Why I’m Not Interested In the New Star Wars Canon

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.

 

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Essay on Mara Jade

Just for fun, I thought I’d share this essay that I wrote several years ago for a school assignment. I thought about editing it and improving it a bit, but finally decided to share it as I originally wrote it. The assignment was to choose a character from a novel of our choice that is perceived as “evil” and write a literary analysis about why they aren’t evil. It was perfect because at the time I had just finished reading Allegiance and was about halfway through Choices of One, so naturally I chose to write about Mara Jade. Here is the essay:

Mara Jade: Emperor’s Hand

            Most Star Wars fans consider the Empire to be evil. Emperor Palpatine is a Sith Lord, and keeps the galaxy in line with fear. Therefore most people draw the conclusion that Mara Jade, as the Emperor’s Hand, must also be evil.  She does his bidding, going on secret missions to spy on, punish, or assassinate his enemies. She kills those guilty of treason against the Empire. But in Allegiance and Choices of One, both books by Timothy Zahn, it is revealed through some of her thoughts and actions that Mara is only doing what she thinks is right. We see that Mara Jade is not evil, but is idealistic and believes that she is helping the Empire bring order and justice to the galaxy.

One of Mara’s main jobs as Emperor’s Hand is to kill the Emperor’s enemies and anyone guilty of treason. But she only kills once she has gathered evidence that proves without a doubt that the person is guilty. Timothy Zahn emphasizes this by saying “She hadn’t proved Ferrouz’s guilt. Not yet. All she’d proved was that someone high up in the palace was cooperating with the Rebels…No, Mara couldn’t be absolutely sure Ferrous was the traitor until she’d gotten into the palace’s own records…She would pretend that Ferrouz was still loyal, and this was some serious misreading of the evidence on her part. Tomorrow, once she proved his treason beyond a glimmer of a doubt, she would do her job” (Choices of One, 153). Someone that is truly evil would not take the time to make sure of the person’s guilt. They would simply kill the person and sort it out later. Even after someone’s guilt has been proven, Mara isn’t happy or pleased about it. She feels regret. “With a sigh, Mara closed down the last of the files and shut down her borrowed computer. She’d hoped, she really had, that Ferrouz would prove innocent of the charges the Emperor had leveled against him. She’d wanted to believe that such a rising political figure had simply been duped, that the resources of the palace had been manipulated by someone else for their own advantage. But the records were clear” (Choices of One, 191). When she goes to do her job, she gives the person time to defend themselves, and seriously considers that they might still be innocent, or at least not completely guilty. “Treason was still treason…but if Ferrouz was really being coerced, it was worth holding off on his death sentence until she looked into it” (Choices of One, 197). In one case, Mara thought she was wrong about a person’s guilt, and did everything in her power to stop the sentence from being carried out. “But if Caaldra was telling the truth, then Choard could very well be a completely innocent man. An innocent man whom she’d just sent five stormtrooper deserters to kill. She clenched her teeth. She had to get out of here, and she had to get out now….If Brightwater had been right about the governor having guests, the ballroom might be a good place to start looking for him. She only hoped she could get to him before LaRone did” (Allegiance, 375, 379). Mara does not kill in anger or revenge. She believes that she is helping the galaxy “…she would do her job. And the Empire would be a better place for it” (Choices of One, 153). She also does not kill when it is not necessary, as shown by another character’s thoughts: “LaRone nodded. Jade was ruthless enough with the traitors she’d been sent to deal with, but he’d seen her go out of her way to keep the innocent and the loyal out of her line of fire” (Choices of One, 172). Mara’s job might be to assassinate enemies of the Empire, but she does not take her job lightly, and she doesn’t do it carelessly.

Mara shows a level of compassion to people that is highly unusual for agents of the Empire. One example of this is “‘If I don’t make it,’ he rasped, his eyes half closed as he gazed into her face, ‘bury me in space. You hear me?’ ‘You’re going to make it,’ Mara said, the lie coming automatically to her lips even as a surge of frustration ran through her. She’d been taught a dozen Force-techniques for self-healing, but nothing that could be used on others” (Allegiance, 278). She is sympathetic to a criminal that she only just recently met. Someone truly evil would not care when someone she barely knows dies, and she certainly would not feel guilty about or even think about the fact that she only knows how to heal herself, and not other people. Later in the book, Mara even takes the time to honor the criminal’s last request, even though she knows the Emperor would not approve. “An hour later she dropped the ship back out of hyperspace to carry out Tannis’s last request. The Emperor had little patience with memorials, Mara knew, with extra contempt for the practice of saying words over the fallen. Mara said a few words anyway, half remembered ones from her childhood, before consigning Tannis’s body to the emptiness of space” (Allegiance, 287-288). In another situation, Mara saved the life of someone she didn’t know, even though she really didn’t have the time to do it. “Mara grimaced. She had no idea who he was, or how it was LaRone knew him. But he’d been helpful, whether he’d really planned to be or not, and he’d played his own small part in saving the governor’s family. She couldn’t just stand here and let him die” (Choices of One, 404). If Mara was evil, she would not care if someone else died, no matter how helpful they’d been to her. Zahn also shows that Mara has values unlike other Imperials. At one point she thinks “besides, there was something to be said for a man who would deliberately put himself into deadly danger to help those he loved” (Choices of One, 335) Most Imperial agents would consider compassion and love for others a weakness, but Mara actually admires these traits.

Mara is idealistic. She was taken by the Emperor from her home as a child and raised to think that the Empire is the only way to bring stability to the galaxy, and that it does an excellent job doing so. She believes the Empire protects the innocent, even though most of the time the exact opposite is true. “‘Yes, and be assured that I’m going to look into that,’ Jade promised ominously. ‘Ordering the slaughter of civilians is against everything the Empire stands for. If it’s true, I promise you that someone’s going to suffer for it.’ LaRone looked sideways at Marcross. The other grimaced in silent agreement. For all her strength and competence, the Emperor’s Hand had an awfully naïve view of what the Empire actually stood for. But she would learn” (Allegiance, 395). Even though she didn’t see the problem with the Empire as a whole, and couldn’t see the Emperor’s evil, she did see flaws in other areas of the Empire. Zahn points this out by saying “Mara felt her stomach tighten. So this was the legacy of the ISB and men like Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. Not the rule of law or justice, but of fear” (Choices of One, 247). Mara didn’t seek to intimidate or scare people. She only wanted justice to be dealt. And years (and many books) later, Mara realized her mistakes. After the Emperor died, she was able to see what the Empire had really been, and how wrong she had been to serve it. Many years after that, she became a Jedi Knight and served the light side of the Force. Someone truly evil would not be able to let go of their old ways or be willing to admit their mistakes.

Mara Jade is not evil—she believes that she is helping the galaxy and doing what is right. Someone who is evil wouldn’t feel regret over killing someone. They would kill in anger, and for no reason. But Mara only kills when she knows for sure that the person is guilty of treason, and even then she doesn’t enjoy it. She sees it as a sad but necessary act. Unlike most Imperials, Mara is sympathetic to people and actually tries to help people in need. The Emperor made sure that Mara was blind to the Empire’s true nature. She thought that she was serving the galaxy and doing good things. She was idealistic and thought the Empire brought justice to the galaxy. Years later, she realized that she was wrong. Mara Jade did a lot of bad things during her life, and made a lot of mistakes, but she was never evil.

Jaina Solo For Black Series

jainapoll2

There’s currently a poll taking place at starwars.com where you can vote for the next 6″ Black Series figure from Hasbro. While there are four Expanded Universe/Legends characters to choose from (two of them from the Skywalker/Solo family, whoo-hoo!), I would like to encourage you to vote for Jaina Solo. While I would also love to have a 6″ Mara, Mara has already had a recent 3 3/4″ Black Series figure. Starkiller and Talon (the other two EU choices) have also had at least one figure and they are relatively inexpensive. Jaina’s only Hasbro figure is from 2008 and is extremely hard to find, and you’ll most likely end up paying hundreds of dollars to get your hands on one (just check ebay). Jaina deserves to have a new figure, and the only way we’re going to get one is by winning this poll. So please, support the Sword of the Jedi and #VoteJaina! Feel free to spread the above picture around on social media to get your friends, family, and fellow Legends fans to vote for Jaina as well. You can vote every day until Friday. MTFBWJ (May the Force Be With Jaina) 😉

UPDATE: She won!

My Top 10 Favorite Things About The Prequels

In honor of Prequel Appreciation Day, I decided to participate in The Star Wars Prequel Appreciation Society’s event this year. If it weren’t for the Prequel Trilogy, I probably would not be a Star Wars fan. The Phantom Menace was the first movie I saw, and after watching it three times in order to completely understand everything that was going on, I decided to watch the other five movies “just once” to see what happened to Anakin Skywalker (who I knew somehow became Darth Vader). Well, I found the story so amazing that I had to watch the movies again, and again, and again. Then I discovered there were books…

But back to the point of this post. Here is my list of the top 10 things I love about the Prequel Trilogy:

10) The Music

All of John William’s Star Wars music is amazing, but the Prequel music in particular is on a whole other level. My personal favorites are Across the Stars and Battle of the Heroes.

9) The Books

The novelizations of the movies are awesome themselves (especially the ROTS novel by Matthew Stover) but without the PT we wouldn’t have great stories like Outbound Flight, Rogue Planet, The Last of the Jedi (series), and The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Prequels opened up a whole new era in which authors could tell exciting stories. The Prequels also had a huge influence on some of the later post-ROTJ novels, like the Legacy of the Force and Fate of the Jedi series.

8) The Costumes

There’s no comparing the costumes of the PT to those of the OT. The wardrobe of Padme Amidala (deservingly) gets the most attention, but the costumes of other senators and royalty are pretty awesome too. Even the Jedi and bounty hunters get some cool apparel.

7) The Planets

Naboo, Coruscant, Kamino, Geonosis, Kashyyyk…there are so many amazing places in the galaxy far, far away, and the Prequels showed us a lot more of them. How could you not admire the waterfalls of Naboo, the soaring skyscrapers of Coruscant, or even the stormy waters of Kamino?

6) The Battle of Geonosis

I generally find large battles boring compared to the other scenes of the movies, but I love the Battle of Geonosis. It is one of my favorite scenes in the entire saga. It’s awesome to see so many Jedi in action at once, and the start of The Clone Wars is such an important moment. Plus I get to see my two favorite characters, Obi-Wan and Padmé, in action!

5) The Romance

Forbidden love…there’s something so fascinating about Anakin and Padmé’s story. I love to watch their relationship grow from friendship in TPM, to deep love in AOTC, and finally heartbreaking tragedy in ROTS. My favorite Ani/Padme scene is the meadow picnic from AOTC, but they’re all great in their own way.

4) The Jedi And Lightsaber Battles

As I mentioned earlier, TPM was the first Star Wars movie that I watched, so I didn’t have Obi-Wan’s brief explanation from ANH or any of the other background information on the Jedi from the OT. I found the concept of those weird guys in robes with laser swords pretty strange and confusing at first, and I don’t remember when exactly I got a good grip on what the Force was. But even though they were strange, I immediately found the Jedi and their power intriguing. It’s great to see them in their prime during the Prequel Trilogy, before they were nearly wiped out. And of course part of what makes the Jedi so cool is how skilled they are with lightsabers. The PT has some amazing lightsaber choreography and very emotional battles.

3) The Complex Storylines

I often hear complaints that the Prequels are too complicated and confusing—but that’s why I think they’re so great. There’s so much depth to each plot and you really have to pay attention and think to understand everything that’s happening. That’s a positive thing to me, not a negative. With Palpatine’s subtle manipulations, the deception involved with the Clone Wars, and the tragedy of Anakin’s fall, how could anyone ever be bored?

2) Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan is just an all-around great character. He’s got a bunch of witty one-liners, he’s great with a lightsaber, and he’s the perfect model of what a Jedi was supposed to be at the time. His relationship with Anakin—moving from skeptical disinterest to brotherly love and finally tragic heartbreak—is one of the best things about the Prequel Trilogy. The Obi-Wan we see in the Prequels definitely expands upon the old hermit we meet in ANH.

1) Padmé Amidala

And finally, my absolute favorite thing about the Prequels: Padmé Amidala. I was immediately drawn to her character and she remains my favorite character today. She was a strong, independent woman but she also knew when she needed help. She served her planet and her people from a very young age, and spent her life trying to make the galaxy a better place. She continuously put other people’s needs before her own. She loved Anakin with all her heart and never gave up on the idea that there was good inside him. She preferred peace and diplomacy, but wasn’t afraid to fight when necessary. She was kind, beautiful, and idealistic—someone that I could look up to. And of course, she had a gorgeous wardrobe. 😉 It was actually my interest in Padmé’s legacy (through her grandchildren, especially Jaina) that got me interested in the Expanded Universe, so if it wasn’t for Padmé, Skywalker Family FanPage wouldn’t even exist.

Enjoy Prequel Appreciation Day!

Anakin vs Ben

I’m currently re-reading NJO, and I’d forgotten just how close Mara and Anakin were. They have a great aunt-nephew relationship, and at times Anakin seems to be more Luke and Mara’s son than Han and Leia’s. He often travels with them, and their adventures inevitably remind me of the ones Luke and Ben have together in FOTJ.

Mara and Anakin are so close that it makes me wonder if she actually knew Anakin better than her own son. She died when Ben was fourteen, so they never really had a chance for as many of those one-on-one bonding moments that Mara and Anakin had. I’m sure she and Ben spent time together, but Anakin was several years older during his adventures with Mara than Ben was when Mara died, so they were able to have more mature, philosophical conversations. Mara was also a great teacher to Anakin and made him question his use of the Force. It’s just sad that Mara never got a chance to have those kinds of experiences with her son.

Ben did get to have those bonding experiences with Luke, however. Their back-and-forth between witty banter and deep conversations in FOTJ give off much the same vibe as Mara and Anakin’s interactions in NJO. It would have been great to see Mara traveling with Luke and Ben (and that no doubt would have increased the amount of sarcasm and humor bouncing around in the Jade Shadow).

I guess my point here is that Anakin’s relationship with Luke and especially Mara was a lot like Ben’s relationship with Luke. It’s just interesting to see the similarities and differences between generations (because let’s face it, Anakin is basically a generation older than Ben and they lived in very different times as far as the state of the galaxy goes). Even though they faced very different challenges, Anakin and Ben are a lot alike, not only in their relationships with Mara and Luke but also in their personalities in general and in how other people perceive them. They were both eager to “save the galaxy” and make a difference, and they were both seen as a hero of their generation of Jedi–and as the next great leader of the Jedi Order. They both handled that burden incredibly well. Obviously that future didn’t happen for Anakin, and we may never know if it happens for Ben.

Just some of my random thoughts 😉

Finished!

I now have all the pages set up on this website, so it’s finished for the moment. I did do some things rather quickly, so if you catch any mistakes don’t hesitate to let me know. I’m not sure how active I’ll actually be here, so make sure to also check the facebook page for updates!