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Sunrider naming controversy

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"No, it wasn't a myth, and the issue is still there with using the name 'Sunrider.'"
Sue Rostoni, Executive Editor of Lucas Licensing[src]

Controversy has surrounded the use of the name "Sunrider" in Star Wars media for several years. Four members of a Jedi family named Sunrider appeared in the Tales of the Jedi comic series, published by Dark Horse Comics and released throughout the 1990s, but legal issues prevented the inclusion of the character Vima Sunrider in the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The game's developers also cut references to her family name.

Presently, the name "Sunrider" can appear within a Star Wars product. It cannot appear in a product's title, however, nor be attached to an action figure, in order to avoid confusion with a similarly-named trademarked product. The character Nomi Sunrider was to have starred in a 2012 novel, but it was cancelled prior to release.

HistoryEdit

"Vima was supposed to be Bastila in K1 (seriously), but there are legal issues with using the name 'sunrider' so we were not allowed to use it in K2."
Chris Avellone, developer of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords[src]
Vimaart

Knights of the Old Republic concept art of Vima Sunrider

From 1993 to 1998, Dark Horse Comics published Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, a comic book series composed of eight story arcs. Five of the eight arcs featured the characters Nomi and Vima Sunrider, a Jedi Knight and her young daughter. Nomi was a principal character in four arcs, while Vima took center stage as a Jedi apprentice in 1998's Tales of the Jedi: Redemption. Nomi's husband Andur Sunrider briefly appeared in 1993's Tales of the Jedi: The Saga of Nomi Sunrider,[1][2][3][4] and his grandfather Jev Sunrider was mentioned in the 1996 sourcebook Tales of the Jedi Companion.[5] These members of the Sunrider family were referenced in several other works of Star Wars media published throughout the 1990s.[6][7][8]

At some point in time, legal issues began to arise over Lucasfilm Ltd.'s use of the name "Sunrider."[9][10] It remains unclear to the public who the offended party was, but many fans have speculated that a lawsuit was filed by the Jeep Corporation,[11][12][13] who manufacture a trademarked jeep soft top called "Sunrider."[14] However, this rumor has not been verified by any Lucasfilm employees, and has additionally been contested by Star Wars author Kyle Jewhurst. According to Jewhurst, Dark Horse Vice President of Publishing Randy Stradley has reported that the legal issues arose from Tales of the Jedi author Tom Veitch having used the name "Sunrider" in another work.[15]

When the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was in development, Vima Sunrider was slated to be one of its protagonists, but the legal issues prompted the development team to instead create a new character named Bastila Shan.[9][16] The game is set thirty years after the final story arc of Tales of the Jedi and references Nomi several times, but only once by her last name.[17] That instance was an oversight by the development team. They were also forbidden from using the name in the game's 2004 sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.[9]

Presently, the legal issues continue to exist, but do not preclude the appearance of a Sunrider within Star Wars media, nor the use of the family name. The latter is permissible within the body of a text where it cannot be confused with any other trademarked product, but cannot be used in a book's title nor be attached to an action figure.[10] Nomi has been mentioned by her full name in several recent novels and sourcebooks,[18][19][20] although Star Wars: The Old Republic, an MMORPG released in 2011, refers to her as "Nomi-Da-Boda" and refers to both Vima and Andur only by their first names.[21] Both Nomi and Vima[22] were originally set to star in a 2012 novel,[23] but the book was eventually canceled, reportedly due to "changes in direction and concepts in the overall publishing plans."[24]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Tales of the Jedi: The Saga of Nomi Sunrider
  2. Tales of the Jedi: The Freedon Nadd Uprising
  3. Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith
  4. Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War
  5. Tales of the Jedi Companion
  6. Dark Empire II
  7. Dark Apprentice
  8. Junior Jedi Knights: Vader's Fortress
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Chris Avellone (Feb 23 2005, 06:27 PM). So where is Vima Sunrider during the Kotor story?. Obsidian Forum Community. Retrieved on July 27, 2010.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Sue Rostoni (Sep 30, 2008 9:12 AM). Thread: Books, Comics, & Television VIPs. StarWars.com Message Boards. Retrieved on July 27, 2010.
  11. What KOTOR characters would you like to see in .... KOTOR? on the Jedi Council Forums (Literature board; posted by Leto II on May 1, 2006 at 10:27 AM; accessed December 1, 2013).
  12. The Broox (Sep 30, 2008 8:36 AM). Untitled Nomi Sunrider Novel by Alex Irvine *Speculation*. StarWars.com Message Boards.
  13. Jediphile (Feb 13, 2008 10:25 am). KOTOR #25 -- "Vector" begins!. Dark Horse Message Boards. Retrieved on July 27, 2010.
  14. Sunrider™ Jeep Tops. jeepsandstuff.com. Retrieved on July 27, 2010.
  15. "Mandorla" – Alex Irvine TOTJ/KOTOR/Nomi Sunrider 2011 Hardcover on the Jedi Council Forums (Literature board; posted by Lord Hydronium on September 19, 2008, 8:41 AM; accessed October 22, 2013)
  16. Databank title Shan, Bastila in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link on Archive.org)
  17. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  18. Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight
  19. The New Essential Chronology
  20. Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
  21. Star Wars: The Old Republic, Consular storyline
  22. Patrick (September 23, 2009, 10:00 PM). Keeping An Eye On… Alex Irvine. Stomping on Yeti. Retrieved on March 5, 2012.
  23. Sue Rostoni (Jan 28, 2011 12:13 PM). The Expanded Universe VIPs 3.0. StarWars.com Message Boards. Retrieved on January 31, 2011.
  24. Star Wars Books (February 29, 2012, 1:54 PM). Star Wars Books. Facebook. Retrieved on March 5, 2012.
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