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Approaching Star Wars canon

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Legends fans have had a hard time of it these past years. Many are unhappy with the quality of new canon films and novels, and have begged for their favourite old novels and characters - Shadows of the Empire, Thrawn, Mara Jade and so on - to be re-introduced into the official timeline. Some even demand that the sequel trilogy be retconned or made non-canon (I’m sure this will absolutely NEVER happen). There are many elements I love from both worlds, which is partly influencing my thinking here. But even so, what’s canon and what’s not will always be the issue at the back of our minds which stops us from fully enjoying good SW stories.

Star Wars comes in the form of myths and legends anyway; “A Long Time Ago…” tells us that much. I’ve always seen it as the kind of stories told at campfires or scribbled down in ancient books, but adapted into modern mediums. Would it be better if there WAS no official canon, just differing versions of the same events? If there’s room for ‘unreliability’, it would make minor continuity errors irrelevant and, more importantly, head-canons would become far more important. Fans could genuinely pick their preferred timeline of events, and I think this approach would fit well with the spirit of Star Wars. With all the crossover between canon and legends, like Thrawn appearing in both and a version of the Vong, the Grysk, being adapted, it would be believable too.

For example, “Some say Luke, Han and Leia fought many more years to end the Empire, before a destructive alien force invaded and Leia’s children became the future of the galaxy. Some say the Empire rose again, and a girl called Rey, the granddaughter of Palpatine, rose to become a Jedi and right the wrongs of her grandfather.”

Would this be ideal for existing legends fans, but too confusing for new fans? Should it be an official approach or only a popular fan approach to avoid too much confusion? And would it ever shut up all the insufferable people on social media saying ‘sequels aren’t canon’ every day of their life?

(By the way, I know I’m in no way the first person to think of this; dgraham414 suggested a similar thing on the headcanons thread a few months ago, for example)

“Remember, the Force will be with you. Always.”

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This is a wonderful concept! I agree it would be interesting to think of these stories like that, especially if it’s official.

But Star Wars fans, and Western consumers of media in general, are religiously (no pun intended) obsessed with the notion of canon, and what’s canon or not, sometimes more than they even enjoy consuming the media itself. So it’s impossible.

reylo?

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THere are some fans that made alternate endings of the sequel trilogy that makes them better than the original like Zubrix SlysJore’s TROS Alternate Ending if Lando and the others didn’t help Poe and the Force ghosts didn’t help Rey and Rey becomes empress and Ben dies.

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I mean, isn’t that’s why they call it “Legends”? Like the point is LFL officially saying “this may have happened, it’s up to you”. I’m not against them publishing New Legends books because the average fan doesn’t read the books anyway, but it makes sense for them to just keep in the New Canon timeline.

Hell, think of it like Star Trek and the Kelvin Timeline. Legends is a parallel timeline.

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^ That is kind of how I look at this issue an I never got bothered by the 90’s EU being branded Legends in favor of the new Canon , as it wasn’t really the first time that older material got pushed aside in favor of the new . The original Marvel comics , The Brian Daley novels and Splinter Of The Minds Eye ,as well as the Blackthorne 3d comics were initially considered non canon when the EU concept started in the 90s and it was not until much ,much later that authors incorporated some of that stuff back in and cherry picking from it , much the same way current canon does .I just incorporated it into my own head canon , kept what I liked ,and discarded the rest .Same as I do now .And to the people who vilify Disney/LFL/Kathleen Kennedy etc , for " legends " ,it’s not like those stories no longer exist and you can’t read them , they are readily available in most bookstores , libraries and online shops .If anything , by republishing all of them under the legends banner ,they ensured their longevity and confirmed the importance of them to their fans .They didn’t have to do this and if they so chose , they could have ordered that all of those stories be pulled from stores .I think they made the right decision , as to incorporate them wholesale , would have boxed them in creatively . By the time Disney came in , the EU had become overblown with minutia and retcons .

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Yeah, I agree with doubleofive here; I’m pretty sure this is how it is already. Hence “Legends” rather than “NON-CANON”, and lots of elements already being adapted into canon from it. It’s much like the relationship between Marvel Comics and the MCU in a way, except Legends is no longer having official content produced for it outside of SWTOR.

You talk about headcanon becoming more important, but headcanon is already the most important canon. This is, after all, a website for the preservation of the theatrical cuts of the Original Trilogy: I’m sure most of our headcanons exclude Han meeting Jabba on Tatooine in ANH and stepping on his tail; or Joh Yowza performing “Jedi Rocks” at Jabba’s Palace in ROTJ. Beyond that, it’s a fanediting website even; a community of people who significantly alter the movies themselves - beyond the extent of just despecialisation - to better fit their headcanon.

It’s all fictional anyway so you can choose whatever you want to consider canon when consuming Star Wars media (or, more extreme, do what some fanfiction writers do, and come up with your own version of what you think should happen, entirely divorced from any official material!). Official canon is just for Lucasfilm to worry about when they’re making new stuff. We’ve seen they’re not afraid to bring in plenty of stuff from Legends; or even outright copy Legends reference book material into canon with minor adjustments.

Part of me wishes the canon separation had occurred earlier, because TCW Seasons 1-6 being Legends canon was quite disruptive to the previously existing ~2003-2007 Clone Wars stories that had been told, and characters like Ahsoka just awkwardly never show up again in the Legends timeline. Consequently, when I’m consuming older Legends material (like the ROTS novelisation) I just ignore that TCW is Legends canon entirely. At least modern Lucasfilm cares more about franchise-wide timeline consistency than Lucas himself ever did.

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Regarding the OP, that’s exactly how I viewed canon back when I cared, before the EU was demoted to Legends. You don’t need a big corporation to tell you how to view canon. It’s all up to you.

The way I thought of it was that all the Star Wars books and movies are “based on real events”–that is, they’re all retellings of what “actually” happened, so some of them might stray more from the “truth” than others, or might introduce new elements, or be merely “inspired” by a true story. Thus, Jar Jar in the prequels is simply an interpretation of the real Jar Jar, and the sequence of events was perhaps modified. That left me free to imagine things as “really” being however I wanted them to be.