Thursday, May 1, 2014

Opinion: EU Eulogy

By: Zac Arnold

Today, we pay our respects to a series that was a true trailblazer for its time. As difficult as is it to admit, we all knew this time would come. Those of us who grew up with it and endeared it close to our hearts are saddened by its loss, and those who didn’t know it will not understand its impact. The best we can do is try to carry on its memory while preparing for its Heir to the (Star Wars) Empire.

The memories of Thrawn’s cruel resurgence of the Empire, the Lady Lumiya converting a Solo child to the Dark Side, and even our beloved Chewbacca’s dramatic sacrifice may no longer be legitimate, but let us never forget the hours of toil and imagination the authors poured into the comics and novels to keep the Star Wars tradition alive during its long movie-absence. Fans craved more Star Wars, the adventures of the Galaxy Far, Far Away seemed impossible to continue on-screen, and yet these creative people carried on the tradition as best as they knew how. 

The series, this, Expanded Universe, could be considered the “middle child” of the Star Wars family. Arriving after Episode VI in the 80s and continuing on through the release of Episode III and beyond. Many members are saddened by its loss, some others rejoice at the prospect of what the family now looks like.  Love this “child” or hate it, there is a loss now, and a time for grieving seems necessary. If only for a time.

I myself came to love Star Wars through the Expanded Universe. At age 12, I “adopted” this child as my best friend, and came to know it closely and intimately. The EU sparked an interest in reading that I’d never had before, and is partially the reason why I choose to become a Journalist and Writer now. The imagination, wording, and proper grammar used (in most of them) encouraged me to pursue books rather than reject them. Now, my intimate knowledge is useful to a select few – and that is the people who knew this member of the family as well as I did. Others who showed no interest, or came too late to care will no longer have an interest in what I have to say about one of my oldest friends, but I will always cherish the memories made from those novels and adventures.

Looking back, it was a thrilling ride. Filled with suspense (Fate of the Jedi), cliffhangers (Outbound Flight), lovable characters (X-Wing), complex characters (Tahiri Veila and Kyp Durron) and exciting villains (Thrawn and Daala), the Expanded Universe most definitely had a mind and place of its own.

Looking forward, as a book reader, I’m excited to see what new novels will be created as the series progresses. If anything, there will be an increase of NEW “Expanded Universe” novels for us to enjoy. And who’s to say Mara Jade won’t appear in some form? It may not be what we expect or like, but some (eve if very few) may be better than none. We can’t rely on Lucasfilm to carry on its legacy, though. That is up to us.

Our challenge now to carry on its legacy: don’t burn the books writers tirelessly worked to create. They may not have a place in Star Wars, but they can most definitely have a place on our bookshelf. Don’t blast Lucasfilm for making a business decision. Economically, it’s the correct move, no matter what (or how much) we the fans clamor. Finally, let us carry on that legacy to the new era of Star Wars. 

The EU we know is now moot, but the imagination and potential will carry on in the movies, TV shows, new books, and, most importantly: our hearts.

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.


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