Some fans may have heard about the Chinese Star Wars novel being produced exclusively in Chinese language only, which adds a new canon sector to the Galaxy. I was curious how much pandering to the CCP a translation might show.
Now an article from Sixth Tone tells us a bit more, and it’s all fully expected.
On Thursday, the opening chapters of “Star Wars: The Vow of Silver Dawn” were announced by the official “Star Wars” Weibo microblog and released to internet literature apps under China Literature, a group owned by tech conglomerate Tencent.
Web novels are written and released in daily installments by contracted writers, and are shaped by the readers’ feedback as they’re released. The social and interactive aspects make the format wildly popular, with more than 450 million readers in China, but it is also widely regarded as low-brow fiction of highly variable quality.
“The Vow of Silver Dawn,” set 200 years before the events of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, tells the story of a young apprentice — or “Padawan” — called Sean and his Jedi master, who are sent by the galaxy-ruling Republic to investigate the murky murder of a political ruler in a semi-independant star system.
This distant star system, says Wang, is a uniquely Chinese corner of the “Star Wars” universe. Although populated by some recognizable races from the “Star Wars” universe — twi’leks, rodians, wookiees, and the like — it mostly consists of a race of humans with black hair and dark eyes, whose given names, space-food, architecture, values, culture, and habits reflect those of the Chinese.
“Even if it’s not Earth-food or Earth-beef, maybe the way it’s cooked or the way it’s named will instantly make you think of Chinese food,” says Wang. “Like braising in water or stewing in soy sauce.”
“For Chinese readers, Zhang San is easier for readers to remember than John,” says Wang, adding that Disney is currently hoping to expand the “Star Wars” franchise’s audience with his novel, since many younger Chinese don’t understand or appreciate it.
What a coincidence. American Lucasfilm writers think that Avar Kriss is easier to remember than John too. But maybe the illustrious High Republic can send outreach programs to the Chinese sector to increase its diversity and representation.
But even Chinese fans know that Disney Star Wars is dumb. Sixth Tone continues:
But this latest attempt seems off to a slow start among fans. “Could you please not ruin your own brand?” commented a Weibo user under an official announcement from “Star Wars” about the book, just one among a flood of negative comments. “Are you trying to stop “Star Wars” from becoming too popular?”
But luckily, Disney has friends in the CCP that may help squelch any backlash in the communist nation:
Under related Weibo posts, users also leveled abuse at the book’s publisher, China Literature, which was at the center of a writers’ rights controversy in May and has been blamed as benefitting from the blockage of a popular fan-fiction site in March.
If only the fan fiction in the Disney Trilogy could have been blocked as well.
Originally published here.