Part of the reason I’m having trouble enjoying the new Star Wars movies is the information they hold back. The Force Awakens tugs at the audiences’ curiosity by presenting the mystery of Rey’s past. I understand J.J. Abrams’s love for the mystery box, but the original films didn’t hold that much mystery.
Each question placed before the audience was answered within the same scene. These droids? Well, they obvious work for this woman. This woman? Well, we now know this is Princess Leia who, despite her protests, is part of the rebel alliance. Luke’s history, while mysterious for a moment, is revealed not too far into the movie. His father was a Jedi who fought alongside Obi-Wan in the Clone Wars. And if you argue that Darth Vader’s big reveal in Empire is proof of the mystery box, then you don’t know jack.*
Both in The Force Awakens and Rogue One we’re given minimal backstory about key elements in the movie. For instance, where the heck did the First Order get financing for the Starkiller? Also, what the heck is the First Order? And in Rogue One, we’re introduced to Galen Erso and Orson Krennic. These men are at odds, but we’re only given a glimpse to their past.
And it’s about this time where it hits me. Rogue One: Catalyst, a prequel novel to the film goes further into detail. Where as Bloodline, which I’m currently reading, focuses on what I’m assuming is Leia’s last days as a senator. It might even answer the question on why she and Han couldn’t make things work out. I haven’t read them yet, but I’m sure that the Aftermath trilogy written by Chuck Wendig will give me some inkling how the Empire slowly turned into the First Order.
While the original expanded universe was supplemental fodder for Star Wars geeks like me to jerk off to (I’ve only read the two books that dealt with zombies), these new novels are actually important to the films. You can go without reading them, sure, but don’t you want to know how Leia got to be general? Maybe, just maybe, learn why C-3PO’s arm is now red?† We need answers, man!