Timothy Zahn, and the New Star Wars

Timothy Zahn, author of The Thrawn Trilogy, weighs in on the new Star Wars trilogy and what – if any – effect the expanded universe will have on the films from here out.


To say that I was into Star Wars when I was growing up would be an understatement. As I saw it, the entire world revolved around Star Wars, and anyone who didn’t accept that just wasn’t worth my time. I wore out several VHS copies of the original trilogy, hoarded every toy I could find, and collected fucking pop cans with character’s faces on them. My daily attire was some ratty collage t-shirt and a C-3PO watch with eyes that lit up. I literally prefered nudity over any other outfit.

It’s a wonder I ever got laid.

As time went on, the majority of my obsession shifted to the novels. Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy absolutely blew me away, as did The New Jedi Order series many years later, which set the entire universe upside down. While Lucas was coming up with Jar Jar Binks, the original characters lived on and proceeded to do things that made the original trilogy look like grade school.

But everyone’s got to grow up some day, and Lucas helped spur that along with whatever the fuck the last twelve years of his career were. Star Wars doesn’t mean  much to me any more. At least, I’m not digging around for pop cans with faces on them. Progress, right? And yet, the news of Episode VII still managed to raise my hackles.

I am apprehensive, but not because Star Wars has worn out its welcome. The expanded universe holds just as many fond memories for me as the original trilogy, if not more. Will Episode VII spell the end to characters like Mara Jade, Jacen and Jaina Solo, or Ben Skywalker? Will the years of work authors put into the expanded universe – and the years I devoted to absorbing it – be downgraded to mere fan fiction? The best case scenario is exactly as Zahn describes: we jump precisely to these characters, with the Thrawn novels bridging the gap. But what about beyond that? We can pretty much kiss all the dark drama in New Jedi Order goodbye, and that makes me sad.

Whatever happens, Star Wars fans are in for an interesting ride. At the very least, it’s a relief that Lucas is finally letting go. It would be really great to love Star Wars again, and Disney could be the people to make it happen.

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