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Anyone think that the EU has lost its way?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > STAR WARS Discussion
Anyone think that the EU has lost its way?

priest's Avatar


priest
02.02.2012 , 02:28 PM | #1
I remember in buying my first Star Wars Book in 1993- Heir to the Empire. I bought it in a used bookstore on a rainy day when I had nothing better to do. I had liked the movies; my parents had recorded them during a free week of HBO, and I had played the videos until you had to mess with the tracking to get the tape to feed without white static at the bottom of the screen. Even our copy of Return of the Jedi wasn't complete...it didn't start until Threepio and Artoo were standing outsid of Jabba's Palace. I loved these stories, so I thought that I'd give these books a chance.

I was immediately hooked. I bought the rest of the trilogy two days later. These books opened a universe of endless possibilities, wonder, and excitement. I bought each one as they hit shelves. Some were fantastic- I, Jedi the X-wing Series, Hand of Thrawn, The Courtship of Princess Leia; some were good at the time, but have mellowed as time has gone on, Young Jedi Knights, Darksaber. Some were downright wierd, The Crystal Star. But they all had one thing in common.

They were safe with happy endings. At the end of the day Good fights evil and conquers. Our heroes win. I could put up with the horrible books like the Black Fleet Crysis, and the not so bad but lukewarm Corellia Trilogy because in the end I knew what to expect of the characters.

Then came the New Jedi Order. I should have know what to expect when Chewbacca died. All bets were off, and no one was safe, nor was I guranteed a happy ending. The literature of my teenage years had been thrust into the uncertainty of more realistic characters with more realistic fatalistic ends. Still I kept reading.

I wish I could forget Dark Nest...I hated every bit of it.

Anakin- dead. Mara- dead. Jacen, darkside...then dead. The Solos lose two of their three children and Han his best Friend; Luke his wife, Ben his mother, and While I'm still in the middle of Fate of the Jedi...I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Here's the thing: It's all so incredibly dark. It's been hopeless ever since NJO, and I don't think that I entirely like this direction. Don't get me wrong...I like intrigue, uncertainty, in the trenches literature...but I never thought that Star Wars would go there. Now it's been more than a decade of loss, and a lasting depression over the entire GFFA. It's all turned into one, big, existential nightmare. I miss the days of Han, Chewie, Luke and the Princess running across the galaxy, against all odds but me (the reader) knowing that in the end...it would all be alright.

Is this antebellum mentality wrong?
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PeepsMcJuggs's Avatar


PeepsMcJuggs
02.02.2012 , 02:34 PM | #2
Yes, the EU has lost its way, and that's not to say there wasn't a load of garbage back in the day as well. But I wholeheartedly agree that the latest stories have gone so obnoxiously emo that I'm tempted to slit my wrists before my favorite characters do.

The fundamental problem with EU books nowadays is they're these multi-book, multi-year sagas that trust the storyline they're pushing is entertaining enough to read 10+ books on it.

When they used to stick to the no-more-than-trilogy format, if you found a crap book or series, it wasn't long until another came along to save you from your despair. But when you get something like Fate of the Jedi (which is the series that has caused me to officially give up and stop reading Star Wars books), you're screwed for several years.

I miss Zahn's books. And Stackpole's X-Wing series. Hell, even Truce at Bakura and Courtship of Princess Leia were better than all of this touchy-feely "should I dabble in the Dark Side or shouldn't I?" Jedi crap. Because they remembered that, y'know, there's more to Star Wars than just Jedi.
"Making the internet a happier place, one infraction at a time."

internaty's Avatar


internaty
02.02.2012 , 02:38 PM | #3
I only read one book from the liberary and while i admit they are aswomely written from what i hear of the extended unverse anything post return of the jedi has bin over the top to put it midly.
The new republic fall's 3 times and there is more war and suffering post return of the jedi then in the entire time the galatic empire ruled.

I honestly think they are out of idea's and trying to make so last ditch cash.

Never mind you could simple jump to the present(after all this all happend long ago:P)

or the future for that mather.

personal i refuse to accept the extented universe as cannon.
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priest's Avatar


priest
02.02.2012 , 02:52 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by internaty View Post
I only read one book from the liberary and while i admit they are aswomely written from what i hear of the extended unverse anything post return of the jedi has bin over the top to put it midly.
The new republic fall's 3 times and there is more war and suffering post return of the jedi then in the entire time the galatic empire ruled.

I honestly think they are out of idea's and trying to make so last ditch cash.

Never mind you could simple jump to the present(after all this all happend long ago:P)

or the future for that mather.

personal i refuse to accept the extented universe as cannon.
I think you're right, to and extent. Shelley Shapiro's statements tend to be more about how to "market" the Star Wars brand (cancelling some series so they can promote prequel novels) and to move it forward. From what I've seen, authors are hired to write a story that has a predefined course of action, and while they do have creative input...there is an overal 'plan.'

I don't like this.

the format of Trilogys that Bantam had is much better from a story telling point of view. BTW, you're safe for the EU through the New Republic era...once you get into the NJO you'll have to be on anti-depressants to get through it.
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PeepsMcJuggs
02.02.2012 , 02:55 PM | #5
Yeah, that's the other thing that pissed me off: the end of the New Republic. It's like they're trying to invalidate the whole friggin' point of the classic trilogy's triumph over the Empire.
"Making the internet a happier place, one infraction at a time."

Intarabus's Avatar


Intarabus
02.02.2012 , 04:48 PM | #6
Somehow the Eu lost its way nearly from the beginning. I once read some of the early Marvel comics, they really sucked. And I think, for good EU Works you get the same amount of bad ones. There is Jedi Outcast, but there is also The Force Unleashed.

Only thing that really bugs me, that some figures in the EU are just overused. In the whole EU-Span, for example, Darth Vader must have had dozens of duels which he nearly loses.

Keihryon's Avatar


Keihryon
02.02.2012 , 05:37 PM | #7
I think one problem with the dark direction things have taken stem from the Legacy era comic books. They were only set a hundred some odd years after Return. Now they are trying to tie events together that lead up to that storyline, since they are real big on the continuity thing.

Personally, I liked the direction NJO took the series. You are right, we knew by the end of the book or trilogy it would be a happy ending. And that is boring! I actually like the movies where the hero dies at the end, it is a change from the tired formula. It is probably why I can bear Revenge more than the other two PT's. Having permanent loss made the stories less shallow, imo. I hated that Lucas ordered them to kill Anakin Solo, but Star by Star was probably the best book in the series.

But yeah, i actually hope the Fate series is where Luke finally dies. Abeloth is the perfect character to kill the most powerful Jedi Master ever known. I am guessing he will sacrifice himself to actually kill her, something her prisoners could not accomplish.

JDTC's Avatar


JDTC
02.02.2012 , 05:48 PM | #8
i dunno if its because of the authors, the setting, or what. i dunno what to blame this on. but almost all of the stuff that takes place after return of the jedi is just... so bad. confusingly bad.

really i think it sucks because it takes the best parts of the star wars movies (the story of darth vader, the triumph of good over evil, the smashing of the tyrant) and just... completely erases all of that. vader's sacrifice becomes utterly meaningless, palpatine is reborn and there are thousands of sith lords, the outgrowth of the Rebellion's ideals is smashed.

and then the yuuzhan vong!?

also - another huge reason the EU is difficult to accept is because every single author/writer/whatever wants their main character to be the hero of star wars. which is fine, who wouldnt want their protagonist to be an epic hero?

but when everyone does that, the collective quality of the setting is dragged down because theres a giant disconnect between millions of regular characters and thousands of super-charged heroes. so many authors try to one-up the latest hero or the latest villain and it just becomes silly and farcical.

your sith lord can blow up stars? my sith lord can EAT stars!

your superweapon can blow up planets? my superweapon can blow up SOLAR SYSTEMS!

YAWN
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Toonimator's Avatar


Toonimator
02.02.2012 , 05:51 PM | #9
It all started to go wrong back in the '90s, with Dark Empire. Heir to the Empire kicked off the 'modern' EU (post-Marvel, post-Han/Lando books), and then Dark Empire began. "Heir" showed us that 5 years after the films, the Republic was still building up, the Empire was all but defeated until Thrawn swooped in, and there you go. "DE" then told us that A YEAR AFTER the Thrawn Trilogy we'd just started reading, Coruscant was back in the hands of the Empire, the Republic was destroyed and back to being a Rebellion, and everything went to crap. So, tho Thrawn ultimately failed, the Republic still lost, due to the Emperor having a bunch of clones AND having a gigantic starfleet amassing around Byss that nobody else knew about (not even Thrawn!).

For awhile, I just ignored DE. I loved the art, I liked some of the covers, I even enjoyed the concept (until DE2 and Empire's End came along). But it didn't fit with the story I was thoroughly enjoying over in the books. But when the Jedi Academy Trilogy came along, I realized the comics and books WERE meant to be connected. I also realized that KJA was like an internet fanboy given leave to publish his fanfic. "Ooo! I'ma make a superweapon that doesn't just destroy a planet, but destroys a STAR! AAAAAAND I'ma put another Death Star in there, too! And a kid who's even more powerful than Luke! And a Jedi Testing Contraption! And a 6-foot-long saber blade! And revisit Bespin, cuz why not?" To be fair, I loved the idea of a Jedi Academy, and setting it on Yavin IV at the old Rebel base. But so much else in that trilogy came off as rabid fanboy let loose in George's toybox.

My biggest problem, however, with Bantam's era of the EU is the patchwork nature. Here a trilogy, there a oneshot... and they didn't progress in an orderly fashion. We start several years after the film, then get a book starting the day after Return of the Jedi, and then Bantam just jumps around the timeline, finding and gap where the OT heroes could be resting on their laurels and throwing another galactic crisis at them. Authors had their babies like Mara Jade who were often misused in other authors' books (hence Zahn's retcon of why Mara & Lando appeared to be an item at one point). There was no set plan, just "tell a Star Wars story, don't reference the Clone Wars too much, don't have Luke find out anything major about the old Jedi Order or his mother, and maybe have Leia train as a Jedi a bit." It seems like Leia became a Jedi Knight 8 times during the Bantam era, only to be 'reset' down to 'politician with a bit of Force training' in the next chronological book. They didn't need a gigantic storyarc like Del Rey's 3 big tales, but some steady progression would've been nice, with better oversight on how the characters were used (so Mara & Luke wouldn't have to wait 10 years to suddenly realize they were perfect for each other, Leia wouldn't constantly put off her training only to become Super Jedi for a week, then back to being just a politician, etc)

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PeepsMcJuggs
02.02.2012 , 06:33 PM | #10
Dark Empire itself wasn't the problem: it was the idiot decision that the comics would be in the same continuity as the novels. You know, the comics where this kind of crap was a weekly occurence.
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