Top List Thursday – Top 10 old Star Wars Extended Universe character/stories that need to return

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So you may have heard: The Star Wars Expanded Universe is coming back soon. Well, not the Expanded Universe you used to know, but a new series of books that will be filling in the gap between Return of the Jedi and the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But as Lucasfilm said when they scrapped the original EU, the more than three decades worth of novels, comics, video games, etc that had already been created are filled with lots of incredible characters and stories and it would be really silly of them to just throw them away entirely. Those stories may no longer be considered canon, but for the new, more tightly controlled Star Wars universe, they could certainly borrow and re-adapt some of those elements.

So which story elements and characters should return? Here are 10 of them that I think are worthy.

Please note: I’ve avoided inclusions that educated guesswork and rumours say are probably going to be included, i.e. Boba Fett, the Solo twins, etc

  • An expanded universe

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There’s a reason why, when it was revealed that there was a desert planet in The Force Awakens, people immediately thought it must be a Tattooine. Because in the movies, if its sandy, its Tattooine; if it’s a sprawling cityscape, it’s Coruscant (which, by the way was actually first introduced in an EU story); if it’s ice, it’s Hoth; and if it’s green rolling hills, it’s Naboo. In the EU though, there was a gigantic variety of incredibly interesting planets, from the swampy and fetid Hutt homeworld of Nal Hutta to the crystalized Jedi pilgrimage planet of Ilum, and we need to see more of them.

  • Dark Empire

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Let’s be honest, as important as the story of Dark Horse Comics’ “Dark Empire” comic book miniseries was to the overall mythology, it was actually pretty poorly written in places by Tom Veitch (clones of the Emperor!) and Cam Kennedy’s artwork may not be to everybody’s tastes. But – BUT! – most fans will tell you that when Luke Skywalker kneels before the resurrected Emperor and goes over to the Dark Side, it was a hell of a moment! No, I really don’t want to see a resurrected Emperor Palpatine, but having Luke go dark would be incredible to see on-screen.

  • Yuuzhan Vong

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When you think about the movies, most of the bad guys were really just politicians. Yes, the Sith had such cool members as Darth Maul, but they were all just really tools in a political game to acquire and maintain power among the universe’s planets. And even in the EU, a lot of the stories were about the same type of bad guys doing the same thing, squabbling over who gets what (even though their means differed greatly). And then the Yuuzhan Vong showed up. A warrior race from outside the known universe, they were alien in every fashion, making use of only genetically bred ships, weapons and items (their spaceships, favoured-staff weapons, etc are grown, living creatures). They considered all non-biological technology – especially droids – a religious affront that had to be eradicated, and cut a swathe across both Republic and Empire space, conquering and destroying all in their path.

The Yuuzhan Vong was unlike anything the Star Wars universe had ever seen, and to lose them entirely would be a shame, as they would make for some incredible on-screen enemies.

  • Leia’s Force powers

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We often forget that Luke and Leia were the twin children of Anakin Skywalker. Both have Force abilities, but in the movies Luke was the only one that got any training at all, while Leia is just the boring stateswoman. In the EU though, Leia gets a bit of training – still nowhere near as much as Luke, but actually enough to allow her to use her abilities to become a very potent politician and negotiator that sees her being granted opportunities to be used in several high-profile conflicts.

  • Knights of the Old Republic

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Darth Malek and Darth Revan. That is all.

  • The Galactic Empire

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What… you thought when Lando blew up the second Death Star and Luke defeated the Emperor with Vader’s help, that was the end of Empire? At the height of its power, the Empire ruled over millions of planets and a lot of those were die-hard fundamentalists with a lot of big armies and even bigger weapons who were never going to give up just because some snotty kid and his friends offed their leader and blew up his science project on the other side of the universe. In the EU, the events of the movies were but the first big battle, but the war ranged on for decades after that, until eventually the Empire and the New Republic called an uneasy truce that saw them divvying up the planets based on allegiance. This relationship occasionally made for some incredibly tense moments, as enemies would occasionally be forced to work together.

  • Rogue Squadron

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In the movies, Luke Skywalker’s old X-Wing squadron consists of a couple of guys only the hardcore fans would recognize and a bunch of other callsigns, but in the EU Rogue Squadron is the very elite of the elite and prove it time and time again in incredible adventures. Led by Wedge Antilles (one of those aforementioned guys only the hardcore fans would recognize), the unit would see many just as cool and memorable characters join its ranks like Tycho Celchu, a defector from the Imperial Navy who becomes an ace pilot; Corran Horn, an ex-Correllian Security Force office who became first a Rogue Squadron hero and eventually one of the most powerful Jedi Masters; and Jaina Solo, Han and Leia’s Jedi Knight daughter and hero of the New Republic.

  • Jedi Academy/Dark Apprentice
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One of the best aspects of the EU was Luke Skywalker eventually rebuilding the Jedi Academy and having the Jedi’s numbers swell again to and exceed their numbers before they were wiped out by the Emperor. It allowed Luke to become the great teacher and master he was always meant to be, and gave us a whole new generation of Jedi heroes. It also gave us some great villains. See Luke had no real idea on how to properly train a Jedi, since he was essentially just given the crash course version in a swamp by a wrinkly little green guy. So he slipped up often when it came to preparing the next generation of Jedi, some of whom were then tempted to the Dark Side.

Sometimes this meant they just became a bit more surly and needed some talking to, other times they got possessed by the spirit of probably the greatest Sith Lord of all time, rip Luke’s soul out of his body, and oh yeah, use a top-secret superweapon to wipe out an entire star system!

  • Mara Jade Skywalker

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Mara Jade is such an incredibly popular character because she’s got such a great backstory, is so well-developed and has so many diverse traits. She’s also a badass. Oh and Luke Skywalker’s wife. Though the pair couldn’t have started out more differently. A powerful Force user who was raised as the Hand of the Emperor i.e. his super secret super-powerful assassin, she found her world destroyed when a certain upstart Jedi helped to defeat her master. She decided to lie low and adopt a life of smuggling – becoming one of the best – but never forgetting her master’s last instruction: Kill Luke Skywalker. But when she is forced to work with him, she develops a grudging respect that makes sticking a lightsaber in his back a bit of a problem. Complicating matters even further is her falling in love with him.

Not that Mara Jade is some soft token female who goes weak at the knees and forgets all purpose at the sight of our hero. No, she actually does try to kill Luke anyways – several times – but then goes through a lengthy and believable process of redemption to become a badass Jedi Master and hero to rival (and some would argue, better) the famous Jedi she would eventually go on to marry and have a family with. Though she often keeps reminding him of her unfinished task to destroy him, as wives tend to do.

  • Grand Admiral Thrawn

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Sorry, Darth Vader, your outfit is cool and all, and the whole heavy breathing thing is a catchy schtick, but this is the real greatest villain in Star Wars history. When it was first announced that we would be getting more Star Wars movies, and fans had not yet heard that they current EU was being scrapped, nearly every discussion about which story the new movies should adapt ended in Hand of Thrawn. It could be argued that Timothy Zahn’s trilogy of books – “Heir to the Empire”, “Dark Force Rising” and “The Last Command” – kickstarted the EU we came to know and love, and it did it with one hell of an antagonist in Thrawn, a military tactical genius who was always several steps ahead of everybody around him.

Despite the heavy anti-non-human bias in the Imperial forces, the alien Chiss commander still rose to the highest of ranks because he was just that damn good. He once wiped out a fleet of enemies with ease simply by devising a plan specific for their race which he derived from studying their culture’s art. Yes, their art. He has no Force sensitivity and no extraordinary innate alien abilities. No, he’s just way, way smarter and ruthless than anybody else out there. And best of all, nobody knew about him.

When we first meet Thrawn in the books, Luke and the rest of the Rebel Alliance have zero idea that he even exists due to him having been “exiled” to the Unknown Regions of space, which is later revealed to actually have been a plan concocted by the Emperor as he secretly fed Thrawn a steady supply of ships and troops to conquer the Unknown Regions. By the time Thrawn learns of the Emperor’s death he has a full army and a huge fleet of ships, and comes back with a vengeance to assume full control of the Empire and lay the holy smack down on Luke and co before they even know what’s happening!

Tell me you wouldn’t to see that on the big screen?!

Last Updated: March 12, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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