Lit EU vs. Films?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Sable_Hart, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    Ah good old authority...

    This is like the days when the modernists first dared to *whispers quietly* write poems that didn't rhyme! I mean, OMG! Who the kriff did they think they were?! The audacity! It was outrageous to think they could challenge centuries of established rule!

    Or, to put things differently: I don't care less what "authority" Stover has in comparison to Lucas. I still prefer the ROTS novel to the film, just like how there are a lot of poems and other literary works that didn't follow the "rules" and yet turned out a heck of a lot better because of it. I've never understood the desire to put Lucas up on a pedestal with Shakespeare when Shakespeare himself has had his forms challenged and remade over the years. (Of course, that naughty William Shakespeare just got what he deserved for not abiding by Petrarch's rules on how to structure a sonnet. [face_shame_on_you] )

    That's, like, how good literature works. (And even Lucas himself clearly accepts that, as seen in his attraction to Dark Empire and TFU or the EU works that have made their way into TCW.)

    For a film series that took the Hollywood industry by storm and revolutionized things during a period of stagnation, I've never understood the urge to apply hardcore literary conservatism to Star Wars when remaking the old into something new is what defined ANH and was the entire reason for its success.
    People have actually started giving that genuine thought? Wow. For years I've been talking about how CDs and digital media aren't as "permanent" as the good old fashioned stuff (just look at how hard it even is to play an old DOS game with a modern version of Windows!) so it's cool to know that there's actually real effort being put into "preserving" information instead of just letting it vanish into the ether if people ever metaphorically forget how to turn the pages of a book. :)
    Last edited by Zorrixor, Jan 3, 2013
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  2. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2009
    star 4
    Good Lord, people, can you read the post? This isn't about the morality of retcons and contradictions. This about the motivation of those who cause them.
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  3. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    I don't think it's anywhere near that flippant or arrogant. And yes, the editor-in-chief has to have the authority to green light projects.

    As to your latest post, I have to wonder if you're not ascribing arrogance or malevolence where there isn't any.

    For instance, for all I dislike the bulk of NJO and the work of Troy Denning, I do not believe either he or various NJO authors woke up one morning and thought: Yeah, let's do a crap job, no one'll notice and the editors, hah! What editors? They don't give a crap either!
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  4. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    I'd have thought that much was obvious: the story.

    Which, ultimately, is the exact same thing that has always motivated Lucas himself: he's not one for textual purity, or else he wouldn't continue to tinker with his stories with every re-release. For him, the storytelling clearly is paramount or else the original theatrical editions would never have been touched. But Lucas isn't some snooty old snobbish film director who has believed in his divine authority, as he himself has always seen his art as a work in progress that can always find room for improvement.

    So it's little surprise that those who tinker in that same playground have followed its creator's lead in being more interested in the story they want to tell than worrying about the odd retcon.
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  5. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    As Zorrizor said, authors don't intentionally go out of their way to contradict previous canon, it just unfortunately happens in the process of telling their story. As soon as Lucas allows others to play in his universe they're entitled to do whatever they want within reason; sometimes their ideas better the films (Darth Plagueis and Cloak of Deception) or are outright better than Lucas' ideas (CW multimedia series vs. TCW). I'm willing to accept a few unintentional rectons and timeline issues if it expands the galaxy and tells a good story.
  6. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Okay so actually going through the list pulls a slightly higher number than my eyeballing it (and there are surviving Jedi who aren't on it like Rachi Sitra), though as you mentioned there are a number who Yoda certainly wouldn't have been aware of, such as Celeste, and also Brand and others.

    I do agree that the introduction of Jedi characters into Galaxies represents a real problem, especially since Galaxies failed to fuly resolve what happened to a lot of those people. However, in regards to that decision: I blame the fans. There was huge clamor to allow lightsaber wielders into Galaxies and of course Lucasfilm bowed to financial pressure.

    To paraphrase a quote about democracy: 'the fandom gets the universe it deserves.'
  7. TheRevanchist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 13, 2012
    star 2
    I don't think that the contradictions are that big to be fair. Palps could have knew something for Vitiate but most probably that was only a legend which you can believe or not (also there were other beings who cheated death, Darth Sion, Scourge etc). We can assume that Jedi destroyed the documents of these events and after 3500 years not many believed them. It could also be that Palps was talking only about the Bane Sith Order (like Yoda when he said that always were only 2 Sith), or the other scenario that he made that point especially for Skywalker (hey young one, I know something for a man who cheated death and if we join forces we can do it too, why the need to add other Sith Lords).

    Also, Yoda saying to Luke that he will be the last of the Jedi is not a contradict. Jedi weren't fighting, he didn't knew that other Jedi have survived and haven't turned bad. 1 year before the OT the only other two Jedi who were fighting successfully against the Empire were General Kota and a clone of Galen Marek. Yoda was knowledgeable but he didn't knew everything. And he also was right, only Luke could return the Jedi, for that he was the last of them. Others were Jedi, but at that moment they weren't.
    Last edited by TheRevanchist, Jan 3, 2013
  8. _Catherine_ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    I started writing my post before yours was posted. Regardless, that quote is outdated both in-universe and out-of-universe. IU, Obi-Wan said it years before Yoda told Luke there were no more Jedi, giving plenty of time for any remaining survivors to meet their ends (which the EU has frequently shown, judging by the "Died during the GCW" portion of my last post). OOU, the radio drama came out before ROTJ was written and Yoda informed the audience that there were no more Jedi. More importantly, that line doesn't exist in the original film, so AFAIK the idea of other Jedi survivors besides Obi-Wan and Yoda is an EU invention, which was my point. Not trashing the radio drama or anything, since it came out first, but everyone writing after 1983 should have known better.

    Star Wars is a fairytale; it's not supposed to be unyieldingly realistic. Did anyone watching ROTJ in 1983 roll their eyes and say "Yeah right, that's logistically improbable!" when Yoda told Luke he was the last Jedi?

    More importantly, when has adding yet another Jedi survivor improved the story in any way, apart from the exceptions I mentioned before (not even excepting Ood Bnar, really; he could have been anyone)? Does anyone care about such great and memorable characters as Ephaan Kenzon and Matarmeno Krahnn? Even Empotatoes Brand, the undeveloped secondary character who for some ineffable reason was responsible for the Emperor's final death, had no reason to be a surviving Jedi. Maybe you can make a case for Qu Rahn and Bardan Jusik, since they actually served a point in their respective stories, unlike twenty-odd nobodies from some obscure RPG sourcebook and failed MMORPG expansion. You can explain why Yoda was wrong or ignorant or being deliberately exclusive a hundred different ways, but, much like any EU set during the prequels, you're still just making excuses for something dumb that shouldn't have been done in the first place.
  9. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2009
    star 4
    I'm not ascribing any malevolence to the authors, though I do believe that it is certainly possible that they could use their latitude to convey personal and private issues with the franchise. Chris Avellone from KotOR once admitted to such in an interview: that Kreia's personal philosophy was born from his irritation with certain portrayals of the Force.

    My curiosity stems from the fact that they presumably watch the six films and understand that canon structure (G- to S-) is designed where the films are supreme and everything else is subordinate. Then again, Lucas himself has said that the EU and the movies exist as two worlds, hence why he probably doesn't care to prune, modify, or retcon the EU in his personal projects when he sees fit.

    This thread was not intended to espouse any sort of opinion on the contradictions. I agree with @JackG. Sometimes they're quite better in my opinion than what we see in the films. Other times, they're worse. That is an issue that's been beaten to death and is completely irrelevant to this topic. What is relevant is how they justify it and what they're thinking when they do it. I'm personally intrigued.
  10. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    Now your just nitpicking
    Stop trying to take every bit of the movies dialogue like it's gospel just stop. Just because Yoda said something doesn't make him infallible.
    No it's science fantasy. It meshes both as far as I see. You really reaching here
    Last edited by Esg, Jan 3, 2013
  11. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2009
    star 4
    _Catherine_'s point is well taken. You can justify a retcon as "Well, Character X wasn't aware of Y," but there are times when that seems pretty thin.
  12. Darth_Kevin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2001
    star 5
    I don't see the contradiction. Yoda is not some omniscient narrator of the film. If in the opening scrolls it stated that there were no other Jedi it is one thing, however a particular character in a film is not necessarily right just because he says something, even with different levels of canon.

    Obi-Wan at first said that Vader killed Anakin Skywalker. Then he changed his story. He lied. Thus he said something that turned out not to be true. Yoda can therefore be allowed to say something that turns out not to be true, not necessarily because he is lying, but because it is the best information he has at the time.
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  13. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    Exactly. He's a character making a statement open to fallibility
    Last edited by Esg, Jan 3, 2013
  14. _Catherine_ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    Not really. It's a pretty straightforward objection. The EU should not contradict facts about the universe established in the films on a whim.

    Yoda doesn't have to be infallible to deliver reliable plot exposition to the audience. And as I said before, it's less a matter of adhering to the films as gospel than it is a matter of good storytelling, and the story is better if Luke is the last Jedi. If you disagree, why? How have the dozens of other Jedi survivors (excepting those who had been in stasis for thousands of years or physically removed from the galaxy) improved the story in any way?

    I don't think so. If no stories had been published with post-ROTJ OJO survivors, would people refuse to believe Yoda was right? I doubt it, because there's nothing unbelievable about that in a fantasy world with magic and wizards and space knights.

    This is justification after the fact. Nothing in the film indicates that Yoda is wrong or being dishonest, which means that the intent of the film was that he was telling the truth. The EU should not subvert the ideas or themes of the OT, as the OT is the basis of the universe that the EU exists to expand.
    Last edited by _Catherine_, Jan 3, 2013
  15. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Er to be entirely fair though, I'm not sure that rhyming was ever all that established as a poetic Rule and rhyming schemes in general should only be used for very particular rhythmic purposes: you don't know how many times it's annoyed me when some stupid teenager will scrawl a bunch of rhymes together and call it a "poem." It's not.

    So:

    I. I'm not sure that it was actually a convention among actual poets, except in certain genres and with certain types of verse.
    II. But to the extent that it was a convention (the latter), you could probably apply your point there since the very usage of a rhyming scheme runs contrary to classical canons of taste which emphasize prosody over rhyme. This occurred, of course, because the languages in question were barbaric Germanic languages wholly unsuited to beautiful quantity, but instead savage qualitative meter.

    All this is to say, of course, that I could adapt your point to a different context but I nevertheless qualify it on the basis that authoritative tastemakers tend to have reasons for establishing their rules and strictures though mediocrity tends -- as always -- to favor ossified rules in favor of actual taste and discretion to the extent that legitimate innovation -- which happens from time to time -- is unrecognized until unthinking modishness has appropriated it.


    edit: oh, also, uh.... Star Wars. There, now I'm on topic.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Jan 3, 2013
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  16. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    >Implying the films don't contradict themselves. Again what was htat about the Republic existing for thousands of generations?
    Your acting like he wasn't using hyperbole. He didn't get a strategic or check he was in a swamp for 20 years.[/QUOTE]
    Last edited by Esg, Jan 3, 2013
  17. vong333 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2003
    star 4
    No way bro there is no way the the clone war multi-media is better than the clone wars series. Forget it, the entire spectrum from not just sith, jedi, republic, separatist, bounty hunters, droids, and the like, are just way better. Anakin is better fleshed out than the whiny idiot thats always getting scolded. I perfer the Anakin in the clone wars series than I do the multi media one.
  18. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    [IMG]
  19. _Catherine_ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    Offhand I can't think of any comparable contradictions within the OT, which is what I'm talking about since it's the cornerstone of Star Wars. But you're right, the prequels contradict the OT, so it's okay for the EU to contradict the movies, so it's okay for TCW to contradict the EU. MYTH BUSTED!

    He wasn't using hyperbole, though. That's a justification we had to invent to explain other writers' decisions in later stories. You can come up with retcons to explain any contradiction, but I don't think that was the point of this thread.

    Again, though, why does this contradiction need to be defended? How does the existence of these thirty-some purge survivors improve the story in any way?

    I don't know anything about TOR; was whatever the Sith Emperor did any different from the standard Essence Transfer ability? Because that was around way before ROTS so I'm not sure it should count as a contradiction just because the EU kept using it.

    Also don't forget that Darth Sion was yet another character with the power to "cheat death," but I think in that scene in ROTS Palpatine was talking specifically about the ability to stop other people from dying.
    Last edited by _Catherine_, Jan 3, 2013
  20. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    Because it's really anal and unrealistic to argue that only two people out of thousands survived a purge in an entire Galaxy
    Last edited by Esg, Jan 3, 2013
  21. _Catherine_ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    It's also unrealistic that the entire Mandalorian society would be nomadic bloodthirsty mercenaries. Thank god TCW fixed that!

    It doesn't matter if that level of detail wouldn't be completely believable in our world because Star Wars takes place in a fantasy setting where story is more important than strict realism. The story was that there were only two Jedi left; there was nothing wrong with that story, and changing it did not make the story better (if anything it arguably made it worse), therefore it was a pointless, unnecessary change.
    Last edited by _Catherine_, Jan 3, 2013
  22. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    I thought that was fixed or something? I'm tired so I can't remember too well

    And how does this compare to TCW when the OT had one line with little backing or proof to outright refutation other stories
    Last edited by Esg, Jan 3, 2013
  23. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    That is an opinion, not a statement of fact. There are some changes that will be percieved by any given fan (or the balance of fans if we're trying to assess things in some sort of popular poll) as an improvement worth the retconning required and there are some that will be seen otherwise. We can certainly argue over any given change, or a group of changes collectively, but you can't say that because some poor alterations were made there were not also ones that were good.

    I do not, personnaly think that adding a handful of Jedi Purge Survivors and thereby changing Yoda's statement to Luke from literal to hyperbolic is a problem. That change is a minor one. The spirit of the moment, and of Luke's sucessive path are unchanged. Having a handful of survivors around, does provide for expansive story oppurtunities during the Rebellion and New Republic eras. I like the fact that Luke was able to eventually stumble across bits and pieces of the order's leftovers in the form of people rather than just objects over the years that followed.

    Now, at some point such decisions do become overly burdensome, straining verisimilitude too far. I think the mass introduction of new characters via Galaxies, especially since Galaxies was never fully resolved and dozens of seeming significant Rebellion era characters were dropped into semi-permanent Limbo as a result, was indeed going to far - Lucasfilm bowed to popular pressure in that case, which has often been a problem.

    Ultimately, its not like any of this sort of overwriting is a new thing in Star Wars, or that it's an exclusively EU issue (ahem...Han shot first!). As fans of Star Wars we each have to make our own peace with this issue. The official position is that everything is canon. That choice has pros and cons, and it certainly means that anyone who delves deep into Star Wars accepting this is going to find parts of the universe they absolutely despise and just accept that they are there. Of course everyone is free to build there own personal conception of the universe, and if you wish to disregard this or that piece go ahead, you only have to accept it if you want to function within the shared meta fanspace that accepts the official position.
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  24. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    "POWER! UNLIMITED POWER!"

    Why are we trusting what this guy says again? :p
  25. Ulicus Lit'ari

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2005
    star 6
    "This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away to the future, to the horizon, never his mind on where he was. What he was doing."

    At the time, the implication was that Yoda had the Jedi equivalent of a crystal ball.

    Not when they're being hunted by Darth Vader, it isn't. [face_not_talking]