The Persecution Complex of Bring Back Legends Rears its Ugly Head at Dragon Con

I’ll be honest, I was more than happy to just write off Bring Back Legends as a mostly annoying but ultimately ineffectual movement. That all changed this past weekend when Bring Back Legends/Continue Legends or whatever they’re calling themselves took it upon themselves to turn Dragon Con 2015 into a platform for their fanboy entitlement. Not unlike how Gamer Gate thinks they own gaming, or Sad Puppies thinks they own science fiction, BBL is acting like they own Star Wars fandom and will do whatever it takes to make their voices heard. 

Things began to look curious midnight on Force Friday, when in short order the Amazon page for Aftermath began to be flooded with one-star reviews of the book. There were three primary complaints: the inclusion of LGBT characters, the prose style, and griping about Legends. As for the prose style complaints, it’s odd that so many people had seemingly read the book in less than an hour, especially considering that Del Rey sent out perhaps less than 20 advance review copies. Certainly, some stores broke street dates, but not enough to account for the massive influx of reviews that seemed to complain about the exact same thing (as Chuck Wendig, Michael Patrick Hicks, and Jim C. Hines noted). At absolute best, it’s a bizarre coincidence. At worst, it’s an organized campaign designed to, as Wendig so brilliant put it, weaponize nostalgia for Legends and hurt folks as a result.

Okay, quite a bit more than annoying, but the negative reviews actually help the Amazon algorithms prioritize Aftermath, so I guess it’s more amusing in a dark way than anything else. Once again I’m ready to shrug off Bring Back Legends and the one-star Amazon review campaign.

Then the rest of Dragon Con happened.

I might have been the first person targeted during the convention following the big The Force Awakens panel at the Hilton. After the panel had wrapped, I was doing the usual answering one-off questions from folks walking up to the stage. As I was getting ready to leave (because I needed to be on another panel in a different room and had to navigate through the crush of Dragon Con attendees), someone walked up to me carrying a box of flyers and introduced himself as being from an offshoot of the Bring Back Legends movement.

He forced a flyer on me and then began talking at me for about five minutes. I tried to excuse myself several times, but he wouldn’t let me go. Eventually Nanci had to grab me and help extricate me from the situation. It was extremely uncomfortable, for no other reason than I’m more than aware the vitriol this movement has directed at numerous social media touchpoints. The entire time I’ve got this little seedling of terror in the back of my head that this conversation is going to get thoroughly unpleasant if I don’t capitulate, so I’m forced to tell this person repeatedly that I’ll check their Facebook page out after I finish up my next panel. He insists I look at it right then and there.

From that moment on something repeated itself almost every panel I was on or at. Someone from Bring Back Legends would corner a panelist. Someone else would hijack the audience microphone during Q/A time to complain about Disney or Del Rey. At one point, they even questioned authors of Legends books and implied that they were involved in Disney’s “casual disregard” of the Expanded Universe.

It wasn’t just me this happened to, either. One panelist and moderator was stalked to a restroom by someone from Bring Back Legends. Another panelist was halted in the Marriott atrium and, again, was talked at and had a set of flyers pushed off on them even though the panelist said they didn’t want one. The Bring Back Legends folks at Dragon Con had become general nuisances, but more than once it went beyond that. I spoke with several fans and panelists who confided that they were made extremely uncomfortable by the advances of the individuals from Bring Back Legends. Others corroborated my story, that they were cornered after panels and had a difficult time escaping their speeches and questioning. The combination of forced interaction and awareness of what the general behavior of these people online proved to be an unsettling experience every time we were approached. We knew they weren’t interested in talking to us, they wanted to talk at us and recruit us to their cause. 

(Ironically, the one panel they didn’t show up to was the “New Canon” panel on Sunday morning.)

A number of us would meet at the Hilton bar after panels for the day had wound down, and inevitably there were more stories of being harassed by Bring Back Legends people. I’m not going to mention any names of people who talked to me, because I’d rather not subject them to additional abuse. One person told me that earlier in the day after a panel, someone tried to coerce them into handing out flyers around Dragon Con. Another said that a panel they were at was hijacked several times by BBL folks asking completely unrelated Legends questions (or most times, just word vomiting at the microphone). You can hear this happening numerous times on the panel recordings we uploaded from the convention. Other BBL folks tried to recruit other audience members in the middle of completely unrelated panels, making the experience uncomfortable for all attendees. 

By the end of the convention, even the authors on panels appeared to have grown weary of their schtick. The Bring Back Legends folks would inevitably ask about getting more Legends, despite the authors explaining numerous times throughout the con that this was not something they could control and that they were also fine with the de-canonization of the old novels.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a discussion with a panelist after a panel. Where things got scary for us was that these were not two-way conversations. We were being talked at, we were being recruited, and in many cases we were being coerced into taking material we didn’t want or doing work for them we didn’t want to do.

Sunday night a number of us were back at the Hilton. At that point it was clear, the Bring Back Legends folks had only managed to accomplish one thing: making us wary and even distrustful of them. There were no positive experiences or interactions, none. At best the interactions were awkward. At worst, and this happened too often, we were made to feel uncomfortable and at times unsafe if we didn’t capitulate.

The picture started to get worse post-convention when I reached out to get stories from others who had been bothered by Bring Back Legends. Among the interactions (and again, I have redacted names so these individuals aren’t harassed further):

  • A fan at the Rebels panel was accosted by a member of Bring Back Legends. The BBL member repeatedly insisted that they did not care about Rebels and tried numerous times to disrupt the panel by talking to this fan about the books. This is despite the fan insisting numerous times that they wanted to be left alone so they could pay attention to the panel. An additional account of this behavior can be found here.
  • A moderator spent several minutes trying to regain control of a panel when a BBL member used audience Q/A time to derail the conversation by talking about Bring Back Legends instead of the panel topic.
  • One fan traveling through the Marriott to get to a panel was stopped and forcibly given a BBL flyer.
  • Multiple BBL members attempted to corner track volunteers and the track director in an effort to get a Bring Back Legends panel on the schedule for either this Dragon Con or next year’s.
  • Another fansite reached out to me and showed me this image of a message they received from a BBL group earlier this year.

(Note: I’m still getting messages from folks who were harassed by BBL at Dragon Con and other conventions/places. I will update the above list as I get more)

This is what Bring Back Legends has come to. The people who are just interested in seeing more Legends material have been perhaps permanently drowned out by more extreme members who have taken it upon themselves to harass editors at Del Rey on social media, to harass authors on their blogs and Amazon reviews, and to (I still have a hard time wrapping my head around all of this actually happening) harass panelists and fellow fans in person at a convention.

I’m not particularly interested in entertaining the inevitable “Not ALL Legends fans” diatribe. Yes, I know. Not all of you are harassing panelists, or harassing authors, or harassing editors, or posting homophobic reviews on Amazon. Heck, we at Tosche Station would love to see the continuation of certain Legends stories. They’re some of our favorite books. But enough BBL folks have done these deplorable things that the movement has become tainted. Irreparably tainted unless you look at your own people and tell them, in unison, to get out. If you don’t do that, all you are doing is profiting on their harassment and hatred to give yourself legitimacy.

Frankly, whatever sympathy I had for Bring Back Legends is gone now. Those elements exist in your community and you continue to do nothing to get rid of it. I’m done ignoring it. Call them out. Clean up your community and stop profiting from the behavior of these individuals or shut down your movement.

63 thoughts on “The Persecution Complex of Bring Back Legends Rears its Ugly Head at Dragon Con

  1. Trying to equate the movement to bring back legends movement with sexist rubbish like GamerGate and Sad Puppies is rather a false equivalency. This isn't about trying to rig prestigious sci-fi awards or some pathetic attempt at a sexist assault on women in gaming. This is simply Star Wars fans wanting to keep being fans of the same Star Wars and be able to ignore the money-grab reboot.

    As for the writing style of Aftermath, a rather lengthy excerpt had been published beforehand, showing the poor writing style. The book comes out, and you can take one look at it and see that same choppy, disjointed style from the preview was throughout the entire book Try taking a look at those Amazon reviews more closely. The majority of them are verified reviews from people who bought the book. . .and hated it. If someone was just writing to trash the book, they wouldn't have spent money on it.

    As for a "persecution complex", there's something about being a fan of something like Star Wars, for your entire life, and then seeing yourself thrown under the bus. Lucasfilm always encouraged and supported the Expanded Universe. Then Disney comes along and tries to act like it never happened. It tries to promote Aftermath as the first time, ever, that a post-RotJ story was told. It tries to promote their Star Wars comics as the first time any of those stories are told. That's downright offensive to the longtime fan who has actually been paying attention to Star Wars.

    Lucasfilm embraced the Expanded Universe fans and encouraged the idea that all of Star Wars from 1977 on was one interwoven saga, Disney is trying to get them to forget the EU ever happened, that before 2014 nothing about Star Wars other than 6 movies and a bad CGI TV series ever existed, and tell all those fans to blindly buy their new movies and books. That's where that so-called "persecution complex" comes in.

    The casual bandwagon fans who are only paying attention to Star Wars due to the hype over new movies may not notice it, but the largest single fictional universe ever created was just thrown aside so they can churn out more books and movies in a marketing stunt.

    I wasn't at DragonCon, I don't know the people who were there, I've only heard bits and pieces of what happened, but from what I've heard I don't blame them. Fans who aren't going in lock-step with the masses to blindly follow the corporate-dictated reboot and rally behind the marketing blitz because they want to keep enjoying the same Star Wars universe they've enjoyed for 30+ years? How offended you must be at that, that we don't blindly follow what is marketed to us!

    The "Bring Back Legends" people aren't trying to "own" Star Wars fandom, they are trying to get the same Star Wars universe they have followed and been fans of for decades continued by Disney, even if it's just an "alternate universe", instead of Disney refusing to talk about it and relegating it off to reprints of old books. Realistically, we know we can't change the new movies or new "canon" that Disney is promoting, but they would like at least for the same Star Wars universe they have been fans of for decades to continue to be a supported alternate continuity.

    • I'm just glad Lucasfilm NEVER tried to market anything to ME between 1977 and 2013 that didn't fit MY specific opinion of what is real versus a betrayal of basic human rights. They once were one of the longest running non-profits in the world, just giving their goods away to all the eager babies across the land, not even expecting a simple "thank you."

      I feel bad for everyone now who cannot choose what to watch or read or buy for themselves. Or the people who are forced to go to a movie theatre and watch the latest crass cash-grab. Or the people who have no choice but to act like a rancor's anus instead of actually showing other people respect while expressing their opinions. I pity them. They don't want to do it. The Glove of Darth Vader compels them...

  2. Pingback: ‘Bring Back Legends’ devotees upgraded to actual harassment at DragonCon | Club Jade

  3. Grow up

    You think you're the only one who's ever been talked 'at' or been handed a flyer you didn't particularly want? I've had plenty of those experiences from religious fruitcakes or other activists and i'm not a writer or on any panels. I also don't go on the internet complaining about how terrible these religions are or how my valuable time was wasted. It's called life, sometimes you have to deal with a few people who are really passionate about something you don't really give a shit about.

    I don't doubt that some of these people might go too far, that they let their enthusiasm perhaps blind themselves to the fact that they might be bothering people. That happens, and it's hardly exclusive to this one movement which you've decided to single out.

    If you're really that bothered, grow a pair and just say "Dude, I don't give a rat's ass about your movement. I'm out of here". That's what I do when a religious fruitcake bothers me.

    • I think the people who need to grow up are the Bring Back Legends crowd. Their books still exist. Disney isn't walking into their homes to confiscate their copies of the Thrawn trilogy.

      Did they REALLY expect that Disney would build a franchise in a space that crowded with extant media? Or that they'd take the time and effort to go through the hundreds of EU tie-ins to decide, "this one's canon, this one isn't?"

      No. That'd be silly.

      From a marketing perspective Disney made the right call saying, "this is not part of the official Star Wars storyline." It perplexes me that the BBL crowd is so invested in fighting that.

      I mean, FFS guys, one-starring Wendig's book en-masse an hour after it came out, and then pulling them down again when a few people point out that there just aren't that many speed readers out there who passionately hate present-tense? Not really cool.

      And the whole raid thing? All you're doing is making the life of some online communications coordinator or social media intern at Disney ever so slightly more difficult. Spamming Facebook comments threads is childish and ineffectual in equal measures.

      So, no, you don't get to say that the people who've been pissed off by these twerps extended tantrum need to grow up. The toddler melting down in the middle of the checkout doesn't get to tell his parents that THEY need to grow up. That's not how this works.

      • Simon I think you are missing the point of the Bring Back Legends movement, a lot of people are still upset about the split after so many years which you have a right to be its a opinion.

        However, what Bring Back Legends is trying to do is allow them to continue to still write and produce new novels in that universe, such as Sword of the Jedi which was being worked on than canceled when Disney labelled it legends.

        I don't think a single fan of legends thinks Disney is going to come to their house and take their copies of the books, but Disney is withholding books that were near completion, and future novels. As it stands the legends timeline isn't complete by any means, leaving many characters to never be explored.

        When you have a movement you can't really control everyone under it, these guys aren't on your payroll or have signed legally binding contracts, some people are going to have stronger feelings than others. Instead of calling the really passionate ones toddlers, which is childish yourself.

        To conclude people want the story they've read for 30 years continued after 40+ novels, and hundreds of dollars spent, I don't think it is that crazy to ask for. The community who read those novels have been very quiet for the most part in their distaste for the franchise slapping them after their years of support. I don't think it is wrong to want to get attention to show that there is enough support to keep the legends universe alive, separate from the newly created "canon".

        • You say BBL is trying to "allow" "them" to continue to produce Legends content. Who is "them"? Lucasfilm? Del Rey? The authors? I'm confused by this.

          The Lucasfilm Story Group made the decision to treat the old EU as Legends. It wasn't a decree from Bob Iger and Mickey Mouse. Del Rey will publish what they are able to publish. The authors will write what they are allowed to write. There's only so many publishing slots per year, and they're not going to fill them with Legends content when something like Aftermath reaches #4 on the New York Times bestseller list.

          The BBL folks are treating Del Rey like they are fully responsible for the Legends decision. Go check the Del Rey Facebook page. EVERY POST is met with BBL folks *demanding* more Legends content and declaring that the new canon sucks--even when all but one of the new books was written by old EU authors.

          How is that productive? How does that make Del Rey or the authors feel supported? It doesn't. The folks at Del Rey aren't crying over Legends, they're pumped to create new material. Tim Zahn isn't lamenting the loss of Heir to the Empire, he's writing his own books. The Story Group isn't cackling maniacally over destroying at timeline people were invested in, they're gleefully creating new content.

          I will always, always, ALWAYS wish that Luke Skywalker could marry Mara Jade and have lots of Jedi babies, the end. But if The Force Awakens is everything I hope it will be, I'll get over the loss of Mara. Honestly, I already have. I can go read Heir to the Empire and fanfic whenever I want. Those stories mean just as much to me as anything produced in the new canon, and Lucasfilm and Del Rey know this.

          The BBL movement is extremely counterproductive. Legends is not going to be brought back. It's not going to be continued. But showing your support/enjoyment of specific characters and events just might get them brought into the new canon. That's what folks who love Legends should be doing--not cornering fellow fans, or lashing out against Star Wars creators who had no say in the Legends decision.

          • No, the decision came down from Disney. It was made crystal clear, before the buyout, that all large-scale decisions about the shape and direction of Star Wars would be made by Disney, not internally from Lucasfilm.

            http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-03-07/how-disney-bought-lucasfilm-and-its-plans-for-star-wars

            To quote that article:

            "Still, Iger wanted to make sure that Lucas, who was used to controlling every aspect of Star Wars, from set design to lunchboxes, understood that Disney, not Lucasfilm, would have final say over any future movies. “We needed to have an understanding that if we acquire the company, despite tons of collegial conversations and collaboration, at the end of the day, we have to be the ones who sign off on whatever the plans are,” says Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios."

            Ultimately, the shape of Star Wars falls on Disney's shoulders. The "Lucasfilm Story Group" might make minor day-to-day direction of works, but large-scale events like rebooting a 37 year long canon of works including over 200 novels and around a thousand comic books, that would have to be approved by Disney. That's not fan speculation, that's coming direct from articles in the business media about how the buyout went down.

            • Even if it was Disney's decision - WHO CARES? They paid $4 billion dollars to buy Lucasfilm. Of course they're going to do what makes the most sense for the franchise going forward, and that's a reboot.

              The Story Group is not just making minor day-to-day direction of works. LUCASFILM is producing these movies and the new content, just like Marvel produces their films and Pixar produces theirs. Disney didn't tell J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan what they could and could not do in TFA.

              Does it suck that we won't get a proper ending for Legends that's not Crucible? Yes. But Legends gave us Crucible, so I'm fine letting it go.

              • First you state it wasn't Disney's decision then when you're proven wrong, you reply with who cares? Clearly people care if this is being discussed, not just in these discussions but if there is a movement behind it.

                The story group still has ultimate control, they might not micromanage everything day to day, but all works have to be coordinated to fit with one another, which means limitations and changes surely happen in those cases, to maintain "continuity".

                Perhaps you're fine with letting it go, but that is just you're opinion, clearly other people think differently as there is a movement to not have it cut short.

        • Ok, three things:

          1) I think it's disingenuous to propose the least extreme of the BBL positions as if it was the key or universal one. I've seen plenty of BBL stuff that contradicts your take. Frankly I've seen more, "make the movies about Thrawn, and put Thrawn in the cartoons, and on a lunch box, and and and," than I have, "continue contracting Zahn to wrap this up." If you're suggesting that's just the nuts in the figgy pudding, the pudding is looking a bit loaded with nuts.

          2) Marketing 101: brand maintenance. Fracturing a brand is bad. for. business. Lucasfilm was a business, and knew that well, and how they handled the divide between merchandising and GL's auteur tendencies is what led to the mess that was EU's pseudo-semi-canonical nature to begin with. Disney is also a business, and one that contributed more to brand construction and maintenance than pretty much any other.

          So while I might sympathize with people who are disappointed over cancelled projects, to expect that Disney WOULDN'T do that is naiive at best.

          3) I don't care what your cause is, the following behaviours are assholish:

          a) Writing one-star reviews for a book you haven't read because it's not the book you want.
          b) Routinely spamming comment sections in Facebook threads, preventing any other fans from having the opportunity to effectively communicate with brands they enjoy.
          c) Cornering people at cons to insist they listen to you when they're clearly either uninterested or antagonistic to your cause.
          d) Calling out the people irritated by that childish behaviour as if they're the ones that need to grow up.

          • I find it funny you are saying I'm disingenuous posting the "least extreme view" from the Bring Back Legends movement. Though in you're second sentence you hit the key idea, there is no "universal" position, as there are many groups, and many individuals who think differently but all want at least the key issue I brought up.

            Very mature with the "Marketing 101", also you imply that what Lucas did with his "semi-canon" of the expanded universe was so much worse than what Disney is doing.

            I think from a marketing stand point what Lucas did was maintain his franchise for a long period offering plenty of content for the casual fan, and hardcore fan alike while maintaining for as much as possible that continuity be kept between those projects.

            Calling people who formed a movement to bring back legends, create more content for it already know that Disney was going to cancel them and that is why this movement is in place.

            You seem to generalize a lot as if everyone who gave it a 1 star review, has not read it or is some "angered EU fan" . Perhaps some people found the book bad. Anyways I'm not trying to change whatever opinion you have on the book, and neither should you say other people should.

            You mention brands, but isn't Star Wars just one brand, since when did you see Legends "spam" posted in another brand. Also I believe everyone is entitled to comment in a public comment section about news of a franchise, no matter how wrong YOU think it is.

            We only have one side of the story about the "cornering at the cons". I'm sure people who go to those conventions are used to people coming up to them with opinions that contradict their's, but it happens grow up and deal with it.

            I believe you're the only one calling anyone childish here.

            • Ok, most of that is either irrelevant or missed the point entirely.

              With regard to the brand thing, yes, Star Wars IS one brand. Which is why Disney is unlikely to fragment it by introducing multiple competing timelines.

              CF: Everything Marvel Comics for the last year. Or did you think that the decision to wipe out the Ultimate universe occurred in a vacuum?

              The spamming is a separate issue from brand fragmentation. Brand fragmentation is why Disney isn't going to bring Legends back anytime soon. Spamming is why a lot of people think the BBL folks are enormous assholes.

              I called the BBL group childish as a direct response to Matthijs comment saying people upset over being harassed should, and I quote, "grow up."

              • Irrelevant is a very subjective term, what I wrote may be interpreted that way, though it shouldn't as each paragraph is a answer to one of yours (If you read it in order).

                Perhaps you just don't like the response because you would much rather have some uncivil response from me so you could reinforce your negative perspective of the Bring Back Legends Movement.

                I'm sorry I don't follow Marvel, as I have no interest in reboots.

                Well them eliminating everything a whole section of the fan base loyally bought, and enjoyed then not continuing it is alienating Legends fans. Which is fragmenting the brand as Legends and the NEU are already doing, regardless.

                A lot of people think are "assholes" is once again an opinion.

                To be fair what Matthijs said is true to a degree. If you complain and spout negative viewpoints back about the people who "harassed" you isn't really the proper, and dare I say grown up approach. If someone says something not so nice to you, or treats you not so nice you be the bigger person and don't stoop to that "level".

  4. Yeah...I have to say that that kind of behavior, from any fan group, should not be tolerated. I've been a SW fan since 77 and have been a fan of the EU/Legends since Heir to the Empire came out. (Still have my first edition HC in my library). I lament the fact that those stories won't get the cinematic treatment that I and many others feel that they deserve. That doesn't make them any less real to me. This is my philosophy, and excuse me if this wanders a bit. JJ Abrams rebooted the Star Trek saga, placing in an alternate timeline. The new canon, to me, is the same thing. JJ has rebooted the SW saga from right after Return of the Jedi and the new canon is in a parallel Universe/timeline. No less real, just different. Now if we could just get someone from LFL/Disney to agree to that philosophy and make that official. We could then enjoy both timelines as "Canon".

  5. Good god, you guys completely missed the point of this article. You missed the parts where other fans were accosted, despite telling their harassers to shut up and go away, the part where someone was followed to the restroom (the one place there is an expectation of privacy in such a pubic setting), where panelists and authors were targeted simply for getting work. Online, the BBL crowd has been relatively civil if annoying, but there is no block button in the real world. Trying to get away from people like that is difficult at best, and a nightmare at worst. Conventions and panels are safe havens for many people, escapes from the real world. Now you're telling them to "just grow a pair" because they're unhappy with what is a truly negative experience?

    Idgaf who you are or what you're pushing, the second you infringe on someone else's right to personal space and being left alone when you're told you're an asshole. It's not the fault of the victim that they can't get away. It's not the fault of fans for actually *gasp* liking the new material or *big gasp* not really caring about what Disney says about the EU either way. If you're unhappy about it, that's your prerogative. But to demean others for not wanting to get involved in the drama and being uncomfortable with the near-militant attitude of these few people who intruded on them is insulting.

    #1 rule of fandom: DON'T BE A DICK.

    • I agree and that's why I said it was intolerable. No one should ever feel threatened or harrassed at a con. Cons are supposed to be bastions where fans (and most creators are fans too) feel safe and included, not ostracized or put upon.

  6. As I read Brian's article, my heart sank. I've been a lifelong Star Wars fan, and an extreme EU (now Legends) fan as well. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm, I remember posting on StarWars.com asking about the EU. When they announced the sequel trilogy, I filled up with dread on how the EU would be treated. When they announced that the EU was now 'Legends', I had mixed feelings.

    However, ever since hearing about the Story Group and consuming the new EU content in the form of Rebels and the books, my dread was replaced swiftly with hope and excitement. I love reading the new stories and watching Rebels and 1) seeing Legends content brought back into the Canon, and most importantly 2) enjoying the experience that a new universe brings.

    I understand that for many, the conversion to Legends seems like a marketing grab. But you know what, Star Wars is not a right. It's a media property that exists to make money and because the people who create it enjoy doing so. I like to focus on the latter, and I spend my money where I wish to do so, to avoid the former.

    I've never really been a tight member in the Star Wars community, but I knew there were rumblings of discontent. Ever since Aftermath however, this explosion into the mainstream community is entirely disgusting.

    Therefore, my heart sank as I read Brian's article not only because of how he and his colleagues were treated, but also because I knew that the comment section would soon be filled by those attempting to justify the actions of those at the Convention, or at least justify the feelings of the 'Bring Back Legends' group.

    Joseph, your comment makes me sad, because you strike me as a very eloquent and thoughtful fan. But your words framing this issue as a group of dedicated fans rebelling against the 'corporate-dictated reboot' are exactly the sort that serve only to inflame and increase the division in the community.

    Joseph, I hope you believe me when I say that I am just a big of fan of Legends as you are. My favourite stories include the Han Solo Trilogy by AC Crispin, Dark Forces 2 (huge Katarn fan), and Shadows of the Empire. As a child, I was so happy getting the Micro Machines ships from the EU (Sun Crusher anyone?).

    But sadly, and in my opinion satisfyingly, those stories are finished. They will always exist as long as Disney and Star Wars does, and can be enjoyed by old fans and discovered by new.

    All things come to an end, whether we like it or not. And even if we don't like it, it's never appropriate to accost, belittle, or threaten others.

    I'm confident in time these arguments and the vitriol will fade, but it will be a painful period.

    To Brian and all the panellists and authors and contributors to the new GFFA, I hope you continue to enjoy being a part of this community and take heart in the fact that the excitement and positivity around Star Wars will always overcome the negative.

  7. There's a big difference between having an excess of enthusiasm for something and making yourself a general pest about it. Enough people in the BBL movement have crossed this line that it is drowning out all of the relevant, thoughtful discourse from equally passionate but more respectful fans.

    The people in charge of deciding which Star Wars books are published are definitely aware that there is a fanbase for the Legends material. Besides the many comments made to them at the time the decision to create the Legends banner was announced, they know the economics of their business and what the sales figures for those books were. The constant barrage of comments about the topic now is just an annoyance, and it is much harder to persuade someone who is annoyed with you.

    Lucasfilm has made the decision to create new stories that are consistent with and not contradictory to the new movies and TV episodes. As it turns out, some of the new canon books are almost or completely consistent with the Legends universe, too. That has gone mostly unmentioned, but my guess is that this is not what a lot of the BBL people are truly asking for.

    I get that there is an interest in what characters like Jaina Solo and Corran Horn might do after Crucible. There is also a group that wants to see more stories with the Legacy comic characters. However, there are always going to be more stories that could be told. The question "But then what happened?" can be endless, short of them publishing a story where the Force shunts everyone forward in time to a universe-destroying singularity to their doom.

    Since Lucasfilm has already announced that there are no current plans for Legends stories to be published, and it makes no marketing sense for them to revive the line until at least Episode IX is out, those fans who want more Legends stories should definitely stop harassing others about it. A lot of people are sympathetic to the cause in general but dislike the negativity that the BBL movement is bringing to places that want to celebrate what they love about Star Wars, such as conventions or Facebook posts about BB-8.

    A more positive approach would be to explore possible ways of getting more stories created in the Legends continuity. An obvious one is to politely ask the more talented fan fiction writers out there to write such a story. I am sure that some good ones have already been written, and these could be shared and praised more frequently. If a BBL person has the skills to write, draw, stitch, create a diorama, or otherwise make something featuring the characters they love, they should do so. That is part of what makes fandom great.

    Instead of saying, "I won't buy this garbage! #BringBackLegends," a fan of Legends stories could write to Lucasfilm/Del Rey and say, "I really loved Apocalypse and its portrayal of Jagged Fel. I would definitely buy more stories about him set after that story." One approach is negative, and one praises the part of Legends that that particular fan enjoys while still getting the message across that more Legends stories would be welcomed and appreciated.

    The more extreme people asking for more Legends stories are getting distressingly similar to Kathy Bates's character in the movie Misery. It is okay to ask for more of what you love, but it is not okay to coerce, harass, or threaten others in your quest.

    • "Instead of saying, "I won't buy this garbage! #BringBackLegends," a fan of Legends stories could write to Lucasfilm/Del Rey and say, "I really loved Apocalypse and its portrayal of Jagged Fel. I would definitely buy more stories about him set after that story." One approach is negative, and one praises the part of Legends that that particular fan enjoys while still getting the message across that more Legends stories would be welcomed and appreciated."

      This, exactly. Heather Antos, one of the Marvel editors, is a huge Rogue Squadron fan and asked fans to send her emails asking for a Rogue Squadron comic so she could show her boss how much people wanted them. I often tell her that I'd love Tycho to show up in the new canon. Compare that to posting derogatory comments on Facebook or bashing the new canon. How is that productive? It's not.

      You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    • Indeed, many fans have been writing letters to Disney/Lucasfilm asking politely for a continuation of the Expanded Universe "Legends" works.

      The response to those fan letters is a form letter saying that for legal reasons they cannot pay attention to any fan-submitted ideas for future works.

      Even if the letter itself does not include any specific suggestions, simply a polite request to continue the "Legends" timeline with more novels, the response is a dismissive form letter saying they can't pay attention to any fan requests for works.

      We will continue to write the letters but polite and diplomatic requests in this regard are being treated dismissively by Disney.

      That is an improvement though, for the first year or so of letters, they didn't even bother to respond at all.

      • "We will continue to write the letters but polite and diplomatic requests in this regard are being treated dismissively by Disney."

        So that means you should spam DEL REY'S Facebook page, demanding more Legends content and declaring that the new canon sucks? That means you should go up to fellow fans at conventions and demand they support your group when they're trying to talk about Rebels?

        It makes no sense.

        • No, but I wasn't at DragonCon, I've heard wildly different accounts of what happened there, including ones that directly contradict some of the information in this blog post. I don't support people being abusive and confrontational, especially in the physical world. I do support handing out flyers and trying to raise awareness that there is still an active fan base of the EU though, but doing so politely and diplomatically.

          As for social media campaigns, yes I do support them. It's a quick way to show that there are many fans who would rather buy a continuation of that series.

          Del Rey can't make that decision on their own, but showing continuing, active interest helps them turn around and tell Disney/Lucasfilm that there is still an active fan base for those novels wanting a continuation of that series. It also helps show other EU fans that they are not alone. Seeing thousands of "likes" on posts supporting the EU helps show that we are not a small splinter faction of fandom, but are a larger group that simply wants to keep enjoying the same Star Wars we've enjoyed for decades, and not forget hundreds of books just so Mickey Mouse can have a new movie series to make back the billions that were spent on buying the Star Wars brand.

          • Holy crap, seriously dude? I was there. I was getting harassed by them. I don't care what your third-hand accounts says, -it happened-

            • I'm sorry.

              As I said, I wasn't there. Honestly, I'm talking online now with someone who was one of the people handing out the flyers, and the version of the story he's telling to the EU/Legends supporters is that he was walking around handing out flyers and having people violently/angrily respond to his flyers and threaten him for handing them out.

              I wasn't there, I'm hearing a different version somewhere else online now from the people who were handing out flyers. I don't know either side beyond someone telling me things online.

              One way or the other I don't condone the kind of behavior that is alleged, and I don't want the many EU supporters to be judged by a small extremist faction.

              • Yeah, I for one am stunned they are trying to claim they weren't doing the thing that a ton of people have corroborated over the last few days.

                This argument has gone full GamerGate. We're done.

              • "Honestly, I'm talking online now with someone who was one of the people handing out the flyers, and the version of the story he's telling to the EU/Legends supporters is that he was walking around handing out flyers and having people violently/angrily respond to his flyers and threaten him for handing them out."

                Because after the third day of hearing the same crap over and over during panel Q&As, or hearing about friends being forced to take fliers they didn't want to, yes, we did get a little bit testy. It doesn't hurt that I've witnessed Del Rey's Facebook comments and know what BBL is capable of in terms of harassing behavior. I don't want to engage with them in any manner, whether they're polite or not.

          • The "social media campaigns" do two things: annoy LOW ranking employees who have neither the authority nor the inclination to act on those requests, and interfere with other fans communicating with the brand.

            They're either very poorly conceived or deliberately assholish.

  8. My understanding is that the BBL is a group that was kicked out of movement a year ago but went on to form their own. They do not represent the EU movement as a whole.

    Also looked up reviews on Amazon and didn't find any of the homophobic or "Bring Back Legends" comments you spoke of. Granted I only went thru the first 20 pages, but they were mostly negative about how the book is written. I found no references to the old EU in any of the comments.

    I believe Mr. Wendig is making the EU movement look like the boogeyman and blaming it for the poor review when in truth it's every fan expressing their disappointment with the novel.

    • "We're not going to say they're one of us. But we're totes gonna' cash in on the hate machine they've got going."

      • Hi Brian,

        I'm sorry but I detect a lot of hate coming from this page over what a handful of EU people did at DragonCon.

        I'm sorry for the bad experience this must have caused but you also should check out the other, larger movements out there. There's a huge group of fans (a lot of whom love Disney Star Wars just as much) who are very respectful in there comments and interactions with others at conventions and online.

        By no means am I implying what those folks did at DragonCon was right, I believe it's unfair to label them as "the whole movement"

        I for one have no problem with Disney De-Canonizing the old EU. Like Nanci wrote earlier, they OWN the franchise now. They can do whatever they want to it.

        I would like to see Legends continue over time as an alternate universe and I don't see anything wrong with people supporting Disney's new Star Wars as well.

        Just as Walking Dead has 2 different story lines going on between the TV show and the comic, I think Legends and the New Canon would be fun to explore the same.

        Sorry to hear about the bad experience you had at DragonCon, but please don't let a handful of people shape your overall view on a movement which is way bigger than that.

        MTFBWY

    • Wendig and Hines have links and quotes from specific Aftermath reviews saying they're angry about gay characters and Legends. They definitely exist.

      • Hi Nanci, I went to Wendig's blog but couldn't find them. I also looked through all the comments an Amazon and were unable to locate them as well. Could you provide those links to me? Thanks!

    • Jim Hines linked several of the homophobic comments. The next day they had been taken down either by Amazon or by the original reviewers. So you won't find them now. But they existed.

      And as for "every fan expressing their disappointment" this is NOT what's happening. And the fact is that people like Wendig just lived through Sad Puppies and know exactly what an organized system gaming looks like.

      He got about 400 reviews in the course of two days, of which half were 1 star.

      Most of those 1 star reviews went up within a few hours of the book becoming available.

      Most of those 1 star reviews shared categories of complaint and specific language that suggested that they'd been adapted from a form letter. Requesting people take form letters and adapt them is a standard BBL tactic.

      Most of those 1 star reviews came from users who had little or no previous review history.

      So which is the more parsimonious scenario:

      That 200 speed readers immediately bought Wendig's book, read it in a couple of hours and hated it in exactly the same way or that he was the target of a concerted campaign by roughly 200 angry fans?

      Oh, and a note: there are around 2,500 people who have liked the "alliance to save the star wars legends, expanded universe" facebook community page. So between 200 to 250 people acting in concert would be a mobilization rate of 8-10%

      A conversion of 8-10% is likely when there's a clear call to action among an online activist group. So the shoe fits.

      • I don't know about that group, but the Facebook group "‎The Alliance To Preserve The Expanded Universe" (with 3,700+ members) that I am a member of has repeatedly told its members to not do that, and to only write a review of the book if they have actually read it, and to only base a review primarily on the substance of the book.

        One person got on the group and said he'd written a one-star review without review, and was thoroughly and overwhelmingly shouted down for it, saying that gives the EU movement a bad name. He deleted his review after being pressured to.

        I can't say one word about that group, as I am not a part of it, but I know that the larger group that I'm a part of has explicitly taken the stance opposing any such fake negative reviews and trying to pressure anyone we know who has done such a thing to take down their reviews, or to read the book and edit their review to reflect actual criticism of the content.

          • I see it differently.

            Writing a review of a book you haven't read is fundamentally dishonest, and should be condemned.

            The social media campaigns, sometimes called "raids", or as you try to label it as "spamming", is totally different. People are saying it's preventing fans from engaging with the "brand". . .but we are fans, and we are "engaging". We are expressing what we want from Star Wars with regards to books.

            Spamming is for commercial benefit, or to drown out all other discussion, neither of which is our intention. We're not trying to make any commercial benefit, and we aren't trying to block out all other discussion, simply have a show of support for the EU to show that a large portion of the fan base would like to see the "Legends" continuity as a supported and ongoing alternate timeline of Star Wars.

            You said 8% to 10% is typical engagement for a large group like that for a call to action. When we post pro-EU statements on FB pages, we have previously exceeded 2,000 likes for the top pro-EU comment. That means that only a small portion of those likes came from our group, from the organized effort for commenting, the rest came from other fans who were just there on Facebook and saw it. That is fans outside our group, and outside the organised pro-EU movement, seeing what we're saying and agreeing with it.

            That's showing that we are not alone, and there is still a thriving fan base for the Expanded Universe/"Legends" universe. It's a small part of the effort, when combined with letter writing and other efforts to push for a continuation of the Star Wars saga that we've followed for decades.

            • That's not engaging, that's flooding valuable social media touchpoints with noise that destroys the value to the company and the consumers that actually want to engage.

              You aren't accomplishing anything. You are actively turning anyone who might otherwise sympathize with you against you.

              • If you have a suggestion of a better way to rally supporters of the EU cause and express our support I'd love to hear it.

                We do these things trying to build support for our cause and show Disney/Lucasfilm that the EU has many fans who want to see a continuation of that storyline. It's not out of any attempt or intention to be antagonistic.

                Currently we have an ongoing letter-writing campaign asking for a continuation of the "Legends" timeline in any form, such as novels or comic books, and those letters are all answered with form letters saying that they cannot take any unsolicited suggestions for future products or stories from fans. We keep sending the letters, they keep sending back form letter brush-offs.

                We know that fan e-mails mean very little to companies, and are easily ignored or dismissed, so there has been little to no effort at organized e-mail campaigns.

                We have expressed our intent to members of Lucasfilm at events such as Celebration, who have been polite about our input. None have outright supported the cause, which we suspect is due to their employers policies, but many have been very guarded and neutral in their carefully chosen words. Leland Chee made it clear that he has the original Holocron Continuity Database archived and he could begin managing/supporting that canon at any time if he was instructed to, which is the most support we have received from within LFL.

                If you have any suggestions on ways to apply fan pressure to Disney/Lucasfilm to continue the EU, we would love to hear it.

                • Form letters are not evidence that your voice is not being heard. A company that size cannot respond to the volume of requests that it receives personally.

                  Show support for the Legends books and comics economically. If sales of those titles are high enough, it may spark a revival someday.

                • Well, you folks had a golden opportunity when a Marvel editor went and solicited emails on Twitter asking folks to write in if they'd like to see Legends characters show up in comics.

                  But seriously, you want them to hear you and not pass you off as immature brats? Actually take the time to write a civil, personalized message. Not a form letter, not something dripping with anger. They pay attention to those, I assure you.

                  But my biggest advice? Embrace reality. It's going to be about ten years before they will even consider revisiting the Legends universe, and that is ENTIRELY due to how publishing constraints and contracts work. If you ever want it back, you're going to have to get a hell of a lot more civil than you have been, because I guarantee the way to permanently kill Legends is to continue what you are doing for the next decade.

                  • As for sending letters, I intend to. I have no idea what anybody else has been writing, but my letters have been polite, civil and different every time, not form letters. I've been sending them once per month since May, 2014. The first dozen or so were never responded to, but in the last few months I now get the "we cannot accept ideas" form letter response.

                    As for purchasing EU/Legends books. I know I've been doing that, and many other EU fans have been doing that, something of an attempt among many of the fans to collect all 200+ EU novels. A point of debate has been whether it's appropriate/acceptable to buy ones after the reboot that are labelled "Legends". Some fans feel that books without the "Legends" banner are more "pure", while others argue that the later ones provide new sales and thus show support.

                    There was an attempt at a mass purchase of Truce at Bakura on Amazon the day that Aftermath came out, but it was poorly organized, as it was only called for about a day or two in advance, and most EU fans already have a copy of that book.

                    As for contracts taking a decade to arrange for new books, I doubt it. There was already one EU novel that was in a completed manuscript form and cancelled when the reboot was announced, Sword of the Jedi, which was to have come out late last year. Timothy Zahn got the contract to write the Thrawn series in 1989, with Heir to the Empire coming out in 1991. The turnaround time for a book is a lot less than 10 years.

                    Yes, Disney marketing probably doesn't want to support two Star Wars canons while their movie series is ongoing, but since this isn't a trilogy they are making, but an open-ended non-stop series of movies akin to the MCU, it has been noted that after they wear out their movies into unprofitability, they may return to the "Legends" series.

                    As for Legends characters in the new comics, the consensus of the pro-EU fans is: NO. There is enough antipathy towards the new canon, that it's basically a boycott, and people don't want to see their beloved characters basically made a mockery by inserting them into Disney Canon works. They don't want their beloved characters inserted into what they see as a sad parody of Star Wars. They want the Star Wars saga they know and love, not faux-Star Wars (what they see the new movies, books and comics as being) with characters the know inserted into it like a sick mockery of what they like.

                • How about this: take all the effort you've been putting into letter writing campaigns, spam campaigns and generally squicking other people's squee and instead use it to foster fan creators who want to play in your sandbox. We know they exist; and nobody would say boo to that.

            • Yeah, um I didn't even imply you WEREN'T fans. That's why I specifically said prevent OTHER fans from engaging.

              Look at it this way. Say you were at a convention and there was a panel on Batman, and you were a Batman fan and wanted to go to the panel to hear Batman authors talking about Batman.

              Then a whole bunch of Wolverine fans turned up and started shouting in unison about how much better Wolverine was and how they weren't going to buy Batman comics until DC started publishing Wolverine comics.

              Nobody's denying that the Wolverine fans are fans. But what they're doing is dickish to the Batman fans.

              That's what the "raids" are doing. And I don't care if they're for commercial gain, they're still spam.

      • That may explain why the ratings are no longer on Amazon. But what about the 300 critical comments about the book that are on there now? All of them are fair in their assessments and I don't see anything about them that would seem unfair.

        I'm not defending anything BBL did, I just want to point out that a lot of fans of the New Canon didn't enjoy the book as well.

    • Also the low-end to get onto the NYT best seller list is 3,000 copies, and Wendig came in at number 4 so it's probably over 10k (it's hard to pin down book sales numbers with any exactness unless you're a publisher). So those 200ish bad reviews are NOT every fan. They're not even 1/10 of the fans, even assuming that all of them actually read it (which is likely untrue.)

      • Hi Simon,

        Books can sell well in there first week and suffer the next from bad reviews. I'm glad the book is selling well but that brings up a better question:

        If it's selling so well, then why does anyone care a few negative comments hit Amazon early that morning but were taken down the same day?

        Sounds like there shouldn't be anything to gripe about but maybe that's just me.

  9. I am sorry that some people have been unpleasant to you and that your experience was affected negatively. Nevertheless, there is a large movement of pro EU/Legends supporters out there and they are very passionate and commited to their cause. The EU appears to have a special meaning for them. I am not surprised that a few of them are going to become somewhat excessive in their actions to seek what they consider important.

    • My dogs are named Mara and Jade. I assure you, the Expanded Universe is VERY special to me.

      No amount of passion justifies anything they did at Dragon Con, so trying to explain it away in any manner is handwaving we don't need.

  10. Responding here because the thread has gotten too long:

    "As for contracts taking a decade to arrange for new books, I doubt it. There was already one EU novel that was in a completed manuscript form and cancelled when the reboot was announced, Sword of the Jedi, which was to have come out late last year. Timothy Zahn got the contract to write the Thrawn series in 1989, with Heir to the Empire coming out in 1991. The turnaround time for a book is a lot less than 10 years."

    A) Brian wasn't talking about contracts taking that long. He was saying that IF Lucasfilm wanted to produce more Legends content, they wouldn't do so for a long time. Every response from LFL, Del Rey, or Marvel has said the same thing. They do not have the time, the effort, or the resources to make new Legends content right now. Nor would it make sense.

    Learn how publishing works. There's a lot more that goes into it than "let's write this book."

    B) Sword of the Jedi was NOWHERE NEAR being finished. They'd barely begun to work on the outline. Christie Golden has said so in interviews (one of them being from last Dragon Con, which you can find on our podcast feed).

    This is why people can't take the Bring Back Legends folks seriously: you don't have basic facts correct. It's not like Sword of the Jedi was done and then Disney said TOO BAD. Hell, Crucible came out AFTER the buyout.

    "As for Legends characters in the new comics, the consensus of the pro-EU fans is: NO. There is enough antipathy towards the new canon, that it's basically a boycott, and people don't want to see their beloved characters basically made a mockery by inserting them into Disney Canon works. They don't want their beloved characters inserted into what they see as a sad parody of Star Wars. They want the Star Wars saga they know and love, not faux-Star Wars (what they see the new movies, books and comics as being) with characters the know inserted into it like a sick mockery of what they like."

    And this is also why I can't take BBL fans seriously. You won't be satisfied with anything less than a return to the pre-buyout state, not even a retelling of something like Mara's story of Thrawn's story or whatever. It's just not good enough for you.

    Read fanfic. Write fanfic. That's what I did after Mara died and I wasn't happy with the EU. It's extremely cathartic (and sometimes better than professional works!).

  11. I think you are taking a minority within the movement and using it to represent the majority. And again I see us being grouped in with the bigots that worm out of the woodwork toward any medium that has a LBGTQ+ character. Most of these guys just want Lucas Books or Del Ray to continue the Legends brand as an offshoot of the official timeline. Really. Get over yourself. You were talked to for 5 whole minutes by a scarily devoted nerd at a sci fi/fantasy convention. If this is a first for you then you have zero understanding of the fandom.

  12. This comment section is a stunning monument of how Bring Back Legends has gone off the rails. Every argument is straight out of the GamerGate and Sad Puppies Playbook. The entire movement should be absolutely and utterly appalled by what has been demonstrated at Dragon Con and what has been demonstrated here. Moving goalposts. Downplaying harassment. Utterly immature behavior.

    Everyone at Dragon Con who expressed discomfort with BBL was absolutely justified.

    Comments are off.

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