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The Star Wars Canon reset button has been pressed
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:23 am    Post subject: The Star Wars Canon reset button has been pressed Reply with quote

In the late 80s, the waning Star Wars franchise presence began a comeback fueled by an upsurge in home video ownership. During this time, the foundations of the EU were laid with the publication of the WEG SW RPG. In the early 90s, shrewd entrepreneur and Star Wars creator George Lucas conceived the Expanded Universe for the sake of a more unified Star Wars publishing enterprise.

However, this new universe was hopelessly splintered from the very beginning. Although both using WEG source material for inspiration, the EU was forged trying to shoehorn two opposing sequels to Return of the Jedi into one continuity: the Dark Empire comic and Heir to the Empire novel series. These stories, and all subsequently published stories taking place in the EU (until 2008), were described as C-canon in the more formalized canon/continuity structure established in 1996.

All previously published stories and material were then assigned a canon-level. The previously published novels, Droids and Ewoks TV series and films, and WEG (for the most-part) were deemed C-canon and thus retroactively entered into the EU. The Marvel comic series was deemed S-canon, meaning the stories themselves were not within the EU's continuity but select elements of the stories may be C-canon. Some early record story books and such were deemed N-canon, meaning flat-out not any part of the EU. Subsequent stories intentionally not meant to take place within the EU's continuity were also designated N-canon, most famously Star Wars Infinities.

The EU was designed to be internally consistent with itself and the movie series it was expanded upon, but it failed miserably at both. And George Lucas' films themselves were elevated to the highest level of canon, G-canon. The main reason the films were not the same canon level as the EU was because Lucas was not done making new films when the EU was formed. This allowed the subsequent prequel films (and classic film revisions) to freely contradict the EU, initiating C-canon retcons to be devised.

In 2001, Lucas more aptly described the EU as a "parallel universe" to the rarely referred to "film universe". In 2004, Leland Chee (who maintained Lucas Licensing's continuity database) contradicted Lucas by indicating that there was only one official continuity, but in 2006 Chee corrected himself by describing two distinct official continuities. In 2008, Lucas described a Star Wars multiverse consisting of the film universe, the expanded universe which "goes off on tangents", and each fan's personal SW universe. Then later that year, the SW multiverse was turned upside down again.

Back in 2002-2005, a unified organized publishing campaign had dealt with the events of the Clone Wars taking place in between Lucas' final two films, Episodes II and III. This included novels, comics, and the original Clone Wars 2D animated series that lead into the events of 2005's Revenge of the Sith.

Three years later, Lucas' G-canon films are done, but Lucas is not done making money off the Clone Wars. Thus enter The Clones Wars, a new 3D animated movie and TV series (and books and comics). This new Clones Wars continuity is placed in a new continuity tier called T-canon, which on paper is under G-canon but over C-canon. Just like the purpose of G-canon existing above C-canon to freely contradict it at will, this new show was free to contradict the entire body of previously published EU, and often did. Anakin Skywalker had previously been portrayed as receiving his scar and having been promoted to Jedi Knighthood towards the end of the Clone Wars, but now he suddenly was a Jedi Knight with a scar only one month into the conflict.

Furthermore, Lucas himself directed TCW to also contradict his own film universe by giving Anakin an apprentice and resurrecting Darth Maul, so T-canon effectively even outranked G-canon in practice. We were promised that by the end of TCW TV series, an official reconciliation of the original Clone Wars timeline and the new timeline, a supposed explanation of the official retcons to bring everything back into unison, but now that will never happen under Disney's ownership of Lucasfilm as it is completely unneeded.



The Star Wars Expanded Universe, 1991-2014. RIP

It's official. The Star Wars Canon reset button has been pressed. In the interest of allowing the maximum amount of creative freedom for future Star Wars films and publications, ALL previously published material outside of the films are no longer canon. The EU may be mined for inspiration for future films and publications, but there is no necessity to maintain continuity with the EU. (However, Star Wars.com says that "Demand for past tales of the Expanded Universe will keep them in print, presented under the new Legends banner.")

Furthermore, in the new publication scheme there will not be canon-levels. All new material will either be canon or not. Lucasfilm's new Star Wars Group was created to ensure that the publications maintain continuity with each other, the publications maintain continuity with the films, and the films maintain continuity with the publications! The first entry in the newly-defined continuity will be Star Wars Rebels.

I can't help but feel more optimistic about the future of the Star Wars franchise. I feel like they are salvaging the films from the flaming wreckage that was the EU and laying the foundation of something better around the films. Or I guess it would be more like the spirit of Anakin Skywalker rising from the ashes of Darth Vader's funeral pyre. Of course these mental images were inspired by the outcries from disgruntled fans that say they are going to light all their Star Wars books on fire because they are null and void now. But I'm sure a lot of you will at least agree that the EU is a mixed bag at best (some of you feel the films were too).

I don't mean to sound insensitive to my fellow SW fans reading this. I know this news may upset a lot of you. Please feel free to bemoan the loss of your favorite EU publication here. All I ask is that you keep in mind that the EU isn't gone. Disney doesn't really have a time machine to change history or erase anything from existence. Your Star Wars library on your book shelf is NOT starting to fade aware like Marty McFly in Back to the Future. The EU still exists in the SW Multiverse, and your personal SW Universe can remain unchanged if you wish. This news has no immediate effect on the beloved EU publications of mine whose continuity remains in existence within my personal SWU.

This change is really not completely unprecedented in the history of the Star Wars franchise. There already was a film universe and an expanded universe, and there still is. Without the reconciliation of TCW with the EU's original continuity of the Clone Wars time period, TCB was effectively a soft reboot of sorts or even a third official universe. Filmic G-canon is now being expanded to include the future films and publications, while the entire EU can be thought of as being demoted to S-canon with respect to the newly expanding film universe. Future publications may refer to previous EU-canon continuity and elevate it into the new film canon (thus "restoring" it to a higher canon status).

It just seems like they are handling Star Wars publications the right way now, the way it always should have been handled in the first place but never was. To me, that's a breath of fresh Naboo air.
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Quetzacotl
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Source?
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aegisflashfire
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was posted on Star Wars.com and official SW Facebook page
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm neither surprised or bothered by this. To be honest, It's really been that way since the beginning. Lucas never felt that he was Or should have been constrained by what was in the EU. I pretty much expected that the new films would ignore any of the EU they wished.

Of course that doesn't mean the new stuff will be any better.We might prefer that the Holiday Special be considered canon rather than what is to come. Shocked
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jmanski
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sadly, we won't know about the new movies until we see them.
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Mikael Hasselstein
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

atgxtg wrote:
Of course that doesn't mean the new stuff will be any better.We might prefer that the Holiday Special be considered canon rather than what is to come. Shocked

I'm not that pessimistic.

I'm of two minds on this. One mind is that I LIKE continuity. I want for the gameworld to be as coherent as possible - I want authors to have done their homework. I want to be able to place the stories I want to tell into a well-fleshed-out gameworld on which my players can rely to not contradict what they know about the SWU without me having to stipulate which sources are canon or non-canon in my games.

On the other hand, there's so much in the EU which is really shoddy. Maybe less so in terms of coherence (I think it's actually fairly remarkable how much continuity there is), and more so in terms of just flat-out BAAAD writing. For example, because my adventures are set it a particular part of the galaxy that I'm fleshing out, I started reading Darksaber because it dealt with one of the characters that is central to my story. But, I've just stopped reading it because it's just that bad.

Also, the discontinuities that do exist tend to relate to the main characters. That's probably a pain for some, but because I want to steer comfortably clear of the main characters, that doesn't really bother me so much.

Finally, I think it's worthwhile to think about what we know about the SWU to be from biased accounting. I'm a social scientist. I find that it's best to think about what we know about the RW to have a lot of discontinuities in it. If you don't want to find discontinuities in stories, you should steer clear of RW history. Wink

In sum, I'm looking forward to the movies, though I am afraid they might wreck some of the sources that I do hang my hat on.
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wildfire
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always picked and chosen carefully which parts of the EU I've included in my games and it seems to have worked well so far as I can craft a fairly cohesive whole that isn't subject to rapid change when some new book or game comes out invalidating something I've already chosen to include.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jmanski wrote:
Sadly, we won't know about the new movies until we see them.

Meh. We already all play in our own versions of the SWU anyways. I'm sure there are old school Trek fans who deny the canonicity of the J.J. Abrams films and stick to their own interpretation.
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cheshire
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:51 pm    Post subject: Re: The Star Wars Canon reset button has been pressed Reply with quote

Whill wrote:

I don't mean to sound insensitive to my fellow SW fans reading this. I know this news may upset a lot of you. Please feel free to bemoan the loss of your favorite EU publication here. All I ask is that you keep in mind that the EU isn't gone. Disney doesn't really have a time machine to change history or erase anything from existence. Your Star Wars library on your book shelf is NOT starting to fade aware like Marty McFly in Back to the Future. The EU still exists in the SW Multiverse, and your personal SW Universe can remain unchanged if you wish. This news has no immediate effect on the beloved EU publications of mine whose continuity remains in existence within my personal SWU.


I think you've hit the nail on the head (as usual). Though there may be a gut reaction against tossing "my personal favorite book," it really isn't tossed. I have a hard time believing that they won't continue to print Zahn's novels, as they're wonderfully entertaining pieces of fiction. My New Republic Era sourcebooks haven't vanished from existence, and regardless of what the new movies might say, I still think that my Criminal Organizations book will be a valuable resources, as will my Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook.

I don't think this announcement really does anything new, other than make explicit what most of us had already deduced. If they are doing new and original story lines (which they have repeatedly said that they are), then they are not doing previously done story lines. The pre-existing stories are those that compose the EU. I wouldn't be surprised to see certain elements used. After all, Zahn invented the planet name Coruscant, and he was delightedly surprised to see it used for EI. I wouldn't bet money on seeing the name "Thrawn" or a Vong invasion, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see EU Easter Eggs now and again.

I won't say "it was fun while it lasted," because 1) not all of it was fun, and 2) the stories I liked still last, even if under a different banner.
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Mikael Hasselstein
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So much also depends on what you like.

Though Whill chewed my rear for suggesting this a few weeks and threads ago (It's cool, pal, I'm not bitter Wink ), I would still defend the notion that many of us would like similar things, and we could probably paper over differences if we had an incentive to do so.

Slightly off topic:
As some of you may have been following, crmcneill and I have been doing a lot of fleshing out of naval warfare. We've had plenty of disagreements, which we have constructively come to consensus on.

I think our incentive of doing so has been to collaborate on what seems to be a project that can be of value as a supplement to help us play our games.

Back on topic:
I think some of the same things can hold true for the EU and NEU (get it? German for new'? Very Happy ) Maybe they'll have good stuff as long as you can grin and bear through the lens flares and characters all being the same age.

I initially had allergic reactions to all and anything prequel. However, as I have gone through the stages of grief, I've come to accept much of it - some of it thanks to Whill's defenses of it over the years. Now, I still have to shut my eyes and ears whenever Jarjar makes an appearance, but I can do this. I also still want kids to stay off my lawn when I see suggestions that the prequel-era ships are better than the rebellion-era ships, but those are small potatoes.

Why can I make it work? Because it answers questions as to why/how the SWU is the way it is. Much of what I object to is actually not substantive but stylistic. Mitochloreans? Clearly just a misunderstanding by magic-deniers. Han shooting second - that's what he was told to say for the New Republic historians. (We all know he really shot first.)

[/rant]
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The Brain
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aegisflashfire wrote:
It was posted on Star Wars.com and official SW Facebook page


But who cares, since they're non-canonical now.
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jmanski
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jmanski wrote:
Sadly, we won't know about the new movies until we see them.

I realize that the newly expanded film universe being more consistent with respect to continuity is only half the battle. The quality of individual films and publications could still suck. But like I said, I'm trying to remain optimistic! They are at least starting off on the right foot with this new publication model.

Mikael Hasselstein wrote:
So much also depends on what you like.

Though Whill chewed my rear for suggesting this a few weeks and threads ago (It's cool, pal, I'm not bitter Wink ), I would still defend the notion that many of us would like similar things, and we could probably paper over differences if we had an incentive to do so.

Are you referring to my reply to your 'we're all here to reach consensus' (or something like that) remark? My apologies for that coming off like a chewing, kind sir. But maybe that is true for a lot of users here. I could be in the minority. Definitely (vehemently) still not all users though, respectfully.

Mikael Hasselstein wrote:
I initially had allergic reactions to all and anything prequel. However, as I have gone through the stages of grief, I've come to accept much of it - some of it thanks to Whill's defenses of it over the years. Now, I still have to shut my eyes and ears whenever Jarjar makes an appearance, but I can do this. I also still want kids to stay off my lawn when I see suggestions that the prequel-era ships are better than the rebellion-era ships, but those are small potatoes.

Why can I make it work? Because it answers questions as to why/how the SWU is the way it is. Much of what I object to is actually not substantive but stylistic. Mitochloreans? Clearly just a misunderstanding by magic-deniers. Han shooting second - that's what he was told to say for the New Republic historians. (We all know he really shot first.)[/rant]

I think you have a wonderful attitude about these things! Jar Jar just doesn't really bother me, but I felt that his role was appropriately reduced in the last two prequels. He starts out as the archetypal Fool in the first one, taking 3PO's place as the film's resident scaredy-cat flailing his arms in the face of danger, then facilitates the rise of Emperor Palpatine, then says "Excuse me" at the beginning of RotS and looks sad at the end.

And then says "Wesa free!" in RotJ. Or that was rather Jar Jar Jr. who will become the main character of the new film trilogy. Wink
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first 4 adult SW novels set in the new canon...


STAR WARS: A NEW DAWN
John Jackson Miller
9/2/14
Set prior to the events of the forthcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels, this novel tells the story of how two of the lead characters of the series, Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, came to cross paths. To tell this important backstory, Miller benefited from contact with series executive producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman, who together ensured this tale will be part of the Star Wars canon of storytelling going forward.

STAR WARS: TARKIN
James Luceno
11/4/14
In our second upcoming novel created in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Tarkin the Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life.

STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE JEDI
Kevin Hearne
January 2015
A thrilling new adventure set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, andófor the first time everówritten entirely from Luke Skywalker's first-person point of view.

STAR WARS: LORDS OF THE SITH
Paul Kemp
March 2015
When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely solely on each other, the Force, and their awesome martial skills to prevail.
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Mikael Hasselstein
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Are you referring to my reply to your 'we're all here to reach consensus' (or something like that) remark? My apologies for that coming off like a chewing, kind sir. But maybe that is true for a lot of users here. I could be in the minority. Definitely (vehemently) still not all users though, respectfully.

That would be the instance. Smile
I agree that there are some members who seem to take particular delight in being contrarian.

Anyway, I'll stick to my guns regarding the spirit of my statement, even if I'll back off the absolute letter of it. I don't think we come here in order to have visions which are contrary - we would like to find common ground. We're just somewhat bull-headed about what that should be. We would prefer others to come around to our own point of view, but given that that's a common affliction, and there's little incentive to change our own points of view because there doesn't seem to be too much for most of us to collaborate on.

I've just been delighted to find a few people here who do seem to be good at collaboration towards a common construction of the SWU.
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