What form of Escapism does Star Wars offer?

What started off as a defense instead became a prosecution, which then collapsed due to it being beyond such simple binary definitions! Why? Well I suppose exhibit A is this interesting quote from an essay by Steven Erikson of Malazan fame:

The Malazan Book does not offer readers the escapism into any romantic notions of barbarism, or into a world of pure, white knight Good, and pure, black tyrant Evil. In fact, probably the boldest claim to escapist fantasy my series makes, is in offering up a world where we all have power, no matter our station, no matter our flaws and weaknesses—we all have power.
(http://www.stevenerikson.com/index.php/the-problem-of-karsa-orlong/)

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The Case Against Mara Jade Skywalker

LukeMara_Wedding

When Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire hit the shelves in 1991, it brought us out of a long drought of Star Wars material and gave us an idea of what the post-Return of the Jedi Empire might have looked like. It also gave us two characters that grew very popular over time: Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade.

Mara was introduced as the “Emperor’s Hand”, who could hear his voice anywhere in the galaxy and did his bidding. She was tough, ruthless, one not to be crossed.

This characterization is good. Star Wars has always done well with strong female characters, was in fact one of the first franchises to do so. Lucas took a lot of criticism in 1977 for giving Leia strength, sarcastic wit, a feisty attitude; for making her into a person who would rip the blaster out of her incompetent rescuers’ hands because “someone has to save our skins” instead of just saying “Thank you, you wonderful men, for risking yourselves to rescue me off this battle station.” » Read more..

Walking the Razor’s Edge – The Staff Revisits Infinities

The Infinities series of comics, recently highlighted here by Alexander Gaultier, was basically Star Wars’ version of Marvel’s infamous series What If? Each of the miniseries started with one of the Original Trilogy films, then changed one key moment to see what would happen. The end results were…varied, in this writer’s opinion, but the mere concept of deliberately altering movie continuity was unheard of before then, and it’s a premise that still holds, as Alexander said, unlimited possibilities.

Unfortunately, a few months back, writer Peter David revealed what I’d long suspected—that the series weren’t really as “unlimited” as it seemed. David was originally approached to write Infinities: A New Hope, but his idea was rejected for being “too dark” The story, according to Lucasfilm, still had to end with the good guys winning.

This makes a tiny bit of sense when viewed through Star Wars’ mythological lens; it was foretold that the Force would return to balance somehow, so to go against that would contradict somewhat the very premise of the overall film saga. Nevertheless, why bother with Infinities at all if you’re not willing to screw with things? On its face, the original trilogy is a nonstop razor’s edge, where the slightest tweak at almost any time could have brought ruin to the main characters and the galaxy at large. Giving too many alternate paths to ultimate victory, I believe, does a disservice to Luke, Han and Leia’s struggles—and even the role of the Force itself in the proceedings unfolding as they did. » Read more..

What Star Wars Can Learn From Disney

In case you weren’t quite sure, my piece a couple weeks ago on What Star Wars Can Learn From Glee was an April Fools gag. But buried within it were a couple nuggets of truth; it’s hard to craft a satirical argument like that unless at least a tiny part of you can see its way to believing it.

To wit: the Disney purchase really does mean a new era for Star Wars, in which the old rules don’t apply—or at least don’t need to. Just ask Marvel. The film slate exemplified by 2012′s The Avengers and continuing into the foreseeable future was hard for an independent studio to even imagine, but much like the Avengers themselves, Marvel’s vision combined with Disney’s financial backing brought about something that just couldn’t have worked otherwise.

I truly believe that this desire to take a successful property to the next level also motivated Disney’s purchase of Star Wars. There’s certainly an argument to be made that Star Wars can’t sustain a new movie every year, or every other year, or whatever the reality ends up being, in perpetuity, but if you’re willing to entertain the alternative (by which I mean a success rate at least on the level of the Expanded Universe’s storytelling), then at least in theory, the possibilities are greater than many realize. » Read more..

Go Figure: Casualties of the Canon

chewielean

It has been announced that Episode VII will occur approximately 30 years following Return of the Jedi, or around the 34 ABY date. This has several possible consequences. The most blatant is a complete reboot of all Expanded Universe material. This seems extreme, especially as certain EU properties are ongoing (The Old Republic) or are tie-ins to material that will explicitly be preserved (The Clone Wars tie-in novels and comics mostly).

There are three other scenarios, of varying likelihood, all are based on the idea of ‘break points’ in the timeline, wherein everything after a certain date loses canonical validity. Such breaks could be hard, absolute directives based on date in-universe, or soft, with an assumption that material will stand until some explicit contradiction arises in the future EU. Regardless, it makes sense to look at these potential break points and what they would mean for the EU overall.

Lucasfilm has long organized the EU into discrete ‘publishing eras’ of which there are seven plus the non-canon Infinities “era”. These eras are: Before the Republic, Old Republic, Rise of the Empire, Rebellion, New Republic, New Jedi Order, and Legacy. The dividing lines of these eras are, not coincidentally, where we find our break points. » Read more..

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