For someone who isn’t really a fan of Star Wars one way or another – although I do enjoy the story and like a nice movie full of Bright Shiny Things and googly aliens as much as the next guy – I suppose I have gone on at some considerable lengths about the films. And not just the films, and their up-coming sequels, but into full meta-review-levels and heck, even beyond.
Now, with thanks to my esteemed colleague Mister dreameling for this scoop, it looks like Disney’s plans for Star Wars not only involves making Episode VII, Episode VIII and Episode IX, it also involves formulating an official canon and throwing out a bunch of the Expanded Universe quasi-canon. Yes, some lucky Star Wars geeks have just landed the job of a lifetime.
This is pretty much a non-issue for me. I’m just not that hardcore. I don’t really care if they get rid of a bunch of stuff. It’s not like anyone seems to have much respect for Star Wars continuity anyway.
Don’t get me wrong, from what I understand of this it looks like they’re going to have a lot of choice about what they put in the new movies and thus into the new for-reals canon, and for my own sake I hope they choose to put in Grand Admiral Thrawn … but I’ve learned to live, one day at a time, without a canonical film version of Grand Admiral Thrawn and I will probably manage to live, one day at a time, in a continued absence of said canonical film version. But it would just be neat is all.
In case you were unaware, that thing around his neck actually repels the Force, and yet doesn’t cause the systematic breakdown of the very fabric of reality. IN YOUR FACE, VADER AND PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE ELSE.
Shit, the opening text-scroll to Episode VII can just be the lyrics to I’m Blue by Eiffel 65. I wouldn’t even care.
Just saying. Go here for full crawl effect.
Anyway, in my mind there are movies (or sometimes movies-and-TV-shows), and then there are books. Either can have canon. I can’t think of any creation that has a combined and synchronised canon, although I’m sure they exist. They would have to take the same format as the Star Wars stuff, I would think – since as soon as you have a book, and a film adaptation of that book, only one of them can logically be canon. The only way to do it would be to have expanded in-universe fiction, which is how Star Wars seems to have rolled.
Case in point: A Game of Thrones on TV, and A Song of Ice and Fire in books. They’re pretty much separate and distinct. A lot of it overlaps and can count as canon for both, but they have to have separate canons because shit, they just do. They’re different. There are different characters doing different things, they’re mutually exclusive. Ditto for the Lord of the Rings stuff. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing – it’s just a thing.
Like I say, I’m sure there are concepts that have combined canons. I don’t think comic books and comic book movie adaptations manage it, but I could ramble off for pages on that topic. Certainly the X-Men and larger Marvel universe stuff is all over the place and there’s no reconciling them. But then it seems like the canon of comic book movies is only as permanent as the next reboot anyway. And the canon of comic books themselves, wow. You got a week?
Spiderman has no chance at canon, at least as far as the movies are concerned. The same goes for Superman and Batman. Their reboots and sequels and prequels and TV shows all clash with one another. X-Men and The Avengers might be semi-coherent and stable in film, because of the extended franchise and series effort they’re making there. Maybe DC Comics will catch up with that. But still, it’s all distinct from the comics.
Then there’s Star Trek and Doctor Who.
Trek has a canon. It’s the TV show and the movies. It got kicked really quite hard indeed in the testicles by the movie reboots, but there’s still a solid canon, divided across two separate timelines. Who has a canon, of sorts, in the TV show. I know there are books and all sorts of other stuff, for both of these stories, and it will take a harder-core fan than I am to assign canon-values to all of it, but at a rough guess I would say that there’s not really any canon in other publications. Where mini-episodes and online movies and other “sanctioned” fan pieces fit in, I think in the end it boils down to the creators deciding “this is now part of the story”.
And yes, there’s always going to be inconsistencies within the canon. Trek tries to cover that shit up or explain it.
Doctor Who, meanwhile, just revels in it as far as I can tell.
So, from that point of view, I guess it’s just time for Star Wars to join the Regulated Canon club. It’s not like any of this stuff needs to be thrown out permanently. “Not part of the canon today” doesn’t mean “never part of the canon ever”. Sooner or later, they’re going to want to make more movies or TV shows. Probably sooner rather than later.
All in all, I feel pretty positive about the way this is headed.