‘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.

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.

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About Jayson Peters

Nerdvana's founder and owner. Digital editor, social media director, educator. Lifelong Star Wars fan and Trekker who also worships all things Tolkien and Doctor Who.