In the summer of 1978, as I eagerly awaited the sequel to George Lucas' "Star Wars," I read Alan Dean Foster's "Splinter In The Mind's Eye." This was before the Empire struck back, and before we learned that "Star Wars" was really "Episode IV: A New Hope." It was about the time that it became clear that there would be sequels to Star Wars, and the word "trilogy' started to get bandied about. Three movies? That sounded like a great deal, and by the summer of 1978, there was plenty of speculation about what direction the story of Luke and his galaxy pals might be headed. A cottage industry sprang up: telling the stories that may or not be part of the official canon of Mister Lucas' intent. Mister Foster just happened to be at the right place at the right time, setting up his tent at the center of what would become, well, an Empire unto itself.
Now, nearly forty years down the track, we are bracing for a third iteration of the saga. Where once we were going forward from the middle, now we are back from the past and heading into the future. For those of you who didn't spend their adolescence in line waiting for the next episode in the story of the Skywalker clan, this refers to the way the trilogies have been mounted. The first three movies told the story of how Luke became the savior of the rebellion. The second three movies backed up and told us how Luke's father, spoiler alert, got to be the biggest, baddest, hardest breathing man in show biz. Now we are faced with the proposition of finding out what happened to Luke and his pals after he gave his father a Viking funeral of sorts. Do I really want to know what happened to Mark Hammill after "Corvette Summer?"
Well, the word on the street is that once again, Emperor Lucas has pushed the reset button. Just as he and his buddy Steve Spielberg are always mucking about with their finished works, adding digital this and taking out analog that, now there will be a new endorsed and enforced version of events as they all went down a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Splinter in the mind's eye is just figment of someone else's imagination now as the star-wars-making machinery gears up for its final assault on your wallet. This new Expanded Universe is built to thrive on as many platforms as possible and will essentially squash any of those old fan-generated notions about what Palpatine was really like as a child or why Ewoks don't grow up to be Wookies, they just get old and fat. Don't bother making up anything new. J.J. Abrams will do that for you. For now, just relax and enjoy the ride. Question nothing. It will all be just fine. If it's not, just wait for the digitally altered remix.