Talk to most people on the internet about Star Wars and many will tell you that Disney wants to avoid the Star Wars Prequels going forward. This belief comes from their own built-in dislike of the Prequels and their deluded hope that Disney would agree with them and hide those movies and stories from their sight. These are the same people who want to take Star Wars away from an entire generation that grew up with the Prequels and The Clone Wars. Despite all the evidence thus far, these people want to cling to their belief that Disney is making the Prequels non-canon…and things are just going to get harder for them going forward.
Currently there are two novels in stores as part of the “new canon” with a third on the way next month. All three have strong ties to the Prequels. Even though Tarkin is about an Original Trilogy character, there are many references back to the Prequel era. Even more shocking to those who want to erase the Prequels from existence is the upcoming Luke Skywalker novel Heir to the Jedi.
While we can’t go into many specific details about the book yet, but there are some very cool Prequel references very early in the story. It’s set right after the Battle of Yavin while Leia and the rest of the fleet are investigating some ice planet no one had any interest in since the Clone Wars, and it’s a solo Luke story told in the first person. As it’s before Luke knows the truth about his father, when Luke hears heroic tales of the Skywalker who fought in the Clone Wars he has a different perspective on him. And when Luke learns of Order 66, and what that means for the truth of what really happened to the Jedi, it shows us a perspective of the Empire from someone raised in isolation on a desert world.
They’re very cool story bits that tie Luke’s story to the Prequels even more than just his dad, but they’re also the sort of thing that would cause Prequel hating “purists” to slam the book shut and throw it across the room. Rumors say this won’t be the last of Prequel connections to the Original Trilogy in official canon, as Lucasfilm has two distinct fanbases to keep happy and they’re not going to just throw away one for the mis-placed nostalgia of another. There are strong rumors that there will be Clone War era ties even in The Force Awakens, so if the Prequels make you rage…maybe you’ll want to either learn to accept them or steer clear of the new content.
Now another theory (that I admit is a bit flimsier) involves the writing of the new films. Everyone knows that Academy Award winner Michael Arndt was removed from The Force Awakens before filming began and his script re-written by JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan. Back when Arndt was removed, a big rumor going around was that it was because his script was a “Prequel apology tour” and Lucasfilm didn’t want to alienate that portion of the fanbase:
Just this week, Razzie-nominated screenwriter Gary Whitta was removed from the first spin-off that Gareth Edwards is directing. As most Star Wars fans know, Whitta has some colorful opinions on the Prequels:
It’s entirely possible that Whitta’s first draft was in a similar tone to the Arndt “Prequel apology tour” and (like with Ep7) Lucasfilm wants to go in a direction that doesn’t piss off either side of the fanbase.
Even if the “anti-Prequel” script theory isn’t true, the state of the new canon offerings from Lucasfilm (especially a Clone Wars-era novel and comic book coming this summer) shows that those people who have been spreading around their theory that Disney would sweep aside the Prequels were just spreading the same hate they have been for the last fifteen years. It’s going to be interesting to see the reaction to The Force Awakens this December and see if it offends a whole new group of fans in one way or another.