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Lit Era's of the Legend's EU

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Jid123Sheeve, Mar 16, 2019 at 12:26 PM.

  1. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 9, 2016
    So I’m doing this as a bit of research project of sorts

    As far as I can tell we have 5 different Era’s of the Legends EU at least as I see it.

    77-83 OT/Marvel Era

    84-90 Dark Times (I call it that because the only things I know are the Ewoks Cartoon and Droids, I know Marvel was still ongoing at the time but I can't think of anything BIG)

    91-98 Bantam/Early Dark Horse Era

    99-05 Multimedia Project / NJO Era

    06-12 Post NJO/ TCW Era

    Not sure if 06-08 is its own distinct Era or not but I’m going with this.

    So the purpose of this particular forum is this.

    What are some of the highs and lows of each particular era. Strengths and weaknesses. Etc

    For those around (especially older fans in the forums) what was it like witnessing and experience these Era first hand.

    Is any particular era you're favorite.

    Would you divide the eras of Legends EU this way or not

    And finally the one I'm most curious about

    What are some of the most interesting behind the scenes tidbits of the making of each particular Era if you know any.

    You don’t have to answer all the questions or any if you don’t want to I’d just thought I’d get the bell rolling for what I’m aiming for with this thread. Like comics I see the old EU as divided into various eras of its history each with its own unique flavor and characteristics and am curious about fan reaction to each one during their respective times. A bit of a retrospective if you will.

    Well, let's see how this thread goes shall we.
    Jo B1 Kenobi likes this.
  2. Jo B1 Kenobi

    Jo B1 Kenobi Jedi Knight star 2

    Jul 3, 2014
    Good idea!
    I would add "Dark Horse Era" to 99-05 and 06-12. The comics were very strong during that whole period in my opinion, in fact they went on until 2014 I think.
    Tython Awakening likes this.
  3. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 9, 2016
    I did that's the 99-05 Multimedia Project/NJO Era....The Multimedia project being the Dark Horse stuff mixed with a few of the Clone Wars games and books coming ut at that time.
  4. Jo B1 Kenobi

    Jo B1 Kenobi Jedi Knight star 2

    Jul 3, 2014
    Oh I see! Cool! They were the comics which got me back into SW as an adult.
  5. Jedi Knight88

    Jedi Knight88 Jedi Padawan star 2

    Sep 4, 2018
    Me too!!!
    vncredleader and Jo B1 Kenobi like this.
  6. Jeff_Ferguson

    Jeff_Ferguson Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 15, 2006
    This era was a lot of fun. A lot of us have fond childhood memories of getting into the EU during this era, playing Rebel Assault II or Shadows of the Empire, getting to see the Orig Trij in theaters for the first time, and playing with the 90s Kenner action figures (mine briefly had their own wrestling federation; Boba was the champion and he used the Stone Cold Stunner). It also deserves a lot of credit for keeping SW alive in the public consciousness in advance of the prequels. The runaway successes of Zahn's trilogy and Dark Empire brought Star Wars back into the public eye and allowed the toy lines to flourish, video games to be made, and the Shadows multimedia project to happen, and it all ensured that a new generation of fans were lining up to see Episode I.

    I often look back on the Bantam novels of this era as fun and experimental, which is partially true but also partially a polite way of saying that they were also kind of aimless. There was no overarching storyline, and you were lucky if a planet had the same senator from one book to the next, but different authors brought different flavours and spices to their works and they don't blend together in memory the way that a lot of post-'05 EU does. Dark Horse also put out some of its most beloved projects during this time, like Tales of the Jedi and the Rogue Squadron series.

    You might have expected the publishers to stick close to the OT's timeline and play everything very safely --- and a lot of Bantam and Dark Horse stuff, did, sure --- but they also went fifteen years into the future and 5,000 years into the past, and when a new book publisher came into the picture, they looked at it and said "Great! Now let's blaze some more new trails and shake up the status quo even more." How many other franchises did that? Even now, has Trek publishing done much post-Nemesis, at all? Riker's Titan novels, the tail end of the New Frontier series, and... a single comic miniseries?

    Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of crap to wade through in this era, but unlike in later eras it's pretty harmless crap. It's bad but not offensively bad. More forgettable than affronting.

    The NJO was fantastic. It was ambitious and it was exactly what SW publishing needed. Story wise, continuity wise, and more. And it wasn't just the novels that stepped up their game during this period; Dark Horse's quality began to rise considerably with their Clone Wars-driven Republic stories by people like John and Jan. And LucasArts put out Knights of the Old Republic, the bar for all future SW games to compete against. It didn't set the bar --- it is the bar.

    For Dark Horse, '06 to '010/'011 is certainly a distinct era. The era of Legacy and Knights of the Old Republic. The cancellation of them and the move toward bland and unmemorable five-issue miniseries was a hair-brained retrograde move and a really unfortunate way for them to end their SW run.

    Being on these forums during that period was a treat. There was a palpable level of anticipation for each new issue, and being able to interact with the series' writers was an added bonus. I dunno if I've never been as involved in a piece of media during its original run as I was with those two series.

    The novels, on the other hand... ugh. The less said about them the better. How was it that with all SW movies said and done (or so we all thought) and any remaining limitations finally removed, their next big series was a recreation of the prequel trilogy? Why did it feel so much less trailblazing than the era that still had three more movies on the horizon? Even outside of LOTF and FOTJ, the novels that Del Rey were offering were just so bland.

    And with so much of the EU looking exactly the same, with Jedi fighting Sith while wearing Tatooine moisture farmer robes, there was so little character. Everything felt like a rehash of everything else. There are a couple of notable exceptions, like Agent of the Empire, but overall... blegh.
  7. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 9, 2016
    @Jeff_Ferguson Thanks for the in-depth anaylisis ...Love it.

    You know i’m curious, I asked this on twitter with a friend that sparked this whole thread but given what you know now of the Post NJO book...Do you think people would be far less jaded if they had rebooted the EU after Revenge of the Sith.

    I mean sure you don’t books like Plagueis and maybe a few other things but then at least things like TCW retconning the old Republic comics and people disliking the POST NJO stuff becomes irrelevant because you could just consider it it’s own separate universe?

    IDK just a thought given peoples reactions to a lot of the post 05 Expanded Uinverse material.
  8. Jeff_Ferguson

    Jeff_Ferguson Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 15, 2006
    There would have been no reason to reboot the EU after Episode III, though. The EU miraculously came out of the prequel trilogy relatively unscathed --- sure, Boba Fett's backstory had to be changed and the Death Star's timeline tinkered with, but it could have been worse, John. A lot worse. With the prequels in the can and the EU sporting only a few band-aids, it wasn't time for a reboot. It was time to push the envelope as far as possible. Enter the Legacy comics.

    Hindsight being 20/20, 2008 would have been a better time for an EU reboot. The Clone Wars was very cruel to continuity, and it would have been nice if the original Clone Wars could have survived with their integrity intact. And as a bonus, there would have been no Fate of the Jedi. What more could you ask for?
    Blackhole E Snoke and Xammer like this.
  9. Ackbar's Fishsticks

    Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 25, 2013
    [disclaimer: I have never been much of a video-gamer, so I admit I'm missing out on that aspect of the universe]

    Bantam Era (Nineties):

    In a word, experimental. Writers latched onto a bunch of individual aspects, sometimes very small (like a single character), of the Star Wars trilogy and wrote entire stories around them; or decided to write "Star Wars does X" type of stories to see the various kind of adventures you could tell in that universe. Delightful amount of variety.

    Also, while it was all experimental, what really made it work was that it stayed small-scale. Even the important events like the fall of Coruscant or the recreation of the Jedi were dealt with in only a few books, not galaxy-defining sagas. And there certainly wasn't anything on the scale of "Chewbacca dies," "Han and Leia's son dies," or "Han and Leia's other son falls to the dark side, kills Luke's wife, and is killed by his own sister" (heck, remember when Crix Madine dying shocked people? Freaking Crix Madine). When an experiment worked, great; when it didn't work, it was easy to move on.

    I also think towards the end, they had a pretty good handle on what worked best. Timothy Zahn, Michael Stackpole, and Aaron Allston especially did a great job of handling cross-author continuity and laying down a sort of skeleton of indispensable works for the post-ROTJ era. But I know there's people who didn't like them, at least Zahn and Stackpole towards the end, so YMMV.

    Prequel/NJO era (1999 - 2005):

    Envelope-pushing. It was the first time they really ventured outside the comfort zone of "the original trilogy and the times immediately surrounding it" and gave us epics on the same scale as the trilogy, with new generations fighting new galaxy-defining wars. And it was also, in both cases, an exercise in seeing how far you could go and still be Star Wars. Can Star Wars handle a much darker tone than we've had before? Can Star Wars handle much more moral ambiguity than it's had before? Etc.

    I would say the answer's "yes." And while I'm one of the few prequel-movie-sympathizers around, I also think the EU in this particular era did a great job of making up for the movies' shortcomings.

    Post-NJO era (2005 - onwards):

    Spinning wheels. They kept the prequel/NJO era's fondness for Huge Galaxy Defining Sagas (never mind that those things aren't supposed to happen all the time, or they lose all interest), without any of the experimental spirit of the Bantam era. We got not one but two Clone Wars retreads, one in the form of LOTF, and then one more literally in the form of TCW. And there wasn't even any time for the dust to settle or nostalgia to build up. It was literally "welp, we just finished with the Clone Wars. Hey, who wants to see the same story again? Twice?" It's like the superweapon-of-the-week cliche from the Bantam era, but so much more inescapable.

    And hey, I'm not even saying it was all bad. Yeah, TCW had a rough beginning but ended up turning into a perfectly good show in its own right. Might the same creativity not have been better used exploring new eras and new concepts, though?

    FOTJ gets a lot of crap, in this time period, and a lot of it is deserved. But I'll give it credit for at least trying to do something other than just remaking the Clone Wars.
  10. Jeff_Ferguson

    Jeff_Ferguson Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 15, 2006
    That's a great point. The prequel-era EU was a lot of fun. Books like Cloak of Deception understood that there was actually some potential lurking underneath the awfulness of the prequels and spun it into gold. And the Clone Wars multimedia project from 2002 to 2005 was a roaring success that demonstrated how to work across various mediums to tell a series of interconnected stories. It's a shame that the sequel trilogy didn't try anything coming even close to it.

    Darth Plagueis felt in some ways like both a love letter and a finale to the prequel-era EU. It was great as a reader to revisit all those old storylines one last time.
  11. Xammer

    Xammer Jedi Master star 1

    Jan 31, 2009
    That's one of the reasons I was excited (and then disappointed) by the ST - the prospect of a new era and new defining events with details waiting to be filled. (I expected the Journey to TFA/TLJ would serve such a purpose but they underperformed.)
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  12. The Positive Fan

    The Positive Fan Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 19, 2015
    I'd consider dividing up the 84-90 era into two sections - 84-86 as the "Kids' Era" and 87-90 as the "WEG Era." There's a clear divide between the two - virtually all content during 84-86 was geared toward younger fans (the cartoons, the Ewok movies, the Marvel comics) while 87-90 belonged exclusively to WEG.

    The WEG era was an amazing time. If you weren't a gamer you had no idea it was going on, and that era looked very much like "the dark times" indeed. But those of us who were "in the know" experienced an absolute bounty of riches. It was possible to immerse oneself in the lore of the Star Wars universe like never before - and those first edition WEG books remain a high-water mark of quality even today in so many ways.
    Jeff_Ferguson, Duguay and Iron_lord like this.