Musings: Canon vs Legends

One of the most frequent and diversifying topics in the Star Wars fandom has been the removal of the EU from the Star Wars Canon and calling it ‘Legends’ whilst restarting the EU with books, comics and games where it’s now all part of the ongoing Star Wars continuity.

I understand the vitriol that came from that announcement in 2013/14. Since 1991 we had a whole range of Star Wars stories and a slew of characters we had grown attached to in the ongoing books and comics; The Solo children, Ventress, Quinlan Vos. George Lucas even used Aayla Secura in the films after she was introduce in the comics. For it all to be gone like that would be hard for some to stomach.

But they’re not really gone are they? They are still available to purchase. Collectors still own them and can read them at their leisure.

Hell, I’ve read a bunch of the ‘Legends’ novels since the EU was made non-canon and I still enjoy them the same as I would were they still considered Canon.

The change all occurred because J.J Abrams wanted a clean slate when he took on the directorial duties of The Force Awakens and who could blame him? I’m a Star Wars fan but by that point there was so much stuff that had happened in the EU he had no clue where to start. Best to start afresh and build the new EU from there.

But i think it was in Lucasfilm’s best interests to do this anyway.

Now follow me down this rabbit hole if you will, just say the Legends timeline was kept and Episode VII is announced, a brand new story set in the SW universe we all know and love and yo really understand and appreciate this film you need to have read EVERY book set after Return of the Jedi. Chewie’s dead by a moon landing on him. Han and Leia have had three kids and only one is left alive after one was killed at the hands of an alien race that had messed the galaxy up beyond comprehension and the other followed in Vader’s footsteps, turned to the Dark Side and ruled his new Empire only to be killed by his surviving twin sister. And after that the Jedi are essentially shunned and Luke goes off into the far reaches if space with his son, whose mother was a servant of the Emperor who wanted to kill Luke but then married him only to be killed by the same Solo child who turned Dark.

It’s a lot to take in really.

Long time fans would have little-to-no problems but wheat about the casual fans or new fans? Disney want to make their investment back, and they paid a lot to buy Lucasfilm. They want as many people to watch the films and buy merchandise, how do you do that with an already established franchise, do the best you can to start from as close to scratch as possible. In the case of a Star Wars, make it do that anything that isn’t a film or recent animated series (Clone Wars) is no longer canon.

It was a great way to make the future of the franchise as accessible as possible. For me it was a great decision. I wanted to get back into reading the novels but had no idea where to start. Then it was announced, the first book in the new canon was ‘A New Dawn’ the prequel novel to the new animated series ‘Star Wars: Rebels’. Now, to me at least it was accessible, and not in the way that every Marvel Comics ‘Reboot’ has been accessible, this was a real clean slate.

What I don’t get is how there are fans who refuse to accept the Disney SW canon. I do understand that they have invested a lot of time and money into the old EU but really, what does it matter? Isn’t it more important that we are getting any new Star Wars stuff at all?

I stopped buying the novels after Revenge of the Sith. I was really behind on the New Jedi Order series, and was struggling to keep up with the continuity. I had no interest in the Old Republic era of the EU, and the different Clone Wars material kept contradicting each other. I tried to keep up with the ongoing stories using plot outlines and wookiepedia to give me an idea of the goings on but it was a lot.

Now I have almost read every new SW novel that has been released, even the children’s books, because they are all canon and I’ve jumped in head first and loved almost every word of it.

The fan base has grown in the past three or four years and it will only continue to grow and had the d EU stayed in tact I seriously doubt the franchise would have been as successful as it has been had they kept the Expanded Universe intact.

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