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Canon; A philosophical question.

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 (Edited)

We've had all manner of canon discussions here over the years.  What is, what isn't, personal, official, etc.  I've jumped in and mine is fairly well documented also. I have my own Personal Canon, but I really only use the term to easily show what part of the franchise I follow.

So many long-running franchises have multiple sources for stories by multiple writers.  Novels, films, games, audio, etc.  In the grand scheme of things, none of this is real.  It seems weird to me to try to claim any of it has some sort of gravitas. 

It is, however, a very big deal to some people. Fan boards have some very strong beliefs and some very heated discussions concerning Official Canon.

The dictionary definition says canon is "a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works".  To me, if it has been released as a film, a novel, or any other form under the license of a franchise, it's canon. Period.  That seems to fly in the face of Lucas, who has some sort of document proclaiming the levels of canon. 

That's completely laughable to me, but not surprising since Lucas has always been a control freak. Not even remotely surprised he would attempt to tell the fan base what's real and what's not real.  Particularly laughable since he made his film stories up as he went along.

I'm curious because I don't care in the least. I read what I like, I ignore the rest.   A question to the board; Do you care about Official Canon, and if so, why?

*edit*

Rereading my post, I realized it may sound like I want to know how someone could be concerned with official canon, as if it were somehow wrong to be so.  It's not at all.  I'm just curious as to why it's different for some fans (concerned, not concerned).

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”

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Nope, don't care at all. I like the original cuts of the OT. If I had to pick a "cannon" that would be it. But I also like a smattering of the EU. The old Han Solo novels, some of the comic books, the Thrawn trilogy, the Jedi Knight video games. But to me it's all just entertainment. It's fun stories featuring characters and locations/environments that I enjoy. I don't take any of it too seriously.

A good example is the silly 90's comic book where Boba Fett fights Darth Vader. I actually like it. It's utterly ridiculous and incredibly corny, and I don't for one second think it fits in with the "film universe". But I like Darth Vader and I like Boba Fett and I think it's a fun idea to see them fight. And the comic did it in a way that, while quite silly, didn't do anything to make me roll my eyes in disgust by changing the central qualities of either character.

So that's about it. The original films are sacred ground. Anything else is fun escapism, so long as it generally fits with the tone and established characterizations of the original films, but mostly doesn't walk all over or completely fly in the face of what came before it (like so much of the prequel stuff did).

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 (Edited)

I used to care about official canon, back when I was naive and actually thought Lucas cared about holding to the EU and his own films.

These days, though, I spit on the very concept; any "canon" which changes on a weekly-to-monthy basis is a canon in name only.

A big chunk of my distaste for "official canon" was also been coloured by the EU completists; they've done nothing but piss and moan about how the Clone Wars has contradicted history established in the EU -- and the same is likely to be true in regards to the ST when it comes out -- but not once did they criticize Lucas for doing the very same thing with the PT. Cognitive dissonant/double standardizing idiots all.

STRANGE

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I aabhor the very concept of fictional canon. It's all fiction.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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I won't watch The Making of Star Wars without the fat man narrating

However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
-Moth3r

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Does his wife sing at the end?

Canon has ruined religion and history. I judge everything by what it does to me at the time I'm experiencing it.

If I revisit it it's a new experience so I have to make a new judgement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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darklordoftech said:

I aabhor the very concept of fictional canon. It's all fiction.

Good point.

In Misery, Annie Wilkes wouldn't accept Paul Sheldon's first attempt at making a sequel. [There is that Lucas/Misery parody, but not what I have in mind.] Maybe all fans should be comfortable with rejecting material without worrying about offending canon.

To some extent, I think we confuse canon with copyright (not just the legal right, but the general belief that a creator is the only legitimate person to decide what exists in his/her fictional world).

Among the Oz books, there are ridiculous inconsistencies - even in just the books written by Baum. That Baum had the only true right to craft the world of Oz was undisputed, but his books do not lend themselves to lasting and consistent rules of how that world works. When later authors try to reconcile inconsistencies, it feels unnatural, trying to make the work fit a canonical ideal.

Back to Star Wars, I think of IV-VI as the only real canon because there was a creative integrity to them, like three chapters of the same book. But in the end, I think you're right, dlotech. Canon in fiction is not an absolute. It's a responsibility of a creator to try to maintain the fiction of canon.

The blue elephant in the room.

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Well I don't care about the "official canon". I regard OT as completely canon. Then there are EU sources that I regards almost completely canon (by that I mean I ignore a few things I don't like within the source) such as KOTOR1/2 SWTOR, JK2 and JKA. And then there are sources from which I mostly only pick the major events and characters (example: Thrawn Trilogy - not that I dislike it, I just never got into it). And lastly there is stuff that I mostly ignore (FU, Dark Empire, PT).

真実

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^great post Mrebo! I agree all the way. Allowing someone else to define your fictional world seems crazy. Even if that person is the creator of said fictional world, it's been put out there for your entertainment and one should be able to use their own imagination to expand the world for themselves- picking and choosing what official product to accept or ignore.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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imperialscum said:

Well I don't care about the "official canon". I regard OT as completely canon. Then there are EU sources that I regards almost completely canon (by that I mean I ignore a few things I don't like within the source) such as KOTOR1/2 SWTOR, JK2 and JKA. And then there are sources from which I mostly only pick the major events and characters (example: Thrawn Trilogy - not that I dislike it, I just never got into it). And lastly there is stuff that I mostly ignore (FU, Dark Empire, PT).

Would you be ok with the ST contradicting the JK series and/or the TOR series? As for me, no matter how much I love something, I have no problem with something else contradicting it. 

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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darklordoftech said:

imperialscum said:

Well I don't care about the "official canon". I regard OT as completely canon. Then there are EU sources that I regards almost completely canon (by that I mean I ignore a few things I don't like within the source) such as KOTOR1/2 SWTOR, JK2 and JKA. And then there are sources from which I mostly only pick the major events and characters (example: Thrawn Trilogy - not that I dislike it, I just never got into it). And lastly there is stuff that I mostly ignore (FU, Dark Empire, PT).

Would you be ok with the ST contradicting the JK series and/or the TOR series? As for me, no matter how much I love something, I have no problem with something else contradicting it. 

I do not see how ST can seriously contradict JK series since it is going to be set 20 years after, let alone KOTOR series. One great thing about JK series is that it does not really touch/pollute the main OT characters (unlike so many other EU sources) and it feels like its storyline is more of a side event. If the ST is good, even if there are a few contradictions I can sort them out in my head. If ST suck then I will just ignore ST.

真実

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Anchorhead said:

Do you care about Official Canon, and if so, why?

Not in the least. Basically because I wholeheartedly buy into the postmodernist view that the viewers/readers/listeners of an artistic work are the ones who ultimately provide its entire meaning. If it's the same meaning as that intended by the work's author/creator, bully for that I suppose--but that's completely unnecessary.

In my view everyone comes to the table with their own personal canon, for any creative work. It just happens that if certain creative works have a "director approved" label on them, some people are able to set aside their own feelings, or reconsider them in such a way that their opinions eventually match the "prescribed" opinion. If at any time they simply cannot make their opinion match the prescribed opinion, there's usually some resulting anger and soul-searching.

Official Canon is just an attempt to maintain control of a creative property after it's already entered the public sphere. Which seems to be an ongoing theme with Lucasfilm in particular.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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Do I care about canon? Yes.

Do I care about Official Canon? That is the creative team stating their supposed collective view, which is isolated from the final product when it is released.

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I cared about official canon when I first learned it existed for tv/movies. Then I learned more about it and how petty and childish the official canon of tv/movie property can be handled made me not care much about it beyond discussion about said show/movie on message boards. I mean in 2nd BSG Ron Moore seems to expect his words in interviews to be taken as the official stance instead of explaining it in the show itself. Some interviews I've only heard about, not seen the original source of, seemed to explain a whole bunch of stuff during the show's initial production. Yet in the show itself it remains completely absent of explanation. Just reminds me of a kid refusing to add an explanatory paragraph to an essay.

Further things like the "levels" of canon where George Lucas canon is atop the levels of Star Wars official canon. Really seemed petty to me.

It feels like the creators of these works of fictional entertainment want to say "you're wrong" to the audience and have the last word. Instead of allowing it to be entertainment that the audience can interpret from the work itself apart from the author. In essence "official canon", whatever it's initial intentions, seems to have evolved into a way to demean the audience and stop them from "one-upping" the authors. To that I say personal canon all the way!!!!!!

http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/7405/cooly.gif

http://twister111.tumblr.com
Previous Signature preservation link

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Darth Mallwalker said:

I won't watch The Making of Star Wars without the fat man narrating

The non William Conrad version is actually the harder one to see. IIRC, it was only available as a Kellogg's cereal mail away promotion.

I'm still fuzzy as to why his narration would have been replaced to begin with.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Is Mr.Cannon again canon in the BD extras?

Like twister said 'levels of canon' is ridiculous.
Reminds me of another pet peeve, phrases such as 'very unique' or 'extremely unique' all too common these days, especially describing mass-produced merchandise.
It's unique with no qualifier, or it's not. Canon, or not.

OT movies are canon, EU not.
Although I did buy paperback Splinter during the '70s but since then European Union is my only EU

However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
-Moth3r

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I must not accept canon.

Canon is the mind-killer.

Canon is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face the canon.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the canon has gone there will be nothing ... Only what I consider valid will remain.


*Cue the creation of a "Dune canon" thread.

STRANGE

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Why must there be discussions like this!? If you like something, accept it as fact! If you don't like it, then forget it!

I’m just here because I’m driving tonight.

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Tack said:

WHY MUST THERE BE DISCUSSIONS LIKE THIS!? IF YOU LIKE SOMETHING, ACCEPT IT AS FACT!!! IF YOU DON'T, THEN FORGET ABOUT IT!! WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND!!!!

Because it can be interesting to hear other peoples views. And stop screaming. We can all hear you, this place isn't that big.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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Sorry, I'm just a bit annoyed about all of the discussions going on here about supplementary material, when it really shouldn't matter. If you don't like it, there's no rule that explicitly says you have to accept it as any kind of fact.

I’m just here because I’m driving tonight.

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That's probably a good idea. Terribly sorry.

I’m just here because I’m driving tonight.

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Anchorhead said:

   A question to the board; Do you care about Official Canon, and if so, why?

I used to care when the Saga was 3 movies.  And the official George Lucas canon was just the movies  pre special edition,novelizations, and first 2 radio plays.

Then seeing how awful the prequels were and so out of touch with the writing on the originals, i stopped caring.

 

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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Tack said:

Sorry, I'm just a bit annoyed about all of the discussions going on here about supplementary material, when it really shouldn't matter. If you don't like it, there's no rule that explicitly says you have to accept it as any kind of fact.

That's exactly why I wanted to have this discussion.  We've had plenty of discussions about what people accept as official (or not).  I'm curious as to why,  because to some fans it's a very big deal.

Your use of the term supplemental is interesting. Plenty of fans see anything non-film as supplemental. 35 years in, there are 295 books written by 79 authors. Plus there are numerous games and comics, all officially licensed publications by Lucasfilm. Compared to just six films, we have moved far beyond supplemental.

What I can't grasp is why some fans don't accept that vast amount of material as legitimate. The entire entity is fiction.  Why is there a need for some fans to have some parts of it be seen as more official than others?

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”

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The above could be one reason, Anchorhead. Resources. Time, money, and energy. Six films are easier to handle than a giant library of facts, and makes for smoother conversation without having to refer to Obscure Series #54, Page 259.