Friday, May 29, 2015

Is A Solo Or Skywalker Child In Episode VII Enough?

Rumors have been spinning since new Star Wars sequels have been announced that the movies will feature one or more Solo or Skywalker offspring.  Some comic collectors are betting this will be the case; Star Wars Tales #19, which contains a story with Ben Skywalker, has been selling for up to $75 on eBay and Star Wars: Dark Empire II #5 and 6, a story with babies twins Jaina and Jacen Solo, have brought up to $30 for the pair.  Is this speculation warranted though?

I know comic book speculation on movies is rampant these days and trying to make sense of it can be difficult.  I marveled last year when the Guardians of the Galaxy movie came out and Marvel Super-heroes #18, the first appearance of a team that only had the team name in common with the characters in the movie, rose in price.  I likewise was dumbfounded when speculators started hyping Howard the Duck, yes Howard the Duck, because of a post screen reveal at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy.  Speculators are hyping comics with tenuous connections to movies and in some cases hyping characters in the hope they are movie bound.  While it is likely some characters will see the silver screen, it is also likely many will not.  Are comic fans really clamoring for another Howard the Duck movie when even the Hulk has been shown to not be able to support a solo movie?  Marvel and DC have thousands of characters that make up their comic universe and when you add in properties from Image, Dark Horse, Valiant, IDW, Boom, and other smaller publishers, the number of characters that can potentially be used by Hollywood are astonishing.  And the majority of those characters will never make it to the big screen.  And in some cases when those characters do, like Arnim Zola, the final product on the screen is so different from what appeared in the comic pages, does it really warrant the speculation?  How many fans though the computer in Captain America: A Winter Soldier did Arnim Zola's character justice?  Is a name drop enough to warrant paying more for the comic?

What does all this have to do with the possible inclusion of a Solo or Skywalker child in Star Wars: The Force Awakens?  I'm hopeful we will get a Skywalker or Solo heir, but I am doubtful we will get Ben Skywalker or Jaina and Jacen Solo.  Lucasfilm/Disney made the decision last year to jettison the Expanded Universe, those stories told in books, comics, video games, etc. so future movie writers are not hamstrung by what has come before.  While it makes sense that future writers will borrow ideas from the Expanded Universe, it doesn't make as much sense that they will borrow characters unchanged.  Ben Skywalker is a character created solely for the comics, in a tale that was already outside the continuity of the Star Wars universe.  It kind of makes sense why there is a premium placed on this character over Jaina and Jacen Solo who first appeared in novels.  But if Luke does have an offspring in the movie and his name is Jeff Skywalker instead of Ben Skywalker, is a premium on Ben Skywalker warranted?  Is Luke Skywalker having a child in the movie enough to keep the prices for the first appearance of an tenuously related character in a comic book elevated?

Comic collectors collect runs of titles, followed their favorite characters, and yes, seek out the first appearance of characters.  But, have we gotten to the point now where comic collectors are going to seek out the first appearance of a character idea especially when that idea is as obvious as an offspring?

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