A few days ago I read the last book in the newest Star Wars series. The whole series was actually very good, with some interesting character developments and twists. Still, it kind of brings in to focus a lot that is wrong with the way the whole Star Wars universe is going.
The main problem is this--the big three characters from the first movies, Luke, Han, and Leia, are still around, and still have to be dealt with by the writers.
Keep in mind, they are now pretty old. It's been roughly 30 years since the events of Return of the Jedi, so they are well into their retirement ages. Leia is no longer in politics, Luke though is still the head of the Jedi order, and Han is, well, still Han.
But through the store thus far, the next generation of Jedi was being developed and matured. Han and Leia had three kids--the twins Jacen and Jaina, and the youngest Anakin. Early on, in fact, it was hinted at the Anakin was suppose some kind of super-Jedi. Also, we now have the son of Luke and Mara, Ben, who's no slouch in his own right.
Now, Jacen and Anakin are dead. Jaina is still around, but I think most of us readers would most welcome if they would finally quit trying to play her relationship angst all over the place and have her and Jag finally settle down, or do so for at least as much as either of them could. On the other hand, there is the daughter of Jacen around now, too, and who knows how they'll make use of her.
But as well, in the Jedi order, there is the next generation that still has to play behind Luke in all things. The other supposed super-Jedi, Kyp Durron, is slowly approaching middle age and was almost a non-entity through most of this last series. Others were around but were not used much. The future was suppose to have been Jacen, but with going all Darthy and Sith, that's now out the window.
In other words, in stories like these, eventually the good guys have to lose people. In the Vong war, for example, characters like Chewie, Anakin Solo, and Ackbar were lost. In this last series, Mara Jade Skywalker and Jacen Solo were lost.
But outside of Chewie, none of the main movie characters have become one with the force. And it's starting to hurt the stories, as they are killing off the next generation in order to preserve the old ones.
Let's be fair here. When Salvatore wrote the story that killed off Chewbacca, it was not well-received, and by some things I've seen, Salvatore got some responses that were far from nice. Given that, it can be understood why other authors would be reluctant to do anything involving the death of one of the other popular characters.
But at the risk of sound callous, it's high time and even passed time. And the readers are just going to have to deal with it. These characters, as beloved as they are, simply cannot be kept around in the stories forever. If, say, you don't want Luke to be killed off, he can pull a Yoda and go off somewhere and not be central character anymore, but I have my doubts about such a thing really working.
It's time to bid our farewells to them, and welcome the new leaders and villains in the Star Wars stories. If given a chance, I think it could prove to be as good a thing as what has been.
But it needs to be done soon, before too many more newer characters don't make it through the editing process.