Friday, April 25, 2014

The EU is dead, long live the EU!

UPDATE (4/28/14): Subsequent announcements from DelRey and other sources have now stated that the announcement signals the end of all EU material that had been published up to this point. Thus, the only stories in the canon are now the six theatrical films, The Clone Wars, and Sons of Dathomir, a comic coming out soon wrapping up the Maul arc from The Clone Wars. This is somewhat more disappointing than I'd hoped. Still, I hope to have an article up soon about where politics in Star Wars might go from here.

Disney and Lucasfilm have just announced on the Star Wars website that Episode VII will not follow the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe. While the announcement mentions that Star Wars will continue to draw upon the EU for ideas, this essentially amounts to a reboot.

Most of these characters never existed...
I'm sure the Internet will be flooded with commentary about this. But a few points are worth keeping in mind:

Nixon in Star Wars

I have been reading J.W. Rinzler's The Making of Star Wars Return of the Jedi and came across a great quote about George Lucas' early conception of politics in Star Wars. In one the July 13-17, 1981, story conference with Richard Marquand, Lawrence Kasdan, and Howard Kazanjian, Lucas explained about Emperor Palpatine:
... he was a politician. Richard M. Nixon was his name. He subverted the senate and finally took over and became an imperial guy and he was really evil. But he pretended to be a really nice guy. He sucked Luke’s father into the dark side.
It is well known that Lucas based parts of the Original Trilogy on political events in the 1970s, with the concept of primitive natives defeating a technologically superior army taken directly from the Vietnam War (as discussed here). Nevertheless, I was taken with how directly Lucas equated Palpatine with Nixon. To what extent does Palpatine really reflect Nixon?