Saturday, February 19, 2011

Karen! Why Have You Forsaken Us?!

I refuse to watch "Star Wars: The Clone Wars".

I'm sure it's a good show, with excellent writing and all that other stuff that makes a television show good. What I can't abide is the mockery that has become of the period between Episodes II & III.

I am, by definition, not a purist, devouring every last morsel the EU has to offer, from the origins of Jabba the Hutt's relationship with Han Solo in the trilogy of novels named after him, to novelized accounts of marginal movie characters that played a much larger role as the EU grew exponentially with each new tome. This was my canon. Intricate, diverse, fleshed out.

Sadly, that world was rent asunder when Lucasfilm decided to completely revamp what it meant to be Mandalorian. Mandalore went from thousands of years of warrior culture as the backdrop for the origins of Jango and Boba Fett, the Cuy'val Dar, and the clones themselves, to a pacifist society trying to recover from nuclear near-annihilation on Star Wars: The Clone Wars. "But Sarge, you don't watch the show, why worry? The novels haven't changed" you might say. True enough, as I said, I'm not a true purist, who eschews everything save the 6 cinematic ventures committed to celluloid, but there's one problem. That TV show is now part of canon. Everything that happens on the show, from Asajj Ventress suddenly being Dathomiri and a Night Sister to boot, to Boba Fett being "raised" by Aurra Sing and a gang of bounty hunters, instantly impacts every novel, short story or comic ever written.

Karen Traviss, author of the Republic Commando series of novels that introduced many of us to the Mandalorian culture on a level never before explored, had everything she'd written in those novels essentially wiped out by that one short story arc on the show. We will never know what happened to happened to Niner and Dar, never delve into what happened to the rest of the Skirata clan on Mandalor. She bailed out of the sequel to "Imperial Commando: 501st" and will not write another Star Wars novel.

Finally, the very reason I wrote this, actually, is that at the end of the current season, arguably one of the most loved characters in the history of the franchise, a young Wookiee named Chewbacca will be introduced the show. I cringe at the possible changes this may bring to the Expanded Universe. Will Han and Leia's visit to Kashyyyk be retconned out of the Thrawn trilogy? Might Han be found aboard the Purge with Nien Nunb instead of the walking carpet?

Who knows, perhaps this may be the one thing Lucas doesn't mess with... I certainly hope so. But I doubt it.