20 New Books Will Tie Films Together. This fall, Disney plans on releasing a series of at least 20 novels, storybooks and sticker books that will fill in the gaps between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Disney Worldwide Publishing and Lucasfilm Press have confirmed that the stories will be filled with Easter eggs that foreshadow the events of the upcoming Force Awakens film.
Last year, fans were outraged after Lucasfilm announced that the 30 years’ worth of novels, comics and video games that previously filled their Star Wars void would be discarded from official Star Wars lore. Once Disney acquired Star Wars with the intention of producing new films, the franchise’s convoluted extended universe history became an issue.
The new series-bridging group of titles will be called Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and span multiple publishers. The work is a collaboration between a large group of novelists, editors and the movie franchise’s screenwriters.
The Force Awakens is an extraordinarily, heavily guarded storyline. To track it, a lot of top-secret meetings were happening up in San Francisco as we worked through this program. The company is managing the release through its own imprints as well as at least seven outside companies, among them sci-fi publisher Del Rey, DK, and Marvel Comics.
The partnership with the story group and the editorial team always had to be true to the sanctity of the film while making sure that we find these moments to introduce hints, clues, and puzzle pieces. Without revealing what those pieces are, it will just allow readers to speculate about the new film: What could a location mean, or what could a character mean?
The cynic in me sees this move as a blatant cash grab on par with sports teams changing their uniforms every couple of seasons in order to keep fans on a merchandise chasing hamster wheel. There are millions of passionate fan’s who have embraced Star Wars extended universe products and it seems like a punch in the face to turn around and tell them that none of that matters any longer. That being said, I can understand the need to give the universe a “soft reboot” in the face of a Star Wars cinematic rebirth.
For years George Lucas ruled his franchise with an iron fist and never intended to keep making new Star Wars titles well into his seventies. For a long while, not getting any cinematic successors to Return of the Jedi seemed like a fairly safe bet. Extended universe titles could let their imaginations run wild because they never had to worry about conflicting with new films in the Star Wars universe. Now that new movies are on the way, the extended universe’s complicated history severely limits the directions in which the new films can go. Disney needed to find away to unshackle the franchise and disregarding the extended universe was the quickest way to do it.
Due to the passage of time from the last film and age of the original cast it would also be difficult to bridge the gap between films on the silver screen. Disney could try and retell the stories taking place after Return of the Jedi by casting younger actors in the roles of Han, Luke and Leia, but with the iconic status of the characters, the film could get hit with a level of backlash far worse than that faced by The Phantom Menace. Filling in the gaps through books is the easiest as well as least offensive way for Disney to allow fans to play catch up.
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Source: Entertainment Weekly