• Disney Aims to Determine Canon, Do Away with Expanded Universe

      This one is bound to get some fans a little hot under the collar. It seems that Disney is going to start cherry-picking what is and isn't definitive Star Wars canon from all sources, the new movies all being canon and the EU having little place in it.

      The Lucasfilm Story Group, including official Holocron-Keeper Leland Chee and author Pablo Hidalgo, will decide what aspects - past and present - will be part of Star Wars' new approach at a singular canon and what aspects are not.

      Disney's Lucasfilm Story Group will do away with the current system that has a tiered hierarchy of canon levels for everything Star Wars from movies to Happy Meal box blurbs, and that means straightening out the 4 decades of Expanded Universe content from books and comics.

      Consistency will be the aim to rule the roost come 2015 and the launch of the new films and Marvel comics, but also a path-clearing to telling new stories in the upcoming Star Wars sequel films since something like Dark Empire or the Thrawn trilogy would merely stand in the way of telling sequel stories in the new movies.

      source: The Hollywood Reporter
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      Comments 17 Comments
      1. JediTricks's Avatar
        JediTricks -
        "This will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of Dark Horse and it will soon see the end of Timothy Zahn." - Grand Moff Goofy
      1. Darth Metalmute's Avatar
        Darth Metalmute -
        As I said before, it had to happen. I'm not happy about it but I'm okay with it. If you are making new movies, you are absolutely handcuffed by what was already written. My only concern/request is that they at least keep the current names. Han and Leia had Jaina and Jacen. They don't neccesarily have to be twins going forward, but they absolutely have to be Jaina and Jacen.
      1. OC47151's Avatar
        OC47151 -
        Let's face it, there's good SW material (novels and comics) and there's bad SW. For these planned stand-alone movies, there's some good source material that shouldn't be overlooked because it's not canon. I don't want to see that happen.

        I think the stable of quality SW authors like Zahn will continue to produce novels unless the authors themselves personally choose not to continue the relationship (like Karen Travis.) And if all else fails, there's fan fiction. : )

        In addition to being a huge SW fan, I'm a big James Bond fan. Since the early 1980s, there have been some great Bond novels written, as well as bad ones. And you know what? Not a single one of them have been turned into a movie. And that's a shame, too.
      1. bigbarada's Avatar
        bigbarada -
        This comes as no surprise at all and I'm actually glad that they are tackling it head on and not doing the whole "hey, let's see how many hoops we can jump through to shoehorn this into the canon… somehow" approach.

        I think it's best just to toss out EVERYTHING that has been written about events that take place after the final scene of ROTJ.
      1. JimJamBonds's Avatar
        JimJamBonds -
        I've always considered the 6 movies cannon, EU doesn't really count for much of anything imho. That said I understand the reasoning, although this will get people up in arms, no doubt about it.
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        I've seen different sources report this news differently, and Chee and Hidalgo have spoken about this, but it's hard to tell what this will mean in practice. I think the main takeaway should be more that the future movies and tie-ins are going to fit together better than they did in the past - we'll have to wait and see which parts of the EU still "count."
      1. Tycho's Avatar
        Tycho -
        Thanks for interpreting the article for your reporting, Ace. That's not what the article said. It did not say it would throw out grand Admiral Thrawn. It did not say that. People ought to click on the real article and read what was said and then read some of the comments left behind. This was not good reporting on this site. But I'm sure someone that likes toys and doesn't read books wanted to criticize to get under others' skins. Congratulations.
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        Guess what?

        No matter the official word, everyone gets to decide Star Wars canon for themselves. That's the beauty of fiction.

        So everyone calm down. They're not coming to burn your Splinter of the Mind's Eyes.
      1. Darth Awgmon's Avatar
        Darth Awgmon -
        Quote Originally Posted by Tycho View Post
        Thanks for interpreting the article for your reporting, Ace. That's not what the article said. It did not say it would throw out grand Admiral Thrawn. It did not say that. People ought to click on the real article and read what was said and then read some of the comments left behind. This was not good reporting on this site. But I'm sure someone that likes toys and doesn't read books wanted to criticize to get under others' skins. Congratulations.

        My thoughts as well.
      1. Mr. JabbaJohnL's Avatar
        Mr. JabbaJohnL -
        Quote Originally Posted by Tycho View Post
        Thanks for interpreting the article for your reporting, Ace. That's not what the article said. It did not say it would throw out grand Admiral Thrawn. It did not say that. People ought to click on the real article and read what was said and then read some of the comments left behind. This was not good reporting on this site. But I'm sure someone that likes toys and doesn't read books wanted to criticize to get under others' skins. Congratulations.
        The fact of the matter is the Hollywood Reporter article – and many others that reported on the same topic – are only based on the limited amount of information on the Story Group that has been made public, and everyone is interpreting it differently. This is only news now because Leland Chee Tweeted about if a few times last week, including the following (edited for non-Tweeters):

        – Star Wars Canon is now determined by the Lucasfilm Story Group which [Pablo Hidalgo] and I are both a part of.

        – Story Group has a hand in all facets of Star Wars storytelling, including movies, TV, games, and publishing.

        – More so than ever, the canon field [G-canon, T-canon, C-canon, etc.] will serve us internally simply for classification rather than setting hierarchy.

        Fan question: "Are you implying that the goal is to dispose of the hierarchy and have one cohesive canon?"

        – That's definitely a primary goal of the Story Group.

        Fan question (since deleted): "When will we see the effects of the new canon?"

        – That I can't say.

        Ooh, some actual news to share! [Diana Williams] is a member of the Story Group.
        Chee and Hidalgo also spoke about the group on the Forcecast back in October, and ClubJade posted this summary:
        The latest ForceCast celebrated Star Wars Reads Day with a big slate of interviews.

        The Pablo Hidalgo and Leland Chee interview starts at 0:46. They discuss what they’re reading, their first Star Wars reads, how they started at Lucasfilm, the evolution of their jobs and killing Yaddle.

        There’s an interesting bit at about the hour part on the Holocron, where Leland admits that the biggest misconception about the Holocron continuity database is that “People overemphasize the importance of the canon levels.” You don’t say.

        But for anyone curious about what’s going on with the ‘Story Group,’ the discussion begins at about 1:05. It began as an initiative from Kathleen Kennedy, Pablo says, as it’s her philosophy that “creativity leads.” They declined to out some of the other members – folks who might not be familiar to us yet, apparently.

        They won’t say anything about Episode VII, naturally, but Pablo does say that the story group is meant as a “bridge” to the “all-new storytelling going forward.” What’s coming up will be more interconnected than what we’ve seen previously.

        As for tie-in literature for the new movies: “That’s definitely part of it,” Leland says. “Everything, every new fiction is going to be part of it,” he says, going on to mention video games and books.

        “All these forms of story going forward, each one of them can be an entry point” for new fans, says Pablo, so it’s their goal to make them meaningful.
        So it seems like the Story Group wants to figure out how it all fits together beforehand, rather than fix it after the material has been released, as it has kind of been done for a while now. Their main impact will be to say what's official going forward. I can't say for sure, but I bet that it'll be the same as it was on The Clone Wars – some things simply won't fit with previous stories, some things will be adapted from previous stories, and some things will have a wide enough berth that they won't have any impact on previous stories.

        Long story short, the new films won't be beholden to any of the Expanded Universe content that currently exists. They may or may not use it, but they don't have to. Going forward, all that we absolutely know will "count" will be Episode I-VI and The Clone Wars, plus the new content. If anything else comes along for the ride, that's just gravy.
      1. JediTricks's Avatar
        JediTricks -
        Quote Originally Posted by Darth Metalmute View Post
        As I said before, it had to happen. I'm not happy about it but I'm okay with it. If you are making new movies, you are absolutely handcuffed by what was already written. My only concern/request is that they at least keep the current names. Han and Leia had Jaina and Jacen. They don't neccesarily have to be twins going forward, but they absolutely have to be Jaina and Jacen.
        I wouldn't be surprised if they did keep those names, but why? Honestly, do you want a hollow reminder of a different character you were attached to that ended up eradicated from the canon? And what about their OTHER kid, Anakin? Out the airlock he goes? No, wait, I'm fine with that.

        Quote Originally Posted by OC47151 View Post
        Let's face it, there's good SW material (novels and comics) and there's bad SW. For these planned stand-alone movies, there's some good source material that shouldn't be overlooked because it's not canon. I don't want to see that happen.

        I think the stable of quality SW authors like Zahn will continue to produce novels unless the authors themselves personally choose not to continue the relationship (like Karen Travis.) And if all else fails, there's fan fiction. : )
        Unfortunately, the majority of EU material that's quality largely comes from the very era they're planning to make movies in, which would be very difficult to cherrypick from and tiptoe around. If you were Zahn and you just saw your biggest achievements in storytelling get swept out, would you want to continue working with the brand? Karen Travis is a good example of exactly this, her work got swept out to make way for The Clone Wars and she walked.

        Quote Originally Posted by bigbarada View Post
        This comes as no surprise at all and I'm actually glad that they are tackling it head on and not doing the whole "hey, let's see how many hoops we can jump through to shoehorn this into the canon… somehow" approach.

        I think it's best just to toss out EVERYTHING that has been written about events that take place after the final scene of ROTJ.
        Yeah, that's why it's a good assumption that it'll go down that way, and that's unfortunately the best era in SW storytelling, the majority of good EU came after ROTJ.

        Quote Originally Posted by JimJamBonds View Post
        I've always considered the 6 movies cannon, EU doesn't really count for much of anything imho. That said I understand the reasoning, although this will get people up in arms, no doubt about it.
        Up in arms? The heck, you say! (looks down the page, shakes head.)

        Quote Originally Posted by Tycho View Post
        Thanks for interpreting the article for your reporting, Ace. That's not what the article said. It did not say it would throw out grand Admiral Thrawn. It did not say that. People ought to click on the real article and read what was said and then read some of the comments left behind. This was not good reporting on this site. But I'm sure someone that likes toys and doesn't read books wanted to criticize to get under others' skins. Congratulations.
        I knew you'd blow a gasket over this one. Your interpretation is what then? The article I wrote says:
        - that Disney is creating a "Story Group" for SW storytelling that will have a hand in everything, that's true;
        - that this group will be creating a singular canon, that's true;
        - that this group will be doing away with the current system of tiered hierarchy which is what gave the Expanded Universe its artistic license, that's true;
        - that the existing EU will have to be cherrypicked to ensure smooth singular canon storytelling, just because that's not stated outright in the THR article doesn't mean it isn't following the situation presented by Chee's statements, see JJL's post below.

        There will be no more levels of canon, no G-canon and C-canon and so forth, they will be cherrypicking some stuff out of the EU and the rest will end up NOT CANON. Going forward, there will not be an EU in the way we know it today, there will be only canon. And it's clear that since the new movies take place as sequels to ROTJ, they will need a clear path to tell those stories free from as many hindrances as possible and that means clearcutting EU storytelling from that era - keep in mind that these movies are going to be based on ideas from George Lucas, the same guy who said he doesn't read the EU and doesn't care what it says as it's not his canon and exists on a separate level a la Star Trek books vs screen.

        Here's Adam Pawlus saying the same thing, that existing EU can't all exist within the new "single canon" concept:
        http://www.galactichunter.com/gh/sto...anded-universe

        So you can keep living in your bubble pretending this isn't how it'll be, but that really won't change the facts of the matter - a singular canon means something's gotta go.

        Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
        Guess what?

        No matter the official word, everyone gets to decide Star Wars canon for themselves. That's the beauty of fiction.

        So everyone calm down. They're not coming to burn your Splinter of the Mind's Eyes.
        Of all people, for you to say this is surprising. Wasn't it you who went off the last few times The Clone Wars did this? Rewind the datatapes to Karen Travis v. The Clone Wars and tell me what that era's El Chuxter was saying.

        Quote Originally Posted by Mr. JabbaJohnL View Post
        The fact of the matter is the Hollywood Reporter article – and many others that reported on the same topic – are only based on the limited amount of information on the Story Group that has been made public, and everyone is interpreting it differently. This is only news now because Leland Chee Tweeted about if a few times last week, including the following (edited for non-Tweeters):

        – Star Wars Canon is now determined by the Lucasfilm Story Group which [Pablo Hidalgo] and I are both a part of.

        – Story Group has a hand in all facets of Star Wars storytelling, including movies, TV, games, and publishing.

        – More so than ever, the canon field [G-canon, T-canon, C-canon, etc.] will serve us internally simply for classification rather than setting hierarchy.

        Fan question: "Are you implying that the goal is to dispose of the hierarchy and have one cohesive canon?"

        – That's definitely a primary goal of the Story Group.

        Fan question (since deleted): "When will we see the effects of the new canon?"

        – That I can't say.

        Ooh, some actual news to share! [Diana Williams] is a member of the Story Group.
        Chee and Hidalgo also spoke about the group on the Forcecast back in October, and ClubJade posted this summary:
        The latest ForceCast celebrated Star Wars Reads Day with a big slate of interviews.

        The Pablo Hidalgo and Leland Chee interview starts at 0:46. They discuss what they’re reading, their first Star Warsreads, how they started at Lucasfilm, the evolution of their jobs and killing Yaddle.

        There’s an interesting bit at about the hour part on the Holocron, where Leland admits that the biggest misconception about the Holocron continuity database is that “People overemphasize the importance of the canon levels.” You don’t say.

        But for anyone curious about what’s going on with the ‘Story Group,’ the discussion begins at about 1:05. It began as an initiative from Kathleen Kennedy, Pablo says, as it’s her philosophy that “creativity leads.” They declined to out some of the other members – folks who might not be familiar to us yet, apparently.

        They won’t say anything about Episode VII, naturally, but Pablo does say that the story group is meant as a “bridge” to the “all-new storytelling going forward.” What’s coming up will be more interconnected than what we’ve seen previously.

        As for tie-in literature for the new movies: “That’s definitely part of it,” Leland says. “Everything, every new fiction is going to be part of it,” he says, going on to mention video games and books.

        “All these forms of story going forward, each one of them can be an entry point” for new fans, says Pablo, so it’s their goal to make them meaningful.
        So it seems like the Story Group wants to figure out how it all fits together beforehand, rather than fix it after the material has been released, as it has kind of been done for a while now. Their main impact will be to say what's official going forward. I can't say for sure, but I bet that it'll be the same as it was on The Clone Wars – some things simply won't fit with previous stories, some things will be adapted from previous stories, and some things will have a wide enough berth that they won't have any impact on previous stories.

        Long story short, the new films won't be beholden to any of the Expanded Universe content that currently exists. They may or may not use it, but they don't have to. Going forward, all that we absolutely know will "count" will be Episode I-VI and The Clone Wars, plus the new content. If anything else comes along for the ride, that's just gravy.
        Thank you for posting that, supports what my article was getting at quite nicely, you've done some fine research there.
      1. El Chuxter's Avatar
        El Chuxter -
        Yeah, but I mellowed when I realized they thought Lucas and his coincidence ray could do a better job with the Clone Wars than Dark Horse and Del Rey did, and there's no sense losing sleep. Filioni or whatever his name is wasn't stealing my Medstar books and forcing me to acknowledge the existence of Asoka Cyrus.

        I've said a few times, if they're making new movies, it's probably better to drop some of the EU. I just hope the old stuff is still available, but won't hold my breath.

        I just want Wilfred Brimley as Noa to save the day in E7!
      1. Bel-Cam Jos's Avatar
        Bel-Cam Jos -
        Simple solution is just to put "Disney's Star Wars" in front of anything published after 2014. Then, you can have three generations of haters and/or purists: OT, PT, DT.

        The contradictions from films and cartoons have made keeping up with EU canon difficult (and this is from someone who's read virtually ALL the EU stories, aside from most of the non-mini series DH comics). It was, as others have posted, unavoidable. It is, your Disney-stiny.
      1. Darth Metalmute's Avatar
        Darth Metalmute -
        Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
        I wouldn't be surprised if they did keep those names, but why? Honestly, do you want a hollow reminder of a different character you were attached to that ended up eradicated from the canon? And what about their OTHER kid, Anakin? Out the airlock he goes? No, wait, I'm fine with that.
        My guess is that if they keep any of the EU, the Thrawn Trilogy will be the only thing they keep, so its probably a moot point. But if they did cut it, I think it would be a good way to show appreciation for Zahn's work and his presence in the re-emergence of Star Wars. Sort of like how Lucas/Zahn gave the 501st their due. Secondly, for 20 years, Jacen and Jaina have been to me and everybody else, the children of Han and Leia. To change that, would essentially be like waking up from a coma and finding out your were adopted. Sure they will always be a hollow reminder, but we could always look back and say, "Remember when Jacen and Jaina were cool?"

        I liked Anakin, but hated the way they killed him off. He seemed like he had so much going for him to be an excellent main character. His death also trivialized Chewbacca's death, which would make it fine for him to get eradicated. Besides, I'm sure Dark Empire I and II will be the first thing to go. Although if they decide to have three kids, I would prefer the third son to be Anakin. And Lukes child to be Ben.
      1. Neuroleptic's Avatar
        Neuroleptic -
        I'm actually really excited about this!
        Yes, there's a hand full of stuff from the EU that I like.
        Zahn's first three books that almost single handedly brought Star Wars back from the dead, Kristine Kathryn Rusch's The New Rebellion, Travis's Clone Wars books, a hand full of books that take place during The Old Republic era,tied in with The Old Republic MMO ... some books are better than others in this time, and the Tales of the Jedi comics. But you know what? I've found the vast majority of the E.U. especially post ROTJ to really suck specifically because they've tied their hands creatively. Starting over will be a huge help to the movies and gives them a tremendous amount of freedom to work with.

        This is a great thing!
      1. bigbarada's Avatar
        bigbarada -
        Yeah, it's all make believe anyway, so why do we need some group of people telling us what's more make believe and what's less make believe? When in reality, the OT films themselves are just as much works of fiction as any "non-canon" Star Wars story.

        For instance, the Droids and Ewoks cartoons have been outside of the canon for years now, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying those cartoons, even today. Mainly because they are a part of my childhood and no "canon expert" at Disney/Lucasfilm can take that away from me. I also have lots of great memories reading the Star Trek novels from the 1980s, even though those have been ejected from the Star Trek canon for decades now.

        It's not the end of the world and any timelines that get erased from this new Star Wars canon can just live on in fan fiction.
      1. sith_killer_99's Avatar
        sith_killer_99 -
        I just want to see some good Star Wars movies, what Disney says is or isn't cannon is irrelevant to me.
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