TO George Lucas, Anakin is the story, and his death is where the story ends. In a 2001 interview for Cinescape, Lucas called the EU “the parallel universe,” stories that “don’t intrude on my world.” In a 2008 interview in Total Film, he said, “The Star Wars story is really the tragedy of Darth Vader. That is the story. Once Vader dies, he doesn’t come back to life, the Emperor doesn’t get cloned and Luke doesn’t get married.”
But Lucas can’t have both creative control over his universe and the moneymaking power that comes with licensed material; and so the Expanded Universe has continued to grow and explore, while Lucas is confined to making more tweaks to the movies for each new release. The sheer volume of the Expanded Universe eclipses the six movies at its core. For some fans-myself included-the EU is Star Wars, even more than the saga itself.
Both the mere existence of the Expanded Universe and its prevalence, however, shift the focus and meaning of the Star Wars story. When you only consider the Star Wars movies, the story of a man’s internal struggle with darkness and of a small army’s struggle to defeat an evil empire feel weighty and epic. Each moment has an impact on so many other characters and events in the story, and the final moment of Vader turning back to good lends a finality to the struggle of good against evil.
If you zoom out to the universe as a whole, however, Anakin’s story is a mere blip in history. Anakin did not bring balance to the Force for any meaningful length of time. The Sith have always returned and will always return; the struggle between Sith and Jedi is cyclical and endless. Each individual battle over the course of the movies and Expanded Universe becomes small and meaningless.
What Does It Mean?
This is a cynical point of view, to be certain. From an in-universe perspective, it is the view of the Sith, who see struggle as a fact of life and the universe. From an out-of-universe perspective, it seems like writers keep copying the same archetypal plots in different eras because they are out of other ideas.
But for me, the expanse of the universe and the cyclical nature of its history give it a greater impact. There are no true happy endings, and perhaps good will never truly win, but good people don’t give up because of it; they continue to fight for a just cause. With the Expanded Universe in place, Star Wars is less of a legendary epic and more a reflection of real life-and that makes it all the more meaningful.
BY HARSHVARDHAN SINGH.