Another terribly busy week, so I'll look elsewhere again for some Star Wars inspiration. No, not the Blu-Rays. At this point, I'll wait until I see them to comment, if then. No, this time, starwars.com made a timely update for my weekly Star Wars musings.
For those who haven't heard, starwars.com has been undergoing changes for awhile, and rolled out a massive site update. It completely changes the look of the site, which happens every few years. They made it more visual, using large images and rollover effects for buttons, links and so on. It looks great.
There is a new emphasis on linking to fan sites directly, and a nice list of licensees (though not complete).
Disappointingly, it has lost a ton of content (which they acknowledge). Hundreds of pages of old articles, interviews and news entries are gone. The special hyperspace content is MIA. While hyperspace has been gone for awhile, the content still existed until now. Surprisingly, even the starwars.com only comics, including the Clone Wars ones are gone.
Detailed databank entries have been replaced with rather anemic one paragraph descriptions and a fact list. All other detail has been outsourced to Wookieepedia, as each entry includes a link to the site. While wookieepedia is fine, the nice thing about the databank was that it had an air of officialness to it, and included both movie and EU references. To see the full impact of the change, check out the current Han Solo encyclopedia entry with the earlier databank entry. Even the number of entries has been drastically reduced.
Shockingly, the highly useful and informative and current Clone Wars episode guides are gone.
Shop.starwars.com also closed in July, with promises of other options later, which might be just the "where to buy" links now on the site. I used the shop maybe just once, to buy a Matt Busch Star Wars poster, but it did feature quite a few exclusive offers not found elsewhere. I expect that sort of stuff will land somewhere eventually.
The kids area is gone, as are the "how to draw" videos and guides.
Now, according to the site announcement, some past content will return in some form as things get rolling. They will also be watching for feedback (though it is unclear where feedback can be sent). As it stands now, there are a lot fewer reasons for me to visit regularly. You can still log in, though I don't see much point at the moment. I'll still follow the Clone Wars episodes on the site (lacking cable/ satellite /pay tv for awhile now), though the loss of the episode guides is highly disappointing.
Oddly enough, the blogs continue to survive, though there is no link to them on any page I saw. Of course, there is only Daniel Wallace, the Joke-A-Day blog and myself even posting anymore, so I still expect it to disappear any time.
So, here's hoping some of these things will eventually come back as the site evolves, or from fan requests. In the meantime, all is not totally lost (this is the internet, after all). If you need it, much of the old site data can still be found at the internet archive.