It Doesn’t Matter if Disney Scraps a Ton of the Star Wars Expanded Universe

Yesterday io9 posted a lengthy piece about how it is becoming pretty clear that Disney will scrap much of the Star Wars expanded universe (which is all of the additional material and stories surrounding the movies; books, comics, video games, etc.).  If you read the piece you’ll quickly get the impression that io9 thinks this is an unfortunate, if not outright bad thing.  Likely, a lot of hardcore Star Wars fans will feel this way too.  How dare the House of Mickey destroy all that is good and great about the EU!

Well guess what, I’m here to say, as an avid Star Wars fan myself, one who has  consumed his fair share of EU material, that this is simply not as big a deal as either io9 nor the hardcore fans are making it out to be.

Why?  Because, none of it is real in the first place, it is all just a bunch of stories, and simply put, even if Disney doesn’t use certain elements, or contradicts others, that doesn’t mean that those stories somehow magically disappear from existence.  Furthermore, narrative “canons” are altered or ignored all the time in our pop-culture obsessed society.  Look at comic books for goodness sake!  How often have the various superheros been rebooted, re-imagined, or changed in some other way?  And people still consume them regularly and happily.

Here’s the thing. From the get go, when Disney first announced their purchase of the Star Wars franchise, it was a guarantee that not everybody was going to be happy.  That was pretty much unavoidable.  But it happened none the less.  Yes, Disney’s new Star Wars movies and other media will disappoint some long term fans, but, likely, they will also cultivate a whole bunch of new fans too.  The other thing to keep in mind is that while some Star Wars fans have heavily immersed themselves in the EU, a lot of fans have not, and have chosen to stick mostly with the movies proper.  Ignoring elements of the EU, to them, will be no different than how movies make bits and pieces of changes from comic books, to non-comic-book-readers.  It simply isn’t that big an issue.

But isn’t it just throwing the hardcore fans under the bus?  No, it’s not!  I’m sorry to disappoint you, but Disney really doesn’t owe too much of anything to the fans.  Yeah, that sounds shitty, because without these hardcore fans there would be no franchise, and perhaps that is kind of true, but, honestly, I think that most consumers of media, are not hardcore fans, they are, instead, just people who like entertainment.

I think back to J. J. Abrams first Star Trek movie a few years ago.  I know that a lot of hardcore Star Trek fans were not pleased with it.  They thought it wasn’t adhering enough to the “canon” and took too many liberties with character’s back stories.  But guess what, that movie was a huge success, and not only that, it revitalized a franchise, which until that time, had become very insular and closed off from more broad audience bases.  Now, arguably the Star Wars franchise is a different beast, but not too much so.  Yes, Star Wars has continued to produce media for years now, but, much of that has been appealing to a much younger audience, who in fact got hooked on Episodes I, II, and III, which, some of you may recall, were reviled by many of the fans of the original trilogy.  These new audiences are not ingrained in the decades worth of EU material, they are instead attached, primarily, to the most recent works.

A lot of things can be said about Disney, and, within reason they probably deserve a good number of the criticisms they receive, but when you get down to it, the reality is that Disney is damn good at their business.  Sure, they have flops here and there, like every other big media corporation, but, overall, they are widely successful.  I feel absolutely certain that they’ll be successful with Star Wars too, even if they choose to ignore wide swaths of the EU, even if they loose some grudge-holding hardcore fanboys and fangirls.  Because one thing Disney is great at, is getting interest from new fan bases.

So, if you’re one of the folks who is all panicky about Disney’s Star Wars decisions let me tell you that you should chill out.  Maybe it won’t make you happy, but, that is just how it is.  Disney isn’t interested in making you, specifically, happy, they just want to make money, and at the end of the day they will do that very well.

For my part, I intend to try and enjoy what they produce as much as I can, because, as I see it, enjoying things is a lot easier than complaining about how some media giant didn’t meet my specific expectations.

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~ by Nathaniel on April 5, 2013.

4 Responses to “It Doesn’t Matter if Disney Scraps a Ton of the Star Wars Expanded Universe”

  1. C’mon! I want to trust Disney, but I trusted George too, and he gave us Jar Jar. But I suppose you’re right… my 6 yr old nephew loves, loves Episode I… so who am I to complain

    • I actually think that you’ve gotten right to the point I really am wanting to make, which is that it doesn’t really matter if it is Disney or Lucas or whoever who makes more Star Wars movies, inevitably somebody is going to be disappointed. That being said, it really isn’t that big a deal if they do throw out a bunch of the EU. I suspect, that even if the Disney products are disappointing to these fans or those, it’ll still produce a movie that is enjoyed by some group, even if they’re new fans, and in Disney’s perspective, that is totally acceptable. I feel like if I lower my expectations of what I think would be the “best” future Star Wars movies, and just try to take whatever is made at whatever merits it may end up having, I am less likely to spend my time venting about what the did “wrong” and more time spending enjoy that there are still new Star Wars stories being made.

  2. I think it’s a mistake, you would be surprised on how many have read the EU. I have favorite characters in the EU and honestly, quite a few fans have said they’ll ruin the series. I have read 40 plus books. It would be a huge mistake. I enjoyed the books, I enjoyed the characters and if anyone who has read the books feels the same. Anyone who says who cares, hasn’t read the books otherwise they would getting in line.

    Mistake,mistake mistake. That’s all I got to say about it.

    • Look, I am not going to claim that there are not people who have very much enjoyed the EU and who will be disappointed if the new films disregard aspects that have been established in the EU. Obviously if we’ve invested an interest in a series of movies, books, video games, whatever have you, and major changes suddenly occur, there is going to be some disappointment. My bigger point is that some people treat this disappointment like it is so giant apocalyptic and unforgivable affront, and, personally, I am saying they’re wrong. Yes, their disappointment and frustration is real, but, the reality is that when other people are in control of a story, whatever it is, there are always going to be disappointed parties involved, even (and very often) including self proclaimed “fans.” I don’t know what the new Star Wars movies will be like. For the time being I’d rather be optimistic about what might be enjoyable in them, rather than fretting about how Disney is going to mess up the various threads of pre-existing stories, especially when those stories are in from the EU, and not the main movies and TV shows, because regardless of how many fans there are of the EU, there are more people, and always will be, who enjoy Star Wars on simple general terms without diving to deep into the EU.

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