As a longtime Star Wars fan, this was a bit of a blow.

I’ve been a Star Wars fan for a long time, and with that comes moments of great art and moments of sheer ugly disappointment, not only in the films but in the wide variety of other forms of media that have told stories in the Star Wars universe:  books, video games, animated TV shows, comic books and more. This collection of stories told in other media outside the films is known as the “Expanded Universe”, and it’s told stories across the Star Wras timeline. Years before the films, right before episode 1, in between the films, directly after episode 6, and even years in the future, the expanded universe has covered all of it with some incredible stories and some big honkin’ stinkers.  You’ve got Timothy Zahn’s inspired novels that introduced characters like Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade, and then there’s Barbara Hambly’s garbage that was almost impossible to read.  For every great Star Wars game out there that told incredibly compelling stories like the Dark Forces series and Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic games (in terms of story alone I’d include SWTOR in there as well), you have quite a bit of junk like some of the games that came out after Episode 1 was released.  You’ve got novelizations of films that actually told the story in a manner that wasn’t terrible (meaning: all the prequels) and tie-ins that actually close up plot holes.  And then you have comic books that introduce green space rabbits. Seriously.

My point is: I get that the Expanded Universe isn’t perfect. There’s crap out there in it that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. But there is also some very good works in there as well, and for anyone who likes Star Wars, I’d had it over to them in a friggin’ heartbeat and say “read/play/watch this”.

Well, in light of the revelation that there will be a Star Wars Episode 7, I’ve been extremely curious to see just how they were going to handle that. Would they adapt one of the EU stories to the big screen?  Or would they try to find a time period that wasn’t really explored yet and set the film then?  No answers were forthcoming.

Then we got the announcment that a division within Lucas was being formed to “set official canon”. In other words, these guys were going to review the whole of the expanded universe and make selections as to what was canonical to the Star Wars story and what was not.  Hell yes, I thought. Now we’ll get to weed out all the garbage and maybe get some better stories into this universe we all love and enjoy.

I figured this surely had to be the approach they would take. Others expressed fear that the whole EU would be declared non-canon, citing statements made by George Lucas himself that he only considers the films the “true story”. But this had to be untrue, I thought. Surely, they wouldn’t be that stupid. After all Lucas owns the division that publishes Star Wars books and games, of course he’s not going to be so stupid as to kill his own sales by doing that. I mean, really, are you going to buy books or games that suddenly contradict the new films or have a little blurb calling them “An alternate universe Star Wars novel/game/etc.”

Well, guess what. I was wrong. They really are that stupid.

Everything but the films and the Clone Wars cartoon effectively “didn’t happen”.  Everything good and bad tossed out the window.

So now we begin the hard question of what does this do to the value of all the Star Wars EU stuff that we might still have. Is it devalued to you because it’s not the “real” Star Wars story? Or because it’s a great piece of storytelling or a ridiculously fun game anyway, does it still retain the value it had anyway?

To me, it all feels like it’s worth a bit less. Yes, in and of themselves they are great games/stories/whatever. But the fact that they were a part of a bigger universe that I loved as a kid and an adult, that made them even more special. Now, they aren’t. And now I’m less inclined to pick them up on that merit.

I’m not going to suddenly go out and sell off every piece of Star wars EU that I have (most of the video games are digital anyway) and I’m still going to see Star Wars episode 7, but I think Disney and whatever’s left of Lucasfilm has done themselves an incredible disservice here. They were all too happy to let the EU continue making profits for them when movies weren’t around to do it, or when they actually made the craptastic prequels make sense (seriously go read the novelizations of the prequel films, you’ll be amazed how much less they SUCK compared to the movies) but now it’s not convenient for them, so out the window it goes.

It’s just disheartening to see something I care about get mangled by the people who created it and in theory should be taking better care of it, all for the likely sake of money. As a geek, you’d think I’d get used to that sort of thing. Still sucks every time tho.

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