One of my favourite bits about this post is that I get to add lots of great Star Wars pictures to it. Enjoy!
Checking through my social media late last night, something bright and sparkly caught my eye. It was a short video clip about the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU). Normally not one to watch video clips online, this intrigued me, so I clicked with my mouse and started to watch. Essentially it had some Star Wars related people, speaking about some of their favourite Expanded Universe books. Great! But the overall theme was that the Expanded Universe was going to be mothballed, cancelled, canned…..just written off and resigned to history…but not Star Wars history. With Disney producing new movies, the next one set supposedly some thirty years after Return of the Jedi, the Expanded Universe no longer makes sense in the vision they have of the overall storyline, and where it will all go. Now for those of you that don’t know what the Expanded Universe (EU) is, I’ll tell you. It’s everything Star Wars, outside of the films. For example, the story continues in the form of books, comics, graphic novels, video games, etc and features things like Han and Leia’s children, Luke’s wife and child, a whole series of X-wing novels featuring Wedge and the other pilots, deaths of main characters……I could go on and on and on.
Now before we go any further, I have to confess to being a huge Star Wars fan. Right from watching the very first film in the cinema (three times), two of which the most amazing man in the world (my grandfather) took me to see. I can remember leaving the cinema with him, and both of us sharing a moment. What was surprising was that he was as blown away by the film as I was. I was not quite nine at the time, and for a boy of that age, what I’d just seen couldn’t possibly have been any better. I can remember sitting mesmerised as Luke in his X-wing roared down that trench on the Death Star, jinking from side to side to avoid the fire from its guns, the anticipation of what would happen when they stopped firing, wondering whether Wedge would get out of there in one piece and the utter exhilaration as the Millenium Falcon roared in to take Vader’s Tie fighter out, just as he was about to destroy Luke. Goose bumps are racing up and down my arms as I’m writing this now, just thinking about that particular scene. My grandfather was of course, grandfather age, but I know for a fact he felt exactly the same way. It was the same for us both on the second visit……I’m sure. After that, on my regular visits to see my grandparents, my grandfather would take me off for a few hours, to visit a park or somewhere else nice, but we would always end up at some point in a tiny toy shop, in Woolston, a small suburb of Southampton, browsing through the Star Wars action figures. Needless to say, not once did I come away empty handed, thanks to my grandfather’s kind generosity. It didn’t take long before I had a considerable collection of figures. And I wasn’t the only one. My best friend, who lived four doors down from me, had a collection as well. I can’t begin to imagine the number of hours we spent playing in each other’s houses, and outside with our figures. What a genuinely wonderful time we had. It was fantastic. And when Christmas came round, well…………Santa brought us both more Star Wars goodies. For me….it was Luke’s X-wing fighter. For him….yes, you’ve guessed it….the MILLENIUM FALCON! I was so jealous, but at the same time, so happy. It was brilliant! Hours and hours of fun. I took mine everywhere with me. Off to both sets of grandparents (regular trips for me), everywhere but school, and I’m sure I would have done even that, if allowed.
Anyway….where were we? Oh..that’s right, the impact of that first movie. It’s hard to quantify really. Let’s just say a massive effect. And so its impact stayed with me. Watching both sequels a lot of times when they came out, more action figures…you name it. Oh as well, I can remember I had a Star Wars board game….all about the Death Star I seem to remember. It was kept at my grandparents for when I visited, and bless them, they always used to accede to my wishes and would play it with me all the time. It made me so happy.
A few years later I had discovered my love of hockey, and all thoughts of action figures had totally disappeared, but my love of all things Star Wars hadn’t, that would be with me for a long time to come.
Moving forward a few years, I found the Expanded Universe in the form of books, specifically…..’Heir To The Empire’. From then on………..I WAS HOOKED! And have been ever since.
I have a vast collection of books, running right up to the most recent, a lot in hardback (I always bought them as soon as they came out……..that’s how eager I was to get my hands on them) and I reread them, whenever the opportunity presents itself. To say these books have had an impact on my life would be something of an understatement. Not only on my reading habits, but my writing as well. Getting lost in a good book is something everyone should experience on a regular basis, and something I’ve enjoyed for many years, not only with these books, but many others as well. But these books (there are so many, it’s hard to pick one out, although I will mention some of the key moments I’ve enjoyed later, and yes I’ll warn you before I do) have inspired my imagination, they’ve let me get lost in the characters, the lore, from the space ships, the locations, right down to the clothes and the uniforms. I love the Star Wars films, but the books in the Expanded Universe are…………….well, just so much more. So to hear that everything I’ve read, all the books I’ve bought and so lovingly looked after are going to be resigned to what? Just some outdated, false storyline that has nothing to do with anything? Hmmmm. Not happy.
Since the news of Disney acquiring the Star Wars franchise broke, with promises of new films, spin-offs, etc, there’s been a lot of talk about whether it will all be true to all the previous Star Wars movies. Whether Disney will put their own spin on it and ruin it in some way shape or form. I’ve kept up with it on occasion on the internet, laughing at some of the pictures that people post, combining Disney and Star Wars in some amusing fashion. But I can’t say I’ve been particularly worried about them ruining the franchise. My children have grown up on Disney things…….the princesses, and all that, and I have to say, although a part of it is based on making a profit, there could be much worse things for them to be into. And I’ve always been happy for them to have Disney things and take them to places like the Disney shop. So for me…the fit with Star Wars was always going to be okay, at least until I got a look at the first film. But this news about the Expanded Universe has really………hmmm….’disappointed’ me OFF. (See what I did there!) Are we supposed to forget about everything that’s happened in those storylines? I know everything about those characters. I’ve shared their loves, their loses, their highs and lows. I feel as if I’ve celebrated all their victories with them…*****SPOILER ALERT***** their taking back of planets, defeating the Vong, destroying Sith lords, hunting down old enemies, and defending new friends. I know about it all, love each and every part of it, and carry it with me at all times. But now…is it worthless? Should I just forget all about it? Perhaps I should just give all my books away, and wait with baited breath for all the new stories which will no doubt accompany the new films and spin-offs? My wallet should be primed and ready. Is that what I should do?
I can’t explain how mad I am about this. It’s stupid really…..or maybe not. Who knows? Not me. It just makes my blood boil. The one thing I do know, is that the very next Star Wars film that comes out now had better be DAMN GOOD! If it’s not………..then I’m done. And I never thought I’d hear myself say that. I’m not finished on this subject yet. There will be more soon. I’ll tell you about my favourite bits,….the characters, the storylines, the parts that have thrilled me, the parts that have made me cry (yes, you read that right), and recommend some of the best books I’ve read.
To be continued………..