8

This question and answer, discussing the role of George Lucas in the New Jedi Order books, has the following interview extract:

DR: How much of a role did George Lucas play in shaping the series?

LW: George Lucas has been involved in all of the spin-off Star Wars publishing, but only on big concepts or plot points. The initial five-year NJO plot outline and early thoughts on who might die were sent to him in the form of a Q&A memo and subsequently discussed by phone.

SS: I would characterize his role as limited but important. He's the one who said the alien invaders could not be dark side Force-users, that we couldn't kill


Luke


, that we had to kill


Anakin


instead of


Jacen


(we had originally planned it the other way around). Other than that, he occasionally answered some basic questions for us, but that was rare. Mostly he leaves the books to his licensing people, trusting them to get it right.

(source)

What happened to George Lucas' point of view by the time of the Legacy of the Force series, that allowed them to take Jacen on the path he went on during those books?

5
  • 1
    Anakin's death in NJO was very different from Jacen's later death. I don't think what he said early in NJO he said because he had some great affection for that character.
    – TZHX
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 18:16
  • 1
    I think maybe he also wanted rid of a character called Anakin, as NJO was coming out at the same time as the prequels began.
    – TZHX
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 18:19
  • @TZHX I had always assumed it was a kill order on Anakin. But the thing that intrigued me, was that instead of "as long as Anakin dies in NJO do what ever". it was that Jacen was off the table for death. Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 18:21
  • 1
    Or they didn't want to kill two thirds of the Solo children (the "next generation" of our main characters) in one series, just one of them? Anyway... I'm still pissed off they let Chewbacca die. :~| Anakin deserved death just for that.
    – TZHX
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 18:27
  • 2
    Always angered me, too. Anakin Solo was shaping up to be my second favorite character after Luke, whereas Jacen was always a putz. He died a putz, so I guess at least his brother died a hero.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 18:05

1 Answer 1

3

The problem wasn't Jacen, it was Anakin

The original story outline of the New Jedi Order series was that Anakin was intended to become the new hero of the Jedi Order, while Jacen was meant to die along the way. Lucas's objection to this wasn't that Jacen needed to live, it was that the character named Anakin stepping into a "Chosen One" role was too close to the prequels, which were then in production. This is supported by multiple official sources:

Anakin and Jacen Anakin was supposed to be the series' hero and Luke's successor as leader of the Jedi. That would have been a nice counterpoint to Anakin Skywalker's rise and fall two generations before, but the plan was rejected. Among other things, Lucasfilm worried that it would be confusing to have the adventures of two different Anakins unfold at the same time. The result: Jacen and Anakin essentially switched roles.

Star Wars Insider issue 74, via Internet Archive

In the original story pitch, Jacen was the Solo child to die, killed by invaders who were certain he was the prophecied one who could be their undoing—when in actuality it was a reference to Anakin Solo. Feeling that it trod too closely to the beats being covered in the Prequel Trilogy, George Lucas requested that the prophecy be removed altogether and the central Solo changed from Anakin to Jacen, thus sparing Jacen's life but ensuring Anakin's demise.

The Essential Reader's Companion, page 390

Many have understood this to mean that Lucas specifically wanted Anakin Solo to die during the series, although Wookieepedia's article on Anakin Solo has purported quotes from Shelly Shapiro and Sue Rostoni from after the interview cited in the question, stating that that part of the storyline hadn't been an order from Lucas:

*Later, Shelly Shapiro clarified in the VIP thread in the official site that "Actually I don't really know what happened, I thought Lucas was involved but I'm not sure, what I said was just speculation based on what I thought I knew." Sue Rostini also stated that George Lucas did not order Anakin to be killed off. "No, George did not tell us to kill Anakin. He didn't tell us to kill anybody. He approved the deaths of characters, in theory, then told us who we COULDN'T kill (i.e., Luke). The creative group decided the main story plot points (i.e., the deaths) and the author(s) created the action and situations."

From Wookieepedia endnotes. The VIP thread on the starwars.com forums was subscriber-only and not indexed by Internet Archive, so these quotes cannot be verified.

The direction of Jacen's later character arc seems to have been a creative decision made by Del Rey's story group only after the New Jedi Order series finished and the Legacy of the Force series was being planned. It's unclear whether Lucasfilm or George Lucas had any significant notes on the LotF storyline, since the only characters who die in the series originated in the Expanded Universe.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.