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The Geek Life: Star Wars Expanded Universe
By Robert T. Trate
January 13, 2014
The Geek Life is a weekly look at what is going on in the Geek Culture. Movies, Comics, Books, Video Games, and TV Shows encompass more than just release dates and reviews. This week, the Geek Life opens a can of Bantha poodoo.
I still remember the day I first told a group of my teammates about “Star Wars Heir to the Empire”. The book by Timothy Zahn was the first of many that expanded on the universe that George Lucas had created post Return of the Jedi. Sure, there was the Marvel Comic, but this was five years after that had wrapped. My teammates were enthralled about what was happening to Luke, Han, and Leia. I suddenly realized the power of storytelling and that Star Wars still meant something to so many people years after it had finished.
Now, jump to the present and years upon years of Star Wars novels, comics, movies, video games, and TV shows have enriched that post Jedi universe. It now appears that all those events are going to be swept away.
I have made no attempt to hide my love of Star Wars here on Mania as both a columnist and as the site’s editor. It might be my first love as it has been with me since I was two years old. I’ve jumped into the expanded universe and read all Timothy Zahn’s books (the best, in my opinion) and more than my fair share of Marvel and Dark Horse’s comic books. They were a great distraction and a fun way to visit my first love. However, once Chewbacca died in “Vector Prime” I stopped reading the Star Wars novels. This is interesting because now the kid gloves were off. A major character was no longer going to be with us, which one would think would reinforce my desire to read more Star Wars novels. The reset button wasn’t going to be pushed anymore. New characters weren’t going to be erased, killed, or forgotten about by the time the next novel was published. “The New Jedi Order” was a great way to go. However, it became too hard to follow for the occasional reader and too expensive, as well.
A couple of months ago, I engaged someone in a Star Wars conversation. This is something I don’t normally do. I was wearing a Star Wars t-shirt and so was this particular person. The release date for Episode VII had just been announced and I asked him what he thought about the new film coming out. Though it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, he told me he was going to be extremely disappointed if JJ Abrams did not embrace the expanded universe. He then went on to discuss its importance and significance. I felt really sad for this guy. I know he had invested just as much time, effort, and memory space I had for Star Wars (more so as he had proclaimed to have read all the books), but he was never going to enjoy the new movie. Never in my wildest dreams did I feel there were going to be adventures after Return of the Jedi on the big screen. For him, the adventure never ended and now they would all be tarnished. Yet, to be so short sided in thinking that JJ Abrams and crew have to embrace the expanded universe was his own fault. Star Wars isn’t just for you, me, or this poor guy. It belongs to everyone and means something different to each of us.
As the official "Keeper of the Holocron" at Lucasfilm, Leland Chee and his committee decide what comes and goes, I ask all of you to keep an open mind. Remember, we never thought we would get another adventure with the original Star Wars family. Those of us that kept the flame alive, reading the books, buying the comics, and playing the video games, have been given a great gift; Star Wars is coming back to the big screen. However, Star Wars just doesn’t belong to us, it belongs the next generation to come.
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