Second Look – The Rise and Fall of the Supporting Cast Post-Return of the Jedi

One of our bigger early successes, traffic-wise, was a piece from Lucas Jackson on “the rise and fall of the supporting cast” in the Expanded Universe. Having interacted with Lucas on the TFN Literature forum for a number of years, I knew exactly where he’d be going with it, and while on the whole I try to keep an optimistic tone here, that topic, like his Case of the Disappearing Generals a few weeks ago, is something that he and I see as such a fundamental dilemma for the post-movie EU that I made a rare tonal exception and let him “go negative”, as it were:

“Ben Skywalker lacks companions his own age. Rogue Squadron is no longer filled with dear old friends. The senators are all strangers to the reader. There are no currently active links to the seedy world of the fringe who can draw the action in that direction. Fresh new characters like Lon Shevu, Dyon Stadd, and Thann Mithric are killed rather than developed. The grand, unified cast’s stock is diminishing without being replenished, and the Star Wars galaxy looks smaller, hollower, and colder as a result.”

The primary goal of this site, above and beyond positivity, is to function nominally within a post-EU franchise, meaning that while we embrace the EU—even ensconce ourselves in it at times—we recognize that Star Wars is bigger than that, and one doesn’t need to treat every written word as gospel to value the many lessons the EU teaches us about how SW works. Even if the sequels completely reboot the story, the post-Return of the Jedi narrative that currently exists is nothing less than a master class in What Works and What Doesn’t Work, and should be treated as such—and Lucas’ Supporting Cast piece (and its immediate follow-up, Jedi, Sith, and Force Tunnel Vision) is lesson number one.