Stargate and Star Trek: Lessons LearnedMay 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Posted in Opinion | Leave a comment
Tags: star wars books
A few weeks ago I wrote in this blog about the demise of Stargate, where I thought it went wrong and how I thought the franchise should have been handled, which was basically stick with a winner; in their case SG-1. This was not by way of disrespecting the decisions that were made because the one thing about hindsight is that it’s spectacularly 20-20. It’s all well and good for me to sit here and write what should have been done after that horse has long left the barn especially as it wasn’t my creation or my money backing that particular horse. But there’s also nothing wrong with taking away a lesson or two from someone else’s decisions. And occasionally you even get to put those lessons to good use.
Well, now my first favorite sci-fi franchise is teaching me a lesson that I’m not particularly happy about learning. Fortunately, this time the powers that be have time to rectify things before Star Wars goes the way of Stargate. Not that it’s likely to because Star Wars has such a rich and vast universe to play in, but there’s one particular part of it that has me worried. No, I’m not talking about continuity. Continuity, in my opinion, is just the complaint du jour because there’s this general fan dissatisfaction abounding now. What I’m talking about is the post-ROTJ EU, and the biggest lesson I’m learning from this is:
Do not write the future into a corner.
That’s exactly where it is because after FOTJ where does the future go? The older, beloved characters are, well, getting older. Isn’t it about time they got some kind of master-emeritus status? Are Luke, Leia and the masters going to have to be physically saving the galaxy into their 80s? Don’t these people deserve some kind of easier life consisting of dispensing wise council after saving the galaxy how many times now?
They should but there’s only one problem with that. There’s no one to take their places. In one fashion or another the EU has lost the best and brightest of the younger generation. Anakin Solo = dead. Jacen Solo = dead. Tenel Ka = stuck in Hapes with her crazy nobles. Tahiri Viela = in no shape to be a Jedi. Jaina Solo = don’t get me started. She seems destined to head to the Imperial Remnant, produce Fell offspring and maybe found the Imperial Knights. But if not that, she’s about the worst missed opportunity in the EU. Nobody seems to be able to portray this woman properly as the Sword of the Jedi. Sword? Make that a stun gun. It’s enough to make a fan cry. There’s one single dynamic character left and that’s Ben Skywalker. I like Ben Skywalker maybe as much as I liked his dad 34 years ago, but even George Lucas didn’t expect a single dynamic character to carry his franchise.
As good as the Fate of the Jedi series is (and I really like this series) it’s not adding a much needed element to the Star Wars EU: the dynamic characters of Ben’s generation. Yes, there are other young characters, but I’d hardly characterize them as dynamic or heroic. They just aren’t in the Han, Leia, Lando league that gave Luke his support. Vestara Khai is a promising character but please spare me the Luke-Mara comparisons. I’d probably cry if any attempt to recreate that is perpetrated. That would be the height of recycled, unoriginal ideas. Besides, I’m not that into Oedipus complexes in my heroes.
So when you’ve killed off, negated or ignored all the promising dynamic characters that could support Ben where do you go? Maybe you look to the folks that rebooted Star Trek in such stunning(not to mention successful) fashion and learn some lessons from them. They really got it right, they revitalized the original Star Trek, and maybe that’s what needs to happen to the original Star Wars. Now before you come after me with pitchforks and torches just think about it. A reboot doesn’t toss out the original, beloved stories. What it does is give the fans another few decades of fantastic Star Wars adventures in an alternate universe. Both universes live side-by-side for everyone to enjoy, and the future possibilities are endless.
It’s a win for everyone, but most especially for the fans.