As a big ol' Star Wars fan, I've gobbled up just about everything related to the franchise that I can which includes reading all of the books and the rest of the Expanded Universe. With the announcement that Lucasfilm has created a group specifically to clean up the EU and get everything within the same canon. This got me thinking about what should be kept and what should be tossed out. Here's what I've come up with for what should stick around.
Now, to be fair, there's no telling exactly how Lucasfilm's "Story Group" is going to actually work. Some people think this means they're planning on scrapping everything that's been done so far in the Expanded Universe (all the books, comics, games, and anything else) and starting fresh. I can't see that happening, however, as that would mean the group's job would be really damn easy. They wouldn't have to get everything into one canon, as tossing everything out would mean only the movies and Clone Wars show would be left.
Rather, I'm thinking they'll be picking and choosing which stories to keep and which to leave behind. It makes the most sense, as it would please fans of the EU who'd be upset at losing everything, but would still allow for new ventures to happen. It just so happens that I have some ideas about which stories should remain in the new continuity.
Knights of the Old Republic/Old Republic Era
Some of the most interesting stories to come from the galaxy far, far away haven’t had anything to do with the original heroes people saw on the big screen. Instead they came from the past and gave fans an insight into the history that preceded the films, showing what the galaxy was like with Sith and Jedi clashed in massive battles. The Knights of the Old Republic series (including the games, books, and current MMO ) brought a wealth of new material to the Star Wars franchise, and some of the most engaging moments since the original trilogy.
Keeping these in the new continuity would be a simple matter, as for the most part, they’re already designed around what the prequel films introduced. On top of that, they take place so far back in the past (a few thousand years) meaning they don’t necessarily have to interfere with anything going on in the current timeline. They can be left alone to serve as a nice history, maybe get a reference in a movie (or TV show) and remain a nice treat for fans.
Lost Tribe of the Sith
Keeping in the same vein as the Old Republic, a more recent addition to the Star Wars lore is the Lost Tribe of the Sith . Introduced in the Fate of the Jedi series, the idea here is that during the time of the great war between Jedi and Sith a large warship containing a number of Sith crashed and were stranded on a planet. After conquering it and mating with the locals, by the time it’s rediscovered, there’s a planet (yes a whole planet) filled with evil Force-wielding warriors.
That’s fodder for a lot of great stories both past and present (as evidenced by the great short stories chronicling their initial crash and take over of the planet) and could tie in nicely to the new films as well. The Jedi vs. Sith dynamic has been the heart of the Star Wars films, and with Return of the Jedi seemingly getting rid of them, keeping the Lost Tribe around would be a good way to bring that aspect back into the new films. There are other ways to be sure, but seeing a planet full of Sith going up against Luke Skywalker and his new batch of Jedi could make for something awesome to see.
Kir Kanos and the Crimson Empire
The Crimson Empire comic series remains one of the most popular ones for Star Wars fans. It capture people’s attention by putting the focus of the story on one of the most loyal Imperial supporters...a red royal guard. There’s no real redemption story here, and the main character doesn’t suddenly switch sides. He believes in the Empire and is devoutly loyal to the Emperor, and he’s on a mission to exact revenge against those who would tear the Empire apart.
It’s an interesting story and provides insight into characters who are only glimpsed on screen. It featured some impressive action sequences, all wrapped around a character you can’t help but like. Keeping the Crimson Empire stories around shouldn’t do any harm either, as it’s mostly a side story without any real effect on the overall galactic events. Besides, it could be a great source for a spin-off of some sort...Just saying!
X-Wing: Rogue Squadron
One of my favorite book series (and game series to be honest) came from the adventures surrounding the Rogue Squadron. Originally penned by Michael A. Stackpole this series of books followed the famous group of starfighter pilots as they continued to fight against the Empire. On top of gathering a cast of characters who resonate strongly with fans, the initial story deals with the Rebellion’s struggle to overthrow the rest of the Empire.
It tackled the idea that even though the Emperor was killed, the galaxy was still under the Empire’s thumb and their work was far from over. It highlighted other aspects of the war you wouldn’t have otherwise seen, and the video games picked up on the same idea. With the new films taking place 30 or so years down the line, keeping the Rogue Squadron stories intact would help fill in the gaps between the films and explain how the Rebellion managed to attain ultimate victory.
The Thrawn Trilogy
For many fans, Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire Trilogy is the quintessential EU story and might as well be canon already. The book kickstarted the Star Wars franchise in the early 90s, almost singlehandedly reviving interest in the property and providing a new start for hundreds of novels to come. It introduced some of the most treasured characters (Thrawn, Mara Jade, and featured the birth of Han and Leia’s twin children). Truly the groundwork for all of the EU to come was laid in this trilogy, and parts of it have already been integrated into the movies (it’s where the name Coruscant comes from).
The truth of the matter is, if this gets thrown out, you might as well toss everything else. Mara Jade has become a fan favorite character being featured in several books, a game or two, and even had her turn multiple times as an action figure. Then there’s Han and Leia’s kids, plus the book already ties in heavily to the Clone Wars (though the timeline is a tad off). Not to mention that kicking this series out of the continuity would cause fan rioting all over the world. Yeah, seriously.
The New Jedi Order
The first massive book series undertaking (spanning a total of 19 novels) by Del Rey and Lucasfilm had both it’s supporters and detractors. As big as it was, there were sure to be elements that fans loved and hated in equal measure. It firmly established the younger generation of characters into leading roles, allowing the series to continue beyond the original three, while also shaking up the galaxy in various ways. Characters once thought untouchable died and the landscape of the galaxy was forever changed thanks to the brand new enemies; the Yuuzhan Vong.
The primary reason I feel this series should remain in the continuity, is that this was the first series in which Lucasfilm (and even George Lucas himself at points) had influence over. They guided some of the story points, it was the first real attempt to link all of the novels and comics together into one overall timeline. While other books had mentioned other story aspects before, the New Jedi Order made all the necessary connections. Since the new story group is all about cleaning up, it seems appropriate to try and keep this series (or at least elements of it) intact.
Jacen Solo's Fall to the Dark Side
Perhaps one of the most interesting developments to come from the New Jedi Order was the beginning of Jacen Solo’s (Han and Leia’s eldest son) fall to the dark side. While he ultimately ended up the hero of that series, the seeds were planted and grew over the next trilogy, and was the focus of the nine-part Legacy of the Jedi book series. In it, Jacen Solo decides that the only way to save the galaxy from destroying itself, is to take utter and total control of it.
It’s an interesting story that brings up the question of morality in an interesting way with a fairly emotional ending that once again shifts the status quo in the galaxy far, far away. While elements of the series didn’t sit well with fans (Jaina Solo going off to learn from Boba Fett how to kill her brother), the overall story and themes presented in the series are strong and worth keeping around.
The new films would directly clash with the timeline of the books, however, meaning it’s very likely for this series to get tossed out. Even if they decided to adapt elements of the Jacen Solo story into the new films, they’d likely be changed too much to work together.
By no means is this list comprehensive. The truth is, the Expanded Universe have gifted fans with a multitude of amazing stories and it’d be nigh impossible for me to detail all of them. Instead I feel this is a good selection of stories that would please fans and give opportunity for the future of Star Wars to expand.
Later this week, I’ll bring out my list of EU stories that flat out need to be trashed. In the meantime, however, what do you think of this list? Do you agree with it, or think I’m out of my mind? Which stories would you want to see kept around?