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Thrawn (Legends vs Canon Novels)


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It is so nice to see someone else that could not stand the Thrawn trilogy.  I read it right after reading Ender's Game (early teens).  Thrawn reminded me a lot of Ender, the military leader whom, no matter the odds, would always be victorious.  14 year-old-me was all in on that trope; now I think it is the laziest trope in writing. 

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Over the past few years, I have been burning through the new Thrawn novels by Timothy Zahn as they have come out. Specifically: Thrawn (2017) Thrawn: Alliances (2018) Thrawn: Treas

I enjoyed reading Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. I think you would have to read all three since they are just one big story. However, that was almost 30 years ago when I

Actually, all of the new canon books Zahn has written so far have been carefully written around EU continuity, so they can fit into either canon ("Legends" or Disney). I own them all but have only rea

17 hours ago, Zathras said:

The Thrawn trilogy is far from perfect for sure.  I think Heir to the Empire was probably the best of the lot, with the other two books being of lesser quality, with the Last Command being my least favorite.  There was all kinds of set up with Thrawn, and his fate was anti-climatic, IMHO.  I did like the Sparti cloning module aspect, and the need for them, but the Katana Fleet does not really line up with the continuity that TPM-present established.  I liked the idea of Joru'us C'Baoth being a clone of a jedi master, who went insane.  I did NOT like Lu'uke, and C'Baoth really ended up becoming an Emperor-lite, and some of the ending of the Thrawn Trilogy seems a rehash of ROTJ.  

Tank your  issues are totally valid, and if that trilogy came out today, it could now almost be labeled young adult books.  That said, I personally find Thrawn an interesting character because back when those books came out (and besides the fact we didn't know we would be getting any more Star Wars films at the time), is I started to become interested in history, and historical military figures and Thrawn reminded me of Caesar, Alexander, even Hannibal.  TO be sure, Vader and the Emperor are hard acts to follow, and I think ALL Star Wars suffers from not having villains that stand up to them. 

In the PT, other than Palpatine,  yeah you have Maul, and he is a cool villain, but is more like Boba than Vader (in TPM).  I LOVED Christopher Lee, but he was in his mid 80s and really wasn't written very well for or did much in AOTC and ROTS.  The ST had a good villain in Kylo, but really, was he ground breaking?  No, he was Vader 2.0. Snoke could have been interesting, but ends up being an Emperor meat puppet.

Contrast that with Thrawn, who was one of the first attempts to have a unique post ROTJ villain, and I think he is largely a success considering all that.  

The further I get from having read the Zahn trilogy the less it stands up. If I had a serious problem at the time with Thrawn it was that he was so brilliant, but the Emperor kept him tucked away because he was a closeted alien racist? I get that you have to answer why we've never heard of this genius beforehand. Making the Emperor anti alien when there wasn't evidence of it was a stretch. Then GL completely bulldozes that in TPM.

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Well, a LOT of the Thrawn trilogy doesn't hold up anymore, particularly the references to the Clone Wars (EG Katana fleet, cloning Jedi, Sparti vs Kamino Cloning), and clones causing weird force feedback loops.   I think at this point, you can think of the Thrawn Trilogy as canon as Splinter of the Mind's Eye, but elements of it have been re-used. 

As an aside, I seem to remember years ago that Zahn originally intended for C'Baoth to be a clone of Obi Wan or something like that, but changed it.

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1 hour ago, Zathras said:

Well, a LOT of the Thrawn trilogy doesn't hold up anymore, particularly the references to the Clone Wars (EG Katana fleet, cloning Jedi, Sparti vs Kamino Cloning), and clones causing weird force feedback loops.   I think at this point, you can think of the Thrawn Trilogy as canon as Splinter of the Mind's Eye, but elements of it have been re-used. 

As an aside, I seem to remember years ago that Zahn originally intended for C'Baoth to be a clone of Obi Wan or something like that, but changed it.

I’m pretty sure that was his idea, and Lucas said no.

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I said it in another thread and I'll say it again: Star Wars is campy as fuck. Really, watch the original Trilogy without your nostalgia goggles on and you'll see what I mean. Rereading the early EU doesn't feel at all out of place to me and seems to very much understand the essence of what Star Wars was at the time. The Disney stuff does not. Even Rogue One, which I thoroughly enjoy and accept as part of the EU, seems to miss the mark.

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Also, yes, that is true about C'Baoth. Zahn also originally intended the Noghri to be Sith, explaining how Vader was Dark Lord of the Sith, but Lucas shot that one down as well. He went on to supply Zahn with all the lore from his early drafts and backstories, the roleplaying game, and the early Marvel comics so that the narrative would remain consistent.

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Star Wars is not campy.

Batman 66 is campy. The original Star Trek is camp. Camp is intentionally making something over the top while at the same time employing a bit sarcasm or satire about the era in which it was made (or inhabits if it’s a throwback) so that in later years it’s looked back on as humorous exaggeration.

Star Wars is mythic. It’s black hats vs white hats in grand sweeping journeys and adventures. Were they played straight? No. Does ANH have a bit of 70s cheese? Yes. The Flash Gordon roots could certainly create a bit of a camp feel, but camp implies an intentional level of throwback goofiness. The only thing camp about Star Wars is it’s place in 70s/80s pop culture.

I’d even add that if anything, the EU makes it even less camp by destroying the myth narrative in place of standard paperback prose. Cheesy/terrible ideas like Force animals is not campy, it’s just hokey. 
 

The EU fails because it basically tries to emulate Star Wars in another medium. The reason Mando works is because instead of just trying to be Star Wars, it emulates the same things that inspired Lucas— westerns, samurai films, etc.

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Wait, I gotta defend Star Trek TOS.

Pop culture has caused TOS to be considered camp, but I  maintain that Star Trek TOS is not camp, and was not intended to be. It's just that TOS is more of a victim of the standards of TV acting and writing prevalent in the 1960s, being modeled, in part, after westerns and action of the time, and sci fi not being what I call "professionalized" like it is today.   Sure, there are some silly episodes, but they are mostly from the 3rd season, where most fans agree there was a drop in quality, when Friedberger took over.  I defy you to call episodes like Balance of Terror, Conscience of the King, Galileo Seven,  Space Seed, Court Martial, The Changeling, Doomsday Machine, Journey to Babel, Ultimate Computer, etc, etc camp.  I'd say at least a good 1/3 of the episodes are intended to be serious drama and allegory.  Maybe another third can be considered obsolete sci fi, because they are dated.  Maybe 1/3 has elements of camp (by today's standards) and lame humor in them.  But I don't think TOS can be classified as camp, because it wasn't originally intended to be.

If you really want camp in a Star Trek show, look no further than the Mary Sue romp that is Star Trek Discovery. That is one jumbled hot mess of Magical McGuffins where Michael Burnham is nigh omnipotent and can do no wrong, established continuity and world building is brushed aside and demed unimportant, has a host of fatally flawed and unprofessional characters that have no business on a star ship,  and everyone has a good cry at least once an episode.

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Okay, I guess camp may have been the wrong term. I guess I'm really going for that cheesy factor. It abounds in the cantina scene and Jabba's palace. Yoda is a freaking muppet! He's even voiced by the co-creator and principle voice actor on The Muppets and Sesame Street.

The things you have a problem with, like Force-driven (or anti-Force) animals . . . I just don't see why you have such a huge problem with these things. I can understand why they may not be your cup of tea, but I don't see why they're so egregious in your mind.

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I think you leaned on your keyboard.

Seriously though without knowing the details that is a bad idea and really flies in the face of the very first thing we ever learn of The Force

"The Force is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, it binds the Galaxy together."

A living thing being anti Force just seems very very wrong.

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26 minutes ago, The Choc said:

Seriously though without knowing the details that is a bad idea . . .

This right here encapsulates the entirety of what is wrong with you. You can't judge something you know nothing about. If you actually knew the context, it makes perfect sense and is perfectly in line with what Obi-Wan says. The way it does it directly correlates to this. Without the Force, even the ysalamiri couldn't exist, and couldn't interact with it the way they do.

Apparently, the ysalamiri exist within the new canon now as well. So yeah, there's that.

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4 hours ago, Zathras said:

Wait, I gotta defend Star Trek TOS.

Pop culture has caused TOS to be considered camp, but I  maintain that Star Trek TOS is not camp, and was not intended to be. It's just that TOS is more of a victim of the standards of TV acting and writing prevalent in the 1960s, being modeled, in part, after westerns and action of the time, and sci fi not being what I call "professionalized" like it is today.   Sure, there are some silly episodes, but they are mostly from the 3rd season, where most fans agree there was a drop in quality, when Friedberger took over.  I defy you to call episodes like Balance of Terror, Conscience of the King, Galileo Seven,  Space Seed, Court Martial, The Changeling, Doomsday Machine, Journey to Babel, Ultimate Computer, etc, etc camp.  I'd say at least a good 1/3 of the episodes are intended to be serious drama and allegory.  Maybe another third can be considered obsolete sci fi, because they are dated.  Maybe 1/3 has elements of camp (by today's standards) and lame humor in them.  But I don't think TOS can be classified as camp, because it wasn't originally intended to be.

If you really want camp in a Star Trek show, look no further than the Mary Sue romp that is Star Trek Discovery. That is one jumbled hot mess of Magical McGuffins where Michael Burnham is nigh omnipotent and can do no wrong, established continuity and world building is brushed aside and demed unimportant, has a host of fatally flawed and unprofessional characters that have no business on a star ship,  and everyone has a good cry at least once an episode.

Well now we have to fight!

I love TOS, I was not being pejorative. But it was very much NOT played straight. You're right in that unless you're doing a throwback, camp is something that comes later. But at the same time, TOS leaned HARD into the garish colors, over the top line delivery, and action. It was meant to be larger than life, not unlike a comic book. So was Batman. So was Lost In Space. They were affected where as shows like Gunsmoke, Mission Impossible or Dragnet were not.

I wouldn't classify Disco as camp. I hate the term Mary Sue, but I have to acknowledge S1-2 Burnham was pushing it. Season 3 has been a great course correction-- it's actually where the show should have started. It is over the top and bombastic, but that's what camp means either.

49 minutes ago, Zerimar Nyliram said:

This right here encapsulates the entirety of what is wrong with you. You can't judge something you know nothing about. If you actually knew the context, it makes perfect sense and is perfectly in line with what Obi-Wan says. The way it does it directly correlates to this. Without the Force, even the ysalamiri couldn't exist, and couldn't interact with it the way they do.

Apparently, the ysalamiri exist within the new canon now as well. So yeah, there's that.

I disagree with both these ideas. He gets the concept-- the Force is a known quantity and the idea of a living kryptonite for a Jedi is just.. stupid. Even in the context of the story, which I read, it is dumb. And just because the PT and new canon have revised things, that doesn't make it okay. Most true OT fans HATE the way the PT describes the Force. 

 

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1 hour ago, Darth Krawlie said:

Well to be fair it’s shown that Hutts and Toydarians aren’t affected by Jedi mind tricks, though it’s never explained why.

Mind tricks don't work on the strong-willed... that is keeping with the ideas of the Force. There's nothing explicitly said that Hutts and Toydarians are immune because of some sort of physiological reason. Maybe they are just races known for having strong wills. I WILL FIGHT YOU

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The Ysalimari's force repellent was an evolutionary defense against predators that were force sensitive. As silly as it sounds it had an explanation.  The thing for the most part is why? Was it that Thrawn felt that he would eventually encounter Luke? More so that he thought that cloning Jedi was risky and he needed a safety net.

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Yeah-- I just don't like things in Star Wars explained. I love it for Star Trek-- because that was always part of it's DNA. Anything that makes Star Wars not a simplistic mythic visual-based tale, I feel ruins it.

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2 hours ago, Tank said:

Yeah-- I just don't like things in Star Wars explained. I love it for Star Trek-- because that was always part of it's DNA. Anything that makes Star Wars not a simplistic mythic visual-based tale, I feel ruins it.

For me, this is exactly why I hope we never find out where Yoda came from or anything else about his species.

Most stuff I don't mind getting explained in the EU, but this is one of my red lines.

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