Monday, November 23, 2015

The Star Wars Episode 7 Reboot

Or is it?

With Disney's recent cashgrab of buying star wars and making tons of movies/money with it, they decided to jettison the existing (expanded universe) continuity so they'd have a fresh start with episode 7. Or at least decided they wanted to pick and choose what they liked best. This way they can retread the same ground covered in the EU by telling different stories in the same time frame without paying heed to continuity. Because really, there's no other way you could tell stories with the big 3 between ep. 4, 5 and 6 without rebooting. The vein had been long tapped out.

Essentially with the old EU, the cash cow, was dry of milk, so they're milking its twin sister. Or maybe they cloned it, and are milking milking it.

As part of this reboot though, it's implied that Episode 7 should be a clean slate and that everything from there is totally new and fresh. But we know Hollywood is incapable of anything new...

As I have watched the trailers for Episode 7, I noted a few things that reminded me of things that I've read years ago in the EU. I'm not linking the trailers, because if you're here and have read this far, you've probably already seen them all.

Trailer 1 doesn't have much in it that sets alarms off. It starts with a shot of a desert planet. That's not EU, nor is it Tatooine, but after seeing Tatooine in 5/6 movies, even if briefly, I'm a little tired of desert planets, and calling it Jakku doesn't do it any favors. That's really it. Please start giving us different kinds of planets. The prequels even did that much.

Trailer 2 gives us more desert planet and a cool shot of a crashed star destroyer. But at the 39 second mark, we get our first ripoff from the EU. In the trailer, Kylo Ren holds the charred remains of Darth Vader's helmet. While this happened in a different context in the EU, this is something that pretty much happened in Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Academy Trilogy, "Dark Apprentice", if memory serves.

In Dark Apprentice, Kyp Durron,  newly minted Sith apprentice of Exar Kun's ghost, does some bad stuff. One of those bad things is that he goes to Endor and looks at the ashes of Vader's funeral pyre and claims the title of dark lord of the Sith for himself. I can't recall what he found there, but whatever it was had been melted, and was of little value. Just like the mask held by Ren in the trailer. There are key differences, but it's not anything new to have a wannabe Sith hang out at Vader's cremation site.

The second EU plagiarism is that at the 54 second mark, we see Anakin's lightsaber, which would have had to have been recovered somehow in Cloud City after Luke lost it with his hand. In the trailer it's not clear who first recovered it, or how, but it had to have been recovered from a Bespin airshaft somehow. This makes me wonder if mace Windu's lightsaber was recovered on Coruscant and passed around.

Anyhow, the Skywalker lightsaber retrieval also happens in the EU. The Last Command sourcebook showed a pic of
Gotta HAND it to Lord Vader, he knows how to get what he wants.
Vader recovering the lightsaber and the hand from some ugnaughts after they found it. I just hope they don't give us Luuke Skywalker, because then I'll just be mad they didn't just make zahn's novels canon.

So far in less than one minute of random footage from Episode 7 two pretty significant things have been coopted from the EU by Disney's "fresh start." This makes me wonder why they didn't just keep everything in the EU (which Filoni kind of tried to do in Clone Wars), or at least everything up until the New Jedi Order. I would actually be fine if they scrubbed everything NJO or after, and even select stories (like Children of the Jedi) within the EU.

But wait, there's more!

At 1:11, Kylo Ren looks enough like Darth Revan to make me think it's Revan. I'm not the first to pick up on this though. But it's there all the same. If KOTOR is canon, that would be cool.

And that's it from trailer 2.

Trailer 3 at the 52 second mark shows us a red exploding thing. I think what this is, is that Kylo Ren has just used Starkiller base to blow up a sun. Of course, this is nothing new either. The Jedi Academy series had the Sun Crusher which could blow a sun up. So did Roger Macbride Allen's Corellian trilogy in the form of Centerpoint Station. The EU has had at least 2 things that make suns go BOOM! And it looks like episode 7 does too.

At about 1:48, Rey is crying over a fallen comrade. I think it looks like Chewbacca, but that's pure speculation. Chewbacca of course cacked in Vector Prime. I'll concede that Chewie getting whacked in personal combat, as this appears to be, is better than a moon falling on him. So kudos to Disney for that. 

This theory makes some sense because Lucas had previously approved Chewbacca dying for the NJO. It also will make people take the new villains more seriously, because look, they killed a major character. That's usually how new villains get street cred. Fan reaction will be big, but not as big as killing say, Han, Luke or Leia. That's why Chewie got the axe in Vector Prime.

Killing Chewie also works because Peter Mayhew is in his 70s and has bad knees, so bad he had to have a stand in for some scenes, and so it's a good reason to retire the character. What better way to let Mayhew bow out than giving Chewie the heroic death he deserves?

But, the EU did it first!

At 1:51 we see the planet with a Death Star trench. This planet/bigger Death Star reminded me immediately of Zonoma Sekot from the EU, once I saw the poster with the large Death Star-ish/Unicron-ish planet. Actually it reminds me of Unicron more than anything. Let's hope it's not. Anyways, I guess the main reason it reminded me of the EU was that it's a moveable planet, like Sekot. This is a stretch to say it's ripped off from the EU as I doubt they intentionally ripped off a moveable planet, but it's close enough to make me go "hmmm." What this planet probably is, is Starkiller base. Starkiller base is probably just a bigger Death Star that blows suns up.

That's really all that can be gleaned from the trailers. So far, there's 4 for sure things taken and sort of changed from the EU, with 2 more possibilities Chewie and Sekot) for a total of 6 things the "new" Star Wars is taking from the EU. But I think there's more that I can speculate on.

Pure speculation:

First, I think I came across a theory that suggested Rey and Ren were sort of a Jacen/Jaina thing, or that Rey at least was Solo's daughter. From there, I kinda guessed Ren was her twin, because so much was already ripped off from the EU. I think they probably both are Han and Leia's kids. My thought is that somehow the kids were taken in their youth (the EU had multiple kidnapping attempts on the Solo twins, like every other novel) and one of them ended up as Kylo Ren, the other is Rey. If this is right, then we've sort of ripped off the Legacy of the Force series that (mistakenly, imo) made Jacen into a Sith. I may be wrong on this theory, but at least one of those two is Han and Leia's kid, and it makes sense to make them both such. Daisy Ridley sort of outed herself as Han's daughter in an interview, and why make one kid when twins is thematically relevant to Star Wars and allows for more story possibilities?

Thematically it could work well because it turns the Luke/Leia new hope on its side by making the new twins accidentally lost and separated instead of intentionally hidden and separated.

Who is Finn? No idea, but he's got to have Jedi blood. Maybe. I love the idea that he's Lando and Leia's kid. Hehe. Too bad Lando isn't in this movie, he really should be. Billy Dee, if you read this, I am really sad you were left out of Episode 7, especially since you were able to reprise the role of Lando in so many small ways over the years, my favorite being Jedi outcast. You've really made me happy with all your guest appearances, I love hearing your voice. That and the Lando trilogy of books are the most underrated EU books out there.

I also miss Wedge.

At any rate, Finn is a big unknown, and actually, I hope he's just a random force sensitive dude, because not everyone has to be a Skywalker or solo. I don't see him being Luke or Leia's kid, despite him using Anakin's lightsaber. Leia was into Han in the OT, so the Lando theory is out; and Luke is fairly solitary, even in the EU he didn't marry for a long time. I think Finn holding the Skywalker lightsaber is a red herring. It would also be strange to have him be Han's son from a previous relationship, especially if he's Force sensitive, but I suppose it's possible. Maybe Mace Windu survived Episode 3 and had a kid and a grandkid!

Where is Luke Skywalker? Where, oh where indeed. This is one point where I think finally Episode 7 decides to not rip off the EU anymore. It's fairly obvious that Han telling the kids that "all of it was true" gives us a big clue, although it could just be that in the middle of nowhere, they'd never have heard about jedi. I suppose it makes sense, very few people ever saw Luke or the Sith in action. Those that did, didn't live for much longer afterwards.

Here's my thoughts on Luke. In Episode 7, contrary to the EU, Disney took another direction, Luke decided not to restart the jedi order or train any new jedi. Why, I don't know. Probably he was afraid to unleash the jedi on the galaxy again. But his failure to pass on what he had learned resulted in force sensitive people developing their powers on their own without any moral guiding structure, and then the galaxy ends up with groups of nuts like the Knights of Ren.


Luke had tried to train someone, Kylo Organa-Solo perhaps, and when Kylo fell to the dark side or couldn't develop powers, Luke decided to give it up and went into exile.

The problem with the first theory is that it looks like a lot of the new canon comics and books have Luke eagerly hunting down jedi artifacts and promising to rebuild at least one jedi temple. He seems to be intent on learning more about jedi affairs and seems to be prepping to restore the jedi order. But all that eagerness could turn sour with one or two bad eggs going to the dark side. So, I'll say that Luke did try to rebuild the order, but something went wrong and he went into a forced exile. Or perhaps the Rebel Alliance/New Republic didn't want the jedi back and forced him into exile.

Whatever the case, the fate of Skywalker is likely critical to the plot of Episode 7. Duh.

At any rate, the trailer seems to have quite a bit of material that already was used at some point in the EU. So for all of Disney's attempts to start clean, they've already returned to the source to pick it clean.

Let's hope it's worth watching, I have a bad feeling about it. Whatever the case, all my EU books are canon for me. Unless I say they aren't. I'm looking at you "Children of the Jedi."


 I have no theories about Supreme Commander Snoke, other than he is probably secretly Jar Jar Binks as is being spread amongst the interwebs.

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