6 Ways the Expanded Universe Ruined Star Wars

The original Star Wars trilogy had a very distinctive beginning, middle, and end. How do you write about Luke Skywalker and keep it interesting when he’s already saved Vader and crippled the Galactic Empire? Easy. You make up a sh*tload of characters and undo everything that made the series great. Here’s our tribute to the Expanded Universe’s biggest crimes against the franchise.

6. The Emperor Was Cloned

emporer - 6 ways the expanded universe ruined star wars

In The Movies: Vader’s character arc crystallizes in a single moment. Inspired by his son’s goodness and faith in him, Vader picks up the Emperor, the personification of corruption in both himself and the galaxy, and throws him into a conveniently-located bottomless shaft. That thing was just a lawsuit waiting to happen.

In The Expanded Universe: But wait… what was that about clones? Ah, that’s right. It turns out the Emperor has a whole ship full of younger hims, just waiting to spring into action if the old him ever died. (Why did he bother hanging out in that crippled old body in the first place? We don’t know, but Space Viagra must be super effective.) Vader’s final sacrifice, his ultimate act of defiance, now comes off as a minor annoyance. He might as well have stepped on the Emperor’s robe while he was walking down the stairs.

5. There’s No Light Or Dark Side To The Force

lightsabers - 6 ways the expanded universe ruined star wars

In The Movies: There are two sides to the force. The Light Side practices compassion and mercy, while the Dark Side feeds on anger and fear. The Dark Side is a constant temptation for Jedi, since it encourages raw emotion over patience. It’s addictive, and corruptive to the point that it can alter a Jedi physically.

In The Expanded Universe: The Force is neutral. There is no alluring Dark Side, just evil people that use the Force for evil things. On the surface, this seems like a decent enough explanation. Jedi who turn to the Dark Side often have motives besides merely being “seduced.” Still, to deny that the Dark Side has some sort of alluring power makes you wonder why something like one out of every four Jedi turns to the dark side. Can you think of any other story where 25% of “good” characters end up becoming total bastards? …Besides Heroes?

4. Luke Was Never The Last Of The Jedi

jedis - 6 ways the expanded universe ruined star wars

In The Movies: Obi-Wan is thought to be the only living Jedi until it’s revealed that there’s an ancient Jedi Master named Yoda that Luke must seek out. After Obi-Wan is killed, Yoda says to Luke, “When gone am I… the last of the Jedi will you be.” He croaks and Luke is alone in his Jedi-dom.

In The Expanded Universe: Not only did a shit ton of Jedi survive Order 66, but there’s a laundry list that were still alive throughout the course of the entire original trilogy. Sure, ol’ Ben and Yoda can’t be expected to know every force-sensitive hermit that goes into hiding, but the expanded universe introduces a gaggle of Jedi actively participating in the rebellion. Why stay true to the source material when you can write new stories about cool guys with lightsabers!?

3. The Force Does Not Tie All Life Together

weird - 6 ways the expanded universe ruined star wars

In The Movies: The Force is the mystical power that binds all living things together, good or evil. It’s the universal connection between people that gives Star Wars much of its philosophical resonance. In the words of Yoda, as he pinches Luke’s shirt, we are all “luminous beings, not this crude matter.” (It’s also possible this was just a comment on Luke’s wardrobe choice. I know it’s the swamp, but ribbed tank tops? Seriously?)

In the Expanded Universe: The Force is the power that ties all living things together… unless they’re, like, REALLY scary and evil. Like the Yuuzahn Vong. Introduced in the New Jedi Order series, they’re a race of self-mutilating bad guys from “outside the Force,” “outside the galaxy,” and, for all intents and purposes, “outside Star Wars.” Making the Force essentially a localized phenomenon does more to neuter it as a concept than any midi-chlorians ever could. The whole story arc reads less like Star Wars and more like some poor soul’s Hellraiser-crossover fan fiction.

2. Luke Turns to the Dark Side

luke - 6 ways the expanded universe ruined star wars

In the Movies: Luke confronts the Emperor, denies the Dark Side, wins over Vader, and saves the galaxy. The line, “I am a Jedi, like my father before me,” cements Luke as his own man free of his father’s destiny.

In the Expanded Universe: Never mind. Luke runs into the Emperor’s clone on Byss, has a brief conversation, and agrees to be his apprentice. The Emperor ultimately convinces him by offering leadership of the Imperial fleet. The deep emotional connection he felt with Vader and the prospect of ruling the universe as father and son? Not enough to convince him. But let that dude boss around a few TIE pilots and he’s totally game for some Dark Side action!

Yes, Luke is QUICKLY recovered by his friends, but having Luke succumb to the Dark Side is against everything the character stands for. Star Wars is the story of Luke not making the same mistakes as his father. Now he’s just a shittier Darth Vader. This literally undoes Star Wars.*

*Hyperbole, but still, IT WAS A PRETTY SHITTY THING TO DO.

1. Darth Maul Is Reborn With Robot Legs

Darth Maul

In The Movies: Obi Wan cuts Darth Maul in half. It’s a great crowning moment to the movie’s best action set piece, and also shows that Obi Wan isn’t a perfect warrior-monk, but a real human capable of anger and vengeance. Also… he cuts a dude in half with a lightsaber. It’s pretty sweet.

In The Expanded Universe: The prequels introduced us to many, many, awful things, but at least they never brought back a clearly dead villain, gave him robot legs, and had him hunt a baby Luke Skywalker. We’ll give you a few seconds to re-read that sentence. That’s right – in the EU comics, the top half of Darth Maul somehow climbs out of the reactor pit, finds robot replacements for his legs and major internal organs, finds his way to Tattooine, and threatens three-year-old Luke as a way to draw out Obi-Wan Kenobi. And that was the last time Dark Horse let a fourth grader write a comic book.

You might be interested


Reply Attach
  • 2

    6. So? That just shows how badass the Emperor was. It took that many tries just to kill him.
    5. Not sure where in the expanded universe you got that idea, it's usually very specifically light or dark. Just because there are grey characters like Quinlan Vos in no way means that there aren't still 2 sides of the Force. It just means that one doesn't have to follow one or the other specifically.
    4. Exactly like you said, Yoda and Ben didn't know there were other survivors. Just because they weren't in the film doesn't mean they weren't there. The point was that none of them had the potential to do what Luke did. He was still the key to winning the war.
    3. It's made clear in a lot of places that the Force is native to that galaxy. This is just a well-known fact of Star Wars, like it or not.
    2. Luke went into the apprenticeship with the intention of betraying the Emperor. Over time, the Emperor seduced him to the Dark Side, because, well, that's kind of his thing. This makes Luke more human, in that he has human weakness to temptation.
    1. That was a Star Wars tales comic which isn't even in continuity.

    • Ertrov
    • July 1, 2011, 6:41 pm
    Either way it's ruined. The Luke going to the dark side is a little forgiving than others because he said something like 'My fathers path is my own' So I guess it makes sense.
    - DarkicoN13 July 2, 2011, 4:02 am
    None of those things ruin Star Wars. Besides, they're in the EU for a reason. If you prefer to maintain the original feel of SW, just stick to the movies.
    - Ertrov July 6, 2011, 2:01 pm
Related Posts