This is one of the more controversial topics that I see occasionally pop up, and is naturally one to inspire somewhat heated arguments. After all, there aren't very many better ways to anger a rabid fanbase than to kill its favorite characters, even if that death is justified for the sake of the story. But that's why I made this thread: I'm curious if you feel that major characters dying is ever truly justified. It seems among both fans and authors of science fiction and fantasy (and many other genres), there seem to be two main points of view. The one that has been traditionally more popular, but has also come under some derision in recent times, is the philosophy that protagonists should live through their stories, that it's more fun to figure out how all the characters are going to get out of there alive than it is to wonder who will live and who will die. That certainly seems to be George Lucas' philosophy, as well as some notable Star Wars writers, like Zahn and Stackpole (though Stackpole likes his red shirts ). Of course, the other that gets increasingly more popular is that death, as it's a natural part of life, should be a natural part of stories, that it can lend emotional weight to a story, and that it can help maintain a reader/viewer's willing suspension of disbelief. For my part, I take a somewhat moderate stance. I like it when characters die, but I will never, ever understand the crowd who believe a stories success hinges on the ratio of characters who make it out alive versus the ones who died. Many Star Wars fans exhibit this, when complaining about books set between films, or before later books. "Well, I know everyone will make it out alive, therefore this story has no suspense and isn't worth reading". To which I say, you've got to be freaking kidding me. Shadows of Mindor, for instance, has a "everyone makes it out alive" stamp right from the beginning, but is every bit as suspenseful as Apocalypse, or whatever the farthest book on the timeline is. Obviously, all authors are different, and will have very different approaches to how they handle the fate of their characters... but what place does death have in tie-in fiction? Most tie-in fiction is, by it's very nature, shared. It's one thing for an author to decide a character needs to die in their own universe... in a shared universe, however, you are removing a character from the status quo, and ensuring that later authors cannot do anything with them. Once again, for my part, I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. One of the pitfalls of long running tie-in fiction series is the fact that things remain static, that the characters from the source material keep doing what they've always been doing. With the NJO, for better or worse, the status quo of the GFFA was fundamentally and permanently changed (even if the powers that be decided that they didn't like most of the changes and essentially ignored them...). Is it presumptuous, then, to so fundamentally attempt to change a universe that is not your own? Or does it lend much needed credence to what's so often viewed as the very bottom of literature? I've always considered the act of killing a major character a contest between the emotional impact or story necessity that killing said character would generate, versus the potential waste of development that character can receive; when fans say that a characters death is a "waste", I agree in the sense that a character death always eliminates the possibility of potentially interesting development on that character, but sometimes the impact that characters death causes is more than enough to justify it for me. With all of that said, I think it's fairly obvious to figure out what side I'm on. I think death in tie-in fiction is a perfectly acceptable thing, when done well. I believe that Chewbacca and Anakin's death, at least in overall conception, were perfectly fine. Mara Jade and Jacen come off as somewhat unnecessary, with the former being the ever annoying "kill a character just to kill a character", but I'm not fit to judge them, as I have not yet been able to read LOTF. That said, that didn't even come close to stopping me from enjoying Scoundrels, and books like it. I don't at all believe that knowing the destination will lessen the journey itself. But that's enough babbling. TD;DR: Should writers be so quick to kill off characters in shared universes? Does it ever lessen your enjoyment knowing that the main players are unkillable (and face it, that's as true for Apocalypse and beyond as it is for all books in the past featuring the Big Three).