Always in motion the future: Coming to terms with Episode VII, the Expanded Universe and canon

luke-lightsaberI don’t really have a whole lot to say on Friday’s Expanded Universe news, mainly because I pretty much wrote that post a couple weeks ago.

Naturally, I’m pretty happy with the decision. That doesn’t mean I’m not a little apprehensive about the new films, but the ‘salad bar’ mentality is something I’ve been preaching for a long time, and I think it’s for the best that Lucasfilm has the ability to pick, choose, or just entirely ignore elements of the existing EU.

But that doesn’t mean the stories themselves are dead. If you like a book or a character or a series, than they still count to you. And that is what’s important, or should be: The stories. The people. Not their canon status. Lucasfilm can dictate that, but they can’t tell you what to enjoy.

If this took you by surprise, it’s okay to mourn, but remember: This isn’t a guarantee that you won’t see your faves – or some version of your faves – ever again. They may show up in Rebels, or the new canon books, or even Episode VII or one of the standalone films. They may show up in ways you don’t expect, but Lucasfilm, like their stepsister Marvel, knows their own products. They know what they have, and I don’t think they’re going to forget it. As they mentioned in the original release, they’re using EU elements in Rebels, and I doubt that’ll be the last.

But me? Yes, I’m excited. Of course the new trilogy could still be awful, but if it is, it won’t be because they’re not following the EU. All this latest development means is that the new films are not beholden to storylines and character developments made while being half blind. The many stories that are, themselves, as imperfect as anything else in this franchise is imperfect.

But there are a lot of reactions to this out there, and head below the cut for my favorites.

Jason Ward of Making Star Wars:

What is a legend? A legend is a story that cannot be proved true and is probably not entirely accurate. Yet, a legend is a story that lives on and refuses to die. A legend is a story that is good enough to be retold regardless of what we believe to be true. So these stories are legends in the Star Wars universe now. They are stories worth retelling but do not necessarily reflect the interpretations or realities of the world as it is today.

Bria at Tosche Station:

I think that a lot of us need to go through the seven stages of grief, especially anger and acceptance. I also think it’s important that everyone remembers that we will always have these books. No one can ever take them from us. No one should ever just chuck their books out the window simply because they aren’t considered a part of the canon anymore. Most importantly, no one can take all the happy memories that so many of us have thanks to these books. Every time you laughed, every time you cried, every time you smiled because of words on the page of a newly dubbed Legends books? Those are yours to keep.

Tosche Station’s Brian also wrote about it, and they did one of the first reaction podcasts. Meanwhile, Full of Sith posted theirs this morning.

David Gremillion at Star Wars Underworld:

Lucasfilm has cleared the way for decades of future stories. Even better? These stories will come without controversy. We won’t have fanboys wondering how Chewie can be in Episode VII if he was killed in a novel. Authors everywhere are free to weave the post-Return of the Jedi story into a tightly cohesive universe we can all enjoy.

Onwards to Tumblr, we have Ysalamiri reminding us about sme of what we’re losing

This is Ben and Mara without a fungus that is healed by magic tears.

This is Grand Master Luke without turning to the dark side twice and killing the cloned emperor like 17 times.

This is a New Jedi Order without the authors flat out GUESSING what the “old” Jedi order was like.

And Lady Darth Caedus on looking ahead:

SW fans, think of this as not an end but a beginning. Remember what Luke realized at the start of Heir to the Empire? Not the last of the old Jedi, but the first of the new.

And finally, my favorite reaction to this whole thing? Take it away, Howard Kleinman:

Chewbacca: 1

Moon: 0

Suck it, moon.

9 thoughts on “Always in motion the future: Coming to terms with Episode VII, the Expanded Universe and canon

  1. Dom

    I can get over a relaunch of the EU. I don’t think it’s necessary, but if the Canon Universe tells good stories I’ll be happy. What does leave me saddened is the shoddy way in which the EU was sent off. There were quite a few stories for which we never received proper send-offs. Crucible was not a fitting conclusion to the post-ROTJ EU. We still don’t really know the fates of Revan, Quinlan Vos, or many other characters. If DelRey and other licensees knew this was coming (and it’s possible they might not have), it would have been nice to get a novel or even short story wrapping up at least some of the post-ROTJ plot threads. Heck, why not issue an explicitly non-canon short story showing the deaths of the Big Three? At least Dawn of the Jedi got to wrap up its story, if somewhat abruptly, in the last arc.

  2. Emily

    I’ll admit, this hit me harder than I expected, and more than I wanted it to. I can see both sides of the argument, and as i said then: it wasn’t unexpected (I’ve been around long enough to know that). That said, they toss everything and pick up slivers here and there. That’s absolutely fine. But I will be honest: if Mara isn’t one of the slivers used (and she can be dead or alive) I will be devastated. Yes, I know the books will still exist, but I disagree strongly with the idea of an entirely parallel post-ROTJ universe where she doesn’t exist. And for those of us who’ve loved her for 20+ years (as many around these parts have), that’s just hard for my little shipper heart to take.

    That said, I’m thrilled that Chewie now lives and Boba Fett is actually freakin’ dead. Hallelujah.

    1. Dom

      Don’t worry Emily, you’re not alone. Hang in there. For me, I’m actually more likely to mourn the loss of some of the pre-ROTJ characters, like Bastila Shan and Plagueis and Quinlan Vos.

      Lucas actually said that he considered an added scene in ROTJ in which Fett climbs out of the Sarlacc pit. So for all we know he could be alive.

      1. iiari

        As someone, I think maybe even Jen Heddle, pointed out, Plagueis is actually first mentioned in ROTS, so he’s very much the most canonical of canon. Everything in the same named novel now becomes a “legendary” story about him, but that character is very much in play, if they chose to revisit him.

        I still am choosing to believe that much of the pre-TPM timeline still holds if only because they probably may not revisit it formally for a very long time, if ever, so thus by (my) default it stands. Also, as I believe Zahn said in his (outstanding) post on this, basically they haven’t nullified the existing stories by fiat. One can view them as standing until they discretely outline something different and overriding in canonical media.

        Thus, I continue to value and cherish my Shatterpoint, Darth Plagueis, Outbound Flight, Darth Bane, and other novels just as much today as I did a week ago. Until the Story Group tells a different story to the contrary, they stand in my mind….

        1. Juanma Ruiz

          Even more: for me, ALL the EU post ROTJ still stands until December, 2015. I won’t let it disappear all of a sudden… I’ll let it fade, slowly, from this point until then. There will be steps in between: my final readings in the old EU, the first trailer or synopsis for Episode VII… but, for me, it will be a slow process of letting go, happily, in peace.

          Think of this next year and a half as my own private “flash sideways”, as in Lost’s final season.

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