The Case Against Reviving The Star Wars Expanded Universe, At Least For Now

American actors Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford on the set of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope written, directed and produced by Georges Lucas.
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

On April 25, 2014, Lucasfilm Ltd. — under the new leadership of Kathleen Kennedy and Disney — stunned the science fiction community by announcing that the Star Wars Expanded Universe (the books, games, comics, and other related content that continued the story outside the six Star Wars films) would be discontinued. To the Star Wars faithful, the Expanded Universe contained many of their most beloved stories, including the great Knights of the Old Republic video game series.

It was a sad day. Yet, it may have been for the best.

Since that time, social justice has rampaged through all of sci-fi and fantasy’s most popular series. Star Trek, Doctor Who, the Marvel comic universe. One by one, their continuities were destroyed in a bloodbath of left-wing identity politics. Disney’s cheap Star Wars imitation was hardest hit with the catastrophe known as The Last Jedi.

But the real Star Wars is being spared from destruction. Frozen in carbonite, it is — to quote Lando Calrissian — “alive…and in perfect hibernation.” It is protected from the vandalism that has befallen the other sci-fi universes. And when the dark times pass, it can be brought back to life.

The distinction between the opposing Star Wars continuities can be seen in Wookieepedia, the fan wiki dedicated to Star Wars.

Almost every Wookieepedia page has two tags, “Legends” (the pre-2014 Star Wars Expanded Universe) and “Canon” (Disney’s version of Star Wars). The Wookieepedia page dedicated to Luke Skywalker shows the divide most starkly. The “Canon” page has a biography of Luke where he becomes the loser, hermit, and quitter from The Last Jedi, who Mark Hamill derisively called “Jake” Skywalker. But click on the “Legends” tag and the heroic Luke Skywalker of the expanded universe emerges. “Jake” Skywalker was a disgrace, an insult to the fans who preferred the old Star Wars to the new, woke stories and characters. Luke Skywalker of “Legends” inspired millions, and still exists in the hearts of the Star Wars faithful — as proven by the excitement generated by Luke’s brief appearance in The Mandalorian. The same cannot be said of other universes. The Star Trek continuity is a perfect example

It is true that Star Trek tended to lean toward a liberal point of view, but as with all great art, there were universal themes that appealed to everyone. Ronald Reagan’s eldest son, Michael, once wrote this about the former president:

“Even after he left office, Dad was fascinated by dreams of a bright future for humanity. In 1991, he stopped by Paramount Studios and watched the filming of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Between takes, Dad chatted with actor Patrick Stewart and producer Gene Roddenberry about the show and Roddenberry’s optimistic vision of the future — an optimism that was in many ways similar to his own.”

When Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) came face-to-face with the totalitarian Borg collective, he responded to their threats and demands in a style worthy of Reagan:

BORG: Captain Jean Luc Picard, you lead the strongest ship of the Federation fleet. You speak for your people.

PICARD: I have nothing to say to you, and I will resist you with my last ounce of strength.

BORG: Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours.

PICARD: Impossible. My culture is based on freedom and self determination.

BORG: Freedom is irrelevant. Self determination is irrelevant. You must comply.

PICARD: We would rather die.

Fast forward to today, to the Star Trek that show runner Alex Kurtzman calls a “platform” for social justice politics, and that actress Marina Sirtis has said is not for Republicans.

Kurtzman, Stewart and crew teamed up to create Star Trek: Picard. The strong, proud Jean Luc Picard had to have his privilege checked. (An essay published on StarTrek.com actually says “On Star Trek: Picard our beloved admiral is forced to reckon with his privilege as a Starfleet officer from a planetary superpower.”) The entire show is Picard going around the galaxy being dressed down over and over again, and groveling before his accusers — apologizing for the arrogance of the Federation (which represents the West, and the United States in particular). It’s hard to watch The Next Generation now, knowing what becomes of Picard.

There is no other Picard, only the sorry character we see before us — debased for political reasons. And he is not the only character this was done to. It is now part of Star Trek lore that Spock owes his greatness to his adopted human sister that nobody ever heard of before. All the plot holes this presents — apparent to anyone familiar with Vulcan culture and Spock’s history — are ignored.

Point being: Political agenda is now a stand in for good storytelling. And no franchise is safe. None except Star Wars “Legends.” Thanks to the 2014 de-canonization, the real Star Wars cannot be desecrated by the wokesters who hate (or are ignorant of) Luke, Han, Revan, Rendar, Jacen, Mara, Abeloth, and many more.

In the ongoing debate among Star Wars fans on how to correct the damage done to our beloved series, the 2 strongest camps are (1) put our faith in Jon Favreau, who has inherited the mess that is “Canon,” but has proven he can create good Star Wars content and resist the pressure to go woke; or (2) scrap all of “Canon” and bring back “Legends.”

The strongest argument for the latter is that Star Wars can never be made truly great again as long as The Last Jedi and “Jake” Skywalker still exist. I agree, but it has to wait. If Lucasfilm can refuse to pay the amazing Alan Dean Foster — but hire the unremarkable, divisive, racist, Howard Zinn-acolyte, SJW Justina Ireland to write “The High Republic” — then it is not yet a safe environment for “Legends.”

But, with the help of dedicated fans, “Legends” will not be thrown down the memory hole. If we keep talking about it, and sharing those stories, the real Star Wars can be preserved until it is safe to bring out of hibernation.

Follow Spyridon on Twitter @SpyridonM.

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