Timothy Zahn is heralded as one of the most important authors in the Star Wars universe, having been chosen as the man to reboot the Star Wars publishing line with a novel trilogy back in 1991. His books, The Thrawn Trilogy – Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command – have since become Legends in the old expanded universe.
It's always nice to hear the opinion of Zahn, who is a Star Wars legend himself.
Well, during a fan Q&A at Awesome Con in Washington DC last weekend, the author was asked some very interesting questions where he got the chance to discuss the canon reboot, his characters appearing in future Star Wars films, as well as his thoughts on the new Star Wars trilogy films, specifically Rey's parentage and Kylo Ren's development as a villain.
Asked about his thoughts on the canon reboot, Zahn said:
I think about it kind of like the legend of Robin Hood. We tell stories even now about Robin Hood, or King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. They aren't real, but it's still fun to read. Imagine someone finds a letter under Stonehenge from Prince John to the Sheriff of Nottingham, saying "I've had it with this Robin Hood, he's making a mockery of my Kingdom, and I want his head on a pike now!" Suddenly it goes from a Legend to factual history. That is what they have done by calling all of the expanded universe legends.
They are saying we can make any of this back into canon at any time. So the best of their options is set up. Bear in mind they have people like Pablo Hidalgo, Dave Filoni, and Kathleen Kennedy who have an extreme love for the Star Wars Universe. These people are not people who will go and demolish Star Wars. If they have to destroy part of the expanded universe, it will be because its not in line with what they want to do.
In a way its kind of sad that they call it "Legends," and its not real anymore, but it was never really real in the first place. I think that the expanded universe, and Star Wars are in good hands.
Also bear in mind, that JJ Abrams, and Kathleen Kennedy, will not break into your house and take your books.
Asked about his characters possibly appearing in Star Wars Rebels, Zahn of course enthusiastically said yes, even adding a thing or two of his speculations by the end of The Force Awakens. He said:
How do I put this? YES! I would love something of mine to show up in Rebels, or Rouge One, or the movies. I think my stuff would translate well. Even if it's just a passing reference. At the end of the Force Awakens, I was speculating about a grand battle to take place at the end of the trilogy where they say something along the lines of "We beat Palpatine, we beat Thrawn, we can beat this guy."
He was also asked the ever-intriguing question of Rey's parentage. Zahn highlighted his preference for Obi-Wan, although he would also likes the idea of Daisy Ridley's character not being related to anyone. He said:
The obvious choice since these were all originally billed as the Skywalker family. However, there are compelling arguments that she is related to Obi-Wan, and it would be really nice if she wasn't related to anyone. I'm guessing she will be related to Luke.
Then he was asked about his pitch for the first 2 minutes of Episode VIII, and he had some very interesting thoughts about Kylo Ren, as well as the new First Order.
I don't think Kylo Ren is a very compelling villain. I don't see any sense of presence. When Vader walked down to Leia's ship, he had a sense of presence and a sense of power. The first time Kylo Ren had a tantrum on screen, my first thought was that this guy has visible buttons that anyone can press. Thrawn would have this guy for lunch! He seems to lose every fight he's in.
Hux, he seems to have good speeches but he doesn't have a good security system. Phasma isn't very good at her job. Think about it, she shuts down the shield with no fuss. She allows someone who seems to be losing his condition to wonder around with his weapon. He should have been escorted to sick bay. Prisoners are transferred with only one guard. There are a lot of things I saw, not even being of a professional security, or military background can see that this is not the way that police or military do things.
There just doesn't seem to be a sense of real danger in the new movies, and hopefully, that will get better.
I have to agree with Zahn. As much intrigue and mystery that The Force Awakens brought anew for Star Wars and its new generation of fans, the movie contained a lot of plot holes and somehow it lacked character development, specifically with Kylo Ren. Hopefully, Rian Johnson's take on the next Star Wars movie, Episode VIII, will explore the new characters more.