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  1. #1

    Canon-Strike III: Star Wars

    The third discussion turns our gaze to the most popular interstellar battle of them all, our sights firmly remaining in the stars and proving that no genre gives us debatable canon discussion more than science fiction does. Star Wars boasts two official canon's to its name, the first was cast across all the content that existed across different forms of media before Disney took control of the franchise, the second is everything that exists after it. However, what is key with Star Wars is that a little like Marvel, little to none of it matters unless it appears in the movies because they remain the beating heart of the franchise and so they don't pay much attention to what occurs outside the big screen efforts.

    With that in mind, we're primarily focused on the movie canon with this thread. It'll be interesting if anyone throws any answers in from comics, books, games etc from the last few years as it'll reflect whether unexplained things in the films are just that or are a reflection of poor film making.

    Stripping back to the films though presents a pretty straightforward franchise canon as this epic, thousands of years long and galaxy wide epic remains resolutely tied to the singular tale of handful of characters.




    There are some obvious canon issues if you look purely at the films. One of the more obvious issues is the one created by Solo whereby there is now a requirement to explain the involvement of Maul. I know that the majority of that thread has been previously explained by the non-movie canon however at least 95% of the audience will have experienced that reveal from a point of it coming out of nowhere and without explanation. There's the argument that it was intended for two more films to follow that would have no doubt explained that arc however you do stray into the territory whereby it negates the need for it to be explained in multiple places and risks contradictions occurring. Given the failure of the film, for most of the movie going audience, Star Wars now has a massive loose thread dangling unexplained.

    But with Star Wars, it's canon is less complex than most, instead it's mostly lacking in depth or context unless you lean heavily on sources outside the films to try and flesh out its world. That doesn't stop it from being controversial however as The Last Jedi proved. Given how widely analysed the latest Episode entry has been we'll start what will be more of a general discussion about the Star Wars canon from that point.

    First there's the obvious two questions:

    -Did Last Jedi ruin the new trilogy arc and betray the character of Luke?
    -How best should Episode IX wrap up the trilogy?

  2. #2
    -No.
    -Hopefully in a strong way. Whatever you think you want is probably wrong.

    As you say, unless it's in a movie, I don't think it was ever really fully canon regardless of what they have said. The EU was sprawling and so varying in quality and I'm willing to bet some of it contradicted the other stuff. Like the bible. So the movies were and likely still are the only true source because I think everything else could be (and was) changed at any point for a movie.

    Solo is an interesting one because, for me, it felt like an EU thing. It was enjoyable but felt more like Rebels or Lego Star Wars than an event Star Wars movie, something Rogue One somehow avoided. I think that cameo was a part of that but it only solidified the feeling rather than creating it.

    It's all there to be enjoyed but I could even see the non-mainline movies being discarded at some point in the future.

  3. #3
    I think the trouble with the new trilogy still seems to be there's little momentum to the arc other than they taking down Kylo, it's a bit like the original trilogy's focus on Vader and Emperor whilst not addressing how the Empire wouldn't disappear overnight. It didn't matter there because of the specific focus of the films but now everything has been expanded much wider it feels primed for ongoing films much more so than wrapped up in one - especially when Kylo is so utterly uncompelling.


    With the Luke aspect in Last Jedi - I still haven't rewatched the film but (I may be missing something) was the intention that Luke was shattering Rey's illusion of Jedi's and him being a legendary hero, the film basically laying out that any Jedi can do what Luke can - he's no chosen one and the hero doesn't need to be 'special' - but after she heads off and leaves him behind he's basically been worn down by her and Yoda and sends his 'space ghost' for that dying face off with Kylo to instead reaffirm his legend? Basically he won't fight but he caves to offering hope.

    I seem to remember the rebels trying to escape where there to see him face down the AT-AT's etc but had gone by the time it's revealed he's not actually present. I may be way off on that as it's not spelled out by the film but it'd seem very Luke-like

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dogg Thang View Post
    As you say, unless it's in a movie, I don't think it was ever really fully canon regardless of what they have said. The EU was sprawling and so varying in quality and I'm willing to bet some of it contradicted the other stuff. Like the bible. So the movies were and likely still are the only true source because I think everything else could be (and was) changed at any point for a movie.
    They were always up-front about this. Lucas was always very clear that although he permitted the EU to exist, that Star Wars was still his, and he could assert that if he chose to do so. People talk about how Disney cut off the EU, but really, the prequel movies did it. Fans went to enormous (read: depressing) lengths to reconcile the differences, but really, once the prequels were out, it was obvious that the EU was going to become less and less relevant as time went on.

    Still, Disney were right to do what they did, from a business perspective. The EU mainly focused on either after Jedi, or long before any of the movies; the prequels mainly over-wrote extraneous details or backstory. However the new trilogy very explicitly replaces the EU; even Rogue One essentially replaces the plot of the Jedi Knight and Force Unleashed games.

    I grew up with the EU, discovering it around the launch of Shadows of the Empire and reading loads of it as a kid. And @Dogg Thang is right, in that the EU is hugely variable in quality because it had so many creatives and teams, spread across different media. Still, I think there's something to be said for a story which is your first exposure to something. I grew up with the original three movies; they were a formative part of my childhood, and as a result the books etc. were an extension of that. I loved the Heir to the Empire trilogy, for example.

    Disney couldn't have made those movies even if they wanted to, though. They needed to be made while the cast was still younger (and, as has sadly progressed, while they were all still living), so I always knew the new movies would be different. Maybe, though, this is why I liked Rogue One so much - because it really felt like an EU movie. It felt like Shadows of the Empire.

    However, the fallout from the new movies has been extreme. I dunno; I generally don't mind if properties I like get repurposed for a new generation, because even when I liked them, they were always a money-making endeavour. I loved Transformers as a kid but as an adult it's obvious that the show was an advert for toys, and while I'm still nostalgic about it, it doesn't bother me that it has moved on.

    But Lucasfilm/Disney should at least recognise that they have, over the last 30 years, fostered Star Wars as a lifestyle brand. They have overseen the construction of a range of products that can encompass every aspect of a fan's life, and expanding the universe across practically all forms of media. As a result, I think this kind of backlash was inevitable, because the company has profited massively off that investment of fans; as a result, to those people, it probably rings hollow when Disney turn around and say "you don't get a say, we own Star Wars". And might we say that those fans should wise up and not place so much stock in a fictional property owned by a major corporation? Absolutely! But people were eager to lap it up and Lucasfilm was eager to keep feeding them.

    That doesn't excuse the daft fan elements that produce things like Twitter death threats, or go on rants due to the presence of more female and non-white characters in the case, of course. That just seems bizarre to me.

    Personally? I'm somewhat done with Star Wars. As I said, I loved Rogue One, I liked Awakens, and the Yoda bit of The Last Jedi was worth the price of admission alone... But I'm not sure when it happened that the launch of a Star Wars film became pedestrian. I still remember seeing Episode 1 in the cinemas, and that opening, glittering Lucasfilm logo had some magic in it.

    I didn't even go see Solo. I probably won't go see Episode IX until after I hear reviews.

    Conversely, I'm going to be waiting in line to see the premiere of Avengers 4. Make of that what you will.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Dogg Thang View Post
    As you say, unless it's in a movie, I don't think it was ever really fully canon regardless of what they have said. The EU was sprawling and so varying in quality and I'm willing to bet some of it contradicted the other stuff. Like the bible. So the movies were and likely still are the only true source because I think everything else could be (and was) changed at any point for a movie.
    They were always up-front about this. Lucas was always very clear that although he permitted the EU to exist, that Star Wars was still his, and he could assert that if he chose to do so. People talk about how Disney cut off the EU, but really, the prequel movies did it. Fans went to enormous (read: depressing) lengths to reconcile the differences, but really, once the prequels were out, it was obvious that the EU was going to become less and less relevant as time went on.

    Still, Disney were right to do what they did, from a business perspective. The EU mainly focused on either after Jedi, or long before any of the movies; the prequels mainly over-wrote extraneous details or backstory. However the new trilogy very explicitly replaces the EU; even Rogue One essentially replaces the plot of the Jedi Knight and Force Unleashed games.

    I grew up with the EU, discovering it around the launch of Shadows of the Empire and reading loads of it as a kid. And @Dogg Thang is right, in that the EU is hugely variable in quality because it had so many creatives and teams, spread across different media. Still, I think there's something to be said for a story which is your first exposure to something. I grew up with the original three movies; they were a formative part of my childhood, and as a result the books etc. were an extension of that. I loved the Heir to the Empire trilogy, for example.

    Disney couldn't have made those movies even if they wanted to, though. They needed to be made while the cast was still younger (and, as has sadly progressed, while they were all still living), so I always knew the new movies would be different. Maybe, though, this is why I liked Rogue One so much - because it really felt like an EU movie. It felt like Shadows of the Empire.

    However, the fallout from the new movies has been extreme. I dunno; I generally don't mind if properties I like get repurposed for a new generation, because even when I liked them, they were always a money-making endeavour. I loved Transformers as a kid but as an adult it's obvious that the show was an advert for toys, and while I'm still nostalgic about it, it doesn't bother me that it has moved on.

    But Lucasfilm/Disney should at least recognise that they have, over the last 30 years, fostered Star Wars as a lifestyle brand. They have overseen the construction of a range of products that can encompass every aspect of a fan's life, and expanding the universe across practically all forms of media. As a result, I think this kind of backlash was inevitable, because the company has profited massively off that investment of fans; as a result, to those people, they probably feel a (mistaken) sense of ownership in the brand. And might we say that those fans should wise up and not place so much stock in a fictional property owned by a major corporation? Absolutely! But people were eager to lap it up and Lucasfilm was eager to keep feeding them.

    That doesn't excuse the daft fan elements that produce things like Twitter death threats, or go on rants due to the presence of more female and non-white characters in the case, of course. That just seems bizarre to me.

    Personally? I'm somewhat done with Star Wars. As I said, I loved Rogue One, I liked Awakens, and the Yoda bit of The Last Jedi was worth the price of admission alone... But I'm not sure when it happened that the launch of a Star Wars film became pedestrian. I still remember seeing Episode 1 in the cinemas, and that opening, glittering Lucasfilm logo had some magic in it.

    I didn't even go see Solo. I probably won't go see Episode IX until after I hear reviews.

    Conversely, I'm going to be waiting in line to see the premiere of Avengers 4. Make of that what you will.

  6. #6
    I mean, I want to say that the diminishing of the SW brand is because they were always events and now they're a conveyer belt like any other franchise but that would ignore that the likes of Marvel succeed because of that mindset, putting out much higher volumes of content too. And for a series of Star Wars stature its gleam was lost fast.

    I think they'd have done better to leave spin-offs till after the current trilogy, use it to gauge interest and what worked with fans and what didn't first.

  7. #7
    Marvel is very different to Star Wars and I think Disney (and we) can't expect the two to work the same. Even back in the day, Star Wars hype was was beginning to drop when Return of the Jedi came out. We remember how big they were but, if you're old enough, do you remember how quickly the figures vanished after that? It didn't hold for long. Interest has seen a resurgence every few years but it seems a tough one to hold on to in any consistent way. And unlike Marvel, where the individual movies seem to add and strengthen, too much Star Wars seems to have a diluting and weakening effect.

    I agree with you that they might have been better to get the current trilogy out before looking at spin-offs. It would have given them more of a chance of retaining that big event feel, which Star Wars seems to need.

  8. #8
    It’s unfair to say that the toys for ROTJ disappeared quickly, the toy line did stay until 1985 which was a good two years after the film. What you also have to consider is that the EU wasn’t present around that time to fuel more figures. The success of the franchise fell directly on the appeal of the film’s and not on a limitless repository of material. ROTJ was huge when I was a kid, arguably the biggest thing around at that time.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dogg Thang View Post
    Even back in the day, Star Wars hype was was beginning to drop when Return of the Jedi came out.
    I mean, I can't dispute people who remember it, but considering I first watched Star Wars as a child circa 1986, it was definitely still a big deal to me!

  10. #10
    I'm not trying to say it wasn't a big deal. It was! But it dropped quickly and noticeably. I mostly remember it represented by the figures because I loved the figures. After Empire, the line grew and grew and the shelf space in toy shops given to it was ridiculous. We couldn't get many of them (poor childhood!) but I loved just looking at them and the figures on the backs of the cards. But with Return of the Jedi, after what was maybe the first wave (going on a child's memory here), the shop space started reducing very quickly. Then playground tales of new figures would spread but, unlike before, they weren't in shops. They would be seen in leaflets that came with toys but because hard to get because that shelf space was dwindling. And yeah, it could have been two years after the film before they were gone completely but it was a slide down to that all the way from the movie release.

    It could have been similar with the prequels but I wasn't quite as invested so I'm not sure. I do remember Ep1 getting a huge explosion of figures and merch and new shelf space and I don't remember that with Ep3 but I'm not going to commit to that because, like I say, I wasn't paying as much attention by then.

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