Op-ed: Disney takes a chainsaw to the Star Wars expanded universe

Star Wars is sacred to geeks. Characters in Kevin Smith movies refer to it as “the Holy Trilogy,” and for almost as long as Star Wars has existed, fans have wanted to know more about the universe outside of the movies—and the canonicity of all the elements of that universe is the subject of almost ecclesiastical-scale debates. The movies are unquestionably official—they are the foundational elements of Star Wars, even Episodes I-III. However, the combined mass of video games, board games, tie-in novels, cartoons, and anything else branded with a Star Wars logo occupies a lesser tier in the hierarchy: all these things are still “official” in that they carry the logo, but they are merely part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

The Expanded Universe—the “EU”—sprawls like a bloated dead thing with tentacles stretching in all directions. Everything is in there: Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn series (which introduced the eponymous Admiral Thrawn, as well as fan favorite Mara Jade, the former Emperor’s Hand-turned-smuggler who overcame her hatred of Luke Skywalker and became his wife). Clone Wars and The Old Republic. The Yuuzhan Vong and the death of Chewbacca. Kevin J. Anderson and all the unspeakably, unreadably bad literary atrocities for which he’s responsible.

A sci-fi universe with as long a tail as Star Wars can be death for new stories, though. Finding space among the EU to make a mark without being hamstrung by established ideas is difficult, and even keeping the EU somewhat organized is challenging. Its growth has been cancerous—like a tumor, it has no plan and no organization—it simply expands, blindly, as the collective fan engine shovels in new material.

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via Ars Technica http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/index/~3/pq4u9laYOLk/

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