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I have no optimism about SW Literature/EU Reboot?
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I have no optimism about SW Literature/EU Reboot?
 PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:18 pm Reply with quote  
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  Crash Override
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I think this is legitimately the first time since Heir to the Empire that I was completely pessimistic about upcoming SW literature, and the actual future of SW literature. Certainly, there's a few upcoming novels of which I am very much interested in, such as the unnamed Plagueis novel and Jedi Dawn. But I think the constant draw for me to Star Wars literature has always been the stories post-Return of the Jedi. Without Luke, Han, and Leia, I don't think the Expanded Universe would even be possible.. so I'm concerned that given the timeline, it's simply not feasible to continue stories with those characters. And that's not even including my general dissatisfaction with the direction these stories have taken since The Unifying Force.

And I don't mind stories set in other eras, but they're so scattershot and inconsistent that they do not maintain my interest in Star Wars. Knight Errant was an entertaining read, but Kerra Holt isn't the equivalent of Han, Luke, and Leia in sustaining my interest.

Since the prequel trilogy began, I've been off and on in my desire that the Expanded Universe face a reboot. I think I pretty consistently wanted it to do so throughout 1999-2005, because a lot of the stuff written before 1999 made some assumptions that ultimately didn't prove true, and I always viewed the films as more "genuine." Since then, I've been pretty inclusionist, and didn't mind the contradictions because they're ultimately resolved, including TCW.

However, it's occurred to me that a LARGE portion of Luke, Han, and Leia's histories, 4 ABY - 25 ABY, so about 21 years, is primarily occupied by the Bantam novels which were published prior to the prequels -- and which I would argue are mostly "bad" novels, e.g. Jedi Academy trilogy, Callista trilogy, The Crystal Star, The New Rebellion, the Corellia trilogy.

They don't factor in the prequels, and there are certain characters which may be alive during this period that would definitely factor into it: numerous OJO Jedi, Starkiller, etc. I like Starkiller as a character, and it's unfortunate that the way things are currently that he really can't make an impact in the post-film era. I think a story about him and Luke would be very interesting.

I'm curious what people's thoughts are on a hypothetical EU reboot. Personally, I would like to see a soft reboot that maintains certain stories like Shadows of the Empire and The Force Unleashed, which aren't likely to infringe upon anything or be infringed upon by anything. With the caveat that it's handled a lot better than the previous Expanded Universe, in the sense that there's higher quality control, maybe a bit more attention paid toward continuity.

One way I think this could be done is to handle the "big" stories the way the films are done, in trilogies set years apart. Smaller stories can then be set in-between, and characterization and continuity are established in the big stories, so the small ones can't go off on tangents and mess those up.


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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:25 am Reply with quote  
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Oh sweet sallymungo, no. Can't go into detail right now, but essentially no. Don't get me wrong, I've been pining for a re-write of the old stories, just so that they have all their facts correct and in keeping with the new stuff, but I feel it would be too big a slap in the face to rule out all the stories, all the history, I've spent so long getting to know. However, if they do add more stories to the Bantam Era then I have no problem with that, as long as it doesn't already override existing continuity.
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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:42 am Reply with quote  
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  Rouge77
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I was strongly against reboot until Invincible, after that I have not really cared. I have little interest left towards post-RotJ era anymore because of LotF (and Legacy) but I would like to keep the pre-OT novel continuity. I find myself enjoying many of the newer novels set on those pre-OT eras still. Post-RotJ continuity could be rebooted.


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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:55 am Reply with quote  
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Rouge77 wrote:
I was strongly against reboot until Invincible, after that I have not really cared. I have little interest left towards post-RotJ era anymore because of LotF (and Legacy) but I would like to keep the pre-OT novel continuity. I find myself enjoying many of the newer novels set on those pre-OT eras still. Post-RotJ continuity could be rebooted.


This is something else I would agree with, or post-TUF.


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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:57 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Life Is The Path wrote:
Oh sweet sallymungo, no. Can't go into detail right now, but essentially no. Don't get me wrong, I've been pining for a re-write of the old stories, just so that they have all their facts correct and in keeping with the new stuff, but I feel it would be too big a slap in the face to rule out all the stories, all the history, I've spent so long getting to know. However, if they do add more stories to the Bantam Era then I have no problem with that, as long as it doesn't already override existing continuity.


I agree. The EU is a little messy at times, but not to the amount to justify a reboot. Even if there was a reboot, we'd still have the same problems years from now- requiring another reboot. Sometimes I think it's important to just read a story (or comic, game etc) and just forget about continuity. Still keep a vague idea, but don't stress over the specifics. Star Wars is just too big to avoid all continuity problems. I actually think continuity is standing up really well considering.
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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:17 pm Reply with quote  
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The arguments against a reboot is how I have felt for the past few years. However, it had occurred to me that the primary draw to Star Wars -- for me at the very least -- has been the continued adventures of the Big 3. Once that has been fully milked, how financially successful are SW novels going to be? I don't think Fatal Alliance and Knight Errant and Red Harvest and those type of books can carry the franchise. And I think the drop in sales has already begun: why else are the FotJ novels ALL hardbound at first release when the prior series was not?

Whether this is due to what I perceive to be poor story planning since NJO, or simply a side effect of the movies being over (which I don't believe because of the TV show and Bantam EU that preceded the prequels: people want more Star Wars) remains to be seen. But I think inevitably we will reach a point in which a reboot is necessary, because either we have the reboot, or we don't have Star Wars novels due to lack of sales. That may be far off, but given the current persistence to push these 9 book uberseries on us, I suspect they'll keep trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

And I would dislike losing some stories if they did a complete, movies and TCW only reboot, but honestly, I think 90% of the EU is pretty bad. If they did a post RotJ reboot, I can honestly say the only stuff that I would legitimately miss would be Zahn's stuff and the NJO. And that's not to say that if they did reboot it they couldn't do something like Marvel Ultimate Universe in which characters like Mara Jade still exist, but are in different stories.

I just think they've mostly burned out their fertile ground for stories, and it's only going to get worse in that regard. I suppose another alternative is to open up a future era for novels like Legacy, but farther in the future, and make it less so (IMO) godawful derivative of the preceding work. Stories ain't fresh if you give them a new coat of paint but just retell the same old story. I am burnt out on the Sith, which is why the Yuuzhan Vong seem so brilliant in retrospect.


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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:24 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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LivingJediDream wrote:
The arguments against a reboot is how I have felt for the past few years. However, it had occurred to me that the primary draw to Star Wars -- for me at the very least -- has been the continued adventures of the Big 3. Once that has been fully milked, how financially successful are SW novels going to be? I don't think Fatal Alliance and Knight Errant and Red Harvest and those type of books can carry the franchise. And I think the drop in sales has already begun: why else are the FotJ novels ALL hardbound at first release when the prior series was not?


The Big 3 can't live forever. They will eventually pass the torch to their offspring and I for one am fine with that. The three books you mentioned (Knight Errant, Red Harvest and Fatal Alliance) all have completely unknown characters, almost no pre-existing characters. When I read an EU book with no pre-existing characters it throws me off a bit, but when all's said and done, I still enjoy it so long as it's a book worth enjoying. Usually, though, there are continuing characters and there are certainly characters beyond the Big 3 that I enjoy. I'd actually say 70-80% of the EU is good. Things like an EU reboot definitley depend on your point of view.
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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:46 pm Reply with quote  
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Del Rey has done an extraordinarily poor job of "passing the torch." It has the perfect setup after NJO, with its Luke successor, but opted to retell the prequels and make Jacen faceheel turn to become the villain. Ben hasn't impressed me as an independent character, nor has Jaina with her perpetual soap opera subplots. Other than that, who is there?

And none of Del Rey's stories in other eras have put any real effort into developing characters.

Jaina and Ben also don't have any secondary characters equivalent to Mara Jade, Kam Solusar, Corran Horn, et al. Del Rey quit putting any effort into developing new characters after NJO.


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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:49 pm Reply with quote  
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Give them time. Ben is still only 16 and Jaina's soap opera plots seem to finally be at a close. I hope.
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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:45 pm Reply with quote  
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I've gotten into comics a lot in recent years, especially DC comics like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lanter, etc. Most of those characters have been around for 70 years and Clark Kent is still Superman and Bruce Wayne is still the Batman. The stories have had reboots but the core is still the same (Krypton explodes and the Waynes are gunned down in an alley). Star Wars is capable of this (using the movies as the core) but even the movies have some disturbing contradictions.

Like someone said above, my caring of continuity has greatly decreased since the conclusion of the NJO book series and a reboot isn't terrifying to me as it was a few years ago.

But there's also the possibility of alternate realities. It can be messy, like Marvel and DC have shown over the years, but it can also work. My best example would be the Ultimate Universe in Marvels titles that reimagined some elements of characters while keeping the core the same (although that Ultimate Iron Man birth is quite interesting and different).

I also believe Pablo Hidalgo or Daniel Wallace once posed the question of a reboot on a blog post that was met with my hostility but with the prequels, maybe it is needed. The books did well trying to address the differences but having a Twi-lek's Jedi body fade but not other Jedi loses is still frustrating. It's an idea to play with and maybe the risk is worth one alternate reality novel and see how it plays out.

But nothing can replace the greatness of Thrawn. That's almost core itself (being the start of modern EU helps).
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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:22 pm Reply with quote  
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Yay, I'm finally home from work so I can write a long response -- although my long one earlier was written on my phone.

I've thought about Star Wars and continuity for a long time, and I think that ultimately the continuity policy that LFL has instituted for the Expanded Universe is harming the brand now. As far as I know, there is not a single other franchise that has a cross-media continuity policy -- heck, there are some movies and TV shows that lack continuity within the same medium. LFL's policy is pretty lame, in my opinion, in the sense that as early as 1998 with the SW Encyclopedia, IIRC, they laid out this "foggy window" metaphor in which the details laid out in any story that isn't the films are always open to alteration, and that only the gist of the story is "true."

This didn't really become a problem, IMO, until after the New Jedi Order series finished. Starting with the Dark Nest trilogy, the books began to display a revisionist history of the preceding story. In Dark Nest and Legacy of the Force, Jacen Solo attributes a philosophy to Vergere that -- in the NJO -- she simply never espoused. The Sith retcon in LOTF then reframed the entire NJO series, essentially making the lesson learned wrong, and nullifying the purpose to that series. Now Fate of the Jedi is doing the exact same thing to Legacy of the Force by completely altering Jacen's motivation.

But I think the problem with continuity in Star Wars is not solely this, but also that because LFL has been saying it's a continuity in theory, but not actually doing it in practice, people have come to expect it to be continuous in that regard, when it isn't, and really has never really been. Certainly, back in the Bantam days the later books made reference to the earlier ones, but the characterization was a complete and utter mess and character development reset with every book based upon what the author wanted. Zahn's Luke wasn't the Dark Empire Luke seen a few months afterward. I think Mara Jade has been pretty inconsistently portrayed as well, especially in LOTF and DNT.

As a result, I think people are unfair to TCW because it isn't fully consistent with the EU, for instance people complaining about it rewriting Ventress' backstory, when a lot of people lauded the fact that Vergere was retconned into being a Sith. Same thing, but one draws outcry and another is celebrated (not by me Crying or Very sad)

Ever since the end of the NJO, Del Rey has completely ignored character development for the sake of churning out the next big story -- the next equivalent to the films. With the NJO, we had a whole generation of Jedi the same age as Jacen and Jaina that were around from their YJK novels, and some new characters like Danni Quee. These have almost all been abandoned. Ben Skywalker has no characters his age that he's friends with except Vestara, which is really the exception that proves the rule. Jaina has Jag, and that well is dry. Zekk is scarcely used. If Luke, Han, and Leia cannot be relied upon forever, then why has Del Rey basically narrowed the focus of these stories so now they're the focal point of them, eliminating Mara Jade, Jacen Solo, Anakin Solo, and not using established characters like Corran Horn, Jaden Korr, Kyle Katarn, Talon Karrde, et al.? I mean, Avinoam Arelis has a pretty cool name, but if he's supposed to be the equivalent of Talon Karrde as a secondary character, what the hell? Heck, if he's supposed to be a tertiary character like Ghent, he's still garbage. He's like some name they use when they need a background character. He's a cardboard cutout.

This is why I'm concerned about the future of publishing. I mean, ideally I'd like to either see a reboot of the Expanded Universe that still draws upon existing stuff and reshapes it to fit the story, e.g. Mara Jade still exists. A few months ago, I was discussing this on a forum, and I figured the ideal way to do a reboot is to get Luceno or Stover, and have them write a sequel trilogy. Treat it like they're novelizing a sequel trilogy. Don't do the books like the EU has done, where they're successive. Set the books years apart in time.

That's the anchor to the rebooted Expanded Universe, and the characterizations have been set, and now begin exploring it, keeping in mind the continuity and characterizations established in that "sequel trilogy."

But since LFL seems adamant about not rebooting, I'd like to see them take the premise to SW Legacy, which I like, and executing it better. Do the above novel trilogy, but set 1000 years in the future. Establish the characters and setting, but don't write the novels in a way that makes them pages of exposition. Then branch out from that with other novels. Don't have the Sith be villains. Make a new villain. Sorcerers of Rhand? Something original? Don't become Jedi-centric like the EU has become after the prequels. I also found it kind of tacky that the Galactic Republic, which stood for 25,000 years, was replaced by the cheesy joke name GFFA. It's not as if the Galactic Republic didn't collapse before the movies, and was reinstituted, and later generations considered it continuous. Same with the Jedi order.


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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:59 pm Reply with quote  
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I think that's an interesting idea. The time in between is good but maybe 1000 is too much, placing possible restraints on stories like the Legacy comic series did to post TDN stories. But I think it's a good direction to look into, like my alternate reality book idea above, and the trilogy idea has been key in the films and Bantam books and I think it would be a good thing to return to.
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 PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:42 pm Reply with quote  
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I was just throwing out a hypothetical period of time. Honestly I don't think SW Legacy handicapped Del Rey but they let it handicap them. The time period between Episode I and FOTJ is 74 years if I did the math right. The time between FOTJ and Legacy is about the same. Del Rey are the ones that let Legacy handcuff them by implementing that stuff so early. Granted, having the Emperor be Fel IV -- IIRC -- did make it necessary to make Jag Fel the leader of the Imperial Remnant. But I think Del Rey panicked because their MO has been to jump ahead several years at a time between series, up until Legacy came around. Suddenly the time between LOTF and FOTJ is 2 years, rather than the five years between NJO and DNT, and five years between DNT and LOTF.

I found an original concept for TFU interesting, in which I think it was 500 years after the films, and the Jedi and Sith made some sort of peace and there was a Jedi and Sith Council with six of each, and the Skywalker descendant was framed for a crime and pursued by the Solo descendant.

I don't mind the Sith if they're used originally, and I thought FOTJ used them more effectively than Legacy by having an unprecedented (before Fatal) alliance between Jedi and Sith. That's a great idea to explore. Sadly, I think FOTJ didn't really did much with the idea.

But having the Jedi perpetually at war with massive armies of the Sith is boring. Legacy strikes me as no different than The Old Republic: a condensing of multiple eras to appeal to the widest audience. You've got these Darth Maul-esque Sith that did a Dark Times-esque Jedi Purge with a bunch of Old Republic Jedi running around for some reason. It just takes choice elements from previous eras and mixes them together.

Same with TOR, mixing the two trilogies. I think Lucas had the right idea with the Rule of Two because having a whole army of Sith is violating the Inverse Ninja Rule. Boba Fett is cool when there's only one Boba Fett. Likewise with the Sith. I mean, at most, having a handful of them that are diverse and unique is acceptable, but a whole empire of them is pushing it. The only exception in my mind is the Tales of the Jedi comics, in which the Sith were not the Sith we know, but a wholly separate culture from which the later Sith Lords drew their name.

It's bothersome to me that all Expanded Universe after NJO has just become derivative of the prequels, becoming overly focused upon the Jedi to the exclusion of any significant Jedi characters -- Han Solo doesn't have a whole lot to do, nor does Lando or Wedge, etc., as well as focusing almost entirely upon the Sith as villains.


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 PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:09 am Reply with quote  
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Comics have reboots all the time- I see no reason why SW couldn't have an Ultimate universe- one where Georges Tenants are followed MUCH stricter then before.

But this in no way should eliminate SWEU as we currently have it- it should be something in addition to.
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 PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:07 am Reply with quote  
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Sorry, but the idea of a reboot, or even having multiple story levels, still makes my skin crawl. One of the main selling points, for me, is the continuity. Having it exactly like real life history. But it occurs to me that you don't have to have a reboot, or even throwing it years and years into the future (because you know there'll simply be clamouring for the stories set in the intervening years to be told). They could simply do this with the next set of stories, set one or two years after it, setting up a larger pool of characters, different storylines.

Oh, and I like the Sith.
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