May the Fourth Be With You, Young Jedi Knights
Posted on Sunday, May 4 @ 10:30:00 PST by Daniel Bischoff
Lucasfilm and Disney have started production of the newest trilogy of Star Wars films but unfortunately, in order to give the millions of shareholders a safe place to crawl inside the company has decided to chop off the wide-reaching Expanded Universe and all of the characters, drama, and details that have made Star Wars what it is over the past few decades. Certainly, we would never have survived Episodes 1, 2, and 3 if not for the beloved books, comics, and characters that continued the saga well after the Battle of Endor.
Let's start with one of my favorite literary branches, the Young Jedi Knights.
Who are the Young Jedi Knights?
Science fiction writers Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta began a series of novels aimed at teens in order to flesh out the future of the Jedi order following the end of the original trilogy. If you were growing up in the 80s and 90s, you probably saw one of these at your local library or on the news rack with some pre-teen Jedis on the cover. That shouldn’t have stopped you from picking up the series as Anderson and Moesta tackled some heavy subject matter that never really got time in the films.
In total, there were 14 Young Jedi Knights books starring the twin children of Han and Leia, named Jacen and Jaina Solo. These two started the franchise at the age of 14, but quickly took on the dark Jedi Brakiss and his Shadow Academy while later story arks took the twins to the remains of Alderaan and later up against the daughter of another gunslinger their father Han killed.
Jacen and Jaina were joined by Lowbacca, nephew of Chewbacca, and Tenel Ka, a princess of Hapes. I always though Tenel was an incredibly interesting character as she had to learn the ways of the Jedi with only one arm after losing the other during her first lessons with a lightsaber. It made the mythical Jedi and Sith weapons seem all the more dangerous and admittedly cool. Star Wars favorites like Luke Skywalker made frequent appearances in the novels too.
Why did Disney kill the Young Jedi Knights?
Our guess is that Disney and JJ Abrams want to show Han and Leia’s kids in a different light or leave them out of the new movies altogether. Since Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher will all reprise their roles in the new movies, there will probably be continuity issues with many of the events in the Young Jedi Knights books especially as Luke Skywalker may need to have raised an army to eliminate the rest of the empire’s forces after Return of the Jedi.
Can the Young Jedi Knights live on?
They do! Each book is still available on Amazon, though it might be hard to find it in a format for your e-reader device. While Star Wars has grown exponentially over the years through the Expanded Universe, the Young Jedi Knights series remains relatively self-contained and easily digestible for readers of all ages and skill levels. The series was obviously intended for young adults and maintains the err-on-the-side-of-wholesome feel of the Star Wars movies, but even older fans can find a lot to love in the twisting plot lines and coming of age tales in the era of Jedi.
May the force be with you, Jacen and Jaina Solo.
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