Would this have made a better New Jedi Order?

In an excerpt from Pablo Hidalgo’s Essential Reader’s Companion, an early concept for the New Jedi Order series is revealed:

“The story arc was to very closely hew to the myth structure of the Hero’s Journey as outlined by Joseph Campbell, a huge influence on the creation of the Star Wars cinematic story. With that as its basic framework, the plot underwent much evolution and exploration. Its earliest descriptions had Luke Skywalker sending the three Solo children on an epic quest, upon which they encounter a new female character from the invading species sent to infiltrate the galaxy. This unnamed female corrupts Anakin, nearly turning him to the dark side, but she falls in love with him and Anakin instead redeems her. In a fit of intense sibling rivalry, Jacen and Jaina turn on Anakin, and in the resulting conflict, Jacen dies.”

So much in the EU depends on the authors and the execution, but I can’t say this story idea doesn’t strike me as a better one than the muddled mess we eventually got.

17 Replies to “Would this have made a better New Jedi Order?”

  1. This really seems like a setup that would have been much easier to manage. A lot more focused, a much tighter narrative. I don’t know if they could have gotten 21 books out of it, though I’m not sure if trying to get 21 books out of anything was ever a wise idea.

    Somewhere, there’s a ficcer who is considering an AU thanks to this.*

    *Not me.

  2. I was going to say, like Megan says it sounds like some of this got the serial numbers filed off, characters swapped around, and bits and pieces used for Legacy/Fate.

    And yes, I think this might have worked, or at least made more structural sense, than NJO.

  3. That’s no better at all. Though…it would have left Anakin alive and Jacen dead which is better. So it depends on where they would’ve taken the story next I guess to completely decide if it was better.

    I’m so torn cuz they’ve made a mess of characters who survived the NJO and at least with the story the way it is now Anakin got to go out as a hero and not a punk.

  4. Welp, I guess the Solo kids were destined to die/destroy each other from the beginning. Because that makes for a great story.

  5. I thought Jacen’s character development was one of the greatest successes of the NJO. This alternative plot would not only have (in all probability) lacked that element, but also doesn’t give any indication of changing the things that /were/ wrong with the series (for starters, the unwieldy length!). Not only that, it would never have had Traitor, which would have been a tragedy in and of itself.

  6. Traitor was great but the retconning of the evolution of morality in Star Wars rendered a lot of what it did moot and is still a great shame.

  7. Why was it always the Solo kids’ destiny to end up killing each other/dead? Whose genius idea was that? Baffling, really.

    (that said, this early concept seems a bit…tidier – oh, what might have been)

  8. emily: the sad curse of being a skywalker – family members will end up violently dead as a key development of another family member:

    Anakin: Shmi’s death puts him on the dark path
    Luke: gets symbolically castrated by his dad. later goes to kill his dad, but ends up saving him, but his dad dies anyway.
    Jacen/Jaina/Anakin: since we can’t kill off Leia or Luke, they have to kill off each other.

  9. Imho the NJO started okay, got really good for a couple of books, survived Dark Journey, got brilliant with Traitor and died an agonizing death after Destiny’s Way. Not sure if this alternative version would have avoided all that. But perhaps it would have contained the myth of Star Wars a little better than the actual NJO (and everything that came after) did. Because honestly: The NJO sank the post Endor EU for me. Completely blew it to bits. And whatever is left there now is a horrible, bloody, twisted mess. And yes, all that is an IMHO. :-)
    So in my opinion they should have gone ahead with the Dark Horse invasion story, put a little of Zahn’s version in there and gone from there. Because as much as I have learned to appreciate the Vong as an interesting alien concept, they pretty much ruined everything and made going back impossible. Very much unlike every other post Endor novel pre-NJO.

  10. @James: That’s a fair point, however it doesn’t mean I have to like it. ;)

    @Aaron: I agree with you about the NJO sinking the EU for you. It did the same for me. I don’t need sunshine and rainbows but the direction they went after NJO (and even during) was more dismal than I wanted from Star Wars.

  11. Terrible idea, glad they ditched it. I like the fact that I still miss Anakin, it’s great that a story can do that. I also loved the Darth Caedus storyline. Finally for me the NJO was brilliant and worked perfectly to make the transition from wallowing in the new republic to a new era.

  12. Yeah…I don’t know about this one. I’m not generally an opponent of the NJO and everything that came after (it isn’t really that much better or worse than the EU that came before, just different), but my one big complaint toward it is that it feels increasingly less and less like Star Wars. Now, I know that there is some Campbellian philosophy at work in the OT, but I’m not too sure that dedicating an entire series to a complicated story of sibling rivalry in that structure would really feel a whole lot like Star Wars either. More, we don’t have any sense of the scale that this one would have been told on–how many books, how many authors, how many subplots, whatever–but there’s enough wiggle-room of interpretation in the Hero’s Journey archetypes that having more than one person working on it could prove equally inconsistent to anything that we actually HAVE seen. And on a story that is so much more heavily character driven and focused, that could prove incredibly disastrous. Plus, in the end, it still has Jacen going out at the hands of a sibling and is that really putting us at a better place for continuation than we’re already at?

    On the other hand, I guess the title “New Jedi Order” makes a little more sense in this context.

  13. I have only read a few books AFTER the NJO so far (I got as far as Sacrifice, actually) and now it’s been so long that I can hardly remember much of the storyline in NJO. I don’t know whether this would have been a better story, but it might have kept the series shorter. That was a lot to slog through, even for an obsessive teenager. >_>

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