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Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded uni

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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby dWhisper » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:36 pm

The "kid friendly" argument can be undone by a couple of basic facts. The first is that the EU was already fairly kid friendly, or at least "young adult" friendly, which is more the target audience anyway. Second is that Disney, for all of the flaws that can be pointed out, understands their market far more than any other company outside of the likes of Apple or Google. While they've worked to expand the reach of their properties, like Marvel comics and movies, it was an expansion, not a redirection.

Cutting up the EU is most certainly needed, it's been a mess since the PT came out and trashed a whole lot of stuff (and the "logical" response in the New Jedi Order era of just taking a big old crap all over the EU because physics or something).

Also, as an aside, anyone who things the PT was what kidified Star Wars... my one-word response is "Ewoks."
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby Roarsack » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:54 pm

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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby chademe » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:06 am

If they do decide to do this it would save me a lot of time. I had set a goal of finishing all the EU novels before the next movie came out, but if they're going to remove them from the continuity, not sure there's the same motivation.

I've enjoyed the EU novels and would be very disappointed if they simply disavowed them. It would make me a lot less likely to buy any other EU novels or comics knowing that they might simply be erased from the continuity at some point in the future.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby Inzane » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:19 am

dWhisper wrote:Also, as an aside, anyone who things the PT was what kidified Star Wars... my one-word response is "Ewoks."


I see your OT Ewoks and raise you... with:
- gungans
- battle droids (and their ridiculous voices.. most notably in EpIII)
- pod racers (e.g. Sebulba and his antics)
- anakin being a child actor in the first movie
etc.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby Mister Ed » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:23 am

chademe wrote:If they do decide to do this it would save me a lot of time. I had set a goal of finishing all the EU novels before the next movie came out, but if they're going to remove them from the continuity, not sure there's the same motivation.

I've enjoyed the EU novels and would be very disappointed if they simply disavowed them. It would make me a lot less likely to buy any other EU novels or comics knowing that they might simply be erased from the continuity at some point in the future.


I see where you are coming from, but (perhaps because of my long term experience with Star TREK novels) I never really expected the EU stuff from Star Wars to be a REAL part of movie continuity from the get go. I figure, read EU stuff because you enjoy it for its own sake. If that's not the case, then don't bother with it, because even if any of it is retained as "official canon" in some sense, it is a pretty safe bet that it will NEVER be important to understanding what is going on in any on-screen version of Star Wars.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby dWhisper » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:33 am

Inzane wrote:
dWhisper wrote:Also, as an aside, anyone who things the PT was what kidified Star Wars... my one-word response is "Ewoks."


I see your OT Ewoks and raise you... with:
- gungans
- battle droids (and their ridiculous voices.. most notably in EpIII)
- pod racers (e.g. Sebulba and his antics)
- anakin being a child actor in the first movie
etc.


Not saying that Episode I didn't turn the kidification to 11... it's just that...

Image
Ewoks: The Cries of the Trees

And to echo Mister Ed up there, the EU is best when enjoyed as it's own thing, and what it really is... glorified fan fiction in the end. Officially sanctioned, guided, and shaped, but it's stuff made specifically for fans, not for a wider audience. And there's far more bad than good in the books for it, so you wouldn't be missing great amounts by not finishing your endeavor.

I'm hard on the Thrawn trilogy because my tastes have moved on since I read it back in high school, but it's really the top of what the EU has to offer. From there, it's a pretty big downhill, with some good moments and a whole lot of bad ones (Darksaber, the Nest trilogy, killing off characters for little reason, killing off characters that could have legitimately taken over for the "old guys" in the movies). If it's anything like what Abrams did to Star Trek (something I'm not especially on board with either), I'd expect him to pick/choose, set up new people, and give occasional nods to fans without actually using them as more than a shout-out.

Hopefully the EU doesn't turn into what the Trek books basically are, bad novelizations of existing stories (a surprising amount of the books) or retcons to fix bad decisions (everything to do with Enterprise and Voyager). The EU isn't exactly great quality at times, but it does what the name suggestions, and works to "Expand" the universe. Any of the Trek books I've read just felt like going on name and not doing much to really expand the Trek universe.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby wyldjedi » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:42 am

I grew up on the movies and the books so I know much of the 80's to early 00. In the early days I considered them canon, such as Splinter of the minds eye and Han Solo's trilogy, but probably because I did not think that there would be any sort of alternate universe storyline. That was also when I was younger too so upon rereading them I find many to be quite silly. They are still enjoyable but many just do not feel very Star Wars-like. However, the prequels were pretty much just as silly if not more so than any of the adult targeted books. Anyway, there were quite a few books that just oozed that Star Wars ambiance and many others that simply had only one or two good ideas.

I guess my point is that I understand why this is happening; gotta clean up and scrap bad storylines and make sure it there are no conflicts with the new merchandise... er movies coming out. I have no problem with them dropping pretty much 90% of the comics and books as being 'official'. However, the fanboy in me still wants to read them all anyway. It was nice reading about Han's background and how he rescued Chewie, how certain processes were done to make lightsabers, reading about interdictor cruisers that stop lightspeed travel and other 'real' stuff. I figure that the technical and certain specific details will remain and most everything else will get dropped. As long as the upcoming Star Wars movies have much more of a Star Wars feel than the latest Star Trek movie felt trek-ish I will be happy
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby Rook » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:55 am

Really well written. I was actually able to make it to the end without freaking out. Glad to see not everyone was pleased loosely connected and out of sequenced EU. I did however enjoy the Vong, is that wrong? XD
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby dWhisper » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:57 pm

Rook wrote: I did however enjoy the Vong, is that wrong? XD


Yes. So very, very wrong.

That or to each their own. As a villain, the idea of the Yuuzhan Vong (again with the extra vowels... is there some sort of quota on u's that has to be met?) wasn't bad. An enemy that used biology instead of electronics for their weapons is a lesser-used Sci-Fi trope, and one that couldn't be affected by the Force was interesting.

Yet as a series, it was mostly a let down. Instead of a slow invasion and takeover, it was all War of the Worlds, blowing up planets, killing billions because they could. I don't give the PT a lot of credit, but one of the things that was done correctly was that the major change was subtle, not requiring some Deus Ex Machina to progress or a Super Weapon to fight. The takeover was more subtle, more insidious, before accelerating with the Rise of the Empire.

Jedi sort of got away with that on the weapon thing by adding the mix of the Emperor, but too often in EU, it was all heroes vs. Super Weapons. The Maw, Darksaber, Centerpoint, The Eclipse (which is something I just looooove, even if I'm arguing against it), and all of the YV bioweapons. They tried to add subtlety later on with new characters, or by mixing stuff up, but the damage was done. After the intro (thanks, Salvatore!) it was just turd-polishing.

Worse, well established characters were so inconsistent and marginalized as to make a good portion of the books unreadable. Luke is probably the best example, who was suffering through some sequelresetitus, and about as effective as the Jedis not named Yoda, Anakin, or Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith. Yet in the last book, it was like James Luceno just suddenly realized "wait a second... this is arguably the most powerful being in the universe, the most powerful Jedi to ever live, and the guy who's beaten down more Sith Lords than the entire Jedi Order did for ten thousand years before him... perhaps he should be written as if he may stand a chance."

When it was all said and done, the only real changes were that a lot of worlds were gone, a lot of characters were dead, some good guys were turned into bad guys, and the bad guy for the last couple dozen books was swept under the rug. There are a few little mentions, but as a whole, they just conquered half the galaxy, and then left. It was just insulting to the readers who managed to suffer through the entire series.

It also highlights the exact problem with the EU, the one thing that Disney needs to fix, to move it forward. And it's the one thing that Disney is best at... and that's setting up new stuff to happen. Star Wars, more than any other property, has a sense of setting that makes things work that wouldn't normally happen. It doesn't need the main characters to be successful in a lot of ways. Some of the best stories and games have nothing (or very little) to do with the main characters (KoToR, Republic Commando, Jedi Knight until Academy).

As a setting, it just lends itself to making things, so I absolutely welcome bringing on new stuff about the Rebels that doesn't include Luke or Leia (or a much younger Leia involved). I want stories about what happens after the Empire is done, and our heroes go off into retirement. I want new people, I want to see the struggles of a galaxy that was elated at the fall of the Empire then has to deal with the fact that the Empire still totally exists, and that the Civil War isn't likely close to done.

It was always my biggest knock on the Thrawn books, since it basically moved forward five years, did some hand waving, and then tada, New Republic. It only got worse in NJO, when the Imperial Remnant and Republic joined up, broke up, joined again, and then got way worse after the fact.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby Mister Ed » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:51 pm

dWhisper wrote:Hopefully the EU doesn't turn into what the Trek books basically are, bad novelizations of existing stories (a surprising amount of the books) or retcons to fix bad decisions (everything to do with Enterprise and Voyager). The EU isn't exactly great quality at times, but it does what the name suggestions, and works to "Expand" the universe. Any of the Trek books I've read just felt like going on name and not doing much to really expand the Trek universe.


Very, very few of the Trek books are novelizations of existing stories. I WILL grant that the current Enterprise and Voyager lines have "fixing" what essentially "went wrong" with the finales of those series as a defining aspect, though I can't really see that as a bad thing, given that I thought both series kind of went off the rails in their finales (and the "fixing" mainly serves as the starting point for those books, particularly in the case of Enterprise, more than a constant focus).

I'll just say that I've been enjoying the current crop Trek novels (for the most part), have read them all (and there HAVE been a LOT of stinkers over the years, especially in the earlier years when they didn't much care WHAT got put out), and find your characterization to be pretty unrecognizable from my recent experience.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby FirstCircle » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:05 pm

I kinda see the EU as glorified fan-fiction (as many others have said). I never touched a Star Wars book until the Republic Commando series because a friend shoved it into my hand. I actually really liked the series. I guess I like that it was only loosely connected with Star Wars.

In many ways (especially with any books involving the PT), the authors make up for Lucas' horrible writing. I can understand that people don't like how characters are used or changed, but some decent authors have made stories and writing waaaaaay better than most the screenplays (only Star Wars and Empire have decent screenplays... most of Return is just awful... what makes it work is Luke's arc tied in with the giant space battle attack on the Death Star). It bothered me that Traviss that wrote the Republic Commando series was told to shut it down because of the Mandalorian direction coming in the Clone Wars cartoon. I HATE that series. I'd much rather read the end of the RC series.

But we have to give credit here. As awful as many of the EU books and comics are, a lot of it has to do with Lucasfilm and production schedules. Aspiring authors don't dream of making the next Rogue Squadron book. They want to make something substantive like The Sound and the Fury or their own series of fiction like Clancy, Evanovich, etc. Licensed fiction pays crap and the books have a very short period of time for completion. Nowadays there are no editors. Some of those EU books never even had someone run spell-check on them (like the first Bane book... horrendous!). Also, the book may be complete or near complete and then Lucasfilm would demand changes (this is pretty notorious in the comics) so the end result would be a rushed piece o' turd instead of a nice polished one.

Disney is just playing it smart and this says that the movies come first. The series will be second in all reality. The games and comics will be last, too bad in the KOTOR area.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby Rook » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:30 am

dWhisper wrote:
Rook wrote: I did however enjoy the Vong, is that wrong? XD


Yes. So very, very wrong.


I think I missed some of this because I read a couple of the books out of order because I was getting them from Library. But I did like the idea that were things in the universe/galaxy that couldn't be affected by the Force. And the bio tech was a plus for me, a kind of Indians kicking the crap out of the Colonialists or more recently James Cameron's Avatar. The sometimes tech fails. Sometimes the Force fails. Etc.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby Faefrost » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:14 pm

My take on what I expect?

The movies are obviously cannon. No two ways around that. Although we can pray that Mitochlorians are quietly dealt with in an embarrassed silence by all and never spoken of again.

The animated Clone Wars shows will be held as pretty much fully in cannon, as will the upcoming Rebels show. In part because there are still too many merchandising deals swirling around them, and in part because they have used and will continue to use these shows to pull in some of the more interesting bits and details of the EU. Ships, Worlds, Races, characters from the EU have all been given a great deal of definition over in those shows. It would not surprise me to see Rebel's use this trick even more. ie they may toss the Zahn books, but use Rebels to put Thrawn, Paellion (sp?), Talon Carde and Mara Jade on the playing field.

The "Shadow of the Empire" multimedia story arc set between ESB and RotJ will probably mostly remain. Lucas had a direct hand in it, and it does not conflict with the films in any major way.

All of the video games save the SotE and the Old Republic games will be considered varying degrees of non cannon. Some non specific stuff such as ships and worlds may survive as details. But the specific stories told will not. Old Republic stuff will survive principally because of Disney's partnerships with EA, declaring it non cannon would have a clear negative effect on the ongoing MMO and thusly the license contract, and honestly the series is set so far in the past that it will never ever be referenced in the same materials.

New EA produced video games will be cannon under the new system.

Every single other thing set post RotJ is gone as official cannon. Some neat ideas may be recycled using other means such as above. But there is no chance it survives unchanged. And the further after RotJ the greater the chance that it is wiped out. The novels and comics will be effectively wiped out. Every page. Yuzhon Vong, gone, Death of Chewie, gone, Assorted insane Emperor clones and such, gone. Anything desired from these sources will be re introduced using one of the above mentioned mechanisms.

The "non Clone Wars" and "Rebels" TV shows (Droids, Ewoks, etc) will be stricked from the record... save the Holiday Special. Which will be elevated to full cannon status and get a 3d theatrical release followed by a Blu Ray special edition. This will be to simply remind us that Disney is in fact evil, and they own us.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby SDIronClaw » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:09 am

After reading all three OT Star Wars books, the next two books I read were The Truce at Bakura and The Courtship of Princess Leia. The Truce of Bakura was decent.....the Courtship of Princess Leia was not.

The next three were the Thrawn Trilogy, those where awesome. I have read that series multiple times and think it is the best non OT trilogy. Ok, so the Force Salamanders where a bit weird, but Thrawn was real bada$$.

Another trilogy I thought was decent was the Black Fleet Crisis, although the alien spaceship Lando and party get trapped on was a far reach IMO.

Never read the Vong trilogy, but from reading about it I think it should get canned and Chewie brought back to life.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby gomek » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:49 am

For what it's worth I don't consider the prequels to be official. They are really so sub-standard they are right there with Galactica 1980, which is also better to be forgotten.

Also interestingly enough, I don't think the Ewoks were the worst part of RotJ. In the Star Wars I grew up with, Leia and Luke were definitely not brother and sister, so I was never really on board with that whole nonsensical and needless plot twist.

I am kind of looking forward to Rebels though.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby lego the hutt » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:35 pm

SDIronClaw wrote:After reading all three OT Star Wars books, the next two books I read were The Truce at Bakura and The Courtship of Princess Leia. The Truce of Bakura was decent.....the Courtship of Princess Leia was not.

The next three were the Thrawn Trilogy, those where awesome. I have read that series multiple times and think it is the best non OT trilogy. Ok, so the Force Salamanders where a bit weird, but Thrawn was real bada$$.


Interesting take. As soon as it was announced there would be an episode VII I went and reread the books that take place right after RotJ, but I felt differently.

I thought Truce of Bakura was a bit boring and slow at times. I can't recommend it. I really enjoyed The Courtship of Princess Leia though. I do agree that the Thrawn Trilogy is great. It has always been some of my favorite SW books.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby Mofo Jones » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:04 pm

I always liked the Rogue Squadron/Wraith Squadron series of books.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby Chief » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:45 pm

DW I remember the NJO very differently than you. I spent my high school years reading the NJO, and I have only two complaints: 1) It lasted at least a year too long, and 2) the death of Anakin Solo. They could have trimmed some fat from that mother by ending it after 4 (or maybe even 3!) years.
This many years later I ain't even mad Chewie died: to teen me, it was upsetting, and it set the stage for the entire series. But it was Anakin's death that *wrecked* me. Jacen was a whiner, and I eventually grew to appreciate his perspective more later, but Anakin was the star, and he was snuffed out dramatically and it reverberated through the main characters far more than Chewie's death, I felt. It made for great reading, but I was really angry for a while. If I could change anything, it would have been to off Jacen instead.

I don't think of many of the Vong's tactics as "superweapon of the week" because there was a lot more going on than taking down one planet at a time. I enjoyed seeing the invasion map of the galaxy shifting every few books. The fall of Coruscant was EXCITING. I loved the desperation of it all. They may end up not being canon anymore, but I have the entire series in my garage and I can reread it anytime I want, so no tears shed here.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby foswl » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:47 am

As a child, I remember going through so many VHS tapes of the OT (what with all that pausing and slow-playing etc.) that it became prohibitively expensive to become an expert on Star Wars. That was before the EU which I read as a child and summarily forgot.
Given my situation it appeared entirely appropriate that Disney should jettison the whole lot of EU material. But then I came out of my 'dark ages' with Lego and I became more interested in the EU universe of Star Wars: I had started watching the clone wars and reading the EU books at an age far past their 'YA' title.
The English major inside of me was horrified at the Darth Bane trilogy (mostly because I'm not getting paid anywhere near that of the proofreader who was paid to rush those errors) -but the SWTOR player in me rejoiced, because I was seeing meaningful connections within my game and the EU as I knew it.

Then I started reading the Thrawn Trilogy. Holy George Lucas, the man had it. The story was credible, the action was there (after the slog that was the first book) and the whole trilogy had enough '"I've got a bad feeling about this" 's to make the OT proud. It was then that, twenty-something years after it had been written, I knew there was something other than the legacy of jar-jar for the SW universe.

Now it might be axed? Disney has a pretty heavy hand with a lot of their properties. but I hope not with this one. I hope they at least let the Thrawn and Bane trilogies live.
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Re: Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded

Postby Gingerbeard Man » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:23 am

Chief wrote:They may end up not being canon anymore, but I have the entire series in my garage and I can reread it anytime I want, so no tears shed here.

What he said, just applied to a slightly different selection of material (never seen any of the Vong stuff).

I grew up with Star Wars in the early 1980's. I still have newspaper cuttings of the Goodwin/Williamson comic strip, I have the Splinter of the Mind's Eye novel and I still enjoy both (but let's forget the Han Solo and Lando novels...).
Disney can redefine canon all they want, that's not going to make me change my mind about which parts of the SW universe I like (and which I don't like / don't care about - I'm looking at you, Jar Jar!).
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