A subsection of the Star Wars Canon Overview
A. Argument Types
1. "Why?" Arguments
2. Fanboy Semantics 101
II. Specific Arguments (see table below)
|Rostoni, Kausch||'Gospel': defines canon; implies discontinuity.||Insider #23||1994|
|Lucas||Foster and the legacy; "Saga"||"Splinter..." (preface)||1994|
|Rostoni||"Canon" - big book of EU facts||Secrets of SoTE||1996|
|Author?||Rostoni; LucasBooks continuity genesis||Insider ? (via Dice)||199?|
|Sansweet||Canon, quasi-canon, and SE vs. OE||Encyclopedia||1998|
|Lucas||EU materials vs. making it up himself||E! Online||1999|
|Handley||Marvel; foreground/background EU continuity||Usenet||1999|
|Sansweet||Boba's Past; LucasBooks' list of topics to be avoided||StarWars.com AskJC||2000|
|Sansweet||Third Trilogy; Lucas's options; post-RoTJ||StarWars.com AskJC||2000|
|Sansweet-Cerasi||Films = real story; novels = very accurate; "foggy windows"||StarWars.com AskJC||2001|
|Rostoni||All is canon except Infinities||Gamer #6||2001|
|Lucas||EU outside my universe, is other world / parallel universe.||TV Guide, Cinescape||2001-2|
|Sansweet||Fett is dead in RoTJ, but alive in post-RoTJ EU.||StarWars.com AskJC||2002|
|Reynolds||Canonicity of his ICS books||Insider #68||2003|
|Chee||"movie canon" vs. "Lucasfilm canon"||StarWars.com forum||2003|
|Rostoni||Canonicity of the ICS books||StarWars.com forum||2003|
|Sansweet||Name of Coruscant and how Lucas decided||StarWars.com AskJC||2003|
|Rostoni||Lucas ignores/contradicts EU, EU has to be manipulated to fit||StarWars.com forum||2003|
|Church||Sources of inspiration and ICS||StarWars.com AskJC||2003|
|Chee||Wizards of the Coast interview||WoTC site||2003|
|Chee||Regarding the Holocron||StarWars.com forum||2004|
The following is intended to be a comprehensive overview of major arguments regarding the various canon policy quotes of Lucas and companies, based on my chronological quote list. Where a quote has had no particular arguments regarding it, it does not appear.
In truth, the act of granting these arguments an audience on this and other pages generally gives the so-called disputes far too much credit. Most Star Wars fans interested in knowing the true nature of the canon will do as I have done, and accept the statements of Lucas and others. A vocal but small minority, however, is more opportunistic, and will attempt to ignore or reinterpret the quotes to serve their own ends.
There are a number of basic methods by which canon policy foes seek to ignore or reinterpret Lucas and others. Some of these general ploys can seem altogether quite persuasive, but they are invariably wrong.
As time has passed, EU completists have moved away from one sort of argument and toward another. Instead of arguing what was said, they try to make arguments about why something was said, or not said. That type of argument abandons the fact of what is said in favor of speculation and opinion.
For example, one could ask something like: "Why has Lucas allowed Rostoni to keep publicizing her peculiar opinion on canon?"
Such a question can only be answered with speculation by either side. Movie Purists could point out that he has publicly stated his position which disagrees with hers, but that doesn't quite answer the question of "why". Thus, they'd be left to make guesses . . . maybe he does it because it helps sell books, or maybe he doesn't know, and so on and so forth. EU Completists would likely speculate that he allows it because he agrees with it, and use that claim as a springboard so they could leap toward other claims, or defend their reinterpretations of Lucas's statements. Thus, based on speculation regarding Lucas's motivations and knowledge, they'd derive an argument which, they felt, strengthened their case.
Two could play at that game, of course. I could delete this entire page, and simply ask: "Why doesn't George Lucas pay any attention to the EU when making his films, or have anyone help him avoid contradiction?" From there, I could springboard straight into a claim of Lucas's canon policy that wasn't based on a single word he'd ever said (but which would probably still lead us to parallel universes in any case). EU Completists would be left to make guesses to answer the question, any of which would sound quite weak.
Note that if both questions were asked, then the two sides would both be arguing about their own opinions and speculations, which would accomplish precisely squat.
That is why I don't play the game of asking or answering such questions.
"What's 'gospel' and what isn't?
'Gospel', or canon as we refer to it, includes the screenplays, the films, the radio dramas and the novelisations. These works spin out of George Lucas' original stories, the rest are written by other writers. However, between us, we've read everything, and much of it is taken into account in the overall continuity. The entire catalog of published works comprises a vast history -- with many off-shoots, variations and tangents -- like any other well-developed mythology."
- Sue Rostoni and Allan Kausch, Lucas Licensing, 1994 - Star Wars Insider #23
(see also Rostoni's job description in her own words from 1994)
1. The above is often attributed incorrectly. Certain people like to claim that these were "Lucasfilm continuity editors" or "Continuity and Production Editors at Lucasfilm", a bit of poor research that just so happens to make the quote seem to come from higher-ranked sources. In reality, of course, Rostoni was working for Licensing's publishing division (LLP) and Kausch was working for Licensing as a sort of continuity liaison between the different EU materials being crafted at the time. As such, the above is the opinion of Licensing alone.
The quote was, for a long while, just about all you could ever find as a reference for what was canon or not in Star Wars.
2. Mike Wong, in our debate, felt that Rostoni and Kausch's use of the term "overall continuity" somehow demonstrated that Lucasfilm kept a super-continuity, one inclusive of both the Canon and the EU Continuity materials . . . perhaps visualizable as a sort of national government over two state governments. That concept is not supported within the quote, and never appears in any other quote. (Indeed, the notion of a level above the supreme canon strikes me as directly opposing the idea of canon.)
The reality, of course, is that employees of Lucas Licensing (and the publishing department) identified the canon materials, and also said that, among themselves, much of the non-canon SW literature was taken into account in their overall continuity. As established in the Graeme Dice-provided Insider quote, the establishment of the EU Continuity was an in-house, Lucas Licensing affair.
Also worth noting in the above is the admission that the EU Continuity is not entirely self-consistent, along with the comment that this makes it resemble any other "mythology".
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"It wasn't long after I began writing Star Wars that I realized the story was more than a single film could hold. As the saga of the Skywalkers and Jedi Knights unfolded, I began to see it as a tale that could take at last nine films to tell- three trilogies- and I realized, in making my way through the back story and after story, that I was really setting out to write the middle story.
After Star Wars was released, it became apparent that my story- however many films it took to tell- was only one of thousands that could be told about the characters who inhabit its galaxy. But these were not stories that I was destined to tell. Instead they would spring from the imagination of other writers, inspired by the glimpse of a galaxy that Star Wars provided. Today it is an amazing, if unexpected, legacy of Star Wars that so many gifted writers are contributing new stories to the Saga. This legacy began with Splinter of the Mind's Eye, published less than a year after the release of Star Wars. Written by Alan Dean Foster, a well known and talented science-fiction author, Splinter was promoted as "further adventure" of Luke Skywalker. It hit bookstores just as I was preparing to write my own "further adventure" of Luke, in the form of a script called The Empire Strikes Back.
It seems only fitting, after all these years, that Splinter would be republished as I prepare once again to write another further adventure set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."
- George Lucas, Flannelled One, 1994 - Preface to "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" reprinting
1. Here we have a quote which . . . so the argument goes . . . shows that the Star Wars EU novels are a part of George Lucas's universe. He mentions the stories inspired by the galaxy he created, thousands of stories that could be told about the characters within it, and he speaks of the legacy of writers contributing such stories to the "Saga".
But there's a little problem with context there. Splinter is a further adventure that most certainly was not a part of Lucas's Star Wars (just "inspired" by it). Lucas certainly did not treat it as such . . . he ignored its story of how Vader lost his hand, thoroughly excised the romance between Luke and Leia (ew), and so on. He makes this explicit when he specifically contrasts the further adventure of Splinter with his own further adventure of TESB. His story may be only some of thousands that could be told about the characters, but his are also the only ones he counts as true.
And Splinter, mind you, is what began the EU "legacy" . . . a legacy of books and materials he has ignored when he makes or revises canon Star Wars material. The legends and myths contributed to the "Saga" are just that . . . legends and myths, stories inspired by the glimpse into Lucas's galaxy. They are, in effect, myths within a myth (or better yet, to borrow from Lucas's own phrasing, they are a "parallel universe").
2. Last but not least, "the Saga" he refers to here is evidently not the same as his canon tales. Lucas, in November 2000, identified his six films as "one epic saga". (Indeed, "Saga" evidently refers more to Rostoni's concept of the Star Wars EU "saga", as used in her own 1994 statements about her job. Interestingly, in 2001, she also identified a Lucas-specific saga of films, confirming a difference of saga.)
(Incidentally, Lucas sometimes claims these days that he never planned on making three trilogies . . . in his Cinescape interview, he suggested that he'd only joked about it with a Rolling Stone interviewer who then printed it as fact. And yet, above, he must be making that joke with us all . . . and in a superbly deadpan manner. When asked, Sansweet mentioned that the trilogy of trilogies concept was a mantra that wouldn't die . . . well, of course it won't.)
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"To keep it all straight there is 'the Canon,' a time line of major events and the life span of characters prepared by the continuity editors at Lucasfilm and considered the in-house bible of the Star Wars universe. When further reference is needed, there are also stacks of binders listing everything from starship blueprints to the biographies of characters..."
- Sue Rostoni, Lucas Licensing (book division), 1996 - Preface to "The Secrets of 'Shadows of the Empire'"
There hasn't been an argument on this quote per se, but it is an important one. Here we see the first statement of Rostoni's wherein the term "canon" is reappropriated . . . the in-house bible she referred to in her 1994 job description has now been re-named "the Canon". In the future, of course, she would come to refer to all LucasBooks/Lucas Licensing-created materials as being canon, a term she considered synonymous with continuity. We also get to see some of the rank confusion issues that are all to common in these discussions, as Rostoni . . . at this point a Lucas Licensing book division employee, by her own statements . . . identifies herself and those she works with as "continuity editors at Lucasfilm".
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"The idea [licensing deal with Bantam] was passed to George Lucas, who agreed that Licensing could expand upon his films with original fiction set after /Return of the Jedi/."
"In the early days of the publishing department, Wilson worked closely with her administrative assistant, Sue Rostoni (now managing editor of the department as well as editor of all adult fiction) on the editorial projects. The two of them decided that to maintain quality, it would be crucial to monitor the storylines of all projects and ensure that none of their books contradicted one another. This continuity decision became one of the department's biggest challenges--and greatest successes."
- Author Unknown . . . from "Graeme Dice" in a Usenet post. Originally posted by "Durandal" here and attributed to Insider #54 from circa March 2002.
This is another quote that hasn't had many arguments relating to it specifically, though some EU completists feel that it somehow demonstrates their view to be correct. I have not been able to get them to explain this viewpoint, however, and it is one which I do not understand. What we are told in the quote above is that the Lucas Licensing publishing department would be expanding upon the films with original fiction set after RoTJ, and that this department had previously decided to try to avoid having any of the books (post-RoTJ or otherwise) contradict one another.
Presumably, the EU completists feel that expanding upon the films is equal to being a real part of the Star Wars universe . . . i.e. that "Expanded Universe" = "Real Universe". That concept ignores several important points. First, licensed books (published by Del Rey) already existed well before the post-RoTJ books of Zahn. Even post-RoTJ EU game materials were already in existence, thanks to West End Games. Since we are not given the context of the first quote-let, it's hard to say just what the author was aiming for, but it certainly couldn't have been that the EU was to suddenly gain a canonicity it previously lacked.
Most important, however, is what we're told in the second part of the quote. There was an internal continuity choice made, and the intent was that none of the books would contradict one another. It was, in short, to be a self-referential universe. This decision did not come from Lucas . . . he wasn't trying to have himself a consistent expansion on his universe. The department made that choice, and they have 'checked with the boss' (as per Sansweet) to try to make sure they don't touch on subjects he plans on dealing with when they're spinning a tale that might be based on something from the films. As Rostoni puts it, they are trying to create a continuous history while trying to avoid contradicting or undermining Lucas's films. As she more directly said in 2003, her job is to manipulate the EU to fit the films of Lucas, who often contradicts the EU because, in general, he pays no attention to it.
The EU, then, is not unlike the "Captain Calhoun" or "Starfleet Corps of Engineers" Trek novels, both of which are a series of continuous works created by other people, not the producers of Trek film and TV.
Suffice it to say that the EU is, by the decree of its makers, officially subservient to the canon of Lucas, and they try to make a self-consistent reality based on that canon. It is one which they hope can be plugged in to Lucas's canon by the readers, though it has no standing with Lucas or Lucasfilm.
Well, that's all well and good, but it certainly doesn't suggest that its really is a part of Lucas's canon reality.
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"Which brings us to the often-asked question: Just what is Star Wars canon, and what is not? The one sure answer: The Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition -- the three films themselves as executive-produced, and in the case of Star Wars written and directed, by George Lucas, are canon. Coming in a close second we have the authorised adaptations of the three films: the novels, radio dramas, and comics. After that, almost everything falls into a category of "quasi-canon." "
- Steve Sansweet, Star Wars EU author and LL marketing, July 1998 - Preface to the "Star Wars Encyclopedia"
Here we come to a quote which has had several arguments revolve around it.
First, there's the identification of the Special Editions as the one sure canon, with no mention of the originals having any canonicity. This correctly reflects the Lucas viewpoint . . . I go into that in greater detail here. Curiously, Mike Wong and company make excessive use of the rest of the quote, while avoiding the SE reference like the plague (in favor of viewing the SE versions as mere "historical revisionism").
By "the rest of the quote", I refer primarily to the "quasi-canon" bit. Despite its being an oddity insofar as canon policy statements are concerned, they hold to it like it is the standard against which all other statements are to be judged. Ignoring the more consistent meaning of "resembling the canon", they believe it means that the EU has canonicity to some degree.
Such a view ignores several important points. First, Sansweet was of a low rank at this point . . . as an EU author, he was being overseen by Rostoni. Second, at this point in time there were two canons, in a manner of speaking . . . the Rostoni-canon composed of the EU, and the true canon composed of the films, scripts, novels, and radio plays. Sansweet appears to have attempted to produce a synthesis of those two viewpoints. Third, Sansweet later became a much higher-ranking individual, becoming part of Lucasfilm's fan relations and, judging by his comments in that regard, working much more closely with Lucas. As a result, his prior viewpoint has been modified and often contradicted by him, as one can observe in his later quotes. Finally, we never hear of quasi-canon again.
Also worth mentioning is another peculiarity of the quote. Sansweet places the Marvel comic adaptations of the films in the ranks of the canon, something not heard before or since. This is another notion which Sansweet abandoned, as judged by his quoting of Cerasi's comments in August 2001. Cerasi lets us know that the comics are considered a part of the EU continuity.
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"Do you have a map of this universe, every single creature, where they come from, what they eat, what their society back home is like? Or are you just making it up as you go?
Well, I think somewhere in some of the dark recesses of my company's files there is something like that, but I've never seen it. And I don't really know. Even though I live this, and I know the worlds very well, and I know what everything in them is, half the time I'm in the fortunate position to just make it up. So, when somebody asks me a question, I just...I know what the consistencies are. I know what is consistent with a particular environment and what isn't. And really that's the job of the director, to keep everything in line. I can do that on the movie. But I can't do that in the Star Wars universe."
- George Lucas, Flannelled One, Summer 1999 - E!Online interview
Though there have been no particularly memorable arguments on this quote, it has been employed by at SD.Net. Using an alternate version of the quote written by EU editors that appeared in Insider #45, they believe it to be proof that Lucas considers the EU (and Lucas Licensing's in-house bible) to be valid facts in his Star Wars universe. Once again, though, we have a case where the quote means the exact opposite of what they claim. Lucas explains that he knows what is consistent within his movie universe, and that he does not know (and has never seen) data covering the other. If Lucas felt that the EU were a part of his universe, I find it irrational to believe he wouldn't have a Lucas Licensing continuity editor on the set, or handy when he's writing the script, letting him know the appropriate background, suggesting consistent planets so he doesn't have to create them, et cetera.
The only grounds of contention they have would be Lucas's peculiar use of the phrase "the whole Star Wars universe" from 45's quote. However, given that his position before, after, and even during this quote was that there was a separation between the universes, the argument that he united them based on a disputed quote is quite flimsy. Only by taking this quote out of the context of other Lucas quotes, and then taking a part of this quote out of its internal context, can they justify (and I use the term loosely) that position. It is more likely that he was simply referring to the franchise as a whole.
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"Lucasfilm's stance on Marvel, as I've learned in the time I've spent writing for WEG, Topps, and (soon) Dark Horse (more on that at a later date), is that they don't have a problem with fitting the Marvel tales into current continuity, so long as it's not done "in your face." [...] In other words, writers are allowed to consider the Marvel series as part of the continuity... but more of a background continuity than a foreground continuity. I know that sounds a little screwy... and I can foresee some eyebrows raising over this post... but that's how the Marvel series currently stands."
- Rich Handley, Star Wars EU author, November 1999 - Usenet post to rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc
This quote doesn't really have much dispute surrounding it. I simply wanted to point it out because Poe seems to feel that this backs his EU Completist viewpoint, whereas most readers would recognize that Handley is referring to Rostoni's LucasBooks having a stance, not Lucasfilm.
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As many fans know, when it comes to Star Wars knowledge, there are degrees of "canon." The only true canon are the films themselves. For years, Lucas Books has stayed clear of characters, events, or the timeframe that George might want to deal with in the Star Wars prequels. While such things as the Clone Wars, the fall of the Jedi, and Palpatine's rise to power were on that list, Boba Fett wasn't considered to be of major concern.
But like any great storyteller, George starts to develop a script and it sometimes takes on a life of its own, with characters coming to life and demanding a say. He has told us that Boba Fett will have a role in Episode II--just as Fett first appeared in the second film of the classic trilogy--so we may finally learn the bounty hunter's true genesis. As for whether Fett really survived his descent into the cavernous maw of the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi...what do you think?
- Steve Sansweet, LFL/Fan Relations, April 2000 - "Are we going to get more details about Boba Fett's past?", StarWars.com
Note the evolution of Sansweet's viewpoint from the quasi-canon mumbo-jumbo toward a better recognition of the place "Lucas Books" has according to itself and Lucas. Note also that Sansweet refers to Lucas Licensing's publishing department as "Lucas Books", as if LucasBooks was a separate company.
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"But George says that the story he has to tell will be complete in the six films, which can then be viewed as one epic saga. He says that he honestly has no story to tell now beyond the destruction of the second Death Star.
LucasBooks has always checked with the boss to make sure that none of its projects interferes in any way with anything that he is planning. And while plans can change, rest assured that the wonderful expanded fictional universe enjoyed by so many fans has in no way stomped or trampled on any of George Lucas's prerogatives or options."
- Steve Sansweet, LFL/Fan Relations, November 2000 - "Did George Lucas ever have any idea for Episodes VII to IX?", StarWars.com
It's worth noting that George did have more of a story to tell after the destruction of the Death Star II, and that he told this story in the Special Edition of RoTJ. It is told by way of brief scenes of fireworks and celebration on the Imperial world Tatooine, the recently-absorbed Bespin, and even the Imperial capital Coruscant. As the canon RoTJ novelization puts it:
"The Empire was dead."
And yet, according to the EU, the Empire continued to exist. Various factions fought amongst themselves for control of it, joined together, fell apart, ended up under one leader, fell apart again, and so on, with cloned versions of Palpatine appearing left and right. Even during the "New Jedi Order" series, set decades after A New Hope, the Empire continues to exist as a remnant of its former self. And now with the Legacy era, set some 130+ years after RoTJ, the Empire still exists and is back on top! In short, we can combine the canon RoTJ novelization's position with that of the EU, and arrive at the following:
"The Empire was dead. Long live the Empire!"
Beyond that, Sansweet acknowledges the fact that LucasBooks endeavors to "plug-in" its stories with the saga of Lucas, inasmuch as they try to check with him. Of course, plans can change . . . Lucas ignores the EU, and thus can end up contradicting them and giving Rostoni a headache in her quest to manipulate the EU to fit the Lucas/LFL canon universe.
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"I'm really confused about canon. Is Star Wars Gamer canon? What about the Marvel series? Are they now considered "Infinities"?
While issues like these are often best left to each individual's "point of view", here's what LucasBooks' Chris Cerasi had to say...
"There's been some confusion of late regarding the 'Infinities' symbol, and Star Wars Expanded Universe continuity in general. Terms like "canon" and "continuity" tend to get thrown around casually, which doesn't help at all.
When it comes to absolute canon, the real story of Star Wars, you must turn to the films themselves - and only the films. Even novelizations are interpretations of the film, and while they are largely true to George Lucas' vision (he works quite closely with the novel authors), the method in which they are written does allow for some minor differences. The novelizations are written concurrently with the film's production, so variations in detail do creep in from time to time. Nonetheless, they should be regarded as very accurate depictions of the fictional Star Wars movies.
The further one branches away from the movies, the more interpretation and speculation come into play. LucasBooks works diligently to keep the continuing Star Wars expanded universe cohesive and uniform, but stylistically, there is always room for variation. Not all artists draw Luke Skywalker the same way. Not all writers define the character in the same fashion. The particular attributes of individual media also come into play. A comic book interpretation of an event will likely have less dialogue or different pacing than a novel version. A video game has to take an interactive approach that favors gameplay. So too must card and roleplaying games ascribe certain characteristics to characters and events in order to make them playable.
The analogy is that every piece of published Star Wars fiction is a window into the 'real' Star Wars universe. Some windows are a bit foggier than others. Some are decidedly abstract. But each contains a nugget of truth to them. Like the great Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi said, 'many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view.'
Returning to the question at hand. Yes, Star Wars Gamer is part of continuity, though as game material, there is room for interpretation. Only specific articles marked with the 'Infinities' logo within the magazine should be considered out of continuity.
Fans of the old monthly Marvel Star Wars comic will be heartened to know that LucasBooks does indeed consider them part of continuity. Decades of retrospect haven't been kind to all the elements of the comic series, but the characters and events still hold weight and are referenced in newer material whenever possible.
In order to allow unlimited freedom of storytelling, the Infinities label has been placed on the anthology series, Star Wars Tales. This means that not only can the stories occur anywhere in the Star Wars timeline, but stories can happen outside continuity. Basically, if an event happens in Tales, it may not have necessarily happened in the rest of the expanded universe. For some stories, the distinction is largely inconsequential. For others, it's the only way they could exist (for example, there's a Darth Vader vs. Darth Maul comic coming soon).""
- Steve Sansweet (and Chris Cerasi of LucasBooks), August 2001 - "Are Gamer and Marvel series canon?", StarWars.com
Many arguments revolve around this quote.
First, let's note that this quote refers to Infinities materials as being part of the EU, when Cerasi uses the phrase "the rest of the expanded universe". Second, it is established that the Marvel comic series is an official part of the EU continuity. Third, the novelizations are to be considered "very accurate depictions" of the canon films. Fourth, you can see that Sansweet has given up on his quasi-canon thing, declaring it up to each person's opinion, and then quoting someone else who contradicts his old synthesis attempt.
Now, we come to the meat of the quote. There are two parts which have been discussed ad nauseum. The first is Cerasi's comment that: "When it comes to absolute canon, the real story of Star Wars, you must turn to the films themselves - and only the films."
And with that sentence, we learn that:
Absolute Canon = Real Story of Star Wars
We also learn that:
Absolute Canon = Only the Films
Only the Films = Real Story of Star Wars
Real Story of Star Wars = Only the Films
To claim, then, that the EU in some way constitutes the real story of Star Wars is absurd. If A = B and A = C, then B = C. Now, with the established canonicity of the novelizations, screenplays, and radio dramas (the first of which Cerasi confirms, giving it a secondary status as a depiction of the films), the complete listing of canon materials . . . the real story of Star Wars and proper supplements . . . is complete. (Again, more on this can be found on my Layers of Canon page.)
Then, we come to Cerasi's 'foggy windows' notion, where he says that all the published works have a nugget of truth to them. Given that he's just pointed out that the only source for the real story of Star Wars is the films, it is not logical to conclude that he's suddenly saying that every scene, figure, or statement of every EU book has truth value, or even that some do. Nevertheless, that is what many have tried to conclude . . . effectively trying to use the foggy windows notion, ripped from the quote's context, to override and ignore the fact that B = C. That is how the EU completist debaters, employing a rule-set which they describe as "logical extrapolation by us", have declared that any EU statement not directly contradicted by the films is valid. Thus, EU completists work toward having the EU as being the primary source of Star Wars data, allowing it to supercede the canon whenever any excuse can be found.
In short, their "logical extrapolation" is anything but . . . their concept is directly opposed to Cerasi's statement. The actual logical extrapolation would be that EU works have a nugget of truth in them only insofar as they say something which corresponds to the real story of Star Wars: the canon. The rest of the EU is self-referential, a separate universe not necessarily in keeping with that of Lucas.
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"Canon refers to an authoritative list of books that the Lucas Licensing editors consider an authentic part of the official Star Wars history. Our goal is to present a continuous and unified history of the Star Wars galaxy, insofar as that history does not conflict with, or undermine the meaning of Mr. Lucas's Star Wars saga of films and screenplays. Things that Lucas Licensing does not consider official parts of the continuous Star Wars history show an Infinities logo or are contained in Star Wars Tales. Everything else is considered canon."
- Sue Rostoni, LucasBooks Managing Editor, October/November 2001 - Star Wars Gamer #6
Here, of course, we have Rostoni's first explicit use of "canon" to refer to the EU, and as a concept that is dictated by Lucas Licensing. (At least she did not cause rank confusion by misstating the who . . . just the what.) She also explains that LLP has, as its goal, the creation of a history that could "plug in" to the canon films and screenplays of Lucas. She explains this in less floral terms a couple of years later.
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"TVGuide: Yet novelists have written "Star Wars" sequels using the same characters and extending their stories.
George Lucas: Oh, sure. They're done outside my little universe. "Star Wars" has had a lot of different lives that have been worked on by a lot of different people. It works without me."
- George Lucas, Flannelled One, November 2001 - TV Guide interview
He also reiterated that there would be no third trilogy, despite what he said years ago about the whole story being a trilogy of trilogies. He said it was a joke, and The Rolling Stone printed the idea as fact. After Episode III, there will be only printed Star Wars stories from now on.
“There are two worlds here,” explained Lucas. “There’s my world, which is the movies, and there’s this other world that has been created, which I say is the parallel universe – the licensing world of the books, games and comic books. They don’t intrude on my world, which is a select period of time, [but] they do intrude in between the movies. I don’t get too involved in the parallel universe.”
- George Lucas, Flannelled One, July 2002 - as reported on the Cinescape site, from Cinescape Magazine
(In the magazine hardcopy, the preface to his comment reads: "And while rumors persist that an outline for a third trilogy exists (a joke Lucas made in passing to Rolling Stone, which then printed it as a fact), the director insists that the only continuation to the saga will be in the form of licensed properties.")
If other quotes have had many arguments revolve around them, these two above might best be described as having had world wars fought over them.
The most common attacks are listed below:
1. The TV Guide quote establishes that the novels are "outside my little universe", in George's view. Nevertheless, it is claimed that Star Wars is identified by Lucas as including all those different lives, because "it" works without him. While the working without him may be true of Star Wars the franchise, it is not true of Star Wars, the George Lucas canon films. Every quote up and down this page points out that Lucas views his universe as being it, and pays no attention to the EU. The fact that he refers to his universe, and declares the rest to be that which is outside of it, cinches that. To argue otherwise would be to suggest that Lucas was contradicting himself within the same paragraph, which makes little sense.
2. The Cinescape quote plainly shows that Lucas considers the EU materials to be part of another world that has been created, a parallel universe, one which he doesn't get too involved in. They don't intrude on those time periods Lucas plays in, though they do have between-film stories. It is the "intrude" comment which has created the biggest bone of contention:
2a. Following standard procedure, EU completists try to take the "intrude" part of the quote out of context, manipulate the meaning, and then try to force the rest of the quote to somehow correspond to the revision. Generally, this simply involves them ignoring the parallel universe and other world lines entirely, since there is no way to make it fit with their revised concept of intrusion.
So, let's take it from the top.
""There are two worlds here," explains Lucas."
The basic idea is established. There are two worlds. Let us mark them as W1 and W2. He then proceeds to define them:
""There's my world, which is the movies,"
W1 = movies
"and there's this other world that has been created, which I say is the parallel universe-the licensing world of books, games and comic books."
The above statement contains several ideas:
W2 = this other world that has been created
W2 = licensing world = books, games, and comic books
W2 = parallel universe, per George
Therefore, "W1 = movies" = not-other = not-parallel = the (real) universe
Lucas is not an idiot, by the way. He knows what "parallel universe" means. The original screenplay to Howard the Duck, written by a friend of Lucas and made as a favor (or at least that's a good excuse for it . . . ugh), involved a parallel universe of the classic sense, one in which ducks had evolved in humanity's place. Then, of course, there's the "outside my little universe" comment in support. Outside of the two quotes above, there's also support in the question of whether Fett died in the Sarlacc. That specifically establishes disparate histories for the EU (W2) and movies (W1). And, of course, there's the death/non-death of the Empire after Endor, the fact that the EU is heavily based on itself, and so on.
"They don't intrude on my world, which is a select period of time,"
W1 = movies = select period of time
W2 = parallel universe = not-intrude (W1)
Here, we learn that Lucas's world involves a select period of time, as anyone who watches the movies could've divined. We're also told that W2 does not intrude on his world, which in context applies more to the idea of "a select period of time" than "movies", though it applies to both as seen here:
"[but] they do intrude in between the movies."
Here is the primary point of contention. Some insist that this means "intrudes into the real Star Wars universe of Lucas", even though he just made the point about a period of time. Others would have you believe that intrusion regarding a period of time means that terms like "other world" and "parallel universe" are strictly temporal. In other words, they are arguing that Lucas must think 1990 (for example) is a parallel universe and another world distinct from 2003 or 2004.
Either view, of course, is absurd. Lucas first defined his world in terms of content, then explained the content of the other world, the parallel universe . . . he defined it as his movies versus the books, games, and comics. Now he's extended his world's definition in reference to timeframe, and is separating the worlds that way . . . by when they are, not just what they contain.
As many have stated and as LucasBooks tries to maintain, the EU is not allowed to encroach on the periods of time occupied by his films, or about events that he intends to make a film about. As Sansweet put it:
"For years, Lucas Books has stayed clear of characters, events, or the timeframe that George might want to deal with in the Star Wars prequels."
(Of course, the fact that the EU's Marvel retellings of the OT films are considered official by LucasBooks, with events from those referenced throughout the EU, doesn't help the EU's case . . . that's another example of disparate history.)
And so, we've come to the following:
W2 is thus not supposed to intrude on W1's timeframe, though they can squeeze in between the films.
That does not and cannot mean that the universes are one, even if you ignore the disparate histories of the two. It means there are two parallel timelines, with five (soon to be six) perpendicular lines sliced through between them . . . the parallel universe is not supposed to enter that set of timeframes. Even if they did, though, they wouldn't be hopping timelines.
For those of you who think visually, take a look at the rough sketch below. Lucas is saying that the EU keeps out of his movie time periods, or timeframes (marked in blue). That's when the EU red timeline is "off", and Lucas's green timeline is "on". But, they do intrude between the films . . . hence the red line being "on" at points between Episodes I through III, and IV through VI.
If you use the entire quote, that is the only way it can make sense and be consistent. However, EU Completists would have you believe that somehow, there's hopping between the red and green lines depending on whether the lines are on or off. Any such theory must involve either in-quote self-contradiction (such as the attempts of others to redefine the whole thing based on "intrude"), contradiction with other Lucas quotes (such as the TV Guide quote), or contradiction with other statements of canon policy (Such as Sansweet, Sansweet and Cerasi, and so on).
"I don't get too involved in the parallel universe."
George deals primarily with the movies. Naturally . . . that's his universe.
The alternate timeline of the parallel universe could have untold number of changes . . . parallel universes are, by definition, infinite. With infinite possibilities, anything is possible. Imagine a world where World War II was never fought, or the atom bomb was never discovered, or electricity was never harnessed . . . and yet which still contains the same number and identity of people as this world. Sounds odd, but it has to exist somewhere if there are infinite parallel universes. (Star Trek has explored that concept directly in several parallel universe tales . . . the ones in DS9 involved Imperial-scale Klingon cruisers in a universe which lacked cloaking technology.)
With that idea in mind, does it make sense to try to extract technological data from the EU parallel universe and apply it to the canon universe of Lucas? Of course not. That's apples and oranges.
3. Some attempt a word-replacement game to redefine the compound term "parallel universe". They take each individual word, split them up, define them individually, and then reassociate the two definitions and claim that this defines the term. Also likely is that they'll take snippets out of various definitions, claim that as the common understanding of the term, and then reassociate the terms with these new meanings. Either version, of course, is grammatically absurd.
A compound term has its own meaning, which can be equal to or different than the sum of its parts. "United States of America" has a certain meaning, though you can get the basic idea that it's a bunch of American states sticking together from looking up the terms. "All but" usually implies "almost" or "basically", but the terms taken individually imply the exact opposite. "High roller" doesn't refer to a somersaulting marijuana addict, but a big-spending gambler. "Bounty hunter" doesn't refer to someone who hunts for reward, but someone who hunts people for a reward.
Let's play that game with something a little closer to the sci-fi angle, such as "photon torpedo".
1. 1. The quantum of electromagnetic energy, regarded as a discrete particle having zero mass, no electric charge, and an indefinitely long lifetime.
2. 1. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of elasmobranch fishes belonging to Torpedo and allied genera. They are related to the rays, but have the power of giving electrical shocks. Called also crampfish, and numbfish. See Electrical fish, under Electrical.
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc
(Now, both of those are top-level entries, though the photon entry didn't have a Webster's Revised Unabridged definition (entertainingly enough).)
Clearly, we may argue that the Federation Starfleet is launching massless, chargeless, infinite-range ray relatives at its opponents. All that silly canonical talk about antimatter warheads is for the birds . . . or the fish. Either way, it's silliness. Silliness, I say! Of course, A "wave-particle numbfish" hardly has the same meaning as a photon torpedo, and yet the method used to get that out of photon torpedo is no different than the one employed to get something silly out of parallel universe.
Parallel universe is a term. The term, taken as a whole, has a meaning as a whole. It is a term roughly synonymous with similar terms, such as alternate timeline. It is a term employed in the sciences, and of course in science-fiction. Just check Google to see what kinds of usage are the most common.
Would Lucas have used the term in that way, or was he ignorant? Well, he knows what the phrase means, thanks to Howard the Duck. The script he received involved a parallel universe where fowl had evolved into the dominant intelligence, instead of primates. Given that he's consistent with his use of the idea that the EU is "outside" his universe, part of an "other world", and so on, it seems clear he knew what he was saying.
Others argue that he meant the term casually. True, the term has also been employed outside of the sci-fi context. You could refer, for example, to the parallel universe of the CEO power-lunch business world versus Mom & Pop apple pie life. Sure, those are actually occurring in the same universe, but the idea is not to say that the universes are one big happy family . . . the term is used that way because of the difference it suggests, because of the separate realities being discussed.
Since the appearance of the Starlog quote in 2005, some have tried to claim that the quotes above refer to production . . . i.e. that Lucas is referring to the movie-making world versus the book-making world. But of course, that makes no sense either . . . Lucas states that they don't intrude on his world, which is a select period of time, but they do intrude in between the movies. That is meaningless if you try to reimagine the quote as being about different productions.
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"Q: Did George Lucas intend for Boba Fett to die in the sarlacc, despite what others may say or print?
A: Yes, in George's view -- as far as the films go -- the baddest bounty hunter in the Galaxy met his match in the Great Pit of Carkoon where --unfortunately for Mr. Fett -- the ghastly sarlacc made its home.
However, Lucas also approved Fett's comeback in the expanded universe. And of course, by going back in time with the prequels, the Star Wars creator has brought Boba Fett back to life himself, albeit at a much younger age."
- Steve Sansweet, LFL/Fan Relations, December 2002 - "Does Lucas Consider Boba Dead?", StarWars.com
In Lucas's films, Fett is dead. In the EU, Fett is alive. This is a very simple point, one which I have made reference to many times because it explicitly demands separate, alternate (some might even say "parallel") histories for the canon universe and that of the EU.
Incredibly, even the above quote, clear as it is, has met with resistance in the form of desperate semantics attacks.
Some have argued that Lucas intended for Fett to die, and then changed his mind. It's true that the question involves past-tense intent on the part of Lucas ('did GL intend?'), though it also involves present-tense saying and printing (and "does" in the title!). Unfortunately, the Sansweet portion of the quote does not abide that interpretation . . . George's view that Fett died is stated in a present-tense matter. If I said "Yes, in Abraham Lincoln's view, as far as the Civil War battles go, blah", then one would expect Lincoln to be alive. If, on the other hand, I said "went" instead of "go", we'd have a past-tense situation.
Some have then argued that "as far as the films go" somehow means that Fett was only to seem to be dead . . . I'm reminded of the "mostly dead" gag from Princess Bride. That is also absurd . . . he's either dead or he isn't, and George thinks he's dead in the movie. (After all, a screaming Fett rocketed into the side of Jabba's barge, then a very quiet (dead or unconscious) Fett fell into the Sarlacc, which then belched. Two additional Jabba guards were thrown in after him, and then the Sarlacc experienced the joy of the barge exploding on top of it.
In the most flagrant display, one rabid poster on Spacebattles claimed that the use of the term "however" could only be understood as meaning "despite anything else to the contrary" (instead of the many more logical meanings), and he began placing that phrase within the quote above and claiming that his revised quote was the proper version for analysis. He evidently felt that somehow, by way of this word-replacement game (featuring carefully selected definitions, of course), Lucas could simultaneously believe that Fett was present-tense dead in his films and present-tense alive in his EU, and that therefore the EU was valid and that this should not cause headaches. I don't understand that notion at all, and I had the headache to prove it.
In any case, the issue was settled with the DVD release of the Special Editions of the films. Lucas comments on Boba Fett's death, and notes that despite thoughts of changing it he decided not to. More on the Fett issue can be found here.
Also, a word here on word-replacement games . . . they are not valid. A common effort made by opponents of the canon policy is to take words and concepts out of context and warp them into their opposite, and the word-replacement game is the highest form of that low-brow way of doing things.
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"The first two Incredible Cross-Sections books were conceived to explore bold new territory in the Star Wars universe, taking a rare look inside more vehicles and vessels than we had ever seen before, and doing in in unprecidented detail. These books would represent the most thorough research ever done on these vehicles and would receive Lucasfilm's formal imprimatur as canon. These volumes would henceforth be sent out to licensees as reference guides and would become useful manuals for Industrial Light & Magic, where some of the artwork influenced details in Episodes I and II."
- David West Reynolds, Star Wars EU author, May 2003 - Star Wars Insider #68
Many arguments appeared when this quote was made public. EU completists chant it like a mantra, not realizing the inherent silliness of the ideas that an EU author can claim canonicity for his own work, and that retroactive canonicity is fundamentally absurd. More details on this can be found here.
It's worth noting that one EU Completist touts seeing someone looking at the Episode II ICS on the StarWars.com Episode III webcam. Evidently, he feels that this proves canonicity . . . a concept not supported or implied by the canon policy statements. Use of anything backstage does not cause or imply canonicity. If that were so, then we would have to canonize the offices of Ralph McQuarrie, Doug Chiang, or Ryan Church, and declare everything within them canon. Better yet, all of the pulp 50's sci-fi that Lucas drew inspiration from would have to be canonized as part of the SW lore (which would perhaps provide less of a headache than trying to work the EU in, but that's neither here nor there). Of course, we don't do that, because what actually ends up on the screen is what is important.
Curiously, they do not make the same argument in reference to Mike Okuda's desk (which had copies of the various Technical Manuals on it, the canonicity of which they are opposed to), or the DS9 Companion (which was used as source text for Benny Russell's wall-scribblings in "Far Beyond the Stars"). Consistency, however, is not the strongest point for some EU completists.
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"Lucasfilm canon" refers to anything produced by any of the Lucas companies, whether it be movies, books, games, or internet. "Movie canon" is only that which you see and hear in the Star Wars films.
- Leland Chee, LucasBooks/LL editor, May 30, 2003 - StarWars.com forum post
This statement is interesting on the one hand, confusing on the other. The separation of canons (the official "Lucas canon" of films, novelizations, screenplays, and radio dramas) and the Rostoni/LLP-canon (i.e. the EU) makes sense, but Chee actually ends up separating the films from everything else, which would suggest that he's arguing that the EU (and StarWars.com, apparently) is as canon (or non-canon) as the film novelizations. That idea contradicts what we know of the canon policy, though his concept of separate and unequal canons makes sense. He fleshes this out in more detail in January 2004.
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"The ICS books are cannon. They don't carry the "Infinities" icon, so are considered part of cannon." [sic]
- Sue Rostoni, LucasBooks Managing Editor, May 30, 2003 - StarWars.com forum post
This viewpoint is unique to Lucas Licensing, and more on that appears in the Chee quotes below.
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In the original trilogy, Coruscant was not mentioned. But it appeared in the videogame Dark Forces and elsewhere. Was Coruscant invented by George Lucas?
The idea of a city-covered planet was in the early drafts of original trilogy scripts, but George Lucas wasn't able to get it onto the big screen until the prequels. Many scenes in Return of the Jedi were originally going to take place on the city-planet, but as the script evolved, they were later relocated to the second Death Star.
In these early drafts, the planet was called Had Abbadon. The name Coruscant came from author Timothy Zahn for his 1991 novel, Heir to the Empire. It's actually a real word that means "glittering" or "giving forth flashes of light." When it came time to name the city-planet for Episode I, after considering several other names, Lucas decided to go with the already established Coruscant.
- Steve Sansweet, LFL/Fan Relations, June 11, 2003 - Ask the Jedi Council, StarWars.com
(Other names considered for the city-planet in early drafts were Jhantor and Alderaan.)
There has been no argument regarding this quote to my knowledge. However, the fact that Lucas bothered to consider other names is quite striking . . . if the EU were part of his universe, wouldn't the name automatically be the same? How, then, could there have been a selection process? Such are questions that EU completists cannot answer.
(Of course, had he chosen another name, I'm sure that Rostoni, manipulator of the EU, would simply have had another author tell a tale about the "Great Renaming of the Imperial Capital to Coruscant" that would supposedly have occurred at some point, or some other silly thing. EU completists would not have thought twice about it . . . or once, for that matter.)
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"Does the main storyline for boks and comics go through Lucas to make sure it isn't going to conflict with future movies?
No. George doesn't give us much information about his future movies until he's making them. In general, George does not take the EU into account when he's making his movies. I feel like I ALWAYS have to qualify myself because there'll be somebody out there who will say "BUT WHAT ABOUT...." and then go on to say that we're wrong and covering up..... It's why none of us really give you "facts." When we do, there's those one or two that blast us into silence.
It's our job to manipulate the EU into fitting George's future movies, which often contradict stuff we've done. Not our ONLY job, of course."
- Sue Rostoni, LucasBooks Managing Editor, July 17, 2003 - StarWars.com forum post
The above is a damning confession, annihilating the EU completist argument. Rostoni herself makes it clear that George Lucas (creator of the real canon) pays little to no attention to the EU, acknowledges that contradictions occur, and confesses that her job is to clean up the mess and try to retrofit (i.e. retcon) the EU to try to make it fit cleanly.
I am not able to understand how, in the light of such comments, EU completists maintain that the EU is a factual part of the Star Wars universe. I can only assume that they feel that the retconning somehow makes everything better. Think about that for a moment. Lucas's universe "exists" . . . even as he makes new films, his universe isn't changing . . . we're just getting to see more of it (or, in the case of the Special Editions, to see it how it is supposed to be). However, in order to keep up, the EU has to actually be altered to fit. Even if you pick one point on the EU timeline to compare from, the EU of 2003 is a very different universe than the EU of a few years ago.
Revisionist history, indeed.
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"Do you use any of the Star Wars books and guides when working on your designs? Do you look at the "Expanded Universe" at all?
As designers we look at all kinds of stuff for inspiration and we have a crack research staff to help us with that. The Star Wars books serve as a starting point and guide for certain types of questions that arise in respect to certain cultures or technologies that have already been established in the movies. The Star Wars Chronicles book is our bible, the Incredible Cross-Section books provide a great starting point when we're adding to existing locations. We usually don't refer to the Expanded Universe materials specifically unless our research team finds something that directly corresponds to our assignment.
For Episode III we're going to a lot of new places and George Lucas has really pushed us to come up with new looks for vehicles, environments, cultures and characters. When we receive an assignment that deals with an aspect of the Star Wars universe that hasn't been nailed down in the movies, George likes us to keep a completely open mind and leave behind our preconceived notions or expectations for that culture or character. That freedom, coupled with the fact that we are such fans of the movies, can lead to some very interesting solutions.
The biggest single source of inspiration, though, are the movies themselves. We design for the that [sic] medium, for how things will look up on the screen, as part of the story."
- Ryan Church, Lucasfilm Concept Design Supervisor, August 22, 2003 - Ask the Jedi Council, StarWars.com
The above quote has been employed recently by EU completists as yet another 'devastating proof' that the ICS is supposed to be canon. I do not see where they are extracting that concept from. Use of anything backstage does not cause or imply canonicity. If that were so, then we would have to canonize the offices of Ralph McQuarrie, Doug Chiang, and Ryan Church, and declare everything within them canon. Better yet, all of the pulp sci-fi that Lucas drew inspiration from would have to be canonized as part of the SW lore (which would perhaps provide less of a headache than trying to work the EU in, but that's neither here nor there). Of course, we don't do that, because what actually ends up on the screen is what is important.
Mr. Church makes it clear that they look to books containing movie and movie-based visuals for inspiration about things already established in the movies. (That's a rather obvious thing for a concept designer to do . . . the alternative would be to wheel around a mobile TV rack with five VCRs on it so he could fast-forward and re-wind his way through the films. Having the books around for reference doesn't canonize those books any more than Ira Steven Behr's stated use of the DS9 Tech Manual canonizes that book.)
The Chronicles book, for instance, has numerous pictures from the original trilogy, such as model and set photographs . . . this is a very logical choice of "bible" for a concept designer. The ICS books, inasmuch as they contain excellent artwork regarding what has already been seen, are a good supplement to that. Given Church's role, a simple picture-book would've sufficed.
And yet, somehow, the above quote proves ICS canonicity. How? Beats me.
What is commonly ignored about the quote above is the statement that George Lucas likes for them to feel completely free to make up whatever they like in situations where something hasn't been nailed down in the films, and not feel bound by whatever has come before. That's in keeping with George Lucas's habit of ignoring the EU materials.
It's also worth noting that some try to use the above to claim, as a sort of inverse corollary to the canonicity claim, that the ICS is stated by Church to be non-EU (and presumably Chronicles along with), thereby backing up David West Reynold's self-canonization. That concept is also without support in the quote above . . . at no point does he say that those works are not part of the EU. He refers to books which show pictures of movie-things, and those which do not.
EU completists are very good at leaping to conclusions . . . unfortunately, without any support for their conclusions, the landing is a very hard one.
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(A more thorough quotation appears on the quote listing)
After three years at LucasArts, I learned that the Publishing Department at Lucas Licensing was looking for someone to create a Star Wars continuity database.
Wizards: Let's say that you come across two or more contradictory sources while chasing down a reference. How do you decide which one to accept as "canon"?
Leland: Everything is looked at on a case-by-case basis. Among the factors we consider: In how many sources does this particular fact appear? Which source has the largest audience? Which explanation is the coolest? Have we been told by George Lucas to avoid this topic? If, after weighing all those variables, the answer isn't yet clear, the issue is presented to an internal group that makes the final determination as to which source is "correct."
- Leland Chee, LucasBooks/LL database admin, Dec. 2003, Wizards of the Coast interview
In the above, Chee is discussing his role as "Keeper of the Holocron", an internal database of info that LucasBooks/Lucas Licensing employ to keep the various errata of the non-canon straight. Sue Rostoni refers to him as the "indispensible" "go-to guy". The quote above makes it clear that it is not Lucasfilm as a whole which is maintaining this continuity.
Note, however, his use of the term "canon" to refer to details which go into it. Of course, he'd already publicly referred to a distinction between Lucas's "movie canon" and another "Lucasfilm canon", i.e. what was considered official within the halls of the various Lucas companies, such as Lucas Licensing. He goes into more detail about this distinction a month later, as seen below.
The Holocron is an internal database maintained by Lucas Licensing that tracks all the fictional elements created for the Star Wars universe. The database includes material from the films, books, comics, videogames, trading cards, roleplaying games, websites, toys, cartoons, and just about every officially sanctioned fictional element of the Star Wars universe.
Are the entries in the Holocron sorted as cannonical & non-cannonical? Are there various degress of oficialness?
The database does indeed have a canon field. Anything in the films and from George Lucas (including unpublished internal notes that we might receive from him or from the film production department) is considered "G" canon. Next we have what we call continuity "C" canon which is pretty much everything else. There is secondary "S" continuity canon which we use for some older published materials and things that may or may not fit just right. But, if it is referenced in something else it becomes "C". Similarly, any "C" canon item that makes it into the films can become "G" canon. Lastly there is non-continuity "N" which we rarely use except in the case of a blatant contradiction or for things that have been cut.
I will not go into specifics as to what is considered "S" canon or what items that are seemingly "C" canon are actually "G" canon.
Okay, I know that the novels are C-level, and I assume that most of the newer comics are also C-level. Where on the continuity spectrum to the Video games come in?
"...continuity "C" canon which is pretty much everything else. " By everything else I mean EVERYthing else. Novels, comics, junior novels, videogames, trading card games, roleplaying games, toys, websites, television. As I've mentioned earlier, any contradictions that arise are dealt on a case-by-case.
This has been our general approach to continuity since we began using the Holocron database to track it.
Are novelisations of the films considered G-level or C-level material?
In a nutshell, anything created by the author would be C-level. Anything in the the novels created by George Lucas (whether it comes from unpublished early script versions, unpublished author interviews with George, or George's revisions to the novelization manuscript) would be G-level unless contradicted by the films.
It gets a little more complicated when something is seen on-screen but not named. So the "shuura fruit" mentioned in the AOTC novel would be G because you see it in the film, although the author came up with the name.
Is there anything post-Return of the Jedi that is G level?
Not in the database, no. If there is anything anywhere, only George knows.
Has George Lucas consulted/refered to the database for any Episode III work, and did he use it for Episode II?
Directly, no. If George needs EU reference, (ie images of Aayla Secura for AOTC or images of the EU character who will appear in Ep3), George will ask someone who will ask someone else who might be a user of the Holocron to provide the necessary reference.
Might we discover what the non-obvious G-level elements are, some time after Episode III?
I don't forsee that happening. Sorry. I really wouldn't take too much stock into the difference between G-level and C-level because the lines between the two are so blurred.
which category (C or G) the Incredible Cross-sections, Visual Dictionary and the Inside the Worlds belongs?
Theses books are treated no differently than any other books; anything created by the author would be C-level. I would guess that 95% of the text info in those books is created by the author or is based on information created by another author other than George Lucas.
- Leland Chee, LucasBooks/LL database admin, Jan. - Jun. 2004, several StarWars.com
forum posts in the "Holocron continuity database questions" thread.
There's a lot of information in the above. Let's start at the top, where he says that the Holocron is "maintained by Lucas Licensing". We knew that, of course, but it never hurts to repeat it. This internal LL database is not directly called for by George Lucas . . . which means that whereas Sue Rostoni finds Chee the indispensible go-to-guy, Lucas does not. Lucas explained more about this in 1999, when he explained that something like the Holocron might exist in the dark recesses of his company, but that he hadn't seen it and didn't know . . . he knew the consistencies, and could make up what he needed. Or, to put it in Rostoni's way, George just doesn't pay much attention to the EU when making the films. If he did, he'd certainly keep Chee by his side at all times.
Chee's distinction of Lucas canon vs. Lucasfilm (or really, Lucas Licensing) canon gets more fleshed out in the posts above. Lucas Licensing consider the films, Lucas's notes, production notes, script info, and most film novelization data to be G-level (i.e. Lucas canon).
Then, there's the "continuity canon", or C-level canon. This refers to the Lucas Licensing in-house continuity and the canon thereof. That "continuity canon" phrasing is more accurate than his old "Lucasfilm canon", though the use of the term "continuity canon" is potentially headache-inspiring. It includes "[...] EVERYthing else. Novels, comics, junior novels, videogames, trading card games, roleplaying games, toys, websites, television."
EU Completists will employ the GCSN rankings as if it is the law of Lucas's empire. It is not. It is simply how Licensing and the publishing department handle things.
"STARLOG: The Star Wars Universe is so large and diverse. Do you ever find yourself confused by the subsidiary material that's in the novels, comics, and other offshoots?
LUCAS: I don't read that stuff. I haven't read any of the novels. I don't know anything about that world. That's a different world than my world. But I do try to keep it consistent. The way I do it now is they have a Star Wars Encyclopedia. So if I come up with a name or something else, I look it up and see if it has already been used. When I said [other people] could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided that, like Star Trek, we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one. They try to make their universe as consistent with mine as possible, but obviously they get enthusiastic and want to go off in other directions."
- George Lucas, Flannelled One, Aug. 2005 - "New Hopes" interview in Starlog #337 (scans here)
Point and Match.
It was in 2002, shortly before the appearance of the Cinescape quote and before I knew of the 2001 TV Guide quote that I developed the idea of the separate universes. Lucas then promptly confirmed it and I was also made aware that he'd confirmed it before. After long years of struggle to get opponents of the Star Wars canon policy to listen, Lucas confirmed it again and made it even more specific, directly comparing it to the non-canon Star Trek novels. The only difference is that the Star Wars novels maintain internal consistency and internal canon, whereas the Trek ones did not.
It should come as no surprise that this quote has been highly disputed by EU Completists. Folks at TheForce.Net's "EU Defense Force" forum and at GalacticSenate.com saw an early partial rendition of the quote, and reacted badly. Suffice it to say that the attempted counterarguments come in just a few flavors (quotes included where entertaining):
1. The 'Abject Denial' Evasion
TF.N EUDF: "I would wager that quote is fake. [...] 10 bucks has it being slapped together from his infamous "parallel universe" comment."
GS: "That quote seems like a cut and paste job from older interviews, personally, although I haven't read the issue in question."
The gut reaction was disbelief . . . which is common in human beings, and entirely understandable when a person is confronted with devastating disproof of their carefully-nurtured worldview. I don't fault them for it, though the fact that it lasted long enough to compose and post it as a reply is kinda sad. That guy hasn't given me ten bucks, either.
Also note how they ignore the fact that Lucas has made the point about separate universes several times, pretending that there's just one quote that can be wished away (through means unknown).
2. The Lucas-Insanity/Senility Plea
TF.N EUDF: "Lucas's mind seems to be subject to change without notice [...]"
TF.N EUDF: "Lucas is typically distant from anything that he himself didn't create, and given his frequent inability to remember things that he himself does, I wouldn't give this one too much thought."
GS: "Still, Lucas's mind seems to be subject to change without notice, and actions speak louder than words."
Here, they basically claim that we ought not pay too much attention to what Lucas says, because he's changed his mind before and/or is senile. While that's true, the fact that he's been consistent about this issue for years (perhaps as far back as 1980, and reportedly as far back as 1995) should hold some sway.
3. The "Lucas Lies!" Evasion
TF.N EUDF: "Actions speak louder than words."
TF.N EUDF: "But, in reality, his actions speak louder than words."
GS: "George likes to say things that contradict his actions."
GS: "I personally wouldn't take too much stock in it. As has been stated, GL's previous actions undermine the idea of him actually feeling this way. It's probably just an overstated attempt to distance himself from the EU."
GS: "Still, Lucas's mind seems to be subject to change without notice, and actions speak louder than words."
The idea above is that Lucas can't possibly treat the EU as a separate universe because he's failed to do so at some point in the past. For instance, they'd say his use of the name Coruscant must prove that he accepts the EU as factual. Of course, the fact that Lucas stomped all over the EU regarding all manner of things (Boba, Clone Wars, Vader's hand, et cetera) is lost on them.
The basic idea here is that they are taking some action of Lucas's to which they ascribe motive (i.e. action of 'use of Coruscant' = motive of 'believes in the EU'), and rejecting Lucas's own statements because of the motive they themselves ascribed to him. It's a twisted sort of logic, isn't it?
4. The "Lucas is Irrelevant" Peculiarity
TF.N EUDF: "Lucas has said this in various forms over the years. The key thing to remember is both his and LFLs stated stance, which is officially that if it adds to the SW universe and does not contradict the movies, then it is accepted, if it contradicts, it is not."
GS: "GL says a lot of stuff in interviews etc. but none of it actually has bearing on the actual Star Wars story. What is official is the continuity ladder, where the EU is part of the Star Wars galaxy unless it contradicts something in the movies. [...] So, until GL blatantly puts something into the movies or TV shows that unalterably contradicts something I read in the books, the uncontradicted EU will always stand on the same level as the movies."
These replies were amazing. At least the guy from TheForce.Net noted honestly that Lucas has said that sort of thing before, but then he manufactures a Lucas statement that doesn't exist insofar as "both his and LFLs stated stance". Lucas has never indicated that any EU material is accepted into his movie universe, other than what he himself has directly added.
The GalacticSenate fellow simply disregards Lucas entirely, choosing instead to accept the EU because Licensing says so. In the end, this is of course what EU Completists have to do. One fellow was honest with this point. Going by the handle "Grand Admiral Thrawn", he said:
"The Expanded Universe is a playground for us. It is a deluxe, if you will, to those looking for more then the movies. The fact is, it will always be real (within reason) to those of us who love it, and no one can change that. I admit, some EU material is just ridiculous (like Shadows of the Empire, a great novel but too much jumbled into such a short amount of time), but I still consider it real. I still imagine Prince Xizor somewhere behind Palpatine out of holoprojection range when Darth Vader is speaking to the Emperor in Empire Strikes Back.
I love the EU because it gives you a new look at the movies. I love watching them and thinking “Oh, while this is happening, that’s happening!” or “Hey, that person is somewhere in the cantina while Luke and Ben are there!” etc., etc. It’s just a fun thing.
I will always consider the EU canon. Even if Lucas himself comes to my house and says “No, it’s crap. It’s nothing.” Even if he decides to ban the EU altogether, I will still love it and I will still consider it canon."
This is absolutely perfect and absolutely honest, and I have the utmost respect for this fellow for having this view and stating it openly. This is what an EU Completist should be. However, sadly, most EU Completists suffer from the all-too-common thinking that their opinion should be held as fact by all the world. And thus many EU Completists and canon Purists reject the fact of two canons, and engage in pointless bickering. The further their views are entrenched, the more willing they are to play loose with logic and deceive themselves that they're behavior is okay because they're right. It's very human . . . but it's very wrong.
5. The Production Evasion
EU Completists from StarDestroyer.Net developed a vague reinterpretation which they never explained, but which (they feel) trounces the parallel universe idea of Lucas and others. They argue that Lucas was referring only to the production of the films versus the EU material, and reapplied this concept to other quotes of his.
The claim makes little sense. Basically the claimants wish to suggest that Lucas in no way refers to content of the EU, but merely to its production . . . i.e. that he's not involved, and thus it is a "parallel universe". (The fact that they previously latched on to and/or created every suggestion that Lucas was ever involved in the EU is lost on them . . . they'll contradict it wholesale if they can make the parallel universes of production stick.)
But really, what the hell does that even mean? Lucas is asked above if he's ever confused by the content of the subsidiary offshoot material. But the Production Evasion is based on the claim that Lucas ignored the question, and instead chose to ramble about the different roles of Lucasfilm versus Lucas Licensing in some abstract, esoteric manner, and that every time he's made the point about separate and parallel universes he's been doing the same thing. It's pure hogwash, and the only strength in the idea is that they've never actually addressed quotes to explain where they're getting the idea.
The Production Evasion is perhaps the most flagrant example of reimagining quotes. But whereas others reimagine quotes by trying to deal with the quote (say, by redefining a term), the Production Evasion is based on repainting, in a broad stroke, the meaning of the quote itself. For a similar example, imagine if an equally artistic reinterpreter were to claim that Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was not actually talking about the Civil War, but was instead a cloaked love letter to an estranged mistress, calling on the better angels of their natures and so on. One can point to the Address itself and show how he's talking about war and casualties, but an artistic reinterpreter would simply deride such literalism as missing the point. In short, there is no real way to convince the artistic reinterpreter of the literal meaning, because it is impossible to disprove their imagined view to them. They wish to evade the true meaning of the words, and have latched on to a different meaning that serves their ends. All the argument in the world cannot change their mind, because they are desperately trying to hang on to the belief/conclusion they desire.
The strongest statement of the Production Evasion was given by Wayne Poe on his StarWars.com blog. A reprinting of his post and my response can be found here.
In the vast majority of cases, opposition to the actual Lucas/LFL canon policy seems to be based on playing fast and loose with context, be it in the form of taking a word or sentence out of context, taking the speaker out of the context of what they've always maintained, or just ignoring what is being said altogether.