Some of these Star Wars Expanded Universe Characters may have a new hope of appearing in the movies, but for most of them, it’s lights out!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens received positive reviews from critics and fans alike, as did Rogue One. But for those of us who grew up seeing the Star Wars expanded universe in books, comics, and games, the new movies are a crushing blow to the massive world we all imagined might be part of the movie.
Obviously, we can’t expect a rehash of the things we read (otherwise the trilogy and spinoffs would just be an adaptation of different novels), but it was shocking just how little we saw.
With hundreds of Star Wars expanded universe characters having appeared over time, it’s still possible to edge them in somewhere. But the big players — the ones that really impacted the expanded universe — didn’t get their due.
To be fair, the filmmakers aren’t associated with or required to consult with the many authors and game developers that kept the Star Wars narrative alive over the years. But that doesn’t change the fact that it sucks, nor does it excuse the complete lack of creative risks taken by J.J. Abrams and Disney that kept them from bringing these characters to life. They deserved to be in these movies, but it looks like the best thing we can do is give them a proper sendoff.
Star Wars Expanded Universe Characters – Kyle Katarn
We all know Kyle Katarn, the former Imperial officer turned Rebel commando. Not only did he blast his way onto our computer screens in the ’90s, but he played a key role that was washed aside thanks to the upcoming Rogue One.
If you’ve ever played Dark Forces, you’ll know that one of the first missions is to break into an Imperial base and steal the plans for the first Death Star. In short, that one level filled in a rather crucial story gap.
Despite this obvious freebie, Disney instead missed the opportunity to bring Katarn to the big screen, replacing this piece of established lore with a completely unrelated character.
This doesn’t mean that Rogue One is a bad movie, but it’s safe to say that because of it, seeing Kyle Katarn is an opportunity that we’ll regrettably never have.
#8 – Star Wars: Dark Forces
An ambitious move by Lucasarts on behalf of classic Star Wars game fans everywhere, Dark Forces was Star Wars’ original first person shooter.
We follow the story of Kyle Katarn – an Imperial soldier turned mercenary – as he sneaks, runs and – most importantly – blasts his way, Chuck Norris style, through enemies to [Click here to read more…]
Star Wars Expanded Universe Characters – Mara Jade
Of all the iconic Jedi in the extended universe, Mara Jade is the most influential. Not only is she what’s left of the Emperor’s Sith legacy, but she goes on to marry Luke Skywalker and have his child, Ben.
Haunted by the Emperor’s voice in her head saying “You will kill Luke Skywalker,” she originally tries to carry out that final command, but turns away from the Dark Side thanks to Luke’s influence. Tragically, she dies at the hands of Jacen Solo (a.k.a. Darth Caedus).
Fortunately, not all is lost for Mara Jade. It’s entirely possible she’ll be revealed as being Rey’s aunt or mother (assuming that Rey is Luke’s niece or daughter like so many people speculate). But we shouldn’t hold our breath.
Star Wars Expanded Universe Characters – Ben Skywalker
Again, Ben Skywalker is the son of Luke and Mara in the extended universe. Sadly, there’s simply no room for him to resurface, having instead been replaced by our movie’s antagonist, Ben Solo.
Making matters worse is that the Ben we know (a.k.a. Kylo Ren) isn’t really a convincing villain. Instead of being a genocidal sociopath like Darth Vader, Ren is more like a rebellious teenager with daddy issues. He can’t even bring himself to kill his own father, despite supposedly falling to the emotionless, distant Dark Side.
Ben Skywalker, on the other hand, proves to be the epitome of a classic Jedi, loyally accompanying his father and standing by him. It would’ve been great to see him standing next to Luke in the final scene of Episode VII, but alas, that won’t be happening.
Whether you’re into sci-fi or not, there’s no way you haven’t heard of Darth Vader; he’s become a household name. Intimidating, cold-hearted, conniving and with a nightmarish voice to boot — he’s the embodiment of evil, and everyone knows it. Considering Vader’s image, it’s no surprise that his upcoming reappearance in Rogue One is so highly anticipated.
But aside from seeing a familiar face [Click here to read more…]
Star Wars Expanded Universe Characters – Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin Solo
According to the Star Wars extended universe lore, Han and Leia have three kids: Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin. Each of them possesses talents and skills that make them special, which is a huge missed opportunity for the new trilogy.
One common thing found throughout the Star Wars movies is that the main Jedi characters consist of a master and a student. In the prequels, it’s Obi-Wan and Anakin, while in the original trilogy, we have Obi-Wan/Yoda and Luke. Now, it’s Luke and Rey. Considering how much time has passed, we could potentially have had a team of major Jedi to work with. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the pattern seen so far, but something fresh is always nice, considering how relatively unoriginal Episode VII arguably was.
Star Wars Expanded Universe Characters – Admiral Thrawn
Introduced on screen as Vice Admiral Thrawn in the hit game, TIE Fighter he goes on to become Grand Admiral Thrawn in the extended universe novel, Heir to the Empire and the two books that follow.
Out of all the Imperial characters, Thrawn is somewhat likable — even noble in some ways. He often displays resentment for the now deceased Darth Vader, accusing him of being “too ambitious” and reckless, among other things. In one notable instance, Thrawn says “You served too long under Lord Vader, Captain. I have no qualms about accepting a useful idea merely because it wasn’t my own. My position and ego are not at stake here.” This comes up again in The Last Command when Thrawn explains that “I am not the Lord Darth Vader–I do not spend my men recklessly. Nor do I take their deaths lightly.”
Despite his apparent softer side, Thrawn is still a cold, calculating master tactician who nearly destroys the New Republic until he’s assassinated by Noghri commandos. Yet even upon defeat, as he’s just about to die, his last words are “But it was so artistically done.”
Imagine a guy like this as a counterbalance to an “ambitious” or careless main antagonist like Kylo Ren. It’s obvious that Ren’s mixed emotions leave little room for careful planning and common sense. Thrawn could have been the brains behind the First Order’s military operation. While they may find a way to retrieve his character, there’s no room for him in the First Order, whose military hierarchy and infrastructure has been established in The Force Awakens.
It’s important to note that Thrawn does appear in Star Wars: Rebels, so it could be argued that he hasn’t been totally pushed out of canon. His return in the new trilogy is possible, assuming we ignore the fact that he dies in the books. If we throw that aside, we have to overcome one other issue — Thrawn’s age.
According to the Star Wars fact base, Wookiepedia, Admiral Thrawn is a Chiss, whose lifespan is up to 80 years. When he first appears in TIE Fighter (years before being featured in Heir to the Empire) he looks to be in his 40s. Considering that The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, there’s the strong possibility that old age would have claimed him by then. But that little fact isn’t written in stone, nor is it exactly common knowledge. One thing’s for sure; if there’s any chance to bring him back, the filmmakers should try to make it happen.
[ED: Also, Zahn has a new Thrawn novel in the works which he said “would cover several years between Thrawn’s “first encounter” with the Empire and the events of the third season of Rebels.”]
The thing about movies and the hype they bring is that each person develops their own idea about what to expect. It was literally impossible for filmmakers to create new Star Wars movies that universally catered to the interpretations of their audience. But the fact is that it’s shameful how so many great characters missed their chance in the spotlight, just because it wasn’t convenient for the current recycled narrative.