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Star Wars Retrospective II: The Expanded Universe
PART II: The Expanded Universe: What made it great, why it was great, and why removing it from the canon was the biggest mistake Disney ever made. And why, even now, Disney is lost without it, to the point where they've begun ripping off things from the Expanded Universe to make plots for shows and movies.
WARNING: This essay is extremely long and will contain spoilers. Read at your own risk, and go get yourself a snack or a drink. You will be here for a while....
As promised, Part II of my Star Wars Retrospectives will talk about the Expanded Universe, and why removing it from the canon was one of the biggest mistakes Disney ever made ever since they acquired the rights to Star Wars. Today, I will be talking about the Expanded Universe, the reason why it was great despite some of its mishaps, and why preserving it and making movies from it could have allowed Disney to make so much money that had they done it, they would be wiping their asses with $1000 bills
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Dark Intentions by Vader999 Dark Intentions :iconvader999:Vader999 3 6
Here we go. Another entry, another sacred cow.
Don’t worry, the Star Wars Expanded Universe retrospective is on its way, along with some new characters and storylines I’ve made up for my own versions of fictional universes.
But as I was recently playing Metroid games, and I was watching some Metroid videos, I felt the need to opine on a game series that I’ve recently had some good experiences with, and what seems to be wrong with the fandom:
Yes, yes, it’s quite natural for someone like me to like Metroid. I was a fan of Star Wars, Halo, Gundam, Transformers, and many other science fiction franchises. When it came to Nintendo’s, I was no different. I played through the Star Fox games like an addict. I was first exposed to Samus from the original Smash Bros, which piqued my curiosity. I did my research on the Metroid games, and when I finally got my hands on the Metroid Prime trilogy, my first and arguably best Metroid purchase, I decided to plow th
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Who are they, why are they popular, and their place in the Star Wars fandom debates…….
To those who are unfamiliar with the general fandom for Star Wars, Mandalorians are a warrior-race who are characterized by wearing armor suits with helmets that have T-visors on them. Many of them add jetpacks and wrist-blasters onto their armor suits and employ grenades and missiles along with blasters and flamethrowers. Others use blades along with blasters. The Mandalorians are well-known as powerful warriors and are considered some of the best mercenaries and soldiers in the Star Wars galaxy, with Mandalorian mercenaries and soldiers being valuable commodities for any faction or army.
Even back then, during the Original Trilogy days, George Lucas envisioned Mandalorians as a people of war, when Boba Fett was placed among the Bounty Hunters as an example of the Mandalorians’ obsession with war. The man was dressed with a green Mandalorian armor cuirass a
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No single factor in George Lucas’ Star Wars series holds as much weight, importance, or influence, as the so-called Force. The Force, as the original trilogy Jedi would put it, is an energy field generated by all living things. “It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds us”, the Jedi tell the OT hero Luke Skywalker when he asks what the Force is. Throughout the many years of content with Star Wars, whether it be the movies, comic books, novels, games, tv shows, and other media, the Force stands as perhaps the most influential part of Star Wars lore. Borrowing from Eastern Buddhist/Taoist philosophy of Yin and Yang and the Christian concepts of the duality of good and evil, the impact of the Force shows its weight in the plots of the many movies, games, books, and shows. Whenever something evil arises in the bigger Star Wars stories, it is inevitably linked in one way or another to evildoers wielding the Dark Side of the Force, and
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Who to fight for in the Skyrim Civil War?
Ever since the venerable Elder Scrolls series came out with its fifth installment, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, people have debated endlessly on which of of the two main factions to join in the main Civil War questline of Skyrim.
The Stormcloaks or the Empire?
Now, for a bit of history. For those of you who are uninitiated, the Civil War in Skyrim is being fought between the Imperial Legions trying to keep Skyrim as a part of the Empire, and the Nordic rebel Stormcloaks who are trying to fight for independence. The Empire of Tamriel, which used to govern all of Tamriel, recently signed a very disadvantageous peace treaty known as the “White-Gold Concordat” with a rival superpower known as the Aldmeri Dominion, a government dominated by the High Elf faction known as the Thalmor, who are Elven supremacists who wish to “prove” the superiority of elves over men. The Great War that preceded the game’
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Mature content
THE ALT RIGHT :iconvader999:Vader999 2 2
PART I: The Prequels: Why the hate is unwarranted and unnecessary.
It's quite obvious that, as my avatar and username here suggests, that I am a fan of George Lucas' classic science fiction film franchise, Star Wars. As a young lad, I grew up watching all six of the Star Wars movies, as they released. I watched the Original Trilogy first, in VHS format, and by the time I reached High School, the last of the Prequels had debuted, and I was a fan of all three. I watched Episode I, The Phantom Menace, as a child, marveling at the special effects, the world-building, and the acrobatics of the duels. I watched Episode II, The Attack of the Clones, a few years later, and while I was somewhat bored during the first half, I came to like it during the second half and the battles and duels at the end cemented the film as an enjoyable experience for me and my family. And as for Episode III, The Revenge of the Sith, by that time, I was watering with excitement, and the mov
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Race traitor-defined as a person who betrays his or her race against some perceived evil.
When you hear the word "race traitor" thrown about, what comes to mind?
A racist person calling out a member of his or her own race who likes other races.
A racist person getting angry because a member of his or her own race is making love to a person from another race.
A racist person angry that a member of his or her own race has half-breed children whom he views as an abomination.
Usually it is a term used by racist people, against people who aren't racist. Or someone who comes from one race, yet identifies as another.
But who really is the traitor here? The tolerant folks, or the intolerant ones?
We live as humans in the 21st century. In all our years on this half-paradise, half-hellhole mudball we call Earth, we have grown as a species that rose above other species, dominated the planet, and we created countless technological blessings and inventions that no
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Antagonists versus Heroes
I really am not that bothered with being labeled a bad guy by people who think I'm too far right, or that I'm a jerk. Let them do so. Bad guys tend to rock. Here are some examples:
STAR WARS: People like me rooted more for Darth Vader than for Han Solo. The latter is a deadbeat who has a price on his head so big that whomever kills him can buy their own planet, the former tools around the galaxy with a ship the size of New York City and he can even strangle you over a Skype call. I can't understand why people choose those rebel hobos over law and order.......Even Alderaan wasn't that pristine, if the Old Republic MMO is to be I don't have a problem with Vader doing what he did and letting Grand Moff Tarkin vaporize that mudball full of haughty nobles into space dust.
I mean, if we take Disney canon into this matter, that idealistic ending at the end of Return of the Jedi got turned into shit. Han turns back into a smuggler, leaves Leia, right after their son become a h
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Noble Team by Vader999 Noble Team :iconvader999:Vader999 6 2 Judith-Light Armor by Vader999 Judith-Light Armor :iconvader999:Vader999 5 1 Judith B-312 World At War 3 by Vader999 Judith B-312 World At War 3 :iconvader999:Vader999 3 0 Judith B-312 World At War 2 by Vader999 Judith B-312 World At War 2 :iconvader999:Vader999 5 0 Judith B-312 World At War by Vader999 Judith B-312 World At War :iconvader999:Vader999 2 0 Judith B-312 Assault Mode 2 by Vader999 Judith B-312 Assault Mode 2 :iconvader999:Vader999 2 0


Sister of the Order of the Blazing Heart by ArmamentDawg Sister of the Order of the Blazing Heart :iconarmamentdawg:ArmamentDawg 2 2 Sister of the Order of the Trident by ArmamentDawg Sister of the Order of the Trident :iconarmamentdawg:ArmamentDawg 4 9 Cyndaquil color study by DeoxyDiamond Cyndaquil color study :icondeoxydiamond:DeoxyDiamond 11 3 Ruru-chan to Natsuno Ramune by kurisu-kyun Ruru-chan to Natsuno Ramune :iconkurisu-kyun:kurisu-kyun 12 0 God of Destruction Weavile Standalone by Cowctus God of Destruction Weavile Standalone :iconcowctus:Cowctus 14 1 Hit-Monlee by Cowctus Hit-Monlee :iconcowctus:Cowctus 20 5 Ultra Caulifla Reaction by Cowctus Ultra Caulifla Reaction :iconcowctus:Cowctus 39 2 Brolly Female DRAGON BALL SUPER by west182 Brolly Female DRAGON BALL SUPER :iconwest182:west182 240 8 Caulifla SSJ Blue DRAGON BALL SUPER by west182 Caulifla SSJ Blue DRAGON BALL SUPER :iconwest182:west182 72 4 Bulma by ultimateEman Bulma :iconultimateeman:ultimateEman 73 10 SSJ Caulifla by ultimateEman SSJ Caulifla :iconultimateeman:ultimateEman 329 9 Caulifla by Eapen Caulifla :iconeapen:Eapen 210 11 Dragon Ball Super - Caulifla Ultra Super Saiyan by razorzeshu Dragon Ball Super - Caulifla Ultra Super Saiyan :iconrazorzeshu:razorzeshu 77 29 I AM 09 by RMTG I AM 09 :iconrmtg:RMTG 20 37 I AM 06 by RMTG I AM 06 :iconrmtg:RMTG 72 46 I AM 05 by RMTG I AM 05 :iconrmtg:RMTG 30 21



PART II: The Expanded Universe: What made it great, why it was great, and why removing it from the canon was the biggest mistake Disney ever made. And why, even now, Disney is lost without it, to the point where they've begun ripping off things from the Expanded Universe to make plots for shows and movies.

WARNING: This essay is extremely long and will contain spoilers. Read at your own risk, and go get yourself a snack or a drink. You will be here for a while....

As promised, Part II of my Star Wars Retrospectives will talk about the Expanded Universe, and why removing it from the canon was one of the biggest mistakes Disney ever made ever since they acquired the rights to Star Wars. Today, I will be talking about the Expanded Universe, the reason why it was great despite some of its mishaps, and why preserving it and making movies from it could have allowed Disney to make so much money that had they done it, they would be wiping their asses with $1000 bills until the Second Coming of Christ rolls around.

Have you ever come across a series where the side products are greater than the originals? Say, for example, Batman. No matter what one says, it's quite obvious that the Batman shows, movies and animated series has reached greater acclaim than the Batman comics themselves. The Adam West TV show brought the Dark Knight to millions of TV sets worldwide during the golden years of America's dominance. The Batman movies that Tim Burton created showed that a serious and dark interpretation of the character can work well with the masses and sell tons of movie tickets and toys. Likewise, the Batman Animated Series is one of the most celebrated versions of the Dark Knight, bringing a dark interpretation of the character to kids without going overboard with its maturity. It even invented things like Harley Quinn and the backstory of Mr. Freeze that became traditional cornerstones of Batman lore. I still remember toys from both the Batman Animated Series and the Batman Tim Burton movies cluttering my childhood room. I still remember playing with them as part of my golden age memories of childhood. And of course, the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy helped bring the Dark Knight to the theaters in the Third Millennium, to the applause and approval of both newcomers and longtime fans. All of these things surpassed the Batman comics, not only in fame, but even, in some cases, style, maturity, and widespread appeal. Batman comics are hit-or-miss: whip one out and half the room will talk about how it was great, and the other half will talk about why it sucks or why it doesn't work. Pop in an episode of the Batman Animated Series and people will gather around to talk about it and talk about how good the whole thing was.

Needless to say, Star Wars was one of those series. The series that George Lucas created with his six movies went beyond the six movies that he created, and the world beyond the movies explored the Star Wars universe in greater detail, nuance, and beauty than the movies ever did. No offense to George Lucas, especially since I just spent the last essay defending him and his works, but the Expanded Universe of Star Wars did a better job at exploring the themes of the original movies and the universe itself than the movies ever did. Lucas even did the same thing himself, when he added the 3-D Clone Wars show to the Expanded Universe, and he also accomplished the whole "exploring the themes of the movies" better than he did when he was making the first six movies. I daresay that whatever flaws he had with the Prequels, he redeemed himself with the Clone Wars show. Which was why him dropping out and selling Star Wars when he did was a mistake to me. He already proved himself a good TV show producer, so why sell? If I were him, I'd have just stuck to creating TV shows and serials about Star Wars. Damn the media. Damn the press. Lucas' haters will hate absolutely everything he does. The show was great. He should have continued with making season seven of it and he should have led Star Wars Rebels. God knows he could have given them more ideas other than faffing about being space Robin Hoods.

Now, back to the topic at hand. The Expanded Universe consists of the great sea of comic books, novels, video games, and of course, the two Clone Wars TV shows, although the second Clone Wars show was later put into its own category. These things helped shape the greater universe outside of the movies that Lucasfilm officially licensed as official Star Wars products. Contrary to the claims of the anti-Expanded Universe crowd, most of this material was licensed as canon, with many authors and writers officially employed by Lucasarts to write for them with comics, books, video games, and eventually the two Clone Wars TV shows which eventually made it into the new canon. Lucas even spoke highly of the Expanded Universe in places like the preface to the novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, and he even had favorites in the Expanded Universe, like the Dark Empire comic book series. It was obvious that when he was making the Prequels, Lucas kept tabs on the Expanded Universe, as Expanded Universe concepts like the galactic capital Coruscant, the Jedi Council, and even Palpatine’s quest for immortality all had their starts in the Expanded Universe. The last one was a very special case: there was no need to talk about Palpatine wanting to be immortal in a story like the Prequels were the whole plot is him taking over the galaxy........unless it was referencing the events of Dark Empire, George Lucas’ favorite Star Wars comic book, where Palpatine has gained immortality and returned to threaten everything the heroes fought for.

And of course, much of what makes Star Wars today comes from this great sea of content. Much of the groundwork for the Prequels came from the Expanded Universe, and while the Prequels are met with mixed reception, many Expanded Universe works, such as the Thrawn novel trilogy, the Tales of the Jedi comics, and the Jedi Knight, Rogue Squadron, and Knights of the Old Republic games garnered great appeal. In fact, many people who hate the prequels find a silver lining with the Expanded Universe content that came with said movies. They wanted to explore the mythos behind things like Darth Maul, the Clone Troopers, or the Jedi characters who barely get five seconds in the movies, and as I said, things like Coruscant being the capital of the Empire, the idea for the Jedi Council, the origins of the Sith, all come from the Expanded Universe.

The Expanded Universe also shores up many mistakes of the movies. For example, the Rebels won in Endor despite the fact that the Empire still had a larger fleet and both of the Rebels’ heavy cruisers got blown to bits by the Death Star II. Logically, the Rebel Alliance should have lost that battle thanks to the larger Imperial fleet. The Thrawn Trilogy novels plug that hole up by introducing the concept of Battle Meditation, a power that allows a Force-user to influence the minds of his minions, making them stronger while sapping the strength from the enemy. Grand Admiral Thrawn explains to his captain that the Emperor was using this power to drive his forces forward, and that his power was the reason why the Rebels were feeling the heat in the opening part of the battle, and why the Rebels were winning in the latter part of it after the Emperor died-because now, the Imperials no longer had the power that they unwittingly and instinctually relied upon.

When some people complained that the Original Trilogy’s war against the Empire doesn’t seem to affect anything outside of the Rebels and the Imperials who fought them, the Expanded Universe explored the evils of the Empire and why the Rebellion was formed. I admit, it was quite puzzling how an Empire that blew up Alderaan solicited no mass protests or defections from the galaxy or the military as a whole-it seemed like the only people who had a problem with the Empire are small pockets of rebels and a few planets, while the rest of the galaxy seemed okay with Palpatine as their Emperor even after one of his friends committed that rather public act of genocide. The Expanded Universe showed many of the Empire’s crimes against the populace and why the war against them was justified, a point later driven home in the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy which added in scenes of people cheering after Palpatine’s death. Slavery, genocide, and a culture of indoctrination helped in making the Empire seem more evil and the war against them more justified than the way the OT painted it. Prior to the Special Editions, many fans had justified concerns that the Empire fights for Order while the Rebels seem to be a bunch of anarchists. The Expanded Universe and the later Special Editions showed how and why the Empire’s fall was a justifiable thing.

The Expanded Universe also fleshed out the backstories of many of the major players in the galaxy. Outside of explaining the beliefs and organization of the Jedi Order, they also fleshed out the Mandalorians, the Sith, the Republic, and helped populate the galaxy with many characters, making the galaxy more populated, instead of having just the same family be the one driving everything in the galaxy. It also added nuance to the universe. There were some times when the Jedi were portrayed to be flawed instead of being near-perfect seers of the future like how the OT painted them as. There were some times when people who served the Empire had a valid point. There were some times when there were shades of grey, making the distinction between right and wrong more nuanced and difficult. Is Count Dooku an idealist who wants to return the galaxy to a saner world, or is he just a demagogue for Sidious? Are the Jedi truly the rightful defenders of peace and justice as they claim, or are they as bad as the Sith? The Expanded Universe raised questions like these and helped make the Star Wars universe more complex and nuanced than the OT was.

In fact, considering the portrayal of the Jedi in the OT, I was unconvinced of their heroism. The more the OT tried to paint them as heroes, the more I saw them as pricks. Half the reason I was an Empire/Darth Vader fan was because of the fact that the good guys just didn’t appeal that much to me. Luke certainly did appeal to me as the central character. Leia certainly did, mostly because of her charm. Lando even amused me because unlike his friend Han, he took his smuggling career and actually turned it into something productive-to the point of where he owns his own planet. Chewie was interesting, as he was both a monster and a good friend at the same time-it’s like having a sasquatch on your payroll. The Prequels even made it more interesting by showing that he had a career as a high-ranking general who was pals with Yoda, giving a fertile ground for more stories to tell.

But Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda? As well as the rest of the Rebels? Well, not so much. Han’s not that impressive for me. He’s a good fighter, sure, but he gets his friends into a world of trouble because of that blasted price on his head. I bet that if I existed in the SW galaxy as a bounty hunter, if I brought Han Solo to the Hutts, I’d be rich enough to buy an entire Imperial fleet, including the Stormtroopers inside. Or I’d be rich enough to pay the Emperor to make me a Grand Moff like Tarkin. As for the Rebels, they seemed like good people, but the lack of popular support (before the Special Editions) kinda made me feel that they were a minority and the rest of the galaxy couldn’t care less about Alderaan and were okay with Palpatine as Emperor. After all, most of the army comes from the populace, and if Palpatine was unpopular enough, the Imperial generals and admirals would have certainly offed him by now and placed someone more “diplomatic” and easier to control on the throne. That’s how politics worked in Empires like Rome and China when the Emperor goes nuts, after all.

As for the Jedi, well, long story short-they seemed like complete jerks for me. I couldn’t understand why Luke chose them over his father, outside of purity sue reasons. The more they talked about how war wasn’t great, the more it seemed like they were just molding Luke into a hitman against the Sith-which was completely hypocritical, in my books. “Wars don’t make one great” is entirely hypocritical in a series where an act of war, such as blowing up the Death Star, made Luke a hero and a household name in real life as well as in the Star Wars galaxy.

Their lessons of patience and meditation are fine, in fact, I kinda found Kenobi to be cool prior to him fighting Vader, but when he fought Vader, he lost me. Why was he continuing the fight against someone who can easily kill him? Isn’t a general supposed to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em? Especially when a bunch of stormtroopers go over to watch the fight between him and Vader, while Luke and the others are near the Falcon: Kenobi had the perfect escape. He could mind-trick the stormtroopers to attack Vader, then make a beeline for the Falcon and Luke and get the hell out of there. Except, Kenobi doesn’t do that. He just commits suicide-by-apprentice and allows Vader to kill him. Wasn’t this guy supposed to be a general that the Rebels want for their army? I understand that being a ghost lets him keep tabs on Luke better, but the good guys don’t just consist of Luke here. Isn’t it kind of selfish of him to just let himself die and abandon Princess Leia and the Rebellion, especially when they need tactical leaders like him, and his ticket to escape Vader was right there? It would have made sense if the soldiers watching the fight were Sith underlings of Vader immune to mind control, (this was before the Rule of Two was written, after all) but these weren’t Sith, but common soldiers. Soldiers that Kenobi has been shown to be able to mind-trick. What the hell was keeping him from doing that again, siccing the troops on Vader, and then escaping with Luke and the others? Well, if he was this dumb when it comes to tactics, then maybe suicide was the right thing to do. He might have led the Rebels into disaster if he survived.

And of course, we have Yoda, everyone’s favorite Taoist space muppet. And dear God, this is where I began to hate the Jedi and root for Vader. He has wise teachings, nobody can deny that. And there was that certain…...otherworldly charm about him that I can’t shake off. However, he has more than enough setbacks for me to see him in a negative light. The dude acts like an asshole around Luke, trying to provoke him, and while I see that this was a test, people are dying out there in space, and this was no time for games. Then, when Vader captures Luke’s friends and hold them hostage, Yoda literally tells Luke to let his friends die. Right after warning him about the dangers of the Dark Side.

Now, we’ve seen how much Luke has lost in this war. He’s been told of a father killed by Vader and the Empire. He saw his foster family turned into burning skeletons by Imperial marauders. He saw his master die at the hands of Vader. His old college friend Biggs got vaporized in a dogfight. How much emotional turmoil must be going on in the head of this man, who is fighting, not merely for the rebels, but FOR HIS FRIENDS. Han, Leia, and Chewie are the only people keeping him together as he’s cruising around space. Outside of his friends, Luke literally is an orphan with nobody to turn to, outside of a ghost and a military that just uses him for his skills. He has no family, his list of friends is getting shorter, and he’s literally taking advice from a ghost. And Yoda’s telling him to let his friends die? This guy barely has anything left for him outside of his friends! Their deaths would have driven him to the Dark Side faster than anything. He could already feel their pain from one ass end of space to another. Wouldn’t their deaths cause more of a ripple? Perhaps even drive Luke to anger? To seek vengeance?
Yoda could have joined Luke to Bespin, or had Luke signal the Rebels to pick him up so they can go there together with a Rebel strike force, but no, it’s just “let them die”. Could you imagine what would have happened if he did let them die? Luke would have regretted it, and those feelings of regret would fester. The fear of loss becomes real, and fear turns into anger. Anger turns into hate. And hate, turns into suffering. Weren’t those Yoda’s words too? Yes, I know, they’re from the prequels, but the message still counts. So, going by Yoda’s own teachings, Luke letting his friends die would create the kind of anger and hatred that would cause Luke suffering-making it easier for the Dark Side to come in once he finally does confront the Sith. He’d not only be striking with conviction, but with anger. Rage. Hate. Things that Jedi shouldn’t have, but if Luke followed Yoda’s advice, he’d have them in spades.

And considering that both Jedi lied to Luke about his parentage, imagine how Luke would feel if he did let his friends die, only to discover that the Jedi lied to him about his parentage? And don’t tell me “they would have told him eventually.” They didn’t tell him right before he engaged Vader, who could (and did) reveal the truth to him personally. If they didn’t tell him then, they would not have told him later. What were they expecting Vader to do, keep quiet? I can understand Kenobi’s deception in the original film, but in ESB? Even as Luke races to face off with Vader? Come on.

But no, the Jedi are still sanctimonious heroes, flawless in the eyes of OT fanboys. Their “wisdom” is without peer in Star Wars. Wisdom, my ass. I was rooting for Vader once I found out who he was, and to me, had I been in Luke’s shoes, my own father, reaching out to me, pledging to help me take down the evil Emperor that the Rebels were fighting and offering me a chance to rule the galaxy would be far more appealing than two monks who have lied to me and tried to turn me as their own personal tool. Especially when, in EPVI, they try to shoot down Luke’s ideas of saving his father, instead trying to get him to kill Vader, showing that all that talk about wars not making one great as a lie. They wanted a warrior after all. They wanted a killer. The least they could have done is be honest about it and preach that wars do make one great and that anger is good because righteous fury is needed to kill evil. “Your father is an evil man who kills innocents, so he deserves righteous anger and fury to put him in his place. (which happens in Return of the Jedi when Luke gets angry at Vader) The Emperor is an evil man, and righteous fury is warranted to take him down for good.” Mace Windu understood that, and look where it got him. If it wasn’t for Ani, he’d have killed the Emperor with that righteous fury of his.

I didn’t just talk about the flaws of the Jedi for kicks, or for my own criticisms of the Original Trilogy fanbase. It links to the topic of the Expanded Universe-which had a nuanced and excellent portrayal of the Jedi. One that is multifaceted in its approach. Here, they approach the topic from many angles-are the Jedi walking saints, defenders of society against evil? Or are they self-righteous and pompous gas bags spitting out koans to excuse their own moral failings? Or are they somewhere in between, perhaps even both? The Expanded Universe portrays Jedi many ways, and it acknowledges that Jedi can be flawed, yet good at the same time. It acknowledges them with a human touch, that perhaps these walking angels aren’t angels after all, but they can still be good and seek to do what’s right while acknowledging that they have some serious problems. Unlike the Original Trilogy, which just portrays the Jedi as right and as wise, the Expanded Universe had many works that portrayed them as flawed, prideful, and sometimes even sinister, while still retaining enough Jedi that have goodwill and wish to do good for the galaxy, which makes the Jedi more real and lifelike. That’s how real-life “good guys” are-they aren’t always good, they have flaws, and sometimes they get a tad bit full of themselves. But they can have all those flaws, and still seek to do good for the world. That’s what so beautiful about the Expanded Universe-they can be nuanced and view things from many perspectives. Some Jedi, like Rahm Kota, can be cocky hotheads. Some Jedi like Vrook Lamar, can be stodgy assholes. Some Jedi, like Atris, can be spiteful and sometimes even downright sinister. And some Jedi, like Satele Shan, can be understanding when it comes to those that might not always fit the picture of the perfect Jedi. There’s different flavors for different tastes, different shades of light, dark and grey.

A key example of this is Knights of the Old Republic. Here, the Jedi have differing portrayals mixed into one game. One of the Jedi, Bastila Shan, is cocky, full of herself, and flawed. Others like Master Vandar, Master Dorak, and Master Zhar are helpful instructors. Master Vrook is a stodgy asshole. The player character themselves can be the kind of Jedi that is skirting the line between light and dark, or they could be the kind of Jedi that helps absolutely anyone and everyone that has a problem, practically a walking saint who goes around healing and saving people without the need for rewards. Then we see the backstory for the Jedi in the game: higher-ranking Jedi Masters sensed a threat manipulating things behind the scenes when the Mandalorian forces (Boba Fett’s people) invaded the galaxy, so the Jedi Council refused to intervene. This caused less experienced Jedi led by a renegade named Revan to rebel and join the Republic in stopping the Mandalorians. The war was won, but at a heavy cost, and many of the fighting Jedi, including Revan, fell to the Dark Side throughout the course of the war. They later returned as Sith, warring to conquer the galaxy, but Darth Revan gets betrayed by his second-in-command Darth Malak, who takes the Sith throne for himself. The Jedi managed to get the amnesiac Revan, and reprogram his mind to be a soldier, and later, a Jedi, under Bastila’s command, to help figure out the secrets of the Sith: a hidden space factory called the Star Forge, brimming with Dark Side energy. Bastila gets captured and tortured into being a Sith, but Revan, now returned to the Light, redeems Bastila and defeats Malak, and the Sith threat gets ended for a time, thanks to Revan.

Here, we see that the Jedi were flawed, but at the same time, capable of doing good. They were right about a dark power playing things behind the Mandalorians, when later, a Mandalorian warrior named Canderous reveals that the Sith Empire in hiding lured them to attack, but the Council was wrong in how to approach it, which is why many of their students were corrupted during the war. Rewriting Revan’s mind seemed unethical, but the other choices were either death or life in prison, which would not have helped either Revan or the Jedi against Malak. So while we see that the Jedi are flawed, their actions still helped stop the Sith. They still proved to be necessary, even though they were greatly flawed.

The same applies for the treatment of the antagonists. The Expanded Universe offers differing levels of antagonists, from the kind of Ramsay Bolton-esque psychopaths who kick puppies into low level orbit, to Darth Vader and Darth Sidious types who are masterminds of evil, to more grey types similar to Dooku that use both honor and guile as a tool. Some, like Grand Admiral Thrawn, might not be as unforgiving as Vader yet still retain their own sinister traits, like how he retains the classic Imperial lust for power, while being open to criticism from his subordinates and open to thinking outside the box. Others, like Darth Malgus and Darth Traya, view the evils that they do as benefitting a greater good, with Malgus seeing conflict as a necessary thing to give people a better understanding of the Force, while Traya is trying to break the endless cycle of violence between followers of the light and dark. Others like Darth Marr, Captain Gilad Pellaeon, and the expanded universe version of Boba Fett might even have their own moral codes to live by and only fight the heroes out of a consequence of allegiance. Again, this is beautiful-it goes to show a realistic world where not everyone who works for the bad guys is like Ramsay Bolton or Darth Vader. It creates a sense of realism, that this world of lightsabers and hyperdrives has a realistic edge to it, just like how not everyone who worked for the Soviets, the Nazis, or Red China were crazy evil assholes. Some just thought they were defending their land, others just go with the flow, and there are those among them who ARE that kind of crazy evil leading the bunch. This gave the Star Wars universe a feel of realism that I find lacking from other shows that tend to be preachy about their message and create cliche bad guys for the heroes to slap around.

The best example of this is the old Sith Empire, which showed up first in the Tales of the Jedi comics, where they invade the Republic and get destroyed, but in the Old Republic MMO, they make an epic comeback, taking half the galaxy and forcing the Republic to sign an unequal truce that favors the Empire. The Empire has legitimate reasons to hate the Republic, considering the fact that the Republic almost hunted their people to extinction. In Tales of the Jedi, they were tricked into going to war with the Republic by one of their leaders who convinced them that the Republic was attacking them, only for their offensive to stall and evaporate when said leader, whose Battle Meditation powers was the key to the invasion, got attacked by his apprentice. The Sith were then hunted down by the Republic like dogs, without quarter or mercy. This then drove the remaining Sith to unite under a Sith Lord who then took the title of Emperor, and together, their fleet escaped into deep space, where they came upon a world known as Dromund Kaas, which they made into their capital. They then spent the next thirteen centuries rebuilding their lost Empire, eventually attacking the Republic to repay them for the attempted genocide that happened 1300 years ago. In Star Wars the Old Republic, they make their grand return in style, flying around in massive Star Destroyer-esque warships and blasting a Republic diplomatic envoy, then seizing many outlying Republic worlds and bribing Republic allies to turn against Coruscant.

While the Republic sees the Sith in Star Wars the Old Republic as an evil invading force, the Sith see what they’re doing as justice and revenge. The Republic offered their ancestors no quarter, so why should they show mercy now? Just as the Republic torched Sith worlds 1300 years ago and attempted to massacre even the innocent among the Sith populace, so too did Sith warships bomb their way through Republic worlds, and Sith Warriors and soldiers killed wave after wave of Republic troopers and Jedi Knights, along with countless billions of innocent civilians. As they retook former Sith worlds like Korriban and charged their way into the galactic core, they were fired up by their search for justice and revenge just as much as the Dark Side powers their bloodlust and anger.

But that still doesn’t change the fact that the Sith, and their Empire, at their core, are corrupt. The Sith code openly allows for a subordinate to kill their master once they surpassed said master in power. The Sith Imperial military runs on nepotism, favors, and bloodlust, while the Sith themselves are backstabbing killers who enjoy inflicting pain and suffering, not only on the enemy, but on fellow Sith who are their rivals. The Emperor is an apathetic, murderous, detached psychopath, who would happily abandon his own Empire and his minions if it meant becoming more powerful. He used the Dark Side of the Force to destroy a whole planet to make himself immortal, and he’d have done the same thing to the galaxy if it hadn’t been for the efforts of his traitorous hitman and a powerful Jedi. Even those who seek to do good within the Empire, such as light-sided Sith and Imperial Intelligence leaders, have to contend with the fact that they live in a society of oppression, tyranny, and backstabbing, practically living out a Game of Thrones lifestyle on a daily basis. Slavery, torture, murder, and using the Force for dark, twisted rituals are an everyday fact of life within the Empire. Billions die in its wars. Still, there are those within the Empire, like the aforementioned Imperial Intelligence leaders and light-sided Sith, who wish to just do their jobs in peace or even want to improve life within the Empire, sparing the enemy when the Sith code demanded blood, or sparing an ally who failed when the standard Sith approach would have been the Vader-style Force Choke or the Palpatine-style lightning blast. Again, this is more realistic than having the whole enemy faction be evil for evil’s sake, without any real justification for war.

As shown above with the Sith Empire, the Expanded Universe applies the same nuanced ideology for factions: while the Rebel Alliance, Lucas’ main good guy faction, is viewed as somewhat pristine, other factions are not so clear-cut. The Republic has skeletons in its closet, just like the Jedi do. The Sith Empires sometimes have a valid point about Republic weakness and corruption. The Galactic Empire does some good alongside the horrid things they do that caused the Rebellion to rise. They patrol the skies, attack bandits and pirates, as well as would-be usurpers within the Empire-an example of that comes from the game TIE fighter, where you do play as an Imperial. In the game, the player spends their days attacking pirates, then a plot against the Emperor is hatched. The players save the evil Emperor from getting overthrown by another power-hungry Imperial admiral.

Another great example is the original Star Wars Battlefront II, where the players in the story mode play as Clone Troopers in Darth Vader’s personal army, the 501st Legion. Sometimes, the player is fighting scary animals. Sometimes, they’re helping retrieve components for the Death Star. Some missions have them aiding the Jedi, others have them fighting the Jedi. Even as Imperials, the players spend no less than two missions fighting remnants of the Confederacy, who were the bad guys from the Clone Wars. The last few levels involve battles from the original Star Wars movies, showing the capture of Princess Leia after her ship gets shot, and the aftermath of the destruction of the Death Star, culminating in the Battle of Hoth, where the defeat of the Alliance there is seen as a landmark victory in the eyes of the 501st. It gives nuance to the story to make the so-called “villains” actually more than just cannon fodder for the heroes. Sometimes, they serve with the heroes, other times they hunt the heroes, and they also wind up fighting other antagonists or evil forces.

Point being, the old Expanded Universe was very diverse in its approach to factions, and factions that were previously thought to be unrelentingly good are shown to have skeletons in the closet, while the bad guys do get some legitimate points for their cause. This still has the good guys be good and the bad guys be bad, but only in a realistic light where some good guys might be skirting the line towards gray and some members of the “evil” factions might just be grunts doing their everyday jobs.

Finally, the Old Expanded Universe had such a plethora of great and nuanced characters, they’re too many for me to list. Grand Admiral Thrawn is open to criticism and tries to appreciate the cultures of other species, yet he’s still the classic Imperial warlord out for control and revenge. Mara Jade served an evil greater than anything in the galaxy at the time, yet she had her own sense of decency and honor which eventually led her to be redeemed and she even became Luke’s wife. Grand Moff Trachta and Grand Admiral Zaarin want to keep the Empire intact and strong, yet plotted against the Emperor and Vader because they believed that the Empire should not be in the hands of a two-man Sith cult. Revan, from Knights of the Old Republic, was everything, from savior, to conqueror, to hero, then villain. His wife Bastila was a complex Jedi who, despite her adherence to the Jedi code, had feelings and attachments that she could not deny.

Even one-note characters like Starkiller had a more nuanced backstory than say, Rey from Force Awakens. Both are ridiculously powerful Force-users, the former being so powerful that he dragged a Star Destroyer from the sky and forced it down, and the latter learning how to mind-trick and use a lightsaber in less than a day, with no training. The difference is that Starkiller went through training from hell thanks to Darth Vader, while Rey just learned those powers as the plot demanded. Starkiller also had a character arc, from being a frightened child that Darth Vader picked up, to being his loyal Sith apprentice, to being fed up with Sith power games and being a Jedi for real, dying at the hands of the Emperor while helping the rebel leaders escape an Imperial trap, whilst Rey’s character had little change, all she did was learn the Force on her own and go off to train to be a Jedi. The most she had to change was learning to trust Finn.  And yet it is quite hilarious for me to hear the Expanded Universe haters cheer Rey as the next Luke Skywalker while calling Starkiller a Gary Stu. I don’t know whether I should get angry due to their ignorance, or to burst out laughing thanks to their insane logic.

There was also the fact that many aspects of the world were far expanded than they were in the movies. The Force, in the films, although described as a near-omnipresent mystical power, was mostly restricted to telekinesis and telepathy, along with Lightsaber use, with the Dark-Siders adding Force Choke and lightning to the mix. In the Expanded Universe, they not only expanded the Force with Battle Meditation, but healing, speed, invisibility, phasing through solid objects, teleporting, draining life energies, corroding the enemy’s bodies with poison, and even conjuring up illusions were all brought in, and those were just a taste. Heck, some powers for the Sith truly made them worthy of the fear and panic that they spread throughout the galaxy. Some use the Force to transfer essences from one body to another, which is what Palpatine used to attain immortality in Dark Empire. Others like Naga Sadow, the leader of the Sith Empire in its first war with the Republic, had powers that allowed him to destroy whole solar systems using a bunch of power crystals. Darth Nihilus destroyed whole worlds with a power that allowed him to absorb life essences from a whole world by merely speaking, dooming a whole world through simple words. His partner, Darth Sion, had the ability to heal from almost any injury, making him near-invincible in a fight. The Sith Emperor from the Old Republic MMO was a composite of both Dark Empire Palpatine and Nihilus-he absorbed the life essences of those in his home world, making him powerful, and he switches bodies on a whim, sometimes even controlling more than one at a time.

The technology also had a similar expansion. Some technologies allowed for cloaking ships, and others like the Interdictor Cruiser and its Gravity Well Generators stopped ships from going into hyperspace. Others competed with the Death Star on the planet-destroying range, from low-grade Peragus fuel that could blow off a chunk of a planet if ignited, to Galaxy Guns which can destroy planets across the galaxy by firing warheads that have FTL capabilities. Some superweapons can blast an entire fleet into space dust, others can even shoot down ships in the middle of a hyperspace jump! Most impressive of all was the Rakatan Empire’s Star Forge, a space station of great power, mixing together advanced solar energy technology with the Force, allowing the user of the Forge to create anything, from robots, to starfighters, even capital ships, so long as the user is a powerful Force-sensitive capable of controlling its great powers. (If they’re not, then they will come to a horrible end) Just as the Expanded Universe expanded the use of the Force, so too did it expand the already-impressive array of technology presented in the Star Wars films. Introducing these new gimmicks into stories that had nuance and depth, the Expanded Universe truly did make the universe of Star Wars more mysterious and engaging. Just when you think you knew everything, something new smacks you in the face to show how small your knowledge really was.

In conclusion, the Expanded Universe offered a more realistic view of the Star Wars universe, expanded the franchise, gave birth to many things Star Wars fans take for granted today, gave a more nuanced view of the Star Wars universe that offered many different interpretations, expanded things from the movie up to impressive heights, and turned Star Wars from merely a successful movie franchise into a full-on universe with its laws, customs, histories, and charm. Just as JRR Tolkein took Lord of the Rings and made a whole universe out of that series of books, so too did the Expanded Universe authors that George Lucas hired make the universe more diverse and nuanced that it was before.

Speaking of which, now is the time where I talk about WHY it was a mistake for Disney to can the Expanded Universe.

When Disney first bought Lucasarts and the Star Wars franchise, my first thoughts were uncertainty. What will they do? What new things will they bring? Will they make more TV shows? Make new movies? Will they adapt the novels and comics to the big screen? The latter was more in my mind, because the Expanded Universe was a goldmine of ideas and possibilities just waiting to be exploited. Lucas didn’t want any more movies after his six initial films, but with the changing of the guard to Disney, new movies were now not only a possibility, but a certainty. And making films out of the Expanded Universe stuff, whether animated or live-action, would have been logical. Just as Game of Thrones leapt from the pages from the Song of Ice and Fire books into the television screens of everyone with HBO with great acclaim from the public, so too would the Expanded Universe leap from the pages of novels and comics into the big screen. Besides, adapting comic heroes onto the big screen was something Disney was already doing with their Marvel franchise, doing the same thing with Star Wars would be the next logical step. Just sit back, use the stories that people have loved for decades as blueprints for new movies, and let them usher in a new golden age for Star Wars.

They could do the same for many Star Wars video games, have classics like the Jedi Knight, KOTOR, Republic Commando, Bounty Hunter, and Battlefront 1 and 2 undergo the same renovation 343 Industries did for Halo 1 and Halo 2, and re-sell them on the markets with gorgeous new HD graphics. It’s a success story waiting to be written down. They don’t even need to program new games, just remake old ones, make sequels for them, and watch as they dominate the modern gaming industry with a return to classic video games in an era sorely begging for such great classics to return in style.

Had Disney done that, they’d be wiping their asses with $100 bills until Kingdom Come, with a united Star Wars fanbase at their heels, asking for more, and paying for it every time.

I was waiting for Disney to make this logical, profitable, and rather easy move.

Then the news broke: the Expanded Universe was no longer canon.


Is that for real?

No, no, they’re joking, right? This is a prank, gone wrong, and some asshole working in the PR department would get their beating come the next morning when Disney would rectify this and say that all is well with the Expanded Universe being canon.


Nope. They were dead serious. The Expanded Universe, decades’ worth of good characterization, consistent canon, great storylines, and a well-defined universe, all gone with a simple edict.

Just like that.

My first thought mirrors that of the Angry Video Game Nerd when he talks about bad video games.


I mean, this was just the most illogical, wrong-headed, imbecilic, suicidal move they could make. When the Prequels were getting shelled by the critics for bad characterization, people who hated the Prequels ran to the Expanded Universe and found dozens of great characters whose stories they latched on to. When Anakin failed to live up to the expectation of being the next big thing for Star Wars, other characters like Thrawn, Mara Jade, Kyle Katarn, and Revan picked up the slack. As the Star Wars fanbase divided over those who loved the Prequels and those who hated them, the one thing that kept them together was their love for the Expanded Universe, which both groups agreed was awesome.

Cancelling the Expanded Universe is a decision so bad, that I can’t find a decision in modern media that equals it. It’s far worse than Hasbro entrusting the Transformers film license to Michael Bay, because say what you want about Bay, for all his crude jokes and sexploitation, the guy makes money. And the movie canon is openly different from the shows, games, and comics, so Bay can go play around in his private Transformers universe while those who don’t like his movies have other continuities of Transformers media to latch on to. Star Wars had ONE continuity. Unlike Marvel and Transformers, which had different continuities, from Beast Wars to the Ultimate universe, Star Wars had one canon. ONE. Sure, there’s different levels to that canon, akin to a pyramid, and some Expanded Universe works were outright non-canon like the Infinities comic books and the Force Unleashed DLC levels. But most of the Star Wars universe, from Expanded Universe, to shows and movies, fit into ONE canon. ONE. Now, there’s two. The new Disney canon, and the old Legends canon, which comprises the old Expanded Universe. And guess which one most fans latch on to? If you say the former, then you’re more blind than Daredevil from Marvel ever was.

So, okay, they nuked the Expanded Universe. But they did say they would be taking elements of the Expanded Universe into the new canon, right? So this is the perfect opportunity to mold the new Disney Expanded Universe! Take works from the old canon that were universally loved, remove the ones that had a lukewarm reception, and there you go! For example, the Old Republic novel and game were both considered great works, but were lambasted for their treatment of Revan and the Exile, the heroes of the previous Knights of the Old Republic games. Maybe they can make a remake of the Old Republic that wasn’t so disrepsectful of the KOTOR heroes.

Other works could get a new shake-up. Not everyone was a fan of the respawning Emperor Palpatine from Dark Empire or the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, how’s about replacing them with a more threatening villain, like say, the return of the old Sith Empire with thousands of Sith Lords-that would keep Luke Skywalker and his Jedi awake for more than a few sleepless nights, eh? Or how about bringing in a remnant of the Force-sensitive Rakatan Empire, an Empire that discovered how to replicate machines with the Force and solar power, but were brutal to the point where Emperor Palpatine looks like a saint when compared to them? Or, they can bring back Darth Nihilus, since when he died, he turned into a puff of red smoke, so it would be easy to write in that he possessed a new body, and that he was now running around, destroying whole worlds and absorbing the Living Force from billions. A Sith Lord destroying whole worlds on a whim-proving Darth Vader’s belief that the Death Star was a toy when compared to the true power of the Force.

Nope. Nada. Nothing. While shows like Rebels would take a few ideas, like for example, the Interdictor Cruiser and the TIE Defender, most of the new Disney canon was ignorant of the Expanded Universe, acting as if none of it never happened. Until recent times, Disney’s new canon did almost everything they can to distance themselves from the old one. Old fans who had read up on the Expanded Universe for years were treated to a new canon that acted with disgust and amnesia when referring to the old universe, to the point where the third and fourth Star Wars Battlefront games are called Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars Battlefront 2, respectively, even though those titles belonged to the first two games.

Quite predictably, the result was a disaster.

While Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens scored big on the box office and tickled the nostalgia boners of the Original Trilogy purists, many Star Wars fans condemned the movie as a tired re-hash of Episode IV, with a few specks from the Jacen Solo storyline on top. Rogue One was telling a story already told, one about recovering the Death Star plans, a feat that most fans link to Kyle Katarn in the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series. Star Wars Rebels was a poor man’s Clone Wars, with less than half the impact or charm of the show that preceded it, relying on cameos from the movies and the old Clone Wars show to support its so-so cast. Some complained that the novels, outside of those written by established Expanded Universe authors, were sub-par. Fans all over the place denounced the movies, denounced new canon, denounced Rebels, and attacked Disney for “ruining Star Wars”. For me, the Legends universe will always live in my heart, so Disney can go on ahead and play with their new canon while I stick with the one I grew up with. But many other Star Wars fans are not so forgiving.

This wasn't like that Mass Effect revolt that happened in 2012 when the fans made a respectful criticism of Mass Effect 3 that eventually turned into a shitshow between Bioware and its jilted fanbase. No, this wasn't simple honest criticism. This was fury. This was hatred. This was legitimate anger that stemmed from what seemed like an unforgivable betrayal. Video after video, I saw the fanbase’s raw fury directed at Disney, and the passage of time did nothing to soften the hate. Instead, the hate seemed to intensify, as old canon fans kept bashing everything Disney is doing, from EPVII, to Rebels, to the new Battlefront series, Rogue One, and the upcoming Episode VIII movie. It seems like the only thing that didn’t get hatred on it were the new Old Republic expansions (which, instead of making the game and its expansions part of the new canon, were still relegated to Legends) and the Freemaker Adventures, which were a non-canon parody Lego series.

At first, the Disney Star Wars fans and Original Trilogy purists tried to counter the hatred of these old fans by attacking the Expanded Universe, claiming that it was never canon, and that it was a fanfiction gallery of Mary Sues, completely misconstruing what the Expanded Universe was and what it did for Star Wars. Which is, of course, asinine and stupid. Many Expanded Universe characters had limits and flaws. Even well-loved characters like Thrawn and Revan get stretched to their limits and get their asses kicked. Thrawn accounted for almost everything outside of the loyalty of his Nohgri bodyguards, whom he just kept in line through fear, which bit him in the ass when one of these assassins, loyal to Darth Vader, killed him on the behest of Vader’s daughter, whom they considered to be his heir. Revan, a man who mastered both sides of the Force, was made into the Sith Emperor’s chew toy in the Old Republic MMO, taken down like a mad dog by players who crushed him like any other raid boss. Starkiller was powerful, but got killed fighting the Emperor. Mara Jade was killed by her nephew Jacen Solo when he was playing with darkness on his own. The revived Emperor Palpatine had to deal with clone madness as his plans exploded in his face like they did back on Endor. And as I previously stated, these stories were far from one-sided fanfictions, often tackling ideas and characters from many viewpoints, providing realism to the universe. And of course, the Expanded Universe WAS canon under George Lucas. It was canon to the point where, as I said, Lucas kept putting their inventions in the movies, showing that the Expanded Universe and the movies existed in the same universe. The capital of the Republic being Coruscant. The existence of the Jedi Council. Palpatine’s search for immortality, which is a central part of his design even though it had nothing to do with Episode III’s galactic takeover plot. It was there as a call forward to Dark Empire, George Lucas’ favorite Star Wars comic book, where Palpatine finally does attain immortality and once again becomes a threat to the heroes.

The Disney fans’ attack on the Expanded Universe just made things worse: it outed them as ignorant of Star Wars as a whole and hostile to its loving fans, which of course, caused the Disney-haters to be even more virulent in their attacks. Countering hatred with more hatred caused the problem to escalate even further. This level of falsehood only angered the old fans even more, solidifying their hatred and making them open and prolific enemies of the new Disney canon. And instead of making more money, Disney was losing potential customers, as their Rebels show slowed down, and the obvious burning out slowly creeping amongst the moviegoing fans of the Star Wars franchise. It was at this point, Disney realized, they made a mistake.

Now, Disney is openly trying to whore out to Expanded Universe fans. The direction of the new movie, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, seems to go in the way of Darth Traya where Luke decides that the Jedi “must end” and a tone of grayness is introduced in the film similar to the second KOTOR game. Grand Admiral Thrawn was nicked from the Legends canon and introduced into Rebels to spice things up for the main cast. The introduction of things like Interdictor Cruisers, TIE Defenders, and other things from the old canon and shows were meant to try and hook disappointed fans back into the new canon, which shows how nuking the old canon was a mistake to begin with, and how Disney is trying to make up for that horrible misstep.  

Good on Disney to realize that they’ve screwed up. But I’m afraid the damage is already done, and what Disney does next may be too little, too late. Disney nuked the Expanded Universe to give their moviemakers unlimited boundaries in making the new movies. However, with the new movies being described by many hardcore fans as even being “worse than the prequels”, it is quite obvious the move did not pay off. If they had someone like, say, Timothy Zahn (Thrawn) or Drew Karpyshyn (KOTOR) write the new movies, perhaps the new movies would be a great replacement for the Expanded Universe. But as it stands, even the stories that weren’t universally loved like Dark Empire and the Yuuzhan Vong invasion were leagues above the new movies.

Here’s what they can do to mitigate the damage: make most of the material in Legends up to at least the Thrawn trilogy canon, then make movies out of the Old Republic eras. With Carrie Fisher’s death, Harrison Ford’s exit from the franchise, and an increasingly irate Mark Hamill getting angry at how Luke Skywalker is being characterized, the best thing to do now is to leave the Original Trilogy era behind, to go for a fresh, new era, one that is new for the movie fans, but familiar for the old fans, to at least garner some support. Tales of the Jedi seems to be a great start to make movies out of, and the Mandalorian Wars could be next, giving Disney a lot of room to breathe and a lot of content to make into yearly films. Instead of jumping all over the place, from after Episode VI to before Episode IV, they can create a series of movies that occur in the timeline one after another, similar to their Marvel Avengers films, and keep that line steady and consistent. Not to mention that the Tales of the Jedi/KOTOR fanbase is quite an influential part of the Expanded Universe fanbase, and scoring their loyalty could help salvage Disney Star Wars in the eyes of the fans, and restore some semblance of respect in the eyes of the Star Wars fans who were fans for decades.

Where else can they go? Their writers are obviously running out of ideas. As I said, Episode VII, the groundbreaking return to Star Wars after Lucas left, was a rehash of the original movie with some plots from the Jacen Solo storyline sprinkled in, except Kylo Ren was not even half the villain Darth Caedus was. Rey’s rise to power was so rushed that she began learning lightsaber combat and Force powers, not to mention how to resist Sith mind-rape, without the instruction of a Jedi Master. Rogue One was telling a story already told, with the recovery of the Death Star plans, albeit one leaving Death Star sized plot holes and continuity snarls. The first movie made it clear that the Death Star was not operational until DURING that movie, with one Imperial commander even saying that until the station was online, they were vulnerable, and yet in Rogue One, the damn thing wasn’t only operational, going from planet to planet, it was already attacking worlds with its Superlaser, even though Alderaan was supposed to have been the first official test. Vader’s testimony was that the plans for the Death Star were BEAMED onto Princess Leia’s ship, not given as a disk, and if Vader saw Leia’s ship amongst the Rebel fleet, he can officially bring her to trial for aiding and abetting insurrectionists. Instead, in the first movie, he’s holding her in secret, because he has no proof of her wrongdoing and the Imperial Senate would swing in the Rebellion’s favor if word of his deeds came out. And of course, the Rebels show was just nicking one plotline after another from the old Clone Wars series and the Thrawn books, having little original stories of their own outside filler episodes. The fact that one movie had to rip off the original and sprinkle a bit of Jacen Solo on top, while another made one continuity snarl after another in telling a story told before, and the fact that the show had to survive by picking up old plotlines from the previous show and the books, shows us that Disney’s scraping at the bottom of the barrel for ideas. Re-canonizing a good chunk of the Expanded Universe and searching around it for movie material would give them a way to make more movies and regain the trust of the Star Wars fanbase-to kill two birds with one stone. With Disney’s credibility among the hardcore Star Wars fans waning, and the movie fans slowly getting burnt out, this can perhaps be Disney’s only hope for a stable, strong, and long-running Star Wars franchise.
Star Wars Retrospective II: The Expanded Universe
Here is my long-awaited Retrospective episode on the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Here, I go to explain what it was, why it was great, and why Disney canning it was the worst decision a media company could ever make; a decision so bad, no other media decision could ever top it in its sheer stupidity.

My next entry into this series would be presenting a few examples of great Expanded Universe content, from the novels, comics, and yes, games.
Dark Intentions
After losing the war against the Autobots in his own universe thanks to Optimus Prime, Megatron (from Transformers Prime) decided to leave his universe for another, claiming to "fight for the freedom and rights of sentient beings". Little did the Autobots back home realize that what Megatron meant by "fighting for freedom" would be him working with the Zabi family of the Principality of Zeon to instigate a war against the Earth Federation. While his initial effort was ruined, thanks to the intervention of the Autobots in helping the Federation, as well as the resourcefulness of the crew of White Base, one loss was not enough to derail Megatron's ambition. While Optimus and his forces were busy in helping Artesia Deikun consolidate her power as the rightful ruler of the Principality of Zeon, Megatron was hard at work, finding allies from one end of the solar system to another, and factions such as Axis Zeon would fall under his sway. Haman Karn's own ambition and lust for revenge made her a natural candidate to be one of Megatron's allies. The Decepticon warlord's offer of resources and Dark Energon was too good to pass up for the Axis leader. And while the Titans and the AEUG busy themselves with a dragged-out war, Megatron and his allies are preparing to strike.
Here we go. Another entry, another sacred cow.

Don’t worry, the Star Wars Expanded Universe retrospective is on its way, along with some new characters and storylines I’ve made up for my own versions of fictional universes.

But as I was recently playing Metroid games, and I was watching some Metroid videos, I felt the need to opine on a game series that I’ve recently had some good experiences with, and what seems to be wrong with the fandom:


Yes, yes, it’s quite natural for someone like me to like Metroid. I was a fan of Star Wars, Halo, Gundam, Transformers, and many other science fiction franchises. When it came to Nintendo’s, I was no different. I played through the Star Fox games like an addict. I was first exposed to Samus from the original Smash Bros, which piqued my curiosity. I did my research on the Metroid games, and when I finally got my hands on the Metroid Prime trilogy, my first and arguably best Metroid purchase, I decided to plow through not only the trilogy, but two other games that were the most well-known outside of the Prime saga: Super Metroid and Other M.

Playing through the Metroid games was somewhat different, for my tastes. Usually, I’m dealing with games where the main bad guy has to be overcome with sheer endurance or skill. Usually, the harder parts of the games I play concern a particularly long level with very limited checkpoints and plenty of bad guys, or a boss (or a group of bosses) that won’t go down as easily as others have. Metroid, aside from Castlevania Symphony of the Night and the Zelda games, were the first to give me a true puzzle challenge. The Mario games I played didn’t give me much trouble with puzzles, but the Metroid games, along with Zelda and Castlevania SOTN, were the first to introduce me to the puzzle genre. Because while Link and Alucard swing swords, and Samus uses a gun, their games are a lot more similar than they are at first glance. Despite the fact that one’s a sci-fi game and the other two are fantasies, Metroid has more in common with Zelda and SOTN than it does with say, Star Fox. Out of all the Star Fox games, the only one to even reach a similar level of puzzles would be Star Fox Adventures, and that was the black sheep of the Star Fox family.

The puzzles sometimes irritate me, and sometimes I get so angry that I crack open a guide or search through the internet for answers, but the times when I solve the puzzles, especially on my own, were really satisfying. Even more satisfying were the boss fights. While the fights against mooks in Metroid games, especially the Prime games, rarely gets me to try hard the way I play Halo games on Legendary, Metroid combat truly shines at the boss fights. I’d say the most memorable fight I had with Metroid games are the Dark Samus fights and the Emperor Ing, especially considering that I had to lose to the latter several times before I figured out his weakness and exploited it for good measure. (protip: use light gun charged shots against his tentacles in the first form, and his mouth in his third form) Few bosses bring that out in me. The last time I was that challenged was Shadow Peach in Paper Mario 2 and Tartarus in Halo 2. Dark Samus was like other shadow enemies I’ve fought, like Shadow Mario and Dark Link, but more challenging. Shadow Mario is more like a chase enemy, and as for Dark Link, I easily cracked him when I figured out how to hit him. Dark Samus, at least in the first two fights in Prime 2, fought me pound for pound, and like the Anakin vs. Obi-Wan fight in the Star Wars Episode III game, you have to give as good as you get if you wanted to win.

As for the feel of the games themselves, Super Metroid just felt like Castlevania SOTN with a gun, which is funny, considering the main concept behind Samus was practically “Mario with a gun” when she was first developed. Other M felt more like an action game with some minor exploration thrown in for good measure, while Metroid Prime felt like an old-fashioned FPS like Duke Nukem or Doom from the old days with an added tricorder function for the Trek fans out there. It seems that Samus would work better as a military research/biotech division member rather than a bounty hunter-there is no bounty hunting at all, and it would seem that in between gutting Space Pirates and their bosses, Samus busies herself with archaeology, tech scavenging, and biological research. Out of all three Prime games, only the third made her seem like a mercenary/bounty hunter, because at least she reports to an authority and wipes out enemies, presumably for a monetary reward.

And in retrospect, I liked them all. Other M was a great action game, Super Metroid was a fun side-scrolling exploration game, and the Prime games were like Zelda mixed with Halo, which, as a fan of both, I liked. Prime 1 was a nice first step, while Prime 2 seemed to bring in the difficulty, what with the Dark World corroding your health and the bosses being harder than usual. Prime 3 has to be my favorite, because it takes everything good from Prime 1 and 2 and adds a war story to it, giving Samus an authority to report to and military targets to destroy, which felt more appropriate for a science fiction series to have consequences beyond the hero’s personal affairs. Saving the Luminoth in the second game and putting the Chozo to rest in the first felt like a minor accomplishment, but I really liked how Samus now had to interact with the military and take assignments from them on the fly on the third game. I’ve heard some fans of the 2-D Metroid titles disparage the Prime games as Halo ripoffs, and as a Halo fan, I take offense to that. Halo is a great game series, and a Metroid game moving along similar lines like Halo’s is a good step for me. It’s not like they got rid of the exploration or anything-you still can choose to go to other planets yourself, and throw away the Feddies’ timeline to pursue your own goals. I chose to do that with Prime 3, and I pursued the Nova Beam upgrade without them telling me to go for it. In fact, the fact that you go from planet to planet instead of area to area is a huge improvement-the other games had you go through the sections on foot alone, so backtracking took quite a while.

Prime 3 also had a more personal story, where you work with the Federation, get attacked by a massive Space Pirate offensive, and you have to save a planet from being colony-dropped by a Phazon-infested asteroid in the prologue. Then you wind up having to hunt down your former comrades when they get brainwashed by the bad guys/lose control of their Phazon powers, and you yourself have to deal with space cancer as the Phazon begins to eat at your body. The Federation leader Admiral Castor Dane trusts you to lead the assaults and protect his spec-ops demolition teams, and the final boss is an evil version of you that was born in Prime 1 and got stronger in Prime 2. Out of all the Prime games, Prime 3 was the one I liked best. It had the best action, the best plot, and it showed why Samus got the reputation she had when she saved the galaxy with the Feddies at her back.

And now comes the one part where most Metroid fans will disagree with me:


When Other M was coming out, I was enamored by this action game that took the Samus that I knew from the Prime games and Super Metroid and turned her into Rambo meets Kratos. She was more half-Sherlock Holmes, half John Matrix when I played as her in Metroid Prime, and this departure from the norm stoked me, especially since I was a fan of action games too, from Force Unleashed to Bayonetta. Looking at the combat scenes, it seemed that Samus was going to be more brutal than ever before. Yikes. Especially when it was Team Ninja on the scene making this game. I still had nightmares about Dead Or Alive 4, where I’d be doing good on a match, then the other guy gets his first punch in and suddenly I was on the defensive until I got clobbered to death.

Then I bought the game, and played the game.

Not that bad, I thought. Could have been better, could have been worse, but overall, I liked the action bits, and I at least understood what they were going for with the story. I myself would have done something different, but the story they gave, I didn’t much hate it.

Then I saw the fanbase’s reaction.

Dear Lord, this was more juicy than the Star Wars Prequels.

One condemnation after another. Reactions ran from low scores on gaming magazines, to hordes of fans bashing it, to people talking about how sexist and misogynistic it is for Samus to be so “subservient”, “emotional”, even “fearful”. Apparently, if the fanbase is to be believed, Samus went from Boba Fett with tits to being a subservient crybaby.

I believe this is an exaggeration of what Other M portrayed and what the game is. While there are times when Samus had fear and Samus acted subservient, there were also plenty of times where she’s a complete badass in the game, especially when she’s executing enemies. What I saw from the game was a very human Samus that can be ruthless in combat, but also human when interacting with other humans. While there are some times where she felt a tad moody, I never jumped at the screen to shout “betrayal!” the way many of these fans seemingly did. I was puzzled by some of their decisions, but not so much as to stop playing the game.

Now, let’s go over most of the talking points that the bashers whip out, shall we? Let’s start with the gameplay, then move on to the story.

“There’s not much exploration!”

Of course there isn’t. This is Team Ninja on the helm. I think they’d rather parade Samus naked rather than actually have puzzles and exploration like the old games. In case you haven’t noticed, this is an action game. As if the combat hadn’t clued you in on that already. This is practically a Ninja Gaiden clone with Metroid characters and settings splattered on top. If you don’t like that, then fine. Just  be sure to know what you’re getting into when a studio that primarily works on action and fighting games works on a game. I mean, the only other thing they could have done was either make this a fighting game where Samus socks Ridley in the face on an even 1v1 match, or a beach volleyball game where Samus and Gandrayda try to knock each other into a pool with their butts.

Also, the backtracking kinda gets annoying sometimes. The Prime games were great, but the one part where the game grinded to a halt was when I had to hunt down some mcguffins to open up the final boss dungeons. Keys, power cores, whatever. You have to get some clues, then try to find the room, then try to find the damn key or power core. It just feels like padding to keep you from the final boss and force you to backtrack all over the places you’ve visited while following vague clues. That’s the part when I just crack open a guide so I can find and get all the items, so that I can go to the damn final boss that I wanted to shoot in the face with a high-powered plasma cannon.

“The missile controls are awkward! I can’t move when pointing the Wiimote forward while aiming!”

And I agree with that. It is somewhat awkward. I can get it to work, but I would have preferred working with the nunchuck and pressing a button to go to first-person mode to fire missiles. That, and add a button to fire missiles while in third-person.

“The authorization system is stupid!”

People think that the system where Adam has to authorize Samus before she can use her weapons and gadgets is stupid-and again, I agree. It would have been so much simpler had Samus been hit with one of the ever-occurring lightning bolts of Zeus that she gets struck with and be forced to search for power-ups again. Just have her deal with a power suit malfunction after some bad guy slams her on a sensitive power conduit or hits her with nondescript Force Lightning, then have General Adam or one of the marines say that the scientists who worked on the vessel they’re on were working on Chozo weapon prototypes in the ship, and Adam says that he will inform Samus if he or his team bump into any such tech while they investigate the place.

Overall, I found the gameplay stuff to be satisfying. Enough to overlook the more bizarre parts of the story. It was fun enough to keep me hooked, up until I finally beat the game. People bashing the gameplay just seem like they’re inflexible, in a way. Besides, other Metroid games did have you go from one place to another on a linear path, and only later force you to backtrack to find some items before facing the final boss. The Prime games even tell you where to go. While I still think that Prime 3 was better in gameplay, Other M was also quite fun, and I had my money’s worth playing the game.

Now, on to the juicy part-the story.

I have to admit, I had mixed feelings about the story. There were times when they had some good concepts, times that kept me guessing and tense, and times when I just sat there asking why they chose that path. While my own version of Samus is different from theirs, and believe me, I even came up with a rewrite of Other M that would change a few things, but for the story that was there, I saw some good parts, some bad parts, and some parts that had potential but needed improving.

But let’s get over the complaints, shall we?  

“Samus is subservient to Adam!”

Well, of course. Samus has to be. Not only is Adam some kind of father figure that she used to work for, but General Malkovich represents the Galactic Federation, which pays her salary. And bounty hunters, unlike soldiers who get regular pay, are independent contractors that the state can hire or fire on a whim. If Samus doesn’t do everything peachy-clean for them, they stop paying her and tell her to get lost, and then she won’t be able to feed herself. It’s like with Boba Fett in Empire Strikes Back-in his dealings with Vader, it was obvious that the latter wore the pants in the relationship. Vader, like Adam, even restricts Fett’s weapons from the outset-warning him that using disintegrators against the people they’re going after is a complete no-no.

The fact that Vader had to stop and say that, instead of just leaving it at “I want them alive”, is probably because Fett and his fellow hunters have disintegration weapons, and are very liberal in using them-just like Samus. However, unlike Boba Fett, who works for anyone with a fat wallet, Samus specifically works for the good guys, the Galactic Federation. Hence why she can’t afford to look like a loose cannon-nobody else who wants to remain on the good side of the law would hire a walking death machine who goes off the rails and disobeys orders. That’s bad for business and reputation. So Samus has to keep up the facade of the obedient servant, so that she can continue getting paid, and she can keep up her good reputation. A Federation general getting angry about her not obeying orders and filing public complaints with the government and the military can easily cause trouble for her career, not to mention burn bridges with the clients that she does business with the most.

This isn’t even the first time Nintendo did this very same thing. In the Star Fox series, Fox McCloud was sent to Dinosaur Planet in Star Fox Adventures, and the first order from the commanding general, General Pepper, is to keep Fox from using personal firearms. Now, Star Fox Assault comes in later and shows that he has a lot of weapons, ranging from blasters, machine guns, gatling guns, rocket launchers, grenades, and sniper weapons. They could have been useful in helping Fox plow through the Sharpclaw army of the evil General Scales. He could have gone Rambo on them, a one-man engine of destruction against a bunch of guys with medieval weapons.

But the first thing the General orders is for Fox to leave all those fancy toys back on the ship, even the smallest blaster weapon. Down to the point where Fox has to fight with a stick against an army of angry dinosaurs. But again, just like Samus, Fox McCloud is a mercenary for the good guys. He doesn’t just go to the nearest scumbag or rich ponce with a wallet and asks for a job. He specifically works for the Cornerian government, a government that is quite squeamish to have mercs shooting up the place when they send people to help with planetary issues. So again, Fox has to play the good servant card and save the planet using a magic staff, instead of just blasting through General Scales’ army with a ton of guns as if he was John Matrix slaughtering a whole army.

Also, since this was Samus’ first superior officer after training with the Chozo, she did somehow see him as a father-figure. Keep in mind that her parents were slaughtered before her eyes at a very young age, and her only company after that were weird bird-men who did all sorts of experiments on her. She might have seen them as family after what happened to her mom and dad, but they weren’t humans. So a human like Adam would feel more relatable to Samus than some alien bird-men who were more obsessed with transcending physical form or coming up with a parasite to fight another parasite.

Granted, I would have done things differently-my version for Adam would be very supportive, while Samus is cold and distant, with an air of melancholy about her. Adam, in the game, seemed very authoritative, stubborn, and looks down on Samus as if she was beneath him. But it makes sense in a certain context-Samus is a former officer of the Federation who ran off to be a mercenary. To a man who remained with the military, a man who saw Samus quit, Adam wouldn’t have such a high opinion of her. Others like Admiral Dane from Metroid Prime 3 might, but Samus didn’t desert Dane’s unit. She deserted Adam’s unit, and I suppose that would have left some burned bridges on Adam’s side of the story. Maybe he just saw her as someone who played with pirates on the fringes of the galaxy and blew up worlds because of her reckless actions. Perhaps that’s why he’s apprehensive about her when it comes to her running around in a place that might have civilians. This wasn’t some pirate’s nest at the ass end of space where everyone is free game to be shot in the face, the Bottle Ship was a sensitive place with Federation secrets and possible survivors on board. Yes, I would have changed the authorization system so that Samus either has the power-ups from the start or she loses them and has to regain them. But Adam’s attitude isn’t necessarily out of line here.

These haters tend to see things from an audience perspective, irrespective of how the world that Samus lives in sees her. Some see her as a heroic figure. Others see her as a nonsense legend, like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. I quite literally pulled that from Metroid Prime 2 and the logs the soldiers have about Samus that Samus herself recovers from the remains of the Federation outposts in the game. The Federation soldiers in Prime 3 are at awe in Samus’ presence, but how many more billions haven’t seen her? And how many are out there that may have a negative view of her? Maybe some people think she’s wasting her time playing with pirates. Others might think she’s reckless because she leaves behind almost no survivors in her assaults and sometimes she winds up destroying the worlds she’s on. We never knew that people had negative opinions of the Jedi in Star Wars until we saw it in the Expanded Universe and the Prequels, where people questioned the Jedi ways and even voted in a guy who accused the Jedi of treason as the Emperor of the galaxy, supporting his decimation of the Jedi Order. What if there were also people who didn’t like Samus among the Federation populace?

Adam, especially, has a very negative view of Samus, considering that he’s a very by-the-book and Samus was practically out there joyriding in the galaxy and getting paid for it while his grunts get none of the glory. A by-the-books cop would not be very fond of a vigilante, no matter how impressive or effective they are, or how many accolades society gifts upon them. The by-the-book guy will always see them as either a nuisance or a threat. Batman gets shit from by-the-book cops all the time no matter how many times he saves Gotham City. For Adam, it might have been more, considering that Samus left him and his squad behind.

At the core of this seems to lie the difference between the East and the West. The guy who made this story was Yoshio Sakamoto, the maker of the Metroid franchise. Sakamoto is Japanese. Japan, and the East in general, does not see eye to eye with the West when it comes to women and feminism. The Japanese audience and their idea of an ideal woman is far different from the West's. So while Samus being emotional and subservient to General Adam was something Japanese fans would find no issue with, in the West, where feminism is more prevalent, they screamed "betrayal" because Samus, in their opinion, should never be that subversive; the most subversive she would be in their eyes is her taking orders from Admiral Dane, but responding to everyone with nothing but cold silence. Some of them might envision Samus as a playgirl, others see her as a cold bitch, kinda like Boba Fett with tits. In fact, the latter characterization is what most of them have for her.

In the eyes of the Japanese fanbase, Samus was opening up, showing her true emotions, and being more of a three-dimensional character with fears and issues, making her more human and realistic. To them, it’s akin to Pinocchio becoming a real boy. In the Western fans' eyes, the hero they so lovingly worshiped turned into a subversive crybaby. It's all about differing value systems. And the Japanese have very different views on women compared to the West. Most of Asia does. They don't put up with "empowered women" who boast about how equal they are to men the way Westerners do. Oh, there are women with power in the East, but they know their place, and that place is to never fuck with a man unless they got backup. That whole "I'm an empowered woman and I'm equal/better than you in every way" won't fly in the East as it does in the West, hence why most characterizations of Samus by Western fans don't fit what Sakamoto sees for Samus.

Call it sexist or misogynistic all you want. The East isn’t listening, Japan isn’t listening. Have you seen how the nerd culture in Japan reacts to women? Especially famous and attractive ones that wear skintight bodysuits underneath their clothes? The fact that the most sexual they got with Samus was an ass shot with her Zero Suit is lucky. Other authors might have had her suit fail and some tentacle monster grabs her while she’s wearing nothing but that skintight suit. Some authors might have her pork one or more of the marines, maybe even Adam. Some might even go the Mass Effect route and have her engage in a lesbian sex scene with “Melissa Bergman” to calm her down in that final battle.

All these years of playing Metroid games with a silent protagonist has led many of these Metroid players to characterize Samus in their heads, to build their own character for her. It’s the same advantage Master Chief had in Halo, one that was slowly eroding away as 343 Studios made Chief more dynamic in Halo 4. I guess it’s why a Samus that narrates is something of a bad idea for them; for Sakamoto, it’s a chance to voice his opinions about his character. For these fans, it is destroying their hopes of their characterization of Samus being the canonical one. Most of them, probably feminists, saw Samus as this feminist hero who would castrate people for calling her “Princess”. My idea of Samus wouldn’t have cared, and Sakamoto’s Samus barely cared. Some saw the words “bounty hunter” attached to Samus and thought she was a female Boba Fett, except unlike Fett, I’ve never seen Samus bunk with or work for criminals and despots, so that characterization gets shot down fast.

I guess it all comes down to what the East and the West see as a strong female character. To the East, all you need is them being able to kill. They can have issues, fears, etcetera, so long as they meet the physical requirements and they kill baddies, that’s good enough. To the West, there seems to be this inferiority complex amongst feminists, that seeing a female lead be exceedingly subservient to a male and seeing her cry and act…...well…….feminine…… almost a weakness, anathema to strength. It seems like the East has less of a problem having “strong women” act feminine, which they see as natural. While the west sees femininity as a sort of weakness, that to be strong, one must be like a man as much as possible, especially for “strong female characters”. For example, some comedy gags and fighting games have women like Princess Peach use a frying pan to hit an enemy in the face. Easterners either couldn’t care less or might even find that funny. Some Westerners, especially the feminists, will find that offensive and stereotypical. Perhaps that explains why many western men, especially whites, look for Asian brides. Women in the west have seen that being man-like is the way to be strong, and of course, many men looking for a wife don’t like that.

As for me, yes, I have my own characterization for Samus, and no, just because Other M is different from it doesn’t mean I have to cry. I just don’t care-I have my version of Samus, Sakamoto has his. Just as the official version of Revan from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is male and light side, while I find female Dark Side Revan (or a flirty trollish male one who pisses off Bastila to no end) more to my liking. It’s just one Metroid game out of many. There are many others where you can pretend that your Samus is the canonical one, because the games, aside from Other M, have her mostly be a silent blank that you can fill in.

Heck, I didn’t like how Star Wars the Old Republic ended Revan’s tale, so I’m in the process of writing my own ending and how it ties the two KOTOR games with the MMO and a future crossover story I’m planning to do. Similarly, I didn’t like how Star Wars Episode VII treated Luke Skywalker and the Original Trilogy cast, so I just stick to the Legends canon and see that as the real follow-up to Episode VI.

If it were me, I would have also made Adam more caring and understanding, perhaps be the more human anchor while Samus is the more distant and cold person, and Adam would not only be trying to keep Samus from blowing up the ship, but also try to make her more human and less closed-in. Since this takes place after Prime 3, I’d write in that Samus was close friends with the three bounty hunters she was forced to kill in that game, that they were her friends who helped her fit into the bounty hunting community after she left the military. Just as she had her old family, they became her new family, and she was ecstatic about having to work with them again in Prime 3. So when she has to kill each one of them once they lost their minds to Phazon, she dies a little inside with every kill. Their loss made her more distant and cold as Metroid 2 and Super Metroid came about. She will carry that pain all her life. Just as Ridley took her old family, so did Dark Samus and Phazon take her new one.

By the time Other M rolls in, she’d be the cynical one, opting to be a loner to keep others from getting killed by being too close to her, while Adam would be the one trying to pull her out of that depression. Adam would be the one to admit that he had feelings for Samus back when she worked under him, and that he wants her to be better and to not be a shut-in all the time. Samus would be the one to stop the ship from crashing into the capital, and she shuts the door behind her, leaving Adam and Anthony behind, and tasking Anthony to care for Adam. When Adam tells Samus that he loved her, Samus replies that she knows. She then leaves to take care of business and save the day. In the end, Samus acts tough and cold on the outside, but inside, she feels the pain of loss and remembers how she lost both her old family, her Chozo masters, and her new family, and she doesn’t want Adam to suffer the same fate, because she does have some feelings of love and admiration towards him, and she doesn’t want him to follow her parents and co-workers into an early grave.

“Samus is a crybaby!”

Really? Because there’s only one time where she seizes up with fear, and that was during the Ridley fight. And she shook it off after a few seconds, then tore the freak a new hole to breathe out of. Granted, the guy escaped, but Samus fought him off well. Again, it seems like an exaggeration, and as for me, the cutscene just weirded me out, but the ensuing boss fight was fun, so I didn’t care much. From what I saw, it seemed like the new cloned Ridley had some kind of mind-rape power that blasted Samus in the head and made her think that she was a weak little girl again, at the mercy of this cruel dragon. He is supposed to be better than the original article, after all. That’s the only explanation I have as to why she seizes up and fears him at the start, but then tears him apart efficiently during the fight. Granted, he gets away, but the fight was fun while it lasted.

But even without my mind-rape explanation, I do have a good in-universe reason why Samus feared Ridley. For us, Ridley is like Metroid’s version of Bowser and Team Rocket. The guy we pound the crap out of until we proceed to the next chapter, the iconic punching bag. It wouldn’t be a standard Metroid game if we didn’t get to shoot Ridley in the face. But there lies a wrinkle in that comparison: Ridley brutally murdered Samus’ parents, when she was a child, right in front of her. So while the rest of us sees Ridley as the town punching bag, Samus sees the sadist who ruined her childhood, her life. And in her mind, no matter how many times she kills him, he comes back. Just imagine that. This monster haunted your childhood memories, killed your family before your own eyes. Then he keeps coming back, no matter how many times you put him down. It’s like he’s immortal-no matter how many times you try, you just can’t seem to get rid of this guy. And he looks a lot more scary than Slenderman or any of those animatronic furries back in Five Nights at Freddy’s. And no matter what you do, HE JUST WON’T DIE. Now isn’t that terrifying?

Granted, I knew why they did it-they wanted to explore the fear Samus felt when facing a guy who slaughtered her family. Perhaps if Other M was a prequel, this would have worked. A prequel to the original Metroid, where Samus is barely established. It would make sense that the brass distrusted her. It would make sense why she fears Ridley. It could have also shed light into her training with the Chozo and given us some time to experience that with tutorials and gameplay. But due to the timing of Other M, and its placement after Super Metroid, which places it near the Metroid timeline’s end, many die-hard fans would get pissed that their hero freezes up before the Metroid equivalent of Bowser and Team Rocket.

If it were up to me, I’d write it so that instead of fear, Samus feels intense anger. Remember that scene in Dragon Ball Super, when Future Trunks sees Present Goku, and remembers all the nasty things that Goku Black did in the future, such as killing his mother and girlfriend, and Trunks sees Present Goku as Goku Black and jumps up to punch him in the face? That would be close to what I would do. Samus takes one good look at Ridley, remembers the pain he caused her when her family died, and Samus gets angry at the fact that he’s still alive despite her best efforts. “HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO KILL THIS GUY!?” she yells. And while Anthony Higgins tells Samus that they should work together and come up with a plan, Samus would charge blindly with anger, sorrow, and yes, HATE, in her heart. The finishing moves Samus would use would show how brutal she’s become, ripping off Ridley’s arms, wings, and even grabbing him by the tail so that she can smack him around the ring.

By the time Ridley’s down, Samus points her gun at his face and prepares to charge a killing shot, then Adam gets into contact and says that they need Ridley alive to be interrogated about what’s going on in the Bottle Ship. Anthony tries to calm Samus down, telling her that by sparing Ridley, they can do a lot more good than harm. But Samus would have none of it: she responds by saying how much she hated Ridley for making her an orphan, and how she kept trying to kill him, to “send him back to the hell where he belongs”, and how he couldn’t be trusted. Something similar as to how Zaeed Massani in Mass Effect 2 talks about his rival Vido Santiago, when the main character Shepard accuses him of holding a decades-long grudge:

“A grudge!? Vido turned my men against me! He paid six of them to restrain me while he put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger! For twenty years, I’ve seen that bastard every time I closed my eyes, every time I sighted down on a target, every time I heard a gunshot! Don’t you call that a goddamn grudge!”

Samus would be talking about how she remembered the day Ridley killed her parents, how she carried that memory throughout her life, how the pain and anguish it caused her carries her through from one job to another. Every time she kills a Space Pirate, she remembers that pain. Every time she sleeps, she remembers that pain. Every time she sees Ridley, she remembers that pain. She has nightmares of reliving that day, in and out, again and again. She carried that pain all through her life. And now, she has the bastard who caused her all that pain right in her hands. To further complicate things, Ridley would have overheard Samus’ conversation with Anthony, and taunts her:

“Your friends want me alive, but your heart wants revenge. If I die, your friends won’t know what the hell happened here or the horrors that await you. If you let me live, I can escape to fight another day. So what will it be, bounty hunter? Dead, or alive?”

Samus prepares to fire and brings her gun up to Ridley’s face, shoving the gun up near his eye. Anthony says “Don’t!”, while Adam tells Samus that they need Ridley. She holds the charged shot to Ridley’s face, then she lowers it down. She then tells Anthony to take Ridley to General Adam’s command post in the ship. Adam tells Samus that she made the right choice, while Ridley taunts her and tells her that she’s too weak to get the job done. Samus tells Anthony to get that “piece of filth” away from her before she loses control. And that would bring a curtain to the Ridley-Samus fight, except he does escape later on, so that he could be used for future stories.

“The Deleter plot is unresolved!”

I agree. The Deleter, who was a Federation agent sent to silence Adam and his team from finding out more about the Feddies’ dirty secret on the Bottle Ship, should have been killed on screen, preferably by Samus herself. That would earn her Adam’s trust if she saves him from a traitorous member of his team.

The way I would have done it is similar to the SIS agent on Corellia that the Sith Warrior fights in the Old Republic MMO. In Star Wars the Old Republic, the Sith Warrior player character fights an “SIS” (Systems Intelligence Service) agent on the planet Corellia. The agent has been tracking the Warrior’s progress, citing the latter’s past accomplishments and even revealing themselves to be somewhat of a fan of the warrior. He has imagined many ways of killing the warrior, and is frothing at the mouth to try them out and see if he comes out on top. The Deleter could have a similar backstory, observing Samus throughout the years, looking at how she solves crises and defeats threats from Mother Brain, to Ridley, to the Ing and Dark Samus, and he would be frothing at the mouth to see if he can best the legendary Samus Aran who defeated all these threats.

The game spent a good portion speculating about this Deleter subplot, and the corruption of the Federation, but in the end, it all just gets swatted aside. It would have been much better if it had a good conclusion.

“The Plot is cliche and stupid!”

The plot about the government being involved in a plot to revive the Metroids and the Space Pirates is seen by many fans as stupid, a step down from Samus doing major things in the previous games like saving the planet Aether from the ruthless onslaught of the Ing and the dark reflection of itself in Prime 2, or Samus going commando in Prime 3 and leading the Federation to war while dealing with the loss of her comrades and the onrushing tide of a Phazon-induced disease. And again-I agree, however, I do think the concept itself is good-it just needed more resolution, such as with the Deleter plot.

I also think that Adam should have survived. Let the computer that bears his name in the future Metroid games be retconned into an AI modeled after his brain patterns, but in my ideal story for Other M, Adam would have survived. Then, when the corrupt Federation colonel shows up later on to clean house, a GENERAL like Adam would be able to overrule him and keep Samus out of trouble, especially if Samus just saved him from the Deleter. I would also have Adam and Samus work to give “Melissa Bergman” asylum, as that poor girl was just a Feddie experiment gone wrong. Perhaps have her be given asylum and fight against the Space Pirates in the future.

But the basic idea of the Federation being corrupt is an interesting one. Especially when juxtaposed with the Federation from Prime 3 that acted more like the Rebel Alliance or the Cornerians in terms of being a heroic force for the galaxy. It’s like the UNSC, if they were more advanced and had average soldiers wielding more advanced weapons. Perhaps the Federation has many different factions, and while Admiral Dane and his fleet were noble and heroic soldiers who fight for justice and peace, other factions within the Feds may not be so noble or pure. Adam could be someone caught between these competing factions, so he would be apprehensive about Samus getting her nose into Feddie business that Adam would be warned by his superiors to keep from outsiders like Samus at all costs. Just as the UNSC is beginning to show its corrupt side in the newer Halo games, so too does the Federation look a tad bit more sinister after this game.

Metroid games in the past have almost always been clear-cut, with good guys such as the Ancient Chozo, the Luminoth, and the Federations on one side, and the Space Pirates and whatever freaks they share the antagonist booth with as the bad guys. The most they did with grey in previous games was have the Feddies experimenting with Metroids in Fusion and Samus having to fight her Bounty Hunter coworkers in Prime 3, and that was after they lost their minds to Phazon and were captured and brainwashed by the enemy. But introducing a grey area can be a good thing. Perhaps one day the Feds might turn against Samus, and friendly Federation officers like Admiral Dane can come into play, giving her shelter while trying to figure out what’s going on?

In the end, Metroid Other M is not such a bad game. It was fun, it was entertaining, and I could see what Sakamoto was going for in the story. Of course, it wouldn’t be what I would do, since I would have taken the story and implemented the changes I talked about above onto it. As for the gameplay, I would have left it as it is, only adding in the missile controls with the nunchuck. Granted, I still think Prime 3 is the best Metroid ever, but that doesn’t subtract from Other M’s merits. But it is an action game, and therefore, a departure from the Metroidvania style that Super Metroid perfected and the exploration style that the Prime Games identify with. So while people love the shit out of the Prime games while hating Other M, I’m someone that can find the merit in both of them. I will be writing my own Metroid stories soon, and it will take elements from both Other M and the Prime games.
Here I take an overview of the Metroid series, and my two cents on the whole debate between Metroid Prime fans and Other M. 

Who are they, why are they popular, and their place in the Star Wars fandom debates…….

To those who are unfamiliar with the general fandom for Star Wars, Mandalorians are a warrior-race who are characterized by wearing armor suits with helmets that have T-visors on them. Many of them add jetpacks and wrist-blasters onto their armor suits and employ grenades and missiles along with blasters and flamethrowers. Others use blades along with blasters. The Mandalorians are well-known as powerful warriors and are considered some of the best mercenaries and soldiers in the Star Wars galaxy, with Mandalorian mercenaries and soldiers being valuable commodities for any faction or army.

Even back then, during the Original Trilogy days, George Lucas envisioned Mandalorians as a people of war, when Boba Fett was placed among the Bounty Hunters as an example of the Mandalorians’ obsession with war. The man was dressed with a green Mandalorian armor cuirass and helmet, with a jetpack and weapons in his wrist gauntlets outside of his blaster rifle, and aside from Vader and the Emperor, he gave the heroes a harder fight more than any enemy they met in the battlefield. That is, before he was unceremoniously stabbed in the back by a blind man and sent tumbling down into a pit full of teeth and tentacles. But the Mandalorians’ story did not end there. In the Prequels, when the two evil Sith Lords, Darth Tyranus and Darth Sidious looked for a guy to clone for their Stormtrooper-esque army that will one day knock off the Jedi, they chose Boba Fett’s adoptive father, Jango Fett, the man who raised Boba as a warrior, forever linking the Mandalorians to the origins of the Empire’s dreaded Stormtrooper corps. Jango wasn’t born from the Mandalorian clans, as Lucas said, but according to the lore, he was adopted into the clans by a Mandalorian soldier and wore the armor ever since-until he was decapitated by Jedi Master Mace Windu in the free-for-all that was the Battle of Geonosis. Hey, at least that’s more dignified than getting stabbed by a blind man, eh?

This, of course, made the Mandalorians popular in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Boba Fett was salvaged from his defeat at Tatooine in Star Wars Episode VI by the comic series Dark Empire, and even in the early Marvel Star Wars comics, Mandalorians made an early presence where they helped the budding Rebel Alliance against the Empire. When Dark Horse took over the Star Wars comics, the Mandalorians made appearances in many Dark Horse comics, from the Dark Empire story that brought back Boba Fett, to the Legacy comics that take place 130 years after the original movies, to even the Tales of the Jedi and the Knights of the Old Republic comics that take place 4000 years before the original movies, Mandalorians were a constant factor in galactic politics. Mandalorians made appearances in Star Wars video games like Knights of the Old Republic and Empire at War, where Mandalorians were powerful enemies to be hunted by both light-sided and dark-sided players and factions. Games such as Republic Commando and Bounty Hunter even had a Mandalorian cultural tint, as they either starred Mandalorians like Jango Fett, or Mando-influenced clones like Delta Squad. Many novels by acclaimed author Karen Traviss expanded on their role in the Clone Wars, although they had the cost of being divisive-alienating fans of the Jedi and making non-Mando fans among the Star Wars community feel somewhat slighted when Traviss seems to tilt the moral high ground to the Mandalorians at the expense of everyone else, especially when other works displayed the Mandalorians as war-hungry blood knights always eager for a “new crusade” to fight.

Nevertheless, Mandalorians are as much a central part of the Star Wars culture, just as the Jedi and Sith are. Boba Fett was one of the characters that gets the most cosplays. Mandalorian culture is very much present in the greater lore of Star Wars, from the novels, to the comics, to the games, and it’s quite obvious that it comes from the appeal of the Mandalorian culture and way of life, as well as their badass fighting skills and cool-looking armor.

But with such an influence comes…….problems.

Remember when I said that Karen Traviss’ novels were divisive? Yeah, that divisive-ness is prevalent amongst the Star Wars fandom. Very rarely does anyone from the fandom have a neutral opinion on the Traviss books and the Mandalorians that they portray. One side of the fandom loves it, to the point of personally embracing the Mandalorian culture Traviss created, as if they were real-life Mandalorians. The other side, being those who are fans of Jedi, Sith, the Empire, the Republic, or anyone else outside the Mandalorians, feel that Traviss made the Mandalorians way too much of a Mary Sue.

The biggest example of this was when one of Han Solo’s sons, Jacen, turned into a Sith named Darth Caedus. In the books, Karen Traviss, who was writing the story, made Han’s daughter Jaina seek out Boba Fett’s help to take him down, even though Fett had experience hunting Jedi, not Sith, and nothing the Mandalorians have can resist the power of the Dark Side-they had nothing to combat the lightning blasts and telekinetic chokes the Sith usually throw at the enemy. It would have made more sense if Jaina sought out some ancient Jedi holocron teaching a technique for blocking Dark Side powers or if she sought the aid of other Jedi like Kyle Katarn, Luke Skywalker, or Jaden Korr, all experienced fighters when it came to fighting Sith. (Heck, Jaden even fought Marka Ragnos, an ancient Sith Lord from the original Sith Empire’s golden age) But Traviss even makes Jaina beg in front of her father’s old nemesis for help, even submitting to him beating her around, instead of turning to avenues of help that would have been more conventional, less humiliating, and more useful against a dark-sided brother of hers.

From the Mando-Traviss fans’ point of view, it was a point of pride-the good guys needed THEIR favorite characters’ help to win against the big bad Darth Caedus. It was a validation of their favorite characters now that even the Solos seek their help to sort out a family problem of galactic proportions. From the point of view of fans like me, who leaned more towards the Sith/Empire side, it was ridiculous. Powerful Sith could easily slaughter Mandalorians as if they were a joke. The Sith were MY specialty in the Star Wars fanbase, and to me, no Mandalorian would be of use against a Sith outside of cannon fodder to distract them. None of that armor or gadgets or jetpacks can withstand the power of the Dark Side, and my memories of facing down Mandalorians in Star Wars games using Sith characters informed my opinions on the matter.

I remember my fully-Sith character from Knights of the Old Republic blasting away Mandalorians with telekinetic Force waves, as if they were nothing more but ninepins in a bowling alley, then using the Force to strangle those who survived getting tossed about. Even without the Force, my other Sith character in KOTOR II bested Mandalorians in their “Battle Circle” duels, making them realize that a Sith can beat them, even in their game. I remember the Sith Lord Starkiller in the Force Unleashed Tatooine DLC easily besting Boba Fett, blasting him with lightning and watching him fly around uncontrollably as his jetpack short-circuits thanks to Starkiller blasting it with lightning. I remember Vader being able to wipe out Mandalorians just as easily as he wipes out armies of Rebel insurgents in Empire at War, using his powers and lightsaber to slaughter scores of them.

It also worked the other way: When I played as Mandalore Jango Fett in the Bounty Hunter video game against a Sith APPRENTICE, the fight was a boss fight because of how easy Komari Vosa could kill the player, and if it hadn’t been for an obvious opening when she charges the player, she would be near-impossible to beat. Canderous Ordo in KOTOR can handle a few Sith if his melee stats are boosted and he’s given a powerful-enough melee weapon, but when he faces Sith in force, he has little defense against Sith using the Force to choke him, to put him in a Force whirlwind, to blast him with lightning, etcetera. Unless he has a Jedi party member or a load of health packs, even the mighty Canderous is going to have problems fighting the Sith.

And it makes sense lore-wise: most of the defenses the Mandalorians have were against Jedi-their Beskar-plated lightsaber-proof armor, their mental resilience, magnetic boots, all were aimed against Jedi who used the Force to push and pull, to control minds, and to swing lightsabers. Not against Sith who strangled people with telekinesis or lit them up like Christmas trees with lightning. We even see this in the Clone Wars TV show: when Darth Maul fought Pre Vizsla in a one-on-one duel, even with Maul fighting at a handicap of only using his blade, he triumphed over Vizsla, even though the latter used grenades, flamethrowers, shuriken-launchers, and blasters along with his own lightsaber, going to show how even the strength afforded by the hatred and anger engendered by the Dark Side can help a man overpower an armed and armored Mandalorian with nothing more but bladework and hand-to-hand combat.

So the idea that one of Darth Vader’s grand-children would lower herself to begging Fett for help against Jacen baffles me, especially when she probably has next to nothing to gain in terms of advantage against Sith by bringing Fett and his Mandalorians. It was obviously a fanservice moment to stroke the Mandalorian fans’ ego. It would have been better off if Boba Fett approached Han Solo and his daughter to offer his aid pro-bono: from the surface, it’d be an act of charity. But his more ruthless reason could be that he wants a man-to-man showdown with Han Solo one day, and letting him die at the hands of his Sith son could prevent that from becoming a possibility. That would add more nuance to Fett, making him look charitable and ruthless at the same time, which would give him more depth and make the character even more likeable than if he just beat up Jaina Solo when she begs him for help.

And that’s not even the worst of it. I mentioned that Traviss’ books alienated Jedi fans. Why do they alienate Jedi fans? Well, it’s because Traviss portrays them in the least flattering picture she can possibly get away with. During the Clone Wars era, the Jedi led the Republic army that was comprised of Jango Fett clones into battle. But Traviss tried to make it look like the Jedi were both uncaring and moronic in terms of military command, getting clones killed due to sloppy strategies, treating the clones like expendable meat for the war, little better than Battle Droids. Such behaviors would justify Order 66, where the Clones finally turned their guns on their Jedi slave-masters and blew their brains out.

Now, as I mentioned, I am mostly a Sith/Empire fan. Some of my private fan stories of Jedi have them getting captured or corrupted into the Dark Side either by necessity or by a life-changing event, or both. When I watched the Original Trilogy, I identified more with the Empire, with Vader, Tarkin, and Palpatine, their Stormtroopers, along with that badass Imperial Navy and those immensely powerful Death Stars. And when I became an Expanded Universe fan, that trend continued, as I learned about the Ancient Sith and their multiple Empires. Even with the prequels, I marveled at the elegance of the Sith Grand Plan, how they kept the Jedi in the dark until the very last moment, along with seeing badasses like Dooku and Maul fight against the Jedi. I enjoyed finally seeing Palpatine in his full glory and hamminess, along with a furious Anakin falling to the Dark Side, slaughtering the remnants of the Separatists in cold blood and fighting Kenobi in a hellhole filled with fire and brimstone. But part of being a Sith/Empire fan is also knowing about the opposition: knowing about the Jedi. In the many iterations of the Expanded Universe, the Jedi have shown compassion for their charges, those who serve under them and with them-and that was a weakness the Sith characters I liked usually exploited. Their self-destructive code of compassion and self-sacrifice usually ends with them sacrificing themselves for the greater good, which is the opposite of the Sith, which is about self-preservation. The Jedi want to protect the freedoms of the many species under the Republic, which contrasts with the Sith and the Imperials wanting to keep most of these species under the order of an Empire with little patience for their whining about “rights” and “freedoms”, opting for stability and peace through the barrel of a gun instead.

So Traviss’ portrayal of the Jedi have left me rather puzzled at best. The Jedi, at least to me, were either too good or too stupid to be evil. And they’re not morons when it came to battle tactics, hence why the Sith and their goons have to press hard to win victories against the Jedi, often having forces like that of the Sith-backed Confederacy of Independent Systems secure victory with their battledroids marching through the bodies of their wrecked and mangled brethren. So portraying the Jedi as unsympathetic to the suffering of their Clone Army while employing idiot tactics that get them killed all the time is, well, not in line with how the Jedi are portrayed elsewhere. In other Clone Wars works and other Star Wars media, the Jedi are at least, worthy enemies of the Sith; flawed but wise, and the one obvious weakness that they do have is compassion for those who serve under them.

Yes, we do have the Original Trilogy Jedi who were a tad bit too detached, telling Luke Skywalker that he should let his friends die and lying to him about his old man, but even those cold bastards had at least a strain of wisdom with them-they wanted to keep Luke in training until he was ready to fight, and they thought he wasn’t ready for the truth about Vader and Anakin being the same person. I don’t agree with their moves, but I at least see why they did it.

And the funny thing is, Traviss is trying to compare these “heartless” and “idiotic” Jedi with Jango Fett and his Cul’Vay’Dar-Mandalorians who accepted money from the Sith to build the very same Clone Army that the Mando-Traviss fans see as being used as slaves of the Jedi. And the only reason that Fett and his men agreed to this, outside of possibly revenge against the Jedi, was MONEY. That’s right, the honorable Mandalore Jango Fett, the follower of the Mandalorian Supercommando Codex, purposefully allowed himself to be cloned, to create what amounts to a slave army, in order to settle a vendetta against the Jedi and get paid. So, every single dead Clone Trooper’s blood is on Jango’s hands. He agreed to this plan of the Sith, not for a higher goal of peace, not for an altruistic motive to protect the Republic against a future threat, but to get rich. To get Count Dooku’s sweet moolah. Yes, Jango and his Cul’Vay’Dar can express guilt all they like, but you know what actually helps these clones? Having someone lead them in battle and bleed alongside them-which those oh-so-evil Jedi do all the time. The Jedi fight, bleed, and die alongside these clone troopers. They share the same battlefield hardships. They try to lead the clones to victory with the least amount of casualties as possible. They don’t always succeed, but they at the very least did their best. And they try to keep the clone troopers alive in the mess that was the Clone Wars. And why do the Jedi do that? Because they believe they’re fighting to protect civilization. To keep it from falling into chaos. To keep the Republic from falling into the hands of one of their fallen brethren who was revealed to be a deceiver and a warmonger.

And what’s even worse is that some Mandalorians FOUGHT against this army of Mandalorian clone-slaves. The Mandalorian Protectors in the old Legends canon were formed by a rogue Arc Trooper who used his similarity to Jango Fett to raise an army of Mandalorians against the Republic on behalf of Dooku. That’s far worse: now these Mandalorians are KILLING the clone soldiers of the Republic. The same clones that came from Jango Fett’s DNA and were trained by the Cul’Vay’Dar. At least the Jedi have the decency to stick and fight alongside their “clone slaves” while these “true Mandalorians” shot these “slaves” like target practice.

Heck, even the Sith had higher motives: Palpatine saw that the Republic will always be in chaos, so he and his buddy Dooku created this whole fake war to turn the Republic into a centralized Empire and get rid of the Jedi, not for a mere idea of revenge, but to bring the galaxy to peace. They believed that an Empire led by a Sith is the only way to have peace, and the Jedi were in the way of said peace, so the deaths of billions to benefit trillions was an exchange they were willing to make. It was a twisted peace, but at least even Palpatine and Dooku had the general desire to benefit the galaxy-they were not motivated by petty ideas like revenge and the quest for more wealth. In fact, since these Sith were practitioners of the Rule of Two, they couldn’t care less about the Sith Order vanquished by the Jedi in the past, because according to the Rule of Two, having a Sith Order with thousands of Sith was a mistake, and the galaxy was better off without them. So it obviously wasn’t about avenging themselves on the Jedi for the destruction of the Sith Order of old that had thousands of Sith Lords.

Also, Mandalorians seeking revenge against the Jedi is quite a contradiction against past Mandalorian depictions. The Mandalorians of the KOTOR era, for example, are nearly extinct thanks to the Jedi Revan nearly wiping them all out during the Mandalorian Wars, just as the Jedi Order nearly wiped out Jango Fett’s Mandalorians in the battle of Galidraan. But what did the Mandalorians of Revan’s day do concerning the Jedi in general and Revan in particular? They showed him respect and reverence. Mandalorians such as Canderous Ordo in the first KOTOR game grew to admire Revan’s prowess in battle, and congratulated the fallen Jedi in defeating the Mandalore clans in the war. When Canderous discovered Revan’s presence, he was greatly respectful of the former Sith Lord, even claiming that had Revan been born Mandalorian, the Mandalorians would have been unstoppable. This despite the fact that Revan did more damage to Mandalorians as a whole than any Jedi in history. They once had a mighty Empire, but from then on, after Revan, they would be nothing more but a faction of mercenaries that gets hired out to fight wars now and then.

Canderous shows the same respect to the Jedi Exile in the second KOTOR game, even though she too was responsible for so many Mandalorian deaths. The final battle of the Mandalorian Wars, Malachor V, led to the final destruction of the Mandalorian army and the scattering of the Mandalorian peoples across the stars. The Exile was the commanding general for the Jedi and Republic forces at that battle. And yet when she walked into the Mandalorian camp in KOTOR II, outside of a few naysayers, she has their respect. She was a Jedi who, like Revan, practically bathed themselves in Mandalorian blood. And yet neither Canderous nor the Mandalorians hate them. Some even admire them for their strength in battle. Three hundred years after the KOTOR games, in Star Wars the Old Republic, Mandalorians join cults devoted to Revan, showing how even after the passage of time, that Mandalorian devotion to Revan remained alive. He entered their pantheon as some kind of warrior-god who was honored for his strength in battle, even though his most pivotal interaction with them was practically genociding them and rendering them nearly extinct.

And that is the complete opposite of how the Clone Wars Mandalorians from Traviss’ works act. They whine and moan about how the Jedi nearly wiped them out in Galidraan, even though the Mandalorians there were killing civilians and the Jedi simply responded by killing them. That’s the same story as the Mandalorian Wars, only on a smaller scale. So had Canderous or the KOTOR Mandalorians met these Mandalorians who whined and moaned about the Jedi, they’d slap these moaners around and tell them to suck it up and respect the guys who vanquished them in battle. They’d even slap around those who think the Jedi are using clones as slaves, because at least the Jedi fight, bleed and die alongside their “slaves”-a mark of honor in Mandalorian eyes, at least in the KOTOR era. Another reason why the Mandalorians there respected Revan was because he and his Jedi led the Republic army to victory, despite its previous losses and demoralized state.

At least when the Death Watch faction from the Clone Wars hates on Jedi, they’re not trying to claim the moral high ground. They just hate the Jedi for getting in their way when it came to establishing a Mandalorian Empire, and their hate at least had that honest feel of them not trying to seek any moral validation, but just the desire to kill their foes. They hate Jedi in the same way they hated Duchess Satine, Count Dooku, or anyone that got in their way. They’re not trying to insinuate that the Jedi use their clones as slaves or try to make themselves look better than the Jedi: the Death Watch are killers, and they’re honest about being bloodthirsty killers. They’re even proud of it, in fact. Their leader, Pre Vizsla, was proud that he and his family have a tradition of killing Jedi using a lightsaber they stole. One can love them for their battle prowess while hating them for their barbarism. It’s that kind of nuance that was missing in Traviss’ portrayal of Mandalorians, where she tried to make them look like principled fighters far better than the Jedi or the Sith while trying to make the Jedi look uncaring and even evil, to a certain extent. And as a Sith fan who loves characters that kill Jedi on a routine basis, I can easily state that the Jedi are either too good or too stupid to be evil. The worst they’ve done is dip into areas of grey, but outside of the Jedi Council that sat out the Mandalorian Wars, most Jedi were too good or naive to be the evil that Karen Traviss tried to show them to be.

Speaking of the Death Watch, let’s talk about their portrayal in the Clone Wars cartoon. Many Mandalorian fans hate the portrayal for obvious reasons-the most glaring of which is their complete ignorance of Traviss’ works and the introduction of a Pacifist Mandalorian faction ruling over the planet. Not to mention the reversal of the warrior Mandalorians into the Death Watch faction, which are portrayed as trigger-happy revolutionaries at best, and terrorist butchers at worst. But perhaps the reason for this transformation was due to the other, non-Mando fans who were already sick to death of Traviss’ proselytizing about how the Mandalorians were these perfect angels who were victims of the Jedi. Instead, they created two factions that completely ignore the Supercommando Codex Mandalorians-one is a faction of peace-lovers who want to focus on economic development and rebuilding civilization after a Mandalorian Civil War, and the other faction are warmongers with a bad disposition and an itchy trigger finger.

And it kind of makes sense. Outside the Cul’Vay’Dar and a handful of Mandalorians, most Mandos died in Galidraan, making Jango Fett an almost subject-less Mandalore. The Death Watch practiced their strategy of concealment while the Pacifist Mandalorians tried to rebuild society, most notably the economy. And outside their suicidal commitment to pacifism, the New Mandalorians creating a metropolis and what appears to be a wealthy civilization was far better than the Supercommando Codex Mandalorians who whore themselves out to random rulers, one of whom got them all killed in Galidraan when he ordered them to kill political dissidents, and we all know where that led to. Whereareas the Death Watch are at least reverted back to the standard war-loving Mandalorians minus the Revan worship. (Guess they finally forgot about him after thousands of years.)  The Death Watch are similar to the Mandalorian Empire’s Mandalorians during the Mandalorian Wars, only on a smaller scale since there’s not that many of them. They love war, and they want to revive the Mandalorian Empire and rekindle the love of war that their people once had. No aiming for the moral high ground, no pretending that they’re anything else but bloodthirsty warriors. They’re bastards, but at least they’re honest about it.

And to me, it wasn’t much of a problem. The “New Mandalorians” and their dedication to pacifism and building a civilization made more sense than the Supercommando Codex Mandalorians hiring themselves out to be someone else’s private guns. The pacifists’ dedication to civilization shows in their city of Sundari, where, in the middle of a radioactive desert, they have this domed city that for all intents and purposes, looks like a futuristic paradise. Instead of living hand-to-mouth like nomads, they have a wonderful civilization that is on par with Coruscant and Corellia in terms of greatness. And they’re not all defenseless-the Duchess obviously has soldiers and honor guards running about, keeping order in Mandalore. They just didn’t have a large army that could be a threat to the Separatists and the Republic, which of course, bites them in the ass when powerful and wealthy crime families target them on the orders of Darth Maul and his Death Watch allies near the end of the fifth season of the Clone Wars show.

But their new approach to civilization, as well as their great works of city-building, were unique in Mandalorian history, where they mostly lived as nomads living off of someone else’s dime being paid to be fighters. It was a nice shake-up to see what Mandalorians are capable of if they weren’t just guns for hire all the time. It was interesting enough to the point where the famed science fiction critic SF Debris actually voiced approval of it in the conclusion of his review of the first three Mandalorian-themed episodes in the Clone Wars show:

“And I reiterate, I like the way they’ve gone with the Mandalorian culture here. It feels like real growth and has already lent itself to some interesting story possibilities here. Plus, it’s always nice to see the non-warriors in a warrior-dominated culture finally stand up and say ‘Hey! Enough is enough, assholes! We’re tired of making things for you to break! We’re taking over now!’”

My only gripe with them is the fact that they didn’t have an army. Just because they love peace doesn’t mean they had to go full-pacifist and turn their backs on war. The Jedi are peace-lovers who meditate in peace, but they have no problems chopping off heads with their lightsabers when push comes to shove. Heck, considering the New Mandalorians and their Duchess Satine Kryze have 2000 neutral systems under their influence, that’s a justification FOR building a massive Mandalorian army and fleet to keep Separatist and Republic forces out of the neutral systems’ business. They can use Mandalore’s newfound economic prowess to afford building a large fleet and army. But as I said, if they did try that, they’d be seen as a threat by both the Separatists or the Republic. Considering that the Separatists have already shown to have aided the Death Watch temporarily, sending Battle Droids to reinforce an agent of theirs on a diplomatic cruiser, I’d use that to justify Mandalore going to war with the Separatists with Republic support, although that would probably draw the ire of the neutral systems and cause them to walk out, which is something Satine obviously doesn’t want.

But of course, the Traviss fans, being oblivious to the fact that other parts of the fandom had grown tired of them, screamed “betrayal” at this portrayal of Mandalorians in the show, even though their star author tried to make Lucas’ preferred heroes, the Jedi, look evil. The JEDI. Lucas’ heroes of goodness and light. If that wasn’t a betrayal of Star Wars, I don’t know what is. The most Lucas did to give them flaws is make them detached in the OT and blind to the Sith’s machinations in the Prequels. They weren’t evil, and they certainly cared for those under them, and they weren’t military imbeciles. You can only go for so long vilifying the Jedi Order, the heart and soul of Star Wars, before other authors take note and decide to strike back. Traviss’ hate for the Jedi is perhaps one of the things that caused the show-writers in the Clone Wars to strike at her, the other being her Mandalorian Mary-Sues being near-perfect in portrayal when compared to the evil and corrupt Jedi Order. Most of the “evils” of the Jedi that Traviss talked about were things Traviss made and wrote-while other works in the Expanded Universe emphasized how the Jedi held sacrifice and compassion in high regard, to the point of martyrdom and self-destruction. Perhaps that’s why the show, with Lucas’ blessing, turned against Traviss’ portrayal of Mandalorians, and many fans of the show and other parts of the Star Wars fandom had no problems going along with it.

In conclusion, the Mandalorians have had a storied history in both Star Wars lore and fandom. But the efforts of authors like Traviss to make the Jedi look evil and the Mandalorians look perfect obviously ruffled some feathers in the Star Wars fandom, and her portrayal of Mandalorians obviously made some non-Mando fans in the SW fandom get more than a tad bit annoyed at them, which of course, caused the Clone Wars show writers to write in a portrayal of Mandalore that was, in effect, one big, fat, middle finger to Traviss’ portrayals of them, giving two flawed, but nuanced factions the time of day. This, of course, angered the fans who liked Karen Traviss’ portrayal of the Mandalorians, leading to fan wars between lovers of the Karen Traviss works and lovers of the Clone Wars TV show. I suppose that’s a result of some authors favoring one side over the other and annoying other fans who don’t agree with their views. It’s similar to the phenomenon of some Gundam authors agreeing with the pro-Zeon fanboys and their arguments about “Spacenoid Independence”, writing works that agree with that standpoint, which then anger the Gundam fans who see the Zeon faction as a bunch of monsters thanks to their portrayal in the tv show and other pieces of Gundam media, who then see these pro-Zeon authors as Zeon fanboys trying to legitimize a bunch of fascist warmongers. I suppose this is what happens when a franchise goes long enough to have different viewpoints within the same fanbase. And like with Gundam, Star Wars is such a franchise, and having such different viewpoints and fandoms within the fanbase can have their ups and downs.
Today I tackle one of the holy cows of the Star Wars franchise, the Mandalorians. Here I offer my views on their portrayal of the Mandalorians, and their history, both within the universe and among the fandom, as well as my view on the dilemmas concerning Karen Traviss and the Clone Wars show. 

No single factor in George Lucas’ Star Wars series holds as much weight, importance, or influence, as the so-called Force. The Force, as the original trilogy Jedi would put it, is an energy field generated by all living things. “It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds us”, the Jedi tell the OT hero Luke Skywalker when he asks what the Force is. Throughout the many years of content with Star Wars, whether it be the movies, comic books, novels, games, tv shows, and other media, the Force stands as perhaps the most influential part of Star Wars lore. Borrowing from Eastern Buddhist/Taoist philosophy of Yin and Yang and the Christian concepts of the duality of good and evil, the impact of the Force shows its weight in the plots of the many movies, games, books, and shows. Whenever something evil arises in the bigger Star Wars stories, it is inevitably linked in one way or another to evildoers wielding the Dark Side of the Force, and the inevitable resistance against them comes from a core of heroes whose most important members are Jedi who wield the Light Side of the Force. Throughout the “One Thousand Generations” that the Republic existed, and perhaps even long before, the battle between good and evil has been governed by these two sides of the Living Force, one, a side governed by calm and peace, another, by hatred and destruction. One side chooses to use their gifts to be in harmony with nature and the universe, while the other seeks to bend the Force to their will.

But is it a natural turn of events? Or is the Force a cruel and malignant deity that seeks balance through manipulating trillions of lives into waging ceaseless wars? Is the Force simply seeking balance and peace by calling on heroes to rise, or is it just as much to blame for all the evil done by those who wield its darker half? Or is the Force just another victim in the war between goodness and evil that is waged in the hearts of men? Here, I will examine the more controversial views on the Force, especially by those who hate it or see its manipulations as evil, as a lead-up to Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, where Luke Skywalker seemingly states that “the Jedi must end”.


First off, let’s get through the schools of thought right away. The two schools of thought in Star Wars concerning the Force are the Jedi and the Sith. The Jedi believe that the Force should be used for knowledge and defense, never for attack. They believe that the Force should be used to help bring peace and harmony to the galaxy, to defend the innocent and the weak, to uphold justice and truth, while being selfless and caring more for others than for oneself. This gets them closer to the aspect of the Force that is named the “Light Side”, a side that enhances one’s spiritual awareness and enlightenment, as well as one’s unity with nature and the cosmic forces of the galaxy.

The Sith believe that those with the power of the Force have rightful authority over those without it, and that all methods of honing the Force as a weapon of power, be it emotion, passion, or ambition, is a legitimate and desirable way of increasing one’s power. The ultimate goal of the Sith is to use the Force to impose their desires upon reality itself. Selfishness is seen as a virtue, not a flaw, since elevation of oneself with the Force is the primary goal. The aspect of the Force that the Sith are most familiar with is the “Dark Side” of the Force, a side that feeds off anger, hatred, and emotion, a side that is mostly focused on offensive powers or powers that bend nature and reality to the will of the user.


Other schools of thought also exist with the Force. The Grey Jedi, for example, believe in neither the Dark nor the Light, just shades of gray, hence the title. Others, such as the Nightsisters, meld the Dark Side with their own magic twist, creating powers and spells that are different than that of the Sith, although sharing in the same dark nature. Some immensely powerful beings, such as the Ones, for example, have achieved oneness with different aspects of the Force, and as such, they maintain one member with the Dark Side, another with the Light, and the third and most powerful being in the middle.

Later schools of Jedi, such as those of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi School in the Expanded Universe believe in the Light Side although will not hesitate to use Dark Side powers if necessary, along with blasters and other weapons that the Jedi of old would have never approved of. Other races such as the Rakatans, a race that predated the Republic and were the former rulers of the galaxy before the latter’s rise, used the Dark Side in conjunction with machinery to create technical wonders that make even the Sith look like primitive apes in comparison, being able to create starships out of solar energy and thin air, or terraform planets to their whims. However, their Force-imbued machinery had their drawbacks, and when the Rakatans lost the power of the Force, they lost the power to control their own technology, the key to their Empire’s success, and it inevitably led to their fall.


The school of thought that posits that the Force is evil comes from the game Knights of the Old Republic 2. In it, a fallen Jedi Master named Kreia gives some very interesting views on the Force, not generous enough to be that of a Jedi, yet not ruthless enough to be a Sith. Further plodding by the player character reveals that Kreia was once both a Jedi and a Sith, and she found both schools of thought wanting. Eventually, the truth is revealed: Kreia wants to “kill” the Force, pointing to the destruction caused by Jedi and Sith waging wars against each other, killing billions in their wake. Considering that in the previous KOTOR game, the main villain, Darth Malak, killed billions in his war for conquest, many people began to agree with Kreia. Revan and Malak fell due to the failures of the Jedi and the Light Side, they say, and the Dark Side’s influence on Malak led him to kill billions.

Fans who support this thesis point to the many wars, before and after KOTOR, caused by the Jedi and the Sith, which engulfed the whole galaxy and killed billions throughout the millennia. And to a certain extent, they have a point: conflicts such as the Great Hyperspace War, the Exar Kun War, the Jedi Civil War, the Great Galactic Wars, the New Sith Wars, and the Clone Wars were all between Jedi and Sith, with them and their underlings criss-crossing the galaxy leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.

These fans then conclude that Kreia was right, that without the Force, the galaxy would be a far better place, that the Force itself is to blame because in its attempts to find balance, billions get killed in wars between Force-users. Society would be better off without the Force, and had the plan to kill the Force been successful, it would have greatly improved the Star Wars galaxy with no psychic religious nutjobs causing wars that kill people by the billions.


However, as someone who has studied the Expanded Universe at a great length, I disagree with this notion. Because to me, the Force is what the users make it out to be. Someone who wishes to be one with the Light Side will use the Force in a beneficial manner towards others and use it to protect the innocent, the poor, and the weak. Someone who wishes to make themselves stronger will naturally turn to the Dark Side of the Force, to increase their power at the expense of others. Someone who wishes to remain aloof from the duality of the Force will try to avoid both extremes, perhaps using the Force on neutral things such as moving crates or helping perceive the future. And someone who would want to experience everything will study both Jedi and Sith ways fully, and take their pick of the litter from what they learned from both camps.

Now, putting that in perspective, the suffering in the Jedi Civil War isn’t caused by the Force. It isn’t caused by the Light Side. Nor is it caused by the Dark Side. Now, this is a very radical statement, especially when the two sides are dominated by schools of thought that support one side of the Force or another. Allow me to explain.


Prior to the Jedi Civil War, the Mandalorians during the Mandalorian Wars attacked the Republic and tried to conquer the galaxy. Egged on by some Sith fortune-teller telling them that they can have the fight of the century by attacking the Republic, they built up their strength in the Outer Rim, then assaulted the Republic proper once their armies were ready. Once the assault began, millions began dying under the Mandalorian assault, with the Mandalorians unafraid of using weapons of mass destruction on civilian targets to achieve victory, although to play Devil’s Advocate, Mandalorian commanders like Canderous Ordo claimed that cowardly Republic commanders used families as shields and placed vital military targets near civilian population centers, which forced the Mandalorians to strike at them to achieve victory.

The Jedi Council, traditionally aligned with the Republic to protect its interests, surprisingly sought not to fight. They reasoned that the last war with Exar Kun exhausted their numbers and that there was a dark presence behind the Mandalorian attacks, one that they wish to lure out before joining the fray. This is one of the causes of the Jedi Civil War, as two Jedi, Revan and Malak, rose to fight the Mandalorians, and they eventually fell to the Dark Side during the course of the war. By the war’s end, Malak and Revan were already experimenting with the Dark Side, as one of their soldiers, Atton Rand, testified that the Sith teachings began to spread across the ranks after Revan wiped out the Mandalorian forces at Malachor V. In that last battle, Revan showed how far he had fallen from the Jedi ideals by using a strike force of his own Jedi and Republic troops to lure out the Mandalorians into a trap, where a Mass Shadow Generator sent both Republic and Mandalorian fleets crashing into the planet of Malachor V, killing Jedi, Republic soldiers, and Mandalorians alike. By the time Revan and Malak returned from the Outer Rim, they were fully-fledged Sith, drunk on the Dark Side, and with their minions within the Republic military and the Jedi, they declared war on the Republic, poised to take over the galaxy.

However, none of this is the Force’s fault. The Light Side of the Force calls for compassion and defense of the innocent-when the Jedi Council failed to act in defense of the Republic against Mandalore, they violated the Jedi Code and the Light Side’s precepts. No matter how outnumbered and outgunned you are, you must leap to the defense of the innocent and the defenseless.  Self-sacrifice over all. The Jedi Council refusing to fight the Mandalorians was a betrayal of the Jedi Code-and the Light Side. It doesn’t matter that there was a darker presence behind the war-the solution would have been to investigate the presence by fighting the war, try to find out if someone or something drove the Mandalorians to attack. Then they would get their answers once the war is over by interrogating the Mandalorian leaders as to why they attacked.

Had the Jedi Council obeyed the precepts of the Light Side and joined the war, they might have stopped Revan from relying on more questionable tactics by overruling his more brutal strategies and compensating for it with more Jedi muscle. They might have even discovered from Mandalore himself that a Sith egged the Mandalorians on to attack, or that there are things like Star Maps to the Star Forge or the road to the True Sith Empire that inexperienced Jedi like Revan must not come across. They could have kept Revan and his/her Jedi from finding out about these things, and in the process, kept Revan and Malak from falling to the Dark Side. Leaping to the defense of the innocent and keeping a lookout for dark things to keep away from less experienced members of their own herd would have been the Light Side thing to do for the Jedi Council, instead of just sitting back home and “evaluating” the threat. I suppose it kind of explains why, when in KOTOR 2, one uses Force Vision while in front of the Jedi Council Members, they aren’t fully light-sided, only somewhat light-sided. A light-side player character who picks all the light-side options would be more light-sided than these jokers were.

When the Jedi in the Clone Wars leapt to fight off the Separatist threat despite there being a darker presence behind the war, THAT was the right thing to do-defend innocents from those who would harm them. Had it not been for Anakin being ostracised by the Jedi Masters, had it not been for the Chancellor being Anakin’s friend, had it not been for Padme being in future danger in Anakin’s visions, or Anakin killing Count Dooku under Palpatine’s orders, then the Jedi would have discovered Sidious’ plots from capturing Dooku, and Mace Windu would have been able to kill Sidious. They would have won, had they not treated the Chosen One like crap, which owes more to their own petty natures instead of the Light Side. The Light Side calls for forgiveness, and Anakin’s minor flaws as a Jedi hardly warrant the shit-talking he gets from the Jedi Councilors. Perhaps he would have sided with them had they not constantly put him down.


As for the Dark Side, again, the fact that Malak leveled whole worlds and killed billions isn’t the Dark Side’s fault. Revan was a Dark-Sided abomination by the end of the Mandalorian Wars, killing scores of his/her own men to win the final battle and the war. During the Jedi Civil War, he/she trained many Sith assassins in Force techniques on how to drain the life force from their enemies, and he/she ran his/her own macabre prison camp where they tortured Jedi into becoming Sith to increase the number of Dark Jedi/Sith. And yet during his/her conquest of the Republic, Revan wasn’t as brutal as Malak. The Republic AI-turned crime lord G0-T0 talks about how Revan kept the industries and infrastructure of the worlds that the Sith conquered intact, and how Revan tried to take planets with as little resistance or collateral damage as possible. Whereareas Malak, once he took over after Revan was supposedly taken out by the Jedi, began bombing whole worlds into rubble on the slightest whiff of resistance. Similarly, his Dark Jedi ran around the galaxy, lynching Jedi wherever they could find them. That caused most of the carnage and chaos in the Jedi Civil War, most of the civilian and Jedi losses happened under Malak’s reign as the Sith Empire’s ruler.

Again, we have two instances of men drunk on the Dark Side. One sacrifices his/her own men for victory and tortures enemy Jedi into becoming his/her Sith pawns, the other has his goons lynching Jedi across the galaxy and has his fleet bombing civilized planets back into the stone age. And yet one tried to cause as little damage as possible, while the other caused most of the carnage in the war. So again, this has more to do with the people, not the Dark Side. Just as it isn’t the Light Side’s fault that the Jedi Council sat out the Mandalorian Wars, so is it that the Dark Side isn’t to blame for what Malak did when he killed billions of people and slaughtered countless Jedi.

Let us once again turn to the original six Star Wars movies. Out of all the villain characters, not one Dark-Side villain ever causes mass slaughter. Darth Sidious manipulates things from behind the scenes. Darth Maul is a skilled assassin who is selective about his targets, at least in Episode One. Count Dooku played the part of the politician and diplomat to rally people against the Jedi. And Darth Vader played the role of soldier, enforcing Sidious’ will by targeting Rebels and ONLY Rebels. The most he did outside of fighting Rebels is threaten Lando Calrissian with the bombing of his city if Lando didn’t help him. And he still doesn’t do a damn thing against Cloud City even though Lando betrays him.

The two villains who cause mass slaughter are General Grievous in the Prequels, and Grand Moff Tarkin in the Originals. Grievous in the Prequels is a sadist who goes out of his way to ensure maximum casualties and hunts Jedi for sport, keeping their swords as trophies. Grand Moff Tarkin from the original Star Wars movie blows up Alderaan with the Death Star as a show of force against the rest of the Rebellion, to frighten them and force others who may be contemplating of joining the Rebellion into surrendering. Again, neither of these men were influenced by the Dark Side. The most they do is hang around Dark-Side people, but none of the Sith ever exhibit the kind of murderous intentions these two show. Palpatine/Sidious and Dooku are content with good PR, while Vader and Maul are direct with their targets and do little collateral damage, unless you count outside-movie materials.

So basically, one can’t blame the Light Side or the Dark Side for anything. You can’t blame the Light Side of the Force for the Jedi Council sitting out the Mandalorian Wars while the Mandos slaughtered billions, because the Light Side technically would be on the side of defending the weak and the innocent, and would not call for standing aside as countless innocents got vaporized by Mandalorian guns. You can’t blame the Dark Side of the Force for Malak’s rampages across the galaxy that killed billions, since others drunk on the Dark Side like Revan wasn’t as destructive as Malak was-it was more down to the latter’s personality, where he sought to compensate for not being as subtle or brilliant as his master by pounding anything that resisted him into oblivion. By the way, Malak killed most of his victims via orbital bombing by space-borne warships, so it’s possible that someone else without the Force could do the same amount of damage.

So Kreia’s point of view, that the Force was to blame for the Jedi and the Sith causing billions of deaths during the Mandalorian Wars and the Jedi Civil War, is wrong. The Light Side isn’t to blame for the Council’s arrogance or laziness. The Dark Side isn’t to blame for Malak’s willingness to commit genocide, as other Dark-Siders like Revan sought a more careful and subtle approach to conquest that didn’t necessitate the deaths of billions.

For my two cents, Kreia was just completely bullshitting the player when it came to the whole “I hate the Force and want to kill it” thing. She was definitely tired of both camps, though she would not have trained someone like the Jedi Exile to rebuild the Jedi Order if she wanted the Force dead. It was more like she was trying to egg the Exile on to kill her, and used the threat of the death of the Force to motivate the Exile into killing her, the last of the old breed of failed Jedi, to make room for the new. It makes sense, considering that she does nothing when the Exile trains his/her party members to become Jedi, while the Jedi Masters of Kreia’s generation were utter failures.

They failed to defend the Republic against the Mandalorian threat. Their failure extended to Revan, who was their pupil until he/she turned to evil and betrayed the Republic. Revan’s apprentice Malak caused plenty of chaos and suffering during his brief tenure as the Dark Lord of the Sith. All the suffering in these wars can be traced back to them, and by proxy, to Kreia herself, because she taught Revan, the Jedi whose actions created the Jedi Civil War which consumed many lives, Jedi and non-Jedi alike. And since hers was a generation of failure, then it only makes sense to her that her generation should be destroyed in order to make room for a new generation of Jedi to lead the Council and the Order, one without the baggage of the old. Her whole plot of “killing the Force” was just another red herring to force you to kill her, finishing the replacement of the Jedi Council after she violently killed the remaining councilors minus Atris.

As for the wars between Jedi and Sith before and after the KOTOR games, again, it isn’t the fault of the Force itself. Rather, it is the fault of the individuals using the Force, or those who command them. The Sith see Force-sensitives as the highest form of life, deserving of praise and power, and so they use the Dark Side to dominate the galaxy while the Jedi fight, under the guidance and patronage of the Senate and its Supreme Chancellor, to ward off the Sith invaders. But does the Dark Side call for the destruction of the Republic? Does the Light Side call for blind defense of it? Or are these wars merely influenced by the beliefs of both sides instead of the two sides of the Force themselves?

It is the political aspirations of these Sith, their desire to be kings and emperors, that causes them to seek power and overthrow the Republic. And it is the Jedi’s willingness to be the Republic’s defenders and slaves that causes them to leap to its defense. Other Sith have ruled in obscurity, such as many of the Sith Lords of the Ancient Sith Empire, who ruled outside of Republic boundaries, without turning their aspirations towards conquering the Republic. After the fall of the New Sith Empire, many Sith Lords came and went as part of Darth Bane’s Rule of Two, ruling from behind the scenes, some even propping up the Republic to limit the Jedi. Other Dark-Siders merely wander in their own private fiefdoms or stomping grounds and leave the rest of the galaxy alone.

As for the Sith Emperor, Darth Vitiate, his desires differed from the rest of the Sith. Whether it be securing a future for Zakuul or destroying the galaxy, the Sith Emperor’s desires stemmed from his own choices, not the Dark Side. The fact that many Sith, both living and dead, plotted against him shows how others who are under the influence of the Dark Side did not agree with his whole plan of causing a massive war to distract the galaxy from his galactic destruction ritual. Many Sith Lords, even those who are spirits one with the Dark Side, tried to stop Vitiate. So again, one can’t blame the Dark Side for how screwed up Vitiate was. Vitiate did what he did out of his own free will, not because the Dark Side told him to.

Similarly, other Light-Side Force-users simply seek isolation and seek not to defend the Republic or confront the Sith. Jedi who have retired from the order, Force-users of good will without lightsabers, Force-users from neutral factions that seek not to intervene in the larger arena of politics, not all of them feel the need to be blind servants to the Republic. Some might fight Sith or other invaders against the Republic for their own reasons or for their own sense of right and wrong-not on the behest of the Senate. Others may just simply seek isolation so they can meditate and become one with the Force on their own way. Being Light-Side doesn’t automatically mean “blind servant of the Republic”. The Jedi Order serves the Republic because it is a representation of the people’s will, and the Jedi Order seeks to serve the people, who are in turn, represented by the Galactic Senate and its Supreme Chancellor. But other Light-Side Force-users, and indeed, some Jedi, do not see blind service to the people as the way of the Light. Indeed, some seek isolation and peace as their way to the Light, which would put them far away from any wars with the Sith or other factions that the Jedi and the Republic might get involved in.

In fact, the best representation of this is Master Wyellett from SWTOR. He summons a former pupil of his, the Jedi Knight Xerender, whom the Sith Warrior player character fights. The Warrior thinks that Xerender is after some secret weapon, when in reality, the secret he was seeking was his former master. When confronted by the Warrior, Xerender falls in battle to the Sith, but Wyellett asks the warrior to spare his apprentice, saying that he has no interest in the war, that he merely sought a companion to relay his insights in the Force to, and that he just wants to become one with the Light on his own way. A Light-Side Warrior can grant his request and leave the two in peace as they search for unity with the Light on their own.


An assertion of these anti-Jedi and anti-Force fanatics that seem to mistake Kreia’s red herring for her real intentions is that a galaxy without the Force would be far better than one with the Force. That the Star Wars galaxy would be better off if it wasn’t for the Jedi and the Sith mucking up the system. Which of course, is wrong. The Republic would have fallen eons ago if it wasn’t for the Jedi. Outside of fighting the Sith threats, the Jedi help the Republic settle arguments between member states and stop local wars before they evolve into galactic wars. Without the Jedi, these wars would spiral out of control, and the factions fighting in the Republic senate would start relying more on firepower than diplomacy to settle their differences. The illusion of unity that the Republic provides would dissipate, and with it, any last vestige of peace between the many powerful factions in the galaxy. Which of course, would lead to feudal-style warfare between these factions as they vie for territory and resources. Instead of a Darth Malak every couple of centuries, they’ll get dozens of warlords per year.

To prove my example, I present Exhibit A: The Galactic Empire. The Galactic Empire got rid of most of the Jedi during Order 66, where the Jedi’s Clone Army turned their blasters against their Jedi Commanders and proceeded to open fire. Most of the Jedi, exhausted by fighting Separatist Droid Legions and unable/unwilling to believe that their own men would be capable of such treachery, were caught with their proverbial pants down and were massacred in large numbers. The remaining Jedi were hunted down, either by Jedi turncoats like Darth Vader, or Bounty Hunters/Imperial troops seeking a fat bounty or a promotion by killing a lightsaber-wielding foe. For the average citizen, the Jedi Order and the Force no longer mattered. Yes, there’s Darth Vader, but that’s one man, and the Force-sensitive servants of the Empire such as the Inquisitors or the Emperor’s Hands are either A) too few to have a public presence in the galaxy or B) kept as a secret by the Emperor himself. The Inquisitors are even kept weak, unlike the Jedi, so they cannot be a threat to the Emperor. To the average citizen, it is the Imperial fleet, not the Jedi or any Force-wielder, who keeps the peace.

However, without the Jedi Order’s skills in diplomacy and fighting, the Empire has had to compensate for it by relying on more brutal tactics to keep the peace. Jedi diplomats and starfighters gave way to Star Destroyers and Orbital Bombardment. The Republic managed to keep the myriad races and systems of the galaxy at bay with only local militia and Jedi, whereareas the Empire, despite maintaining a permanent standing army that by all intents and purposes should be enough to scare the enemy into submission, still has to resort to bombing planets and occupation with Stormtroopers to keep these races and planetary systems under control. The flaw of the Jedi was that they didn’t permanently disable their enemies, but they were still able to keep said enemies under control for millennia with nothing but militias backing them up. The Empire had to resort to harsh military tactics and even bombing entire races into oblivion to keep these systems in line. Even the Death Star, the mother of all Imperial super-weapons, was made as a deterrence method against would-be enemies of the Empire. The lack of the Jedi caused the new government to rely on brute force and even superweapons to keep the galaxy in line. With the Sith rulers being limited to two numbers thanks to Darth Bane’s Rule of Two, the Sith were also a virtual non-presence to most Imperial citizens and military. Vader is only one man amongst a military of trillions, and the Emperor doesn’t even bother using his power to rule, merely acting as the legally-elected top bureaucrat in the system when he’s not off on his own vacations nurturing his Sith powers in isolation. Vader keeps the Moffs and military leaders in line in case some of them go rogue, and the Emperor keeps Vader in line lest he gets ideas of power himself.

But I can already hear the detractors objecting. “The Empire was a Sith government! Palpatine and Vader were the ones who called the shots! It wasn’t truly a Force-free society!” Except, after the Emperor died on Endor along with Vader, the Empire was truly a Force-free society. No Sith holding them back. The Empire’s Force-sensitive servants were not in charge-the Moffs, Admirals, Generals, and other officials were. So in essence, this society that threw off the Jedi, after Endor, were left with no Sith supervising them. The Empire’s other Force-sensitives went into hiding or ran off to pursue private agendas not related to Imperial government. Now, the Empire truly had a Force-free society. No Jedi to hunt, and no Sith to boss them around. And then, what happened?

THEY SLAUGHTERED EACH OTHER. THEY MURDERED EACH OTHER. THEY ENGAGED IN A MASSIVE CIVIL WAR THAT CONSUMED THE LIVES OF BILLIONS. With no Emperor to order them around, and no Darth Vader to keep them in line, the various Imperial leaders engaged in a bloodbath war where each tried to carve out the largest fiefdom from the dying Empire. Each leader tried to either secure the largest territory in the Empire or even seize the crown. This proves my thesis, about how the Republic’s many races and factions would have slaughtered one another if it wasn’t for the Jedi. You can’t just pin it on different cultures or races having their own desires and points of view. Here, in the post-Endor Empire, we have a galaxy mostly under the same culture, the same military, the same way of life. And Palpatine had a legal successor-members of his court like the Grand Vizier, Sate Pestage. So if the Empire could function without the Sith, then the Empire should have rallied behind Pestage, or have the Moffs and military figures elect a proper successor. Instead, they slaughtered one another until they became so weak, the fledgeling New Republic began to equal them in strength.

Yes, there were non-Force-Sensitive Imperial leaders like Grand Admiral Thrawn. But even Thrawn rightfully sought out a Force-Sensitive to help him maintain and restore the Empire-even though the only trained Force-Sensitive for the Republic at the time was Luke, who could not be everywhere. Leia wasn’t trained yet, and she was looking over her two unborn children. And yet despite fighting non-Force-sensitive Republic forces, Thrawn still sought the rogue Jedi clone Joruus C’Baoth, to improve his chances against the Republic. Thrawn realized that without the Force, there is no unity, no sustainable strength, and so he sought out Joruus even though he knew Joruus was crazy.

The last real hurrah the Empire had was with the reborn Palpatine in Dark Empire, where the reborn Emperor used spirit transfer and clone bodies to reinvigorate the war effort. But once the Emperor himself was permanently banished at the end of that story arc, the Empire was on its way to being a has-been of a superpower, suffering defeat after defeat as the Jedi-backed New Republic swallowed more and more Imperial territories and expanded to eventually encompass most of the galaxy, to the point where the Empire had to surrender to avoid complete obliteration. A Force-free society is no match against a Force-backed society, and the late history of the Empire and New Republic showed that.


In the end, the Force, whether used for good or ill, eventually causes more good than harm. The Jedi kept peace and order in the Old Republic. And after them, the Sith following the Rule of Two kept the Empire that succeeded the Republic in one piece, keeping the various Imperial warlords and generals that drive the Imperial military in the same side, despite their ambitions. A society without the Force causes more harm than good, with the many factions in the Republic having nobody to referee their arguments and keep them from becoming total wars. The fact that the Galactic Empire had to resort to more brutal methods to keep the races and factions in line shows how weak an order without the Jedi can be-and when the Sith who keep the Empire intact leave the room, the Empire turns into a bloodbath.

In the end, the evils caused by Force-users are caused by the people themselves, not by the Force. Blaming the Force for such evils is like blaming guns for wars, forgetting how wars still happened before guns, and how such wars could also be bloody and chaotic. Same with the Force-remove the Force from the equation, and people will just kill each other with blasters, turbolasers, and nukes. The existence of, or the lack of, things like the Force does not change the fact that sentient beings seem to have an aptitude for violence and death. It’s like how the Team Fortress 2 Sniper once said: “As long as there’s two people on the planet, someone’s gonna want someone dead.” Whether one uses telekinesis or nukes doesn’t matter.

One can entertain urges related to the Light Side or the Dark Side without being engaged in massive, galaxy-spanning wars. And if the Light and Dark Sides can’t be weaponized by the government, other options like turbolasers that turn planets into glass or nukes that turn cities into large potholes will be on the table. And compared to those methods, Sith Lords who scare leaders by threatening to snap their tracheas or Jedi who smooth-talk leaders with the appeal of the Light Side and use starfighters to win naval engagements seem downright humane in comparison. And in my point of view, the originator of this whole “the Force is evil” philosophy never meant it to be taken literally and probably used it as a means to scare the player character in KOTOR 2 to try and kill her. It was a red herring to move the player along the desired path that Kreia wanted. Just because those who profess the Light Side or the Dark Side can be jerks, doesn’t mean that everyone professing similar beliefs share the same flaws. And it certainly doesn't mean that a gift like the Force should be removed outright. Otherwise, we might as well remove anything that can be used to kill from the hands of humans, be it guns, knives, forks, or even hands and legs.

In the end, the Force is something that gives life to everything in Star Wars. All living creatures are connected to it, one way or another. And to strike at the Force can be construed as striking at life itself. If it is possible to remove the Force from Star Wars, one might even wind up killing all living beings in the Star Wars Galaxy, which would be doing more harm to everyone, moreso than any hypocritical Jedi or evil Sith ever could.
In this little essay, I look over the whole "The Force Is Evil!" idea originating from players who have played KOTOR 2. Needless to say, I have more than a few objections to the idea. 


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Dark Lord of the Eternal Empire
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Starfire-Productions Featured By Owner Edited 1 day ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
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