|Sharpen your no. 2 pencils kids, there will be a test after!|
What sort of expanded universe will Disney create for Star Wars?First, a not-so-quick recap. We'd heard last year that, beginning in 2015, there would be a Star Wars sequels, taking place after the original trilogy. These would seem to invalidate--at least partially--the canon status of a good chunk of the (very popular) novels, games, and Dark Horse Comics-era comics that also take place in that time period. We hear rumors of Skywalker-Solo children, and even the return of the big baddie himself, Emperor Palpatine--but not as a clone as the EU had resurrected him.
Cutting the Cord to the EUIt started a while back we when we heard of some "spin-off" films that would be produced in the Star Wars universe, but focusing on on a single character. A different points, Yoda, Han Solo, and Boba Fett were mentioned. Another red flag: early reports pegged them as origin stories calling into question the backstories of popular characters in the saga--not a good sign for EU-established story arcs.
Then a few weeks ago confirmation (everyone knew it was coming) that Dark Horse would relinquish Star Wars. The license, in 2015, will revert back to Marvel, which is now Disney's in-house comics publisher.
|Dark Horse has had hits and misses, but their Dark Empire series really brought the Jedi angst.|
The Purge BeginsMeanwhile, Disney went on a project killing spree, pulling the plug on the phenomenal-looking Star Wars 1313 video game and--shockingly--the ardently watched and highly rated Clone Wars TV series. This seemed like a pre-emptive strike to take out any current or future competing content from what is essentially a wide stream of "official" Star Wars storytellers.
|Shoulda' been a slamdunk success, like shooting a dianooga in a holding tank.|
A New Hope BackstoryThis week, another revelation: Boba Fett solo film scribe Lawrence Kasdan (yes, THAT, Larry Kasdan) says he's looking at rebooting Fett from the origin up. Like most of us, he wasn't won over by Lucas' attempt at an origin story, so he's come up with an idea to kill the clone and make off with the mask. This is essentially another nail in the EU, since most of Boba Fett's escapades between films (and much more after) all weigh rather heavily on non-film storylines.
|Soon to appear in "Spaceballs the Sequel: The Search for More Money"|
To make things more the powers that be are now denying the spin-offs are set up from a single character's point of view--seen as hint by some that the films will focus on totally new characters. When she's not completely confusing the fanbase, Star Wars head honcho Kathleen Kennedy tries to reassure folks that the real story is the Skywalkers. So then why even make these other stories if they're not "really" part of the Star Wars canon? ("Money," yes, of course is the answer....)
Where will the EU get most of it's material?So how will Disney's Marvel handle the EU? Will they be forced to ignore the earlier storylines by Marvel--the ones that saved their bacon in the 1970s? Will Marvel be expected to retain any of the Dark Horse content or will they straight-up reinvent the saga, starting from 5 minutes after Return of the Jedi. And what about the Star Wars of "thousands of years" a.k.a., Knights of the Old Republic? How much are EU are we talking about?
|Before sequels, there was Howard Chaykin and Carmine Infantino.|
One answer has cropped up in all the reports, it seems that the new EU will be canon:
"A primary goal" was to ensure that there was no hierarchy between the movies and spin-off material, but instead one cohesive canon across the entire franchise, adding that "more so than ever, the canon field will serve us internally simply for classification rather than setting hierarchy."From that standpoint, the re-canon-ing everything into a single, meshed storyline seems like a great idea. I'm sure fans who revel in the wild and briar-like threads on Wookiepedia and are wont to disagree.
How will Disney owning the property affect other licensors?You know, a year ago, I was more than a little reticent to support Fantasy Flight Games' snagging Star Wars for miniature and RPG games. Wizards of the Coast (Hasbro) let the rights expire. I was worried they wouldn't be able to fill Wizard's shoes.
Boy was I wrong. They have a verifiable hit with Star Wars X-wing, miniature game of starfighter dogfights. It's by all accounts fantastic and growing quite an exuberant audience.
|Look at all those funny dice!|
Will these changes from Disney--a family-oriented media company--end up undoing the work and achievements that FFG has so deftly accomplished? I was maybe too harsh on Fantasy Flight in that previous post. I'd feel gutted now if they lost the license due to some Disney legal dickery.
In my original post, I'd indicated doubts about Fantasy Flight being too adult-oriented. I don't think Disney would or could do better when it comes to RPGs or mini games. Quite the contrary, my fear is that they would do the opposite--kill them entirely in favor of very kid-oriented fare.
Disney Infinity, a mini-to-online adventure video game (patterened after the mega hit Skylanders) is being lauded a huge success for the Mouse. Is there room at the Magic Kingdom for two kinds of game audiences? Or will they decide to foreclose on FFG's aged gamers in favor of a younger, more online-synced audience?
|So is Goofy-bacca canon or what?|
Other unanswered questions:
If Star Wars were ever to be sold to another studio, would it undergo another purge?Could this ever happen again? Hopefully I'll long be one with The Force before that happens, but I can only imagine the disastrophy that would ensue from redoing another entirely new take on Star Wars. Perhaps by then the whole thing will be public domain anyway? (One can dream!)
Will other big franchise transfers be handled similarly?Say that Paramount were to lose the mess that is the Star Trek license, and be bought by another studio (let's say Dreamworks). Does the Disney hitting the reset button on Star Wars set the tone for how other studios might rework a previously-established license with decades of EU history? Other companies may be watching closely to see how the biggest media reboot in history pans out.
BUT THE BIG QUESTION IS:
How the hell am I supposed to explain Star Wars EU to my kid? Seriously, she's not even a year old. All of this will have come and gone by the time she's old enough to see the original movie.
All I'm saying is, it's a LOT of franchise baggage to be lugging around.ME: So here's a really cool Star Wars comic, it takes place after Return of the Jedi!
KID: Cool! Is it before or after Episode 7?
ME: Neither, it doesn't fit with that movie. It's about Luke turning to the darkside and the emperor coming back as a clone.
KID: The emperor is a CLONE??!
ME: No, uh, not really....See it's part of the EXPANDED UNIVERSE.
KID: The spin-off movies?
KID: The Marvel comics?
ME: No, this is when Dark Horse did the EU.
KID: So how does it fit in now?
ME: It doesn't.
KID: So why am I reading this?
ME: It's like an alternative take--like Star Wars Infinities!
Okay enough whining--to the comments!