We the Star Wars fan community have often compared ourselves with Alderaan, the demolition of our universe with the destruction of that planet, our plight as homeless nerds with the lost refugees of Alderaan. It’s comparable on every level: a world with hundreds of thousands of vital, living creatures and a rich, deep, ancient history completely destroyed by one cold and unfeeling machine of evil empire.
Were there people from Alderaan who had a bad life there and who sullenly growled that it was better off gone? I have no doubt. Frustrated ne’er-do-wells who couldn’t live under Alderaan’s laws and restrictions, who didn’t care about history, who would rather be going after the latest shiny thing, glit-biting or finding other shallow Imperial-allowed entertainments — you can bet they sounded a chorus of “well I’m glad that planet’s gone.” But they weren’t refugees. They didn’t have something taken from them.
Princess Leia and her companion Winter, Tycho Celchu, the other survivors of Alderaan — they did have something taken from them. Some, like Leia, were aware of it the moment it happened — others, like Tycho, didn’t realize what had taken place until later. They banded together to fight against the empire that had created such a menace, and they also banded together to help one another in coping with the loss of something as monumental as an entire world. The Empire had to be stopped, but also, Alderaan had to be restored. It would never be the same, you can’t un-destroy what has been destroyed, but it would be a place for the refugees of a world to call home once again.
A ritual developed among the survivors of Alderaan. Called The Returning, it consisted of a special journey to the Graveyard, a vast asteroid field making up the remains of Alderaan. An intimate and private act of memorial, the Returnees would say a few words and leave a pod of gifts to commemorate those lost family members, friends, faces, places.
We are the Refugees of “EUderaan.” We mourn for what has been lost, because we know the depth and the extent of what has been lost. Two years ago today, Lucasfilm made the announcement that should have shaken the fanbase to its core. When Joss Whedon had the audacity to say the television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D wasn’t canon vis-a-vis his Avengers films, people flipped out and he was forced to retract. When the Lucasfilm Story Group declared that a 38-year-old fully unified multimedia canon of Star Wars lore would no longer be considered canon, people were not permitted to flip out. We were muffled, pushed down under hype of new movies and propaganda where the most peculiar, obscure bits of the EU were used to typify the whole. “You don’t get to have a voice until we see how Disney’s movie turns out,” people said, even though we already knew all we needed to know when we were told Heir to the Empire (whose Coruscant is the hinge of the prequels), Dash Rendar (whose ship Outlander was edited into A New Hope by Lucas Himself), and Aayla Secura (drawn from comics for a role in Episode II and III) no longer existed as canon.
Simply put, the Expanded Universe forms the framework for the Star Wars films. Since the entire EU — books, comics, and both electronic and tabletop games — was instigated and supported by George Lucas as canon equal with the films (his only caveat was that he did not need to submit to them if his vision contradicted them — something which rarely happened), by removing the EU, Disney effectively rebooted the franchise. Deletion of 90% source material is as sure a reboot as Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. But we were denied the right to call it what it is.
The Empire didn’t let people mourn for Alderaan, either. Such an event should have caused such moral outrage and horror that the Empire would’ve been lost overnight. But the Emperor’s grip was tight, and protestation was muffled — just as our protests for the EU have been muffled.
But now we the community have taken a stand. Star Wars fans have done something really amazing, and the media has noticed —
Various coinciding factors allowed certain organizers among the fan community — I reject the terminology that we are an “organization”; no, we are merely fans doing what fans do! — to plan and accomplish getting a literal billboard literally outside the doors of the Lucasfilm offices [more here].
It’s the message we’ve been speaking for two years now, but this time it cost money to make. Via crowdfunding, the relatively modest cost of a billboard (compare $7 million raised by Msties to bring Mystery Science Theater 3000 back) was raised and applied to a sign asking for the EU to be restored to its position, and the response has phenomenal:
- Tech Times
- Spinoff Comic Book Resources
- Comic book.com
- The Source Superhero Stuff
- Geeks Are Sexy
- The Unheard Nerd
- Fortress of Solitude
- Two Nerds Talking
We’ve started the conversation. People are finally being heard as they voice dissent against the mouse empire. The anti-EU fighters can no longer hide behind “wait and see, you don’t know, it might be good.” The pro-EU wishers and dreamers who hoped that somehow Disney meant to decanonize and yet incorporate have seen that all the current Star Wars administration means to do is recycle the stories into trash for cash.
It took almost four years for Alderaan to receive justice, and longer than that before her homeless refugees were able to rebuild. This is a long fight, but we’re in it and we’re in it together.
I have another post coming where I try to address some of the repeated confusion in media attention (“what do those Legends people want, anyway?”), but with this post, looking back on the last two years of anger and struggle, all I want to do is say thanks to the Give Us Legends [also Twitter] guys for doing this!
We’re not an organization. There’s no leadership, no hierarchy, no one in charge. We’re just the fanbase. The Star Wars fans in 2016 as we were in 1976, in 1986, in 1996, and in 2006. We just want Star Wars, as it is, as it was, as it should be. Declaring the EU non-canon was no different from declaring Return of the Jedi non-canon — and we will fight for what we love, to bring it back.
For the press release and more information about the billboard, how it came to be, and what it represents and is for, check out giveuslegends.net.
And you, EUderaan, EUderaan, you are not forgotten. We will not send you quietly into that good night. We will keep up this fight. #WeWantLegends. #GiveUsLegends.