Last year I set out on a mission – to read as much of the Star Wars Expanded Universe as possible. My plan was simple, start by reading the old EU (now called Legends) before finishing with the new canon.
My Star Wars Origins Story goes way back before last year…..I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember. I was the kid in school who would make everyone play Star Wars make-believe (as long as I got to be Luke!) and would carry on playing by myself long after everyone had gotten bored and drifted away. Therefore, I don’t remember my origins story when it comes to the Original Trilogy because I have no memory of initially watching the films, they have just always been part of my life. I suspect it would have been mostly because of my dad that we started watching the films. Thanks dad! 🙂
I do however remember my first taste of the EU. Back in the depths of the 90’s, my brother picked up a copy of A.C Crispin’s ‘The Hutt Gambit’ – the second book in the Han Solo trilogy. At the time we didn’t realise it was book 2, the internet was only just starting to become cool and certainly was pre-Wookiepedia! I picked it up, read a couple of pages and quite liked it. I didn’t carry on reading it probably due to some Harry Potter hysteria that dominated the late 90’s and early, (ugh hate this word) 00’s. However, by this point Han was under my skin and I came back to The Hutt Gambit in my late teens, read the book and was completely blown away by it. Come on! It’s Han Solo, our favourite smuggler kicking some butt! What’s not to love?!
Well, turns out kids can still be cruel, even when they are not kids any more – and so I got mercilessly mocked for daring to read a nerdy Star Wars book. Embarrassed, I put the book aside and picked up a copy of some pretentious classic and tried to bury my secret love of all things Star Wars.
Then came my mid-twenties. A little older and only a tiny bit wiser. Wise enough to realise that if people can sit on a tube in public and read 50 Shades of Grey, then I most certainly could read my Han Solo trilogy with pride! I stopped reading books because I thought other people would approve of them. To be honest, serious books bore me and I find autobiographies slightly depressing. I don’t want to read about Real Stuff. I spend enough time in the Real World worrying about problems like bills and money and blah blah so why would I want to read about them?! Now, at twenty-something, I have happily accepted that if a book does not contain magic, dragons, vampires or aliens then frankly it is not worth my time!! (I am therefore mildly curious about Pride Prejudice and Zombies…hmmm… now that might just spice up an otherwise dull yarn…Elizabeth Bennett beating the crap out of flesh eating zombies – just maybe…)
So I stole my brother’s copy of The Hutt Gambit for the third time and read it with pride. The now fashionable internet provided me with the knowledge that I was actually reading the second book in the trilogy. I therefore ordered a copy of The Paradise Snare, stole my brother’s dog eared copy of Rebel Dawn (I promise the book stealing ends here!!) and got
swept away with Han, Chewie and Bria on their adventures across the stars. I’ll go into more detail on that trilogy later…
This brings us to early 2015. By this time I was aware that Disney had bought Star Wars and after the years had reduced the opening night excitement of the Prequel Trilogy to a distant memory, the news had long broken that…we were getting new Star Wars content! So, my decision was made. I would read the EU. All of it. I had always been particularly interested in what happened post-Return of the Jedi – particularly Luke (he is my favourite after all!) so I dutifully ordered Truce at Bakura, Courtship of Princess Leia and The Thrawn Trilogy.
At some point my tiny little brain thought, wait, if Disney aren’t carrying on this storyline, what’s going to happen to all the EU books out there? By this point, I’d read Truce. I was in, I was emotionally invested.
To cut a long story short, 2015 was spent ordering EU books like a woman possessed. I was forced to buy second hand off amazon – there was no way that I could afford to buy 70 odd brand new books, as much as I would have liked to! So I bought all the ones I really fancied reading, including in one dark moment ordering all 19 New Jedi Order books in a late night guilt-ridden online ordering binge. I was sneaking books on the shelf, reorganising as the shelf gradually filled until one day my EU problem came to the surface for all to see as an entire new bookcase had to be ordered to accommodate my expanding (geddit?) collection.
My reading plan is as follows:-
New Republic Era
New Jedi Order
Legacy of the Force
Fate of the Jedi
Then loop back to the very beginning, so Dawn of the Jedi, before following the timeline of Old Republic, Clone Wars/Rise of the Empire then Rebellion era. This will then bring me nicely back to the Original Trilogy where I can then pick up Disney’s timeline and start the journey all over again in the new canon!
So come join me if you like, on my journey as I navigate the highs (and lows maybe…) of the glorious, sprawling Star Wars Expanded Universe. I’m going to try and document my reading experience of Han, Luke, Leia, Jaina, Jacen, Mara Jade, Hutts, Vong, Suncrushers and an Empire that just-won’t-quit. There will be laughter I’m sure, and possibly tears too who knows? All I know is that for the foreseeable future I won’t be spending my reading time in the real world, but a galaxy far far away…and that is a seriously exciting prospect!