In the Arena section of Friday's Wall Street Journal, writer Alexandra Alter reported on the literary universe surrounding the Star Wars films and the fans who consume and critique it. Among other sources, Alter interviewed author Troy Denning, whose grim portfolio of past EU novels (including the deaths of Anakin and Jacen Solo) has led some fans to consider him, as he himself puts it, "the hit man of the E.U."
Nothing in the article will surprise serious Star Wars fans. It mentions Leland Chee's Holocron, with the obligatory reference to both the database's scope and level of detail -- including "the number of eyes on a creature called a Gran (three) and the number of arms on a Codru-ji (four)." It offers statistics on the scale of the EU -- "There are more than 125 million copies of "Star Wars" books in print, and 115 titles have been best-sellers."
In addition to a mistaken reference to Marvel Comics as one of Lucasfilm's publishing partners, the article also seemed to misrepresent the nature of the relationship between the authors, the Del Rey editors, and the Lucasfilm team. In particular, there is this sentence regarding how much freedom authors have in their books:
Sometimes Mr. Denning doesn't like the script he is given, but he follows the prescribed story arc anyway.Leland Chee took to Twitter to clarify the dynamic:
One point I do want to clarify, coming up with EU story ideas is a collaborative effort between Lucasfilm, the publishers, and the authors.— Leland Chee (@HolocronKeeper) July 12, 2013
In my (limited) experience, Del Rey and Lucasfilm really do collaborate with the author. It's actually a fun process.— Paul S. Kemp (@Paulskemp) July 12, 2013
I always felt that Del Rey and Lucasfilm worked hard to give me as much creative freedom as possible. Very nice thing.— Paul S. Kemp (@Paulskemp) July 12, 2013