I just finished listening to “Dark Force Rising” (the second book in the Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy) and oh man, I fucking loved it. I haven’t been listening to a lot of books lately, partly because I’ve been on a podcast kick and partly because there is a weird sort of guilt that I feel for listening to a lot of fiction. I feel some need to counter it with non-fiction even when I’m not in the mood for that. A lot of my Facebook friends consume non-fiction like animals and I kind of feel like I am wasting my time with fiction. Even as I write that I realize how shitty that argument is and I should just do what I want.
Anyway, finishing Dark Force Rising brought two things to my mind. First, I am beginning to understand Star Wars fans anger (fear? hatred? suffering? some path to the Dark Side…) at Disney for turning all the canon novels into “Legends”. Before starting the Thrawn trilogy my only interaction with Star Wars was the films and I didn’t really realize how rich of a universe had been created by so many collaborative authors. Previously minor characters (like Wedge Antilles) get more depth, and established characters become even more humanlike. To have all the adventures you loved, the characters you cherished, and the universe that was a part of your life for decades, wiped out by Disney had to be painful. I am just beginning my adventure into the Star Wars (non)canon and I’m annoyed that the universe of Thrawn isn’t the universe of Rae, particularly since it wouldn’t have been difficult to integrate the movies into the same universe, or even adapt some of the previous material to the big screen.
Second, I always thought Star Wars (and really Sci-Fi and Fantasy in general) handled different species poorly. There seemed to be this idea that an individual could be evil based purely on their species, except for humans who could vary widely in their ethics and abilities. Now that I’ve started reading the books I realize that I wasn’t being fair. The movies may not have the opportunity to dive into much depth for most non-humans (except Chewie and Jar Jar) but the books allow for that The Star Wars universe is made richer by being explored through different artistic means… films, tv shows, graphic novels, books, and video games all provide a different way to explore the art. Destroying that seems to be a terrible mistake.