The Case for New Canon: Why It’s Just Better This Way
— A Guest Blog by Mike Harris
While we were all speeding along on our “Journey to The Force Awakens,” I found myself thinking back to the day everything changed — October 30th, 2012. A day that will be long remembered. After the dust settled, I (and I’m sure many like me) was left wondering what would happen with the current Expanded Universe. I’ve been invested in the EU since 1991 when I cracked open Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire for the first time, and have spent the following two decades growing up with my favorite characters, and meeting many new ones along the way. With new movies on the horizon, movies that would take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, what would happen to all the existing stories? Will they follow after them? Will they get rid of them? Will they use Waru?!
In hindsight, the decision they made was really the only conceivable option.
In order to give the creative team of the sequel trilogy room to breathe, all existing EU was reclassified into Legends. These stories were no longer canon, and heads exploded. Or imploded. It was as if a million voices….you get the idea. I invested hours and hours following these stories, not to mention large amounts of money, what do you mean they no longer count?! It’s heartbreaking to lose all the new characters introduced, characters that we’ve known now for years.
However, at the same time, they announced a new and unified canon. One overseen by a centralized story group that would ensure continuity through all mediums. Books, comics, film, television. All would reflect one galaxy-wide encompassing story. The debate rages on, but allow me to briefly plead my case.
Out With The Old
Through good and bad, depending on your point of view, we followed the “Big 3” (Luke, Han and Leia) through 30 plus years after the events of the original trilogy. George Lucas didn’t show any sign of continuing their story, so this is where the action was. At least it was for me. We had the prequel trilogy and The Clone Wars television show, but the sandbox after Return of the Jedi was with the books and comics only. Some great authors expanded the galaxy. Aaron Allston, Timothy Zahn, James Luceno just to name a few. We got stories of the shattered remains of the Empire, trying to reclaim their rule from the New Republic. Of vicious aliens from outside the galaxy bent on total domination, or of the search for Jedi to establish a New Order. We also got force a force wielding Hutt and some really weird bugs. I admit, not everything was a winner, but it was all we had for a time. These stories hold a great amount of nostalgia for a lot of fans. These stories will always be there to revisit, and the great news is they are still printing them! It would have been nothing for Disney and/or Lucasfilm to stop releasing them, but they understand the admiration for them.
One day, maybe we will get that Sword of the Jedi series, and catch up with that alternate universe. One can wish. In the meantime, we are getting to unlearn what we have learned, a chance to start fresh.
In With The New
As much as I love most, not all, of the now Legends stories, do fans really want to see adaptations on-screen? I don’t. Thrawn would be amazing, and the Vong…don’t get me started. But we know how those turn out. This is an opportunity to shake things up and create a new epic. J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (THE Lawrence Kasdan) along with others responsible for crafting the story can’t be tied down to existing baggage. That limits their ability to explore and craft an amazing extension to the saga we love. The people involved truly understand and love Star Wars, flaws and all, and I promise you they will not let us down.
In addition, for us readers, we are still getting books! And comics! Dark Horse Comics handled the Star Wars license very well, but Marvel started it all and now it’s back home. The books so far have been really great, we are getting new perspectives on people we thought we knew everything about, and some great new characters too. Who knows what we will get in the future, and not knowing is pretty exciting in my opinion.
To wrap things up, I will leave you with this:
To the fans of the old EU: Change is hard, I’m right there with you. Give it an honest chance though, it’s been pretty solid so far.
To the naysayers of the old EU: Maybe you weren’t into it, but lots were. Don’t be too hard on those who still love the way it was, they’ll come around. Let’s be understanding, we are all one community.
And to the vocal minority who are being ignorant to fans and authors alike: you know this is not real right? None of this actually happened! 😜
May The Force Be With You!
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