Category Archives: Jaina Solo

Asking for equality in Star Wars isn’t sexist

Star Wars is no longer centered on Luke Skywalker. In addition to his relatives, there’s Jedi, Sith, smugglers, clones, droids and more in multiple eras. Unfortunately, that rich cast of characters is mostly male.

Every few months, Twitter and the blogosphere erupt in criticism regarding the demand for more female characters of quality. One popular argument, as mention in a recent EU Cantina column that argued writer Nanci’s own piece regarding women in Star Wars, is that it’s sexist to make such demands.

Sexism (Merriam-Webster)

1. prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially : discrimination against women
2. behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

We are asking for equality not dominance. We aren’t not stating that the women should crush the men in numbers and presence. That request does not match the definition of a sexist person. There’s no excuse why more women characters can’t appear.

It takes less than a minute to rattle off 10 great, developed male characters in Star Wars. Naming 10 developed female characters take longer. Winter, Iella and Mirax are all great characters but lack the page time to be as fleshed out as most of the men. The potential is there. Grab it, Del Rey.

Another argument seen around cyberspace is why male fans should have to read female dominated stories. If a female fan wants to enjoy the Star Wars universe, she has no choice but to pick from dozens of novels lead by men. Tatooine Ghost and Dark Journey come to mind in regards to female leads, but after those, it takes some digging. If someone wants to read a great male lead, well, he can close his eyes, point at a stack of books and probably find a good one.

When we ask for more female leads, we aren’t stating that the male leads go away. That type of misconception is common in almost every women’s rights issue. Add more women in the workplace? Men will lose their jobs! Allow women to vote? Oh they can’t do that. They’re not educated enough and make rash, emotional decisions. Title IX discriminates against men because their sports lose funding, some say. No, Title IX does not state that schools must cut men’s teams to make room for women’s; it calls for equal funding. The institutions make the decision to cut the male teams. Remember, the woman’s rights fight isn’t even 200 years old in most countries. In the United States, we haven’t even been able to vote for 100 years.

The women’s rights movement was and is not about surpassing men in society. It’s about equality. Equality in everything, from jobs, politics, sports, pay and schooling to movies, television and books.

Most Star Wars books contain two or more main plotlines, each with its own lead or pair of lead characters. Multiple books use all male leads. And while some of these stories would work for specific characters (like Corran and Wedge in Rogue Squadron), there’s no reason why new stories couldn’t contain plotlines lead by all females or one led by a female.

The argument that a female-led book wouldn’t sell is weak. It’s no grand secret that women are a huge part of the buying market. We buy male-led books. To assume that men wouldn’t buy a book featuring Jaina, Leia, Winter, Padme or another woman character is insulting to many male fans and shows a lack of consideration for both genders.

Star Wars isn’t a “man’s world.” I can’t recall hearing about George Lucas stating that no women were allowed to view his movies. He created one of the best female heroines. Princess Leia is a cultural icon and not because of her metal bikini or hair buns (though those are icons of their own). Her take-charge attitude turns the typical princess role upside down. She’s not underneath any of the men in her life, no matter what they do or say. Telling Princess Leia what she has to do doesn’t work out well. While she’s had plenty of screen/page time, she hasn’t led many novels, usually falling second to Luke.

Just as there is a place for male heroes, there is a place for female in all eras. Satele Shan is the Grand Master of the Jedi during the period that Star Wars The Old Republic takes place. She’s one of the several great female characters the game developers and writers created.

The answer isn’t to throw in random female characters with no development. Just because a character is a woman does not make her a good character. We want female characters that are worth it, not cardboard placeholders. To assume that all we want is a female’s presence is offensive. A character that lacks any real substance isn’t useful.

The desire for equal treatment and character dispersion isn’t an out-of-this-world idea. It’s logical. If the situation was reversed, odds are that men would feel slighted. By continuing to put off or ignore the call for worthy female leads, the Star Wars universe narrows itself instead of grows. It can only last with new ideas and seizing opportunities. Using female leads will only help the fandom, not hinder it.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Expanded Universe, female characters, female geekdom, Jaina Solo, Luke Skywalker, Star Wars, Star Wars The Old Republic, SWTOR

Family Trumps Distance: How Excluding the Fels from Apocalypse Goes Against Star Wars’s Use of Family

Note: Also posted at FanGirl Blog.

It’s impossible to include every character in each Star Wars book. That said, Fate of the Jedi Apocalypse left out the most logical inclusion in the final scene.

The Fels.

At the wedding of Jaina Solo and Jagged Fel it would make sense for Jag’s family to attend and yet they are nowhere in sight. There’s mention of others, like Kyp Durron and Lando, but not the parents and siblings of the groom.

The argument that loyalty to the Chiss would stop the Fels from attending their son’s wedding or even maintaining some type of relationship with him is ludicrous. Soontir shows loyalty to a government that he can believe in. The changing dealings of the Empire turned him to the New Republic, and then later Thrawn convinced him that the Empire of Hand was the way to go. Family played a role in both decisions. It’s hard to believe that Soontir turned into a narrow-minded man whose only loyalty is to the Chiss no matter what they do. In addition, there’s the appearance of the Empire of Hand in Ascension. If that’s not a clear indicator that Jag is in contact with the rest of the Fels, then nothing is.

Syal and Soontir lost children. What parent wouldn’t try to maintain a relationship with their surviving loved ones?

Given the scene Troy Denning wrote, it would have been easy to add in a sentence stating their presence. An actual conversation would have been even better, but that wasn’t going to happen. Wedge and his family weren’t even there. Wedge had a relationship with both of them and was friends with most of the guests. He’s a shoo-in for an invite.

Troy Denning stated in his interview with Suvudu that the wedding was planned from the start, yet the idea that Jag’s family attend the event was either ignored or cast aside.

Fans know very little about the Fels. No one knows exactly how Davin, Cherith and Chak died. Facts allude to the Yuuzhan Vong regarding Davin and Cherith, but we don’t know for sure that’s what happened. For being tied to one of the main characters, there’s not much information about Jag’s life and upbringing.

It’s not as if the books show that there is some type of family division or feud occurring. There’s no evidence to support this theory. The cost of Jag guaranteeing Lowbacca’s parole is nothing compared to family bonds. Money, land, its all possessions. Never have the Fels given off the impression that material items or status matter more than family. Even if Syal or Soontir had some type of grudge against Jaina, would they truly cast their son aside? No. Soontir proved early on how easy it is to accept someone who may not hold the same ideals or perform the same actions as himself just because someone he cares for loves that person. He and Wedge were on opposite sides, yet that didn’t stand in the way of Soontir and Syal’s happiness. Their son would have to same consideration.

We’re a family. Family does for family.“- Soontir to his father, Rogue Squadron 25: The Making of Baron Fel by Michael Stackpole

Family plays a vital role in the Star Wars universe. The loss of his mother Shmi led to Anakin Skywalker’s first major step towards the Dark Side. The death of Anakin Solo had a similar affect on Jaina. Jacen rationalizes that he must turn Sith to create a safe galaxy for his daughter Allana. The Antilles family found members on both sides of the Second Galactic Civil War and yet their bonds weren’t broken. Sacrificing a life for a sibling or child is something we all can understand. Jacen’s fall to the Dark Side seemed more difficult to grasp because who he was betraying. When he killed Mara, he killed a family member, not some stranger. It was a more powerful death (and not only because it was Mara Jade). With these bonds, it’s harder for viewers or readers to grasp onto what the characters are going through. While we can appreciate the need for saving a planet, saving one’s family seems more tangible.

The absence of the Fels also supports the remark about Jaina that Denning mentioned in the post-Apocalypse Suvudu interview:

“Now, some of the fans know that I was a Jaina/Zekk shipper early on, and everybody thinks that that was because I like Zekk better. It was really because I didn’t want to see Jaina go off to live in what early on would have been the Chiss Empire and then later would have been the Imperial Remnant. I didn’t want to lose Jaina for the main storylines. She’s an important Jedi, and we’ve known for a long time that she’s going to become more and more important to the core of the Jedi, so did we really want to have to go through plot hoops and come up with plot devices to bring her back into the main story every time we wanted to use her? Or did we want to risk losing her from the main story all the time? Once we came to terms with the need to use Jaina and decided to find a way to bring Jag back into the main story for a few years (so that Jaina could be in the main story too), that pretty much solved the problem.”

The Unknown Regions aren’t in another galaxy. There isn’t an electromagnetic band that forbids transmission or a lack of hyperspace routes leading in and out that prohibit travel. Even Star Wars The Old Republic uses the Unknown Regions. There’s not much there now, just Illum, space combat missions and class quest stops, but players can still travel there. Holograms and the holonet make it possible to converse with someone lightyears away. That idea is solidified into the base level of Star Wars canon in the prequels. The Jedi Council held meetings with half the members absent. Their projections were so good that the Masters appeared to be sitting perfectly in the chairs.

In addition, this is Star Wars. Very rarely do events in a book only occur on one planet. Location is no excuse to avoid using a character. Regarding Jaina, Denning’s concern is based solely on that Jaina could only join Jag, not the other way around.

It’s hard to believe that the Fels couldn’t find a way to communicate with Jag after his exile. How would the Chiss have learned of the death of Alema Rar for one? It’s not as someone sent out a mass transmission stating, “It’s okay, Alema Rar, a Twi’Lek you’ve probably never heard of, is dead. Go back to your drinks.” The only logical conclusion is that Jag filed some type of report to make the Chiss and his family aware of her demise. And what about the Empire of the Hand? There’s no way Soontir didn’t have something to do with their arrival.

We simply don’t know what the Fels are doing. Wyn could be a high-ranking member of the Chiss military or sent to some low level job after the events the Killik war. Cem’s status as a shadow child provides even less information. The entire family is a question mark.

Without knowing all the details of his exile, it’s difficult to discern the state of the Fels lives. Perhaps they would be so broke that leaving is a better alternative. They must have had some funds given that they hired rescue parties to find Jag. Any family that works so hard to find their lost child isn’t going to disown him for lost credits.

The exclusion of the Fels isn’t just a disservice to fans; it’s an illogical decision. The Chiss were the ones that cast off Jag, not Syal and Soontir. It fights their character to hop aboard the Starflare to fly to their son’s wedding. To deny them that is absurd.

And yet, that’s exactly what happened.

3 Comments

Filed under Expanded Universe, Fate of the Jedi, FotJ, Jagged Fel, Jaina Solo, Star Wars, Troy Denning, Uncategorized

Han Solo book blurb and Troy Denning Suvudu interview

The Random House Fall catalog is up and lucky for us, there’s some information about the much anticipated Han Solo book penned by Timothy Zahn.

From the catalog:

Ocean’s Eleven meets Star Wars in this classic adventure set just after Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. From #1 New York Times bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

 

The Death Star has just been destroyed and Han Solo still needs the money to pay off the bounty on his head. Now the opportunity to make that money and then some has walked into his life in the form of the perfect heist. With nine like-minded scoundrels, he and Chewbacca just might be able to pull it off and live to tell the tale!

Sounds like a fun read!  The listing states Dec. 26 as the release date. That, of course, can change at a moment’s notice. The only question I have thus far is about Lando’s participation (see Key Selling Points). Is Zahn going to create a different “swindle” than what we read about in the Han Solo trilogy?

In other news, check out Eric Geller’s Troy Denning interview on the Suvudu blog regarding Apocalypse. It contains many eye-brow raising remarks regarding Abeloth (no real explanation), Ben, Vestara and an illogical look at Jaina (this is Star Wars. Stories happen all over the place. Not an excuse to keep her and Jag apart).

Leave a comment

Filed under Fate of the Jedi, Han Solo, Jaina Solo, Timothy Zahn, Troy Denning

Review: Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse by Troy Denning

Contains spoilers.

Upon hearing the title of the last book in the Fate of the Jedi series, I cringed. Apocalypse is a word we’ve heard far too much in the past two years. The infamous Mayan 2012 prediction creeps into all media at random intervals to annoy us. Apocalypse seems as if it’s an overly dramatic title for a Star Wars book. The galaxy facing certain destruction is old news. Troy Denning closed out the FotJ with a plethora of action, just as he did Legacy of the Force.

On the surface, Abeloth sounds like a terrifying being. She can’t die. She can be in multiple places at the same time. She has no limitations. After finding out exactly what Abeloth is supposed to be, I felt highly skeptical. The history the Killiks gave bothers me to no end.

I don’t like the idea that everyone’s path is predestined. That takes away the responsibility of choice. The Killiks made it sound as if Abeloth would come no matter what anyone did. There was nothing Luke or anyone else could do about it and that’s an idea that I’m not comfortable with in literature or life. Anakin Skywalker chose to kill Mace Windu and pledge himself to Palpatine. Jacen chose to listen to Lumiya. The drunk driver chooses to climb behind the wheel of his car. The woman acts to cheat on her husband. Personal choice is necessary to avoid chaos. Regardless of how logical the Killiks argument may sound, taking it for face value even coupled with some story Yoda told Luke, is far too trusting for a group of strong Jedi. That the Force has a being that causes massive amounts of destruction for the sake of it doesn’t sound like the Force we all know.

Right from the start, Denning pulls readers into a rich, action-packed infiltration of Coruscant. It sets the idea that the Jedi are there to take the situation into their own hands. Those who prefer a more philosophical or mystical battle for the Jedi may find the book a little frustration at times. It’s gorier than most Star Wars books, what with the way the Sith die, Saba’s fight in the Jedi Temple and Abeloth’s use of her tentacles (think Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean). The pace slows down in the middle a bit, but picks up towards the end. There’s some repetition towards the end that can bog down readers and at times, it’s hard to picture a location.

The strongest part of the Apocalypse isn’t the plot; it’s the characters. As this is a Denning book, Han Solo dances from the pages with sarcastic humor. Master Saba Sebatyne comes across somewhat tamer than she has before (in behavior, not physical combat). Unlike previous Denning-penned books, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the portrayals of Jagged Fel and Jaina Solo. Even Tahiri became much more appealing, a first in this series. She’s wallowed in grief and self-loathing far too long.

Probably the biggest change in characterization was Luke Skywalker. It’s clear by the end Apocalypse that Luke’s growing away from his role as Grand Master. Near the end, Ben mentions that eventually the burden will fall to Jaina’s generation. Throughout the series, Luke still acts as a competent fighter, but he’s physically weaker. While Luke’s power isn’t fading, it actually feels as if a shift is occurring with the Jedi Order. It feels like a natural change.

These revelations came clearest through the conversations between Luke and Jaina. Gone were the rash decisions, the constant back and forth her character constantly suffers. She’s the one who acts as the voice of reason. This is a Jaina that needs to stay. Denning created a balance between the fighter, the Jedi and the woman. Her decisions were logical and sound. There were no questions about her and Jag’s relationship. Even though they didn’t appear in the same place until the very end, the little actions of her calling during a lull in battle and his concern for her during his own crisis spoke volumes more than a conversation about the relationship.

The end of Apocalypse left me with mixed feelings, excluding the last chapter that better fits the term epilogue. Had Abeloth been a more impressive or conceivable villain, the defeat would seem impressive. The elements were there, but the problems lie in the Abeloth character, not the actual confrontations. The end leaves a plethora of questions. What happened to the Dark Man? Is Vestara the next threat or will she disappear? Where do the Jedi go from here? How will the whole future of the Empire play out regarding to Jag?

Some of these will surely come up in whatever Del Rey produces next. As Denning mentioned, the possibilities are endless. The book truly felt like a turning point in the Expanded Universe, something it desperately needs.

And the wedding? It’s about damn time.

Score: 7/10

4 Comments

Filed under Expanded Universe, Fate of the Jedi, FotJ, Jaina Solo, Luke Skywalker, Review, Troy Denning

It’s time to say goodbye to "teams"

Team Edward. Team Peeta. Team Draco. Team Zekk. Team Jacob. Team Kyp. Team Harry. Team Gale. Team Jag. When did romance become a sporting event?

Years ago, while reading the Twilight series, my friend asked me who I liked better: Edward or Jacob. (Neither one was a good partner, but then again, Bella requires others to define her.) She told me about the “teams” discussion on a forum we both visited. I said Edward because not only did Jacob drive me nuts, but also it felt like Jacob saw Bella more as a prize to win rather than a human being.

That idea right there is what bothers me the most about the team concept: the woman becomes a prize.

The perpetuation of the team concept comes mainly from marketing around the Twilight movies. While it found its way onto message boards, icons and social media, various companies pushed the “Whose team are you on?” question. A Burger King commercial ran a few years ago (think around the time of Eclipse) that completely ignored Bella, the main character of the movie, in favor of the two sides. Despite the type of flimsy character Bella is, it seemed rather wrong that she was made into some medal or trophy.

With The Hunger Games movie, scads of merchandise with the statements “Team Peeta” or “Team Gale” flood the internet. The idea of team-themed merchandise could work for the movie, if it wasn’t based on romance. Show your support for Katniss, Peeta or District 12 to win the games. However, if I walk around with a shirt that says Team Peeta because I want him to win the games, the idea wrongly projected is that I’m a part of some feud.

The teams idea creates conflict. These conflicts would exist without the term, but thanks to the popularity of the word, these conflicts become larger than the story itself. Back during the New Jedi Order days, plenty of debates ran about whom Jaina Solo should be with: Jag, Zekk or Kyp. While these discussions still exist today, they don’t seem as frequent or volatile. I remember reading several arguments that largely ignored Jaina’s characterization and the actual events in the books. The same problem exists in The Hunger Games. Team discussions often ignore the main ideas of the plot.

These types of conflicts do serve a positive purpose: continuous discussion, new perspectives and character analysis. If everyone agreed on each aspect of a story, conversations would die out quickly. Taking the romance angle is just one of the many ways to look at a character.

The idea of rooting for a particular suitor isn’t wrong or disrespectful to the female character. The problem arises when it takes the woman out of the equation except for her mere presence. From Jacob’s comments and the part of Breaking Dawn that was written from his point of view, I had the impression that he was more interested in winning. He seemed to lose sight of Bella’s happiness.

Mobilizing teams the way it happened throws out the choice of the female characters. Fans don’t have to agree with it. I still don’t like Harry and Ginny together. It’s far too easy to ignore actions and essence of a character, be it the female in question or one of the suitors. One of the major differences between Edward and Jacob is that Edward was willing to stand aside if Jacob was whom Bella wanted. Jacob made no such concession. This argument rarely comes into play in Edward v. Jacob debates. In The Hunger Games, this isn’t really an issue. Katniss doesn’t want a relationship nor is it much of a possibility, what with Snow’s threats.

The whole team concept has gotten out of hand. It’s impossible to enjoy a book that has more than one romance interest without someone bringing up a team, regardless of genre. The Hunger Games isn’t the story of a love triangle. There isn’t a strong sense of “who is Katniss going to choose” throughout the series and yet, it’s rapidly falling into that trap. It’s one matter to discuss who you think is the better choice. It’s another to ignore the importance of a story and belittle the female character by turning it into a dating show.

I hate the insinuation that I’m a member of a team. It implies that I only care about who the character is going to choose. Before Explosive Eighteen, the newest book in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, hit shelves in November, I read several reviews on Amazon stating that “Team Ranger” fans weren’t going to like it. Basing the entire opinion of a book on Stephanie Plum’s love life and ignoring the rest of the plot seems rather close-minded. I don’t read the Stephanie Plum books because for Ranger or Morelli. I read them because I enjoy Stephanie’s characterization and the rich cast of characters (who doesn’t love Lulu?)

Thanks to the label coupled with Twilight, some are hesitant to dive into The Hunger Games or other works of literature that “team” crept into. If the whole “Team Edward/Team Jacob” debate annoyed you, would you go into a movie that appears to use the same idea? Probably not. While I’ve yet to see Lionsgate use the Team Gale/Team Peeta monikers, there’s enough outside merchandise to make the average consumer aware of the idea. A simple online search pulls up the Team Gale and Team Peeta concepts.

This whole team epidemic kills romance. When I viewed New Moon in theaters, I felt as if the theater was broken up into groups: Edward lovers and Jacob lovers. There was a sense of hostility in the room. It was awkward. It was even more awkward when the middle-aged women in front of our little group writhed in joy when Taylor Lautner removed his shirt (who was 17 at the time with a baby face). Take out that I thought New Moon was a horrible book and mediocre movie and it was still hostile environment.

I suppose for me romance isn’t a contest. It’s not a race to the finish line. Some love stories fizzle out. That doesn’t mean they weren’t good. Take the movie The Notebook, for instance. Just because Allie and Lon don’t end up together doesn’t mean their love story was unimportant or uninteresting. I didn’t feel as if we Jaina/Jag fans “won” in Omen after the proposal. Just because Jaina and Zekk didn’t end up together as adults doesn’t mean that their young love in the Young Jedi Knights series was pointless or a waste of time.

Romance is more of a continuous journey with no end rather than an objective based race.

Pushing the idea of “teams” onto a movie or book only causes harm. While it may be true that a group of fans band together in support of a pairing, referring to it as a team diminishes characterization, story and romance in general.

It’s time to retire the term for good.

Leave a comment

Filed under Harry Potter, Jaina Solo, NJO, romance, teams, The Hunger Games, Twilight

Her Universe talks about Mara Jade shirt

Monday Twitter was abuzz with the news that Her Universe plans to release a Mara Jade shirt for CVI. (check it out via ClubJade) Odds are that this shirt will go fast at the convention. I hope that it will also become available online for those who cannot attend the convention or are unable to purchase it at that time.

I hope that the introduction of a Mara Jade t-shirt is a sign for the integration of more Expanded Universe characters. While I don’t expect to see every single female character features, it would be nice for Jaina, Iella or Tenel Ka to join the group. EU merchandise is severely lacking. The future inclusion of SWTOR figurines is a little frustrating given how long we’ve been waiting for a solid EU line.

About a year or two ago, I sat on the couch in my living room bidding on Jacen and Jaina action figures on Ebay. It took a couple of tries to win the auction. That’s how in-demand those figures were. There’s a market, no question about it.

How many Dagobah Lukes or Mustafar Anakins need released each year? Swamping out one wave of “movie figures” for EU-based ones would not be detrimental to sales.

Her Universe released Naboo gold earrings and a Queen shirt for the 3D release of The Phantom Menace. I admit, I was rather surprised that these products weren’t released two weeks or further from the movie date. I have no idea if more people would have ordered the items if they knew they could wear them to the movie showings or not, but it does cause some thought.

The earrings are gold with the royal Naboo emblem in the middle. They match the shirt, which is red with the word “Queen” scrawled across the font.” Both items are rather subtle when it comes to identifying them as Star Wars. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. On one hand, more subtle clothing and jewelry makes the items more adaptable to everyday wear. On the other hand, it almost feels like hiding. It’s a mixed bag with no real answer.

Celebration VI is still quite a ways off. I wonder if we will see any new products until them. I certainly hope so. In addition to more EU-based merchandise, I keep hoping we’ll see some handbags, necklaces or headbands.

Leave a comment

Filed under Expanded Universe, fashion, female geekdom, Her Universe, Jaina Solo, Mara Jade

Where’s the love? A look at the lack of romance in the EU

Romance is a fickle thing in writing. Too much will make the story seem too soppy or distract from the main plot while too little leaves readers unsatisfied. Finding that balance is one that many writers struggle with. When it comes writing romance, I shy away from the long, love-filled speeches. I prefer to use actions and gestures, like a touch or favor. There’s no set formula, though, about how much or how little a story needs.
Romance plays a vital role in so many stories we love. Think about Empire Strikes Back. The love story between Han and Leia was phenomenal. It wasn’t drippy or character killing (go Harrison Ford’s improvising). It wasn’t awkward. It was believable. Their actions made sense for the characters, making their love easy to see. It was a vital chain in the story, not some silly side plot.
Take Harry Potter as another example. While love is a major theme of the book, it’s not romantic love. The romance in Harry Potter is much less than some fans wanted to see. Hermione and Ron don’t have grand, loving moments. In the books, we don’t even see their first kiss. The movie handled that scene well. It was the moment we were all waiting for—and expressed the same amusement as Harry did about the situation.
Romantic pairings come into play in Harry Potter. The Ron and Lavender incident caused severe friction between the three. And who can forget about the Yule Ball fiasco? Bill and Fleur’s wedding and the pairing of Remus and Tonks added not only a touch of romance, but hope to the latter books.
Even Harry’s crush on Cho and feelings for Ginny were rather muted. He pined for them, but it wasn’t as if they were the focus of the books.
When it comes to Harry Potter, I don’t think that the books needed more romance. It wasn’t about Harry’s relationship with Ginny or Remus learning that he can have love too. The romance added a bit of flavor to the book, the topping if you will.
Romance is something severely lacking from the Star Wars EU. It didn’t used to be. The best example of this recent problem is the Fate of the Jedi series. It started with great romantic interactions with Jaina Solo and Jag Fel. These continued through the series until Backlash. There was nothing in Backlash. No real Jaina and Jag or Han and Leia. Allies? Yeah right. Vortex, a sliver. Conviction? Not really. Ascension? I’ve already expressed my feelings on the “romance” in that book.
What doesn’t make sense with FotJ is that there was a love story right there to work with and expand upon. Jaina and Jag were prominent characters in Outcast, for one. After that, their roles dwindled. It’s important to maintain some type of character balance in a long series, but it was lost along the way.
When I think of romance in Star Wars, I don’t think of chats in the starlight or candlelight dinners. It’s more action orientated and animated. It’s possible to have a romantic interaction without gooey language or even a kiss. It’s all in the wording and the character point of view. A person’s reactions are more telling than anything else is. Look at the Hunger Games trilogy when Katniss thought Capital was going to torture Peeta. She wanted to kill him to save him. Even though she didn’t realize it, it was clear she loved him.
The EU books need romance to balance out the story. Think about a book or story. Now categorize what is going on in the book. Each piece acts as a building block to make the perfect tale. Too much of something and the story feels odd.
Romance is something that most can understand. Most people want to love someone or already do. It’s an emotion we can understand, even if we don’t have any experience with the situations or emotions the characters are feeling. I’ve never been hunted, or as good as dead, but I understood Peeta’s need to keep Katniss alive in The Hunger Games, for example.
Star Wars is a space opera. Love plays such a vital role in the overall Saga. Anakin’s obsessive love for Padme influenced his decisions to go to the Dark Side. Would Anakin have fallen had he not fallen in love and married Padme? It’s very possible, but the story wouldn’t have been the same.
Romance also appeals to everyone. We all know the arguments about romance novels and “chick flicks.” They’re for “women.” Plenty of men enjoy these types of stories. The concept that romance is only for women is a pointless, old stereotype.
One of the many questions I’d love to ask the editorial team and writers is where the romance went. Including some aspect of it would not only make the books feel more “Star Wars,” but would also make the stories more appealing to a wider audience. Without Mara and Luke, the content falls mainly on Han and Leia’s and Jaina and Jag’s shoulders, yet we don’t see too much of either.
When writing, I can’t put the number of pages or romantic interactions into a calculator to determine how much more or less I need. Reading the story and finding feedback is the only way to accomplish this. Receiving feedback from multiple sources is even better. That way, it’s possible to see multiple views of the scenes in question. Some stories only need three or four romantic moments or bits while others need a chapter’s worth of content.
The argument for balancing romance is similar to angst, tragedy, comedy and other genres. Each has a place in a story—and a certain amount called for. While not every story needs romance, that factor was established as a key factor of Star Wars during the OT. It’s time for it to come back.

Leave a comment

Filed under Han Solo, Harry Potter, Jagged Fel, Jaina Solo, Katniss Everdeen, Luke Skywalker, Peeta Mellark, Princess Leia, romance, Star Wars, The Hunger Games, writing