I Care About Star Wars Because It Introduced Me To 'Lore'

I Care About Star Wars Because It Introduced Me To 'Lore'

May 25 is Star Wars Day — not the weird pun nonsense earlier this month that people love to call "Star Wars Day", but the anniversary of the release of the original film in 1977. And today here on Kotaku we're going to celebrate an oft-mocked part of Star Wars: the Expanded Universe.

Today, nerds (this obviously includes me) are pretty obsessed with lore, particularly in video games. There are a few inspirations for this odd fixation, with comics and Tolkien being some older examples. I would say that in the modern day the Star Wars Expanded Universe has had a lot to do with cementing our incessant need for infinite ancillary materials, not because the EU was particularly good, but rather because there was a shitload of it, and from 1991 until the slate was wiped clean a year ago it all formed a pretty, ahem, expansive continuity to pore over.

For me and many other fans, Star Wars is not a series of movies but a setting, a place. And Star Wars was the first property I enjoyed growing up where should I want more stories in its settings I could always have them. And it wasn't a case of, as it is in many game franchises praised for having lots of lore, characters in a book telling us about past events or info in a codex — nearly all the lore was in books or comics somewhere. If you read the X-Wing series of novels, for example, and found Wedge Antilles' descriptions of past Rogue Squadron adventures intriguing, you could go get the X-Wing graphic novels about those adventures. That was a weird perk of the haphazard way Dark Horse and Bantam Books and the LucasFilm Licensing folks churned out stuff at breakneck speed through the '90s — all the "lore" referenced in one book was just something somebody had written in another.

The advent of Wookieepedia (aka the Star Wars wiki) was an incredible enabler because you could read anything that ever happened in Star Wars...and also find out what book or comic it was from so you could then get the full experience. Having grown up during the formation of the Greater Star Wars Continuity I had it all pretty well sorted for most of my life, but eventually it got even beyond what I could keep a handle on as my fandom waned a bit post-prequels. Lucasfilm may have wiped the continuity moving forward, but really all that means is the version of Star Wars that is mine has concluded. It hasn't been deleted; now, there are just two Star Warses. And I'm still not done with the old one, even as we head into the new one.

The lore of Star Wars is the standard I compare all other franchise lore to, and there is no match in my mind — there can't be in the sphere of things I'm interested in now, anyway. Video game publishers will never be able to make games fast enough or commission enough tie-in novels and comics and computer animated movies to be as full as Star Wars has been. That's probably a good thing.


Comments

    Liked just for the Wraith squadron picture. Gonna miss the EU!

      Wraith Squadron was the best. Sad that Aaron Allston passed away last year.

        Raz I am most disappointed to hear that! RIP to one of my favorite EU authors

    Let's all just assume JJ is directing the alternate reality version, and Grand Admiral Thrawn is merely a licensing deal away...

      Grand Admiral Thrawn was the best thing since slice bread. I remember reading those books way before episode 1 came out and it ignited that imagination of mine and took me to wondrous places i never knew existed. Then episode 1 came along and my dreams were shattered. :S

    Yeah I'm bummed out by this too. I really like some of the EU stuff and it's a shame to not see it incorporated in some fashion. The first real world building universe I encountered was the forgotten realms setting when I was in primary school.

    Why is there a horse alien in Star Wars?

    Wait... why is May 25 'Star Wars Day'? I thought it was May 4th. Y'know. For, 'May the 4th be with you'... Much better than the anniversary of the release. And close enough!

      Ummm..... did you even finish reading the first sentence?

        Article:
        May 25 is Star Wars Day — not the weird pun nonsense earlier this month that people love to call “Star Wars Day”, but the anniversary of the release of the original film in 1977.

        Me:
        'May the 4th be with you'... Much better than the anniversary of the release.

        I read it. I'm asking why anyone's agreeing with the less-cool concept.

          Because May 25 has been used since the movie was released, and May 4 has only become popular over the last decade. Maybe you wanna change the date of Christmas Day because you have decided another day in December sounds cooler to you?

            That's actually exactly what the Church did.
            :D

            Last edited 26/05/15 3:08 pm

              Because May the 4th only works in a) English and b) if you use silly American date conventions.

                Star Wars was made in a) English, and b) America. It's appropriate!

    Odd, I always thought Kell and Ton were light-haired and Runt looking a bit less equine.

      His name was Hohass Ekwesh (Horse Eques(trian))

      I'm amazed he didn't have hooves

      Kell is described as having black hair... but that's certainly not how I pictured Runt.

    Meh. I enjoyed the old EU, but non of it was ever (G-) canon. There were always 'two Star Warses'. Now the new non-film/tv media is officially canon so there are still two. It will be interesting to see how they jettison this continuity down the line when it becomes just like the old EU - bloated, 75% dreck, and 100% contradictory to some other piece of EU material because it's just too much for anyone to keep a tight rein on.

    Glad to see this opinion put forward for once; I definitely agree.

    Star Wars, to me, is the universe which was created. The races, the factions, the planets, the politics. At this point, the movies are the worst part of Star Wars; none of them are particularly good movies. This is also the reason why I prefer the prequel trilogy, it just shows more of the actual universe! [even though the movies themselves are horrible :p ].

    The circle-jerk surrounding the new movie is a little depressing, as it's like the Star Wars I know and love has been cast aside for Disney's new money-printing agenda.

    If only they could re-write or exclude the Episode 1-3 crap and make it non-canon.

      The Episode 3 novelisation is far above the movie in terms of well written motivation and quality. There's actually time to see Anakins internal turmoil versus "You're a Sith now, kill some kids" "'Kay."

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