Star Wars Legends

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Title: Star Wars Tie-in Novels
Creator: Various
Date(s): 1978 - 2014
Medium:
Fandom: Star Wars
Language:
External Links: Timeline of Legends Books on Wookieepedia

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You may be looking for Star Wars Expanded Universe, also known as Star Wars Canon

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Star Wars Legends refers to the former Star Wars EU stories that were made non-canonical in 2014. The Legends canon took the form of professional novelizations, tie-in books, comics and short stories set in the Star Wars universe. They were meant to complement the source material, but after the original trilogy ended they were the only source of new Star Wars content, and many fans considered the novels to be canon.

In 2014, following the purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney, it was announced that the EU had been cancelled. No new books would be released and all previously released material (which became known as the Legends continuity) was now non-canon. In advance of the release of the sequel trilogy, it was announced that a new expanded universe of canon books would be published.

By 2015, when the canon was officially closed, the EU was the most successful book series based on a film series, with over 850 novelizations, original novels, reference books, children’s books and role-playing supplements, including 80 New York Times best-sellers.[1]

Notable Legends Characters

Selected Legends Works

Fan Opinions

Bantam Spectra Era

Okay, but the thing I love about Bantam era EU is that they weren’t afraid to push what you could do within the genre of space opera. Because they only had the OT to go off of, the rules of the GFFA weren’t as clear cut or restrictive; there was tons of wiggle room, ‘cause presumably we’d only seen a tiny slice of the GFFA in the OT. So, they had the freedom to explore and see just how much weirdness the genre could sustain. And yeah, sometimes this resulted in some wonky unfortunate sh*t (Luuke The Cone, I just. Why, Zahn), but sometimes it would yield fantastic ridiculous things (BLOBSTACLE COURSE! I MEAN :DDD) and other times strangely amazing things (Force ghosts in computers, WELL WHY THE HECK NOT).

...Yes, the Super Weapon Of The Week gets to be a bit much. Yes, it would have been nice if someone would have come up with more plots NOT involving kidnapping the Solo kids. Yes, Daala is ridiculous. And continuity? We don’t need no stinkin’ continuity, pshah. BUT WHERE ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO FIND BLOBSTACLE COURSES, RIDICULOUS CLONES, SITH HIDING IN THE STONEWORK, AND VEGETABLES THAT THINK THEY’RE STORMTROOPERS? :D

Yes, I love my turn of the century, Darker and Edgier Del Rey era, but Bantam EU is just so marvelously ridiculous and sometimes you need a little blob racing. :p[2]
If these stories sound shaggy and uneven and strange, it is because they are. But the Expanded Universe could be the best possible result when big corporations get excited about monetizing fan enthusiasm. It was a place where female characters thrived, where telling a genre story did not always mean following blockbuster conventions and where there was endless hunger for worlds that felt new. These things could happen in the Expanded Universe, though, because it was never really meant for mainstream consumption. It was a way to keep making money off nerds, so it could afford to be gloriously eccentric and relatively feminist. Now that Disney has decided that Star Wars is a big, mainstream business again, the company has killed off the Expanded Universe in favor of something grander and probably blander. That sound you hear? It is the Imperial March, heralding the arrival of the new age of pop culture consolidation. We all are poorer for its arrival.[3]

Decanonization of Legends

Star Wars fans expressed a range of emotions and opinions following news that the EU was to be rebooted. Some fans were angry that 30 years of canon was been thrown away. Some planned to boycott Disney's new sequel trilogy in protest. Others were dismayed at the loss of the EU but looking forward to what would hopefully be a better trilogy than the prequels.

Many fans were cautiously optimistic that the EU could form the basis for the new trilogy and Canon EU books, and were hoping that they would see fan favorite characters again. This seemed to be the case when Grand Admiral Thrawn appeared in Star Wars Rebels and the Canon EU. In fact some fan theories after the release of The Force Awakens were heavily influenced by Legends stories.

Still other fans were happy to see the EU rebooted; pointing to the varied quality of Legends stories.

I love the Expanded Universe. It’s a weird kind of love that you get with this sort of fandom; I kept with it through some of the absolute worst fiction I have ever read, and many books that could I barely bring myself to call mediocre and, yes, even those rare gems that make it all worth it. But I’m also okay with letting it go. [4]

Discussion on Tumblr following news of the cancellation (2014):

This is honestly the best we could have hoped for. This is the greatest respect being paid to the EU while moving ahead in a new path.

This is Ben and Mara without a fungus that is healed by magic tears.

This is Grand Master Luke without turning to the dark side twice and killing the cloned emperor like 17 times.

This is a New Jedi Order without the authors flat out GUESSING what the “old” Jedi order was like.

This is Leia and Han and the Solo kids without being kidnapped 38 times, where Anakin and Jacen don’t randomly swap destinies mid-series because of a “change of direction”.

This is the galaxy in which the entire cast of characters don’t start taking crazy pills as soon as Legacy of the Force starts.

I love the EU for the characters it gave us, but JFC a lot of the stories are terrible, and I can’t shed a tear at seeing them go.[5]
Just because there are a few bad ideas in a story doesn’t mean the whole thing is bad. I.E. Midichlorians. Wtf was that. And Jar Jar Binks. And casting Hayden Christensen as Anakin. Does that mean we should reboot all of the prequel trilogies? Yeah, there might have been some bad story lines, but that’s the case with any franchise that big. There’s no need to wipe the slate, just because the writers were too lazy to do some research on the EU.[6]

Discussion on Reddit (2017):

The movies are what got me into Star Wars, but I've spent so much more time in the Expanded Universe. I love it more than the films and it will always be my canon. People think that my Disney movie boycott must be hard for me, that I have to fight temptation with each new release, but it's the easiest thing in the world to not go see the films.[7]
I'm still bummed out too. I don't care about canon, I don't care if the EU is considered fan fiction, it was the unceremonious halt that has always bugged me. No more stories with Jaina or Jag or Ben or Allana... no more pre-NJO stories about Luke and Mara, it all just stopped.[8]
I grew up on the EU, like, I remember reading those grade school level books about Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan between Episodes I & Episode II, I felt like I WENT TO the Jedi Academy on Yavin IV, and I re-read Anakin Solo's death like five times because I was so filled with grief (and I still managed to read Star by Star in one day). I loved what is now Legends, and would be thrilled to get new stories in that world.[9]
The EU had it's minutes of fame and by the time of the buyout it was a bloated mess of contradictions and silly stuff. The stories were mostly concluded anyway. Sure you didn't see Luke battle Sith Lords on his death bed but did we really need more stuff after Crucible? [10]

Discussion on The Toast (2014):

[He] is probably right inasmuch as Lucasfilm was never ever going to use the Thrawn trilogy as a basis for the new movies, no matter how much we secretly hoped they would, so they might as well honestly axe all the continuities they’re never going to use. [11]
Oh well $4.08 billion gives you the right to fuck up any fictional universe. [12]
Oh, no. Oh nononononononononono. This cannot stand. The EU has done many wrong things, but to throw it into the void? To destroy it entirely? No. That would be throwing out the good parts of my childhood and teenager-hood, and, alas, much of my college-hood. That would be jossing my own life, like for real. What? WHAT??????? I knew this Disney thing was going to be bad, I just didn't know how bad. (AM I GOING TO LOSE JAINA SOLO??????????????????????????????) [13]
Fandom's obsession with canonicity (not just Star Wars fandom) is fascinating to me. It's like watching early Christianity forming at an Information Age pace. I'm actually impressed they were able to keep this machine going as long as they did without just giving up and opting for either some ridiculously baroque comic-book-style multiverse or the loosey-goosey Star Trek style continuity, held together by lampshades and string, which only the most insanely dedicated fans would dare try to piece together into a coherent whole. [14]
For me, I was always a selected canon follower when it came to EU, as in, everything that happened before they killed Chewbacca [equals] canon. Everything after (including the actual death) [equals] TOTAL BS. I had to stop reading them because I was too heartbroken. Not because they were terrible, but because they hurt my fragile heart. [15]
Okay, pause. Let’s talk for a second about how weird it is that someone (even if that person is a faceless fictional metaperson like the Disney Corporation) owns Star Wars. How weird is that to you? Rest assured that to me it is far, far weirder. It’s like saying, oh, yes, Disney owns the moon, or the history of the UK from 1910 to 1960. (And now imagine that you grew up in the UK during that time.) And yet at the same time it was only because Lucasfilm owned Star Wars that there was a single coherent universe for me to have all the feelings about the universe that I did, and that I outlined below. So now think about how weird that is. Feeling appropriately unsettled? Good. Unpause.[16]
The Star Wars EU was my gateway drug into nerddom. I still remember watching the movies and just being absolutely captivated. But I was just a kid, and I didn't know how to express the nerd love I was feeling. And there were only three movies. And then a friend lent me a book from the EU (I remember it happening like this, and refuse to believe it didn't: "Hey, hey kid. Wanna another Star Wars hit? Courtship of Princess Leia. It's strong shit."). And I was hooked. It was my first nerd culture experience, and much like your first doctor, it will always hold such a special place in my heart. [17]

External Links

Fan Discussions

Meta on Decanonization

Miscellaneous

References

  1. ^ Guinness World Records related to star wars, 2015
  2. ^ I love you, Bantam EU Tumblr post by ladyxanatos, Jan 29th, 2016
  3. ^ Disney's Biggest Star Wars Mistake by Alyssa Rosenberg, April 30, 2014.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Star Wars Legends Tumblr post by ysalamiri, 2014
  6. ^ Reblog of Star Wars Legends by Tumblr user jamesblonde007, 2014
  7. ^ Comment by IndispensableNobody, r/StarWarsEU
  8. ^ Comment by tunnel-snakes-rule, r/StarWarsEU
  9. ^ Comment by Nathanialjg, r/StarWarsEU
  10. ^ Comment by HarvestKnight, r/StarWarsEU
  11. ^ Disney To Rip Out Star Wars EU Continuity “Like A Tumor” by Dan Mallory Ortberg
  12. ^ Disney To Rip Out Star Wars EU Continuity “Like A Tumor” - Comment by Alec
  13. ^ Disney To Rip Out Star Wars EU Continuity “Like A Tumor” - Comment by speakeasybutch
  14. ^ Disney To Rip Out Star Wars EU Continuity “Like A Tumor” - Comment by stuffisthings
  15. ^ Disney To Rip Out Star Wars EU Continuity “Like A Tumor” - Comment by LauraSookDuncombe
  16. ^ The Star Wars Expanded Universe: A Eulogy by Louis Evans]
  17. ^ The Star Wars Expanded Universe: A Eulogy - Comment by ThisiswhyIhavecats]