Since Episode VII was announced, there’s been plenty of discussion about the fate of the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe (I'll call it post-ROTJ EU from now on). With that discussion, all of us certainly developed ideas and opinions about what we think could or should happen with the EU.
That was until we were all left a bit awestruck when Simon Kinberg made the bold statement that “the canon is the canon, and the canon is the six films that exist.” Even though Kinberg is definitely a reliable source, I’ll admit I still had a bit of doubt. With so many rumors coming and going, I just couldn't make myself believe anything until I heard it from the big boss, Kathleen Kennedy . Well, I got exactly what I needed to believe this is not a rumor. After the announcement straight from LFL and Disney, we can officially say that all Star Wars fans will be getting a fresh start with Episode VII.
I had written an entirely different post just before the announcement regarding my “could and should” thoughts on the fate of the post-ROTJ EU, but I waited to post since I knew an announcement was coming. I'll put it out there that I have always been unimpressed by the story beyond ROTJ. While I enjoy much of the writing, I generally have come away unhappy with the storyline and direction that many of these novels took some of our most beloved characters. That said, my original post took on a particularly harsh attitude. I was more than happy to say good riddance to the likes of dark side Luke, Chewie’s heroically depressing death, Boba Fett surviving the sarlacc pit, pretty much anything to do with Han and Leia’s kids, and much more. I did have a lot to say about the post-ROTJ EU storyline in my original blog post, but really…those ideas don’t matter anymore. We all have to say goodbye.
Of course, I understand and don’t intend to undermine the attachment we all have to a particular story line or group of characters. This version of the story was all we had for nearly 35 years. Though I wasn't the biggest fan of the stories, we all came to accept this as what Kinberg has called “the canon”. So now that we know it’s gone (or, at the very least, that it can be discarded on a whim), I’ll leave my feelings for what we knew behind and move along to more positive thoughts. This is like saying goodbye to an old friend for many, but Master Yoda had the right idea...
Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is.
I want to consider, now, the amazing opportunity this fresh start presents to all of us. Episode VII is our chance to be like those experiencing A New Hope for the first time in 1977. The chance to experience something we don’t know—to hear a story we’ve never heard, to meet characters we haven’t met—should invoke feelings of excitement, not sadness or annoyance. We've seen so many book adaptations over the past 10 years, some great and many..many busts, and it's refreshing to know we'll all go into viewing Episode VII for the first time with a clean slate.
For those of us not quite born in time to see the Original Trilogy in theaters, this really is an amazing opportunity. I personally find that nothing can replace the feeling of seeing a movie for the first time in theaters--the booming sound, the enormous screen, and the complete removal from anything outside...it's remarkable. Now, think back to the first time you saw Star Wars in theaters. Do you remember? I’m sure many of you, like me, remember it like it was yesterday. The first I saw was Revenge of the Sith just before I turned 14 years old, which was right after I was introduced to the Star Wars Universe. I was captivated, which in many ways was because I had no idea what to expect. That captivation I first felt in the theater still resonates in me every time I watch, read, or listen to anything Star Wars. While we may still be coming in with our general ideas of the Star Wars universe, at least none of us will be sitting there thinking about what's supposed to happen.
So please! While it may be hard, let's not stay upset about this. We all should take this chance to get excited about a new story and new characters being introduced into the universe we love.