‘Star Wars’ canon is finally shooting itself in the foot

Books Sci-Fi & Fantasy

501stbookAn author who has worked extensively in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU), fleshing out bounty hunter Boba Fett and the clones that make up the Grand Army of the Republic, announced Saturday on her blog and official Web site that she was ending her involvement in George Lucas’ Galaxy Far, Far Away.

Karen Traviss decided to make the as-yet-untitled Imperial Commando 2 her last Star Wars novel because of clashes in continuity emerging from the upcoming second season of the Clone Wars animated series:

quotemarksI’ve been receiving mail from Star Wars fans who have bought the new visual guide to the second season of the Clone Wars TV cartoon, and have been perplexed by detail in it. They’ve noticed changes in canon. They’re mailing me to ask what’s going on because it appears to affect areas that my novels deal with. I admit I didn’t know there was a guide coming out this early, let alone what would be revealed in it. But now that it has, and you’re asking me what’s happened, it would be naive to stall you when you have the book in front in you, and pretty rude to ignore you.

I can’t discuss the canon issues because of the standard non-disclosure agreement that all writers sign. I’m not even going to discuss the ones that are public now, and I know little of the full detail anyway. So please don’t ask me. All I can say is that I was given enough of the detail in January to realise that changes in continuity were such that I wouldn’t be able to carry on as originally planned with the storylines you were expecting to see continued in my books. It would have required a lot more than routine retcon.

karentraviss
Karen Traviss

The only solution I could think of that could accommodate the changes was a complete reboot, and I seriously considered doing that. But starting over, when I had so many other books on my plate? The knock-on effect on my other work was a problem, because most of my income doesn’t come from Star Wars.  And then there was the risk of alienating readers. Pulling the rug from under them after so many books – that wouldn’t go down well, and  “I was only following orders” doesn’t appease anybody these days.

Her Star Wars credits include the novelization of The Clone Wars, the big-screen launch to the animated series, and the follow-up novel No Prisoners; four novels in the Republic Commando series; Imperial Commando: 501st and its upcoming sequel; and three novels in the Legacy of the Force series that breathed new and unexpected life into the character of Boba Fett. She is the author of her own Wess’har series of sci-fi novels as well as several tie-ins with the Gears of War video games.

Traviss’ contributions to Star Wars will surely be missed going forward. But since she’s not giving up writing great sci-fi, the loss is Lucas’. Maybe if his Empire would collaborate more with the diverse voices working across the books, comics and video game media that comprise the EU, rather than leaving them to learn of problems directly from fans, there wouldn’t be such as ruckus when continuity issues arise. Imagine that, canon wrinkles being smoothed out before they get to the consumer level.

Here and there ...

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Jayson Peters
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6 thoughts on “‘Star Wars’ canon is finally shooting itself in the foot

  1. This is a serious bummer, I have to say Travis’ work is some of the best of the Starwars books most of which is unreadable. Her books read more like a soldiers tale that HAPPENS to be set in the Star Wars universe as opposed to a Star Wars story about a soldier (the later almost invariably unreadable.) Any how, I’m going to have to follow her other works and as was implied by the article once again Star Wars fans loose out due to the arrogance and blind sidedness of Lucas’s machine. It’s funny how over time he became the Emperor and his own fans seem to be ther rebel alliance.

  2. This is a serious bummer, I have to say Travis’ work is some of the best of the Starwars books most of which is unreadable. Her books read more like a soldiers tale that HAPPENS to be set in the Star Wars universe as opposed to a Star Wars story about a soldier (the later almost invariably unreadable.) Any how, I’m going to have to follow her other works and as was implied by the article once again Star Wars fans loose out due to the arrogance and blind sidedness of Lucas’s machine. It’s funny how over time he became the Emperor and his own fans seem to be ther rebel alliance.

  3. It has been my understanding that if it doesn’t have Lucas’ name on it then it isn’t canon. He can “borrow” elements from the expanded universe but they’ve never been considered canon until Lucas says it is. Coruscant is an example of this.

    I’m sure I’m missing stuff but the majority of the canon comes from the six movies. I haven’t heard anything about the Clone Wars series but I would assume it is canon as the writer suggests. The Star Wars games from LucasArts other parties are more than likely not canon including the fan favorite, Knights of the Old Republic.

    The books of the expanded are most likely not considered canon. It sucks that this writer’s current books and planned books are now ruined by the new entries to the canon but that’s the way it goes when you work with intellectual properties you don’t control. You are at the whim of those who do control it. I would say ignore it and finish the books. There are probably lots of examples in the expanded universe that clash with canon.

  4. It has been my understanding that if it doesn’t have Lucas’ name on it then it isn’t canon. He can “borrow” elements from the expanded universe but they’ve never been considered canon until Lucas says it is. Coruscant is an example of this.

    I’m sure I’m missing stuff but the majority of the canon comes from the six movies. I haven’t heard anything about the Clone Wars series but I would assume it is canon as the writer suggests. The Star Wars games from LucasArts other parties are more than likely not canon including the fan favorite, Knights of the Old Republic.

    The books of the expanded are most likely not considered canon. It sucks that this writer’s current books and planned books are now ruined by the new entries to the canon but that’s the way it goes when you work with intellectual properties you don’t control. You are at the whim of those who do control it. I would say ignore it and finish the books. There are probably lots of examples in the expanded universe that clash with canon.

  5. Travis – I don’t know of anyone who’s disputing that Lucas can disregard whatever he wants to. Doesn’t mean it’s wise — or right. He’s a control freak who is content to license books et al when it’s profitable to do so, but invalidates them when convenient. There’s no dignity or credibility down that path. As a consumer, I find that to be an unacceptable quality-control issue.

  6. Travis – I don’t know of anyone who’s disputing that Lucas can disregard whatever he wants to. Doesn’t mean it’s wise — or right. He’s a control freak who is content to license books et al when it’s profitable to do so, but invalidates them when convenient. There’s no dignity or credibility down that path. As a consumer, I find that to be an unacceptable quality-control issue.

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