When Disney purchased LucasFilm they officially removed most of the ‘Star Wars’ Expanded Universe (EU) novels and comic books from being canon, though how much of those ideas ended up making it into ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘? It turns out that quite a few of the larger plot points were able to trickle in. Obviously, this means that there are some spoilers for both the film as well as the now cancelled Expanded Universe so if you aren’t caught up on either and want to go in blindly, you’ll want to turn back before scrolling past the picture below!
With the Expanded Universe having decades worth of stories to pick and choose from, it should be no surprise that even though it is no longer canon the writers took some inspirations from the series.
First up we have Kylo Ren or Ben as his parents know him. While there is a Ben in the Expanded Universe that is Luke Skywalker’s son, the Kylo Ren that we’re getting is a little more directly tied to Jacen Solo. Just like in the film, he is Han and Leia’s son who turns to the Dark Side. In the novels, it was after he received training by Luke Skywalker. In the film, however, it is still a little vague on when and where his training and turn to the Dark Side occurred. Jacen was a central character in the Expanded Universe and while he doesn’t appear to have any siblings in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ it doesn’t mean there aren’t any that we just weren’t introduced to yet. However, I suspect that unlike the three children that Han and Leia have in the EU, we’ll only see Kylo in this one.
As mentioned above, we see that Luke failed teaching Jacen in the EU as well as much of his work at attempting to expand the Jedi Order had failed miserably. While it sounds as if Kylo or someone else pulled an Anakin Skywalker on all Luke’s students, he was able to actually start a new Order in the novels. However, these attempts had countless problems. Is it possible that Luke was able to find something in the first temple at the close of ‘The Force Awakens’ that will have him trying again with Rey as his first apprentice? Of course, we might find out in the opening scene of the next film that he was able to save most of his students and has been training them there in secret.
The Death Star 2.0 aka the Starkiller Base isn’t a completely original idea either. It borrows from the Sun Crusher which had the same devastating effects. The most noticeable difference, though, is that while the Starkiller Base was a planet that could fly through space, the Sun Crusher was a standard sized spaceship that pulled off a similar world ending catastrophe. Sure, it technically made suns go supernova and destroyed star systems but using a sun to destroy a planet was the same basic concept. There were other ships with the name Starkiller as well though this is a silent nod to it being an earlier version of the Skywalker name in George Lucas’s first draft of ‘A New Hope.’
Finn is another hodgepodge of a character. The EU has his origin almost mirroring Han Solo who ended up being an Imperial pilot before becoming a smuggler and Kyle Katarn who was one of the leads in the ‘Jedi Knight’ video game that was a Stormtrooper who switched sides. Aside from that, Finn was a name used by an ancient Sith Master, a soldier in ‘Star Wars Tales’ and finally a character in ‘The Clone Wars‘. What can I say? People just love the name Finn.
The First Order also appears to be a riff on a concept from the EU from a group known as The Nagai. They were the remnants of the Empire which were actually run by an alien and there was a Sith involved with them. Aside from their take, we’ve seen multiple people take over as the commander of the Empire including the most notable novel sequels to the original trilogy where Grand Admiral Thrawn who worked with a Sith took control of what was left of the Empire.
Finally the idea of the biggest death in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ wasn’t quite new either though it was a different Millennium Falcon pilot who bit the big one. In the novels, we didn’t see Han heroically dying all that often but rather his furry friend who had a hero’s death. In the novel ‘Vector Prime,’ Chewbacca ended up being stranded and blown up after having saved Han Solo’s son Anakin (not the Jacen that Kylo seems based off of.) Hopefully, he won’t be following suit in one of the next films as we need.
Are you happy to hear that ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and future installments are open to borrowing from the Expanded Universe? Are there any nods that we happened to miss? What story arc would you like to see them adapt? Share your thoughts below!
Source: The Hollywood Reporter