For years the old EU was the only new Star Wars we got, then the Prequels happened! And then it was back to the EU, which was then wiped clean with the exception of The Clone Wars series once Disney acquired Lucasfilm. This was done for several reason which we discussed here. It was a good call without most of the reasons and today I’m going to discuss why the New EU is so much better.
Let me be clear I’m not saying the old EU was terrible, it had its good moments and its bad, but for the most part it failed in one way — it forgot what Star Wars is. The old EU was science fiction and, unfortunately, it was typically not very good science fiction. There were reasons for this from bad storylines to generally sticking to the same characters and making new characters a knock off of established characters. There were exceptions but they were just that, and exception to the general rule. There were reasons for that too though so its not authors’ fault or even Lucasfilm’s fault. Fans wanted to continue the stories they had grown to love in the movies and fans paid to find out what happened after.
Ok with that out of the way you can probably guess why I believe the new EU is better, it remembers that Star Wars is not science fiction but Space Opera/fantasy. This change in EU actually started before the Disney buyout when George Lucas and Dave Filoni brought us The Clone Wars series on Cartoon network. George of course knew what Star Wars truly is, and Dave Filoni — despite me not always being a fan of his choices — also understands Star Wars. Rebels, the first real EU venture post-Disney, headed up by Dave Filoni was able to create a mythos and build the lore of Star Wars with new characters that were unlike what we had previously seen. While they started off keeping their show “small” as each season has progressed so has their world building, character development and mythos. Rogue One is in my mind an EU story as it is outside of the Central Saga and it too does what rebels has done, enhanced the Saga and made the Universe bigger.
The novels and comics have also picked up on this. Technical explanations are left to minimum while myths, legends, and lore are brought up to the front. Mystery is the name of the game for many of the stories whether it is trying to solve one or creating new groups, objects, and people for fans to wonder about. Sometimes I wonder if JJ Abrams had a hand in adding more mystery to Star Wars in its new form. With the story group looking over the overall stories and making sure they don’t contradict each other we are getting pieces of lore and information from various sources that both confirm and support new ideas in the Star Wars universe. This is giving us a cohesive and deeper universe that feels more connected than the previous EU ever felt. They are Star Wars stories that build the fantasy world our characters live in.
Now there is one thing we are not getting a ton of, stories involving the Big three from the Original trilogy post RotJ and nothing from before the prequel trilogy. I suspect there are a few reasons for this. As far as the big three goes, they don’t want stories that could potentially conflict with the path the movies are going to take. For example, the upcoming Han Solo movie is set before A New Hope and can build on Han for various reasons, most importantly the character has no more part in the Saga. While the novel Bloodline was set just a few years before The Force Awakens it was designed with the knowledge of where Leia would be in just a few years and while it builds the universe it does not set up anything that will later be a conflict for film makers. As to why we aren’t seeing pre-prequel EU, well I believe they have plans for that and it will involve movies. By going back a 1000 years they can give us battles with multiple Jedi and Sith plus much more. Those are stories that would look great on the big screen and they could even create another group of Saga films around another Force sensitive family. The Kenobis of ancient past maybe?