Star Wars has spanned across all mediums from movies and television to books and comics to games and toys. Fans have travelled far and wide, collected, consumed, and overall devoured everything having remotely to do with the galaxy far, far away.
Those fans are viciously passionate defending everything they love about the franchise. They’ve asked questions, argued, fought, and even cried over their favorite stories and characters.
When Disney took over, they alienated countless fans by blowing up the Expanded Universe and making it “non-canon.” Just because Disney wanted to start fresh and do their own thing, doesn’t mean it isn’t a detriment to the fans. The authors and fans and even Lucas put their time and effort into reading and writing these stories. Getting to play in the sandbox of George Lucas was serious and everyone wanted to get it right. Authors called each other and talked shop to make sure they dropped hints to future books here or made the right call back there. It was a product of love.
SPOILERS AHEAD for both Canon and Non Canon Books and movies.
With all that in mind, here are 15 Times The Movies Were WORSE Than The Books!
15. STARKILLER BASE WORSE THAN MAW INSTALLATION SUPER WEAPONS
Rather than come up with something new and original, the creative team behind The Force Awakens decided to create a bigger Death Star. There may be differences, but both it and the movie as a whole feel like a rip off of A New Hope.
The Expanded Universe books, now designated as “Legends,” actually did it better. To keep the galaxy under the Emperor’s thumb, Grand Moff Tarkin set up the Maw Installation, a secret Imperial research center, with the intention of creating additional superweapons. This installation was responsible for creating the original Death Star and upon learning of the Empire’s defeat years later, came out of hiding to turn superweapons like the Sun Crusher, World Devastators and even a Death Star prototype on The New Republic. The first appearance of the Maw Installation, can be found in Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson.
14. CAPTAIN PHASMA WORSE THAN BOBA FETT
The trailers portrayed Captain Phasma as a tough-as-nails stormtrooper captain with shiny armor, an icy disposition, and a mysterious intrigue to rival that of Boba Fett–another character the movies let down. Both Phasma and Fett met unfortunate and embarrassing fates for the amount of hype that was generated by them. Although the movies will seemingly bring back Phasma in The Last Jedi, Fett received his resurrection in the Dark Empire comics. Specific details of his escape from the Sarlacc wouldn’t be disclosed until later novels.
Despite what Legends material might have you believe, Fett is far from the Empire’s lackey or Jabba’s lap dog. After escaping the Sarlacc, his infamy only grows and he later becomes Mand’alor, leader of the Mandalorian people. The best moments for Fett come from the pen of Karen Traviss who finds a fantastic balance between mercenary, leader of a warrior culture, son, husband, and father.
13. GENERAL LEIA WORSE THAN JEDI KNIGHT LEIA
Carrie Fisher, being many young children’s first crush or inspiration, captured our hearts as Princess Leia. Later, Disney would bring back her character in The Force Awakens as General Leia, founder of The Resistance against the First Order. She may still be a fighter, but only when it’s convenient. She gave up fighting for her marriage, her son and her brother.
The Legends version of her character gave birth to three children, succeeded Mon Mothma as the New Republic’s Chief of State, and, after retiring from her career in government, became a Jedi Knight. While constantly under fire from her enemies, she deftly navigated political waters and carried a massive amount of respect even after her retirement. Due to her responsibilities to the New Republic, her Jedi training didn’t start in earnest until The Dark Nest Trilogy by Troy Denning. where she became Saba Sebatyne’s apprentice.
12. JAR JAR BINKS WORSE THAN MISTER BONES
Jar Jar is a character widely hated. Allegedly inspired by Disney’s Goofy, he was originally created as the prequel’s comedic relief–a role previously held by C-3PO. If you take Jar Jar out all together, the movie does become more somber, save for Obi-Wan’s tongue-in-cheek remarks.
Disney’s novels have been hit and miss with characters and storylines falling flat. This is largely due to the fact that so much of the future has to be hidden for their movie reveal. The Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig got one thing right and that was the creation of the Mister Bones. Largely inspired by the Knights of the Old Republic‘s HK-47, Bones a retrofitted B1 battle droid with a dark personality. He had fantastic and humorous lines like, “I AM GLAD YOUR EXISTENCE HAS NOT BEEN REDUCED TO SCATTERED ATOMS,” or “A HUG IS LIKE VIOLENCE MADE OF LOVE.”
11. SUPREME LEADER SNOKE WORSE THAN ABELOTH/LOST TRIBE OF THE SITH
Supreme Leader Snoke still remains a mystery. The canon books haven’t touched on him outside of mentioning his name once or twice and all we’ve gleaned from the movies is a dude in the chair with some scars. No matter what his story will be, they are going to have a hard time topping the dark side entity, Abeloth.
Abeloth, (aka Bringer of Chaos) drank from the Font of Power (a dark side nexus) and bathed in the Pool of Knowledge, another force nexus. Her powers were extensive. She could influence the minds of force sensitives and take over their body, shape shift and more all in addition to force powers. Abeloth’s first appearance was in Abyss by Troy Denning. Grand Lord Vol, of the Lost Tribe of the Sith, went toe-to-toe with Abeloth in a mental duel and actually hurt her. Even he is more interesting than Snoke.
10. HAN’S DEATH WORSE THAN CHEWIE’S DEATH
Harrison Ford wanted Han to die in Return of the Jedi, so it was no surprise when he died in Disney’s first crack at a Star Wars movie. Han didn’t go down fighting, he went down helping his son be a bad guy. There have been multiple theories as to why, but none can compare to the death of Chewie in Vector Prime by R.A. Salvatore.
The Solos learn of the planet Sernpidal’s fate and moved to save as many people as possible before the moon crashes down. Massive winds knocked down Han’s 14-year-old son, Anakin Solo. Seeing this, Chewie races to save the boy and returns him safely to the ship, but the winds knock Chewie down. Knowing he can’t get there in time and that he fulfilled his life debt to Han by saving his youngest son, Chewie roars in defiance at the moon as it crashes into Sernpidal.
9. ROGUE ONE: SCARIF MISSION WORSE THAN MISSION TO MYRKR
Rogue One got a lot of things right, but the Scarif mission to retrieve the plans was a little sub par. Some would applaud killing all of the main characters in the movie, but it’s more of a detriment. They could have easily let some characters stay alive.
In Star by Star by Troy Denning, the mission to Myrkr was a dangerous one. It was deep in the alien Yuuzhan Vong’s territory where the Voxyn Queen was kept. The Voxyn was a deadly creature that could hunt a force user as well as emit a force void to prevent its use. Anakin Solo led a team of Jedi on what seemed like a suicide mission in order to save the Jedi Order. A lot of lives were lost on this mission and Anakin sacrificed his life to save his surviving team members, so the mission could succeed.
8. KNIGHTS OF REN WORSE THAN SHADOW ACADEMY/YUUZHAN VONG/LOST TRIBE
Not much can be said about the Knights of Ren because they were mentioned once or twice and seen for only a brief second. Just about everything is better than that. The Shadow Academy by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta introduces a group of Dark Jedi teaching young force users the dark side with the main goal to destroy the Jedi.
In the New Jedi Order series, the Yuuzhan Vong, warrior aliens from beyond the known universe that exist outside the force and despise machines, sweep into the galaxy. Seeing the Jedi as their only formidable opponents, they pursue them in their conquest of the galaxy.
Also, the Lost Tribe, a splinter ship from the Sith Era that crashed onto a remote planet rises up, escapes the planet and begin their conquest of the galaxy right under the noses of the Jedi.
Any of these options are better than the Knights of Ren.
7. LIGHTSABER FOUND! MOVIE WORSE THAN THE BOOKS
The Force Awakens shows us that Maz Kanata had Anakin/Luke’s lightsaber chilling in a trunk in her basement. She then provides the lame excuse on how she found it as, “that’s a story for another time.”
In the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn, it’s revealed that the lightsaber and hand were recovered. The hand was used to create a clone of Luke Skywalker, the clone being called Luuke Skywalker. The insane Jedi Master Jorus C’baoth, who was also a clone, trained the Skywalker clone in the ways of the force. It was his intention to recruit Mara Jade, a former Hand of the Emperor, and train them both. Having the hand used to make a clone and the lightsaber given to that clone, is a much better story than finding it in a trunk. Which by the way is yet another rip off of A New Hope.
6. POE DAMERON IS WORSE THAN WEDGE ANTILLES
Poe Dameron is likely the star fighter pilot hero of the future. However, everything we know about his backstory isn’t anywhere near as interesting as Wedge Antilles. Wedge, participated in the attacks on both Death Stars, he’s the co-founder of the famous Rogue Squadron and the founder of the Wraith Squadron. He’s forgotten more about piloting than Poe will likely ever know. Many fans of the movies will think Wedge is a nobody, but it wasn’t until the X-Wing series, by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston, was released that fans truly appreciated his character.
He is likely at his best in the second half of the X-Wing series when Allston took over and wrote Wedge’s creation of the Wraith Squadron, a covert ops unit designed to fly well and infiltrate better.
5. HAN AND LEIA FOR BETTER OR WORSE OR JUST WORSE
In the movies, Han and Leia were a couple who had been through the worst of the worst while fighting the Empire, but they decided to call it quits because, hey, we tried right? Leia lost her parents, her planet, her friends and saw good times and bad, but in this version, they just couldn’t cope with separate lives and went their own way. Say what?
In the books, even though the Alderaanian council wanted her to marry royalty, Han found a way to win her hand. They lost countless friends, kidnap attempts, attempts on their lives, two of their three children died as well as Chewbacca, but yet, they didn’t give up. Leia, no matter how far into the darkness Han went after Chewie’s death, didn’t give up on Han. That rings more true to their characters than what we were given in the movie.
4. FIRST ORDER IS WORSE THAN CHISS ASCENDENCY/IMPERIAL REMNANT
The First Order is a bunch of washed up wannabes that play dress up. Rather than learn from their past mistakes with superweapons, they build the biggest superweapon of them all. The only thing they learned from the Empire was to not draft random people; instead they steal babies and train them from birth.
Instead of that, imagine an entire fleet of Thrawns. Not all of them are as intelligent, but they all are extremely skilled. The Chiss Ascendency has proven themselves quite formidable against the Yuuzhan Vong in Dark Tide II: Ruin by Michael A. Stackpole.
Another better group, the Imperial Remnant, learned valuable lessons after their defeat. Admiral Pellaeon learned a lot as Thrawn’s second in command and carried that experience and wisdom with him the rest of his life as he led the Imperial Remnant through the Yuuzhan Vong war and into the ultimate formation of the Galactic Alliance.
3. KYLO REN/BEN SOLO IS WORSE THAN DARTH CAEDUS/JACEN SOLO
Kylo Ren has an interesting enough look and abilities. He seems like a fair bad guy in his own right, however, he also comes off as a spoiled brat throwing temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. He is constantly in the shadow of a better-developed character. Jacen became a hero in the Vong war in the wake of his brother’s death. He took a sojourn to study with all of the different force using cultures to become a well-rounded Jedi. After his torture at the hands of Vergere and a vision of the future, Jacen turned to the dark side to prevent that vision from coming true. It may be unfair to compare them until Kylo/Ben is fleshed out but as it stands now, Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus are far superior.
2. REY IS WORSE THAN JAINA SOLO
Rey is quite similar to Luke as far as her origin story goes. However, she is also quite similar to Jaina Solo, the twin to Jacen Solo. Both are strong women, adept at fixing things and flying a ship. However, Jaina was raised to become a Jedi and didn’t magically become a Jedi in a matter of seconds. People who have to work for it, and earn it, are always better than the ones that get handed everything. Hopefully, Rey will turn out different, but Jaina was flying with the Rogue Squadron at 16 in the Yuuzhan Vong war and, as a Jedi Knight, she was named Sword of the Jedi by Luke Skywalker.
Her best moments come in the Legacy of the Force books when her twin turns to the dark side, as she tracks down Boba Fett and makes him train her. Jacen knows plenty of tricks at this point, but she learned new ones.
1. HERMIT LUKE IS WORSE THAN GRAND MASTER LUKE
The Force Awakens took one of the greatest characters and made him go against everything he previously stood for. Luke fought the Empire, but when his academy was destroyed, instead of staying to fight Kylo Ren and Snoke, he went into hiding and became a hermit. Hopefully we will get a better explanation, but, as it stands, Luke turned and ran.
Luke Skywalker from the novels continues to fight evil and train Jedi after Jedi, passing on what he has learned as Master Yoda instructed. Students turned to the dark side, but he stopped them. He fell in love, had a son named Ben and lost his wife at the hands of his nephew, Jacen. He didn’t run. He was exiled by the government he swore to protect, but he didn’t run, he got to the bottom of the issue, fought Abeloth and the Lost Tribe of the Sith, even if it cost his life. He stayed true to his character as Grand Master Skywalker–all in the same timeframe as Disney’s Luke turned hermit and hid.
Star Wars has generations of fans. So much of what made up Star Wars was destroyed when Disney took the helm and, as you can see, it hasn’t always been a good thing. The Expanded Universe wasn’t always perfect, but it would have been a lot less alienating to the fans that loved the books if they had taken the time to go through make minor corrections or omissions as needed.
What do you think? Do you agree with our list? Sound off in the comments below.
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