The #SuperBloodMoon came and went, and it was neither a The Force Awakens spoiler or a Wookiee murderer, so we’ll just count this week as a win.
One of the latest writers to come into the Star Wars fold, Chuck Wendig, has a blog entry on canon this morning. (Warning: Lumpy.)
Here’s my favorite bit, which speaks to why a lot of us Expanded Universe fans aren’t up in arms over the Legends thing or calling for more.
The more strict and detailed the canon becomes, the more reverence we devote to it. And the more it restricts the future of that narrative. The more it chokes off what can be told. Doors close. Windows slam shut and are boarded over. Options are lost. The more we care about what’s “true” — in a universe that has never been true and whose power lies in its fiction — we start denigrating those things that aren’t. We view alternate timelines as somehow inconsequential. We dismiss fan-fiction as just some wish fulfillment machine instead of what it often is: a way to tell cool new stories in a pre-existing pop culture framework that aren’t beholden to the canonical straitjacket.
As someone with a lot of history in the fan fiction realm – remember, this site actually served mainly as an archive for Club Jade’s first several years – that is the perfect description of it: Another way to tell cool stories.
No, I don’t view Legends as fan fiction – it’s still professionally published and licensed, by professional authors, which most fanfic isn’t. (At all.) And the Legends authors never had the freedom your standard fic author does, to ignore or use whatever. Even in the beginning, there were guidelines and restrictions, which is why there wasn’t a crazy Obi-wan clone in the Thrawn trilogy.
But clinging to the concept of canon has, over time, done just as much harm as good, and it’s just plain unrealistic in many ways – which is Wendig’s point, really. The world doesn’t work like that.
In addition to the nuttery going on with Aftermath and the ever-present comment hijacking on official Facebook pages, it appears that a faction of the ‘Bring Back Legends‘ crew was actually harassing VIPs and fans at DragonCon last weekend, Brian at Tosche Station reports:
One panelist and moderator was stalked to a restroom by someone from Bring Back Legends. Another panelist was halted in the Marriott atrium and, again, was talked at and had a set of flyers pushed off on them even though the panelist said they didn’t want one. The Bring Back Legends folks at Dragon Con had become general nuisances, but more than once it went beyond that. I spoke with several fans and panelists who confided that they were made extremely uncomfortable by the advances of the individuals from Bring Back Legends. Others corroborated my story, that they were cornered after panels and had a difficult time escaping their speeches and questioning. The combination of forced interaction and awareness of what the general behavior of these people online proved to be an unsettling experience every time we were approached. We knew they weren’t interested in talking to us, they wanted to talk at us and recruit us to their cause.
And those are far from the only incidents he experienced or heard about – there are more at the link.
The Legends folks were, from reports, fairly courteous at SDCC – and I don’t recall any stories from Celebration at all. Did DragonCon just luck into a particularly obnoxious contingent? Did the more fan-run nature of the con make people think they could get away with this sort of thing more easily? Or are we just dealing with a few individuals who don’t understand basic social cues? In any case, this is not how you get folks on your side.
Here’s an interesting piece of Expanded Universe history – a couple chapters of Kenneth C. Flint’s The Heart of the Jedi, a book from the early 90’s that we heard about at the time (mostly notably in Kevin J. Anderson’s introduction to the Dark Empire trade paperback) but that never materialized. Star Wars Timeline will be posting the whole thing – four chapters at a time.
In the author’s note, Flint tells his side of the story – and it certainly doesn’t sound like a content issue. He spent a year writing the book, revising it, being told Lucasfilm had approved it, and then:
Finally, growing concerned, I contacted an agent who contacted Spectra. He discovered only then that Spectra had determined my book couldn’t be published because it “no longer fit into the sequence for the new series.”
I was told that this happened because of my Spectra editor. She had supposedly promised another author of the group (a friend of hers, according to one source) that her book would be placed in Position One. This apparently accounted for the “delays” that I had been told about, while she wrote her own book to slip into my slot while I sat idle and ignorant of what was happening for months. I have made a point of not knowing who this other author is, and I have never been able to bring myself to read her book, or any other of the subsequent series, saddened that this so violated my love of everything Star Wars.
Did I confront Lucasfilm and try to fight this situation? Nope. I didn’t know who to contact or how, remember. I worked for Spectra. I had no resources of my own, I was pitifully naïve, and I felt pretty much powerless by that point.
Flint declines to name the author, but there are only two women in the immediately post-Thrawn trilogy author lineup. Kathy Tyers’s Truce at Bakura was the first Star Wars novel to come out after Timothy Zahn’s The Last Command, followed by Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy, Dave Wolverton’s Courtship of Princess Leia, and Vonda McIntyre’s The Crystal Star. Bakura is the only book here set right after Return of the Jedi – “immediately after the second Death Star is destroyed” – the same period as Flint’s novel.
I see no reason Bakura couldn’t have been set at any point between Return of the Jedi and Courtship with a few tweaks – the bulk of the action being far, far away from Endor, and the Empire/Rebellion conflict being a fertile one – so I wonder if Bantam had other other reason to cancel Heart? Certainly everyone was playing fast and lose with the timeline at this point (the HoloCron was years away,) and in an era where Anderson was an active participant “quality” isn’t much of an argument.
In any case, Flint says the incident “basically destroyed my relationship with Spectra and my career as I writer.” He was so depressed he quit writing, found another job to get back on his feet, and is only now getting back into it.
It’s not a happy story, and I’m not surprised he’d want to tell it – though I am surprised that he’d share the book. (via)
Red alert! Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo is in Vanity Fair! We knew him when, y’all. Okay, they also have John Williams talking about The Force Awakens score, but: Pablo! He gives another fab quote on the Legends situation:
…there are great stories told there, but in all honesty they were written in an era where there was no expectation that we were going to add new movies or cinematic content onto that. So they blazed new trails there without the benefit of that knowledge, and they told really cool and compelling stories, but it’s not necessarily the stories that we want to tell on-screen.
→ Someone else got a super-vague quote from Oscar Isaac about Star Wars, this time the improbably named Monkeys Fighting Robots. (Says the woman who runs a site that sounds like it probably hosts porn.)
→ Do you want a (possible) synopsis of The Force Awakens based on all the Making Star Wars rumors? Do you? Because MSW has that for you. Click or not, it’s all you.
Marvel keeps the new release train rolling on Wednesday with Darth Vader #5 and Legends Epic Collection: The New Republic Vol. 1, which contains a real hodgepodge of Dark Horse stuff – including Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand and material from several issues of Tales. But if it’s new stuff you’re chomping at the bit for, StarWars.com has a preview of the Vader issue.
Novelwise, we’re in the cold until Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple on July 7.
The sequel to the Jedi Academy Trilogy the inhabitants of the Carida System deserve. Well, I’m certainly not going to argue with this. Kyp Durron earned that Killed Billions merit badge fair and square!
This week the releases start on Tuesday, with William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher in bookstores.
Wednesday brings not only Darth Vader #4, but Marvel’s first collection of the old Dark Horse stuff, the that’s-a-mouthful Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Empire Vol. 1.
Today’s talker: How slavish devotion to continuity can damage a series (and a fandom.) Continuity is important (and Club Jaders were big advocates for more of it back in the early days of the Expanded Universe) but when it outweighs and hinders the story and characters, it can become a problem. That’s something we saw in the waning days of the old EU. The solution? It’s somewhere in the middle.