The case for Clone Wars as canon

Reposted from my LiveJournal:

The question of what’s canon, or an official factual happening in the SW universe, is a tricky one in fandom. Everybody accepts that the six SW films are canon. But with a huge and growing secondary market of SW-related media, all of it having to fall into some sort of continuity, it can be difficult for fans to suss out what’s a “true” part of the SW saga or what’s apocrypha. After all, most SW fans are not fan fiction people like us who can read and enjoy a story that’s not really part of the mythos whether it sticks close to canon or not. Part of what drives most people to buy SW novels, games, and comics is that they consider those things additions to the SW story.

Lucasfilm has tried to sort things out, particularly since not everything produced ended up being consistent with what is in the films, by stating that the six films are canon but everything else is “expanded universe.” Sounds like a simple rule, but there is a netherworld inhabited by things like the radio show adaptations that contain additional scenes or movie novelizations.

Now we’re thrown a new curve ball with two television shows and a theatrical release outside of the six episodes. What is this new Clone Wars then? Is it canon or the most they’ve ever invested into expanded universe material?

My answer is, it’s canon. Why? Here are my reasons:

1. George Lucas’s involvement

A lot of fans seem to be confused and uninformed about the degree to which Papa George is involved with expanded universe stuff. The general answer is, not very much. Especially not since the mid-1990s or so. That’s why there is a division of people under the licensing umbrella whose job it is to keep the publishing program running. Only on occasion do they go running to him to get approval for things. Otherwise, you probably know a lot more about the Yuuzhan Vong invasion and the fact Darth Krayt was once A’Sharad Hett than he does.

But this is different. He has been personally involved since Day One, making special care to ensure this stays as true as possible to what SW is. He’s probably had a lot of input on what goes on in the scripts and how things are put together on the screen (for instance, it was his idea to give Anakin a padawan and he has been heavily involved in the editing process). I’m guessing he will do the same with the live action show once that gets off the ground. Why put in that much effort if this is just another licensed venture?

Before you say, “Lucas didn’t write it or direct it,” well, he didn’t write or direct TESB and ROTJ either and they definitely are canon.

2. They wouldn’t put a movie on the big screen, hire some of the film actors to reprise their roles, and crank out a zillion toys for expanded universe now, would they?

Well, you might say, they did more or less the same thing for the upcoming The Force Unleashed. First of all, that’s another debate (“maybe” could be my answer). And secondly, the promo push for CW is bigger than even that of TFU. We’re getting Happy Meals. We’re getting scores of tie-in books. Not to mention school supplies, t-shirts, upcoming video games, and loads and loads of toys, all bearing new CW packaging. There’s a new soundtrack. There’s Warner Bros. spending $$ on promoting this thing. It’s definitely a difference from even Shadows of the Empire in 1996. It’s an awful lot of money and effort to promote something that doesn’t matter to the SW storyline if it’s not canon.

3. Why not?

Just because it’s animated doesn’t mean it can’t be part of the SW story. So long as CW doesn’t outright contradict the films, and it probably won’t to any large degree ;), I don’t see why not. Appendices count.

Ultimately, it’s up to Papa George and Lucasfilm to make the determination whether CW is canon or not. Barring some official prouncement otherwise, I’m willing to accept it as part of the saga.

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