Everyone knows I am a huge Star Wars fan. I live and breathe Star Wars. I know the movies by heart, I can name just about any background character in every scene, I know the comics, and I read the books. I own the ewoks movies and have both the ewoks and droids cartoons on DVD. I even have a bootleg of the Star Wars Holiday Special (gasp!). It is fair to say that I have an extensive knowledge of Star Wars that goes far beyond the depth of the films alone. I however don’t know everything. I wouldn’t say that I am an unparalleled expert in the Star Wars mythos; doubtlessly there are many others out there who know more about the ever expanding galaxy far, far away than I do. For instance I have not read every single book in the now extensive Star Wars library. There are just some that don’t interest me, and it’s tough to keep up on the ones that do.
One of the biggest things going in Star Wars today is the Clone Wars series on Cartoon Network. I have loved what they are doing with this show and I have really grown to enjoy the creative team that is involved in bringing this aspect of Star Wars to the small screen. Lead by director Dave Filoni the show has only grown stronger as far as I’m concerned, in both look and story. After a shaky start with the release of the less then stellar Clone Wars movie they have continued to surprise me with the quality and depth of the developing tone of the show.
The Clone Wars has really brought to light a tremendous new niche in the hefty Star Wars EU. For those who might not know “the EU” is a term used by Star Wars fans, and others, to refer to the Expanded Universe of the franchise, i.e.; the aspects of Star Wars that are not explicitly detailed in, or are altogether separate from but remaining tied to the universe of, the Star Wars movies. To call the movies canon and everything else EU is not exactly correct though, because every officially published Star Wars work is considered canon, though subordinate to the six movies, and the whims of George Lucas himself. The EU started small with a few spin off movies, a run of comics, and several book trilogies and has exploded into cartoons, video games, several ongoing comic books, and hundreds of novels and reference books. It is safe to say that today the material of the EU far outweighs that of its parent films.
Well the Clone Wars cartoon has proven to be something of a unique outing for the EU in that the canon of this particular show seems to have a greater weight to it due to the direct involvement of George Lucas. This cartoon is a strong collaboration between Dave Filoni and his team and George Lucas and his extensive resources. I would go so far as to compare this project to Lucas’ days during the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi where Uncle George stepped out from the role of director and instead focused his attention on story and overall look and feel of his universe as executive producer.
This “word of Lucas” canon vibe of the Clone Wars has rekindled a fierce EU vs. Canon debate that has been brewing amongst Star Wars fanboys for decades. Strictly from my personal take on the whole thing it seems like some people are Star Wars fans, enjoying the high adventure and sci-fi/fantasy blend of the movies while others are fans of sci-fi, who happen to enjoy Star Wars more or less because of the sci-fi elements of the movies. I could go on and on about this debate but my feelings are George Lucas runs the show, he created Star Wars and allows the EU to even exist, Lucas giveth and Lucas can taketh away.
For the most part Star Wars fans have eagerly embraced the Clone Wars, but there are a few things that have ruffled the feathers of the EU purists. The first major issue that I became aware of was a three episode story arc in season two that featured the planet Mandalore and the Mandalorian warriors which are fan favorites. Of course the Mandalorian lineage provided Boba Fett with his training and distinctive armor. As we all know, any time Boba Fett is involved Star Wars fans go ape shit and express their very adamant opinions about the character. In fact allow me to take a second to talk directly to the Boba fans out there.
Hi gang, personally I like Boba Fett, he’s a cool character, and he’s got some nice armor but enough already! Put an ice pack on those Boba boners and get over it! There is nothing in those Clone Wars episodes that ruin Boba Fett or his history! The information that deals with Boba Fett is given by the episodes villain who does nothing but lie and deceive about his activities! Clearly he wasn’t a fountain of truth, and because he was trying to hide his criminal activities he of course is not going to link himself with a known criminal such as Jango Fett. So what if Jango’s blue color scheme is part of a group called Death Watch? They’re still Mandalorians, and Mandalorians who have taken up the battle armor of their people in an effort to reclaim their warrior past!
Sorry, just had to take a moment and share a few thoughts with those fans.
Another more recent tid bit that has people all worked up is the death of Jedi Master Even Piell in one of the latest episodes. Master Piell is not one of my favorite Jedi. He appears in Episode I and did not return for Episode II and to be honest I didn’t give him much thought, I never liked his character design and his backstory was “blah.” But apparently his death in the show went against an EU depiction of his death (although there is some vagueness in these claims) and fans are up in arms about this. Some fans are waiting to see how Dave Filoni will try to explain it and wondering why they would so blatantly go against the EU. For more on this development check out this discussion thread on wookieepedia.com HERE. A little ridiculous.
Once again I state that George Lucas can and will do whatever the hell he wants to do and he should be allowed to. This is his playground; just because he let someone else build a sand castle doesn’t mean he has to let it stand forever if it gets in the way of him building an even cooler sandcastle that a greater number of people can enjoy. Frankly the EU lost me after one of the earlier books tried to tell me Boba Fett’s real name was Jaster Mereel. First off why would Boba Fett need a secret identity? He’s not a super hero. And second that’s a terrible name. All of that has been retconned nicely these days, even fitting in with the whole Death Watch fiasco.
I don’t want it to seem like I am not a fan of the EU stuff, I really am, but I am also comfortable with the fact that the EU does not have the final word on Star Wars, George Lucas does. There is a lot of good EU works out there, I especially enjoy the comics. There is also a great deal of bad EU stuff out there, and I’m sure fans of the EU would argue that there are a few bad Star Wars movies out there as well. My personal problem with the EU comes down to the writers trying to write Star Wars as a strictly sci-fi genre by detailing the aspects of hyperspace travel, or trying to discern the illogical ranking system of the Empire. For me Star Wars EU is at its best when it takes something familiar and interprets it through a Star Wars filter, taking into account the equal parts sci-fi and fantasy. Dave Filoni and his Clone Wars team understand this. The Clone Wars has allowed Star Wars to put its spin on the horror genre, giant monster movies, westerns, and much more. Essentially that’s what Star Wars is all about, the movies were not wholly original in their concepts, they are full of old school high adventure fantasy, gritty noir gangster and war films, and serialized hits like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Lucas took all those elements and transformed them into this new imaginative universe. It was his execution and the interpretation of his ideas that was important. If you try to later breakdown that universe through EU works it just gets tiring and stops being exciting, especially when it loses that fantasy sense of the unknown.
Anyway enough ranting for now, I’ve gone on far too long!
That is all!