Warning: Spoilers for the recent novel Bloodline and The Force Awakens
“But when we think of those people who perished in the conflict, let us remember that they died for justice. For liberty. For the extraordinary peace we now enjoy. This is what we fought for.”
–Senator Tai-Lin Garr
I just finished Claudia Gray’s Bloodline last night. In my opinion, it is the best novel in the new canon. Not surprising considering how much I loved her previous entry Lost Stars.
As awesome as the book was, my first thought upon finishing it was just how bleak this new post-VI timeline is. In fact, one of the more common criticisms I see leveled against The Force Awakens is how the film renders the Rebellion’s victory completely meaningless. I mean, who cares if the Empire fell if the New Republic is just as useless and corrupt as the Old? (Thanks Mon Mothma!)
Same goes for the Big Three of the Original Trilogy. Han and Leia’s marriage went sour, their son turned to the dark side, and Luke is a traumatized hermit in hiding after his failure to restore the Jedi Order. Kind of seems like these guys fought for nothing.
Oh, and to top all of that off, remember how I wrote about Vader’s dark legacy a few weeks ago? As of Bloodline, the secret of the Skywalker twins’ parentage is public knowledge. Leia’s political adversaries use this to discredit her in the Senate and strip her of any power there. Leia suffers the most for this revelation but the novel briefly touches on Luke’s trustworthiness being questioned and the potential for abuse of his Force powers.
Two heroes with bad publicity; what a difference from their Legends personas. I suppose we’ll have to wait until Episode VIII to fully see how the public views Luke.
Here’s the thing. Any time a sequel to a completed story arc is announced, you know that something bad has to happen to further the story. The Peaceful Retirement Adventures of Han and Leia sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it? You can’t have a good story without conflict and it’s no different in a galaxy far, far away.
Not So Different
I frequent a lot of Star Wars-related social media and I’ve seen some Legends fans criticize the new timeline for its darker overtones and lack of happy endings for the Power Trio. I think it’s just nostalgia talking because the old Legends EU was just as rife with conflict and heartbreak as the current canon. Let’s take a brief look back at a few of the ways Legends made life difficult for our heroes, shall we?
1. Palpatine returned
Yep. Not much to say here. Probably my least favorite aspect of Legends. Zahn wasn’t a fan either.
2. The galaxy was invaded by extra-galactic, technology-hating alien fanatics
3. Chewbacca had a moon dropped on him.
4. The Solos suffered one tragedy after another.
Think they have it bad in current canon? The Legends Solo family lost their youngest son, Anakin, to war and their eldest son, Jacen, turned Sith and was killed by his twin sister, Jaina.
5. Luke lost his wife to Jacen/Caedus and his New Jedi Order was eventually destroyed by Darth Krayt’s One Sith nearly 100 years after Endor.
Going Forward-A Ray of Hope
“Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force.” –Lor San Tekka
(Ah, name puns… How I love thee.)
With all the downer and bittersweet endings we seem to be getting lately, it’s important to remember that Star Wars is a story about hope and good triumphing over evil. Despite decades of darkness, the light side isn’t out of the fight yet. With Leia leading her Resistance and Luke and Rey representing the last bit of Jedi light, it’s apparent that Snoke and the First Order still have much to fear from our protagonists.
None of our heroes’ past struggles were for naught. How does the old adage go? “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Thanks for reading!
Note: I forgot to note another criticism of the nucanon New Republic–its short reign. It was actually around for longer than the Empire and the galaxy got almost three decades of peace. Nothing to sneeze at.