For better or worse, Star Wars isn’t what it used to be, and some fans are not taking it lying down. As the new films conquer the box office, there is still a diehard portion of the fan community that wants the stories from the books and other media that have come out to be respected. And now, they’ve taken out an entire billboard for their cause.
When Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out in 2015, it was an instant hit among most viewers and fans, but the continuation of the saga had a consequence that is not as well known. As Disney took over Lucasfilm, and the Star Wars franchise with it, they suddenly had years of licensed books, comic books, and video games that fans had come to accept as canon. Instead of trying to incorporate the conflicting stories into their new ones, the continuity judges over at Disney decided that they would rebrand all portions of what had come to be known as the “Expanded Universe,” as “Legends.” This way they could make new franchise products without throwing out the still popular media that had come out between the films, simply rebranding them as a sort of, “people tell these stories to each other in the Star Wars universe,” thing.
However, among some in the Star Wars fanbase, the Expanded Universe stories had become as integral as any of the films, with fan-favorite characters like Mara Jade (a secret Jedi that first tried to kill Luke Skywalker before marrying him) and Jaina and Jacen Solo (the twin children of Han Solo and Princess Leia, one of whom went to the dark side long before Episode VII came out), being established across multiple platforms. Chewbacca was even killed when they crashed a moon into him. It was crazy, but beloved.
Disney’s reasoning behind eliminating over 30 years of conflicting, niche-market storytelling wasn’t unexpected, but just now, years after the rebranding of the Expanded Universe, a devoted fan organization calling themselves the EU Movement, has taken out a Los Angeles billboard as an open letter to Lucasfilm, asking for a continuation of the Expanded Universe stories. They don’t want them integrated into the new stories, but continued as their own history.
It remains to be seen whether the EU Movement will pull off the Jedi Mind Trick they are going for, but for now, they are more than willing to simply send out a call, and hope the universe is listening.