Wednesday, 4 June 2014
...the Expanded Universe (EU) is now officially unoffical.
To EU fans this isn't exacly news, but it's certainly worth noting. The EU comprises a ton of video games, comic books and novels (so many in fact I've got a big fat 'Essential Guide' just of novel summaries!!) that are set anywhere ranging from 25,000 years before to around 140 years after the original trilogy - but all that is over with an official announcement from Lucasfilm.
Why? Simple and in a lot of ways, logical. The big question was always when is the movie going to be set and how will it tie in to the novels - well in the official report it is stated.
"In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe."
Which is fair enough and actually quite exciting, but a little part of me can't help but feel a little bitter.
I mean this is my childhood, the novels I geeked out over, collected, borrowed from friends or read in bookshops before putting back on the shelf and planning on buying one day. All gone.
Well not entirely.
"While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in Star Wars Rebels. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s."
Hmmm. OK cool so some favourite characters of spaceships might turn up - but the fact that new writers have the freedom to steal and re-write elements from our beloved stories and turn them into something else isn't that much of a consolation.
So what does this mean now? - basically the movies and the Clone Wars TV series are the only official Star Wars media as of present. Next out will be Rebels another series from the same producers but set in between the movie trilogies.
At some point Marvel will let us know what they are going to do with Star Wars in comics, but for now we have four novels that comprise the entire off-screen retinue of 'canon' Star Wars.
A New Dawn
A Rebels tie-in was almost inevitable and it's certainly a safe place to start for the new continuity. But I do have to wonder about how an adult fiction novel prequelling a kids TV show will work. Having said that all the authors are accomplished writers (I'm a big fan of JJM's Knight Errant strip) and I'm sure they will write them well - but my criticisms are based on the impact of the Star Wars universe.
Heir to the Jedi
A story written from Luke's perspective seems pretty cool, but it strikes me as, given that the post-Death Star storyline has been very much filled in in the EU, this is an opportunity for the Lucasfilm team to re-write some history in the build-up to the new movies.
This story is going to give Tarkin the Plagueis treatment according to the blurb. How does that work now that Plagueis is non-canon?? Ok, ok fine I get it, it's all new, but I do again have to see this as re-writing history a little bit. I mean, will he be as involved in the creation of the Death Star, what about Daala, is she no longer in the picture. I know he's had his fair amount of appearances in the Clone Wars so it's likely to pick up on that - and Luceno's output that I've read has been great so we'll see how this turns out.
Lords of the Sith
Hmm, another filler novel re-writing history and...ok, I seriously can't complain because this one looks like K'kruhk's hat. Darth Vader and Darth Sidious trapped and having to rely on each other to survive on a planet against an army of opposition, wow! This one has really peaked my interest - I mean just look at the cover for goodness sake!
So anyway, we'll see what comes for future Star Wars lore. Having a co-ordinated story from the get go sounds like a really good idea and I do hope for a bright future for Star Wars despite my grumbling.