Everybody knows about Star Wars, nowadays. There’s no denying that. Earlier today, I was looking at my Twitter feed and I saw NASA making a Star Wars joke. To be fair, I found it really cute. This universe, created by George Lucas, has shaped the brains and minds of (dare I say?) millions of people. There are some countries out there where people have petitioned to make “Jedi” into an official religion. There are communities out there, such as the 501st Legion, bringing together people from most walks of life.
More importantly – at least to me – however is that this universe has expanded beyond the movies. Out there, in the form of books, comics, video games, animated series, is an entire history that has been created by dedicated fans turned creators. Take for instance the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Created by the folks at Bioware – Canadians! – the game takes place approximately 4,000 years before the Battle of Yavin, or A New Hope. At the time, that was completely unexplored territory. There have been books talking about Luke’s adventures after defeating the Emperor, but that was all familiar grounds. Going back four millennia allowed Bioware to re-imagine Star Wars, to some extent. We were exposed to a Sith Empire, fighting against a crumbling Old Republic. This was the time of a Jedi Civil War, were the adherents of the Dark Side of the Force and the Jedi fought freely in the streets of Coruscant, or stuff like that. The Jedi Civil War, however, came right after the Mandalorians’ (Boba Fett’s ancestors) attempt to conquer the galaxy.
KOTOR introduces Darth Revan, who, if you ask me, is one of the best characters that have ever graced the Star Wars universe. The true identity of Revan is unknown for a great part of the game. All we know that he or she was a fallen Jedi, who left the Order. This is where it gets interesting, though. Revan did not “fall” to the Dark Side immediately. He or she chose to leave the Order, because the Order would not rise up to save the galaxy against the invading Mandalorians. This is one of the reasons why I love the expanded universe (EU). The stories from the EU add depth to the rather simplistic morality of the Dark and the Light sides of the Force. The Jedi do not have it all figured out. Neither do the Sith, however. There is so much grey in the middle, which gets left out in the movies – if you ask me.
A new movie is coming out next Christmas, endearingly entitled The Force Awakens. I am excited for this movie, I will not lie. It’s a new Star Wars movie, for Force’s sake. I will watch it, I will love it – however, I will always remember the price we had to pay for enjoying that movie. Half a year before the first trailer was released, Disney – our new overlords – declared that they would be disregarding the expanded universe, as it stands right now. The old expanded universe will be re-labeled as “Legends,” and the expanded universe as such will be rebooted.
I personally find that disrespectful to all those creators who have spent unimaginable time and effort in creating a universe that has made Star Wars more than what it was. I find it absolutely annoying that the creative forces of human beings can be treated as commodities. See, Lucas may have created Star Wars, but it has long grown beyond his control. Star Wars has taken a life of its own. To be fair, Lucas deserves to hold the creative rights to a universe whose life spark he has ignited. However, Disney doesn’t. Disney paid for it. Disney has commodified this universe and made it into its latest Golden Goose.
Admittedly, Star Wars was commodified long before Disney made this decision. And I am probably just being curmudgeonly just for the sake of being curmudgeonly. Still though, I like stories. To me, the Star Wars universe is one big story that exists beyond the movies, books, video games, comics whatever. To me, these stories are what I experience, and not what I’m told or shown.
That’s probably Disney’s decision is very personal to me. Just imagine someone telling you that your favourite memory is not real, because they have bought the rights to it. You’d feel pretty darn annoyed right? So that’s how I’m feeling right now.
With that very pleasant positive note, HAPPY MAY FOURTH EVERYONE.
May the Fourth be with you!
Author’s Note: Kylo Ren is a wannabe Darth Revan.
Author’s Note 2: Revan is the one on the right on the featured image.