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Anger Leads To Hate: Inside The Movement To Save The Expanded Universe
Posted by Eric on October 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM CST |
On Thursday, October 2, the Star Wars editorial team at Del Rey Books, a subsidiary of publishing giant Random House, posted an unusual excerpt from their upcoming novel, Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno. The excerpt consisted of a kind of introductory text that is rare in the Star Wars book world: an opening crawl.

Tarkin's use of the same kind of introduction as the Star Wars films is just one of many factors signaling that this book is special. It is set in the all-important time period between Episodes III and IV. It focuses on one of the original trilogy's most compelling characters, Moff (and eventual Grand Moff) Wilhuff Tarkin. Perhaps most importantly, it was written by James Luceno, one of the most popular Star Wars authors. His 2012 novel Star Wars: Darth Plagueis was a huge hit among Expanded Universe fans who hungered to know more about Darth Sidious' old Sith master.

Given how much Tarkin has going for it, the most-liked comment on the Facebook post about the crawl is jarring to read: "We will not buy this one either. #BuyLegendsOnly!"

Timothy Moore's comment, with its protest-chant hashtag, had 51 likes at the time of this writing, and although it was the most popular comment expressing this sentiment, it was far from the only one.

"This isn't Star Wars, this is nothing more than lies," wrote Matt Wilson, in a comment that had 25 likes at press time. "#GiveUsLegends or simply leave what is already a great universe; alone. #BuyLegendsOnly people, it won't be the real Star Wars unless it is Legends. GiveUsMoreLegends."

To anyone unfamiliar with one of the most controversial Lucasfilm decisions in Star Wars history, these comments and others like them would be indecipherable. As it turns out, the source of this anger and disappointment is an aggressive, disaffected, and intransigent movement of Star Wars fans nursing a grievance against Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney Company for a decision that many other fans saw as both inevitable and welcome.

"I hate the fact that I have to hate this," one of the movement's members said in the comments of the Tarkin Facebook post. "This has all the makings of a good story, then you guys have to go and ruin it by making it not part of Legends."

A turning point

Friday, April 25, 2014, came exactly one week after Good Friday in the Western world, but for a group of Expanded Universe fans, the news that day was anything but good. "In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience," Lucasfilm said in a statement posted on StarWars.com, "Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe."

Lucasfilm was declaring that it did not intend to fit new Star Wars stories, including the eagerly anticipated sequel trilogy, into the vast, cluttered universe that it had built up through three decades of licensed Star Wars tie-in fiction. The Expanded Universe was re-branded as "Legends." The likelihood of Lucasfilm publishing new stories under that alternate-universe banner seemed low. It was a turning point in the history of the franchise.

For some diehard fans of the Expanded Universe -- many of whom considered the EU to be more enjoyable than some if not all of the films -- the announcement was devastating. Their feelings of frustration and betrayal began to color all of their interactions with their favorite saga as it continued to evolve under Disney's direction. In the weeks and months after the announcement, these fans channeled their disappointment into a movement aimed at convincing Lucasfilm to reverse its decision and resume telling "Legends" stories.

The movement does not have a central hierarchy or any formal leadership. Instead, it is composed of a loose confederation of Facebook communities that share similar goals. The largest communities are "The Alliance To Preserve The Expanded Universe," a group with almost 2,300 members that went private a few days before this story was published; the similarly named "Alliance to Save the Star Wars Legends, Expanded Universe," a page that has about 1,300 likes; and "Continue The Star Wars Legends Universe," a page with almost 8,000 likes.


Partial screengrab of the Alliance to Preserve the Expanded Universe group page

The members of the campaign to save the EU come from all walks of life and represent a diverse array of Star Wars fan constituencies. There are people who love the prequels and people who hate them. There are people who love The Clone Wars and (in far greater numbers, it seems) people who hate it.

Regardless of their particular interests, one thing unites these hardcore EU fans: They are deeply frustrated by the the decision to classify the EU as "Legends" and to only selectively incorporate its elements into future stories.

"I won't spend one dime on Star Wars until they make it crystal clear how much money I've wasted over the past thirty years," wrote Tony Castronovo.

In an interview, John Sadler, who helps run the "Alliance to Save the Star Wars Legends, Expanded Universe" page, said that the canon decision "really screwed over the EU fans."

These fans, Sadler said, "are the ones who helped keep Star Wars alive after Episode 6 came out and they are the ones who are invested the most in the EU." According to him, these fans "were told that those books/comics were official Canon [sic] for 30+ years."

That's not entirely true. Lucasfilm has always maintained a tiered system in which the on-screen universe could -- and occasionally did -- supersede the literary universe. Even Timothy Zahn's celebrated Thrawn Trilogy experienced this when the prequels showed a different version of the planet Coruscant. To fans who paid close attention, the tensions between the different media, as well as the attitudes of George Lucas and his protégés, were clear.

"It doesn't matter how many "elements" they pilage [sic] fromt he [sic] Expanded Universe for the new canon," said Daniel Wilcox. "It will never be the Star Wars universe I and many others fell in love with and got invested in."

Wilcox, an active member of the movement who helped found the now-private Alliance to Preserve the Expanded Universe group, said that the people who made the "Legends" decision were "being extremely disrespectful" to longtime EU fans who "tried to learn everythng [sic] they could about the world of Star Wars."

"The new canon will always be known to myself and others for ending our universe and taking away something truly unique about Star Wars as a whole," Wilcox said. "Turning it in to yet anot her [sic] multiverse o[f] reboots and alternate continuities where the storeis [sic] lose weight, gravity, and impact because they are doomed to be rebooted and/or replaced time and time again."

The "Alliance to Save the Star Wars Legends, Expanded Universe" page was created on September 2, 2014, the day that Lucasfilm's first canon Star Wars novel, A New Dawn, was released. It is significant that the activities of these groups were intertwined from the beginning with A New Dawn, which was written by John Jackson Miller as a tie-in to the new animated series Star Wars Rebels. Both A New Dawn and Rebels have quickly become the favored bête noires of the "save the EU" movement.

One of the movement's most controversial early actions was a comment storm on A New Dawn's release date. The aim was to draw attention to the movement and flood the Facebook and Twitter presences of Disney, Lucasfilm, Del Rey, and their employees with pro-Legends messages. Someone had suggested doing the same thing a few months prior, but that attempt appears to have gained little traction. This time around, the movement was ready to go. On August 5, in the group "Star Wars EU Forever," Edward Antonowicz posted, "Starting on September 2, 2014, Star Wars Books will be getting a surprise from us."

Indeed, the Star Wars Books Facebook page did get a surprise. Page administrators ended up deleting pro-Legends comments -- which were mostly spamming unrelated conversation threads -- at a record pace.

After the event, members of the movement derided Del Rey for deleting their comments. They failed to grasp the simple norms that lay at the heart of open comment threads: Stay on topic and contribute in meaningful ways. The disconnect between these expectations and campaign members' feelings of hurt and persecution still color these fans' opinions of Del Rey as they continue to plan comment storms.

Although John Sadler from the "Alliance to Save the Star Wars Legends, Expanded Universe" page supported the comment storm, its aftermath convinced him that such events were "not going to help us further our cause or get us any closer to achieving our goal." He is now planning a letter-writing deluge instead. "I don't think Letters [sic] will be so easily ignored," he said.

The EU's underdog defenders

While it did not have a discernible impact, the September 2 comment storm did reveal one of the "save the EU" campaign's key weaknesses: the corrupting influence of the siege mentality. Prior to and during the event, members of the movement used war analogies and terminology to describe what they perceived to be a titanic struggle for justice.

"Targets on sight. Preparing attack," Eduardo Perea wrote in the comments of a post listing the comment storm's targets.

"Don't give up !" Mateusz Michalak wrote in the same comment thread.

"Bombardment continues," wrote Terri Paxton on the evening of September 2.

As these and many other comments indicate, the movement sees itself as the David to Disney's greedy, uncaring Goliath.


Partial screenshot of an image found at Pre-Disney Star Wars & The Expanded Universe

A commenter calling him- or herself "Rook Bluegrass" on the "Continue The Star Wars Legends Universe" page characterized the situation in terms that any Star Wars fan can understand: the climactic duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin at the end of Revenge of the Sith. He reworked dialog from Mustafar to fit the lens through which the movement saw itself.
"You have allowed this... money addiction to twist your mind until now you've become the very thing you swore to destroy."
"Don't lecture me Dark Horse. I see through the lies of the expanded universe. I do not fear a reboot as you do! I have brought peace, freedom, justice and security to my new universe!"
"Your new universe?"
"Don't make me bankrupt you!"
"Disney, my allegiance is to the EU, to consistently good stories!"
"If you're not with me, then you're my enemy."
When viewed from this perspective, it is easy to see why conceding the futility of their struggle or the unseemliness of some of their methods is out of the question for many of the movement's members. The campaign to save the EU has become a rebellion against Disney; only ideological fervor can carry the day.

Given the circumstances, it was pretty much inevitable that many members of the movement would come to see themselves as a Rebel Alliance fighting to overthrow Disney's franchise-destroying empire. One of the administrators of the "Continue The Star Wars Legends Universe" page explicitly played on this view in a post on September 3, the day after the comment storm.

"Their minds might seem pretty made up for the time being, but thanks to all of you, there's a hope. A chance," the poster wrote. "We can change their mind. Have a good day, you rebels."

Included in the post was an image: a panel from The Force Unleashed comic showing Bail and Leia Organa standing over the new emblem of the Rebel Alliance, with Leia calling it "a symbol of hope."

This post and others like it revealed one of the campaign's fatal misconceptions: That their actions were having an impact.

"I would say the things we have actually done to get the EU back have been successful so far," Sadler said.

Out with the new, back to the old

Misconceptions like Sadler's led to one of the uglier moments in the movement's short existence: the gleeful attacks on A New Dawn over its failure to top the bestseller charts of the New York Times, USA Today, and other major publications.

"As of today, A New Dawn has dropped out of the USA Today Top 150 Books list," Timothy Moore wrote on September 20, almost three weeks after the book's release. "You cannot find it on that chart which means it will most likely not make the NY Times best seller list anytime in the near future. The people have spoken with their money, we're not buying it! Death to that new canon and long live the EU. ‪#‎UntilVictoryAlways‬!"

In the comments, others voiced their joy.

"Glad to hear it! Long live the EU!" wrote Maegen Schmidt.

"yes!!! score 1 for the alliance!" wrote another person under the name "Lukee Skywalkerz."

Again, the war comparisons cropped up.

"In the end, we'll defeat our enemy blow after blow," Eduardo Perea wrote in the comments. "Hail the EU!"

James Squyres added, "Every little is gain. Especially when battling a behemoth the size of Disney. Does anyone else feel like we're assaulting the Death Star here?"


Image credit: Continue The Star Wars Legends Universe

The "Continue The Star Wars Legends Universe" page called A New Dawn's placement at 127 on the USA Today Top 150 chart "pretty pitiful," adding, "Hopefully this is a sign that they'll focus on making more Legends books, if this new canon isn't making that green."

Members of the "save the EU" movement could barely contain their glee. Ryan Weavell reported that he was "smiling ear to ear," while Robert van Leijenhorst used a non-euphemistic version of the phrase, "Justice is a female dog."

David James, posting on the "Alliance to Save the Star Wars Legends, Expanded Universe" page, had the idea to start a Legends-buying campaign to generate massive sales for an EU novel that could be compared to the supposedly lackluster sales of A New Dawn. To his credit, James suggested Star Wars: Kenobi, also by Miller, "to let him know as well that we support his work in the Expanded Universe, and we do not take this personally against him."

"By the end of the week, the sales for this book should have gone up significantly," James wrote, "and we may just win this battle without having to do another thing."

A person named Jason, posting on the same page, described the movement as something of a long game. "We are playing along with the "Legends" for the moment in order to keep the real EU alive," he wrote, in a post titled "Why We Fight!!!"

Jason continued: "While having the Real EU along with the disney one, we are making competition. and when the number cruncher at disney see that disneys cannon is failing and Legends, the real EU, is thriving, they will drop their and reinstate the real EU"

In another demonstration of the premature triumphalism that has come to define the movement, Jason claimed that "sales for A New Dawn have shown that the new Star Wars by Disney cannot sell the same as the Expanded Universe did before Disney took over."

To some in the movement, spending money on the new canon material is a slap in the face of EU die-hards. Terri Paxton wrote that "buying and accepting [the new books] is legitimizing a decision that disrespects fans and all those who put hard work, money and love into the EU."

"They are the ones that have put the wall up on what is welcome," Paxton continued, "not us."

"Standing up for something we care about"

The campaign to save the EU clearly felt vindicated by A New Dawn's performance, at least based on the shreds of data that were publicly available. One of the most visceral expressions of this feeling of vindication came from a man named Matt Wilkins.

On September 14, Wilkins, a Star Wars fan since 1977 who saw Return of the Jedi three times in theaters, uploaded a video titled "Congratulations 'A New Dawn'" to YouTube. In the video, Wilkins is nothing short of snarky, as he sarcastically congratulates Disney's first canon novel on its performance. At the end, he says, "Del Rey, we tried to warn you, but you blocked our comments. And uh, oh yeah, long live the EU rebellion."


In an interview, Wilkins said that the video "wasn't meant to be a jab at John Jackson Miller," whose books he enjoys. He also said that the video "wasn't supposed to be so popular," and that it was mainly targeted at Del Rey for deleting comments during the September 2 event.

"The point of that video was for Star Wars Books to listen to their fans instead of refusing to listen to what they have to say," Wilkins explained.

"The EU is the reason I'm a huge Star Wars fan today," Wilkins said. "Back in 1987 the Ewoks cartoon was canceled, Marvel stopped making comics and the franchise was heading into obscurity. If not for Timothy Zahn and the EU I doubt it'd be as big today."

One of the comments on a Facebook post about Wilkins' video slams Disney with the words "stupid Disnazys." Asked whether he thought that videos like his and comments like that were dividing fans and giving the movement a bad reputation, Wilkins adamantly disagreed.

"It's funny," he said. "I hear that a lot. 'You're dividing the fans against each other with your support of the EU' Really? How? By standing up for something we care about? What makes us different than people who've come before us asking the same thing?"

Wilkins said he was "not defending comments" like the one on the Facebook thread about his video, but he added, "I see where they're coming from."

"Our movement isn't alienating fans," he said. "It's bringing them together under a common goal to allow NEW EU stories to continue and exsist [sic] as an Alternate Universe under the Legends banner."

Wilkins’ YouTube channel is full of videos venerating, explaining, and analyzing the EU. He has recorded videos explaining the previous canon system, telling his EU "origin story," and railing against the "propaganda" of the Lucasfilm Story Group.

In a video titled "The Hierarchy of Canon," Wilkins delights in retelling a story about The Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni getting "busted" by an EU fan at a Star Wars Celebration after he accidentally referred to Wullf Yularen as a Grand Admiral.

"Now, that did not make Davey Boy happy," Wilkins said. In his videos, Wilkins almost exclusively refers to Filoni as "Davey" or "Davey Boy."

In "The Hierarchy of Canon," Wilkins goes on to read part of a Star Wars Insider interview with Filoni where he discusses the problems inherent in the EU. Wilkins comments, "He didn't think much of the EU after he got embarrassed and outed for being a fake EU fan."

Given the amount of hate for Filoni and A New Dawn in the campaign to save the EU, it was only natural that the movement would next turn its attention to Star Wars Rebels. "This is a good start. But its [sic] hardly the war," Royce Henning wrote in a thread celebrating A New Dawn's poor performance on USA Today's bestseller list. "Low ratings on Rebels will help."

In the same thread, Romulo Pridgen wrote, "I hope Star Wars Rebels crashes and burns!"

You Rebels scum

As part of their plan to build resistance against Disney projects like Rebels, members of the movement devised another comment storm, this one aimed at hijacking the publicity surrounding Star Wars Rebels' premiere on Friday, October 3. This "Rebel Raid," as it was called, channeled the movement's energy into posts on official Star Wars pages "demanding them to continue" publishing EU stories.


Partial screenshot of the Rebel Raid event page

Although the Rebel Raid assailed a wide variety of Twitter and Facebook accounts, including those for Disney, Lucasfilm, Star Wars Rebels, and the Star Wars Reads Day event, the biggest target was and has always been Del Rey's Star Wars Books page.

Unlike some of the raid's other targets, the Star Wars Books team had long ago disabled the ability of non-administrators to post on the page's wall. The movement, however, was ready. "Remember, you can post to the same pages as many times as you want," one of the movement's core pages announced early Friday morning, "and if any page doesn't have their walls open, post on their most recent post." This latter option formed the core of the movement's raid strategy for the central home of Star Wars novels on Facebook.

In the early hours of the raid, the Star Wars Books team posted an entry promoting the Rebels premiere, "Spark of Rebellion." The post asked readers to explain why they would be a good fit for the crew of the series' new ship, the Ghost. The question unintentionally lit the spark for an entirely different kind of rebellion in the comments.

"I'll stick with #Starkiller and the real Rebel Alliance, thank you," wrote Joe Anderson, who had changed his profile picture to one of the movement's logos. "#Legends are better than the 'real thing.'"

Cameron Wooten wrote, "#GiveUsMoreLegends not this rebels crap. Oh and happy Starkiller day, the true founder of the rebellion."

"OYA! The real Mando'ade shall teach Sabine a thing of two!" wrote Jonathan Downs, who proceeded to argue with other commenters using the Mandalorians' fictional language. "She disrespects that armor. #GiveUsMoreLegends"

The Star Wars Books page's other main post that day, a message promoting Star Wars Reads Day, was likewise deluged with angry comments deploying the #GiveUsMoreLegends hashtag.

"Oh good a day to read my old EU books," snarked John Tuttle. "If only I had some new legends stuff #GiveUsMoreLegends"

"What is there to read?" Mike Miller complained, in a comment that received five likes. "The morons who run mouse inc got rid of it all."

Although the movement's comments on official pages during the Rebel Raid were not limited to criticism of Star Wars Rebels, disdain for that series and its supposed dilution of the Star Wars brand permeated the raid's planning stages.

"I'm gathering EU memes," wrote Martin Elbe the day before the raid. "Oh Ezra, I hate you so much. I'm gonna enjoy this... *evil grin*"

The dislike of and suspicion about Star Wars Rebels -- most of which came from people who had yet to see a single episode of the series -- is the product of a confluence of circumstances. There is the general distrust of Disney, which is known for productions that are, to put it mildly, extremely kid-friendly. There is also the belief that the inclusion of a young protagonist, Ezra Bridger, confirms the naysayers' worst fears about the Disney-fication of the franchise.

More powerful than all of that, however, is the residual anger at the creators of The Clone Wars for that show's displacement of dearly-held Expanded Universe material like the original backstory for the Mandalorians. Many "save the EU" activists are hardcore Mandalorian fans. Given their outrage at The Clone Wars' version of Mandalorians, it was not surprising to see them express their distaste for Disney with shocking images like this one.

As this hatred of The Clone Wars metastasizes into grim pronouncements about Rebels and Disney's Star Wars in general, many members of the campaign to save the EU have targeted the man whose work bridges the divide between the pre- and post-acquisition eras: Dave Filoni, the former supervising director of The Clone Wars who is now an executive producer on Rebels.

Filoni is a convenient target for the more militant members of the movement. He essentially trained under Lucas like a Padawan learner on The Clone Wars, where the two men made decisions that would anger EU purists. On September 24, Tristen Gonzales called a "vote of no confidence" in Filoni. By the end of September, as the new month prepared to bring the premiere of Star Wars Rebels, the vote was tilted heavily against Filoni.


Screenshot of the Filoni no-confidence vote results

Although there were some comments supporting Filoni, the vast majority attacked and insulted him. James Puso, who appreciated Filoni's work, said, "His breed is a dying one in the world of animation," to which Gonzales responded, "Trust me, that's not a bad thing."

"He is aiding Disney in the destruction of Star Wars now with this new canon garbage," Gonzales wrote.

Even Puso, the person who complimented Filoni, did not appear to understand his role on the new series. "Dave Filoni is serving primarily as an Executive Producer for Rebels," Puso wrote, "meaning he's managing the production more than he's actually 'making it'."

This is an inaccurate assessment of Filoni's job.

One of the people behind the "Alliance to Save the Star Wars Legends, Expanded Universe" page, which created the Rebel Raid event on Facebook, suggested that they appeal to Filoni as part of the raid because he was executive-producing the series against his will and might be amenable to their "demands."

"We can use The Clone Wars in our favor," the person wrote, "as I have noticed he's being forced to make Rebels, as he still wears clothes of The Clone Wars."

There is no evidence to suggest that Dave Filoni is being forced to co-create Star Wars Rebels. (Lucasfilm declined to comment at all for this story.)

The outpouring of anger at Filoni within this movement is not limited to words, either. Posters frequently express their disappointment with this steward of Star Wars animated television by mocking him with memes and other imagery. Using Photoshop, they have turned him into "Jar Jar Filoni," added his head to a rudely-named Wienermobile, and placed him in Sith robes with accompanying text conveying his presumed disdain for the books.

It's enough to make one wonder if this is a movement to spur change at a massive entertainment company or a subsection of the famous (and famously puerile) troll haven 4chan. And the meme-ification of disgust isn't limited to Darth Filoni. There are also variants on famous memes like the fist-pump baby, who can be found smugly saying, "Disney cancels the Expanded Universe to create new canon. First novel doesn't even top the bestseller list like the Expanded Universe used to on a regular basis." An image of a girl creepily staring at the camera as a house burns behind her is accompanied by the text, "Disney cancelled the Expanded Universe and rebranded it as 'Legends.' So I didn't buy A New Dawn and look what happened to the sales."


Image via Pre-Disney Star Wars & The Expanded Universe


Out of their depth, out of the loop

In addition to the siege mentality, another of the central problems with the movement to save the EU is its members' fundamental misunderstanding of the interests, practices, and goals of a large company like Disney. Wilkins' explanation of why he supported the September 2 comment storm perfectly encapsulates this problem.

"When we asked them for more EU stories they responded by giving us an excerpt from Disney's new canon. The exact opposite of what we asked," Wilkins said. "They didn't understand what [we] were requesting. So on Sept 2nd we asked again. Politely and with respectful comments.... which were blocked/deleted the moment they posted."

To say that Disney "didn't understand" the movement's request is as inaccurate as it is naive. It assumes that Disney executives with decision-making authority took notice of the movement at all, an unlikely prospect given that corporate executives and senior-level managers don't tend to hang out on their companies' Facebook pages. But even assuming that someone with the power to placate the movement noticed its existence, Wilkins' comment further assumes that the only possible explanation for Disney not doing what the movement wanted was that it didn't understand what that was.

This lack of understanding of what Disney has done, is doing, and is trying to do has led to some major misconceptions about the timeline of recent events in the Star Wars franchise. Wilkins cited the movement to extend the life of The Clone Wars as a reason for the release of Netflix episodes, unfinished story reels, a Darth Maul comic, and an upcoming Asajj Ventress novel. But according to Lucasfilm insiders, the decision to release this content had nothing to do with the movement that sprang up to "Save The Clone Wars."

When presented with this fact, Wilkins said, "I was told by leaders in the 'Save the Clone Wars' faction that they were responsible for that. Interesting to hear that's not the case. If indeed Lucasfilm didn't do it for the fans they did it for themselves and that is troubling. I was hoping the fans meant more to them than a paycheck."

He then repeated one of the movement's central talking points: "I'd say that low sales of a highly toted [sic] new novel based on an upcoming TV series would be an indication that we're making a difference."

Where do they go from here?

On September 26, Disney made Spark of Rebellion, the Rebels premiere, available on its website for cable subscribers to watch a week early. Across the Internet, reviews were generally positive. Even some in the "save the EU" movement praised it. However, this praise was offered reluctantly, given that Rebels is canon and the material at the heart of their campaign is not.

Ryan Moberley called the story "amazing" and praised the writing, but, he added, "the fact that I did enjoy it makes me more upset because I want it to take place in the Legends Universe."

"Since it's not," Moberley said, "I still can't support this show."

Other comments in the same thread nitpicked technical details based on EU errata -- "The Imperial IInd class Star Destroyer is too big to enter planetary atmosphere" -- and promised to pirate the series as a way of defying Disney.

Responding to a member of the movement who praised the premiere, Timothy Moore wrote, "I forbid you to like anything about it."

It must be noted that many people in the movement to save the EU are polite, reasonable, and level-headed. It is certainly possible to browse their Facebook groups and find reasonable points about Rebels, the EU, and Disney's intentions with the franchise. The problem is that -- as with any movement -- the angriest, most conspiratorial, and least rational voices are generally the loudest ones. Most fans and representatives of companies targeted by the movement only see its ugly side: the people who insist on leveling complaints in high dudgeon and phrasing their desires as demands.

"The tone of the comments lead me to believe that people are in denial," said Bryan Young, a co-host of the Full of Sith podcast and a blogger for StarWars.com, BigShinyRobot.com, and other sites. "Arguments over what is and isn't canon run rampant and they always devolve into personal attacks."

Tracy Duncan, who runs the EU-focused blog Club Jade, agrees. "What I see on the official pages," she said, "comes across as really rather petulant."

Sometimes, members of the movement label their detractors "casual fans" who just don't get their passion for the EU. The odiousness of ranking levels of fandom aside, Duncan is anything but a franchise novice, and her distaste for the movement does not come from a lack of familiarity with EU material. Quite the opposite, in fact. After two decades of reading, discussing, and writing about the EU, she's clear-eyed about the need to "start fresh," as she put it.

What's more, Duncan pointed out that this was simply bound to happen after the Disney acquisition.

"The writing has been on the wall for ages," she said. "This, or something like this, was always going to happen if Lucasfilm decided to make Episode VII."

Said Young, "Most of the reasonable fans of the Expanded Universe know why things are happening and are coming to terms with it."

Young offered this advice to members of the movement who are desperate to change Disney's mind: "Your focus determines your reality. If you're obsessed with the anger over the decision to de-canonize the books that were already low on the totem pole of canon, then that's all you're going to see."

Duncan suggested "giv[ing] yourself a Star Wars break."

"Channel that energy into something positive and creative," she said. "Fanfic, graphics, fan art, whatever floats your boat. Give back to the community, instead of just yelling at it."

"Learn to let go of the things you fear to lose," Young said, "since fear is a path to the dark side."

Members of the movement to save the Expanded Universe have been working for months on this goal, but by any objective measure, they have not made any progress. Referring to the movement's Facebook commenting activities, Duncan said, "I don't think there's much rationality there at all."

The outside perception of the movement is not its biggest hurdle. That would be the futility of its very goals. But the fact that the campaign has such a negative reputation will not make things any easier for its most fervent supporters. When it comes to protest movements, perception is reality, and in the world beyond this insular, angry, and factually-challenged community, the perception is not good.
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