The Star Wars Expanded Universe is Alive and Well
Don’t worry, everybody, geekery is alive and well in Star Wars. Our nerdy ability to create backstory for every single insignificant character in the Star Wars Universe has not diminished in the slightest with the death of the Expanded Universe and the arrival of The Force Awakens. I couldn’t be giddier.
I speak, of course, about Internet sensation ‘TR-8R’, the fan-name given to the First Order Stormtrooper who whips out that amazing stun baton and gets into a melee battle with Finn halfway through the film. He’s so named because he shouts, “Traitor!” at Finn before he attacks.
It’s a cool battle, it’s the first lightsaber fight in the film, and that stun baton is just badass. The scene goes a long way to making Stormtroopers dangerous again. The Internet fell in love with the Trooper immediately, and he’s kind of become a meme sensation. It’s hilarious, in that special Internet way.
Now, if you were like me, you thought that scene would have been a great place to use Captain Phasma. She doesn’t get much screentime, and a fight against Finn would have been pretty stellar for her character. And even though TR-8R gets blasted in the end, there’s no reason Phasma couldn’t survive and come back later. It would have been a fantastic use of the character.
But now I know how wrong I was, because Star Wars knew exactly what it was doing. For you see, TR-8R isn’t just some random Riot Control Stormtrooper who is mad at Finn. He’s actually a fully-fleshed out character who has a lot of backstory in the new, Disney version of the Expanded Universe. It all takes place in Greg Rucka’s novel, Before the Awakening, which now I really want to track down and read. Fortunately, Awesome Internet Person babieseverywhere went and summarized the book for us — SPOILERS for Before the Awakening in that link, of course.
The official Star Wars website has also jumped in to explain the truth behind TR-8R after they noticed his sudden spike in popularity.
Not only does TR-8R have a backstory now, but we also know who that Stormtrooper was in the beginning who died, and whose blood then marked Finn’s helmet.
Granted, all of this was pre-planned to take place in a tie-in book, so it’s not the same as most of the Expanded Universe explanations. But it’s good enough for me. It’s been a long while since I read the EU books and was really a part of that universe, but I’m excited to see the practice continue with the new canon.
Plus, I don’t know about you henchies, but I’m finding all these TR-8R memes to be hilarious!