Fates Of Characters & “Canon”: A Really Short Commentary

The most recent novel in Del Rey’s post-2014 continuity reveals the fate of a particular prequel character. You can go look it up if you want. I haven’t read the book and don’t intend to. In any case, I suppose it is funny that it’s “canon” this particular character survived as long as he did, past the OT era, though I’ve noticed some complaints as to where this character ended up. All my humble opinion is that if it’s in a book, it just doesn’t matter. For now the movies can’t contradict this storyline but you have to remember, a company owns Star Wars now and what’s canon today outside of Lucas’s six movies may not be “canon” tomorrow. Since 1977, Lucasfilm has deep-sixed at least two tracks of outside-the-movies canon. The whole Marvel run from 1977 to 1986 was declared apocrypha. “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” is apocrypha. The Brian Daley Han Solo books are apocrypha. So are the L. Neil What’s His Name Lando Calrissian books. I don’t even think “The Star Wars Holiday Special” was ever “canon.” Those crazy kids’ books with Trioculus, Han’s floating house and the Space Pirate Boogie, Mount Yoda, and Ken The Fresh Jedi Prince of Bel Air? Not canon either, even if they started after the second wave of “canon” that arrived with “Heir To The Empire” and “Dark Empire.” Dark Horse’s stuff superceded Marvel’s stuff, while Marvel has chosen to reboot the entire comic world timeline when it got the ball back in 2015. Bantam’s stuff overrode the paperbacks of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The second wave was based on West End Games’s roleplaying game, which isn’t canon anymore either. The prequels actually made a lot of the stuff produced post 1990 inaccurate or obsolete. Various episodes of the Clone Wars freely contradicted various books and comics, much to EU fans’ annoyance. Then it was reboot time again in 2014.

All it takes is another company purchase, corporate merger, or changing of the guards within the company to open the possibility again of “rebooting” the books and comics. Someone decides the way things are going are not to that person’s liking and poof, everything changes. If book sales were to slump, the suits are going to demand changes to bring sales back up again. It’s just how it is.

So when you read these things, read them for your own enjoyment and don’t get too invested in them.

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34 Responses to “Fates Of Characters & “Canon”: A Really Short Commentary”

  1. Marshall Says:

    In my not so humble opinion, anything that was produced when Lucas was in charge – whether it’s books, games, comics, TV shows/specials, etc.- is “canon” to me even when it wasn’t canon to Lucas. At least he still had the final say on most projects. Anything after that I avoid because it’s going to suffer from too many head honchos calling the shots on what’s canon and what isn’t and as Jar Jar once said, “dis is nutsy”. And if Disney decides to reboot SW every five years, then I might as well throw my hands up and say, “my give up. My give up.”

    • Pedro Felipe Says:

      Yeah, this is exactly how I feel. And the movies are not immune to this as one might think, which scares the hell off of me, just look at what they’ve done with spider man.

  2. joe Says:

    an example of a retcon was the fate of even piell he was killed off post episode 3 then came the clone wars arc with tarkin and he was killed off there fan weren’t happy about it

  3. Branislav Marček Says:

    Episodes I through VI, Lucas´s story treatments for Episodes VII, VIII and IX, The Clone Wars and the undproduced Star Wars: Underworld scripts are THE ONLY AND TRUE CANON, as far as I´m concerned.

    Disney/Lucasfilm, can keep their fake VII-IX and the rest of their apocrypha that they call “canon”.

  4. Dusan Sostaric Says:

    well, it is true that the books and comics can get de-canonised easier than the movies or the tv shows.

    but the irony is that the books and comics since 2014 are purer Star Wars than the two new movies in my opinion.

  5. rynnbowers Says:

    I totally agree with what you wrote. As much as I hate to say it, star wars ended with episode VI and the original EU as it was pre-disney is still canon to me. Even though most of it contradicts some things it was and still is a significant part of the star wars mythos. Honestly I was pissed when I found out disney declared the EU non canon along with basically anything that didnt happen on film except for what they chose going forward. As an aspiring and potential writer/author it pains me to know all the time, effort, and creativity on the part of all the contributors to the original EU doesn’t exist now or isnt considered a part of the greater fiction it was created to accompany. Either way though I agree I dont plan on reading anything published to the new canon because I dont view episodes VII-IX as anything other than glorified fan fiction.

  6. Terri Paxton Says:

    😦 Actually Not true about the Bantam era overriding the previous novels. For instance, Ann Crispin’s Han Solo trilogy took Brian Daley’s novels into account and interwove them in story. She also mentioned events of the Lando trilogy. When Del Rey took over they (reluctantly apparently) continued the same timeline. Even classic Marvel events were woven in, if they didn’t contradict (Shira/Brie, Lumiya returns in Fate of the Jedi.)
    In fact, had they decided to stick ‘in that timeline’ the actors were right at the age the book left off and in all probability movie fans would to not have complained a bit. They didn’t need ‘Jaina Solo’s’ whole back story to enjoy the female hero.

    All they did by not doing that is infuriate long time fans who were told (and you can see it on some of the older books ‘Must read prequel to Revenge of the Sith, says Labyrinth of Evil) that the stories mattered. And they did, to some extent, to Lucas or he’d not have taken Aayla, Vos and the name Coruscant from the stories.

    In fact, all they had to do to calm the fans was give a wrap up. They didn’t do that: they left hanging storylines. For this reason I’ve no reason to give their stories a shot. At least the EU never committed character assassination. Han and Leia stayed together. Leia was Chief of State AND Jedi Knight (she left General back in the OT era and it does say she was one then) and Luke a successful Master at restoring the Order.

    • Marshall Says:

      That’s true Terri. When the Clone Wars first premiered, Lucas never said than any of the previous EU CW material was obsolete. Fans could enjoy both if they wanted more CW stories. Lucasfilm always reprinted/re-released old material to introduce to new generations.

  7. joe Says:

    and leia did become a jedi which we’ll never see in the new canon thanks a lot disney

    • joe Says:

      sorry i must have missed the mentioning of leia becoming a jedi which should have happened in the new canon

  8. davidbreslin101 Says:

    I suspect that Lucas himself would’ve had to ignore most of the EU material set post RotJ. Maybe more sensitively than Disney did, but still, scripting an Ep VII that didn’t contradict ANY of it would be like writing with your arms in a straightjacket. Half the audience would already know your key plot reveals via websites mining the EU for spoilers, and the other half would be thoroughly confused by the reams of missing backstory.

    • Steven Farmer Says:

      Actually, given what all was going on in the EU at the time, that’s probably not true. Though TCW was beginning to go out of its way to contradict previously established continuity, its story material was already beginning to show up in Legends. The final Legends series, FOTJ, very strongly tied into the Mortis Trilogy with its main villain, and the books began introducing the possibility that Anakin had failed to fulfill his destiny as the Chosen One. None of that would have gone through without Lucas’ approval. You add in the fact that TCW was planning on bringing the Vong into the main canon, the elevation of Allana Solo as a main character, and the fact that Lucas was looking to cast leads as young as teenagers point to the likelihood that he was setting the stage for a new trilogy, and he was using the EU and TCW to do it. Sadly, we will probably never know what that would have looked like.

  9. Keith Palmer Says:

    So far as “character fates” go, I’d been trying to tell myself you can’t say “this couldn’t happen in this story,” but can only ask whether it seems to have been established sufficiently for yourself… but I do have to admit my reaction to what I’ve heard of late is more “there’s good company so far as accusations of ‘character assassination’ go.”

    I’ve also tried telling myself “you can’t ask for respect for the story you like while casually dismissing stories other people like”… the problem there is all the times I remember running into the “Expanded Universe” being invoked in the same breath as prequel dismissal. I have to admit to having read the Star Wars novels once upon a time, but maybe “books based on movies” had seemed too much a “guilty pleasure” to me, and the extent to which fan discussions in the second half of the 1990s seemed to pack a lot of “accusing every other novel of not following Zahn’s apparently self-evident lead” might have only laid the groundwork for not coming back to any of the Star Wars novels once I had been lucky enough to run across a few positive fans able to present the movies as something more interesting than “the mere nucleus of an ever-continuing story.”

  10. joe Says:

    of course chewie died in the old canon so each one has positives and neagatives

    • Marshall Says:

      The difference between Chewie’s death and Han’s death is that Chewie’s was more emotional. After helping a dying planet’s inhabitants onto a freighter, Chewie aggressively tosses the youngest Solo child on, then turns toward the imploding sun and howls defiantly ending his life debt to Han. The EU also showcases the subsequent grief and guilt of the Solo/Skywalker clans after Chewie’s death. Then there was a “commemorative” comic with new stories about Kashyyk’s most famous wookie as told by those who knew and loved him best. Han’s death in TFA, on the other hand, left fans cold because he didn’t do anything of significance. And the characters’ reactions to his death left audiences underwhelmed.

      • joe Says:

        good point

      • Pedro Felipe Says:

        Which tells you something about the quality of the storytelling in the new movies…

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Han should’ve been honored better. Obi-Wan didn’t get a funeral either but at least time was spent showing Luke being sad about it.

      • Branislav Marček Says:

        And his death was also an important part of the story moving forward.

      • Hoggle Says:

        What would PT posters do with the follow up to TFA’s could be an interesting thread.

        I guess i would make it that because Leia has not been able to forgive Anakin/Darth, that is what has thrown everything into chaos post RotJ, & she has forgotten who she is half of the time, become a zealot rebel without a cause & that is what drove Han & their son away. It also diminished Luke & the Jedi’s connection to the force, which is why they got wiped out, & he was on a mission trying to find out the reason for the losing of the force when he fell into a deep sleep, where ever he has been. That would be my summary of TFAs for TLJ.

        For TLJ i would make it that Rey starts having visitations of Padme, this is what actually woke Luke up, when he awoke to go and meet Rey. Ben meets up with Darth Vader, as undead Sith armies invade the galaxy, but also starts dreaming of Anakin visiting him who tells him the Palpatine has built up an army with his powers from the undead neatherworld of the Sith, where all the Siths that ever were have proclaimed him as ruler, with his promise of escaping their grey lifeless abode, in regaining acces in taking over the galaxy. Leia’s anger with Anakin was so great, that it reached Palpatine & he was able to cast a spell on Leia, which in turn has thrown the galaxy out of balance to the force to the neatherworlds.

        Leia is tracking down Ben/Kylo, after finding out the horrible details of Han’s death, and has nearly cornered him, when he leads a group of the Knights of Ren, and saves a world or resistance force, from an attack of the undead Sith armies when they launch their offensive to take over the galaxy. Kylo’s forces are wiped out and his fate is unknown. This occurred after a dream sequence featuring him and Anakin.

        This wakes something up within Leia, and she starts to have flashbacks of her pre-galactic head of the guardians past with Anakin her second. i could blah blah abit more about something like that, but will leave it in case there is a thread for such discussions in the future. Something like that, combines quite a few elements (in different circumstances) of what i would do in a fan fic ST, TFAs or not.

  11. joe Says:

    of course some fans don’t consider the new jedi order and everything post rotj in the old eu canon

  12. joe Says:

    should have said everything from new jedi order and after in the old eu post rotj were considered non canon by many

  13. joe Says:

    just heard that rebels will be back for a fourth season hopefully there will be more ties to the prequel trilogy and the clone wars

  14. jayoungr Says:

    This is why I’m really starting to dislike franchises on principle.

  15. Hoggle Says:

    Best wishes to major PT alumni Natalie Portman & her family, as she has recently had a baby girl 👸

    A Fabulous Padme and a major anchor to the tonal depth outcome of GL’s PTs star wars saga.

  16. joe Says:

    anyone seen tonight’s episode of rebels i won’t spoil it as you know mon mothma was in it but the biggest treat was that she was voiced by genevieve o’ reilly reprising her role from revenge of the sith and rogue one

  17. Moose Says:

    Disney better not change too much when it comes to what is canon in their own books or their movies will come crumbling down. In George’s era the books seemed like extra entertainment, now they seem like homework (“Before Thursday’s midnight premiere, read these three comics and those two novels”).

    • lazypadawan Says:

      They’re making it sound like that anyway.

      • Moose Says:

        Speaking of books, sometimes I get the feeling that TFA was set up like the first twenty or so pages of a choose-your-adventure novel (“If you think Rey’s parents are the Lo-Bot and Queen Jamilla, turn to page 45” or “If you think Maz found the lightsaber in Watto’s shop, turn to page 62”). Almost like Abrams and Kasdan did not have time to map it all out, so they just gave us the basics and decided to leave the rest up to Rian Johnson (or some post-TFA focus group).

      • lazypadawan Says:

        I loved Choose Your Own Adventure.

  18. senatorbinks27 Says:

    Even the old EU was supposed to be pick-and-choose “If you liked it and it doesn’t contradict the movies, you can believe it happened. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to.” I feel like even fans of the old EU have lost sight of it.

    I still choose to think of the Disneyverse this way. There are things I genuinely like, and I feel the FOUNDATION is strong, but they don’t flesh it out enough and the details they DO give are samey and cynical.

    • Marshall Says:

      Your comment reminds me of an age-old quote: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is the attitude many EU fans like myself feel towards the new EU.

  19. LadyJediScientist (@LJediScientist) Says:

    Very nice piece, LP.

    My take on the Disney AU is if I like it, then I will enjoy it. If I don’t like it, then I won’t bother with it. I enjoyed and still enjoy the EU more because it moved the narrative forward and made the Star Wars universe larger. The EU was also fun and crazy.

    The Disney AU, at least post ROTJ, does not appear to be as fun, whimsical or crazy as when George was still in charge of Lucasfilm. Disney can call it canon for their own purposes-mainly for marketing- but if it’s not from George’s head, then I won’t worry about it. I will just watch Rebels and be content.

  20. joe Says:

    for me the six films rogue one the clone wars rebels are canon in general this happens with big franchises star trek and doctor who have had numerous books comics video games short stories a lot of which don’t connect then there’s dc and marvel not helped by the numerus retcons reboots and contradictions continuity snarls it’s confusing

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