Tag Archives: Mandalorian

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.

darksaberRescue26

Except that they also blew the whole thing up.

death-star-explosion

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.

Skywalkers

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.

coruscant2

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?

ab560553753b23e1cf2bbb45432afc2e

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?

star-wars-series

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

Mandalorians… ‘Nuff Said – SWBTF #25

Play

Greetings! And welcome to Star Wars Beyond the Films!

This week your hosts, the Defender of the EU, Mark and the EU Guru, Nathan tackle a topic many EU Fans have been salivating for. Mandalorians.

 

And who better to help them discuss the Mandalorian culture, than Tom Hutchens; a.k.a. Mandalore the Uniter, founder of the Mandalorian Mercs. Tom brings a unique look into the Mandalorian culture through his love of metal work, making custom armor.

Also, Nathan and Tom were recently at the ConCarolinas Star Wars Panel where Nathan recorded the panel for listeners to enjoy.

Nathan sets the current stage of the Mandalorians in the Saga to catch us up.

The hosts ponder the question: Does the current state of the Mandalorians fit well to you?

The hosts all agree that Jason Fry’s Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare stitches everything back together into a cohesive unit well. As Mark’s fond of saying; “if there’s a retcon: there’s a way.” Mark thinks that retcons can fix stang near everything!

Tom mentions armor, and how it fits into the culture of the Mandalorians. And Mark noticed certain elements of Jango Fett’s armor mirrored in the architecture of Mandalorian buildings in The Clone Wars. Tom has a very good explanation for this, based in the beskar’gam (armor) itself. Very deep stuff.

Speaking of The Clone Wars the hosts discuss the Death Watch, and other new characters recently introduced. Most notably Bo-Katan. Bo-Katan‘s introduction to The Clone Wars gave fans voice actress Katee Sackhoff, who plays a strong female warrior who is the equal of any man in the Death Watch.

Was Karen Traviss’s take on the Mandalorians your meat & potatoes? Or did you feel you were left with burnt toast? There was a time when she was considered by some to be “The Authority” of the Mandalorian Culture, as well as Clones, especially Clone Commandos. But then some didn’t care for what she brought to the table at all. Few fell into the “Meh” group.

Is the Mandalorian’s ever fluctuating past due in large part to George Lucas’s morphing vision? Or author carelessness? Or was it simple over-site? However it was, Jason Fry’s Essential Guide to Warfare sews it back together brilliantly.

Nathan points out that the groundwork for the retcon for The Clone Wars‘ New Mandalorians was in place well before the episodes even aired, inside the pages of Star Wars: The Essential Atlas. Many missed this at first though, perhaps owing to the higher price for the Essential Guide series prices?

 

Tom brings up an excellent question: what is the real face of Mandalore?

Poor Mandalore… it was forest and woodlands a few times, and then it gets one picture of a barren wasteland and suddenly the whole planet is totaled? Not so fast!

The whole planet’s surface does not need to be destroyed. Perhaps it was only a few locations that had been bombed out of existence. Perhaps it is the New Mandalorian Culture that felt the location was sacred or symbolic. Mandalorians- as known before we see them in TCW -were a nomadic people, they could uplift camp and leave in a moments notice. So perhaps they didn’t care that the New Mandalorians set up in these old bombed out capital locations. There are multiple ways the wastelands seen on the TV show could have happened. The hosts ponder a few.

Mark asks: Did The Clone Wars turn the Klingons of Star Wars into Vulcans?

Or in the end did it  just blend the two?

In the EU, Knights of the Old Republic (the comic) plays up the fact that the Mando’s were equal opportunity employers, a come-one, come-all attitude. It didn’t matter what species, so long as you honored the Resol’nare. Whereas the New Mandalorians seem like they are more like the empire, everyone same skin tone, hair colors, and eye color, and all human. Is there a story to be told as to why?

Kotor: War was brought up due to one of Mark’s biggest EU wishes: Mandalorian Knights! Granted this isn’t Knights of the Old Republics first foray into the land of Mandalorian Knights, Demagol tried to create an army of them with Jedi Master Arca Jeth’s DNA. But it would seem that after Demagol’s failure it was decided it would be better to have adult Jedi vs. raising them from infancy.

Yet these new Mandalorian Knights as seen in Kotor: War are the best of both. They are Jedi who have sided with the Mandalorian people. As Jedi they are still honoring life, just not the lives the Republic Jedi want them focusing on.
On the cosplay side of things Tom explains how being a Mandalorian Knight would work in the Mandalorian Mercs. Who knew there were so many well thought out rules to wearing a Star Wars costume?
Leaping into the far future, Mark points to Hondo Karr, the secretly-Mandalorian, Stormtrooper who was a member of Joker Squadron, who would again shift sides and join the Galactic Alliance and of all squadrons, Rogue Squadron. But the Legacy series still has a Mandalorian tale to tell… Hondo was last seen donning his beskar’gam once again and setting out to hunt down the new Mandalore to seek revenge.

The hosts stop and ponder the polar opposite of the Mandalorian Knights; Mandalorian Sith!?!

Nathan explains why this concept just might not work.
Returning to the Klingonization of the Mandalorians, we have Mando’a, the Mandalorian language. Nathan asks if creating a full language going just a little too far?

The hosts ponder a lot this episode, and cover a lot of ground. Enjoy the episode, and don’t forget; if you want to chime in on anything be sure to hit up the guys through email, or their facebook page.

 

Email:         beyondthefilms@starwarsfanworks.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/swbeyondfilms
Twitter:      twitter.com/#!/SWBeyondFilms

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic War – #1 Review

Happy Birthday John Jackson Miller! Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – War #1 (of five) hit the stands yesterday! You remember that little comic strip right? Knights of the Old Republic? That comic set before the games of the same name. Well, after fifty issues it’s back, and back with a BANG!

Mandalorians! They are everywhere! And what’s worse, they are winning! This is what spurs many Jedi into defying the Jedi Council and ‘covertly’ going to war. Typical to the series, Zayne Carrick finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and then has a series of similar encounters with fate. While the story is Zayne’s, he’s not the only one. The Mandalorians themselves were a huge part of the story. Maybe it’s the uniformity of the Neo-Crusader uniforms most of the Mando’ade are wearing, but they are a threat that has to be reckoned with. Though as one character shows us, not all ways of coming to a reckoning are morally right. Dallan Morvis, ahh Dorvis. Still a jerk. And for a first issue, they really drive that point home! He is certainly no hero! His type of personality is key to the events of this story, however, and The Mandalorian Wars were not pretty. Hence the reason so many Jedi falling to the dark side along with Revan and Malak.

We met Jedi fighting the good fight, most notable among them Dorjander Kace. I liked him, disliked him, and liked him again, and wound up LOVING HIM. This character’s journey seems to jump right off in this issue, and it allowed for some personal character philosophy for the reader with the different points of view on the issue confronting the galaxy…. What do we do with the Mandalorians?

Just when we think we have an idea of where events will carry history, we learn that the Mandalorians have sprung a trap. But that’s not the best part, which is…. *pause for dramatic effect*  The Mandalorian Knights!

Yes, you heard me correctly.
Mandalorian….
Knights.

But these Rogue Jedi are none other than Kace and his group. Volunteers to the Mandalorian side, and now captors of Morvis’s crew, Morvis and Zayne. What’s it like to be drafted by the Mando’ade? Well we’re going to have to wait for issue two of this five part adventure to know for sure! One thing is certain, things have become a lot more interesting. This is one addition to the Star Wars Expanded Universe you will want to follow!

~ Mark