Thursday, December 24, 2015

Reflection on the Star Wars Universe

Reflection on the Star Wars Universe

I’d like to make a quick programming note about my exploration of the Star Wars Expanded Universe and any further Star Wars related reviews in the near future. When I started investigating the Star Wars EU many months ago, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Would the novels recreate the joy twelve-year-old me had of discovering a galaxy beyond the original three films? Or would they be embarrassingly bad like so much of the popular cultural detritus of the past? Turns out it was somewhere in between.

As much as I enjoyed revisiting the Star Wars EU, not all of it worked. At the very least, even those works that capture the character and feel of the original trilogy--such as the Thrawn Trilogy--were hampered by the fact that the Clone Wars saga had not been fleshed out, meaning any references to events prior to A New Hope never fully meshed with George Lucas’s overall plan as it unfolded from 1999 to 2005. But there were also some goofy ideas that felt like hastily written fan fiction (Dark Empire, I’m looking at you).

I’m planning on continuing my journey through the Star Wars EU. After all, I still have to finish off the Thrawn Trilogy. It will be interesting to see the Star Wars EU now that we have a very real “official” vision of how the saga should continue. I would also like to take a look at the new ancillary novels and comics that have the Disney stamp of approval. Of course, I won’t be able to immerse myself in all Star Wars all the time. I think it was Jesus (aka Young Anakin) who said, “Man cannot live by Star Wars alone.” But I might keep this up until the release of Episode VIII. Hell, I haven’t even watched those Ewok movies yet, which will likely require some time, whisky and gumption to get through.

Finally, I wonder how my time spent in the Star Wars EU affected my experience watching Episode VII. As I noted in my review, I liked Episode VII, but I was also ambivalent about how much of A New Hope the film borrowed. If anything, familiarity with the Star Wars EU eased expectations I had of Episode VII. Of course, the roman numerals in the title ask the audience to see this entry as even more important. They’re telling us that it’s a part of the cyclical myth of the Skywalker family, which has always been central to Lucas’s vision. But, at the same time, it’s also one of hundreds of stories told using tools fashioned by Lucas. I love having all of these stories, but they by necessity make the films a little less special. After all, if you increase the supply, then the value of the “product” diminishes.

For me, the original trilogy will always be the very heart of Star Wars. After that, the prequels and the Clone Wars cartoon constitute Lucas’s insane and uneven vision. Everything else, good and bad, will stand apart. And I’m okay with that. I love Lucas’s influences and the world he built, and I’m just happy to get some more stories told within that galaxy. For now, I’ll take it.

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