Here’s the thing about the new canon.
Essentially they want us to watch the Original Trilogy, completely invested in the fact that our heroes will triumph, and then they want us to watch The Force Awakens and just be totally OK with the fact that everything we were just presented with over the course of three films is out the window.
They want Star Wars fans to spend several hours watching Han and Leia’s love story, watching them fight for each other, overcome personal obstacles to be together, make incredible sacrifices for each other–they want us to spend ESB and ROTJ rooting for them, want us to watch Han hold her close as they both smile at the end of the trilogy, want us to be happy and hopeful and thrilled that their true love has made it through–and then they want us to watch TFA and see that their marriage failed, and they want us to accept it.
They want us to get invested in our heroes–in Han and Luke and Leia–and desperately hope that they all make it through. They want us to be invested in their personal allegiances to one another to the point that we KNOW that Han will come back at the battle of Yavin for Luke and Leia, we KNOW that he’ll go out into freezing conditions to rescue Luke, we KNOW that he’ll run into Echo Base to rescue Leia on Hoth, we KNOW that Luke will ignore his Jedi Masters and abandon his training to go rescue Leia and Han on Bespin, we KNOW that Leia will risk her safety to go back for Luke at Cloud City, we KNOW that Luke and Leia will leave the rebellion and put themselves at risk to rescue Han, WE KNOW WE KNOW WE KNOW. The new canon wants us to sit there KNOWING ALL THESE THINGS, knowing that they are the most important damn things in the galaxy to one another, knowing that they’re family and that they love each other. They want us to know it and be invested in it and root for it–root for the strength of that bond and that loyalty and root for them all to make it through together–for all of them to triumph together. And they do!
And then TFA wants us to COMPLETELY CHANGE OUR MINDS and accept that all of that is destroyed. That bond is broken. Luke has abandoned his friends for some reason. Han has left Leia. Leia is all alone. And not only has that crucial bond just been cast aside, but their triumphs have all been undone. Empire defeated?? Welcome to Empire 2.0!!! Death Stars destroyed??? Welcome to Death Star 3.0!!!! Vader redeemed???? Welcome to Vader 2.0, and even worse, he’s your own damn son/nephew AND he kills Han!!!!!! It just takes their victory and deconstructs every single piece of it, and the only possible way that that maybe could have been tolerable would have been if AT LEAST they were still together, still true to the loyalty we knew, unstoppable and united no matter what new dangers they face, and they’re NOT. The Original Trio, the most beloved and iconic characters of all time, are just completely leveled to NOTHING. Fractured and broken up and reduced to these miserable un-versions of themselves. And the new canon wants you, as a Star Wars fan to accept this, because “Don’t worry!! We have these three shiny NEW heroes for you!!!! They’ll get a happy ending for sure!!!!” But??? What??? I don’t give a shit about their ending, what about the ending we were already supposed to have had???? The one you made me hope for for three damn movies??? The one I was lead to believe was true???? What about that ending??????
No, they decided that they were going to go back thirty years after the fact and change it.
But wait, you say, how did this happen??? How could these people at Lucasfilm who were claiming to “protect” Star Wars destroy Luke and Leia and Han like that?? How could they write a Han Solo who abandons Leia to do all the fighting all alone when there’s a fascist regime routinely trying to kill her and their son is a part of it and her brother has vanished without a trace??? How could they write a Luke who’s evidently turned his back on the galaxy–on the FAMILY–that needs him??? How could they have DESTROYED LEIA’S WHOLE LIFE????? ALL of their lives???? And for seemingly no reason!!!! They could have easily written a movie to introduce the new characters and create conflict without dismantling every single thing about our beloved trio and their dynamic. But they didn’t. They slaughtered them.
And then you listen to these people speak. And they start saying things like Leia clearly could never have been an attentive mother because she was too preoccupied with politics and her career. Han could never have been happy settling down and committing to something–not even his family–so OBVIOUSLY he left and he’s smuggling again. Han and Leia were too incompatible and could never have worked. Luke is off in EXILE because AREN’T ALL JEDI MASTERS SUPPOSED TO BE IN EXILE???????????
And you’re just. You’re floored. You’re blown away. It’s like those people didn’t even fucking WATCH Star Wars. Did they completely miss the fact that Leia’s character arc is about learning to care about things that aren’t the rebellion, and learning to rely on people–not just herself???? Did they not see how much she’s already lost–LITERALLY HER ENTIRE WORLD–and how much she had to suffer before she finally got something that was hers again? Did they not see the hell she had to go through to get it???? Did they really think she would throw that away after all that–did they think that LEIA of all people couldn’t have balanced a career and a family????
Were they just twiddling their thumbs when HAN SOLO’S ENTIRE FREAKING STORY IS ABOUT REALIZING THAT HE’S NOT A SMUGGLER, NOT SELFISH, NOT THAT MAN ANYMORE–MAYBE NEVER REALLY WAS THAT MAN. LEARNING TO COMMIT–TO STAY WITH LEIA AND LUKE AND THE REBELS AND SACRIFICE HIMSELF IF NEED BE????? HIS ENTIRE GROWTH AS A CHARACTER WAS AWAY FROM SELFISHNESS AND FLIGHTINESS. HE BECAME A STEADFAST, BRAVE, DEPENDABLE MAN COMMITTED TO HIS FRIENDS AND HIS LOVE AND THE CAUSE. HOW DID THEY WATCH THOSE FILMS AND SAY “WELL HAN COULD NEVER SETTLE DOWN.”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Did they not notice that Luke’s DEFINING characteristic throughout the original trilogy is his loyalty to his loved ones??? His utter refusal to let harm come to them–to give up on them?? His refusal to abandon them???? And then they want us to believe that he… abandoned them?????
So essentially the thing about the new canon is that people who don’t understand Star Wars are suddenly in charge of Star Wars, and they go back and ignore the characterization of three entire films and present us with material that is entirely contradictory of the original trilogy, and then they don’t understand why people have reacted negatively.
And then of course you get fans screaming about how it’s REALISTIC this way.
When the fuck did you get the idea that Star Wars is supposed to be realistic??????? Star Wars is NOT about realism. It’s a Space Fairytale. An epic saga. It’s not supposed to be Game of Thrones grimdark jam in the tragedy. It was never like that for forty years. It was never presented that way. George Lucas was ADAMANT in making this point. And that’s why it resonated with so many people–that’s why it was such a success. Because it was uplifting. It was inspiring. It touched that part of our hearts where those fairytales live–where it’s possible for our heroes to go up against the forces of evil and WIN and have a happy ending. That’s why they gave Luke and Leia and Han the happy fucking ending!!!!
And the thing with the new canon is that they don’t care. They don’t care about “protecting Star Wars.” They don’t care about what Star Wars stands for. They don’t care about what George Lucas created. They care about money. They don’t want you to be invested in Han and Luke and Leia anymore. They want you to care about Finn and Rey and Poe, and apparently no one at Lucasfilm understood that they didn’t have to destroy the old characters to get people to like the new ones.
And for the record, just because the people delivering this truly appalling “new canon” horrorshow AU are Disney and Lucasfilm does NOT mean that I have to accept it all as true. They don’t understand Star Wars, they don’t care about it, they’re not its original creator, and I don’t have to accept a single thing they say.
That’s the thing about the new canon.