So, the big, big thing in the Nerdiverse right now is the secrecy and excitement surrounding Star Wars Episode VII. Fans all over are eating up every breadcrumb that leaks from Bad Robot. They’re expecting this movie to live up to their expectations that have been tempered and created by such tales as The Thrawn Trilogy, Jedi Academy, and The Legacy comics. The more hardcore among them are just getting angrier and angrier and there’s a big reason why.
The Expanded Universe Never Happened
The EU of Star Wars was a rich and complete universe where the awesome main characters had even more awesome children and everyone was badasses. It’s also a place where the storyline of the Star Wars Cinematic Saga was repeated over and over. Jedi goes evil, goes to the dark side, is redeemed by family member. Copy and paste Death Star-type weapons like the Galaxy Gun and it’s just the same story over and over with new set-pieces. Now each storyline had their own interesting things that made them entertaining and that’s great and the Thrawn Trilogy features more of a departure from the story than usual.
Unfortunately for the hardcore fans, George “Source of the Force” Lucas declared long ago that the majority of the Expanded Universe never even happened as far as the movies are concerned. This means all your Palpatine and Luke Clones, welded-together AT-ATs, and Galaxy Guns never happened. This means that a lot of things that fans have taken for granted for years aren’t necessarily true anymore. For instance:
Luke Skywalker Never Really Became a True Jedi
In Return of the Jedi, Luke declares himself a Jedi in front of Jabba the Hutt and he has the mind tricking and light sabering to back it up. However, when he returns to Yoda, the mighty green Master tells him that he’s not a Jedi and won’t be one until he confronts Vader. Not defeats Vader, confronts. Now, theoretically once he met with Vader on Endor and refused the Dark Side, he would’ve become a Jedi because it’s refusing that temptation that shows your dedication to the Light. However, then he went up to the Death Star, gave in to the rage of The Dark Side and proceeded to hack off his dad’s hand. After that, to his credit, he did at least refuse to kill Vader but that’s more like stomping on a bird and then refusing to put it out of it’s misery.
Just for the sake of argument, though, let’s say that Luke Skywalker redeemed himself by refusing to kill Vader after wounding him and became a Jedi again. That still makes him a Jedi night in name only really. The prequels (once again one of the only few canon sources) leave the definite impression that it takes years of training as a Padawan in order to become a Jedi. Luke had a day or two of instruction from Obi Wan and 1-3 weeks of Yoda Boot Camp. Let me ask you, if you met a man saying “Today, I’m a Jedi” and he’s been training for the last 10 years to be one and another man who goes, “I’m a Jedi after 1 month of training” would you believe him? That’s the difference between someone who goes to Johns Hopkins for his Doctorate compared to someone who did a month-long coursework at B.S. Online Institute.
<SPOILER> One of the spoilers that’s come to light is that VII will most likely feature a search for Luke Skywalker, who’s thought dead but was captured by Darth Vader’s Inquisitors shortly after RotJ and has been imprisoned for 20-30 years. Fans are in an uproar claiming that Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight would never have been captured and held. Realistically, in hand-to-hand terms, we’ve seen Luke take on a group of questionably trained Jabba lackeys, a handful of Storm Troopers and Vader (but only while using The Dark Side otherwise Vader was kicking his ass). Someone like that would EASILY get taken captive and held by a group who’s only purpose is to hunt, trap, and kill fully trained life-long Jedi. Especially shortly after being repeatedly electrocuted. </SPOILER>
Han and Leia’s Relationship Most Likely Would Not Last
Han and Leia had a relationship built almost completely on convenience and stress. Their relationship blossomed while trapped and fearing death inside an asteroid in an asteroid belt. They then went to Cloud City where they proceeded to argue over whether or not Lando was trustworthy and Han went into the deep freeze. After freeing Han, they went to Endor shortly thereafter where the entire experience there was survival (with the exception of a calm night at Ewok Village). So their relationship hasn’t even experienced the end of the honeymoon period and the time they would’ve spent in a typical relationship situation, staying at cloud city, was only notably punctuated by them arguing in their room. Why don’t we break this down in their personalities.
Leia is a princess and a Senator’s daughter. She’s a born leader and will be expected to be a major force in any upcoming government. Han is a rebel who’s spent his life sticking it to the man and living on the edge of the law. If hardcore fans are to be believed, Han blew a rodian’s head off in a bar just because he didn’t like how the conversation was going. Those two personalities don’t really work together in the long term. Leia’s going to expect him to be responsible and buckle down and he’s going to constantly pine for the good old days of cruising the galaxy with his hairy best friend, evading Imperials and committing crimes. At best their relationship will be rocky, but most likely it won’t last.
It’s Being Directed By J.J. Abrams
J.J. “Here’s some lens flares” Abrams is someone who’s been heaped with so much nerd hate as well as praise. He took Star Trek from being a slowly fading nerd property to being something reinvigorated and widely successful. Now, he did this by making it more Star Wars. I covered it in a post on my old blog. But then people proceeded to poke holes and rage about what he did with it once the excitement of “it’s new Trek” had worn off. A lot of this can be blamed on the writers who were also responsible for the Transformers Quadrilogy, which generates a lot of nerd hate as well.
A lot of people state that his long-time fandom of Star Wars is what will help him make this a great Star Wars movie. Every fan sees things differently though. My friend Gabe thinks Boba Fett was the ultimate bounty hunter badass. I, however, think that Boba Fett is a useless punk who’s only notable contributions were hiding in the garbage, following Han Solo, and getting hit in the backpack and knocked into the Sarlaac Pit. It’s a question of what J.J. Abrams, himself, took away as the most important parts of the movies. If he took the force and philosophy away, then his movies will focus on that. If he took away the effects and action, then the movie will be all flash.
We’re All Still Going to Pay to See It.
Realistically, when it comes down to it, we’re all going to shell out our money to go and see it in theaters. It could turn out to be 2 hours of Luke and Leia getting into sibling arguments and we’d still have paid to see it because it’s the next Star Wars! Revenge of the Sith still did over $108 Million it’s opening weekend, even though we had just sat through two lackluster prequel films. We’re all going to see it and Disney knows it. The only question now is: Will it be worth the wait?