star wars billboard

It is a period of civil war. Star Wars purists, striking from a hidden internet, have yet to win a victory against the powerful Disney Empire. During a recent exasperated Twitter thread, purists managed to work themselves into a fit of righteous anger over the Star Wars story group, a team of creative-types with enough power to destroy an entire continuity. With nothing better to do with their lives or their time, a group of purists raised money to construct a billboard, a billboard that can save the original expanded universe and restore a bunch of books to the galaxy…

Or maybe not. But a bunch of Star Wars fans did raise a couple thousand dollars to build a billboard demanding that Lucasfilm continue the expanded universe that was abandoned when Disney bought Lucasfilm. This is a thing that did occur.

For those who don’t know the nitty gritty details, here is the short version. For years, the Star Wars saga continued outside of the core films, with various books, comics, and video games telling additional stories set in this beloved universe. For true Star Wars obsessives, the “expanded universe” kept this world alive in the years between movies. But it was also assembled without much overarching care and the results were often inconsistent and messy. When Disney bought Lucasfilm and decided to continue the series with The Force Awakens, they decided that their new films would not be constrained by the EU and deleted much of it from the official Star Wars continuity. They then assembled the Lucasfilm Story Group, which would oversee the new Star Wars canon. The old EU stories would live on and remain in print, rebranded as “legends.”

Naturally, some fans weren’t happy about this. And then some of them raised almost $5,000 to pay for this billboard, which now sits in San Francisco, California at the corner of Steiner and Lombard.

This group of fans have gathered together under under the Give Us Legends campaign, whose official site describes their movement as follows:

The Expanded Universe Billboard Project, put together by some of the more outspoken members of the Star Wars fan community, has been done with nothing but love for what is now known as the Legends Universe. It is an entirely fan funded and created effort to speak directly to those who have the power to do what we, the fans and consumers, want. It is for this reason that we have pooled our resources, both financial and creative, to bring Lucasfilm this message of passion and appreciation.

Their goal is not to erase the new continuity that began with The Force Awakens and has continued in various approved-by-the-story-group novels and comics, but to have the “legends” stories continue as some kind of an alternate universe that coexists alongside the new continuity. As far as inherently insane requests from passionate fans go, it’s reasonable. It’s never going to happen because Disney is too smart to muddy the waters of the massively popular and lucrative multimedia franchise it controls with an iron fist, but hey, at least they’re asking politely.

I find this kind of fan activism both charming and frustrating. Charming because I admire the passion these folks feel for Star Wars and the storylines they have loved for years. Frustrating because this billboard isn’t going to change a thing and they could have raised that five grand for Star Wars: Force For Change and saw their money actually go toward something that would help people and make the real world a better place while also giving them a chance to win cool Star Wars stuff.

The expanded universe is dead. Long live the expanded universe.

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