Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Should the Star Wars Expanded Universe be rebooted?

    Every Generation Has A Legend. Every Journey Has A First Step. Every Saga Has A Beginning.

    These words were accompanied to the Star Wars: The Phantom Menace teaser trailer. To me, they were the beginning of a new phase of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Years before George Lucas decided to make his trilogy of Prequels, the Star Wars Saga had been continuing across multiple media with fairly tight continuity. Yet, the above words can very easily have something added to them that no one wants to face.

    Every Saga Has A End.

    This is a curious statement since we're just about ready to begin a new stage in the Expanded Universe. With Disney's purchase of the Star Wars franchise, it's entirely possible for another generation of new stories about our heroes to be created. However, these stories will inevitably contradict and conflict with the already expansive number of stories having been written about the Original Trilogy's heroes.

    For those unfamiliar with Star Wars Expanded Universe, it more or less chronicles the next hundred and fifty years after Return of the Jedi. We see Luke, Han, and Leia all have children. We watch these children grow up. We watch these children become heroes in their own right. Hell, we even watch these children die.

This is Han Solo's daughter, Jaina. She eventually becomes Empress. I kid you not. Oh and she kills her brother.
    No one has written the death of Han, Luke, and Leia. George Lucas, wisely, realized there was plenty of marketing potential in them decades after their last movie. Still, we have a rough idea how their lives go until the characters are in their eighties. Likewise, we know they're not around a century and a half after the Emperor's death. That would be silly.

    Silly like a Hutt with a beard.

This is Jabba the Hutt's Dad with Kyle Reese from Terminator. Oh wait, no, that's a guy pretending to be Emperor Palpatine's three-eyed son. Seriously.
    Our heroes served as somewhat dubious guardians of the galaxy. After defeating the Empire, they had to overcome an extra-galactic invasion which killed a third of the galaxy. Then the Sith took over the galaxy, again, lead by Han Solo and Princess Leia's son. Then the Sith took over the galaxy, again, with the help of Star Wars Cthulhu. Then the Sith took over the galaxy, a third time, before Luke's drug-addicted great-great grandson saved the universe because no one outside the holy bloodline could.

    Still, the galaxy was still standing after our heroes were done with it so that's something. Han, Luke, and Leia's legacy may be a wrecked galaxy and quite a few dead loved ones but they powered through. They defeated brainwashed pig-men powered battle moons, starfighters capable of blowing up suns, and a race of eel-wielding pain-worshipers.

Don't forget the Green Pirate People. They were a major threat to the galaxy!
    That's not to say I haven't gotten an immense amount of enjoyment out of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. I own, literally, over a hundred novels and at least as many comics. I know more about Star Wars history than I know about real-life history and I have a Masters degree in the latter. The Star Wars Expanded Universe is my childhood, basically, and quite a bit of my teenage years. I love it more than anyone else on Earth.

Okay, SHE might love Star Wars more than me. Hint: It's Katie Lucas.
    However, there's a time for every story to wrap itself up. As Semisonic says in "Closing Time": Closing time. Open all the doors and let you out into the world. Closing time. Turn all of the lights on over every boy and every girl. At what point have we told enough stories that the EU has become full? You could tell an infinite number of stories in the galaxy far-far away but if all of the characters have every day of their lives filled in--it becomes a bit pointless.

    So what am I suggesting? I'm saying it may be time to start Star Wars Expanded Universe 2.0. A clean slate with the exception of the movies and some select ongoing pieces of the EU like The Old Republic, The Clone Wars, and so on. Everything else would be regulated to Star Wars Expanded Universe 1.0. It won't become discontinuity, just the continuity of an alternate universe. Like Star Trek: The Next Generation, it exists in its old universe. JJ Abrams knew the majority of movie goers recognized Trek for Kirk and Spock with the same applying to Han, Luke, and Leia.

    Wouldn't it be interesting to follow the characters again on a new road?

Do we really want to follow seventy + year old Han? Really, Harrison and Han need to understand it's time to let go.
    For me, I think giving a definitive ending to the original Expanded Universe and starting over in a new universe is the best solution to the question of where to go with the setting. Unlike Superman, the Flash, and Batman--our heroes would have a chance to retire with dignity. Better still, we will regain a sense of surprise and suspense about what's going to happen with our characters. Han, Luke, and Leia are eternal but their individual incarnations may follow any number of different roads.

    In conclusion, I'm not afraid of a reboot. I welcome it. I'm afraid, instead, of trying to plow forward well after the time new ideas should have been given a fresh canvas.

    That's my .02.

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