‘Star Wars’: The 1 Unexpected Reason Disney Hit Reset on the Expanded Universe
A ton of diehard Star Wars fans have been upset with Disney for one reason or another. It all arguably started several years ago, when Disney purchased the rights to the franchise and purged practically everything but the six existing movies from the official canon. That meant dozens of Star Wars novels that fans grew up reading were no longer part of the story, but now deemed a part of the “Expanded Universe.”
Apparently, there was at least one good reason for that. Nostalgia can be a wonderful thing, but there’s no doubting that it can also gloss over some pretty bad stuff with positive memories. When you break it down, there were a whole lot of weird things from the official Star Wars canon — not even to mention the Ewok movies and the Christmas Special — that we’re better off without.
Here are some of the worst moments, including the supposed reason that Disney scrapped the whole thing.
Luke gets nasty with a corpse
Luke Skywalker has a few love interests in the novels, including the most popular and well-known Mara Jade. But the weirdest and creepiest of Luke’s girlfriends is Callista Ming, a Jedi that died during the Order 66 purge. That’s right, she was killed right around the time of Luke’s birth. Fortunately for her, she was able to keep her consciousness alive inside a computer on an Imperial ship.
In the novel Children of the Jedi, Callista and Luke fall in love despite her lack of physical presence and … you know, her being dead. But things take a bright turn for the star-crossed lovers when Luke’s Jedi student Cray Mingla decided that she wanted to die and give her body to Callista. Oh, how convenient. After the ghost of a long-dead Jedi took over Luke’s student’s body, the two could finally get down and dirty.
We’re pretty thankful that this never “officially” happened in Star Wars canon.
Boba Fett is swallowed by the Sarlacc … twice
One of the biggest disappointments of the original trilogy is Boba Fett, who arrives on the big screen in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and outwits Han Solo. He barely makes it into Star Wars: Return of the Jedi before he’s knocked into the Sarlacc pit by a blind Solo and is never heard from again. But in the original canon, Fett actually survives the fall and is spit back out later.
There’s a whole story about Fett being picked up by the Jawa’s, rescued by his nemesis Han Solo, and then, of course, falling back into the Sarlacc pit. Let’s be clear, this is pretty dumb. It’s like the writers were intentionally being mean to everyone’s favorite bounty hunter. The good news is that it appears the new canon has stuck with the storyline of Fett surviving, but not many more details are known as of yet.
Luke becomes Clone Palpatine’s apprentice
After the end of Return of the Jedi, there were Star Wars-less years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace hit theaters. This era was full of new novels to expand on what was then the canon, and one of the post-ROTJ storylines was the return of Palpatine and the Empire. How could this be, you might ask? Palpatine had cloned himself in the event of his death, of course.
This all happened in the Dark Empire trilogy, which was released in the early 1990s. Luke was so impressed by the Emperor’s resolve that he actually became Palpatine’s apprentice, ignoring everything about Episode VI and the redemption story of Anakin Skywalker. Eventually, Luke was turned back to the light side of the Force by his sister, Leia, and together they defeated the Emperor.
Having this over-simplified story that basically undermines Return of the Jedi kicked out of official Star Wars canon is a blessing.
Darth Vader’s magic glove
Another one of the most dubious series of Star Wars novels is the Jedi Prince series, containing in it The Glove of Darth Vader. The story takes place shortly after the death of Vader and Emperor Palpatine, while the Empire is struggling in the wake. There is a prophecy that the new emperor would be the one that wears the indestructible glove of Darth Vader, which Palpatine’s apparent son, Trioculus, is determined to find.
Of course, Luke Skywalker attempts to get in the way of that plan, but Trioculus is otherwise successful in finding this magical glove of Vader. Really, it should’ve been incinerated twice — once when it went down the shaft in the Death Star, and again when the Death Star exploded. An entire story bringing forth a previously unknown son of Palpatine isn’t that weird, but having it based around Vader’s magical glove is a bridge too far.
Leia’s weird relationship issues
The Courtship of Princess Leia is an absolutely absurd novel, based on the idea that Leia and Han Solo are too busy to frequently see each other, what with the galaxy constantly needing saving. There’s a convoluted plot that boils down to some rich jerk promises to give the New Republic money to battle the remnants of the Empire, but only if Princess Leia marries Prince Isolder.
And therein lies the twist. With the money and weapons promised, the war could be ended and possibly billions of lives saved, if only Leia were to agree to marry this guy. Han takes the news poorly, goes gambling, wins a planet (yes, a planet) in a card game, and steals Leia away. The love interest that we’ve become most invested in with Star Wars is the one between Han and Leia, but this entire story is just wacky.
Considering that the war continued on after this novel, how many lives were lost specifically because Leia refused to marry Isolder? Let’s pretend this never happened.
The low-budget fake sequel
The very first Star Wars novel came out in 1978, called Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. In reality, George Lucas had commissioned this novel as a template for what he believed would be the low-budget sequel to the original Star Wars movie. That was, until Star Wars had a ton of success and Empire Strikes Back was written instead.
The story takes place on a foggy jungle planet with Han Solo absent, likely due to the fact that Harrison Ford wasn’t signed on for a sequel at that point. Luke and Leia had to track down some mysterious crystal that allowed whoever held it to have total power over the Force, and that meant a confrontation with Darth Vader. They battled against Vader, with Leia holding her own and Luke even cutting off his hand.
There is a weird notion that the spirit of Obi-Wan may be alive in Luke during the battle, which is kind of a head-scratcher. Also, plenty of sexual tension exists between the two unknowing siblings throughout the novel, which is fine because they never do cross the line. But it’s still pretty gross, so Star Wars canon is better off without it.
A moon is dropped on Chewie
We can imagine that writing novels that feature Chewbacca as a main character would get challenging. Without the ability to do much other than grunt and howl, Chewie easily gets lost in the fold. So in the 1999 novel Destruction of Sernpidal, our favorite Wookiee was killed off.
That, by itself, is a problem and one that’s understandable why Disney would want to sweep it under the rug. But Chewbacca’s death is even worse than that. The reason he dies is that he gets left behind on a planet that has a moon crashing down towards it, and Han blames his own son, Anakin Solo, for his best friend’s death.
If they had to stick to the established canon, Chewie would be dead by the time of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That makes scrapping everything, labeling it “Expanded Universe,” and starting over pretty easy. Apparently, Chewbacca’s death is one of the major unexpected reasons that Disney did just that.
Leaving Chewie out of the new trilogy all together and trying to explain the entire family histories of Han, Leia, their children Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin, as well as Luke, Mara Jade, and their son Ben would’ve been a mess. Pushing the whole thing to the side and creating a new canon has proven not only to be profitable but a wise move. There is an argument about whether it has been executed properly, but there’s no doubt that we’re all better off this way.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!