By now you’ve probably seen the new trailer. It looks pretty cool, or at least it would if it wasn’t Star Wars. I guess the main problem is the Expanded Universe or, well, the lack of it. Let’s run through a couple of the clips, scared stormtrooper on Tatooine, hmm uhh… okay. Weird droid on Tatooine with pod-racers in the background, nothing abnormal there. Stormtroopers in a dropship, who knew the Empire wasn’t dead. Girl on a funny lookin’ speeder bike, sort of like the swoop bikes from the expanded universe of old. X-Wings flying fast over a lake… okay, that one’s just awesome. Sith, right, Sith comeback with an exotic lightsaber with… interesting SFX. Millenium Falcon with the classic theme being shot at by TIE fighters, we love that right?
Now, can you spot one thing everything has in common? It’s all been done before, in the Expanded Universe. Imperial remnant, return of the Sith, swoop bikes. There are even more from leaked possible story-lines (a return of Luke’s hand for example). Everything (except perhaps the cool cinematography) has been taken from the expanded universe. They’re not even trying to hide this:
“In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe. While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in Star Wars Rebels. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s.” – Star Wars official blog
There are two types of people who will watch the Star Wars films; those that liked the Expanded Universe and those that couldn’t care less or didn’t know any of it. Firstly, the ones that like(d) the EU, removing it will annoy them (us) and everything taken from it will just haunt us with that fact. As to spoilers, who would really care that our favourite stories are being, at least partially, cinematised (not really a word but who cares)? I personally would just enjoy it for what it is and continue enjoying the EU. Those that didn’t know any of it…. hmmm, negatives? Someone could possibly tell them what the story COULD be but then that doesn’t matter, they can ignore people talking about it and can enjoy the movie as a movie. It just benefits the screenwriters. They get to make stuff up AND have a huge library of ‘ideas’ to take from.
We get a few cool shots of Star Wars stuff (in a very non-Star Wars style) but the Expanded Universe has stopped expanding, and that really sucks.