*Spoilers for the books and the new films*
In this series of articles, I’ll examine how the recently “de-canonized” Expanded Universe-the pre-Disney books, comics, video games etc. dealt with areas of Star Wars not covered by the movies-and how they compare to Disney’s ‘new canon’, which is composed of mainly, at this point:
- The saga films-Episodes I-9, with 8 and 9 still in production
- Spin-offs, such as Rogue One
- The 2008-2013 Clone Wars TV series and film
- The Rebels animated series
- Del Rey’s post-2014 novels
- The Star Wars comics by Marvel from 2014 onward
The old stuff is still sold, but is now branded with the term “Legends” to distinguish it from the Disney product.
Anyway, I’ll start mainly with character comparisons. These will mainly deal with the “Big three” OT characters for now, and pretty much only deal with their fates as of “Force Awakens”. I’ll probably provide a follow-up for “Last Jedi” at some point next year. Future articles will deal with other characters, settings, other comparisons etc.
In both versions, Luke goes about re-building the Jedi Order. However, there’s one key difference.
He’s actually successful. He builds a sort of Jedi Academy on Yavin IV in the ruins of the old Rebel Base (which is later moved into the old Temple on Coruscant). Although it has a few bumps in the road- students (and Luke briefly) going to the dark side, interference from the New Republic, Imperial attacks, Yavin IV pretty much getting invaded or attacked by Imperial remnants and Vong etc. Luke’s order actually lasts a pretty long time, until the events of the “Legacy” series. Luke even settles down and marries his former enemy Mara Jade, and they have a son, Ben Skywalker, although Mara eventually is killed.
Luke’s Jedi Order in the Force Awakens? Not so lucky.
In both cases, Luke has to go into exile, but for different reasons, although they both involve Han Solo’s son going to the dark side.
In the “Fate of the Jedi” series, he is exiled after not only does his nephew Jacen go to the dark side and becomes a Sith Lord who plunges the galaxy once again into war, but also a group of Jedi start to go a bit mental shortly thereafter, and he takes the heat for it. He eventually is freed from this though, although he does take the oppurtunity to try to figure out exactly why his Nephew went bad, and discovers interesting new force users-and a new group of Sith-on the way.
In “Force Awakens” we learn that his Nephew Ben Solo fell to the Dark side, became Kylo Ren and killed (or also brought over to the dark side?) his students, although it’s not quite clear when this happened prior to the film. His exile seems to be self-imposed, although for some reason he’s looking for the original Jedi temple or something.
In both continuties, Han marries Leia shortly after the events of “Return of the Jedi”. They remain more or less hapilly married (although with a few bumps in the road), and have three kids: The twins Jaina and Jacen, and Anakin (Named after his grandfather). Also, if the cover’s any indication (This novel is set around the same time as “Force Awakens” in the other timeline), he seems to be have aged a bit more gracefully. Although Chewbacca dies (more on that later on) Anakin is killed during a Jedi mission, and Jacen goes to the dark side and is also killed by his sister no less, Han still keeps it together, with him and Leia even semi-adopting their granddaughter, Jacen’s daughter with fellow Jedi Tenel Ka.
Force Awaken’s Han Solo is a bit more down on his luck. After Ben went to the dark side and became Kylo Ren, he became estranged from Leia, and went back to smuggling with Chewbacca. He even got the Millenium Falcon stolen! However, the events of “The Force Awakens” help him to make a difference again, and he tries to redeem his son.
Now here’s where another thing is a bit different: Death.
In the novel series “The New Jedi Order” Chewbacca sacrifices himself saving Anakin Solo, and then gets crushed to death by a moon. This leaves Han devestated for a time, but he eventually is able to pull himself back together and help defeat the Yuzzhan Vong.
Movie Han? Once again, not so lucky.
Chewbacca unfortunately has to mourn for his friend, but not before knocking out a few Stormtroopers and also injuring his “nephew” Kylo Ren. After a period of mourning, he also accepts that life goes on and accepts Rey as the new Captain of the Falcon as they head to find Luke.
In both cases, Leia becomes a politician for a time before moving onto other things, and eventually marries Han shortly after “Return of the Jedi”, and pretty much everything I wrote for Han in that period applies here too. In both cases, Leia eventually mostly leaves politics behind after a time, and here’s a key difference. In the novels, she decides to accept her Jedi inheritance fully at last, although after her kids become Jedi.
In the new continuity, Leia also leaves politics although in this case, it’s in part because a scandal reveals that she’s the daughter of Darth Vader to everyone, especially when she takes a hard line on the growing threat of the First Order. Also estranged from Han, she forms her own small force, the Resistance, becoming “General Organa”. Although not a Jedi, she still has force skills, as we see her ‘feel’ the death of Han (or alternatively Ben/Kylo’s feelings). Of course, her main quest in addition to fighting the First Order? Finding her brother so he can help her sort out this mess.
Unfortunately, with the death of actress Carrie Fisher (Although she had filmed her “Last Jedi” scenes, Leia’s fate in the sequel trilogy is in a state of flux now. But we’ll see what happens.