh, I totally agree. The point of my comments was not to question the nature of the decision, but to highlight why it is a bad, questionnable decisions in my opinion. I should have made that more clear.

    Reply
  20. Dom

    Stooge, you make a lot of good points. However, oversaturation? Have you ever been to Disney? The stores are literally brimming with Disney products, most of it knick-knacks or garbage. Disney is already releasing tons of new Star Wars products, such as pins, cups, and hats. It seems like they’re now releasing more Mickey Star Wars figures than Hasbro is releasing regular Star Wars figures. There’s even a new Jedi starfighter just for Mickey.

    My worry is that Disney is cutting back on storytelling (i.e., the expensive part stuff) and is getting ready to saturate the market with cheap Star Wars products. I hope I’m wrong and that Disney invests its money into the movies, and doesn’t just go for the lowest common denominator.

    Reply
  21. SarahK

    There are some things even reboots don’t change. Kirk was still a womanizing loose canon. Alfred was still a stiff and faithful butler. Luke will (likely) still be a Jedi. Hopefully, a little pruning today will yield a thriving story tree tomorrow.

    Reply
  22. Mark Elwood

    Does anyone know what’s up with Leland Chee? I wonder what he thinks about all of this reboot talk. Look at the wikipedia.org article “Holocron”. In it he is quoted as saying such things as: “In the end, my ongoing vision is that as long as there’s the Holocron, Star Wars will not reboot.” I think I’d be pretty cranky if my job for the past 12 years was completely ignored. Seems like such a sad, sad waste to have the capability to very quickly look up and understand the state of the Star Wars galaxy, then completely ignore that and make vastly contradictory story. You can still be very creative with in bounds of predetermined rules. Most artists and writers have to do that (I do), why not hold Disney writers under same rules. I really liked being able to say that Star Wars was more or less one overall timeline and I hope that it will remain that way, but it may be a fools dream at this point.

    Reply
  23. Stooge Post author

    Mark, when I used the word “reboot,” I didn’t mean that they’d be starting from scratch. Everyone involved is too smart for that. The reboot, as I see it, is happening on the franchise level, not the story one.

    That said, the EU has been contradicted so many times by now that several continuities have already been (unofficially) established. The sequels will no doubt be an extension of the G-canon, unless for some reason GL contradicts them.

    Reply
  24. Stooge Post author

    Jason and Dom, I agree that the show got a raw deal, as did its fans and its employees. And a figure of Goofy-as-Vader certainly dilutes the franchise more than TCW ever could. But I like to believe that, even though all these firings and cancellations are lousy and unfortunate, there was a creative decision behind it. But I could be wrong.

    As for product oversaturation, that’s different in my mind than merchandise oversaturation. But even so, the Disneyland toys — which are exclusive to a few places around the world — have a much smaller impact than the rows of toys in every Target across the country. I doubt SW toys sections will go away, but they will stop reflecting TCW by the time Episode VII starts to roll out. And that was probably part of the goal.

    Reply
  25. ImperialGirl

    Stooge: If you listen to the commentary on the Trek DVD, Abrams and the writers spend a lot of it gushing about…Star Wars. They refer to Kirk seeing the ship under construction as their “twin suns” moment, they acknowledge the homage (some might say ripoff) of the Hoth cave sequence, basically they admit they owe more to the original “Star Wars” than to a lot of Star Trek for the feel and look of the film. (They also take a minute to poke fun at the prequels–”Start with Phantom Menace, so it makes sense”–which actually gives me hope, too.)

    Annalee–considering LFL has always taken a somewhat…loose view of the EU (basically taking anything they liked, such as ‘Couruscant’, and leaving out or contradicting a lot) while Trek had amassed ten movies and five television series, I don’t think they had much easier a time. If anything, they confused themselves by having MORE canon (try to resolve ‘Enterprise’ with TOS from a really logical perspective. Then bring in Star Trek: First Contact and the episode of TNG in which Cochrane appeared. All of those are supposed to be canon.) Abrams really kept new Trek in “continuity” by eliminating 90% of it–Enterprise happened, some version of First Contact, and…that’s. Everything else is gone off to an alternate timeline. And the movie would STILL work pretty well for most viewers if you eliminated the time travel and made it a clean reboot.

    Star Wars, meanwhile, has a lot less house-cleaning because this ISN’T going back and overwriting anything. We can assume that what LFL called canon (the movies, and if I understand right CW-don’t watch it, don’t care) happened. It’s all fifty-twenty years before the new films and wouldn’t be directly relevant. They don’t have to find a way to rewrite the prequels or the OT, while with Star Trek they basically had to take the ‘founding document’, TOS, and figure out how to restart the whole thing while not alienating fans.

    With Trek, they had to say “Okay, if we make this decision for the plot, we are eliminating a hundred years in-universe of Trek history and basically creating a Star Trek where nothing in any of the shows or films happened quite like it did originally, if it happens at all.” With Star WARS, they’re looking at “Okay, so twenty or forty or howevermany years after ‘Return of the Jedi’, where’s the galaxy at?” Trek was a reboot and wiped official canon into an AU. Wars are sequels that are disregarding books and comics that were always subject to being disregarded anyway.

    The real difference is this time, the new SW canon’s being written by people who already worked with a beloved franchise and managed to please 99% of the viewers, instead of someone who thought making one of the most iconic film villains ever first a wooden little kid and then a whiny mass murderer of “evil bears” was a good idea. If we have to sacrifice a cartoon and our books for that, I can live with it.

    Reply
  26. Annalee

    ImperialGirl: Yes, Star Trek has had a few pretzels they’ve had to retcon over the years, but they don’t have nearly as many as we have, because they just flat-out ignore the pile of contradictions in their EU (there are multiple books with contradictory stories about Crusher’s dad’s death, for instance).

    While there are diehard ST fans that were only appeased by the reboot because their old stuff still exists in an alternate timeline (some of them not even then, granted), there wasn’t a lot of fandom-wide angst about STEU materials getting overwritten. No one cared.

    So while we’ve got plenty of fans saying that overwriting the EU with the new films will be an unforgivable betrayal, Star Trek pretty much didn’t need to worry about that.

    Not that Star Wars actually is worrying about that (and personally I think they’re right not to), but from the ‘keeping fans happy’ perspective, Trekkies have completely different expectations about their EU.

    Reply
  27. Eduardo

    Man, I really have to write a piece to make things clear here. Being depressed and getting all pessimistic doesn’t work folks, not even when the doomsayers have been correct twice.

    Reply
    1. Dunc

      I don’t think Stooge is being depressive – though there’s plenty of doom and gloom and general overreaction out there – just realistic.

      Alas, ‘realistic’ isn’t something this fandom is really known for, which is exactly why pieces like this (and Tosche Station’s on LucasArts) need to be written.

      Reply
  28. Pingback: Seth Green takes the long view on Detours

Leave a Reply