I’ve spent much of my life as a fan of science fiction. Being the oddity that I am, even before George Takei’s star treaty uniting the Star Wars and Star Trek fandom, I was a fan of both. I jumped into the Star Wars club first, though, so it’s always had a special part of my heart.
It was that love that caused me to be surprised when thousands, of not millions, of pages of content was essentially wiped out of acknowledged existence by LucasFilm a few days ago, when they announced that the Extended Universe, the content showing-up in books and such, would be removed from canon completely.
So, Where Will the EU Go?
The content will remain in circulation, though, but not part of canon, and under a new banner called “Legends”. This will allow the fans, once they calm down, to continue their adventures in the Extended Universe worlds, but will free-up much needed plot space for the new movies directed by J.J. Abrams due starting in 2015.
As I mentioned, the fan community has taken this de-canonization of the Extended Universe quite poorly, but there are in fact reasons to celebrate. I never could get into them myself, and many of the reasons why are why this is a good decision. The plots often led to writers being forced to go to very poor writing etiquette in order to tell their story.
Why the EU Wasn’t Great
One of the areas the Extended Universe authors used quite frequently was reincarnation. Boba Fett, for example, died in a sarlacc pit you’ll remember if you watched Episode VI, a fate that no one had before escaped. His character at that point was considered dead.
In the Extended Universe, however, he managed to get out of the sarlacc and die an additional few times. Darth Maul is another notable example of the reincarnation issue, coming back quite literally as a spirit that inhabits other life forms, later getting his body back but with the lower half being mechanical due to his fate in Episode I. Emperor Palpatine is yet another example, having been killed off and reborn numerous times.
Reincarnation, unless it’s part of a religious thing and the subject itself of the plot, is generally a poor writing choice. It leaves the reader in a position that is uncomfortable, not trusting even very obvious death as being final. This diminishes death in the stories, and takes a bit of the heaviness away when a character dies, as you know that if they are key so far, they’ll probably be just brought back in the next installment.
Another issue that I think this change addresses is that, while certainly some of the books are pretty good, others are… terrible. It seemed like every time I tried getting into the Extended Universe, I’d find a book that was so terribly written it was a pain to read, like the author had been turned down with good reason from numerous publishers, but wanted to see his name in print so badly that he had to turn to one of the few franchises that rarely turned submissions away.
By distancing themselves from the Extended Universe, it’s my opinion that LucasFilm has upped the quality. I think this move is one that will eventually be embraced by a majority of fans, and allow the new films to have more creative liberty which can help them be successful and entertaining.
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