Within the last few days, discussions about Star Wars emerged with my friends Rose B. Fischer and Hannah Givens. While this isn’t a first in any fashion, their three recent following posts, prompted me to share some thoughts about my experience and tastes regarding the Star Wars Expanded Universe:
Regarding the matter of Leia, I won’t say much about her in this actual post, for not only Rose did the awesome short version very well in her Tumblr post, but I am saving my long version for the blog post I will write about Leia this Spring, in my upcoming blog series about the female role models (fictional characters) I had growing up. Leia was my first one, and she is still close to my heart for many reasons, which Rose mostly covered!
Star Wars is why I am doing what I am doing today.
I am not saying that Star Wars was/is my only inspiration, for I have way too many to name; but without Star Wars, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My first memory of watching something was the Muppet Show episode with members of the Star Wars cast. I remember seeing the original trilogy the year I turned seven year old, and I managed to kill the tape of A New Hope. The Empire Strikes Back tape had a little issue during a scene on Hoth with just static for a few seconds. Years after, I still visualize the static during those few seconds even if I watch the DVD or the BluRay. I started writing fiction because of Star Wars, while I didn’t know what fan fiction was back then. My first ever publication when I was a teen was about this fictional universe in a small Christian publication with a friend. I read and watched a lot of other things, including other Science Fiction, even as a child and teen, but Star Wars left a significant impact on my existence, as also many of my research projects since high school and then during university and even now as an independent scholar, prove it.
Do I think that the Star Wars universe, i.e. the movies and beyond, is perfect? Oh no, I don’t. But finding that something is perfect isn’t the sine qua non for liking it in my view.
While I have issues with the prequels, I still remain an advocate in their support, and I am waiting with good spirit for the new movies. I don’t know whether I will like them, nor any other Star Wars projects that Disney will pull, but I am open minded. If something happens that I don’t like, I’ll simply ignore it in my happy Star Wars fan bubble.
I grew up with the EU as well. I still remember my mother coming to me with The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton when we were at the mall and I was about 8 year old. She knew I loved the movies so she got me the book. I then read most of the books that were published in the following decade. I can’t thank Timothy Zahn enough for Mara Jade (who will also be part of my female role models blog series). Not everything was of the same quality, but many of the 90’s books (adult and youth fiction) were quite strong in my opinion.
Then all hell broke loose for me with the Dark Nest Trilogy by Troy Denning and then the Legacy of the Force series. I loved the New Jedi Order, and I could even stomach the major characters’ deaths which happened, because there was still great story, epicness, bonds to be saved and fought for. I cried so much during that book series, and I could even accept Jag as Jaina’s partner, despite having hoped she would end with Zekk because of the Young Jedi Knight series by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. But Dark Nest and Legacy of the Force destroyed my favorite fictional universe.
Destroying is a strong word but following this universe had been one of my big pleasures in my recreational life since I was a child and I was watching it crumble before me. To me, the universe didn’t mature, it just went into directions that were against Star Wars, and nothing made sense anymore to me. Until that day, my timeline ends at the end of the New Jedi Order. Anything that happens afterwards doesn’t exist in my mind. I have friends who enjoy the following books and I’m glad for them, but these books aren’t for me.
After that debacle, it took me five years to pick a new Star Wars book again. That shows how bad the experience was for me. No matter how many other movies/books/TV shows I am into, Star Wars is still special to me, so it was a difficult transition time. Then, I realized that there were a lot of books that took place prior to the end of the New Jedi Order I hadn’t read. So, I got back into Star Wars reading again. I discovered books in the Prequel era, or even before, and some during the Original Trilogy. Right now I still have like seven or eight Star Wars books on my to-read shelf. And that makes me extremely happy! Even in this timeline, there are books that I didn’t like, and authors that I still can’t stand no matter the era (i.e. Karen Traviss who still remains one of the worst things that happened to the EU in my view).
I didn’t read all the books, especially the comic books, and I’ve not played all the video games, or even watched all the TV programs, but there are some I love in all of those spaces provided by the Star Wars EU. While the vastness of it is one of the reason why it got out of hands on several occasions, it also allows everyone to find something they enjoy.
I will post a recap post of all the Star Wars novels I have read and enjoyed in the upcoming weeks, because this post already got long enough without me splashing a lengthy list (including comments) at its end!