Tag Archives: Jacen Solo

Why Star Wars Legends Still Matters

A few months ago, Lucasfilm announced that they were putting together a new team called the Story Group. This group of Canon champions (including Leland Chee and Pablo Hidalgo, two long-time curators and mavens of the EU) had the task in place to ensure that everything that was created within the Star Wars universe would be interconnected and adhere to Canon. Everything. This included movies, TV shows, Novels, comics and games. No more Mandalorian Contradictions. No more Even Piel double-deaths. None of the contradictions that had long troubled the Expanded Universe and annoyed us detail-oriented fans. This noble group was going to fight for consistency and universe-building on behalf of EU fans everywhere. No group since rogue squadron had ever been created to fight for the good of the EU.

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Except that they also blew the whole thing up.

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That’s right. While the Story group will be doing incredible things moving forward (and I really AM excited to see how much they will improve the new canon) they completely nullified everything before. In order to allow complete freedom to the new, integrated, multimedia universe that was blooming, everything that already existed would have to go (as far as canon was concerned). It seemed, at first, like a huge blow to the gut of this Star Wars fan. All of that time and effort sunk into the Expanded Universe seemed to have been wasted. My favorite characters would never make it to the movies. There really is no such thing as a Yuuzhan Vong?!

Yuuzhan Vong

But after some time to digest, that reaction seems silly now. The “old expanded universe” now known as Legends is still a great read and a worthwhile part of my fandom. Here are a few reasons why:

1)   The story is still the same:

This may seem unnecessarily obvious, but nothing about the story told among those Legends novels has changed. No really, it hasn’t.

When we consider the stories as the history of the universe we all love, sure… in that case it no longer exists. But if we take a deep breath and remember that they are stories… that hasn’t changed at all. We all have stories that we love that are not tied to a franchise we obsess over. And you know what? We still love those stories. If you separate the stories from Star Wars, what do we have left?

We have great characters. As a matter of fact, most fans of Legends would say that the Big Three are the least compelling and interesting of the bunch! Jaina, Jacen, Saba, Daala, Vestara, Plagueis (for the most part) all exist completely within the Legends Universe.

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We have great stories. The X-Wing books are incredible as adventure stories with or without Star Wars attached to them. The same goes for every other book and plot as well. The stories are still great.

We have an improved Canon. This is probably a tough concept to grasp, but is incredibly important to realize. That internal canon of the novels still exists… it’s just not the canon of Jacen SoloStar Wars. Characters live and die on the same timeline. Jacen’s decisions during the Dark Nest crisis still causes a Galactic Civil War that leads to Luke’s expulsion from Coruscant. Thousands of years later, the Yuuzhan Vong still tell the legend of The Ganner. It’s all Legends canon… it’s just not Star Wars canon. As a matter of fact, the canon gets improved when you look at Legends in isolation. Most of the continuity errors came from cross-platform media (and when I say “cross-platform media” I really mean The Clone Wars). Now that the books are disassociated with the new continuity, they get to exist on their own and many of the canon-debates can be closed.

Just because they aren’t officially Star Wars doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy every thing about these books that we always have. And if you’re someone who hasn’t read Legends before, it doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy them as great stories in a self-contained universe.

2)   Who knows what will stick around:

As I watched the prequels, one of the most interesting aspects of the story to me was the planet Coruscant. I was pretty intrigued by the idea of a galactic political base and an entire city-planet. It seemed like a pretty thriving place full of diversity, urban challenges and an overwhelming sense of business and urgency. It was the exact opposite of Tatooine in every way… and pretty dissimilar to Hoth and the forest moon of Endor as well. I remember being impressed that they seemed to really break the mold that had been established by the original trilogy.

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I should point out here that I didn’t get into the Legends novels until after the saga was completed… meaning I hadn’t read the Zahn trilogy until after Episode 3 was out. I point this out because Lucas didn’t create Coruscant, Timothy Zahn did. To be fair, he may have based the idea on Lucas’ notes and outlines…. But that’s not the same thing. Zahn named the planet. Zahn gave us our first description of the planet. Zahn decided what it looked like, who lived there, and how the government center was organized. Zahn made it real and Zahn made it known.

Star Wars fans can be finnicky and so we tend to focus on all of the times that there was tension between the “George Lucas” Star Wars and the “Expanded Universe” Star Wars. But we shouldn’t forget that George and other LucasFilm producers borrow successfully from the Expanded Universe all the time. Coruscant is probably the most obvious example, but did you know that Kashyyyk and Twi’lek are expanded universe words as well?

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Countless ideas in the Prequels and in The Clone Wars were taken from the Expanded universe and, while occasionally it led to continuity disasters, for the most part it was exciting to see the species, people, and creatures I had read about being brought to life on the screen. I can only imagine how much MORE intrigued I would have been with Coruscant had I already been invested in it from the novels.

With this change to continuity, there’s no reason to expect that the Story Group won’t still be pulling material from the Legends stories. I imagine we will see plenty of planets, species and concepts from the Legends universe. No, the events didn’t happen… but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few Barabel in the coming movies. And with the new story group in place, it means we could see similar creations showing up in movies, TV shows and even future novels, as well.

I can’t wait to see what gets carried over either as central aspects of the new canon or even as little easter eggs in the films, and I can’t wait to see what improvements they make in the process.

3)   It’s going to take a while before we have a new universe to take its place:

So most of my reasoning comes from the perspective of an existing fan responding to the changes, but this point is for all of the potential fans wondering whether or not they should get started on the Legends books despite their lack of canon status.

Legends

The cold, hard truth is that it is going to be a long time before the new efforts of the Story Group come to fruition. It’s already been a long time and there hasn’t been a new book written yet. Of course it takes a lot of preparation and planning to undergo an effort this big…. I’m not begrudging them the ability to make this transition and to do it right; I’m simply stating that it will be a while before it gets up and running.

And then it will be another while before it is as full and vibrant as the Legends universe is today.

For most fans of the Star Wars novels, we got into them because we wanted more than watching the movies over and over (although we still do this). Many of you might be thinking the same thing and Legends is there for you, just like it was for me. Rather than waiting and waiting for the new Canon to take hold, why not dive into Legends and enjoy the ride?

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Canonicity is something that I really do believe is important. The internal Canon of the Legends books will always be what draws me to them. Thousands of years of interconnected Star Wars Classichistory in the Galaxy Far, Far Away makes for an incredible reading experience. Officially, it’s no longer canon… I get it. But if a new reader were to jump in today, it would still be great and it would still be Star Wars. Some day, when the new canon is vast and developed it may be time to say that Legends became a mystical relic of the past, but that time is not now. Now it should still be embraced as the greatest expansion to the greatest franchise we all love. It’ll help pass the time until Episode VII comes around. It’s going to be a new era for the franchise once that happens anyways.

~ Mitchell Hanan

Fate of the EU… Uh, Jedi – SWBTF #21

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Welcome back to Star Wars Beyond the Films!

EDITORS NOTE: Ahead there be spoilers…. consider this your warning!
This week Mark and Nathan are joined by Intrepid Bothan Reporter and Lightsaber Rattling Jedi, Peter Morrison, to discuss the Fate of the Jedi series as a whole.

Mark ponders the excerpt at the start and end of the series and it’s possible ramifications.

The guys hit the plot in a nut shell to set the tone of the episode and then break down the series from there.
The series has an odyssey feel to it, while also telling a multitude of stories all enterweaved to make up a bigger overall story.
Jacen’s past was explored. Or was it? Was Abeloth TOO POWERFUL? Did Luke need an enemy more powerful than even him?

Nathan takes a moment to show his brotherly side. Did FotJ suffer an identity crisis?
Mortis makes its way into the series and the guys ponder how much Lucas knew of the plot. How much of this was made up on the spot? Nathan brings up the recent Insider interviews with the FOTJ authors.
He also ponders if the publishing group has changed the game plan and shifted to a looser planning style?
Did this allow for a more interchangable author feel to the series? Did that play into the success of Christie Golden stepping into Karen Traviss’s slot? Had Abeloth been Lucas approved would she have been the”Mother” in all respects? Instead of some being trying to be like them? Did Jacen’s story get resolved?
Peter proposes that the series might have done better had Abeloth been left out and the Lost Tribe been the main villian. Perhaps give her a stand alone book?
Mark ponders (or possibly rants) that Abeloth had to have hedged her bets and had a spare possessed body out there hidden away.
The guys focus on the pacing of the series. It almost made each book read like a stand alone. Was this a mistake? Should longer series be set to release closer together vs being spread out?
The Krayt factor: Was it or was it not Darth Krayt at the end of the story who came to Luke’s aide? Seems Denning doesn’t even know and he wrote the scene….
SPOILER WARNING: So in the end they stop Abeloth (for now) but in doing so have put back on the throne the dark man whom Jacen stopped which kicked everything off in the first place. Kind of crazy huh? But didn’t Jacen’s destroying Centerpoint Station cause her to get free? Wait, but wasn’t that ordered by Luke?
So did this give us closure? Or an open plot thread awaiting a crafty author later?
What? Nathan gets political with his satire? But it was necessary to understand the plot of FOTJ.
FotJ makes Dark Nest more meaningful to the SWEU.

Celestial, the Ones, and so much left open…. was this a good thing?? Bad thing? Or a GREAT Thing?
Random Mark ponder: Will Shelter be used to keep Beyond Shadows and the Mind Walker plots going?
They discuss Beyond Shadows, the Font of Power as well as the Lake of Apparitions, as well as Sith Spirits, Force Ghosts, Force Apparitions, Force Entities, and so forth.
This leads to pondering the “next generation” of Jedi. And how the Big 3′s story has overshadowed the newer Jedi’s individual stories.
Should the Jedi have destroyed the Font of Power? Is this something that should have been taken out? A weapon of Jedi Destruction….
Nathan touches on Ben and Vestara’s love plot. But not in a Tahiri touching kind of way…. …which leads to Vestara’s character growth throughout the series, dispite her Sithly Father’s pressures during the series.
Will this make Ves drop out of the saga? Or will the One Sith make an appearance BEFORE Legacy? (Even though it would happen after Legacy was published.)
Jaina Solo’s character grew a lot by the series end.  Even Tahiri had her character go through a lot of changes. Especially in light of past series directions with her character. We almost had our Imperial Knights!

The personal relationships were well executed. All the hosts agree that was a very strong point for the series.
Anakin Skywalker CAUSED the imbalance?! Wait… say again? So does that mean Luke and Ben are the Chosen Ones per Lucas before Mortis? This leads the hosts to discuss Balance and what that means for a bit.

Nathan had a very interesting outlook on it. Or at least gives EU Fans OPTIONS. Or was this addition to the FotJ plot a huge mistake? Or one to come?

Mark takes a minute to have a fan crush moment about the Horn family

Were the Barabels the ‘sleeper agents’ of the whole series?
Allana’s back in the open. They developed her up to own her own portion of the next generation of characters. She and Ben could have been 3rd generation, but ended up growing into the 2nd.
Does judging children characters age vary from person to person?
The hosts also judge the series, and give it a 1-10 ranking and a one word description.
And sit back after the credits for a Marvel treat… erm.. we mean bloopers!

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Mysteries of the Expanse – SWBTF #9

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Greetings exalted ones, and welcome to Star Wars Beyond the Films!

On this episode of Star Wars Beyond the Films, your hosts Nathan and Mark are joined by Kelly Adams, long time Star Wars (and Yoda) fan, writer and podcaster!  They discuss a number of things about mysteries in Star Wars: do you like knowing everything about everything in Star Wars? Would you prefer for there to be a lot of mystery surrounding your favorite aspects of the universe? How would you like mysteries and reveals to be balanced? Are some time periods in Star Wars too densely packed to leave any room for mysteries? Do you prefer cliff hangers? Or hate them?

They talk about gaps in the timeline, and Yoda’s past.

What about the fates of Rex and Ahsoka? Does knowing too much spoil it?

What will happen to them?

And then there’s The Fandom (it’s a) TRAP!  Does expecting too much cause disappointment? A story can’t please 100% of the people consuming it, 100% of the time. They also discuss the Nub and Midichlorians.

Has the EU grown too big, and has this caused issues with keeping the mystery? And, be honest, do you have time to re-read Star Wars books you especially liked if you’re also trying to read all Star Wars books as they come out? If you’re behind in reading them, does that mean you’ll be spoiled, and lose interest? Ah the pressures of being an expanded universe fan, keeping up the StarWarsdashians!

They also discus the clone conundrum,

and Jason Solo’s 5 year journey.

Hope you enjoy this episode of Star Wars Beyond the Films, and may the Force be with you always!

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