Note: none of this post represents my publishers or the Star Wars universe, and I have literally no special knowledge or power in this regard. All the opinions below represent me, not Del Rey, not Lucasfilm or Disney. Just little old me.
Hi, Expanded Universe / Legends fans.
It’s me. Your pal, Chuck Wendig.
If your emails and tweets and YouTube videos about me are any indication, you care very little for me, and that’s fine. I wish you’d be a little nicer about it, but hey, you do you.
I wanted you know that I saw that thing you did with the billboard, and really, it’s pretty cool. It got you press. It’s a way to demonstrate what you love in a fairly positive way. It shows the power of crowdfunding. One could argue that you might’ve made the same impression or better if you organized the money to go to charity (Force For Change, after all, is a Star Wars-based charity), but what do I know? Thing is, what you did is pretty nifty and it shows the collective power of an engaged, interested fandom.
I talked about this a bit on Twitter yesterday, and I have been accused now and many times before of somehow being a Legends-hater (also: a prequel-hater, apparently). I don’t hate the prequels and I don’t hate Legends (or what was once the Expanded Universe). I loved Zahn’s novels and Stackpole’s, though I never really read much deeper than that because, well, for me, there were other books to read. I didn’t want to be reading Star Wars novels only, and I was a pretty diverse reader across genres. But some folks were and still are fairly deep into the Legends/EU line of stories, and those are stories that linked books and comics and games in a not-quite-canon-flavored way, and that’s honestly kinda great. I want to tell you that I get it. I understand why you want more. Stories have power over us. Star Wars in particular is a storytelling universe that has really enveloped our own — this is pop culture that has threaded its way into our narrative DNA. It’s part of us. The EU came up at a time when we thought we weren’t getting more Star Wars stories. That universe seemed dead, inert, done-zo, and suddenly here comes the start of a whole new universe of stories. Where once there were three movies, suddenly there were dozens — eventually hundreds — of books. And comics. And games.
That single bulk of narrative material outweighs most other universes. One could argue that it even outweighs what we get with the films, at least in terms of sheer storytelling girth. Some of the books were great. Some of them, nnnyeah, okay, maybe not so great. But it was a huge legacy, a massive obelisk of material, and it was worthy of worship.
And then, it came crashing down.
That universal lineage, that massive branch of the Star Wars storytelling tree — it broke off, fell to the ground, and you feel like Disney woodchipped it and shoved the splinters in a box marked “Legends.” Some books ended up cancelled. Some games, too, maybe even comics. Fade to black, and then the curtain parts again and now there are new movies and new books (ahem, Aftermath), and they either ignore the Expanded Universe stories or they pick ideas and characters from them to use now or later.
I get it. It’s the same feeling when a TV show you love gets canceled (looking at you, Firefly). Or when one of the big comic companies takes an entire universe and ends it, or changes it, or reboots it. Shit, I get pissed when Target stops selling a cereal I like, or I discover that a t-shirt or sneaker I like is discontinued. Sneakers, I mean, shit, if Nike or Reebok release a sneaker and you wear it and you like it, next season that sneaker is already on a burning trashpile in the Pacific Ocean and replaced with the next upgraded model and that model sucks because it’s not the shoe you jolly well fucking liked in the first place, and now your brand loyalty for that company is cut off at the knees because they stopped making the thing you like.
So, let me just say: I support you. I hope you get what you want. I have literally no power to make it happen. And I’m sure they wouldn’t hire me for the job anyway because if they hired me to write the Expanded Universe at least a half-dozen of you would probably burn down Disneyland. But I’m all for more stories in the world, and I’m certainly all for more Star Wars stories. Here’s me. Giving you a thumbs-up with a big smile and a glint of hope in my eye.
But, of course, I have some caveats.
1. If it does happen, I’d expect it to be a limited series. “One last trilogy” sort of thing. Again: I have no insider information in this regard, and I have no reason to believe this is even happening. I’m just saying, if it does happen, I would expect it to take the form of a bone thrown in your direction rather than a revivified Legends directive.
2. It also probably won’t happen at all. You need to prepare yourselves for that. The reasons it probably won’t happen are many. For instance:
a) It takes a lot of ecosystem to fire up a new publishing line, and that’s sort of what’s happening here. It takes staff, it takes money, it takes time out of a publishing schedule. Publishing is slow. It’s already understaffed. I speak from experience. This isn’t a case of JUST FLIP THE SWITCH AND BRING BACK LEGENDS. Mountains need to be moved.
b) Right now, Disney has a pretty sweet thing going, and seeing them switch gears — even temporarily — would surprise me. The new movie did huge numbers. The books are selling well — and despite some who want to assure me that Aftermath did not sell well, it, ahh, it really did. It sold big. It lingered on the bestseller charts. I have a very small royalty percentage compared to my other books (most tie-in work offers you no royalties), and even with that truncated royalty, I just got a royalty check that was bigger than some of my advances. I don’t say that to brag (okay, humblebrag, maybe), but just to clarify: the book sold well and continues to sell well even now. So, it’s hard imagining why Disney would have interest in suddenly returning to stories that don’t connect to the larger narrative.
c) That larger narrative is actually part of the problem for Legends — it’s quite a big deal that, at present, everything coming out regarding Star Wars is connected. That’s not true really with anything else, I don’t believe, at least not at this scale. It is all, relatively-speaking, “canon.” To suddenly introduce these other stories that aren’t connected opens Disney up to branding confusion. People yelling at them on social about how they thought Han and Leia had only one kid and is Rey actually Jaina and wait is Kylo and the Knights of Ren in these books and HOLD UP IS MARA JADE REY’S MOM. You’re fans, so you understand the difference. But the average reader doesn’t see the difference. They have a limited view of canon and think that if they pick up a new Star Wars book it’ll probably connect to the movies or the other new books. When that fails, that creates disappointment.
d) It bears repeating: Disney probably wants to avoid branding confusion. At all costs. At least until all the movies are out and that part of the story has been told.
e) You may not have the numbers to demonstrate support for the continuation of Legends. The Indiegogo campaign had 146 backers and raised $4,784. No small feat and really cool. But 146 people is not enough to support a line of books. And 1,146 people isn’t enough. And maybe, 11,146 people wouldn’t do it, either. They want to sell 100,000 copies of a book.
f) A lot of “fan-demanded” projects actually don’t earn out. Serenity eventually made it on DVD, but in the theater, was a bomb. When a TV show comes back based on fan demand, it often ends up getting canceled again anyway because the reality is, core fandom isn’t enough to support big meaty narrative universes. Fandom by its nature represents the most excited members, sure, but most big properties thrive on non-fans — people who don’t want to read 100 other books to understand this one they just bought. Narrower, niche properties can live on the support of fandom. But Star Wars is not a narrow, niche property.
3. If it doesn’t happen, I might encourage you to summon peace with that reality. There does come a point when your energy can best be spent elsewhere. Share your love with other great stories, even if they’re not inside Star Wars. This isn’t me smacking your hand and saying JUST GET OVER IT, LOSERS. But it is vital to recognize the reality that you neither own nor control this stuff, and you still have hundreds of great Legends stories that you can still enjoy. That’s huge. And I know it’s not fair, but life is frequently full of unfair things and part of our skillset as human beings is how we inoculate ourselves against disappointment.
4. Also, hey, you can sorta take ownership and control of the Legends continuity through the power of fan-fiction. Fan-fiction informed me and I don’t look down it. Nor should anybody. It’s a great way to be creative and also continue exploring a narrative universe that either left you behind or you left behind. It allows you to continue engagement with that world. So rad.
The Final Caveat
Many of you are nice and passionate. Thanks for being fans — if not of mine or my work, then of Star Wars in general. It’s a universe under a big, big tent. That’s a good thing.
Sometimes, though, in fandom, passion becomes tainted — shot through with the sepsis of frustration. And further, sometimes fandom attracts people who are, mmm, maybe not the finest specimens of humanity, and when that happens, harassment occurs. As it has occurred amongst the Bring Back Legends movement.
You need to get your house in order.
What I mean is, harassment is not a good way to get what you want. It is, in fact, a very good way to be dismissed. It is a great way to be seen as bullies. And nobody wants to give you more Legends if the way you get it has been by protracted campaigns of harassment or even by rogue members of your campaigns and Facebook groups demonstrating very bad behavior. Some other fans who operate fansites have felt harassed and bullied (for instance: this post at Tosche Station). I’ve seen it in person. I’ve seen it online. I’ve seen what happens at the Star Wars Books public Facebook page (and whoever runs that page has the patience of the saint and is hopefully paid a merciful six figures). Threats to spoil The Force Awakens came out of an Expanded Universe group. This is not unknown. It is real.
I know I’ve been on the end of harassment — not just for the content of Aftermath but sometimes because I am somehow held responsible for having ended the EU, or because I’m not Timothy Zahn or because I supposedly hate Legends, or, or, or. I get emails. People tweet angrily at me every week. I get hate and harassment flooded in my direction just because I wrote a book. It’s not awesome, and it’s certainly not endearing. The public relations manager of the Indiegogo campaign for the billboard made this video about me, which — *whistles* — I don’t even know what to say about that except I hope he’s okay. It is not his only video of… dubious content.
It’s not fun. It’s not funny. It’s harmful to your cause and to the victims who endure. And I know that it’s #NotAllLegendsFans, but that doesn’t really salve the sting of harassment that both fans and professionals have felt.
I hope you get more books. Sincerely. I cheer you on. More stories is more goodness.
I also hope some of you stop your worst behaviors and your worst members. Because they have dominated this conversation and poisoned your efforts from within. It’s time to grow up and be better. Demonstrate your desires with love and outreach, not hate and spite. Even if that doesn’t get you what you want, it at least keeps the slate clean and ensures that nobody feels harassed.
Best of luck.
180 responses to “An Open Letter To The “Bring Back Legends” Star Wars Fans”
I was a die hard fan of the EU. However, towards the end the stories were getting so far fetched (even for Sci Fi) that I was just reading because I craved more of the story. I for one am happy with the new canon. Rebels has been great. The new books have all been great and EP VII was outstanding. I look forward to more. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you like it all.
You’ve described exactly what happened to me. Huge EU fan since I was a kid. It got to the point where I was reading the books just because they carried the name Star Wars. I think it was Crucible that finally made me realize I couldn’t suspend my sense of disbelief anymore.
Thank you for this blog post! I appreciate you reaching out to us Legends fans in some way, because you certainly didn’t have to.
I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with harassment and threats. That’s not acceptable.
I wish I knew how to stop a very vocal minority in a group from being awful people. That’s something I deal with almost every day as a community organizer, and I still haven’t found a good one-size-fits-all solution to the problem. In this case, I’ve been trying for two years now to reason with that contingent and haven’t had much luck, so I’ve mostly settled on ignoring the especially awful comments and just trying to keep constructive conversation going.
I’m not sure if we can accomplish something that makes Legends fans happy with fan fiction. I do wonder if LucasFilm could coordinate with those among us who are interested in extending the universe more officially. I do that kind of coordination at my job and in volunteer groups I work in and it’s a great way to get things done and make people happy. The biggest reason we haven’t done more fundraising to support authors continuing Legends as fan fiction is the worry that Disney would shut down those efforts for copyright purposes. It would be great to get some kind of official approval for printing small Legends book runs on our own in some limited capacity.
I know that isn’t in your purview, but if you ever do get the chance to drop a comment to someone who could help with that, there are friendly fans who care who would be very happy to do some hard work 🙂
I have no idea re: Disney and fanfiction, though I know of people who write fairly public SW fanfic and I don’t recall any of it ever getting the side-eye from Disney. That said, demonstrating readers of Legends fan-fic COULD have value — in other words, if Legends pieces accumulated strong readership, it might be another way to demonstrate interest in the revivification of the line.
After I saw the billboard, my first thought was wondering why the kickstarter wasn’t put toward asking an EU author to write another story, but then I thought about copyright. I think it’s a great idea, but I do worry about the authors getting a C&D from Disney/LF – I wonder if there’s some sort of loophole or way this could be done legally? I wonder what a fanfic site dedicated to Legends would look like? Would it be legal to start a site like that, and have say, Timothy Zahn register and write “fan fic”? Would it be legal to pay him to write on the site? I have no idea, and i’m not sure if EU fans would like that format, but something would be better than nothing, right? 🙂
As far as people making awful comments in a group/site you run…ban them. I run 5 SW facebook groups and have very clear lines as to what is acceptable and what is not. We’ve had some of these folks come into my groups and spew hateful, aggressive things and we just snuff them out. They have no place. If more and more groups do not allow that behavior, I would think that these people would learn that that behavior isn’t acceptable to share within the fandom.
Just my 2c 🙂 I want to see the aggression and craziness die down with this issue so we can avoid a civil war! 🙂
Definitely groups can ban people who insist on being hateful, but that doesn’t help shape the conversation in places like Twitter, public Facebook pages, and other comment sections. That’s more of where it worries me, since those are the public areas where people see this activity. Most of what I’ve seen help is more like therapy, figuring out exactly why people are angry and finding an activity to give them a place to direct that energy in a positive way.
If I wasn’t worried about legal issues, I’d be happy to create a website and Kickstarter for continuing Legends. I’m starting to think that maybe I should go ahead and do it and just see what happens.
Kickstarting Legends might get you in the same trouble as the group that made a fan film in the Star Trek universe and found themselves I the middle of a major copyright infringement suit.
Kickstarting “Legends” on the other hand, as in a collection where fan writers wrote continuing EU adventures with the serial numbers (or TM names and terms) filed off, could be interesting.
Yeah, go ahead and come up with a non copyrighted name and buy a domain name- you never know what it could lead to! I think it would be very helpful and possibly quite therapeutic for fans to write fan fic. Creating a positive place is definitely a step in the right direction! 🙂
Don’t you have better things to do, Chuck, like going back, revising Aftermath: Life Debt and Aftermath: Empire’s End, finish the latter, plan it, map it out, study Star Wars like Zahn did for TTT by requirement adhering to ROTJ and the old late 80s WEG RPG Guidebooks, Sourcebooks, Galaxy Guides, etc. Miss that in this here new canon, though I could be merely ungrateful, even though I have my rights, like you do.
Why type this? You don’t work at Del-Rey, you don’t run LFL, why should I care what you think or worry what you’ll say if LFL permanently pulls the plug on Legends, because OH MY, Star Wars fans are being mean, self righteous, that hasn’t happened before, and I guess it was always okay to personally attack, wish death to Lucas ’cause Special Editions/ Prequels, “Srsz Bzns”, refusing to buy new canon books, actually making fair critiques of the new canon asking Del Rey to continue Legends by releasing more books THE Cancer that is killing the Star Wars fandom, everything is there fault, we can 1984 the irrelevant stuff like the personal attacks, bashing of fellow EU fans and their authors. (yeah, right, yet LFL/SW.com rewarded those awful GUL people by releasing “Skyewalkers”, “Lone Wolf” Abel G. Pena, a much more professional author’s work to the fans for FREE.) I mean, have you gotten any Death Threats.
You shouldn’t worry about this, or care if BBL is irrelevant, rather be the former, than cursed out, hated as a “Dickhead” EU fan that should “get fucked” for simply wanting more Legends, and not paying attention, which is my right, to a lot of the new canon material.
I know, “why am I here”, you ask, ’cause apparently I have to call out or say yeah, some #NotAllMe..I mean #NotALLBBLers, are bad fans, there are bad fans, but thanks to the fact that I don’t want to help you, you are grown 40+ professional author for what 20 years with a DOCTORATE with a lot more priorities, like being a husband, father, putting food on the table, who should even concern himself with this or get so emotionally involved with his friends deal with god knows what, I don’t like being told what to do from some another Star Wars fan who hasn’t really hit it out the ballpark on Amazon, other SW readers, who could care less about getting the privilege to do TFA comic, more Aftermath. Get a Life, feel free to patronize me for *gasp* not being so poilite, you are NO better, hypocrite, to your fellow shills, suckups and friends who will defend you no matter what, I do, haha, envy you, being “an e-famous Star Wars fan”.
…well, that was a thing.
Why do you hate punctuation?
Not like Wendig is much of a better writer, why are you even sticking up for him, isn’t he a big boy, 40 something years old, I’m sure he can take care of himself on his own and doesn’t need people to defend and come wipe his butt for him when people are gasp being mean to him, like that hasn’t happened to you, him or I. Love to know why the Star Wars casual fans, OT purists, Movies+Filoni only crowd get a free pass to bully, mock, curse out and personally attack George Lucas, wish death to him, as well as pick on EU authors who would never dare speak on behalf of more reasonable fans, I at least represent myself, yeah I want more Legends, but I just want that and will take issue with someone not being fair or really digging into the big issue, that we should all treat each other with respect, respect alternate opinions. Yet, you and Chuck have no problem being rude and nasty to fans, right Chuck, remember when you referred to those who didn’t like the writing style of your book as “Suckaz” back in July. Love to know why saying anything critical of Wendig and his book is this “the world has to stop and resolve or find the people who hurt him and him alone”, “who cares about the other fans?”
Dude. Consider switching to decaf for that first cup of the day. Thanks. 😉
So you are okay with Wendig’s friends, followers, fans personally attacking, cursing, patronizing, hell, lying about what a bunch of random people whose only thing we have in common, is wanting a continuation of “Legends”, because I didn’t whack with a ruler to the hands of those who are being mean to him, when I’m Lucas and other authors have had it worse, yet move on with their lives. Why won’t anyone address that, I’ve seen a lot of hate, anger, cursing, mocking and bullying of EU fans from new canon fans, casuals, OT Purists, the OT + Filoni crowd, why won’t you or Wendig address that.
I’m putting you in the spam oubliette now.
Punctuation killed his parents in Crime Alley while he was a small child. After years of training, he felt he was ready for a lifelong fight against punctuation, and people who abet punctuation such as writers. If only he had a sign that would strike fear in the hearts of people who use punctuation….and then, a politician showed up in a news broadcast. He said, “That politician talks a lot, that’s my symbol! I’ll become Bloviation Run-On Man!”
Thank you for this great letter. I’ve been a STAR WARS literature collector since the year 2000 and have spend many of my pocket money and earned money on STAR WARS over the years. When they announced LEGENDS I was prepared for that because I knew that they would not go forward with a EU so big and full of stories. There was no way to move freely and create great new content and not being restricted by the books. So Iam totally ok with this. I would wish for the SWORD OF JEDI series to be released but I’ll live without it for sure.
I continue my collection with the new Canon stuff and try to get last pieces of the LEGENDS stuff together to have a complete collection.
As for the BBL movement: I can understand if they try to get more stuff. Hell I’d by some new LEGENDS stuff too. But to harass or threat anyone is wrong! I feel ashamed by this! I’ve been a STAR WARS fan since 1997 and did read a lot about the stuff certain people didnt like. I’ve never get how one can be so bitter and hateful about an entertainment franchise. Its scary if people take things so personal. I guess its the same as with the hatred over the Special Edition or the Prequels. People claim ownership and need to tell the creative people how they want their stuff to be shaped and made. Its crazy.
Please Chuck complete ur Aftermath Trilogy and don’t listen to the haters. Iam really looking forward for Life Dept and the third novel.
And please make sure that other potential STAR WARS authors are not be scared off by a minority of people who think that STAR WARS or Del Rey or Disney owes them anything!
It is cool if I’m pissed about the EU being erased AND like a lot of the new stuff, too?
Seriously, though–I love your idea about closing things out with on last hurrah. Probably won’t happen, but it would be cool…
…and c’mon. There was no reason to jettison Darth Plagueis. Adds to the mythology, doesn’t contradict the new stuff, and (just like Aftermath) is one of my all time favorite SW books 🙂
Keeping in mind I’ve only read around 20-25 Legends books, I get what you’re saying. There are a couple books I’ve read that could’ve very easily been “canonized”. Kenobi and Darth Plagueis spring immediately to mind.
But the “all or nothing” approach makes a lot of sense, too. And certainly from a fairness perspective.
Actually, Darth Plagueis was incredibly tied into the old canon, that’s one of the most impressive things about the story actually. Luceno managed to take tons of old EU stories such as comics, video games and other novels that were seemingly inconsistent and tie them all into a single coherent story. It also had elements like Sith spirits and the account of how Sidious acquired Maul that don’t line up with current continuity.
Still a great story though(one of my favorites too), just not a canon one.
Chuck, thank you for writing this unbiased and completely fair open letter that is 100% on point. Looking forward to Life Debt. Keep up the great work!
Every print book I’ve seen Legends fans create has been taken down pretty rapidly. We’ve also been concerned about creating a Kickstarter to support Legends writers because of the worry about copyright, but maybe that worry is unfounded.
Question. Have you approached the authors of the old material and asked THEM if they’d be interested in continuing the work? I ask this because, if they’ve got their foot in the door in the industry and an agent (which they probably do), the agent would have the “in” with the publishing world who maybe could, in turn, get a proposal onto the desk of the people who’d need to see it to approve it. While I think fan service -could- make a difference, speaking from the publishing side of things, a (vetted) author presenting something as sellable material (maybe even in e-book form instead of paperback) might help out? Just a thought.
We have! They have said that they would be very interested, but that the publisher isn’t interested in continuing those stories, thus there’s nothing that they can do. According to them, we need to convince the publisher. We’d love to do fundraising to pay the old authors to continue the stories, since both Del Rey and LucasBooks aren’t interested, but there isn’t really a legal way for us to do that.
Yeah, I don’t think you could actually pay writers to produce new material for LEGENDS. I think it would have to be unpaid fan-fic only — I’m not fully schooled on the legalities of all the fiddly bits, but I’m guessing when people start getting paid is when lawyers also start getting paid.
Hi! I think I know what the problem is – generally fanfic gets by without trouble via being a) online b) free. Usually posted to places like fanfiction.net or archiveofourown.org or your own websites! Print fanfic went out of vogue with zines.
Fanfic isn’t a for-profit endeavor. It’s fan fiction. Done for the love of the story.
I know fanfic is typically online and free, but many of us would like new books to sit on our shelves. It has nothing to do with profit; I love the stories I’m writing and would sell books at cost. I love the stories that others have written and would like to carry them around with me to read.
There are still print lovers out there 😛
Print is great! But you can’t publish physical works of someone else’s ip. Even at cost – that’s usually when the companies go ‘hey now’. There’s nothing stopping you from printing it off and putting it in a binder, but what I was trying to explain why the fanfic=online was just that.
The Legends IP may be discontinued, but they still own it. But no one in charge ever seems to care about digital fanfic anymore.
I’m in the process of re-writing the prequel trilogy right now. I’m not sure if I’m doing it for practice, or because I really need a story that makes more sense in the grand scheme of things. When I get done I’m going to try to print and bind it myself so I have a book that sits on my shelf, no publisher needed. If I’m confident enough I might actually post it online somewhere.
Good stuff Chuck. I wholeheartedly agree that the Legends Movement is tainted and there are whole Facebook pages that know and acknowledge the problem. Something needs to be done,
First thing I have read by you that I liked
Very well said, Mr. Wendig! I have been a hardcore Star Wars fan since I saw the special editions hit the theaters when I was 11. This wonderful world enveloped me and helped take me away from the ridiculous, abusive, painful divorce my parents were going through. These characters taught me to be strong, to have hope. I gobbled up the EU and all other forms of Star Wars media. At times, I’d read an EU book and say, “what the fuck…wait, what?” because what I had read had contradicted something else that I had read. The continuity wasn’t there…but it was content. It was new Star Wars media to consume – good or bad, I was just happy to have a place to visit my fictional friends and escape reality. When the news broke that Disney bought Star Wars, I was extremely surprised and worried about which direction the franchise would go. Then, the news broke that the EU was no longer canon. I admit, I was pretty pissed at first – I felt like I had wasted so much time reading and building a world in my mind and it was all no longer part of the story! Then, I realized….oh, we’re getting more movies. We’re getting more Star Wars. We’ll get more books, comics, games…and all will be well. I can still go back and read the EU books/comics if I want to – Disney/LF are not breaking into my house and stealing the books and telling me I can no longer enjoy them. I have made peace with the EU becoming an alternate universe, and I’m VERY excited for the new, more cohesive star wars universe that is being reconstructed now. Most of the new canon is great, and Disney/LF is doing a great job that none of it contradicts each other.
It really sucks that a very small minority of fans are acting in toxic, entitled, damaging ways. I admin 5 Star Wars groups on facebook. I am very in touch with the fandom. A constant I’ve seen in my nearly 20 years of avid fandom is this sense of entitlement and arguing within the fandom. It seems like there has always been SOMETHING – what to believe was the true canon within the EU, which was better – the special editions or the originals, the prequels, what a “true fan” likes/says/does/etc, was the disney buyout a good or bad thing, and now, the current thing is this – the closing of the EU and fanboys whining about “another female lead”. These issues will pass and something new will take over as the new thing to be mad about. Jeepers…what a waste of energy it is. We are all Star Wars fans. We all have our preferences for which parts of the stories we like best. Nothing has been taken away from ANY OF US. Aggressively acting out on you, other fans, other LF employees is pointless – it only makes the aggressor look like a jerk…and who wants to help out a jerk?
Thank you again for your work as well as writing this letter. I hope this issue dies down and we can all just go back to being star wars fans and not having a fandom civil war. It’s such a waste of time.
Cool blog post Mr Wendig. I’m one of those people who had invested a lot of time in EU/Legends material previously. I was initially irked at the supposed disrespect the EU was receiving way back when The Clone Wars first started airing and it became apparent that George didn’t hold the EU in any way to be canon. The most painful part being when a series I loved was canned because of the story point from TCW that made the Mandalorians pacifists, that series being Karen Traviss’ Republic Commando series. That particular event caused me to stop reading EU material for quite a while, what’s the point of getting invested in a new book series if it can be either cancelled or forced into a messy retcon because of a children’s show.
In fact, that realization showed me a huge problem with the EU at that point in time. Even though it wasn’t considered canon by the higher ups at Lucasfilm, any new stories always had to line up with the canon material, which even led to Mr Chee creating the Levels of Canon. It led to awkward things like having to retcon multiple character deaths and so on. Rather than the EU being a separate living entity like say, how both Marvel and DC have comics completely separate from their movie continuities, the EU was awkwardly chained to the films and television shows, forced to acknowledge what changes they had made, but frequently receiving little love in return.
That realization is ultimately what led me to quit reading the EU at the time. I’m alright with the occasional continuity gaffes here and there, even with a well told story that is outside of canon, but I’m not alright with a story being forced to change due to other forms of media that don’t even acknowledge that story in the first place. I suppose that that realization ahead of time is what made me fine with the decanonization of the EU when it happened, after all, it was never truly canon in George’s eyes to begin with.
Another thing that gave me perspective on it was being a comic book fan. Anyone who has been a fan of comics for a decent period of time will be familiar with the fact that characters and backstories change all the time, frequently at the whims of the new creative teams who start their respective runs on those characters. The more reasonable readers will see that is usually a good thing(not always, but mostly) for the stories involved. That doesn’t even include the hard reboots of the universes like DC has done several times through the years. Even then though, that doesn’t tarnish my enjoyment of stories I loved in the previous continuity. I’ll always love Batman Year One, it may no longer be canon, but its still a great story. Having an open minded approach also allows me to love the new material, I adore Scott Snyder’s new take on Batman’s origin with Year Zero for instance. Other great stories I loved like The Dark Knight Returns and Superman Red Son were never canon to begin with.
As for the new material from LucasFilm that is in the books and comics, its nice to know that it is planned out ahead of time and wont be interrupted or changed mid story because of other forms of media. Thus far I’ve really enjoyed most of the new material, with my enjoyment being increased by the fact that I can pick up a book series without worrying that it wont be allowed to tell its story naturally. I do hope to see some Legends elements like Thrawn reappear in new material at some point down the line. With people like yourself, members of the Story Group and Dave Filoni who have always shown love and appreciation for old Legends stories, I have no doubt that we will see some more Legends material creep into the stories down the line. As long as its done organically and not at the expense of good storytelling, that’s only a good thing in my opinion.
Hi, I’m a Legends Fan and while others are dubious about your open letter, I think you are being sincere. Of course, I’m naive and unintelligent, so you could totally be setting us up for something. Sorry, I’m also a little cynical.
We will have to agree to disagree about the charity, (It was a good idea.) but this was about getting noticed and giving to charity should never be about getting noticed.
To be honest, I would have been happy if they had brought some of my favorite characters over to the new canon if it were done in a way to conserve their personalities, but instead was told, that we would get characters based on Legends characters and would have different names. You could quote Shakespeare,” A rose by any other name…,” but I’m not a Victorian Romanticist. Name have weight.
Most of you arguments and suggestions are rational and I believe your empathy to be genuine, though I disagree with brand confusion. It’s why we have the “Legends Banner”.
Basing your character off this letter you seem like a nice guy, but Lets not delude ourselves into thinking the trolling and harrassment only happens on one side.(Heck, just got called a terrorist for giving money to a billboard) It happens. It shouldn’t. Every comment about you I’ve ever made points out the fact, I don’t know you and you could be a great guy or a miserable bastard. What I’m trying to say is that, I’m not apologizing for something I didn’t do and I can’t apologize for anyone else.
As far as you writing a Legends book, I have no opinion. I haven’t read any of your books although I’m inspired to pick one up….but not “Aftermath”. You understand.
Anyway I appreciate that you extended an “olive branch”. It had to be hard for you to do. I’d much rather have an outspoken bestselling author as an ally rather than a detractor.
1) Shakespeare… Victorian? O_o
More importantly, though:
2) The thing is, stuff from the Legends continuity HAVE been placed, whole-cloth, *and unchanged*, into the new canon… it’s happening all the time, on REBELS. The Inquisitors, the ISB, The Vindicator, Malachor, the Lasat — all lifted from EU stuff (originally developed for the West End RPG, later used in novels, video games, etc.), and now all in the new canon. So… It’s happening. So what’s the basis for the complaint, that it’s not happening fast enough? Or that it’s not going to automatically apply to everything? Because, surely, you can see that’s kind of a ridiculous demand…
Sorry, I meant Elizabethan. I told you I wasn’t smart. I would like to visit those characters from Legends again. I don’t think they’re going to bring over any characters and I don’t want to settle for a this-character-esque person. You are right about the new canon not being finished and I should be patient because no one knows the future. I’m just pessimistic about it. Also disregard the comment I made elsewhere. I wasn’t sure how to reply.
Makes me glad that, even though I was always a fan of the films, I never got into the expanded universe stuff.
As far as a book by Chuck Wendig to try, I might recommend ZEROES…
And BLACKBIRDS is good urban fantasy.
Of all the years and of all the science fiction novels I read my best advice to You as an author is find a different job and leave the writing to professionals.
Yes, Rando Calrissian, I’ll be sure to quit. After all, I’ve only written over a dozen novels, one of them a NYT bestseller, and I’ve got contracts for five more books I’ve yet to write — yeah, no, you’re right, it’s irritating being successful and feeding my family, I’ll be sure to jump riiiiiiiight on that.
You used that word but… I don’t think ti means what you think it means.
[…] write a canon story post-Return of the Jedi contradicting the Expanded Universe (he wrote a polite open letter to Bring Back Legends groups, where he talks about all the negative attention he’s received). […]
Sorry, Gareth Skarka, I meant Elizabethan. I told you I wasn’t smart.
Also I meant characters. Not planets and ships.
I think there’s a distinct reason for them to *not* carry over characters, though. If you pull a character into the new continuity from the old EU, you then also have to pick-and-choose which bits, if any, of that character’s EU history comes with them, which is wildly harder to accommodate than simply creating a character from scratch.
If they were to, say, plunk Mara Jade whole cloth into the new continuity, EU fans would end up with a weird bit of external cognitive dissonance where they’d be constantly trying to reconcile the new character’s appearance, history, relationships, and even mannerisms with what they know from before, even though that stuff technically doesn’t apply. It would just be a constant comparison war and always – every time – color their opinion of the new interpretation.
For new viewers/readers, you’d have someone who’s might only be familiar with the current continuity potentially pick up an older EU book and see the growth and development of a character they’ve just been introduced to, only to find out the character that got them to pick up that book in the first place is entirely different in many ways.
They can pull planets and races and ships from the EU without too much trouble, but Star Wars has always been about the characters more than anything else. The characters are what we love and who we follow. Yeah, there’s some cool worldbuilding, but all of that would be forgettable without the characters we hold dear. To split the personality of any of the EU-specific characters by drawing them into the new continuity would be folly. A “Legends” banner is only really going to make a significant difference to people who are already familiar with the EU. New fans would definitely be confused.
That’s a fair enough reason to not bring old characters over and I know you’re right because I’m used to those situations with characters in comic book continuities. I still want to see those characters and I think the best way to do it is ask for more Legends.
Actually, I think it would be cool if Disney picked some EU characters like Mara Jade, altered her story a bit and put her into new canon. There’s a reason she is so popular – because she’s simply an awesome characters.
And obviously she wouldn’t/shouldn’t be exactly like in Legends. I don’t think that would be confusing to anyone. I mean, there are dozens of differend comic/tv/movie versions of Lois Lane out there and you still recognize her every time because her core characteristics of being the best reporter in the world are always there.
All you need to do is put a redhead who used to work for the Empire but changed sides after the war in a Star Wars story and you’ve got Mara Jade.
All I can say sir, is you’ve been far more gracious than even I’ve been in dealing with these folks.
I used to be on that side of things until I calmed down and opted to give the new stuff a chance. Wound up loving both, and Aftermath’s been terrific thus far. Temmin and Sinjir are some of my favorite new characters. (And I say that as one of those right-wingy Christian types, just to vouch we’re not all nutty)
Keep up the great work, and I can’t wait to start on Life Debt.
If you love to share in something, you’re a fan. If you can’t separate your identity from it, you’re a fanatic.
It’s sad that the only way many seem to be able to make their point is through Darkside-esque tactics. I remember, when it was announced that Disney would be making “legends” of the old EU, I was pretty annoyed at first, for a few reasons – the EU stuff is what helped me stay in the fandom/ get into it properly, because I came into it a little after the prequels. They did have their problems, but they were an established thing in my heart.
I eventually realised that it would have been tricky to continue it, for those reasons and then began nervously waiting for TFA. I have seen it and liked it, so my concerns have been eased – I’m involved in the new EU now, while respecting the old.
As you say, there’s always fanfiction, a very good resource. I enjoy reading them.
My very first professional writing gig was for West End Game’s wonderful old Star Wars RPG. I wrote a column for their Adventure Journal magazine called “Scout’s Dispatch.” I was 15 and thrilled to be writing anything, but especially Star Wars, as not only was I an avid gamer but I’d been a fan since I was old enough to remember watching movies.
One of the first things I got was the Star Wars bible, excerpts of which were recently put up on Twitter as I recall. It was full of amazing material, but one thing was made very, very clear throughout – as far as Mr. Lucas was concerned, only the movies were canonical. The rest of it was “canon” only until he decided otherwise. Not just the game, either, but all other books, comics, video games, etc. – everything was subject to being immediately overturned at Lucas’ say-so.
This was spelled out very clearly, and we were fine with it. As Chuck said, this was a time before the prequels even, when we were happy to have new Star Wars material at all – and even after the prequels, more movies weren’t a sure thing, maybe an animated show or two. So more books, more comics, more games – it kept us going for a long time. And that’s cool.
But it was only ever temporary.
So, speaking as someone who had more own teeny-tiny little corner of the EU moved to Legends along with so many other folks, I’m OK with it. You know why? The stories that are now Legends didn’t all catch fire. They didn’t get erased from our collective memories. (In fact, as noted, elements from them are still happily being mined for the new canon.) If you liked them there is literally no reason you can’t still like them just as much as you did before …
… unless you like being a gatekeeper. That is, if you liked knowing all the cool trivia and being able to show off how much Star Wars cred you had by quoting all manner of obscure data at others. Which, by the way, you can still do! The only thing that changed is you’re no longer “right” in a way that can make someone else “wrong” if they don’t know this Legends trivia. Stop and think about that for a moment.
If there was a cool moment in an EU book you liked? IT’S STILL COOL EVEN IF IT’S NOT CANON.
Grand Admiral Thrawn still an awesome villain? HE’S STILL AWESOME EVEN IF HE’S NOT CANON.
Love telling people about Old Republic Jedi adventures? THEY’RE STILL BADASS EVEN IF NOT CANON.
That’s the thing. A lot of my favorite stories of the Justice League happened, like, five DCU reboots ago at this point. (I’ll admit I’ve lost track.) So. Freaking. What? When I tell people about Batman touching the Flash on the shoulder and the Flash saying “Batman’s touching me – am I about to die?” do I have to amend an angry “but that was in the OLD CONTINUITY so I guess it DOESN’T COUNT” to the story? No. It’s still a great moment because the story remains the same. The essential impact of the moment is still there because it’s funny and true to the characters involved.
Loss of canonical status DOES NOT AFFECT QUALITY.
As for wanting more Legends … right now Disney is establishing a brand identity. The original six movies and Clone Wars were the setup, with Rebels priming the starter – and then Force Awakens, Aftermath, and other new fiction and comics properties kicking it off. As Chuck stated, they’re not likely to want to split their focus – they’re going to build on it, and putting out novels that don’t connect to their canon is counterproductive. Can you rule it out indefinitely? Absolutely not. Maybe, like Marvel comics and its regular 616 vs. Ultimates worlds, they’ll eventually coexist down the line.
But I wouldn’t bet on it for a good long time.
This a far kinder yet still accurate description of what im seeing online. The stupidity is the aggressive and vocal are driving people away from the platforms where a reasonable argument could be staged. Im afraid to me eu fans will always now be immature, self entitled jerks who need to grow up as my primary mental picture instead of a felliw fan that i can feel empathy for their point of view.
Quick question, because I’m always fascinated when people insist that people who want X, Y, or Z should totally stop other people who believe in X, Y, or Z from posting to twitter or sending e-mails: Exactly how do you propose they do that?
Like, for example, if I said: Hey, Chuck. I got some really nasty e-mails from someone who said your book was amazing and that I was stupid for liking the Thrawn Trilogy. How would you, personally, go about stopping that guy from sending me any more e-mails?
Well, Justin, I would hunt that person down with an axe.
In this case, though, no axe necessary — many of these things come out of organized groups, some on Facebook, and groups can have rules, and communities can have standards and moderation. Some claim to have them and to be rigorous about them, but then I get sent screenshots by people inside those books, and what goes on there can be pretty venomous, even troubling, and by all reports that stuff gets to stay and nobody gets their hands slapped.
Nobody is expecting a GLOBAL POLICE FORCE, but when you get harassment out of these groups — or at the hands of people who are admins or who have some control over the communities — then that is where you have an opportunity.
We need people like chuck here and a few of the other authors of the new E.U. To talk with people like matt Wilkins and a few other legends fans to sit down and really talk about it at a big event, so all the right and important questions can get asked, and answered.
I know that I’ve got more chance of getting a stone to bleed then legends getting the go ahead, but it the universe I fell in love with, and it’s so disappointing to see it end without being finished. All the continuity issue’s were fixtures up with a little return hear and there, nothing major by any standards tho. I’m happy with the new starwars but it’s not what I fell in love with, it’s not the reason I spent thousands of hours and dollars on just for Disney to say well, we’re not going to finish it. Don’t get me wrong hear either guys, Im all for the new stuff for the next generation of fans.
But it’s a fair kick in the teeth as STARWARS fans to be told that were not going to hear the end of a story that fans and people have been collecting, reading and listening to for over 30 years, to be told we won’t see its end, let alone fill in the missing gaps, that’s just nasty and mean fan service. Again I’m not bashing the new stuff AT ALL, just want to make my point clear. All I want along with a huge chunk of the older fans, is for our old “legends” Eu to be finished up. And as always guys, may the force be with us.
I feel like the central problem behind the notion that Legends and canon material aren’t part of a collective whole in terms of the franchise’s output is either an unwillingness or an ability to properly frame what it really is we’re doing when we’re taking in a story. Instead of typing it out all over again and risk making less sense (since it’s later than it was when I posted it), I’ll copy/paste my comment from the CBR article you linked…
I feel like the healthiest way for people to move forward in this is to realize that there aren’t varying levels of realness within fiction. Nothing fictional is less or more real than anything else fictional. Fiction can’t be undone, and it can’t be made real. One of the few things that sets humanity apart from other forms of life is our ability introspect to the degree that we do. One of the ways we do that is art, and in this case, stories.
The earliest stories that we’re aware of involve tales of gods and heroes performing earth-shattering feats, and looking back, we’re able to recognize that these stories were symbolic in nature. Without the tools and/or understanding to process how the world around them worked, early humans used storytelling to spin it into a metaphor. We do the same thing now with our prose fiction: stories reflect greater phenomena within our own thought processes, interpersonal behaviors and feelings, and social habits in general. Stories are told to reflect the readers and writers. Fiction exists to reflect aspects of humanity we can’t put into words. That’s what a story is.
The perception that a story “doesn’t count” anymore or is less real than it used to be because of matters of canon and continuity isn’t just missing the point of storytelling in general, it’s missing out on what the story itself is literally telling. It’s failing to see the forest for the trees… or in the case, the story for the data.
I love the Legends material. I’ve read it my whole life. Hell, I grew up right alongside Jacen Solo. But I like the new stuff, too. Why? Because those stories didn’t go anywhere. Continuity is nothing but a vessel for internal organization — it is NOT a certificate of authenticity. A story is a story is a story. The only story that isn’t a story is one that hasn’t been told, and you can’t un-tell a story, and I promise you, nobody has tried to un-tell any stories.
If I could only get that Jaina Solo trilogy that Disney cancelled (and Star Wars 1313 while we’re at it), I’ll be happy. Sad, but content.
SW 1313 would be amazing.
I just don’t understand the obsession with something being canon. I really don’t.
Look, I’m a gamer, and I loved Knights of the Old Republic. I loved it with a burning passion. I wrote FANFIC and for me at the time, that was pretty unusual.
It is still an excellent Star Wars game. HK is still a delight, meatbag. I still got to whomp Sith. If I go back and replay it, there is still Sith whomping. Korriban is still full of deviants. Mandalorians are still grumpy Spartan bastards. Kashyyyk is still full of nasty wildlife.
So now it’s not canon, which means…what? It’s fiction now? But then, it always was…
I’m amazed how reasonable and well-behaved you deal with people who have neither reason nor manners.
I’m still bitter that SPLINTER OF THE MINDS EYE was de-canonized by EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Totally. I was all ready for the Luke/Leia shipping… 😀
I *STILL* say that the Brother/Sister thing was a dumb idea.
Well… that’s two of us. I totally believe Lucas had NO idea where he was going with the SW story and was surprised by the success. The entire brother/sister issue was because he had to figure out how to set Leia up with Solo.
We all love the bad boys.
It won’t happen to the new canon. There’s no separation in crafting this universe now. It all goes through the Story Group. No “tiers of canon”, no more writing elaborate backstories only to have a new movie wipe it all from validity until a new book can be written to kinda spin how both were SORTA true…
Nor is there any goading going on. Story Group was pretty clear: some things from the Legends material may be re-introduced into the canon if they feel they hold up or make sense, and this far it’s been true. Mostly innocuous things like ship designs and planets, but it’s happened.
And yes, that’s actually what a great deal of the non-militant EU fans were upset about. I was one of them.
TOR is being continued because it makes money and people have sunk a TON of their cash into that MMO. Just shutting it down would be bad business for EA and do nothing but anger a lot of gamers, just bad press all around.
Also, maintaining a game’s servers is quite different from having to mobilize an already-understaffed publisher to go open even MORE publishing slots, and spend the money to print even MORE books that may or may not sell, all while crafting a current canon and trying to avoid brand confusion. There are already new fans being confused by existing Legends material, putting out new non-canon stuff just doesn’t make sense for now.
In the end, however, the Story Group also said, outright, that a few years down the line, when the new canon is firmly established, that they might consider going back and wrapping a few things up in the Legends books. (Honestly, as it’s all non-canon now anyways, I’d love to see the book Timothy Zahn was writing about Luke, Mara, and Ben. Would be a nice sendoff, so fingers crossed.)
There’s just a lot of unfounded hostility here.
…well the comment I replied to disappeared, that was awkward.
Well this is a fun comments section. I think the best point Chuck made was this: write some fanfic. Nobody stopping you. Stop whining about other people not writing the books you want to read and write your own. Period.
Stop making sense! 😉
I’m pretty sure there are trolls in every camp and it is impossible to weed them all out. People should respect each other and be nice to each other. Not sure if you’re the correct person to be calling anyone out given your behavior on Twitter following the release of your book.
I’ll bite. What behavior?
[…] of publishing more EU (now called “Legends”) stories. Star Wars novelist Chuck Wendig makes a great case for why they wouldn’t publish more – and among his ideas, the most compelling is that […]
[…] a Legends/EU fan, I share Chuck Wendig‘s sincere hope that the Legends movement gets some resolution. I firmly believe that more […]
The video has been removed. D’aww. I was car-crash curious about it.
Well, that’s a good sign. Maybe he actually listened to the advice here.
I would imagine that if you were hoping to have a legitimate movement, having a video like that probably wasn’t going to endear anybody to you, and could conceivably turn positive efforts sour. *shrug*
Truthfully, it’s the ones that hate the EU that talk the most crap on social media. It’s sad really, the didn’t bother to read it so they bash it. Pathetic…
I would argue that the crew of regulars who take time to trash all positive Amazon reviews is indicative of more organized bashing behavior, but that’s just me.
Great post. I mean, people need to get over it. I mean, there might be things I don’t entirelly like from the new canon, but let’s face it, it is just like life. If real life was a book and I was a reader, of course there will be stuff we won’t like at all – as Prince and David Bowie dead during this year – but we have to live with it. It is just a story, and I agree with your comment: go to fanfiction. I have read my fair share of Legends and there are stories I didn’t like at all – like “Splinter in the Mind’s Eye” or “”Shadows of the Empire” – but let’s pretend they are stories that can coexist in another realm with the current canon. I sort of have come to terms with the fact that there is no more Jaina or Jacen but in my books they are still there. But at the same time I have Kylo and Rey. I guess the comics fans can give their example as how sometimes the movies don’t reflect entirely what the comics have released.
Golf claps and kudos to you Chuck! Can’t wait for more on the acolytes in Life Debt!
Jar Jar Abrams demanded the destruction of the EU in his contract (thanks Sony Leaks and K. Kennedy’s email server). His psychological profile is revolting. There is no way to bring back legends unless and until Bad Robot productions is banished by Disney from the movies.
As a fan, I’ve been stabbed in the back far too many times as a result of people bowing down to this man, so I have absolutely no hope of any of it coming back. I’m already getting rid of my Star Wars stuff.
I made a shirt though, for those of us who remember when star wars was great, before Disney, before the prequels… [I’m cutting the link because this isn’t the place to sell your t-shirts or, really, anything else.]
I promise not one dime goes to Disney.
Feel free to check out my family fantasy fiction, though, Chuck – @GEBProject on twitter. Take care.
Nobody stabbed you in the back.
J.J. Abrams is not a villain.
Getting rid of your Star Wars stuff hurts only you.
I am sorry to inform you of these things.
“Jar Jar Abrams demanded the destruction of the EU in his contract (thanks Sony Leaks and K. Kennedy’s email server)”
That’s not even a good tin-foil hat conspiracy theory, for one very obvious reason.
Kathleen Kennedy was never part of SONY, nor was Abrams. You DO know that wikileaks has a searchable database of the emails, right? You can search by sender’s name, recipients name, or even just mentions of keywords. Abrams & Kennedy are mentioned in a few, but nothing about any contract details or “demands”, and nothing from Abrams & Kennedy themselves (because… you guessed it, neither was with SONY).
If you’re going to peddle such obvious bullshit, you might want to do it with something which isn’t easily dismissible by the most basic of internet searches.
Great article, loved what you had to say. Thank you for supporting the fans of the billboard!
[…] (10) EXPANDED UNIVERSE. Chuck Wendig penned “An Open Letter To The ‘Bring Back Legends’ Star Wars Fans”. […]
Well said! Keep it up, Chuck. I just read aftermath for the second time and found many things I missed the first time, and enjoyed it more.
I realize that the old EU made big mistakes like fridging Mara and Jacen’s stupidly executed turn to the Dark Side, so I’m not entirely sorry that it’s gone. That being said – as someone who grew up with the Legends books, I would really like “One Last Trilogy” or maybe a mini comic series to tie up all the lose ends. Just give me some conclusion centered around Jaina Solo, the Sword of the Jedi.
I mean, I watched TFA obviously, but I haven’t yet felt motivated to read the new novels/comics because Legends is still too fresh in my mind. And I do think the problem is that there was no proper ending and I’m probably subcounsciously still holding out for the Legends chapter to close. I do keep calling Kylo Ren “Jacen Solo” when speaking with friends about the film ^^
I have not read your book yet. I do however, agree with what you say in your blog. Legends are there for people to read. I may be in the minority here, but I think Disney did the right thing by relegating the previous EU into a “legend” status. Someone once said something along the lines of this “The nice thing about legends is that some of them are true” If Disney decides to bring something out of the legends line and mention it in the films, or books, or whatever, it just goes to enhance the experience.
Am I upset that I may never see Grand Admiral Thrawn on the big screen, or ever mentioned again? Not really. He’s a really cool character, and will probably have some influence on a character that we will see. The guy in the white cape in Rogue One? More than likely highly influenced by Thrawn, and that’s awesome.
Anyway, I enjoy the Legends for what they are. Stories. Do I miss them? Nope. I can pick them up and read them anytime I want.
Honestly at this rate I’m willing to give up on the old EU. But only if Starkillers story, Thrawns character, and a big bug chunk of the old republic era becomes canon. The Kotor stuff should be wholly canon and also added upon but for Swtor I just think the story should be minutely edited and major characters should stay. I’m compromising.
I doubt you will recall our misunderstanding when I phrased a short paragraph badly. lol. I all seriousness the non-crazy EU fans (the majority by far) are catching it from both sides. Someone above said you can talk about the EU stories (paraphrased), but no I can’t everytime I get “That’s not canon” it’s said in a very vitriolic way. Most of those people I suspect are “movies only count”, types who I’m sure wouldn’t read unless someone had a gun “or they couldn’t to begin with”. Your everyday EU fan, who is adapting but asking for compromise, catches hell from the same people Mr.Wendig does. Also I’d remind everyone, people who gravitate towards fantasy have a higher percentile chance of having psych issues. Sadly this will happen. Fantasy, sci/fi and reading liking those three tends to mean higher IQ, with a higher IQ the likely hood of a mental disability rises. I’m sorry for the crap you’ve gone through. I just ask you support the avg fan of the EU. As I think I heard you do? If so thank you.
[…] This is just Chuck Wendig’s open letter in case it gets “misplaced”, so you know what I’m responding to in me Open Letter post. You can read the original letter here. […]
[…] Chuck Wendig, a Star Wars author wrote an open letter in response to fans trashing him, well officially in response to the “harsh” behaviour […]
As a “Legends” fan, the thing I’m most bitter about is the fact that no new stories are being written. I couldn’t care less whether it’s canon or not, I would just like the stories to continue. But that is impossible right now. Maybe after Disney establishes their canon? I don’t know. Mr. Wendig, no offense, but there were a few places in Aftermath where I was cringing while reading. The best example is “herkily jerkily wibbly wobbly.” I really think there’s a better way to convey the image. I’m also going to say right now that as a member of the Alliance to Preserve the Expanded Universe, the haters there are a minority, but they are very vocal. Most people there just want the stories to be continued, and as avid readers, we felt hurt that Disney not only demoted the EU from canon/lower canon (there’s a lot of arguments about just what the status of the EU was before Disney took over, and I’m not going to get into that because the answer isn’t clear) to not canon at all, but also cancelled all new stories. I do not agree with some of the things people say. I do not like that several of them call anyone who doesn’t agree with them “filthy casuals.” But they are the minority. Also, let us not pretend that the “DisCanon” (abbreviation for Disney Canon) fans do not hate on Legends and Legends fans. Both sides have their haters, and I think that on both sides, they are the minority.
With regards to Disney taking characters from “Legends,” my question is, “If Legends was bad enough to be cancelled (as opposed to having it be alternate universe), why take characters from it? Why not label it as Star Wars AU (Alternate Universe)?” While there still would be some confusion, I think that that might work out better. As an avid reader of the EU, it hurts to see good characters in the EU put into Disney’s canon in a relatively poor/worse way.
Now on to your open letter. First, I think that the “could have been donated to charity” comment was a rather snide one. Here’s a comparison using the logic in your charity sentence: “Why doesn’t Disney donate 99% of all profits to charity then?” The billboard cost less than 5000, which is probably less than a board lunch for Disney. Couldn’t they eat sandwiches and donate the money they save to charity? I agree with most of the rest of what you say. It makes sense, sadly for my hopes for the publication of new “Legends” books.
One final note: I’m the administrator of several groups, and I would rather people say offensive stuff in a private group than post it as their status and have it go viral. That is much, much worse. In the group, people can tell them why they shouldn’t say that and more importantly, prevent the offensive stuff from being publicized. People get hurt and our movement gets a bad image for the few people who are haters. It’s human nature, after all. You can do 99 good things, but people will remember the 1 thing you did wrong the most. Granted, they’ll still know that you did some good things, but it’ll be overshadowed by the bad.
I appreciate your letter. While I may not be the biggest fan of some of what you write, I do hope that you improve, and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.
I would never in a million years want to trade places with you. It’s great that you get to write Star Wars tie-in novels, but these tie-in novels, the first few of the new continuity, are impossible to write. No matter how well you do, you will be compared to Timothy Zahn, James Luceno, Karen Traviss, and every other great EU writer that has written for the old canon, some of whom have won Hugos and Nebulas.
The Star Wars Expanded Universe achieved heights few other science fiction novel series have, and those heights were obtained by some of the finest writers of science fiction at the time. It set the standard for other tie-in series at the time, and its stories have impacted pulp culture deeply.
You were charged with an impossible task, to start filling in the gap between episode Vi and VII, and set the tone for the new novel universe, to be the big bang to start it all off, to be Timothy Zahn.
Zahn did not write the “Thrawn” trilogy with the intention of kick-starting a sprawling EU, it was a fantastic novel that came out at the right time that captured the tone of the original trilogy and built off it, developing Luke, Han, and Leia far beyond the limitations of their trilogy. Its popularity led to similar books, authored by people that got Star Wars, who gradually added their own ideas and spin to the series. Before you knew it, the Star Wars EU had become its own thing, eclipsing the movies in its number, variety, and quality of storytelling.
I find it utterly ridiculous that Disney charged somebody who had never written a Star Wars novel before with the task of kickstarting the new novel continuity. Getting the tone and characters of Star Wars in a tie-in is one thing, setting the standard for all subsequent novels is another.
I can see why you get a lot of hate from EU fans. In many ways, Aftermath has been disappointing, especially if you compare it to the Thrawn trilogy, but yelling at you won’t fix it. You did the best that you could given the situation, and any malfunctions I accredit to DIsney not knowing how to handle the Star Wars license properly. You probably didn’t have a lot of creative freedom over the books.
Certain aspects, especially in Episode VII, they hamfisted, Disney is very afraid to do anything new with the franchise, so their plan seems to be copy what worked in the 70s and go from there. They don’t seem to have their novel universe together.
You have one more book left. Make it count.
And please, don’t feel the need to go on damage control. Your books were perfectly alright, just they werent the shining pillars of Thrawn people were hoping for. If somebody insults your book, let it go. You made a piece of public art for a profit, anybody can and will say anything they want about it. Nobody would be complaining if these books werent the first if the new canon, in fact they would celebrate your unique mode of storytelling.
You are not James Luceno. You are not Karen Traviss. You are not Timothy Zahn. You are Chuck Wendig, and you have launched the new official Star Wars novel cannon.
“I find it utterly ridiculous that Disney charged somebody who had never written a Star Wars novel before with the task of kickstarting the new novel continuity.”
And yet there are those of us who think it was a totally inspired choice.
“You are Chuck Wendig, and you have launched the new official Star Wars cannon.”
While math is not my strength, I believe Aftermath was the sixth book in the new canon.
I believe you’re right, as to the new canon. Sorry, the other books weren’t very memorable.
However, Aftermath is foundational, as to the new canon, and as such, can be seen as a launching point for the “Journey to Ep VII.” If I were to start the journey, this is the book I would start with, and first impressions are everything.
I understand if you found it inspired, I certainly didn’t, but you have to admit, they took more of a risk than had they went with somebody like James Luceno, whose been writing under this license for years. I really would’ve preferred to see a Wendig SW novel in which he wasn’t charged with so much universe building. Imagine what would happen if he was able to write an Outbound Flight, a story totally inconsequential to the films in which he could do whatever he wanted.
The EU has so many wonderful creations. If you gave Chuck free reign, I know he could come up with something awesome.
I’ve read life debt and any slight to Mr. Wendig in my earlier comment wasn’t intentional. I didn’t care for Aftermath, but thought he did a good job building things. So I read life debt and thought it was great. I will always consider Legends my canon, but am finding some of the new continuity fun.