Are Tie-Ins and Expanded Universes Taboo For Most Fans?

When I was a kid, it wasn’t enough to just watch the Star Wars movies; reading the comics and playing with the toys were pretty much essential parts of the whole experience. Same thing, later, with Transformers, which were as much about the comics and cartoon as they were the toys (or vice versa). These days, though, I feel as if “expanded universes” gets a bad reputation. Why?

There was a conversation on Twitter earlier this week where various people owned up to having read Star Trek novels as if it was something socially unacceptable, or at least frowned upon; I read the tweets with something between embarrassment and bewilderment, because I got through my fair share of Trek tie-ins when I was a teenager, filling the gaps between seasons of The Next Generation or movies with books by Peter David – by far my favorite of the novelists – and others, but I also feel some sense of… shame, somehow, in admitting that publicly. But I don’t really understand why, just as I don’t understand why it’s fine to be into the Star Wars movies and Clone Wars TV show, but reading the comics or novels is somehow geekier – same with Doctor Who spin-offs, or Battlestar Galactica or whatever.

Is it the quality of the tie-ins? There’s definitely a feeling – Somewhat deserved, admittedly – that tie-in novels and other expanded universe product have a somewhat lower level of quality control than the core stories in the original medium, and so perhaps some of the “unacceptability” of tie-in stories and the franchising out of series comes from snobbery or just plain unwillingness to consider what is seen to be “unnecessary” inferior additions to the canon. Or perhaps it’s the idea that, because the stories aren’t happening in the original format, they aren’t canon, and therefore don’t matter in the grand scheme of things… or is that too insular and “fanboyish” an argument?

Maybe “fan boyishness” is the key. It may be, after all, that delving into the expanded universe demonstrates a devotion to whatever franchise far beyond the casual relationship that can be easily dismissed or played for irony; a sign that you’re actually a fan who’s willing to devote additional levels of time and money to follow the adventures and stories of favorite fictional characters. Reading the tie-in books, comics and whatnot comes from a completist nature that is one of the few parts of the nerd stereotype that, tellingly, hasn’t become cool as geeks and nerds take over mainstream culture; making jokes about C3-PO and Boba Fett is one thing, but start talking about Mara Jade or Cade Skywalker and watch out for the looks of quiet contempt.

Of course, maybe I’m wrong, and expanded universe material isn’t as out there as it seems. Use the comments, people: Who reading this goes for the novels and the comics and the webisodes and all the expanded material for their favorite movies and show? And do you think it’s the kind of thing that is as easily accepted as the original material?

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Comments

  • Tae

    It’s not so much that they are taboo. I just can’t make myself care about them.

  • EMTurner13

    More often than not, I enjoy the Expanded universe stuff more than the actual original material.

  • Piercep525

    I read all the Star Wars novels that take place post Jedi because that’s the only place you can get a continuation of the story of the original characters since Lucas says there is no story for him beyond ROTJ. Personally, I like being a devoted fan who is willing to go beyond just the source material because it shows I really am a fan. I am proud to say I know who Cade Skywalker is, and I don’t give a rat’s ass if someone gives me a weird look because of it. I was a geek long before Big Bang made geeks cool, so I am used to the weird looks. As long as they put it out, I will read it. 

  • http://www.johnpariah.wordpress.com/ John Olesen

    there are a lot of fans who only want to read the “main story”. I remember my friend who used to run a comic book shop-talking about a customer who only wanted to read “the Real Spiderman, not that Ultimate crap. The REAL Spiderman”…..its a mentality that does make companies do stupid things like say-reboot your entire company instead of releasing your own “Ultimate” style line…..not that I’m looking at anybody in particular…DC…..

  • Ill_made_knight

    Frankly I get bored spending all my time with the same universe. I enjoy Star Wars and I also enjoy Star Trek. I enjoyed Harry Potter and still enjoy Harry Dresden. Battlestar was a great TV show, but so is Castle. There are too many great stories out there for me to devote all my attention to one particular universe to the point I spend extra time and money hunting down all the books, comics, or toys. Even as a kid, I played with Transformers but would need to switch up with GI Joe or Masters of the Universe every so often. 

  • MyTwoCents

    Exploring expanded universes involves a commitment to go beyond the surface and get deeper into a subject.  Explaining it this way, doesn’t it make sense that people tend to shy away from that?  Who wants to go below the surface and explore anything in depth anymore? 

  • Patrick

    Know what is weird, I have avoided reading expanded universe comics and novels because of this unspoken standard. I have walked by the section in barnes and noble and browsed the books but never once have I bought one. I think there is also a sense of the stories not being “authentic”, and you touched on that a bit. 

  • Jim

    As to the quality of the tie-ins, I’d take most of the novels I’ve read in the Star Wars EU over the prequel trilogy any day of the week.

  • Patrick

    That is a pretty cynical outlook. There are plenty of people who do, I doubt that people are avoid tie-ins because they are too lazy to explore a universe more deeply.

  • sandwich eater

    Tie-ins have sort of a shameless quality to them.  I feel like they arise from a large company exploiting the fans’ love of their franchises.  Also, with Star Trek and Star Wars there are so many tie-ins that it’s pretty much impossible to read everything.  I tend to be a completist when it comes to my entertainment, but I’ve given up on expanded universes because I know that they grow faster than I can keep up with them.  The other thing that I don’t like is that tie-ins tend to needlessly convolute the continuity of the core story.

  • http://twitter.com/JoeTeulon Joe Teulon

    It’s exactly the same with superhero films. People won’t read the comic books as it’s “sad”, “geeky” etc. Plus, you have to remember comics simply aren’t as available as people would like to think. Even if someone randomly decides to go “YEAH! I’ll buy the comics”, like they’re going to know where to go?

  • http://twitter.com/Linktm Link

    There are a number of factors to take in, and it really comes down to two things…

    - Quality of Material
    - Creators Stance on the Canonicity of Material

    Buffy Season 8 is Canon. Despite what “purists” say. Joss is 100% backing it, hell, he’s writing it. It’s not a small step above fan fiction because the creators/writers are heavily involved. Sure, people might argue that the quality of Season 8′s ending was terrible, and they should’ve just left well enough alone with Season 7′s high note of an ending, but it’s still canon regardless.

    Now, the latest Mass Effect Book is sort of kind of canon, except it’s HORRIBLY written. It got to the point where Bioware is RETCONNING the book and rereleasing it without all the inconsistencies to canon, etc. They’re taking that VERY seriously, so… there’s another example of where these tie-ins aren’t just pointless side-stories.

    I think when you can get all sorts of different content of a story, and it all ties together in a neat little package, that’s something very special. I crave this kind of stuff, which is why I LOVE Warcraft (and pretty much any of Blizzard’s stuff) because they tie everything in. Thrall was a book character before he was a game character (ok, maybe he was gonna be in a cancelled point and click adventure game first, but still.) They make everything connect, I feel extra informed because I know and have read character backstories and all this lore and other stuff and it just makes everything click better and the special moments resonate more. Expanded stuff is ALWAYS awesome when handled properly, much like anything else in life.

  • http://twitter.com/AnakinFlair Andrew Niehaus

    Expanded Universe material can be good as long as, for the most part, the original creator can leave it well enough alone and let the authors tell the stories they want. There’s no need, for example, for say George Lucas to suddenly decide, halfway through a very long series of books, that he doesn’t want another hero named Anakin because he things the general audience is to stupid to tell Anakin Solo apart from Anakin Skywalker. Or allowing an author to create a rich history for the Mandalorians, just to completely disregard it for his crappy cgi cartoon show. 

    Just an example.

  • kisstour03

    I’m the type of person who says “Read,collect,or eat whatever you want.” It’s your enjoyment that matters. If knowing what happened to Wollrow Hood matters to you, go for it. See what I did there.hehehe

  • Cire

    The main reason I shy away from Star Wars comics or novels is that at any point in time George Lucas will have an idea and then all the time I invested in the expanded universe will be proven to be a waste of time.  At least with the Marvel comics we were waiting between movies and the adventures seemed natural if the story was good. 

  • Rene

    I avoid tie-ins for the same reason I avoid many sequels and re-makes. There is too much stuff to read or to watch, and too little time. I reserve my devotion to the media as a whole, instead of specific franchises.

    Now, tie-in works aren’t necessarily of lower quality. But I feel that, like sequels and re-makes, Sturgeon’s Law resets for them. 90% of everything is crap. The movie you loved may have passed and is among the 10%, but any sequels or tie-ins have the same 90% chance of being crap. I won’t waste my time with them just because they feature character X or world Y.

  • Kev From Atl

    Peter David is good, but my favorite of the Star Trek novelists was the team of Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. Read Federation and tell me that it is not vastly better than most of the Star Trek shows and movies. I always felt that if they had made Federation the basis of the first Star Trek TOS/Star Trek Next Gen movie we would have been spared the embarrassment of Star Trek: Generations. And yes, most of their books written with William Shatner are good too. Great stuff.

  • Anonymous

    It’s C-3PO… -10 nerd points…

  • Mhxander

    I actually don’t like the Clone Wars stuff that much.  A lot more interested in the extended universe stuff, because it’s not just flashy stuff aimed at kids.

  • Darkstream

    For me, it’s more about drawing a line and limiting how much money and time I spend on a franchise than it is about upholding some standard level of geekiness. I really just can’t afford to invest in an expanded universe when it just keeps on expanding! Holding that criteria makes me a more critically selective and appreciative fan instead of some compulsive fanatical collector that must obsessively own everything related to any particular franchise. And let’s face it, whether it’s Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Star Trek, Transformers, Godzilla, or whatever, not everything made for franchises are worthy gems. 

  • http://twitter.com/russburlingame Russ Burlingame

    Agreed completely. That said, I have no problem revisiting the universes I really like–especially if there’s a little time in between–provided the story is compelling. Things like “Tag and Blink Are Dead” tend to work better for me, since they’re self-contained and have a “hook” to them–than just the ongoing Star Wars comic book soap opera.

  • http://costak.wordpress.com/ Costa K

    Depending on the level of quality, tie-in materials of an expanded universe are awesome. The STAR WARS expanded universe outside of the movies is a great example. The novels and comics in particular are stellar in terms of continuing the stories and the lives of characters I love(d), not to mention keeping it fresh and interesting within that world with new characters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brodieisgod Brodie Searcy

    I read the Doctor Who comics and novels because I just can’t wait for the next episode. And a lot of them range from pretty good to excellent. Only one of the novels I read was a turd.

  • http://squidoo.com/retroblogs Atomic Kommie Comics

    In the “old days” tie-ins and novelizations varied wildly in quality.
    For example, while most of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. novels sucked, the ones by David McDaniel were superb and even had their own novel-to-novel continuity.
    His The Prisoner novel was the best of the three.

    Trek novels have ranged from competent (The Blish and Foster novelizations) to superb (Vonda McEntire’s II/III/IV movie novelizations and David’s novels) to fandrek.

    With Trek, the big problem was…what was canon?
    It was irritating to see something in print, then see it contradicted on tv or movies!

    Star Wars began with a similar problem.
    The first movie’s novelization contains lots of background on the Empire, the fall of the Republic, and the Emperor…and almost all of it was contradicted by Return of the Jedi (Don’t even ask about the prequels!)
    Admittedly, it’s been tightened up since then, but what has resulted is a flood of books about minor characters that only a Lucas Zombie (like Marvel Zombies, but geekier) would care about.

  • Wagner Silveira

    I don’t know… At least with Start Wars (which is my biggest geek passion), most of the people that I know flows easily from the movies to the expanded universe. Maybe because the Star Trek (and Doctor Who for the matter) has much more material, it might be frowned upon, but I don’t remember anyone saying anything about “you’re a geek” or (what would be more realistic) “No! That is not canon as it didn’t happen in the movies”… :-D 

  • Fury1978

    I read the Trek novels and I love them. There’s a lot of quality stuff out there. Some of it is even better than the stuff on TV (Kirsten Beyer’s recent 3 Voyager novels manage to make Chakotay in to a good character!!!).

    Plus it’s a great way to see stuff TV or even movies could never do; like a Borg Cube eating Pluto (yes, really) or loads of cool aliens that are more than a rubber forehead.

    I used to read the SW novels but gave up after the New Jedi Order, except for the Republic Commando novels until they went bye-bye.

  • Coryjameson

    Most tie-ins are garbage. I tried reading the ALIENS comics from Dark Horse. BUT THEY SUCK – even when the art is amazing. Maybe the FIREFLY comics were somewhat OK but without the Actors’ contribution of their performances it reads very sterile. Fringe comics are worthless. 

  • http://twitter.com/ZiggyFakeMcCoy Ziggy Blumenthal

    I think the problem most people have with expanded universe and tie-ins is they have no real effect on the franchise. They can write a novel that takes place between 2 seasons of Star Trek, but no episode in that following season with rely on, or even refer to, the events of that novel, they way it might the events of previous episodes. And the writer of that novel will be forced leave the characters where they started so the show can pick up where the previous season left off. That makes these tie-ins feel at best inconsequential, at worst COMPLETELY superfluous. 

    Also the lack of involvement of the creators of the source material can make these stories feel “not real.” Basically glorified fan-fiction. 

    I actually don’t think there’s a stigma of nerdiness in reading tie-ins and EU stories nowadays. Hell you’d probably get a weirder look nowadays just from reading a BOOK, more than the fact that it’s a Star Trek book. On that more people will probably just wonder what’s the point since it’s not the “real” story.

  • Maccrack

    is it possible for you to have an article that isn’t phrased in the form of a question that really has no purpose?

  • Yanks5179

    From what I gathered, the expanded version of Star Wars is how and why Boba Fett gained so much popularity.  You watch the original trilogy and he has, what, five minutes of total screen time and yet he was somehow a fan favorite largely because of his continued adventures and backstory.

  • Demoncat4

    its not so much taboo as fans who are so in love with the source  material finding it almost unsacred to be expanding and revealing long kept secrets that one has the answers in their fantasy about like the clone wars finaly being made a reality for  star wars fans.

  • Fredmanson

    I do not love the Star Wars movies (I found them boring now after all these years…), I have never read the prose novels, but I greatly like the comic books published in the Titan UK reprint deluxe comic book: Star Wars Galaxy.

    Why? Because it is really an expand of what I can say to be a clearly closed universe which is living within the movies. It is also an excellent point to find what your are much hooked in this expanded universe than in the movies.

    For Star Trek, I was a fan fro the old TV series, I am a fan of STTNG/STDS9 and a huge fan of STV. I have not seen the last TV show. I am eager to wait each time the next ST movie!!!
    I have read some (badly translated) prose novels which have brought me a lot of informations about the characters backgrounds. But I was bored to read the extras about the new civilizations, technologies, etc. I never tried the comic books because they are not well worth the (expensive) price and about the stories qualities.

    I am still waiting for the Dune comic book adaptation to be published (when? Mystery…) by Boom! Studios. I have not really loved the first release of the movie. I am still looking for the complete edition on DVD. I have really loved the two TV adaptations series. I am sad that there is no more news about the sequels…
    And of course, I am fond of the main books! I have only read the main books because I had the time in this period, then the work time increasing, I have left them. Now, I am ready to read them in English, the main ones and all the prequel/sequel/extras ones!! This universe is so huge that I am still being hypnotized by this immensity of cultures, of races, of technologies, politics and religions.

    About other universes, like Shannara and The Wheel of Time, the books are so complete that it is really useless to read extras (except maybe the comic book adaptation of The Wheel of Time). Movies and TV adaptations will not bring enough, because these books are complete.

    One book series I want to be expanded is The Black Company. The really affordable 4 big books are great, the story is complete for these books, but it lacks an expanded before/after universe. There is so many potential there. It is one of my project to adapt these books in graphic novels. Who knows…

    To finish, I nearly have almost all the books of the D&D Dragonlance saga. Books themselves are sympathetic, well documented but I will not buy the RPG module/companion books about this huge universe. It is so expanded that if I want to know everything, I might spend a ton of money to have all this universe backgrounds. Beside, I really love the comic books which are “closed” on the main stories and the main characters.

  • Jamie Groovement

    maybe because of the canon thing, like they could be made redundant at any time by new episodes

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MCCYFBKHPASDV7JESTCWBFRD6U Keil

    I disagree. It was exactly his silent mysteriousness that gave him a
    mystique in Empire. “Who is this guy who barely speaks – yet who is
    smart enough to track Han where all the other bounty hunters did not”. Sometimes less is more when building a character with an aura

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MCCYFBKHPASDV7JESTCWBFRD6U Keil

    Shadows of the Empire for the N64 for best tie-in ever

  • GraemeCrackakilla

    Are Graeme Macmillan articles a bit too stupid for most fans?

  • http://twitter.com/MrNailsin Douglas Nelson

    People worry about really stupid things.

  • Mythos

    Expanded universes are so nerdy! That’s why I’m only watching the Marvel movies and ignoring all those tie-in comics – you know, the Captain America comics and the like. Those are just shameless money grabbers!

    Just in case someone doesn’t figure it out: I’m kidding. I honestly think some expanded universes end up being better than the “official, canon” stuff – take Star Wars, for instance. Most stuff is way better than the prequel trilogy, and the official novelizations manage to actually improve those movies. Plus, without the EU, the movies have a big gap in the form of the Clone Wars.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HT2CNBVRTMLRUJHB6G7VMPTFQM Jonathan Nathan

    Your second paragraph is absolutely the correct answer. That’s why. And it’s not just about tie-ins and expanded universes. It’s just about genuine interest. I wear a Justice League T-shirt and it’s good for a giggle; start talking about Aztek, and I get blank stares.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HT2CNBVRTMLRUJHB6G7VMPTFQM Jonathan Nathan

    Interesting thought, yeah. I agree that back in the day, even as recently as the late 1990s, the tie-ins varied wildly in quality, and so what you got was some really awful stuff (Courtship of Princess Leia) and some incredible stuff (the two Boba Fett short stories from Tales From Jabba’s Palace and Tales of the Bounty Hunters.) Today, everything seems so tightly controlled and supervised that there’s no variation. Like all too many genre-fiction properties, the story is determined by committee, and the “writer” is just the dude actually typing it out. It leads to a stream of consistent mediocrity. I liked the high highs of the old days, and I’ll take the low lows to get them.

  • http://twitter.com/Tiradyn Eric Rich

    I think it has a lot to do with the level of quality.  If it’s a AAA product, there is no shame at all.  If you’re talking about the made-for-tv Ewoks movies, um, yeah, there’s your problem.  I’ve only read a few of the Star Trek novels, but even among those few, there is a vast ocean of difference in quality.  I loved Star Wars and Transformers, but I never really cared that much for the Marvel comics for either.  There were ok, but they never really seemed to fit.  G.I. Joe, on the other had, was the exact opposite.  The comics were arguably better than the show, and both were exceptional, compared to then or now.  As far as canon goes, if something blatantly states it’s not canon (which does happen), I won’t bother.  I personally consider Shadows of the Empire and Dark Empire far more canon than Phantom Menace.  Hell, KOTOR 1 & 2 as well, for that matter.  But to answer your original question: yes, of course it’s geekier.  Very much so, but if someone has a problem with that stigma, they really probably need a different hobby.

  • Ziza9

    The stories of Revan, Bastilla, the Exile, the Sith Lords, etc. from KOTOR and KOTOR II have become more canon to me than the prequel trilogy. While I’ve given up hope (finally) of ever seeing a KOTOR3, those games and their world added a ton to the Star Wars mythos in my opinion. Some older Dark Horse series and novels also kept my love of Star Wars going. But those two games…classic. 

  • http://twitter.com/sillymander sillymander

    The actual issue seems to be that, per Lucas, none of any of the novels are canon – not even Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.  And, given that Lucas is into revising and retelling even the stories he’s written, my respect for even the original work has waned since the release of Jedi.  Any looks you receive from me may be perceived as “weird” if you like, but it’s more based on my respect for your perseverance in the face of disrespect from Lucas. And, well, the  understanding by most of us that the non-canon Del Rey books provide a more consistent, richer environment than his films.

    And that leads to the only odd thing about expanded universe products, from my perspective – it’s not that the people who latch-on to them are weird. It’s that the product in many cases is labeled non-canon for no good reason.

  • Turtletrekker

    The post DS9-finale and post-Nemesis 24th century Star Trek books (of all series) have been largely excellent due to the fact that being set after the shows are over, writers are free to take the stories in any number of directions that they couldn’t with stories set during the runs of the shows.

    We’ve had major characters killed off (Janeway in “Before Dishonor” and Scotty in “Indistinguishable From Magic”), the ultimate Borg story (The “Destiny” trilogy by David Mack, which isn’t just merely good Trek, but damn good sci-fi), an entirely new status quo for the Alpha Quadrant  with the establishment of the Typhon Pact (the Romulans, the Gorn, the Tzinkethi, the Tholians and the Breen forming their own Federation-like alliance), a founding member if the Federation secceeding and Voyager actually being among the best of the lot. 

    In the 23rd century, there is the amazing Vanguard serie, which is wrapping up next month.

  • Raskal66

    I don’t think it’s taboo.  Far less people are going to understand the additional novels, or extended comics, or movie prequels when in company that does not share your enthusiasm, but I don’t think it’s “unacceptable” to dignified company.  Take Dune.  Frank Herbert wrote 6 books, yet I only read 3 and do not intend to go further because I got what I needed out of those three books (brought to my attention by watching the Lynch movie.)  I’m not going to judge negatively anyone who completed the Herbert books or went deeper and collects and reads all things Dune.  I just might not relate to discussions about their additional material, but who am I to judge?  Anyone who thinks you’re less of a person for enjoying these things more than the casual level of interest probably is not your friend anyway so who cares what they think?

    I think this statement in the article best summed it up:
    “Maybe “fan boyishness” is the key. It may be, after all, that delving
    into the expanded universe demonstrates a devotion to whatever franchise
    far beyond the casual relationship that can be easily dismissed or
    played for irony; a sign that you’re actually a fan who’s willing to
    devote additional levels of time and money to follow the adventures and
    stories of favorite fictional characters.”

  • Anonymous

    for me it was star wars and their expanded universe which was filled with colorful characters and deep histories.
    i prefer them over the prequels, special editions, etc.  as they had a history of continuity.  episode 2 left such a bad taste in my mouth that i don’t think i’ve read a single expanded book since.

  • Fury1978

    the best Trek novels these days are set after the end of the respective shows or are new characters and situations in the Trek universe. and therefore can (and do) anything they like.

  • Lord Prong

    Your loss, particularly when it comes to Star Trek novels.  A large majority of the novels are better than the actual shows.

    Embarrassed about reading Star Trek/ Wars novels? Really? What a fucking retarded thought pattern.  Anyone embarrassed about something they enjoy, like Graeme, needs a good slap across the back of their head!

  • William Hodge

    We really shouldn’t be ashamed of anything we enjoy whether society accepts it or not.

  • http://twitter.com/Linktm Link

     If we’re speaking strictly Star Wars/Trek, I can feel you. If we’re talking any other number of franchises… they keep a tighter lid on that stuff nowadays.

  • P3

    The expanded universe isn’t really as accepted as the original medium for most people, but fans who want more stories about their favourite characters; they take them just fine when, and only when, they like them.

    Maybe some people just feel ashamed because buy them it’s a guilty pleasure, it’s like if you can’t let go something even after it’s truly over, and keep coming back to them.

    In my case, I loved Charmed TV series, now I’m hooked into the comic books.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shonuff77 Kalu Ekeh

    Personally I dig the Expanded universe material on both Star Trek and Star Wars.  

  • Fer

    Actually, Lucas is one of the few who considers darn near every tie-in ever made to be *in* canon.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_wars_canon

  • WeaponX

    I’m with you on the Anakin stuff.  The Karen Davis stuff I am totally on the opposite side.  The Mandalorian thing was getting way out of hand.  She turned them into heroes which they were never intended to be and really tried to degrade the Jedi with them.  Not to mention they became a bunch of Bobba Fett clones which robbed that character of his uniqueness and turned the Mandos into a group of super heroes instead of mercenaries.  I’m all for making a good back story but when that story starts to try and change the dynamics of the universe at that point you are just poking the bear.  I hate most of what George does to change the orginals and the way he treats the EU but in this case I totally understand.  She was trying to create her own little universe out of George’s universe. 

    I won’t even get into how much more sense that crappy cgi cartoon show’s treatment of the characters are.  Though I know it really ticks of some fans to see a Mandalorian who isn’t the equal of fifteen Jedi.

  • WeaponX

    He was popular from the movies but then all these novels ran with it and it ruined the character for me.  He became too cool for the franchise in the EU.  He was the smartest most fearsome warrior who ever lived, never mind he was killed by a blind guy with a stick.  Oh yea and he could never be killed he has been resurected more times than your average super hero.  Luke could carve him into pieces with his lightsaber and Han could blast the pieces until nothing was left and he would still come back to life.  Its frankly kind of embarasing how obsessed some Star Wars fans are with the guy.

  • Anonymous

    Is this really so mysterious? Licensed material tends to vary widely in quality and is generally put together by folks with limited or no connection to the original creators. That means that it’s frequently out-of-step with the original in terms of plot and tone. Furthermore, spin-offs of TV shows and movie in other media lack the presence of the actors who are often one of the main draws. (Young Harrison Ford is awesome, but a picture of young Harrison Ford is just a picture.)

    The spin-off material that tends to be most popular is the material that receives the stamp of approval from the original creators or (better yet) their involvement. Still, Clone Wars is never going to be as popular as the Star Wars movies and the Buffy Comics will never be embraced by some fans of the TV show.

  • Anonymous

    Two things for me on why I usually avoid tie-ins:  #1 Expanded universe tie-ins are rarely under the purview of the creators of the original.  While the quality can vary, just like in the original, the vision is usually quite different and varied, too much for me since I’m often already dealing with variation in the original given the different writers and directors involved.

    #2 Canon.  Some people don’t care.  I do.  It is OK for a great story to be character masturbation as long as its done right – Yesterday’s Enterprise is a perfect example of ta story with no consequence that still has a powerful story – but in the original movie, TV show, etc. I know there are almost always consequences to each action and there is a possibility, however small, that there will be lasting change caused by an action.  This is especially true nowadays with the commitment to overarching story-telling in TV shows and movie sequels.  In the tie-ins tho, I know at the end of the story the status quo will be maintained.  The exceptions of course are the truly tangential tie-ins – I’m thinking of Star Trek: New Frontier which uses wholly unique characters - but even they have severe limitations based on the original.

    I’m not saying a tie-in can’t be enjoyed.  I watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars because I like good animation.  It also happens to be a series that I find has a (somewhat) interesting over-arching story. However, I go in accepting that every character that appears in Episode 3 will absolutely definitely not be overly affected by anything that goes on in this series.  I must also say that after 3 seasons I’m getting bored with the endless skirmishes that never seem to go anywhere.  There are no real stakes in the story so nothing of value is at risk.  It’s taken 50 episodes to get to where we are – which is pretty much where we started – but this series has reached the same conclusion as every other tie-in: no consequences.

    Now if ST:TCW was to suddenly invoke a timeline split, well then THAT would be very interesting.  Until then, meh.

  • T. Esdras

    It’s true that some of it is garbage, but then a few are better than the original medium making it all worthwhile. I love delving deep into a good book or whatever, it’s just harder to find the golden stuff and that makes it a frustrating experience for a lot of us. Relax man.

  • T. Esdras

    That’s all canon in my head ;)

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • redshirt

    It’s kind of pointless to read Star Trek novels considering that they are not considered canon.  They’re just glorified fan fiction.  I’d rather be reading something that actually matters to the evolution of the characters.

  • Wil

    I realize many people can’t enjoy stories that are outside the canon because they feel they aren’t “real” Star Trek (or Dr. Who, or James Bond, or what have you) stories, but guess what, people – they’re **all** imaginary stories.  Enjoy.

  • Rogal6166

    I don’t care about them, either. The closest thing to a Star Wars expanded universe I ever liked was some of the old Jedi Knight games. Hcck, I even have one on my computer still. I guess he put references to them in the prequels like that lady during the Pod Race and the fact that young Han Solo wasn’t seen on Chewbacca’s home planet. The original intention was that Han Solo was an orphan who was raised by the Wookies. I guess it doesn’t matter, though.

  • Ironpool007

    I like expanded universes. I’m into games like Mass Effect, Dead Space, Halo, and Army of Two, and I’ll gladly take anything I can get my hands on to expand my knowledge of those games. And I enjoy seeing how the characters are handled in different mediums. The way I see it is if you like something, why not have more of it?

  • Turtletrekker

    Whether or not a story is “canon” is the most absolute pointless, meaningless and irrelevant thing to judge a story on. The only thing that matters is if the story is good. After all, none of it is real, and just about every franchise contradicts its own official canon at some point or another anyway. That’s why they call it “fiction”. NONE of it is Canon.

  • http://twitter.com/sillymander sillymander

     Reread your link page.
    Actually, GEORGE LUCAS considers it non-canon, a “Parallel Universe” (his words, not mine).
    Lucasfilm Limited’s Allan Kausch can say whatever he wants, to make fanboys happy.  George doesn’t care.  And unless George Lucas cares, your point is moot to me.