By: Amelia Luise
The long-expected and long-dreaded news has hit: The new Star Wars films will deviate from the Expanded Universe’s canon and produce an independent story.
Many fans predicted no less when news hit in Autumn of 2012 that Disney would be producing a new Star Wars film trilogy. With hundreds and hundreds of novels, junior novels, comics, and more, it seemed next to impossible for new films to stick to this former coherent universe when there would be thousands of fans never touching a single piece of the Expanded Universe.
Then came the news in early 2014 that a story-group was formed, to create the universe of Star Wars into one canon. Many worried that this meant a discard to the Expanded Universe, though it may be argued (as this writer both personally suspected and hoped) that what it means is they are molding the universe into one canon. While formerly the six films were at the top of the canon hierarchy, followed by the Clone Wars television show, then the novels and comics, then the stories and games, there was and is the possibility that the story-group’s purpose is to remove ranks and bring equality among everything that will remain canon.
“While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe,” the official report from StarWars.com stated. In no way are they insuring a full-out retcon, nor are they declaring the Expanded Universe to be, like Abrams’s Star Trek films, an alternate reality from the “official” canon. As the wise one once said, “always in motion, the future is.” While this does bring the potential that the Expanded Universe will shift to being an alternate universe, there also is the potential that details kept and details changed will not be major enough to fully erase the Expanded Universe, but rather reinterpret details. After all, there were novels written prior to the release of the Prequel Trilogy that had their details contradicted. Yet they didn’t become alternate realities, or retconned, but rather seen as being written from a different perspective. One need look no further than Wookieepedia’s explanation of canon to understand this:
To understand canon and continuity, the overall Star Wars saga should be looked at as a set of stories written by many different people which "document" past "events." Although some stories are more reliable than others, they all are looked upon as part of the overall "history." It should also be remembered that all of these stories are simply that—stories. There are numerous errors that inevitably arise between the stories simply because different authors have their own ways of telling the story and may not have the time and resources to perfectly align the details. This site deals with non-canon material by putting red text notification above the non-canon items.
The situation can be compared to Greek and Roman mythology, or the stories of King Arthur. The various Star Wars tales are a group of separate but linked stories, and are told by many different authors over a period of time.
Much like the history of our world, details will be interpreted and therefore written differently by different people. While this writer has no guarantee what is to become of the Expanded Universe, she wants to remind fans that we don’t fully know yet what actually will happen. If some things are contradicted, we may look at it as though different people viewed historical events from different perspectives. What details we choose to accept if this be the case, ultimately come down to what another wise man once said: “Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization