Here’s another series comparing the old Star Wars Expanded Universe with Disney’s current continuity. In this, I’ll analyze how both treated the ‘next generation’ of heroes.
The Female hero
In the original EU, we’re introduced to Jaina Solo in the Thrawn trilogy, the twin sister of Jacen Solo, and of course together the offspring of Han and Leia. After a somewhat rough childhood being targeted or kidnapped by Imperial remnants, Jaina fully begins her Jedi training and during the events of the New Jedi Order, becomes an exceptional pilot as well. Becoming the “Sword of the Jedi”, she suffers a series of misfortunes-a brief fall to the dark side and the loss of both of her brothers (one by her own hand), but eventually she settles down with long-time boyfriend Jagged Fel-the current leader of a kinder, gentler Empire-creating a dynasty which lasts at least a century (more on that later).
Jaina, oddly enough, is one of the first casualties of the Disney buy-out. A book series revolving around her “Sword of the Jedi”-would have been published but was pulled, perhaps due to similarities to:
That pose looks a bit familiar….
Rey. Rey of course is the heroine of The Force Awakens. A young scavenger abandoned for unknown reasons at a young age on the planet Jakku, she becomes involved in the war against the First Order when the droid BB8 stumbles into her life, who has the map to Luke Skywalker. Eventually, she discovers she has latent force abilities when she discovers Anakin/Luke Skywalker’s old lightsaber (thought lost on Bespin) in the basement of Maz Kanata’s castle/bar. Although she’s initially reluctant.Eventually growing in her abilities, she’s able to escape from the First Order’s starkiller base after being captured and hold her own against Kylo Ren. She then journeys to meet Luke Skywalker, presumably to ask for his help in fighting the First Order-and maybe some Jedi training, as well.
However, most of Rey’s story is as yet unknown, so one wonders if she’ll follow a path close to Jaina, or if she has any link to the Skywalker family tree.
The Fallen Son
Jacen Solo initially started promisingly, on a similar path to his sister Jaina as a Jedi Knight. However, eventually the events of the New Jedi Order series-the loss of his brother, Anakin, his imprisonment by the alien Yuzzhan Vong (and some questionable advice from an ex-Jedi), his Padme-esque relationship with a young Queen and a variety of other decisions start to twist his mind. He’s given a final ‘push’ into the dark side by old Marvel comics villain Lumiya, and becomes “Darth Caedus”, leading the galaxy into another civil war. He’s then killed by his sister Jaina.
Kylo Ren is of course, very similar, also being Han’s son. However, while Jacen makes many bad decisions and suffers some tragedies which are similar to his grandfather’s, Kylo seems to have a veneration of sorts for Vader, keeping Vader’s melted helmet as an idol of sorts, and wearing a similar helmet himself, despite not being in any ill health (although he is scarred at the end of the movie). It’s unclear exactly how Kylo went to the dark side, although it apparently had something to do with Supreme Leader Snoke, problems with his parents, and maybe his fascination with Vader as well. He’s also not quite a Sith lord it seems, but “Leader of the Knights of Ren”. It’s kind of unclear
While Jacen’s acts are indeed evil and result in the deaths of several long-running characters such as Imperial leader Palleon, and particularly his Aunt Mara Jade Skywalker (Sort of his ‘sacrifice’ to go full dark side in a similar way to Han’s death)
…..Kylo pretty much destroys Luke’s entire new Jedi order (An order that he-like Jacen-was a student of).
While Jacen’s fall leads to the public growing suspicious of the Jedi Knights and Luke is forced into a temporary exile but eventually returns to help battle a powerful force entity, Kylo makes Luke go into a self-exile…and with no Jedi with him. But one hope remains….