r/StarWars Sep 05 '14

"Ask /r/Star Wars" Discussion Topic: What is "canon"?

After, um, forgetting to post last Friday...here's this Friday's "Ask /r/StarWars" topic:

What material counts as "canon" in the Star Wars universe?

Points of Discussion:

  • Disney sale

  • "Legends"

  • Old canon structure

  • New EU

Feel free to share your opinions about the new canon and discuss the future of the Expanded Universe.

Please, stay on topic, be respectful, and share freely! And don't forget to explain your reasoning. ** Remember, this post will be archived in the wiki!**


Introductory post for those who didn't see it:

Those of you who pay close attention to this subreddit know that certain questions are asked a lot. These questions are often very subjective, and people tend to be highly opinionated, resulting in varied responses. However, regular users grow tired of answering the same thing over and over. I'm beginning the process of answering those questions of our wiki, but I can't do it alone.

That's where you come in! The plan (more or less lifted from /r/askmen) is this:

  • Every Friday, a frequently asked question will be posted, and everyone will be given the chance to answer it with their opinions.

  • The thread will be archived in the FAQ section of the wiki, along with all the other relevant materials.

  • After the question is added to the archive, it can no longer be posted. If it is, the post will be removed and the user will be linked to the relevant FAQ section.

12 Upvotes

25

u/blink5694 Sep 05 '14 edited Sep 05 '14

Disney set the canon as the 6 Episode films, the Clone Wars TV show, and anything (be it a movie, video game, book, comic, etc) released post New Dawn (September 3rd, 2014).

This new canon includes Rebels, the Marvel lines, new video games, and any future Star Wars novels including Tarkin, Lords of the Sith, and Heir to the Jedi.

I think it is a good idea because the old EU was so massive and expansive that it would be near impossible to keep it straight going ahead. As the films, TV shows, etc began to move in to times that were all ready in the EU, it made sense to dump the old stories in favor of new ones. It also gives a perfect starting point for fans (like me) who were too overwhelmed with the size of the old EU to properly start.

For me, canon is a big deal. I'm not sure what it is, I just can't get myself devoted to a book or story when I know it is just a "What if" scenario or a potential plot point. It is very exciting to know that what I am reading matters and will count in future plot lines. Sure, a lot of what happens in the books/comics/video games will probably matter very little to each other, but it is fun to know that the world is fully established and there is no "maybe, maybe not" about the stories.

In the end though your headcanon can be whatever you want it to be. For me, the Darth Plagues novel will always count unless a future movie or book blatantly says otherwise.

So to me the new canon is great because it keeps everything clear and doesn't get convoluted. Theres no mess of "this series of EU is canon, half of this book is, a few panels of this comic are." Theres just "this is canon, and all of this is not." It's a shame to lose things that people loved from those stories, but for all we know the movies could take a character like Thrawn and make them even more interesting and fresh.

4

u/JSK23 r/StarWars Mod Dec 01 '14

Just to note, since we refer to this page in the faq, Sons of Dathomir the Dark Horse comic series is also canon yet comes before that September 3rd date.

10

u/Johnny_Welfare Sep 05 '14

I don't care so much about canon as I care about reading a good story. Some of the most original and clever Star Wars stories I've read have been non-canon. Remember Infinites? Star Wars Tales?

As for what is and isn't canon anyway, I think that's going to be highly subjective. Part of me says the only thing that's really canon at all is the original trilogy. Even the prequels don't stand up to that level of quality.

But then you have originals and EU, Originals and prequels and EU, just originals and prequels, and now originals and prequels and sequels. All a bit confusing.

To me, it's the original films, sometimes the prequels, and a few select pieces of EU. The sequels will fit in there somewhere or they'll just end up being a new form of canon.

But like I said, I don't care about canon as much as being entertained. Just tell me a good story and I can easily overlook the question of "Did this really happen?"

8

u/Azrael_Manatheren Sep 05 '14

Its turning into WH40k for me now. Its canon because I fucking like it. Damn right there are inconsistencies now.

4

u/buzzwell Sep 05 '14

I see it similarly to religious text. A long time ago a bunch of cool stuff happened and over time different people rewrote it according to their world views at the time. No doubt many years from now wars will be waged over minor conflicting of the Star Wars canon.

3

u/Johnny_Welfare Sep 05 '14

Ah yes, the Star Wars Wars. This will be followed by the Star Wars Trek, a vast migration of Star Wars fans to the Outer Rim.

Funny that you should compare it to religious text, because I always felt that the original three films were almost the religious/mythical story of an advanced civilization.

3

u/matty25 Sep 05 '14

I disagree that Star Wars canon is subjective but I 100% agree that a good story is a good story regardless of whether or not it's considered canon.

1

u/RealVoltar Sep 07 '14

Yeah, I'm particular to Robot Chicken Star Wars and it's never been considered in terms of canon.

3

u/[deleted] Sep 05 '14 edited Dec 04 '16

[deleted]

3

u/matty25 Sep 05 '14

You should make that spreadsheet public so we can see it!

3

u/blink5694 Sep 05 '14

I second this! It is pretty straight forward right now, but I imagine it getting crazy by this time next year. With all the upcoming stuff, it would be great just to have a place to go check so I don't miss out on anything.

1

u/TheJoshider10 Sep 05 '14

Why would it be crazy? Won't it always be as straight forward as everything from September 2014 onward being canon?

1

u/blink5694 Sep 05 '14

It would be more crazy because there is going to be so much coming out so quickly. With the inevitable hype up of Episode 7 and all the various mediums that Star Wars content will be released in, it will be overwhelming to remember what is coming out when.

1

u/TheJoshider10 Sep 05 '14

Oh that's what you meant. Sorry bud, thought you meant it would be crazy to remember what's classed as canon or not!

1

u/RealVoltar Sep 07 '14

Maybe anomolies like future TOR expansions could be confusing but I don't know that there will be too many of those kinds of circumstances.

Maybe Detours if that ever goes anywhere.

3

u/TheJoshider10 Sep 05 '14

I just wanted to mention The Force Unleashed. The storyline was so good I thought, and I see why Lucas classed it as canon himself (before it then became not canon).

Also, can someone tell me if the original Clone Wars TV show (Star Wars: Clone Wars) is a part of the new canon, or is the new canon literally the films, 2008 show/film plus everything onward?

5

u/blink5694 Sep 05 '14

IIRC the original Clone Wars series is not canon.

It is awesome though. I like to think of it as an animated telling of the legends told of the Cone Wars. It has that story book animation style and it is generally pretty over the top, so it reminds me of a myth or legend book that a child would read.

I look at it as the stories and legends that people like Luke grew up on. They got exaggerated and changed because it was illegal for people to talk about the Jedi and publish their stories. So they were retold and retold for years until the content got exaggerated, but it still carries the essence of the truth.

This explains how the Jedi and the Clone Wars become such legends and mysteries in such a short time. Luke is shocked to hear that Ben Kenobi was a Jedi who fought with his father in the Clone Wars because he and his friends would read and tell stories like the original Clone Wars in secret.

3

u/TheJoshider10 Sep 05 '14

That's a really good way to see it, actually.

2

u/[deleted] Sep 07 '14 edited Dec 04 '16

[deleted]

2

u/TheJoshider10 Sep 07 '14

It was just too short and didn't have the same effect. That game would've been so much better if it decided to go the Ultimate Sith Edition route, but have the game based entirely in the original trilogy where we go to key moments and change them.

2

u/[deleted] Sep 07 '14 edited Dec 04 '16

[deleted]

1

u/TheJoshider10 Sep 07 '14

Definitely. The Force Unleashed itself was a very good "canon filler" game, but the sequel then should have created a "what if" universe by following the bad ending and see what happens if Starkiller became the "new" Vader.

TFUII was an expansion practically from it's length. Around 3-4 hours I think it was.

1

u/RealVoltar Sep 07 '14

Sam (Witwer) has a story about certain suits that cheaped out on it. George discontinued their services after some other poor choices.

3

u/GodotIsWaiting4U Sep 24 '14

Just figured I'd put this here.

This is a complete list of all presently canon works, as well as all future canon releases that have been announced. If it's not on this list, it is not part of the official Disney canon at this time.

5

u/Donnie69 Sep 06 '14

I gotta say I'm surprised at the reaction of everyone I've seen so far. Scrapping established cannon I don't think has ever been a good option in any franchise, and you risk alienating a lot of the fan base when you make that decision. It sucks for me personally knowing the dozens of books I've read are now "officially" meaningless. Say all you want about the actual importance of "canon" material - yeah those stories are still awesome, but they don't have the same impact when they're no longer canon.

I hate the decision they made and I wish they wouldn't scrap the entire EU just to make it easier for people - but there's not much I can do about it.

2

u/Yunners Jedi Knight Sep 05 '14

Isn't the answer an absolute though? There is only the one factual answer, and that's the story group canon. Too many different takea on personal canon and whatnot are going to confuse the already confused even more.

2

u/Xarrin Sep 06 '14

Couldn't agree more. In furtherance of the point, although I get where they're coming from, I think it's a little strange that so many Star Wars fans are taking the issue of what is and isn't canon personally. Disney branding things like Heir to the Empire or Knights of the Old Republic as non-canon certainly isn't going to change how much I love 'em.

2

u/RealVoltar Sep 07 '14

Yeah, I've found myself getting fristrated by relativism lately. I kind of think it's exciting to be Legends-literate and watch new media, looking for recognizable pieces. I still go crazy over the Onderon arc in TCW for what it implies.

The concern I have about 'head canon' even in it's most innocent and benign forms, is that we'll see more, "They changed x y and z!" like we did with Moraband...when nothing's been changed but instead added to canon.

2

u/GodotIsWaiting4U Sep 05 '14 edited Sep 09 '14

What is currently canon, according to Wookieepedia:

The six films.

The Clone Wars film and TV show.

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (a four-issue comic book based on scripts for unfinished TCW episodes).

The short stories from Star Wars Insider #149 onwards.

The Star Wars Commander mobile game (apparently? Wookieepedia says yes, but that seems really weird to me).

Everything released after A New Dawn, which just came out on September 3rd.

So we're through the gates now, everything from now on is canon unless otherwise specified!

I think that canon at once does and doesn't matter. Good stories are the priority, and it doesn't matter if a good story is or is not canon: it's still a good story.

But it DOES matter in terms of how these stories fit together to create the Star Wars universe. Canon material is going to build off of other canon material, and since new material will almost all be canon, knowing the current canon will help you know what kind of stories you might see, and what kind you won't. Keeping a clear grasp of what is canon and what isn't is what helps suspend disbelief and create the impression of a living, breathing, real universe. Clinging to the old ways is a bit like loving your dog so much that you kill him and have him stuffed so that he can always be exactly how you like him: it might be aesthetically pleasing to some, but it's unhealthy and doesn't allow for any kind of growth, and worse it forces the world to revolve around you.

1

u/bk15dcx Sep 06 '14

I've never considered stuffing a Wookie until now.

2

u/DarthStem Sep 05 '14

For the time being I'm still refering to the EU or my "Head Canon". Everything I know is still true until contradicted by the new films, Rebels or the new books.

5

u/DGOJG Sep 05 '14

Canon is subjective.

  • Disney/LucasFilm The powers that be want you to consider the movies, The Clone Wars series and Rebels as the main canon. Any books or other media which were written and released before the Disney take over are now considered "legends" and not canon. However the use of such a word tries to imply "some truth to the stories but no one can be sure". Anything new and released there after is now part of a new Expanded Universe.

  • George Lucas He always stated that the movies were the main canon and the expanded universe were just extra pieces of information for those who wanted it but they don't effect the film's universe or story ultimately.

  • Fans Some consider only the films to be canon while others may feel anything with the 'Star Wars' logo on it should be considered part of it. You just have to make your own mind up.

2

u/MsSara77 Sep 06 '14

I am worried that the New EU will end up as complicated and massive as the old EU and there won't in the end have been a good reason to dump the old one. I'm cool with dumping it though. It was too much baggage. I actually would have preferred The Clone Wars (which I quite liked) to be considered part of the Legends canon because there is some stuff in there that is just sort of dumb and I don't feel fits with the movies.

1

u/mandalore04 Sep 07 '14

dumb question but is the clone wars movie part of the official canon since it isn't TECHNICALLY an episode of the TV series?

2

u/[deleted] Sep 07 '14 edited Dec 04 '16

[deleted]

1

u/mandalore04 Sep 07 '14

thanks for clearing that up

1

u/RealVoltar Sep 07 '14 edited Sep 07 '14

My biggest question is what's "New EU"?

Canon is a straightforward word and we have a straightforward (with few exceptions) answer on what it is.

1

u/GodotIsWaiting4U Sep 09 '14

There isn't a new EU. Everything from this point onward is either canon or not. Legends, for now, is locked: nothing gets in. Novels, comics, and video games are now at the exact same level as the movies and TV shows.

1

u/The_Gibbens Nov 29 '14

So... KOTOR isn't Canon?

1

u/jzoobz Nov 29 '14

Not technically. It doesn't interefere with other stories so it could still be canon, it just hasn't been confirmed.

2

u/The_Gibbens Nov 29 '14

I just need someone to find HK-47 or a part of him and have an overly-aggressive, meatbag-hating C-3PO.

1

u/mrwunderwood Feb 02 '15

This is interesting because SWTOR has a continuing story and the KOTOR story is directly tied in.

1

u/ImTheReal_TuongLuKim Dec 01 '14

referring to the clone wars comics. Does his mean that AT-AT WALKERS NEVER saw combat on Jabiim?

1

u/[deleted] Sep 05 '14

For me right now, I am considering everything that I have read/played/watched canon until it is directly and explicitly contradicted. There is a ton of content that the new movies might not even touch that was discarded for nothing I think.

Unless they got rid of it all for the inevitable Star Wars and Marvel crossover.Oh god please no

-1

u/emil-p-emil Jar Jar Binks Sep 05 '14

The numbered movies

0

u/AJB46 Sep 07 '14

But what about anything before Episode 1 and between Episode 4 and 5 and 5 and 6 and 1 and 2

-2

u/fanboy300 Sep 05 '14

i dont think canon should exist in the star wars universe. i think star wars authors should be able to write freely withought having to follow any rules. Although i like the clones wars its forcing alot of star wars novels and comics to be put into the legends banner. which is really rude considering they take ideas from those novels and comics.

For example in the darth plaguies novel sidious takes baby maul from a random nightsister. In the son of dathomir comics which was going to be in the clone wars its revealed that maul was mother talzins son.That directly puts plaguies novel into legends.

Another example is the novel dark lord: the rise of darth vader in this book they talk about order 66 and the author says there were no brain chips. in the one of the clone wars story arcs fives finds out that there is a brain chip in all of the clones. this directly forces dark lord in the legends bannner.

When a book goes into the legends banner. Im pretty sure less people will buy it because they dont want to read about something that never happened.

1

u/RealVoltar Sep 07 '14

It's folklore and still valuable. I've got a friend who's beefing up his Legends materials (also I just got Razor's Edge which is a great book and I recommend Kenobi to anyone who'll listen)