I typically tend to avoid talking about the new canon or Disney on Skywalker Family FanPage, because that’s not what the page is about. I want it to be a place for people to appreciate the Legends universe, not complain about Disney. With this post, I’m not trying to bash Disney, the new canon, or anyone who enjoys the new Star Wars story. With that being said, I feel like it’s long overdue that I actually explain the reasons I’m against the new canon.
When it was first announced that Disney bought Star Wars, I knew that the Expanded Universe would probably be done away with, but I held out hope until the official announcement that de-canonized it. I wasn’t surprised, but I was still sad, angry, and hurt. I tried to keep an open mind, however, and decided I would give the new canon a chance.
I never could actually bring myself to read any of the new books in the new continuity, though. I did read a bit of the new Darth Vader and Princess Leia comics, but only because I heard there were references to my favorite character, Padme. Those brief references were not worth it, and I wasn’t impressed with what I read.
Still, for a long time I planned on seeing The Force Awakens in theaters, or at the very least borrowing the DVD from my local library. After all, the reason I got into the Expanded Universe in the first place was because I wanted to know what happened after Return of the Jedi, and especially what happened to the Skywalker family. I couldn’t help being curious about this new version of the story, even though I hated the thought of a post-ROTJ universe without Jaina, Jacen, Anakin, Ben, and my other favorite characters. When the first trailer for TFA came out, I was actually excited about the new movie. I didn’t get involved in the Star Wars fandom until several years after the Prequels came out, so I never got to experience the excitement leading up to a brand new movie.
I don’t remember exactly when my feelings changed, but at some point I vowed that I would never watch The Force Awakens, never watch any new Star Wars movie, or read a novel or comic from the new canon (except in the highly unlikely scenario that an entire movie, novel, or comic series is dedicated to Padme). I had simply had enough.
Had enough of what? Had enough of Disney’s treatment of Star Wars, the marketing for TFA, and the lies repeatedly told by Abrams, Kennedy, etc about the Legends timeline. Why should I give their new stuff a chance when they kept bashing the old stuff that I loved?
It wasn’t so much the reboot that bothered me, because although I was at first furious that they were rewriting the story that I love so much, I eventually realized that they can’t make me forget about that story, no matter how hard they try. What made me so upset was that they refused to 1) at least give the Legends continuity a proper ending 2) to admit that before the reboot, the Legends continuity was the official Star Wars canon, and 3) give credit where credit was due.
Let’s ignore for the moment that the majority of the marketing for TFA was centered around subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) anti-Prequel sentiment, because that’s a separate issue. What bothered me most were claims like “first female villain,” “first post-ROTJ novel,” and “first strong female character,” because these were all things that the old EU had in abundance. There were numerous strong female characters, female villains, and post-ROTJ novels in the Legends timeline. Sure, they no longer officially “existed,” but at one point they did. Now, I realize that what they really meant by those claims was “first in the new canon.” But they never actually said that. It bothered me that they were acting like those things had never, ever been done before in the history of Star Wars, and that those were new and exciting concepts they had just come up with. It was like they were constantly insulting all the hard work that numerous writers had put into the old stories and characters, by denying that they had ever existed in the first place. I know Star Wars is a franchise where artists and writers never have complete ownership of their work, but it still annoys me to see so many ideas taken from Legends and marketed as “new.” After all, one of the reasons for the reboot was so new storytellers could have “creative freedom” and go in a completely different direction. What was the point if we’re just going to get watered-down versions of old characters and stories?
Then there’s the statements from Kennedy and Abrams like “it wasn’t clear what was canon in the Expanded Universe” and “there were a lot of contradictions and the story was a mess.” And no, those aren’t the exact quotes, but you get the point. First of all, it was perfectly clear what was canon. There was a canon hierarchy, and unless something was marked as “Infinities” or directly contradicted by one of Lucas’s films, it was canon. There are many, many examples that prove that the Legends timeline was the official story of Star Wars before Disney came along and said otherwise. To say that it was never canon, or that it wasn’t clear what was canon, is just a lie. As far as the contradictions go, there were minor contradictions here and there, but most were explained away in-universe and/or didn’t affect the overall story. For the most part, everything–adult novels, young adult novels, comics, video games, etc–formed one, cohesive story with Lucas’s six movies. It was all part of the same whole, and anyone who has actually read more than a few books would know that. Events in one story had an effect on future stories.
Perhaps the lie that made me angriest of all, though, was when Abrams said “we didn’t have to reboot anything.” In fact, that may be when I firmly decided that I wanted nothing to do with the new canon. Apparently hundreds of novels and comics isn’t anything? I realize he probably meant that they didn’t have to reboot the previous movies, but that again implies that the movies were the only thing that counted, and that everything else either never existed or wasn’t canon. And that just isn’t true. By repeatedly denying the existence of Legends and/or saying that it never mattered anyway, those now in charge of Star Wars made me lose any interest that I once had in giving the new canon a chance.
And of course the one thing that Legends fans want most is for the Legends timeline to be continued as a separate story from the new canon. It doesn’t have to continue indefinitely (although that would be nice)–but at the very least we deserve a few more novels to wrap up the storylines that were left hanging, at several points in the timeline. I can’t speak for other fans on this, but the storylines I most want to see finished are those begun in Fate of the Jedi and Crucible. There was so much set up for future stories in those books, and so many unanswered questions. Ideally I would like to see enough novels to fill the large gap between Crucible and the Legacy comics (and I could write an entire post about how that gap would have been a perfect spot to place the new movies, without the need for a reboot in the first place), but I would settle for just the cancelled Sword of the Jedi Trilogy if it answered some questions about how the galaxy goes from the circumstances in Crucible to the circumstances in the Legacy comics. Until Disney or Lucasfilm or Del Rey or whoever decides these things decides to continue or at least give a proper conclusion to the Legends continuity, I won’t be giving any of my time or attention to the new canon. If Legends were to ever be continued and given the proper acknowledgement, I might consider watching or reading some of the new stuff, but only as “what if?” stories, because to me Legends will always be the true canon.
Again, I have no problem with other people enjoying the new canon, but to me it will never be Star Wars, and the attitude that those in charge have towards Legends made me lose any interest in giving their new story a chance.