Friday, April 25, 2014

So long, Galactic Jizz-Wailers!

Ok Star Wars nerds, you might want to sit down for this: Lucasfilm has just put out a press release stating that the Expanded Universe is no longer canon. Holy shit! What does that mean and why should anyone care? First, settle down, I can only answer one question at a time. Secondly, buckle your nerd belts, we may be experiencing some nerdulence.
Jean-Luc Picard, setting a good example.
Bea Arthur's singing bartender was as
valid a part of the Star Wars
canon as Boba Goddamn Fett.
You know how Star Wars, as a thing, consists of three good movies and three shitty movies (and three shitty remasters of the good ones)? You do? Well, you're wrong, or at least were. Until today, the Star Wars comics, cartoons, novels, that warcrime of a holiday special and pretty much anything else George Lucas slapped the name 'Star Wars' on and collected a check for was considered canon. Almost all of it counted in the continuity of Star Wars. This is, or was, the Expanded Universe (EU). The EU filled in the blanks between movies, fleshed out even the most insignificant background characters and just generally allowed Lucasfilm to keep milking the space cow.

But ever since the announcement that J. J. Abrams would be making new Star Wars movies set after Return of the Jedi, the question on many a nerd's mind was what does this mean for the EU stories that came after Episode VI? Today we got an answer and it was:
"Wah-wah."
-Snit from the Max Rebo Band

Etch-A-Sketch®:
"Like drawing, but way the fuck harder!"
Lucasfilm has effectively shaken the continuity Etch-A-Sketch, so from here on out, the existing films, the Clone Wars cartoon and the not-yet-released Rebels series along with whatever new stuff Disney pumps out will be the only stories that count. It's a move designed to allow the writers of upcoming Star Wars fiction to divest themselves of the considerable narrative bloat of the EU, and that's probably a good thing. Speaking of bloat, scroll back up to that thing that looks like a waterbear playing a hookah. That's one of the creatures from Jabba's palace, basically window-dressing to let us know it's another planet, right?

Well, yes, but thanks to the EU, he has a name, a homeplanet and a detailed backstory. Check out his page on wookiepedia. Did you know that Snit once went by the name of Droopy McCool and that the Max Rebo Band was formerly known as Evar Orbus and his Galactic Jizz-Wailers? That fact alone should be all the reason anyone needs to kick the EU out of canon. I mean, try writing Episode VII knowing it takes place in a galaxy where Jizz-Wailing is a form of music.
Pictured: Evar Orbus and his Galactic Jizz-Wailers.
No, seriously, Galactic Jizz-Wailers. Enjoy.
I know exactly how
you feel alterna-Spock...
So back to the question of why anyone should care. If you live a well-rounded, full life, you shouldn't. On the other hand, if you're like me and have an unnatural interest in fictional universes, Lucasfilm dumping the EU is kind of a big deal. When Abrams rebooted Star Trek, he kind of half-assed it, setting his movie in the original Trek universe but with some alternate-reality bullshit that amounted to Eric Bana's time-travel turning Khan into a white guy-a sentence that actually makes more sense than the logic it describes.

With the new Star Wars, Abrams is getting a mostly clean-slate. The Ewok cartoon, Boba Fett's increasingly implausible resurrections and that time R.A. Salvatore dropped a moon on Chewbacca are all off the table. Of course he still has to deal all the bullshit from episodes I-III: midi-chlorians, General Grievous, every line of dialogue between Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen...you know, it's not too late for Lucasfilm to dump the prequels, seriously, one press release and presto: no more Jar Jar.
"I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough
and irritating, and it gets everywhere."
-Darth Vader, dark lord of the Sith,

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