By Spencer Ellsworth
It also gave us the first licensed post-Return of the Jedi novel, Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath, since Disney retconned the Expanded Universe in 2014. Lest you missed it, the years of Del Rey/Spectra novels (and Dark Horse Comics) since Timothy Zahn’s Heir To The Empire in 1991 are now “Legends.” **
Although the overall reviews for the novel are positive, Wendig notes on his blog that there is a storm of one-star reviews appearing on Amazon. Some appear to relate to the gay characters in the novel, but many others seem to coincide with Facebook campaigns to “save the Expanded Universe,” related in exhausting detail on theforce.net here. TL;DR: A lot of people spent 23 years on the Expanded Universe and aren’t ready to give it up, to the point where they’re trolling any new release in The Force Awakens continuity.
This author hasn’t read Aftermath, although I enjoyed Wendig’s horror novel Blackbirds. But I read Heir To The Empire when I was twelve, and Mara Jade figured largely into my pubescent years. Ahem. So I understand where these guys are coming from, but perhaps we could accept that in some ways, we’ll never get to read Heir for the first time again.
Wendig has much harsher words for those offended by his inclusion of gay characters:
And if you’re upset because I put gay characters and a gay protagonist in the book, I got nothing for you. Sorry, you squawking saurian — meteor’s coming. And it’s a fabulously gay Nyan Cat meteor with a rainbow trailing behind it and your mode of thought will be extinct. You’re not the Rebel Alliance. You’re not the good guys. You’re the f*cking Empire, man. You’re the shitty, oppressive, totalitarian Empire.
* Except when the characters, like Dave Wolverton’s Nightsisters, actually crept back into canon by their inclusion in The Clone Wars cartoon.
* Or when Timothy Zahn named Coruscant. Except he pronounced it differently. Small victories?