Canon vs. Legends and a request for the grumpiest Star Wars fans
I’m relatively new to this whole canon vs. non-canon discussion – consider me a Padawan at best – and I’ve stayed away from throwing my two cents in during the Facebook and Twitter war of words. I simply am not qualified to argue intelligently one way or another. Look, I’m just a simple man trying to make my way in the Star Wars Universe, right?
However, I do sympathize with both camps and will discuss why in this post and follow it up with a request for the most resentful of the bunch.
First a little background for others who are in the same rebel transport as I. As my understanding goes, Lucasfilm now has a committee called the “Story Group” that determines what is Gospel according to the powers that be, and what is not, in the Star Wars Universe. The members of this committee, who I had the pleasure of seeing at a Star Wars Celebration panel in Anaheim, are listed here thanks to TheForce.net.
A little more than a year ago (April 2014), Lucasfilm announced the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) was NOT part of the official Star Wars story and renamed decades worth of stories and novels “Legends.” Basically, the official Star Wars story only includes the six films, the TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the TV series Star Wars Rebels, which began last fall.
Apparently this created tensions nearly as high as when the newly formed Army of the Republic attacked the Separatist droid army on Geonosis and sparked the Clone Wars.
Fortunately and unfortunately, I only scratched the surface of the EU. For the better part of two decades I considered myself a Star Wars purist, telling myself all I cared about were the six films. It literally took me years to push play on The Clone Wars. But once I did, I couldn’t stop the binging. I watched Rebels initially out of intrigue to see what new Star Wars content would look like, but now I’m just as invested as I am with the films and The Clone Wars.
So when this earth-shattering announcement hit the HoloNet defining what is part of the Star Wars story and what isn’t, it didn’t create waves for me personally. However, I still consider myself unfortunate for not diving deep into the EU because now witnessing my fellow Star Wars fans’ reaction to this announcement and the passion they display for these non-canon stories makes me wonder what in the blazes I missed.
Mara Jade fans especially.
While I don’t harbor any degree of hard feelings toward the Lucasfilm Story Group, I certainly can understand why some Jedi Junkies do. I think we can all agree that the Star Wars franchise has some of the most devoted science fiction and science fantasy fans our world has ever seen. To each Jedi and Sith alike, Star Wars is very personal and is partially how we define ourselves to each other and the rest of the planet.
If I had invested as much time as some of you in the Legends stories, I definitely would need time to get used to the fact these stories I love, grew up with, and know by heart aren’t considered part of the official Star Wars story. That’s got to be tougher to swallow than Obi-Wan’s voice emulator in The Clone Wars “Deception” episode.
Still, in talking with many Legends fans I’ve learned that the general consensus is there are some amazing and beloved stories amongst a big steaming pile of bantha poodoo. On the outside looking in, it appears the throngs of authors with their unique points of view created such an expanded world outside the six films and The Clone Wars that “willy nilly” ensued. I think anyone who trudged through even one EU novel and then tossed it aside disappointed can understand why Lucasfilm wanted to draw a line in the Tatooine sand and get it right going forward.
As Pablo Hidalgo of the Story Group said during Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, some tough decisions had to be made on what was canon and what was not. Hidalgo went on to remind those in attendance that the members of the Story Group are huge Star Wars fans, as well, and they will look to incorporate some of the beloved Legends stories and characters where it makes sense.
Ah, a new hope!
So as we Star Wars fans hover here on the cusp of Lucasfilm releasing a Super Star Destroyer-sized amount of new canon content (films, TV, books, comics, traditional games and video games, etc.) the question is – How are we going to receive it?
Will you remain disgruntled about your beloved stories being classified as “Legends,” continue to relentlessly petition Lucasfilm to write Mara Jade into one of the future stories, scoff when you see a Disney logo, or the worst – remind fellow Star Wars fans at every opportunity how Disney ruined Star Wars for you?
Or will you forever hold your favorite stories sacred and make them a part of your own personal Star Wars Universe while understanding they may not be a part of everyone’s Star Wars Universe?
In other words, can we count on you to sit back and enjoy this new journey with us or will you feel the need to constantly remind the galaxy of what your Star Wars Universe includes and doesn’t include? As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, while I definitely am not as deeply invested in the EU as many of you are, I can see where you are coming from and respect your love for these non-canon stories.
My request is that we all remind ourselves that each of us enjoy our own version of the Star Wars Universe and it’s very personal and as unique as we are as human beings. That fact does not need the Lucasfilm Story Group’s input on whether canon or non-canon. That’s real life.
May the Force be with you.
* * *
Check out Wookieepedia for deeper insight on Canon vs. Legends and the Lucasfilm Story Group.