Author Topic: Disney to Purge Select EU  (Read 1490 times)

Offline Diddly

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Disney to Purge Select EU
« on: January 12, 2014, 05:53 PM »
So according to this article, Disney is going to spend the next several weeks and months trimming the fat off the EU, so to speak, by reorganizing what is and is not canon.

I think this is a good idea for the most part. I'm only familiar with a few items from the EU but a lot of it was pretty dumb from what I've read on Wookieepedia (Clone Emperor, Ken Palpatine, Yuzzhan Vong, etc). On the other hand if they decide to axe stuff like Thrawn, Shadows of the Empire, Rogue Squadron and KOTOR I'll be a little bummed since those were pretty good EU projects and seem to be enjoyed by pretty much all Star Wars fans.

Any specific EU you want Disney to axe or keep around?

Offline P-Siddy

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2014, 06:10 PM »
I agree for the most part that it's a good idea.  The EU is mostly authorized fanfiction in the end and whether or not you enjoy or hate it... I've read some and have always felt that while it included beloved characters, it was never true SW to me.  Anyway, to the point, I think if a lot of it is deemed non-canon, then it liberates the writers of the movies to not have to adhere to another writer's history.

I've not read many EU novels.  I liked the Thrawn Trilogy, but others like the Courtship of Leia or Leia's part with Xizor in Shadows were appalling and I felt detracted from her strong personality.  I liked Dark Empire, but didn't like the Clone Emperor at all.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 06:12 PM by P-Siddy »

Offline Nicklab

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 09:13 PM »
The overall story direction of the post-ROTJ EU was almost non-existant.  It lacked the sense of singular vision that steered both the PT and the OT.  You had to deal with some crazy premises, ridiculous names and the like.  George Lucas reportedly signed off on a lot of this stuff, but I have to wonder just how closely he was involved in the story direction of these scores of novels and comics that have been released over the years.  For me, almost ALL of the post-ROTJ EU has been difficult to accept.  Some of the pre-PT, Clone Wars and dark times stories work for me, but it's somewhat limited.

I think that this decision will ultimately serve the movies far better.  Why?  Because JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan aren't going to be painted into a corner by all of this burdensome EU minutiae.  And I think they're going to be better able to serve up a great Star Wars story because they're going to have more freedom.  And to me?  I think that JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are far more capable writers when it comes to interpreting George Lucas's vision than any EU novelist or comic writer.  Even Timothy Zahn.

Even George Lucas wound up being boxed in by his own work.  The prequels were tough for him from a writing standpoint because he had to fulfill all of these story elements that were established in the OT.  Think about the constraints he had to work within just based on how he had Vader speak in the OT.  Vader's dialogue was very tight and focused in the OT.  Almost robotic.  How do you humanize that voice and character in Vader's origin story while staying true to the OT movies?  That alone was very difficult. 

And that makes me much more understanding of Disney's decision to establish this Star Wars story group within the newly re-organized Lucasfilm.  If they need to cut bait with a majority of the post-ROTJ expanded universe stories and literature?  Then do it.  Because the movies have to be the true canon.  Otherwise you devalue the Star Wars film legacy.
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Offline GrandMoffNick

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 12:01 AM »
I apologize in advance to anyone I annoy, but this is such a sore spot for me. Rambling rant begins:

Not sure how Disney saying anything EU isn't canon means anything to me. I agree it will help writing the upcoming movies because they will have much more freedom, but otherwise who cares? Congrats to Disney for buying SW and getting to say what "did and didn't happen now" but the books/comics, etc. were written and I don't believe will evaporate before my eyes. So I still have them and enjoy them. I think people who don't like the EU take it way too seriously. If you don't like it, ignore it. I like the SW world continuing. I love this universe and like I get more. Of course it doesn't all fit. Numerous people have come up with it.

Sorry to break this to the EU haters, but Disney saying the EU didn't happen changes nothing. It did happen. I have the novels in my living room. I don't have any problem if you just like the six movies and that's it and want nothing to do with the other stuff, but I don't buy for a second it ruins the legacy of the OT. People understand those were brilliant films and always will be. You can still love the movies and get all the enjoyment from them you want with the novels existing. They are not hurting you experience.

Sorry too keep repeating myself, and know I will take a beating for this, but I can't wrap my head around the "celebrating" that Disney is going to cut certain EU from canon. It's a fake universe in which you can pick and choose what you like. Without the "new" stuff I don't think all these lines survive like they have until now.

For Disney's sake I totally understand. They need a basic history to go from for the next many years and trimming it down totally makes sense. But because what you read on Wookieepedia was dumb to you doesn't change that in the end these things were written with Lucasfilm's consent and did happen in the Star Wars universe and always will be a part of it.

Ok. I may have over-reacted to this, but it still rubs me the wrong way when people bad mouth something I love. If you think it's dumb and has crazy, appalling story lines then you've saved yourself a lot of time reading. I have enjoyed most every minute of it. Even the stuff I haven't liked doesn't ruin SW for me in any way.

Rambling rant over. Now I should just not read in this thread again so I don't make an ass of myself again. The End.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2014, 02:07 AM »
I don't think you sounded bad at all Nick, and really maybe I'm not reading this right but I don't really see them deciding as much what is canon or not, but rather maybe trimming out things they want to paint over, to a degree...  I have a feeling it'll mean some things do die, canon-wise, because they want to make a movie of it...

If you're doing Han's background, you may want to obviously have the freedom to rewrite some stuff, borrow from some of what exists, etc. 

None of the EU was ever holier than the films though...  it's always pretty much been Films, then the rest of it just part of the official "continuity".  Canon really only applied to the films then anyhow...  Lucas himself balked at Fett surviving the Sarlacc...  Now maybe they want to bring him back in a new fashion?  That's fine and good, and as with past EU, I'm sure people can still appreciate what was written and crowbar it in somehow.  That's always been the way it seemed to be.

Look at The Clone Wars...  People have managed to make the 2D and 3D toons mesh more or less, despite there being no intent for that.  Then comics and things, again these weren't really thought of much during the 3D toon's production, but people can crowbar them into the timelines...

I think a lot of this is just because they want to make movies and not be hamstrung.  It won't affect me thinking that X story doesn't exist now at all because it's covered in a new film differently...  Maybe it just fits a different way.

Perhaps elements of story X won't work because of the new movies, but other elements will, and if some of it does jive with the movies, or can fit in somewhere, I'm ok with that.

I think they'll try to keep what they can.
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Offline JediJman

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 02:21 AM »
As probably one of the few big EU supporters here, I'm with Nick.  I've read most of the EU novels and comics from the Old Republic stuff through New Jedi Order all the way out the Legacy series set 100 years post ANH.  While some of the storylines are crap, most are really good tales set in the universe we all know and love.  I loved the NJO series with the solo kids and some of the new jedi characters coming out of those books.  Legacy and Invasion are also great titles worth a read.

I get Disney wanting to reign in some of this because there is so much out there, but plucking certain storylines to say this happened and that didn't really annoys me.  Probably too Star Trekish to go the alternate reality route, but I'd almost rather that than them just saying certain things never happened.  I don't know why they have to say anything at all.  The Avengers-based storylines differed from previous origins and material and I don't recall Disney coming out with a list of canon for superheroes.  Imagine you've written a few chapters of Star Wars lore through novels or comics only to have Disney swoop in and tell you your storyline no longer exists.  Nice.

I totally get that they want to make it their own, but why not go the Superman Returns route?  Just say, this story starts at this point in the SW universe and then do whatever you want from there.  If it differs from EU material down the road, then so be it.  But better to ignore it than erase it in my opinion. 

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Offline Pete_Fett

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 08:31 AM »
I have always enjoyed the EU stories I have read, because up until now, they have offered me the ONLY way to experience the further adventures of the OT heroes I grew up with.

That being said, I can totally understand why they need to do this.

Maybe I'm being too forgiving, but you can't blame them if they throw out all of the NJO stuff. Chewbacca's death, what children the Solo and Skywalker families have, the eventual death of one of the Solo kids, the turn to the dark side of another, the death of Luke's wife, etc....

Those novels start 21 years post ROTJ. If they wanted the ST to be set 20-30 years after ROTJ, you either have to film those novels and embrace that storyline or you have to throw it out. There is no middle ground.

There will be some novels that are included. I would be very surprised if the Zahn Trilogy isn't. Those books were created at a time when there wasn't an EU and have the distinction of having their story, plot, and author scrutinized by George Lucas. (Or so was said at the time) However, the second you say that Luke married someone other than Mara Jade OR that Leia and Han didn't have twin children named Jaina and Jacen, well, guess what that means. And if that is the case, then "oh well".

When it comes to the Star Wars Universe, you really can't make the same analogy to the Marvel/Avengers stuff. The comics themselves all exist in multiple universes, the movies are in their own universe, and if a movie is being produced by someone other than Disney/Marvel Studios, it too is in it's own separate universe. Sure they could take all the post-ROTJ books and comics and say "these exist in Star Wars Galaxy 154825173855271" (sorry, just poking fun at the Marvel Universe numbers) - but why bother?

Going back to the Zahn Trilogy. If it had been the only EU material to come out, then maybe including it would be fine. But what about the Dark a Empire comic books? They have shoe-horned the two of them together, but the reality is that the two of them are supposed to be happening at the same time, and even back in the early 90s many fans who read both were like "huh?" - both have their own merits, but in the end, almost negate each other because conflicts in the two stories.

I think fans of the Star Wars EU need to embrace the change that the a Star Trek EU fans had to face years ago, and that is that if your book/comic/whatever does not fit with a story the television or movie makers want to produce then guess which piece of media loses and becomes a "what if" story. I'll give you a hint, it certainly isn't the one that cost millions of dollars to produce.  ;)
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Offline GrandMoffNick

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 09:30 AM »
I think fans of the Star Wars EU need to embrace the change that the a Star Trek EU fans had to face years ago, and that is that if your book/comic/whatever does not fit with a story the television or movie makers want to produce then guess which piece of media loses and becomes a "what if" story. I'll give you a hint, it certainly isn't the one that cost millions of dollars to produce.  ;)

I have no problem with this, but it still doesn't mean Disney has to "change" or "cancel" things out. They can do their thing and the stories can not match up, but don't tell me it's not canon because "you" say so. Just acknowledge anything post Thrawn isn't necessarily going to fit into Disney's story. It would be impossible to do it otherwise, but Walt's frozen head just coming in and wiping it out, at least in Disney's mind, is a slap in the face.

The EU lovers and haters both need to accept the stories haven't been congruent and never will.
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Offline McMetal

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2014, 09:52 AM »
I think it is a potentially slippery slope when someone starts arbitrarily deciding what IS and ISN'T considered "canon" anymore. There need to be clear lines of demarcation, IMHO. What seems non-contradictory today may not be that way a few years from now. It's an unwieldy burden to manage with all the different media.

You have to start setting boundaries someplace. But even then it's hard. Even if you recognize ONLY the six films, you have to figure out how to reconcile revisionist crap like Geedo shooting first, etc.

I think the whole thing has gotten way out of hand personally, and I welcome the coming cull. That's not to say people still can't enjoy what is already out there floating around, it's just a way for them to open up the narrative for the next batch of films.
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Offline Scott

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 10:27 AM »
I wouldn't be quick to blame Disney on this.  First of all Pablo Hildago and Leeland Chee are both leading this effort.  They are also the same two guys who for years have supposed to be handling the EU and the Holocron.  I agree with you Nick that they really have no choice and I think the writing is more or less already on the wall concerning that whatever is going to happen in EpVII will be vastly different than the existing EU.  I guess shame on Lucas and Lucasfilm for making lots of money on all of EU over the years only to give everyone the middle finger and say HA HA, it didn't really happen that way.


Offline Muftak

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 10:56 AM »
So it goes. I loved the Thrawn stuff and jumped right in when the post ROTJ stuff started. Then just as quickly I was appalled by the Jedi Academy storyline and realized I would have to pick and choose what stories I followed.

But none of this stuff has ever matched up...going back to Splinter of the Mind's Eye which predates everything except Ep IV. I spent 15 years believing Owen was ObiWan's brother (Because I read it in the ROTJ novelization in 83) before it became evident that the prequels were negating that...and that stuff just kept happening all through the PT. I still wonder why Leia remembers her real mother.

So a purge is coming. As has been said, it's not gonna change my affection for the Thrawn books.  I guess I can kiss the chances of a retcon "Vader meets the Noghri" novel goodbye. But maybe it will open the door for a spinoff Thrawn movie to modify the story to fit in with the details of the sequel trilogy. I could get excited for that sort of project (especially in animated form.)
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 11:33 AM »
Like other comic book fans here have said, to me this is no different than "Peter Parker never married Mary Jane!!!"  Or "Superman never married Lois Lane!!!"  There comes a point when the stories have to be rebooted and continuity has to be cleaned up and I guess Star Wars is finally there (just like comics, Star Trek, Walking Dead and countless other things before).  That;'s what happens when companies need to make $$$ at the end of the day.

I totally get the anger from people who love the existing EU.  I honestly think you sort of have to go through the five stages of grief.  I've seen it (and felt it myself) with various Marvel/DC reboots over the years.  If you love something, it hurts when someone else (Disney) tells you it's not worth keeping anymore.  The best part is that while Disney can tell you it didn't happen, you will always have the book and you are always free to believe what you want.

Like Pete said in his post...
take all the post-ROTJ books and comics and say "these exist in Star Wars Galaxy 154825173855271" (sorry, just poking fun at the Marvel Universe numbers)

DC Comics fans like me will consider the Lucas-LFL Era as "Pre-Crisis" EU and the Disney-LFL Era "Post-Crisis" EU (to equal-opportunity poke fun at the DC Universe ;)).

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Offline Nicklab

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 01:56 PM »
I don't think this is going to mean that Disney/Lucasfilm is going to start pulling books, comics and graphic novels off of book store shelves.  That would be taking things to preposterous levels.  Is it possible that the aforementioned material will go out of print?  Most likely, especially with the expiration of Dark Horse's comic adaptation contract.  As for the novels?  That remains to be seen.  For the time being, all of that material remains, and fans of the post-ROTJ expanded universe can continue to enjoy all of that literature to their heart's content.  I enjoyed some of the Rogue Squadron stories.  And I thought that Crimson Empire was a great story.  Why?  Largely because those stories focused on characters whose stories never got (and would never get) explored in the films.  I felt that the EU was the perfect vehicle for them.

But the stories that included the main characters, like Luke, Leia, Han Solo et al?  I found that the way those characters were written in the EU was too divergent (for my tastes) from the way those characters were developed in the films.  Say what you will about the acting and dialogue of all of the movies, but they did manage to establish some interesting characters.  The EU writers did not seem as though they captured the essence of the characters for me.

I think it's those stories that involve Luke, Leia & Han Solo that the Lucasfilm story group, with guys like Pablo Hidalgo and Leland Chee, are likely to take to editing.  Simply because those storylines have the potential to hamstring the writing process for the new trilogy as well as the standalone films.  And those guys are not some Disney new hires.  They've been with Lucasfilm for a LONG time.  They know the material.  Leleand Chee was the guy behind LFL's in-house Holocron, which was the OFFICIAL and unpublished source of Star Wars continuity.  And Pablo Hidalgo was one of the driving forces behind the Star Wars official site, which was itself once a great source of Star Wars lore in their Databank.  I think they along with the other members of the Star Wars story group are going to be very judicious in their decision making.  But they may also have to be very ruthless in the process.  I don't think that every EU fan is going to be ecstatic about this process.  But I think fans of the film universe will be the beneficiaries of some very thoughtful changes in the direction of the Star Wars universe, post-ROTJ.

I think that comparisons to both Marvel and DC comics are apt.  Marvel has obliterated their own universe before in order to start anew with things like the Ultimates.  And the Marvel cinematic universe seems to be something that fans have thus far accepted.  And as Jeff mentioned, the Crisis mini-series did set the stage for divergences in DC's overall continuum.  I suspect that this is the sort of change that we can expect for Star Wars as well.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 01:58 PM by Nicklab »
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Offline JediJman

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2014, 03:12 PM »
Feelings aside, I wonder if this gives us any clues about what's going to happen in these sequels.  The NJO series is set pretty far beyond ROTJ, so a movie set close to ROTJ shouldn't have to worry about what happens in these further out stories unless they are going to radically change something.  For example, if Chewie is slated to die 20 years post your movie, there's not really any need to say he doesn't die until you catch up to that timeline in the movies.  I can see some of the immediate Rogue Squadron stuff or Courtship of Leia being in the way, but those are low impact stories that really don't impact characters much IMO.  Kind of like the Marvel Star Wars comics.  Pretty weird stories that take place between and around the movies, but nothing so significant that it couldn't be kept around.

So, if they are going this route, there's likely some big change coming, right?  There are two possibilities that come to the forefront for me.

#1 - The sequels go pretty far into the future.  Much the way there was a gap between ROTS and ANH, they could jump ahead some 20 years to the next generation of Solos/Skywalkers/Jedi etc.  If they are planning this, it would seem fairly necessary to start carving out chunks of the EU that "didn't happen" because they'll be coming up against that time period in short order.

#2 - Han dies.  There were rumors a while back that Ford would join the case only if Solo gets killed off, likely in some dramatic fashion.  No Han means you've got to wipe out a good 90% of the EU stories following ROTJ.  He's not the star of many of those stories, but he's there, his relationship is there, his kids are there.  Hoping they don't go this route, but the whole Canon conversation makes it seem all the more likely to me.   :(
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Disney to Purge Select EU
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2014, 03:32 PM »
What Scott said...

It's really LFL and Lucas that should have much of the resentment aimed at them...  They raked in a LOT of cash from 1993 onward...  And Lucas, contrary to the "It's all great and canon!" crowd, didn't give much of a **** about most of the material...  That's one thing that always annoyed me a little about the EU, not that it would've impacted this discussion anyway since I still think Disney would be doing as they pleased here.  But Lucas was really an absentee landlord with this stuff.  He was annoyed someone even had been allowed to name Coruscant before him.  He should've been more involved, and wasn't, and there is some crap...  That's a separate topic to me though.

I have a feeling one of my favorite stories will be muffed up, and that's the Thrawn Trilogy.  I didn't care for NJO myself, or really a lot of EU...  I like some, but not the majority.  But the Thrawn Trilogy lay smack in the middle of this train track, and can hear the horn blowing.  It's one of my favorite stories though.  It always irked me some at LFL that they were always in the EU for the cash grab more than the quality, or that was how I felt about it anyway.  I felt like the NJO was sensationalized rather than intelligent plots...  "We'll off Chewie and get people in reading!" type stuff annoyed me, among other things.

Granted Zahn had a lot more freedom to work at the time too.  Uncharted waters.  And the NJO put out some great ideas and points, but I felt like the bad trumped the good in that series.

Like the collectibles though, I felt like it was just Star Wars being whored out at times so there was SOMETHING for the fans to read and buy.  I honestly feel some of the best EU is in video games rather than books or comics.  Some of the stories seemed to have a deeper and less sensational plot line to them anyway.

I still don't think it's going to be wide swaths cut through the EU though...  And think if elements don't contradict, they're elements that can still be happily accepted and enjoyed.  EU's ALWAYS been crammed and fitted together to make people happy.  I'll probably just continue to enjoy it that way myself.

I always thought the interview with Lucas where he actually laughed at the "Boba Lives" storyline summed it up though.  Dude just wanted money...  He didn't care who wrote it, or what level of quality it was.  He just wanted the $ it generated for his business, and that's fine, but it leads to things like this, but also led to a ton of ****** stuff coming out too...  That always annoyed me a little about how the EU has always been handled.   Of course, what's good or bad is all opinion, but most agree that there's some bad stuff floating around.  That's really a whole other topic though.
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