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(Ars Technica)   The Star Wars Expanded Universe is getting sucked into a black hole   (arstechnica.com ) divider line
    More: Spiffy, Star Wars, Expanded Universe, Star Wars Expanded Universe, Timothy Zahn, Disney, tieins, Lawrence Kasdan, Anthony Daniels  
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11282 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Jan 2014 at 1:18 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-10 08:38:52 PM  
3 votes:
Really? Lucas didn't detonate the whole thing with his god awful prequels?

The 90s were amazing for Star Wars geeks. I was one of them. I loved the games, the videos, everything. EVERYTHING. Even had that star wars screen entertainment software on my computers.

static1.wikia.nocookie.net

Amazing time, with the anticipation of the upcoming movies in the latter part of the decade.

Then it came. God. Awful.

Now? All gone. I no longer care. And that sucks.
2014-01-11 04:09:23 AM  
2 votes:
Most of the EU sucks, especially in recent years. But then, the prequels sucked equally hard, and Return of the Jedi wasn't any great shakes, either, so that's hardly unique to them. I'd much rather have Zahn's Heir to the Empire trilogy than Attack of the Clones, for instance.

This isn't really a surprising development, to be sure, but it's disappointing. More so than the individual stories themselves, the Star Wars Expanded Universe's system of tiered canonicity was brilliant: it allowed hardcore fans to wallow in the sort of obsessive minutiae in which hardcore fans like wallowing, while preventing the franchise from becoming bogged down for general audiences. Everyone knew, and pretty much accepted (if grudgingly) that whatever Lucas put in the movies took precedence over what anyone else said in the books or comics. At the same time, those lower priority stories still counted at least at some level, and allowed the Star Wars franchise to grow and evolve somewhat organically. It's a large part of the reason why, despite what one might think of the flagship material, licensed Star Wars fiction has always been more interesting and worthwhile than, say, licensed Star Trek fiction. As long as you're going to stick with canonicity at all (as opposed to something like the BBC's unofficial policy of "don't talk to us about canon" with regards to Doctor Who), it's hard to think of a better model than Star Wars.

The stories themselves? Eh, who really cares? A lot of them weren't great, and even the ones that were will still be out there to enjoy. But the EU system itself? That's a real loss, and the op-ed here reads like bad PR copy. The fact of the matter is, Disney is still going to license the hell out of Star Wars, and most of the stuff emerging from those licenses are going to be of roughly the same quality level we're familiar with. Taking an axe to the EU, as a system, has nothing to do with getting rid of the crap. It's a bit like tossing out your refrigerator because you never clean it out and the food keeps growing mold.
2014-01-11 02:24:14 AM  
2 votes:
I love the Zahn books, and most of the X-Wing novels, plus 'I, Jedi'.  Some of the other authors were either forgettable, or over the top. (the Sun Crusher trilogy)  The Yuuzhan Vong stuff was rather dark and depressing, and I didn't finish those, or read any novels set after that.

If they ignore all of that completely in the new movies, I'll likely be too put off to watch them even once.
2014-01-11 01:47:33 AM  
2 votes:
Jesus, that was a horrible article. Seems the writer only knew two references / literary figures: Mary Sue and vomit inducing. He kept repeating it over and over. We get it, you hate the EU, shut up now.
2014-01-11 01:25:01 AM  
2 votes:

Nadie_AZ: Really? Lucas didn't detonate the whole thing with his god awful prequels?

The 90s were amazing for Star Wars geeks. I was one of them. I loved the games, the videos, everything. EVERYTHING. Even had that star wars screen entertainment software on my computers.

Amazing time, with the anticipation of the upcoming movies in the latter part of the decade.

Then it came. God. Awful.

Now? All gone. I no longer care. And that sucks.


Yep. I was a die hard Star Wars fan until the prequels came out. Now I don't give a shiat. I'll probably go see the new ones because they should be fun space action movies, but I no longer care about the mythology or the story. Star Wars is kinda lame now.
2014-01-11 02:14:14 PM  
1 vote:

I created this alt just for this thread: Infernalist: I created this alt just for this thread: Anyone who biatches about "Mary Sue" characters needs a swift kick in the babymaker.  We get it, you think that every character being deeply flawed and barely competent is more "realistic" and "interesting", but it isn't.  It's farking tiresome and there's not a dammed thing wrong with having some capable characters with flaws that aren't part of the story.  As for the whole representing the author part of the Mary Sue, who the fark cares if the author puts themselves in the story?  Oh no, the author used their own experience and personality in the story they're writing!  How awful of them.

The awful part was the writing.

Because Hutt Jedi lol

Oh, there has been some pretty bad writing in the EU, for sure.  I'm just mystified by these people who cry "Mary Sue!" every time they encounter a character that doesn't spend half the story brooding and the other half barely managing to function.


Yeah, i think "Mary Sue" is overused as a term. What's wrong with just calling a character "bad"? It's a bad character. Mary Sue has a meaning - it's a character that is a standin for the author, often who performs at extreme levels of competency compared to the characters around him.
2014-01-11 01:14:53 PM  
1 vote:
Good. Most of the EU is horrendous shiat anyway. I read some of the old pre-prequel novels in school when I was a dumb nerd, never read any after Lucas mutilated my childhood.

Decided to give it another go in recent history (a month or so ago), and picked up the Darth Plagueis book because if any of the prequel characters caught my interest it was Palpatine's own mentor. Of any character I really wanted to know more about, it was the guy who trained Emperor Palpatine. Considering just how little about him was talked about on-screen, I felt this was a great blank slate to really dig deep and produce the kind of character who forged Palpatine into the evil coont of the Star Wars movies.

James Luceno can die in a farking fire. This novel was less about telling a story of the guy who trained and mentored the Emperor, and more about trying to play damage control and 'making sense' of the literary abortion that is the EU universe and tying it into bullshiat like the Clone Wars and other bad decisions of George Lucas.

And from what my friends have said, it's like this all around. The novels are less about telling stories and more about trying to weave logic out the complete horseshiat Lucas has done to his own franchise with his 'creativity'.

Most of the novel I read was complete and utter bullshiat about characters I've either never heard of that were elsewhere in the EU, or about some stupid convoluted story that was obligated to tie in other shiatty stories from other EU novels for it all to make sense that was no doubt penned as an obligation of even more convoluted dumbass stories that predated it.

Oh, and apparently Palpatine stopped being an apprentice immediately after TPM, since Darth Plagueis was alive up until his coronation as Chancellor and actively involved in his training.

And Darth Maul wasn't a Sith Lord. He was an 'assassin' trained by Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious (Palpatine).

Complete and utter tripe, even for Star Wars.
2014-01-11 10:23:30 AM  
1 vote:
Hollywood loves remakes and reboots.

Reboot the prequels.

That is all.
2014-01-11 07:09:35 AM  
1 vote:

CAT-LIKE TYPING DETECTED: I'm certainly a SW fan with all my own opinions, that don't matter for the purpose of this post..didn't get all that far into the EU, really..however..

I *DO* very much remember enjoying "Han Solo at Star's End" and loving the heck out of "Splinter of the Mind's Eye"..  (my paperback copy was embossed with a "Soon to be a Major Motion Picture" medallion..whatever happened to that project..??)

Where do those two fit, with regards to canon..?


Okay, here's a little primer on Star Wars canon.

There are five (used to be four) tiers of canon.  The reason for the tiers is to resolve conflicts.  If one source says one thing, and another says another, the higher tier is correct.  This is largely to resolve conflicts between sources, especially with some older sources from the late 70s and 1980's before control of continuity was stricter.

"G Canon", for "George", is the top tier.  It consists of the six movies, and the radio plays based off them.  That's the top tier, incontrovertable canon.

"T Canon" for "Television" was created specifically for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series.  It's above other EU materials, but below the movies themselves.

"C Canon" for "Continuity" is the vast bulk of Star Wars EU.  Almost much every novel, comic, and such produced is here.  The overall plot of pretty much every video game falls here too.   Not the gameplay mechanics though (i.e. Kyle Katarn can't really be shot 50 times and heal completely from it in about 5 seconds using The Force, but he did become a Jedi Knight  and defeat Jerec and eventually teach at the Jedi Academy ect.).  Per your inquiry, the Han Solo novels are here.

"S Canon" is "Secondary", those are older works produced before canon was tightly watched (some really old newspaper serial comics from the late '70's and early '80's), I think Splinter of the Mind's Eye was there too.  The things at this level are fit in to the big picture as best they can, they won't officially say "that didn't happen", because the basic plotline still happened, but if there was a "real" Star Wars universe these might be somewhat distorted or inaccurate reflections of what happened.  This level is subject to getting heavily retconned in later works to salvage as much of the plot as possible into the bigger picture.

"N Canon" is "non-canon", these are the only things that officially Never Happened.  These are almost all things that were produced from the start as being non-canon.  The "Infinities" comic books were a good example, as "what if" stories branching off from the movies (i.e. what if Luke died on Hoth and Yoda trained Leia instead).  This is also where gameplay mechanic parts of video games are, like instantly healing upon touching a medpac and such.
2014-01-11 06:30:01 AM  
1 vote:

Esroc: I'll still enjoy the old EU. I'm not washing my hands of it. I'm washing my hands of the new shiat. I put in my time with the old universe. I'm not going to keep up with a second universe just because they're too lazy/don't care enough to work with the continuity that every other piece of media in the past has had no goddamn problem adhering to.


i'm not sure what you mean by this.  all the video games, books, comics, etc, didn't adhere to the continuity, they created it.  it's not like some video game by lucasarts had to match the continuity of some fan fiction crap in the expanded universe, they created their own storylines and it became part of the eu because it was an official star wars product.  the only official canon they had to actually stick with was the stuff from the original trilogy, which these movies will also do, i assume.  there is no need for them to try to carry around the plot baggage of 30 years of new additions to the universe.

its like complaining that marvel comics or dc comics titles don't adhere to their own internal continuity.  they can't tell intelligent, meaningful stories when they are so bogged down by years of backstory and contradictory canon.  there's a reason why franchises like the x-men have all those different universes.  would you expect the 1990s x-men cartoon to adhere faithfully to the continuity of the original uncanny x-men comic?  of course not.  the only way to develop new stories and introduce new fans to the franchise is by simplifying the story and disregarding "canon" that gets in the way.

disney is basically trying to re-introduce live action star wars movies to a new generation.  i hate to tell you this, but most star wars fans haven't read the comics, or all the novels, or played most of the games.  they've seen the movies and the clone wars cartoon and that's about it.  so for disney to try to make the new movies fit in with the eu will only confuse all those people who love star wars but have no idea who mara jade is or cade skywalker is.

you should be happy that they are making new movies, not complaining that the movies won't fit perfectly into the expanded universe like some kind of puzzle piece.  if the movies are good then it shouldn't matter if they keep the eu or not.
Esn
2014-01-11 05:44:08 AM  
1 vote:
Um, you know what? I don't care what Disney decides is "canon" and what isn't.

Just because they paid an enormous amount of money for the Star Wars IP, that doesn't give them the right to decide which stories I should pay attention to.

Yeah, it gives them the LEGAL right, but I can still think what I want. And what I think is that Lucas's prequel movies sucked and that nothing related to them is canon - the original Expanded Universe is generally a lot more appealing (despite it having some bad writers as well - that was bound to happen).

It's just a shame that Disney will now use their censorship powers to prevent any new stories being written in that universe. (other than fan fiction, I assume)
2014-01-11 05:07:53 AM  
1 vote:
They can gut pretty much everything, but I want three things to still be more or less untouched after the cut.

Heir to the Empire (or at least Thrawn)

Shadows of the Empire (George considers it canon and it was developed to be a canon story sans movie, so it's probably safe)

The X-Wing series.  Specifically, all of Rogue Squadron, all of Wraith Squadron, The Courtship of Princess Leia, and maybe I, Jedi.  Not great writing, but oozes great Star Wars on every page.

Hell, I honestly think they could safely scrap any plans to re-feature the original cast and instead just make Rogue Squadron a film trilogy.  People would love it.  Retake the galactic capital against a despotic maniac in a daring secret raid?  With barely any Jedi in sight (a certain character's Force sensitivity can either be ignored or explored lightly to great effect)?  Good stories make good movies.
2014-01-11 03:13:45 AM  
1 vote:

The Martian Manhandler: [static3.wikia.nocookie.net image 290x406]

As long as they keep Jaxxon, I'll be happy.


Here I thought that was Bucky O'Hare.
2014-01-11 03:06:11 AM  
1 vote:
That said, I just decided to RTFA, and wow. Ars Technica's "Senior Reviews Editor" is a really poor writer. Either that, or his emotions reeaalllly got the better of him here. I'd almost be willing to bet this guy has a half-finished fanfic or rejected manuscript in his possession.
2014-01-11 02:58:31 AM  
1 vote:

RoyFokker'sGhost: I don't think the fan-favorites are going to be on the chopping block. Mara's too popular and can sell a lot of merchandise, and that's a big plus in Disney's book. Same with the KotOR era. I'd lay odds that everything after the Zahn novels will be axed. Everything set in the Old Republic era or in the 'Prequel' era will be kept too.


Mara Jade as a Disney princess.  You know it be true.

I have no problem axing huge swaths of the EU. They can be demoted to "what if" stories if they directly counter canon.  I'm curious to know what they are axing though.  I'm partial to KOTOR era, SWTOR era, and the Bane series, so I hope they are officially raised to canon.  One thing we can all agree on: axe the prequels from canon.  That will make lots of nerds happy.
2014-01-11 02:50:11 AM  
1 vote:
I certainly enjoyed the EU growing up, hell my username is a reference to it, but Star Wars is a big franchise when you count the EU. When something gets that big, your choices are pretty much to just end it, or hit that reset button.

I think it's time to see what a new crop of writers can do with the thing. And since these projects tend to attract fanboys to work on them in the first place, there's a good chance we'll see some old favorites crop up again in a new form.

It's not like they're pulling a Trek where they're undoing TV shows/movies. And besides, the whole thing became a giant mess after all the retconning they had to pull to kinda-sorta make it fit with the prequels.
2014-01-11 02:35:58 AM  
1 vote:

Esroc: LordJiro: Esroc: Welp, I'm out.

I devoted too much time and memory-space to the EU, for better or worse, to just happily go along with them venting it all out an airlock. I'm just gonna consider the novel Crucible to be the end of Star Wars.

This farked up move is just more proof that Hollywood doesn't give two shiats about us nerds who actually float their goddamn franchises.

/Yes, I am an angry nerd.

It'll, uh, still be there. Just officially non-canon, instead of "Non-canon but we'll tell you it's sorta-kinda canon if you squint to keep you nerds happy".

I'll still enjoy the old EU. I'm not washing my hands of it. I'm washing my hands of the new shiat. I put in my time with the old universe. I'm not going to keep up with a second universe just because they're too lazy/don't care enough to work with the continuity that every other piece of media in the past has had no goddamn problem adhering to.

I don't expect you to understand. And I don't mean that in a bad way. I get that a lot of people don't care about these kinds of things that much and don't blame them for it. But to me the Star Wars Universe in its entirety has been a big part of my life. I've bought every game. Every novel. Every comic. I'm not even a huge nerd. Star Wars was just my ONE thing I let myself get spergy about.

Disney is basically taking a giant steaming shiat on that just because asking their writers to pass their script outline by Leland Chee to check for continuity errors might violate their "vision" for the franchises future or whatever the fark.


No, they're doing it because large chunks of the EU sucks ass and isn't much more than glorified fan fiction. At least with Disney in charge there may at least be some attempt at quality control as to what gets published officially. It may not always be the best quality control, I mean look at some of Disney's direct to video stuff, but at least an attempt will be made.
2014-01-11 02:18:03 AM  
1 vote:
Meh. Corran Horn will always be top dawg in my universe.

/would have loved to see that character in a movie
2014-01-11 02:01:06 AM  
1 vote:
Welp, I'm out.

I devoted too much time and memory-space to the EU, for better or worse, to just happily go along with them venting it all out an airlock. I'm just gonna consider the novel Crucible to be the end of Star Wars.

This farked up move is just more proof that Hollywood doesn't give two shiats about us nerds who actually float their goddamn franchises.

/Yes, I am an angry nerd.
2014-01-11 02:00:15 AM  
1 vote:
Good. The EU stuff, with rare exception, is garbage.

/Boba Fett died in the giant sand vagina. Get over it.
2014-01-10 11:54:27 PM  
1 vote:
Just have someone from "A New Hope" go back in time before the prequels and reboot everything.  Maybe throw in a time traveling Sith pissed because Coruscant got eaten by a supernova or something.
 
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