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It’s Not My Star Wars Anymore

littlekidhan

Like too many Star Wars fans to count, I eagerly awaited Force Friday. I packed up my two toddler sons and drove to the store. I felt great delight when they could recognize so many of the characters who have been part of my fun and play since even before I was their age, for I was born in 1977, and my childhood was Star Wars toys and Star Wars play. And there in the stores, I saw them clamor to take turns pushing the button that would make the three-foot-tall Darth Vader talk.

And yes, I bought some things for them (my older son loves his First Order stormtrooper mask – I’m so glad they had little ones for kids!), but mainly I was there for the books. So many books! Of course, there was Aftermath, which I was eagerly looking forward to reading. But there were three there designed for children… and with eagerness to find out the hidden clues they promised about The Force Awakens, I picked them up too. And the Young Adult novel, Lost Stars – I’ll grab that one too.

It was something I hadn’t done in a long while – cross the Star Wars age barrier. I was getting ready to start high school when the Zahn books came out, and so with the rebirth of the Expanded Universe, I found myself squarely in the non-juvenile book section. And there I stayed. I was a high schooler, then a college student – I never read the Young Jedi Knights or whatever series it was – The Glove of Darth Vader is known to me only in mocking tales and Wookieepedia entries. Read More

How to Tell an Inter-Trilogy Story

rebeltroopers

In the lead-up to The Force Awakens much of the new canon has focused on the period between the prequel and original trilogies, the so-called inter-trilogy period. Three of the four Del Rey books released to date have taken place in this period, along with the Rebels TV series and all of the media that goes along with it. Given that Rebels will continue for at least another season and we already know that the first Anthology film, Rogue One, will take place in this inter-trilogy era this doesn’t look like a period that the Story Group is going to leave behind anytime soon.

It makes sense. The desire to explore this period is the same desire that led to the prequels in the first place. How did the galaxy get to look like it does in the original trilogy?

There is also the imposed restraint of “movie secrecy” as well. Given that everything to do with The Force Awakens is being kept under wraps, Lucasfilm doesn’t want any non-movie media to eclipse the storyline of the movies. Their rationale is easy to understand; the movies are their biggest property and they don’t want them to be spoiled by other media. This restraint still leaves a whole lot of Star Wars timeline to explore, but the Story Group seems to have found its happy place in the time between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Read More

Wookieepedia Made Me a Better Fan

I have a confession to make: I was never much of an Expanded Universe fan.

Don’t get me wrong. I can certainly understand its appeal, as it added a great deal to the saga and continued the stories of some of our favorite characters, but it never felt real to me. It always seemed like something that was tacked on and largely bereft of stories worthy of being the true Star Wars canon.

That was one of the reasons why I welcomed the decision to rebrand the Expanded Universe as the non-canon Star Wars Legends. Not only that, but, as Lucasfilm itself acknowledged, it gave the creators of the new films, television shows, and spinoff material the chance to write a new story, one that was in line with the future that the creative team had imagined for the franchise. Audiences unfamiliar with the Expanded Universe wouldn’t have to wonder why Chewbacca was killed off screen, or why major galactic wars and the deaths of two Solo children all occurred in books that the vast majority of Star Wars fans never have and never will read. Read More

Love Does Not Make Something Great

originalmoseisley

I remember the last time we got a new Star Wars trilogy – the summer of 1999. I was in college, and the anticipation amongst my friends was at a fever pitch. And then the movie came out, and we quickly split into two camps – those who defended The Phantom Menace, and those who hated it with a cold and fierce passion. The e-mail debates (because that’s what we did in those days) were harsh and fierce. And let’s face it, we all know that by early 2016 there will be new lines drawn all across the internet about The Force Awakens.

I here am making a plea, giving an observation. Remember this: just because you love something, that doesn’t mean it’s great. So often the passion I saw against The Phantom Menace was levied against it because it didn’t live up to the greatness of Star Wars. It failed because it wasn’t as epic or sweeping as Star Wars was!

I then went about bubble bursting among my peers. Star Wars wasn’t great. We all loved it – but it wasn’t “great”. But Star Wars had great dialog and TPM’s dialog was terrible. Oh really? “Would somebody get this walking carpet out of my way” is not great dialog. If you doubt me, ask Alec Guinness – or think on Harrison Ford’s great observation – “You can type this ****, George, but you can’t say it.” Not exactly great dialog there – but it’s okay to love it. Read More

Putting the “War” Back in Star Wars

rogueone-notoBy now, you have likely heard about the announcement of Disney’s first standalone Star Wars movie, Rogue One. Going against the persistent rumors of a spinoff featuring Han Solo or Boba Fett, all that we have to go by from the unveiled title is that “Rogue” is also the name of the elite starfighter squadron founded by Luke Skywalker after A New Hope. While we currently do not know for certain whether Rogue One will actually be about the Rogue Squadron that stars in numerous Star Wars novels, comics, and video games, current indicators suggest that a military unit of some sort are the planned protagonists of this upcoming film.

The news and speculation about Rogue One is cause for great excitement among many fans. For me personally, the space and ground battles depicted in Star Wars are the parts of the saga that have always captivated my imagination the most. Goodness knows how much time I spent as a kid playing with my humongous collection of Star Wars Micro Machines, or how many hours I logged into TIE Fighter and X-Wing Alliance. There are undoubtedly numerous other Star Wars fans similar to myself who have daydreamed about starfighters going “pew-pew”. So then, to what extent does Star Wars owe its massive fan following to the saga’s identity as a timeless war story? And what happens to Star Wars when it chooses to brush aside that identity? Read More