Star Wars Expanded Universe

GundamSentinel

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Aug 23, 2009
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j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
The Star Wars EU is the same as any fiction's expanded universe- there's some really, really good stuff. Quite a lot of it, in fact. And there is also a lot of absolute drivel.

The problem is that there's a small army of writers and creative teams working on Star Wars projects, each of whom has their own ideas on the way the Force works, the way Jedi work, the way intergalactic politics work... it means there is a metric fuckton of inconsistencies and outright contradictions, as you get all these different writers struggling to put their own stamp on the Star Wars setting. Blame Lucasfilm and Lucasarts for this. They decided they wanted Star Wars to become this huge, multimedia franchise, so they've been hiring people to crank out stuff for years now.

The other problem with the EU is the unwavering devotion to the characters of the original trilogy. Occasional forays into Old Republic, Prequel and Legacy eras aside, most of the EU fiction focuses on what the original gang did after the Battle Of Endor was won. And while that gave us the Thrawn trilogy, and all the awesomness therein, it also meant that the lifestory of Luke Skywalker is now on giant clusterfuck of events. Seriously, after the fall of the Emperor, he leads a war against the remnants of the Empire, falls to the dark side (!) and serves a cloned Emperor with god powers, overthrows the Emperor again, fights a war against a species of intergalactic invaders, then has to fight his own nephew who has become a Dark lord.

In trying to emulate the drama and grandeur of the original trilogy, the EU has to a great extent undone the emotional core of those films. Darth Vader's sacrifice means little when you know that Palpatine will be reborn at a later date, and Luke will willingly become his apprentice. The sheer effort the Rebellion goes to in order to win freedom means buggerall when a few years later the Yuzhon Vong will completely annihilate whatever semblance of order they have created.

When the EU focuses on events outside of the main trilogy, or on characters with only a tenuous link, then it really shines. Star Wars is too big a setting to keep rehashing the same characters and the same plotlines over and over again.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

My favorite parts of EU:

- Knights of the Old Republic (both games are just plain great)
- Republic Commando (game and books (to my surprise they were actually pretty good))
- Thrawn Trilogy (damn good books, Thrawn is epic)
- Jedi Knight series (best lightsaber combat in Star Wars games)
 

Fappy

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j-e-f-f-e-r-s said:
The Star Wars EU is the same as any fiction's expanded universe- there's some really, really good stuff. Quite a lot of it, in fact. And there is also a lot of absolute drivel.

The problem is that there's a small army of writers and creative teams working on Star Wars projects, each of whom has their own ideas on the way the Force works, the way Jedi work, the way intergalactic politics work... it means there is a metric fuckton of inconsistencies and outright contradictions, as you get all these different writers struggling to put their own stamp on the Star Wars setting. Blame Lucasfilm and Lucasarts for this. They decided they wanted Star Wars to become this huge, multimedia franchise, so they've been hiring people to crank out stuff for years now.

The other problem with the EU is the unwavering devotion to the characters of the original trilogy. Occasional forays into Old Republic, Prequel and Legacy eras aside, most of the EU fiction focuses on what the original gang did after the Battle Of Endor was won. And while that gave us the Thrawn trilogy, and all the awesomness therein, it also meant that the lifestory of Luke Skywalker is now on giant clusterfuck of events. Seriously, after the fall of the Emperor, he leads a war against the remnants of the Empire, falls to the dark side (!) and serves a cloned Emperor with god powers, overthrows the Emperor again, fights a war against a species of intergalactic invaders, then has to fight his own nephew who has become a Dark lord.

In trying to emulate the drama and grandeur of the original trilogy, the EU has to a great extent undone the emotional core of those films. Darth Vader's sacrifice means little when you know that Palpatine will be reborn at a later date, and Luke will willingly become his apprentice. The sheer effort the Rebellion goes to in order to win freedom means buggerall when a few years later the Yuzhon Vong will completely annihilate whatever semblance of order they have created.

When the EU focuses on events outside of the main trilogy, or on characters with only a tenuous link, then it really shines. Star Wars is too big a setting to keep rehashing the same characters and the same plotlines over and over again.
You managed to say what I said in much more detail. I agree wholeheartedly with everything said here.
 

Chemical Alia

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Feb 1, 2011
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Back in high school in the late 90s I was really into Star Wars EU, and read most of the novels and collected the comics and stuff. I also stopped reading around the time of the Yuzhon Vong stuff, like when I heard they were killing off Chewbacca. It seems like the EU has turned into a convoluted soap opera since then too, and apparently I've been really out of the loop, lol. I just read a couple of wookiepedia articles after reading some of the stuff that got posted here about Leia's twins and Mara Jade and stuff, crazy shit right there and not sure how I feel about that v:

My favorites were the Thrawn trilogy (the first thing I ever won on ebay was a Grand Admiral Thrawn action figure!), the Boba Fett short comics, and any of the collections of short stories like Tales from Jabba's Palace, etc. I was always a bigger fan of one-off stories and not so much long, drawn out storylines that intersect with other over-arching stories.
 

Paladin2905

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The thrawn trilogy was good; the kotor story (I only played the two sp ones) was good too. So much of what is written was just "lets take a fun concept and squeeze money out of it" though. Another good thing to look up is the alternate media the stories showed up in; I may be showing age here but the radio dramas Brian Daley wrote for the series were excellent too.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Yassen said:
I'd say KotOR 2 is my favourite piece of Star Wars expanded universe. It was a deconstruction of many things that had just been accepted about the setting, like the good vs evil dichotomy that is actually shallow and doesn't say anything good about the workings of the Force. KotOR 2 actually brought some moral ambiguity into the series which I thought it really needed.

I have a friend who is a pro on the EU post Return of the Jedi. Reads all the books, comics etc. She told me a story about that weird black robot you see in Empire Strikes Back during the bounty hunters scene. Apparently it was planning to wipe out all organic life in the galaxy by taking over the new Death Star, and it would have done if the Rebellion hadn't blown it up. I thought that was a pretty cool idea, how there was a hidden extra threat that was simultaneously thwarted without anyone even knowing.
Oh Jesus, Therefore I Am is one of the goofiest stories ever written. That story is about IG-88 from the anthology Tales of the Bounty Hunters. A lot of people hate it, but I find the story fucking hilarious. It reads like a bad B movie broke into Star Wars. Case in point, when IG-88 is activated, he throws his severed arm with enough precision to hit a guy in his back and have the arm come out the other side clutching the man's heart.

I do enjoy the Star Wars EU, but a lot of the post Return of the Jedi stuff is fucking awful. Mainly post New Jedi Order series, things have really turned to shit. Legacy of the Force was abysmal, Fate of the Jedi had Luke fight a hentai monster, and Dark Nest was horrendous.

If you want good Star Wars expanded Universe stuff, read the Republic Comic Series, the X-Wing Books, or go to the Old Republic era and read the Tales of the Jedi and KOTOR Comics series.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Jan 22, 2010
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Bhaalspawn said:
For me, it goes as follows:

1. KOTOR 2
2. Revenge of the Sith
3. Jedi Academy
4. Force Unleahsed
5. Darth Bane Trilogy
Blegh, Darth Bane Trilogy. Now, Drew Karpyshin is a good writer. For Video Games. As a novelist, he is shit. His biggest problem is that, when he is adapting someone else's work, he tends to crap all over the original.

The Darth Bane Trilogy and the Revan Novel are perfect examples of what I mean. Darth Bane's story was a Lucas idea, and it was written by Kevin J. Anderson as a comic. Drew wrote the novelization in 2007 I believe, and it was pretty decent. However, once he started writing the sequels, it began to unravel everything Anderson had written in favor of ultraviolence, contrived plot devices and inconsistent tones. They just got worse with each installment.

And Revan? Undoes the majority of KOTOR 2 so that Revan is still teh graetest jeti evar.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Apr 28, 2010
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I used to be able to say that I've read EVERY single book that is set after Return of the Jedi. I don't care about the prequel stuff (though I do like the Knights of the Old Republic) because we already know what happens to everyone. I wanted to know what happened to the characters that I loved. However, now there are a few books out that I just couldn't read, mainly ones that go back in time (Shadows of Mindor comes to mind). I don't care about that part in the timeline because, again, I already know what happens to all the major characters in that book because they're in later books. Currently reading Fate of the Jedi series. Found out what happens to Vestara before I finished it, and that made me so disappointed that I haven't been able to pick up Ascension or Apocalypse, even though I own both of them.

All that said, my favorite thing to come out of the Expanded Universe was Tenel Ka. I'm so sad that her character has been shifted to a minor background one, and I was crushed when the book about Zekk and Tenel Ka's cousins was canceled. I was so excited to see a book finally going back to my favorite character--or at least part of her--and they go and cancel it. I also love the Rogue Squadron books, as the dialogue is hilarious in it.
 

Fudj

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Think the last book i read (EU chronology) was The New Rebellion - after that i have kinda lost track of it, so much has gone on and its now at the point where any characters like Han, Luke or Leia are long dead.

It's getting like comic books....i would'nt know where to jump back in.
 

Arkvoodle

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Dec 4, 2008
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Its like any ongoing media: some of its good, a few things are great, and a couple things are really REALLY bad.


For the record my personal favorite Expanded Universe entries are the X-Wing novels; in particular the four by Aaron Alston. Wraith Squadron FTW.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Jan 22, 2010
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Arkvoodle said:
Its like any ongoing media: some of its good, a few things are great, and a couple things are really REALLY bad.


For the record my personal favorite Expanded Universe entries are the X-Wing novels; in particular the four by Aaron Alston. Wraith Squadron FTW.
I'm more of a Stackpole fan, but I'm still super excited about Mercy Kill. Alliston gets to write more X-Wing stuff.
 

gorfias

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Trasch17 said:
I enjoy the Star Wars EU, espacially the books about the 2nd Galactic Civil War.
(Darth Caedus FTW)
Also the ridiculously overpowered (or completely useles) superweapons (Deathstar, Darksaber, Sun crusher, Centerpoint station and I also count the Yuuzhan Vongs' Dovin Basal as superweapons).
The only thing I don't like, is The Forced Unleashed aka Starkiller kills the canon.
I can't believe they made him canon in the new books.
I don't know about them turning Star Killer into canon, I haven't read many of the books. But I loved the first game. Better than the prequel movies, which, in my mind, did not absolve Anakin as they hoped to do.

I joked to a pal, if the prequels are right, Luke should have gone to Ben Kenobi, said, "Howdy, I'm the son of Anakin Skywalker. Wanna teach me magic?" Ben would have thought to himself, "hmm, the son of the guy that betrayed all the jedi's and became a dark lord." Ben would have then promptly cut off Luke's head.

Instead, we got this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Caedus

Hmmm.

 

Kilo24

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Aug 20, 2008
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Pretty much, KOTOR2 was the only Star Wars fiction I've really enjoyed (including the main movies.) I've played through a few Star Wars games, but they and the movies were too... binary and otherwise simplistic to intrigue me story-wise.

The EU just strikes me as a place where, like most massive franchises, good writers face a lot of creative limitations so they tend to get too frustrated to write in it. I'm sure that there is good writing in it, but I very much doubt it's common. Having no particular love for Star Wars, I don't really expect much from the EU.
 

revjor

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The "Thrawn Trilogy" and the follow up to that of "Dark Empire I, II and Empire's End" are pretty fantastic and do a great job of continuing the story until the Empire is finally completely dismantled.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Jan 22, 2010
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revjor said:
The "Thrawn Trilogy" and the follow up to that of "Dark Empire I, II and Empire's End" are pretty fantastic and do a great job of continuing the story until the Empire is finally completely dismantled.
Do yourself a favor and forget about Dark Empire. Instead read the Hand of Thrawn series. THAT is the true end of the Empire, and it is a fantastic way to cap off the Galactic Civil War.
 

chadachada123

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Jan 17, 2011
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Knights of the Old Republic-era is fantastic. Other pieces of work that come from hundreds of years before the main trilogy is also perfectly fine. Republic Commando is incredible, and I would throw all of my money towards a sequel.

The EU that comes after the main trilogy, though...fuck that stuff hard with a rake.
 

revjor

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Soviet Heavy said:
revjor said:
The "Thrawn Trilogy" and the follow up to that of "Dark Empire I, II and Empire's End" are pretty fantastic and do a great job of continuing the story until the Empire is finally completely dismantled.
Do yourself a favor and forget about Dark Empire. Instead read the Hand of Thrawn series. THAT is the true end of the Empire, and it is a fantastic way to cap off the Galactic Civil War.
Hah, can't do that. The Dark Empire tpb was the 2nd comic I ever bought as a kid. It holds a place near and dear to my heart.