Star Wars EU - the things it got really wrong

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Sluis Van Shipyards

Master Member
I've been rereading some of the good (IMO) SW novels and there's a couple of things that bugged me because they don't seem realistic (even for SW...). So this would not necessarily be plotlines, but technology, weapons, etc.

Okay the things bugging me are the authors talking about Stormtroopers (or people in the armor) sweating profusely. I guess they think that talking to Stormtrooper costumers is equivalent to real armor. It's not. Real armor would have temperature controls to keep them cool in the bodysuit and armor. Yeah you would probably sweat if you were really exerting yourself, but not from just standing around in it. Republic Commando got this right when they said the armor did in fact have that system and saying they were in a self contained environment in their armor.

The next is the stupid, ridiculous tongue switch to activate the helmet mic. Really. That is so dumb that I can't even believe that was the first thing someone came up with when they were trying to figure out how Stormtroopers activate their external mic to talk. It would most likely be activated when you started talking. It's even dumber that Mike Stackpole (which is one of the better SW authors) said TIE pilot helmets have this. You have a ton of controls in a fighter to turn on a mic to transmit.

I had another, but totally forgot so I'll have to try and remember. Add your own.
 

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JoeG

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I forgot which book or series of books it was in, but that whole Sun Crusher thing was just incredibly stupid.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
Okay the things bugging me are the authors talking about Stormtroopers (or people in the armor) sweating profusely. I guess they think that talking to Stormtrooper costumers is equivalent to real armor. It's not. Real armor would have temperature controls to keep them cool in the bodysuit and armor. Yeah you would probably sweat if you were really exerting yourself, but not from just standing around in it. Republic Commando got this right when they said the armor did in fact have that system and saying they were in a self contained environment in their armor.


(Granted, this is from a Clone Wars Adventures comic where some not-too-bright baddies got their hands on some clone armor as part of a plot, but still...)

The Jedi Academy Trilogy bugged me because Daala showed up with three Star Destroyers and everyone flipped the hell out. Vader had at least a dozen and an Executor-class command ship in his task force. I shudder to think what the massed Imperial fleet would number.

I think the biggest problem was giving the Rebels Coruscant so soon after ROTJ. They didn't have the numbers or support yet to hold-it for sure.

Rogue Squadron. I've ranted elsewhere.

Shadows of the Empire and the "hunt for Boba Fett" storyline in the old Marvel comics. They spent a year trying to find Boba Fett to try to get Han back -- but at the end of ESB, they knew exactly where he was taking Han. Plus, while Black Sun as an organization is intimidating, and Guri makes me feel funny, I spent more time wanting to smack Xizor than being afraid of him.

The co-opting of "Dha Werda Verda" by the Mandalorians.

Every time the Corellian/odds thing or the Tatooine/womp rats thing got trotted out.

Do we want to spend any time talking about what they got right or did well?

--Jonah
 

Treadwell

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
In Shadows of the Empire, the "many Bothans" that died, that Mon Mothma had been so visibly saddened by....were like, what, a dozen? 20 maybe? Surely Mon Mothma has suffered greater losses.

The bending-over-backwards the licensing people did to explain away inconsistencies introduced by the prequels. Like Lucas had Obi-Wan call his droid an R4. Fine, it's a film, that's the established standard. I don't care that it makes a West End Games guidebook wrong because of the shape of a dome. But no, the EU came up with a cockamamie story about how Anakin had repaired an R4 by replacing its dome. Please.

They did the same thing when a bunch of unspeaking Jedi Council characters were recast. The fact that they used actors that looked like the previous ones makes it plain the intention was that they were the same characters. But no, the EU gave them new names and created backstories to explain why they looked similar. :facepalm

Modifying FILM DATA to justify EU DATA. Backwards!
 

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batguy

Sr Member
Never liked ysalamiri.
I really did like that idea.


But then I didn't have a problem with the Midichlorian idea, either. I'm weird.

I never saw these things as taking the magic out of the Force. Egon Spengler's PKE meter didn't ruin the supernatural mojo in Ghostbusters.
 

Treadwell

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Countless comic and novel stories of good jedi trying out the dark side just to see what it's like. "Know your enemy, right? It's cool, I can come back". I say again, please.



- - - Updated - - -

The EU description of what Dengar was up to around the time of ROTJ....which contradicted the fact that he's right there in the palace, in the damn movie.
 

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harrisonp

Sr Member
I'm really out of the loop other than having read a handful of the Rogue Squadron books when I was younger, but the point about the Stormtroopers sweating prompted me to post. I always thought it was pretty clear that those suits were not just jumpsuits with armor strapped on that would leave the wearer sweaty/exposed to the elements. I thought they showed pretty clearly that ST armor is able to withstand EVA type environments in ANH, when the Falcon first enters the Death Star (unless they were behind an invisible shield, or I'm misremembering?). In a world with light speed travel and an evil cyborg man you'd figure the Imperial troops would be well outfitted and not worrying about Dagobah booty.

I know a lot of people are disappointed about the EU being removed from canon, and I understand that many followed it for years, and spent a lot of money on the various publications, but now that they've "reopened" the franchise I think it was the best thing they could do, and even now the new EU is "canon until it isn't" for me, with the movies always superseding anything else.
 
It always bothered me that in ANH Luke is drinking blue milk at breakfast with Owen and Beru, but there are multiple references to Tatooine cantinas serving it as some sort of specialty cocktail. Either the pubs in Tatooine are terrible and don't understand how bars work, or Luke and his family are real party animals.

And, as I mentioned in another thread, I can't stand the insistence on lumping everyone from an entire planet into one group - All Bothans are spies, all Rodians are bounty hunters, "Never tell a Corellian the Odds," etc.
 

Solo4114

Master Member
I don't have specific grievances, but I'd say that the EU writers tended to do a few things that really bugged me:

1. They'd repeat lines from the movies or do almost repeats. Callbacks, if you will. I get it. It's a Star Wars novel. But if the best you can do is to say "I have a bad feeling about this" or "Never tell me the odds!" or whatever, you're basically just writing bad fanfic and you don't understand what makes the universe unique, nor do you understand characterization.

2. The need for nothing to ever be wrong or simply outside of canon. Nobody writing EU books ever said "Yeah, that didn't happen" or "That doesn't actually exist." Everything, no matter how cockamamie or idiotic, had to be preserved and included, and often referenced.

3. Leia and Han's kids. It's not that they had kids that bugs me. It's that they had those kids. I didn't read the NJO stuff (I'll get into that in a minute), but the stuff I read (basically up to the Black Fleet Crisis) made the kids just seem...stupid. Annoying, really. I mean, first, it's bad enough that OOOH LOOK. LEIA HAD TWINS TOO. I know twins can run in the family, but come on. Do we really need to mine the past so obviously? Second, having the third kid, and naming him Anakin? Why the hell would Leia and Han do that? They literally never knew Anakin Skywalker. They knew Darth Vader. The fact that it turned out he wasn't quite so bad a guy at the end, or somehow redeemed himself should not, realistically, make them say "Yeah! Let's name our kid after the guy who turned into a mass murderer and abusive husband who tried to choke your mom out! Great plan!" It would've made more sense to call him Bail after Bail Organa, or Owen after Uncle Owen, or Ben, or freaking Wedge, or Sue, or any damn name but Anakin!

4. Superweapons. Soooooo many superweapons. You know why the Thrawn Trilogy was cool? NO SUPERWEAPONS. Thrawn did it all with his brains. He didn't have the Sun Crusher or the Galaxy Gun or the Darksaber or the Death Star Prototype or any of the other stupid superweapons that writers kept going back to. FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO WRITE ABOUT.

5. The NJO and the whole direction the series took after they dropped a planet on Chewbacca. I just checked out at that point. Killing Chewie was a stupid move for starters, but to follow it up with the freaking Vong, ugh. The Vong were one of the dumbest ideas introduced. They're basically the Borg just with biology instead of cybernetics. They'd have belonged more in, like, the WH40K canon as Slaanesh cultists than in Star Wars. It was just stupid.


I gotta be honest with you, the West End Games technical stuff and Thrawn Trilogy aside...I'm glad the EU was nuked. By and large, it was crap. Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy, for example, the Williamson/Goodwin Star Wars comics from the 80s, but I don't need them to be canon necessarily.
 
2. The need for nothing to ever be wrong or simply outside of canon. Nobody writing EU books ever said "Yeah, that didn't happen" or "That doesn't actually exist." Everything, no matter how cockamamie or idiotic, had to be preserved and included, and often referenced.
Yeah, the fact that Sabacc was first mentioned in an obscure Lando novel, and very poorly explained, meant that nobody was able to describe it in a way that made sense as a game. I wish someone had been able to say, "no, actually, sabacc is played like this, now you can wrap your head around why someone might win or lose their ship over it."
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
The bending-over-backwards the licensing people did to explain away inconsistencies introduced by the prequels. Like Lucas had Obi-Wan call his droid an R4. Fine, it's a film, that's the established standard. I don't care that it makes a West End Games guidebook wrong because of the shape of a dome. But no, the EU came up with a cockamamie story about how Anakin had repaired an R4 by replacing its dome. Please.
You know the story about that? How they built the fighter with an R4 head because that's what the script said, and George saw it and asked why they'd put that head on and they said because that's an R4 head, that's how you set things out back in Star Wars and pointed to the breakdown of R's 1 through 5 that George had dictated back in the day (never mind that he'd contradicted himself in that very first film by having Luke call R5-D4 an "R2 unit"), and George said oh... well, he just wanted a regular R2-D2 style dome on it, so they did and the script never got changed?

That was one thing WEG didn't screw up. There was a lot of stuff after Star Wars came out that used that production memo to point out the various astromech models in the film. Well before WEG started with the RPG in the late '80s. So yeah, EU authors felt the need to explain how a droid that George had decreed had a particular head type had a different head type. :p

They did the same thing when a bunch of unspeaking Jedi Council characters were recast. The fact that they used actors that looked like the previous ones makes it plain the intention was that they were the same characters. But no, the EU gave them new names and created backstories to explain why they looked similar. :facepalm
Hm-mm. Multiple actors portrayed Jedi like Saesee Tiin, Luminara Unduli, Kit Fisto, and Plo Koon. The new characters in ROTS had new names in the internal costume design stuff. They weren't made up after the fact. They were intended to be different people.

Countless comic and novel stories of good jedi trying out the dark side just to see what it's like. "Know your enemy, right? It's cool, I can come back". I say again, please.
Ulic Qel-Droma, who didn't realize he was going Dark until he killed his brother, repented, and spent the rest of his life in solitary, non-Force-using self-flagellation; Luke, who thought he was strong enough, wasn't, and it was his sister's love that brought him back; and Kyp Durron, who stole the Sun Crusher and destroyed the Imperial Academy at Carida to get revenge on the Empire for killing his brother... only to realize that his brother was alive and at the Academy, and he got to watch him die, and repented. Those three are the only ones I can readily think of. Well, there was also Revan, but that's messy to figure out, due to the multiple possibilities the video game gave players. And I'm not sure if Tahiri came back from the Dark Side. She's just nuts. How many am I forgetting to make it "countless" times?

There's precedence in the films, though. If Anakin could unapologetically wallow in the Dark Side for a quarter of a century, kill hundreds of people by his own hand, and be complicit in the deaths of billions, and then come back, those far lesser transgressions don't bother me.

The NJO and the whole direction the series took after they dropped a planet on Chewbacca. I just checked out at that point. Killing Chewie was a stupid move for starters, but to follow it up with the freaking Vong, ugh. The Vong were one of the dumbest ideas introduced. They're basically the Borg just with biology instead of cybernetics. They'd have belonged more in, like, the WH40K canon as Slaanesh cultists than in Star Wars. It was just stupid.
I own only two books out of the NJO -- Dark Journey (because I actually liked who the Solo kids were growing up to be, and Jaina was the best of them and this was her skirting too close to the Dark Side, realizing it, and checking herself) and The Unifying Force (partly because it ended the whole thing, but mostly because it brought back Zonoma Sekot, the quasi-sentient planet from the Prequel-era's Rogue Planet). For the most part, I just skip it. "Bad guys attack, Anakin Solo dies, his girlfriend goes nuts from grief and goes Dark Side, Jacen SOlo has massive PTSD from torture at the bad guys' hands, Chewie's dead, Han moped for a long time about it, the Mandalorians were double-agents."

Similar thumbnail about the largely-unreadable Dark Nest trilogy: "Weird bug-telepathy stuff messes with Jedi -- including already-messed-up Jacen Solo." Then all of Troy Denning's offerings in the Legacy of the Force series. Sadly. His standalone Tatooine Ghost was wonderful, but when he has to work as part of a team... ugh. The other two-thirds more than make up for it, though, IMO. Some wonderfully perspicacious observations from an older Boba Fett to Jaina Solo. Then, after reading the six good books from that arc, I strongly recommend the standalone Millennium Falcon novel. The Fate of the Jedi was just... yeaaaahh. If it had just been Luke and his son wandering around the galaxy bonding after Mara's death, it probably would have been awesome. All the political stuff and Jedi-going-mad-due-to-some-mysterious-malady stuff just felt off, and ruined the great character Daala had become by the end of LotF.

--Jonah
 
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glunark

Sr Member
The only thing I really liked about the NJO was the fact that Palpatine had forseen the arrival of the Vong, and had built the death star to annihilate them as they arrived, but the rebels f'ed that up twice.

Even though it was a massive retcon, it felt right.
 

Treadwell

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
There was a lot of stuff after Star Wars came out that used that production memo to point out the various astromech models in the film. Well before WEG started with the RPG in the late '80s. So yeah, EU authors felt the need to explain how a droid that George had decreed had a particular head type had a different head type. :p
I would love to see this document, because making lists like that is not something Lucas did back in the day. It was Kenner that named R5-D4, for instance, and licensees like WEG filled in blanks from there. In fact, Lucas has said himself that he had to use his own company's publications to keep stuff straight when writing and producing the prequels. He never really cared about the kind of minutia we fans do. He persists on calling lightsabers "laser swords" for pete's sake.

Which is why he didn't think twice about having an R4 with a dome that we previously thought only belonged on R2s. That's okay, it's his movie. And the EU has to adapt. I just think the adaptation was klunky. Just make the revision the next time such info is published. "The R4 series was available with different choices of dome shape." Done. No fanfic convolutions of Anakin finding a broken droid and all that hoo haw.



Hm-mm. Multiple actors portrayed Jedi like Saesee Tiin, Luminara Unduli, Kit Fisto, and Plo Koon. The new characters in ROTS had new names in the internal costume design stuff. They weren't made up after the fact. They were intended to be different people.
No sir. Look up Wookiepedia entries for Adi Gallie and Eeth Koth. (The "Behind the Scenes" section under the "LEGENDS" tab.) Stass Allie and Agen Kolar look just like their counterparts for a reason: because those characters did not exist during production. Others in the LFL empire decided later that the recasting necessitated renaming. If they were going to create new Jedi, why would they make them look so much like ones already established? They wouldn't, they would make them look as different as possible. They just had different actors playing the same characters in some footage. The EU branch of the company felt that needed dealing with, and that's the kind of thing they did that drives me crazy.

How many am I forgetting to make it "countless" times?
Okay, "countable" times. ;) If the count is three, it is three too many. LUKE of all people. He would not be so stupid.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
Regarding astromechs...
I would love to see this document, because making lists like that is not something Lucas did back in the day.
I'll turn it up somewhere. I have too much history-of, art-of, making-of, and behind-the-scenes-of material for the Saga. I just skimmed Rinzler's Making of Star Wars in about two minutes, but wasn't expecting to find it that cursorily. My recollection is of Don Bies or someone else from the droid pool saying that that they'd jotted it down during a meeting with Lucas during production, and basically read R2 = regular dome, R3 = clear dome, R4 = lampshade head, and R5 = flowerpot head.
It was Kenner that named R5-D4, for instance
Really? My understanding was that they took their cues from Lucasfilm where possible, up to the nicknames for the cantina aliens. I admit my obsessive collection isn't complete. May I ask for your source? I'm always up for learning new things about the early history of Star Wars, and this qualifies.

Of course, the Clone Wars series messes everything up with the R6 and R8 units showing up and also with R2 domes, so I don't even know any more. :p

Regarding recasting roles...
No sir. Look up Wookiepedia entries for Adi Gallie and Eeth Koth. (The "Behind the Scenes" section under the "LEGENDS" tab.) Stass Allie and Agen Kolar look just like their counterparts for a reason: because those characters did not exist during production. Others in the LFL empire decided later that the recasting necessitated renaming. If they were going to create new Jedi, why would they make them look so much like ones already established? They wouldn't, they would make them look as different as possible. They just had different actors playing the same characters in some footage. The EU branch of the company felt that needed dealing with, and that's the kind of thing they did that drives me crazy.
As wikis are user-edited, I prefer original sources. I'm digging now, but I do know, for instance, that Adi Gallia and Stass Allie have different enough costumes, and Eeth Koth and Agen Kolar have different enough make-up, that while they may originally have been meant to be the same characters from Episode I in the script, by the time it got to shooting Episode II they were new characters -- named or not, at that point -- and retained for Episode III. And Stass Allie was played by three different people. Why make that distinction and not have the actress playing Adi Gallia in TPM make it four for one character, the way they did with some of the other characters? For whatever reason, internal to Lucasfilm, they determined some characters played by different actors were the same character, and some similar-looking characters were still different characters, regardless of how many actors were involved. Yes, the EU fills in the gaps, but they take their initial cue from Lucasfilm saying "No, these are the same character" or "No, those are different characters".

Regarding the plague of Dark Side Dalliances...
Okay, "countable" times. ;) If the count is three, it is three too many.
Except if the Dark Side were so easy to spot, so easy to resist, I think the Sith would have had a major recruiting problem over the years. Yeah, some people are psychopaths who wallow in that sort of thing, but one of the featured Sith of the films fell because he wanted to do good and was frustrated in his ability to do so. That's a trap that can snare many.
LUKE of all people. He would not be so stupid.
Okay, that one I'll give you. Of anyone out there, he's the one with the most reason to second- and third-guess all of his reactions and instincts and impulses for fear he's starting down the Dark path... Which, ironically, would tend to lead one down the Dark path.

--Jonah
 

Treadwell

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
My recollection is of Don Bies or someone else from the droid pool saying that that they'd jotted it down during a meeting with Lucas
Don wasn't there for ANH, are you sure this isn't a prequel story? Don himself posted a story here about gingerly approaching George about the dome issue, and George not going for it.

May I ask for your source?
LOL, touche, I don't remember either! I do know the action figure was the first time the name appeared.

When googling for an answer, I came across STILL MORE EU ANNOYANCES! :lol One source says R5-D4 was a rebel spy that sacrificed itself. :facepalm Another says the R5 line was notorious for mechanical failure. Sheesh, one scavenged droid on the Outer Rim breaks down, and the entire production line is maligned! :lol

The EU is full of stuff like that, trying to fill in every little crack with info. And there's never a simple explanation for anything. (Couldn't R5 have had a bad motivator because....it had a bad motivator?) Occum's Razor will not be entertained in the SW EU! ;)

they may originally have been meant to be the same characters from Episode I in the script, by the time it got to shooting Episode II they were new characters
If they were, as I said, they wouldn't have taken such steps to make the makeup and wardrobe the same. What reportedly happened was they had plenty of leftover TMP footage of the original characters for the Council chamber, but then they wanted them on Geonosis so they just hired new actors. If they were supposed to be different characters, they wouldn't have hired lookalikes and made them up that way.

Now, if the EU retconning happened between AOTC and ROTS, and during production of ROTS they decided to go with the change, then that's exactly the kind of tail-wagging-the-dog I'm complaining about. People in Licensing being too creative shouldn't encumber production of the actual films.

Regarding Dark Side:

Yes I agree the dark side is tempting and tricky and all that jazz. But these characters weren't seduced, or slowly started behaving "Dark Side-y" bit by bit until one day uh-oh, I'm bad....but rather they made a rational decision to try it out. I can't believe any Jedi with any degree of training would be that stupid.
 
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Sluis Van Shipyards

Master Member
Ok I've got another one. I was rereading the X-Wing series and am on I, Jedi, which technically isn't in the series, but deals with Corran Horn. Anyway he is another example of authors making a Jedi who has some flaw with his powers. He can't use telekinesis (Force push, pull, levitation, jumping high, etc.) unless he absorbs energy similar to how Vader supposedly blocks Han's blaster bolts in ESB. I think that was actually Vader's prosthetics absorbing it, maybe not a Force power. Anyway Corran does that and it kind of supercharges him letting him have more powerful Force abilities for a certain time. Now I have no problem saying a Jedi is more talented with a certain power than another, but I'm guessing all Jedi can use the basics, like push, pull, jump, Force speed, lightsaber deflection, etc. I just don't like a gimmicky flaw put into a character. It's still a cool book despite having him second guessing Luke about his training at every opportunity. Well and the fact that it threads through another awful series (the Jedi Academy books...).
 

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