While there is a whole fresh era now begun of new Star Wars books and stories, I have been feeling compelled for some time to write varying articles about the books of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Did You Know?
Are you even aware there were other Star Wars books that were written aside from the novelisations of the 6 movies? How exciting is it for you to know that Yoda lives on through his appearances in many of the books? C3PO and R2D2 still continue their bantering across years and galaxies.
Disney – Dismal Or Dazzling?
Now Disney has purchased the franchise. Meaning the previous official storylines that were written outside of the baseline stories of the actual saga, are no longer to be considered part of the Star Wars story at all. I feel that this wonderful collection of stories and tales of adventure will struggle to stay alive. But I hope I can change all of that by helping people to discover that this change in ownership, and scrapping of so many stories that many of us die-hard fans have been holding dear to our hearts, does not signal the end of this fantastic kaleidoscope of history and exploits. In fact it opens up a whole new concept in Star Wars mania. Stay with me while I elaborate more.
They’re Just Like The Movies
If you’ve never read other Star Wars stories but love the movies, you are missing out on some fantastic excitement and extended tales by ignoring a whole other universe of adventures. The books and comics etc, have all been written with the same kind of style as the original movie trilogy; A New Hope (IV), Empire Strikes Back (V) and Return Of The Jedi (VI). So when you read them, it’s like watching yet another of the movies. As a character says or does something, you can almost see it in your imagination being played out in a scene in a movie.
The Story Continues With New Villains And Heroes While Maintaining What We Know And Love About Star Wars
I say universe because many people are totally unaware that Star Wars was expanded into a massive universe of storylines surrounding many of the characters we have come to love or hate. It has also depicted tales from some of the lesser known characters whose stories have become deeply entrenched with our main heroes throughout various inclusions or spin offs in the main thread of the story. They have introduced formidable and fearsome new villains along with courageous and skilled unlikely heroes that have also become ingrained in this Star Wars culture that I seem to have gravitated towards all my life.
5000+ Years Of Star Wars History
This expanded universe has spanned across a time frame of some 5000 years prior to episode 4, A New Hope, and up to 40 years and more afterwards. Most people call it a universe but as you will see shortly, there really are about 3 different aspects now in the Star Wars saga. You might even consider that there are 3 alternate Star Wars universes out there now that the new Disney movie, episode 7, The Force Awakens, has been released.
Wow, Three Alternate Star Wars Universes Did You Just Say?
Yes, I did. Three whole different story threads to follow and find enjoyment from. You have the Star Wars Expanded Universe that is now known as the Legends series and up until Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, it was the official continuation of the story and characters with the blessing and approval of George Lucas.
Legends Or Canons, It’s All The Same To Me – Star Wars Just Is.
Then you have the new stories that have been labelled the Star Wars canon, which incorporates all new story lines that are being created by Disney and also some books, TV series and games that have been written that span the time in between Return Of The Jedi, episode 6, and the new movie, The Force Awakens, episode 7, some thirty years later. There are some of the books from the expanded universe that have made their way into the canon, of which I will speak of in another article.
But There Is A Little Known Tiny Third Universe
This third universe is really a part of the first one, but due to the direction George Lucas took with the character development could not truly be considered to exist in this star wars universe and therefore has been often overlooked. The direction it was heading would have been the one I would have been the most happy to watch as the story unfolded. Not that I didn’t like the course it ended up following, because I loved that too, and to be honest, I’m pretty excited about the route the new movies seem to be heading in too.
One Story To Begin With
The third universe of which I am speaking began when Alan Dean Foster penned the movie novelisation of episode 4, A New Hope, initially titled Star Wars, under the name of George Lucas and was then allowed to go on to write a second novel, Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye, outlining another of the adventures of Luke Skywalker.
This book is listed in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (Legends) but was never continued as a story thread which is why I say it is a tiny universe, however there is potential there for it to be bigger.
But at the time this book hit the shelves the mere thought of this notion, that more stories about my hero Luke Skywalker were being thought up, had my heart fluttering in anticipation of what might come.
My High Hopes Took A Dive
I bought this second book with the hopes that my hero would get the girl, in other words, Princess Leia, whom to all appearances was initially set to become the love interest of Luke. I was not disappointed because in this book, Luke and Leia it would seem, were headed in the direction that I was so desperate to see.
The Characters Were The Same
Here, Luke was still the innocent farm boy who lost his home and family to the Empire to become the hero of the Rebellion, and Leia was still the Princess of a blown up planet, regal in all ways, including title, but in this thread their love appeared to be blossoming in what looked to be a fairy tale type eventual culmination.
Why Did George Lucas Have To Go And Change His Mind?
However, George Lucas had other plans for the characters as he revealed in the Return Of The Jedi, the final installment of the saga, thus ending forever my school girl dreams of romance and passion for my Luke in the ‘other’ official universe. I’m not really sure why Lucas made the decision for Luke and Leia to be brother and sister, when it could have just as easily been only Luke as the son of Darth Vader and the hero still get the girl, but I guess it gave a bit of a twist to the storyline when the expected ending did not eventuate.
Who Couldn’t Fall For A Scoundrel?
I can see why Lucas decided the Princess would fall for the scoundrel Han Solo because after all, he is also a well loved character in the movies and it might have been more unexpected for a Princess to fall in love with a smuggler instead of the main hero, even though Han was also a hero in his own right. Although following traditional fairy tales, the peasant-prince or princess theme is always a strong happy ending.
But Wait, It Doesn’t Have To Always Be Like This, I Now Have A Choice
I am glad to know that with these alternate universes, I am still able to literally choose my own theme of events and endings. If I so desire, I can decide to forget what I know happened in the main storyline because in this alternate universe, Luke and Leia were unrelated, and therefore my imagination can dream up all kinds of ‘other’ endings and stories.
If only more stories in this particular universe had been written before Lucas changed his mind on how the story between the characters would develop, now that would have given me something to look forward to with my own ideas I held in my head about what should happen between Luke and Leia. But sadly, this was not to be.
But now there is another way. I can also choose to go with another universe such as that in the star wars legends or the soon to be revealed canon that Disney are creating.
Thankfully My Hero Would Find Love In Some Universe Somewhere
The good news is that while the official George Lucas’ version of the Star Wars saga had Luke missing out on the girl, the Star Wars Expanded Universe books found love for Luke several times, the latest and most beloved was Mara Jade, first appearing in the Thrawn Trilogy. Mara was one of the Emperor’s Hands who initially set out on a mission to assassinate Luke and ended up marrying him in a later book series. Mara has become legendary herself due to the outstanding story lines surrounding this star wars books series.
What If Mara Jade Became Canon?
The Mara Jade inclusion is a great story, and also happens to be the very first book of the expanded universe (now Legends) that I ever read aside from Splinter Of Mind’s Eye. It was reading the first book of this series, Heir To The Empire, that I discovered that there were other very interesting sounding events that had apparently happened in the Star Wars Universe.
I found myself searching for the rest of the books in second hand book stores just to find out what happened in the events that had my interest piqued in one book or another. Then once I caught up on the ones I had missed the release of, I patiently awaited the new releases. I’d like to write more on Mara, but there is a lot to write so I shall save it for another article. Suffice it to say, I would LOVE to see her in the Disney stories.
So Is There A Skywalker Offspring?
The Disney franchise with the release of Episode 7, The Force Awakens, alludes to the possibility of there being an offspring of Luke Skywalker, meaning that he must have experienced some romance in the thirty years or so since The Return Of The Jedi, but this remains a mystery until perhaps Disney release the next movie and may explain the current situation of where the movie ended. Needless to say, it has left me wondering on all kinds of scenarios and excited to catch a glimpse of what is to come of the new developments.
Who’s ‘Business’ Has Luke Skywalker Been Poking Around In?
Or to discover the reasons behind why the character of Luke Skywalker has been so elusive for such a long period of time. Maybe, just maybe, Mara will make an appearance and turn their story of Legend into a Canon, but I doubt it, Disney don’t seem interested in keeping the expanded universe alive. But wouldn’t that be fantastic? Just thinking of the potential movies that could be made from the stories of the expanded universe makes my heart race. I have often wondered if they ever made another movie, whether they would use some of the stories and characters of the Legends. I have a sneaking suspicion that they have used some of the ideas already but brought them into the movie in a different way.
It’s Not Over Until You Say It Is.
If you love the Star Wars saga in any way, I urge you to disregard the fact that the Legends stories are not part of the canon anymore and read the stories anyway. Just pretend that they are alternate universe stories and then anything is possible. You will be extremely happy that you did. It does not matter to me that they are no longer true to the story, because they will always be true to me.
I will always be able to read whichever universe I like and the events and characters will be reborn for me regardless of which universe I am in at the time. I will choose to ignore the other universes and concentrate on the one I am visiting. So it’s not over until you say that you have had enough of revisiting each of the universes of the Star Wars books. I can be happy in any of them.
Thank you for reading and I hope you make the decision to visit these other alternate universes to see what all the fuss is about. If they stop producing the paperback versions, I’m sure that the ebooks will not be discontinues.
Yours from the fandom universe,
All images have been derived from my own media or from a free source.