Star Wars opening crawl tagline found on canon adult fiction novels published by Del Rey

"People get into all these debates of what's canon and what's not, and sometimes forget the special nature of telling a good story and creating great characters. Part of the fan debate in the past always used to be 'What's canon? What's not?' because there was George, and we always knew George was the canon. I look at it very broadly, and I just say there's a love of Star Wars. Because I knew George, I worked with him, and none of us are going to be him. But we love the Galaxy he created, and we're very much a product of it; growing up with it."
Dave Filoni[1]

The Star Wars canon is the continually evolving body of authoritative works comprising the official story of Star Wars, encompassing movies, television series, novels, comics, and video games. George Lucas set the six Star Wars films and the many hours of content he developed and produced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars as canon. These stories are defined to be the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align.[2]

Since the 1990s, Lucasfilm Ltd. licensed a vast collection of interconnected stories produced by numerous authors, including comics, novels and video games, forming what was known as the official Star Wars Expanded Universe, existing parallel to the "universe" directly overseen by Lucas.[3] The Expanded Universe was referred to as "quasi-canon" as opposed to Lucas' canon, which was described to be the definitive canon,[4] or the "only true canon" among "different degrees of canon"[5] or "absolute canon."[6] In 2000, Lucas Licensing created an internal database tracking and organizing all the fictional elements created for the Star Wars universe, making up a hierarchical system listing different levels of canon, which could've been divided into George Lucas' canon and vision of the Star Wars universe, comprised of the six movies and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, occupying the highest level, which have had "absolute authority", whereas material collectively referred to as the Expanded Universe, constituting Lucas Licensing's vision, was ranked as lower level of canonicity.[7][8]

After The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm on October 30, 2012, the Expanded Universe was rebranded as Legends,[2] thus, the term "canon" came to be reserved exclusively for George Lucas' canon - the six movies and the seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars he developed and produced - and the movies, television series, novels, comics, toys and video games created by Lucasfilm after the acquisition, including but not limited to the Sequel Trilogy.

The definition of canon throughout the years

Canon and "quasi-canon" (1994-2000)

The Star Wars "gospel" or canon was first defined in Fall 1994 in the first issue of the Lucasfilm magazine Star Wars Insider,[9] by Lucasfilm Production Editor Sue Rostoni and Continuity Editor Allan Kausch:

"'Gospel,' or canon as we refer to it, includes the screenplays, the films, the radio dramas and the novelizations. 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."

The second edition of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe by Bill Slavicsek, published in March 1994, created a list with a coding system in accordance to the definition given by Rostoni and Kausch, clearly separating Star Wars materials into two distinct categories: the Original Trilogy, its adaptations - the novelizations and the radio dramas - were labeled as "original Lucasfilm source" whereas all the approximately seventy Star Wars related works published by Lucasfilm - the Thrawn Trilogy, the Dark Empire series, the Star Wars Roleplaying Game etc. - were labeled as "officially licensed source that may or may not agree with George Lucas' vision of the Star Wars galaxy."[10]

In the introduction to the 1994 printing of Splinter of the Mind's Eye, Lucas offered his view on the evolution of the Star Wars universe, praising the many stories told by other authors about the characters he created:[11]

"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 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."

In 1996, The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, a reference book written by Mark Cotta Vaz, covering the Shadows of the Empire multimedia campaign, featured two, different canons: a chronology complied by continuity editors by Lucasfilm, and a collection of "the screenplays, novelizations and other core works."[12]

"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." — Mark Cotta Vaz
"We have what we call Canon, which is the screenplays, novelizations, and other core works that are directly tied into the continuity, and then there are a lot of marginal things, like the old Marvel Comics series, that we don't really try to work into the continuity when we're planning new projects." — Allan Kausch

In 1998, the Star Wars Encyclopedia was published, in which Stephen J. Sansweet gave a stricter definition of the Star Wars canon, distinguishing between canon and "quasi-canon":[4]

"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 authorized adaptations of the films: the novels, radio dramas, and comics. After that, almost everything falls into a category of 'quasi-canon.'"

In the August/September 1999 issue of Star Wars Insider, George Lucas explained that he keeps his movies under his control but cannot keep the entire Star Wars universe in line:[13]

"Part of the job of the director is to sort of keep everything in line, and I can do that in the movies—but I can't do it on the whole Star Wars universe."

A hierarchy to canon, two "universes" and two continuities (2000-2008)

In January 2000, Lucasfilm hired Leland Chee to create an internal database for Lucas Licensing's Publishing department, called the "Holocron." The database replaced the "bibles"[14] tracking and organizing all the fictional elements created for the Star Wars universe, making up a hierarchical system listing different levels of canon. The database had a canon field for each individual entry and for sources. "G" canon referred to George Lucas' canon, initially made up only of the six Star Wars movies and unpublished internal notes from him or the movie production department. "C" canon, referring to continuity, consisted all licensed properties, thus including most of the Expanded Universe, whereas "S" canon, with the "S" standing for "secondary," encompassed works that were created before Lucasfilm strived to maintain an internal consistency within the Expanded Universe. "N" canon meant "non-continuity", used only in the case of blatant contradiction.[15][8]

In April 2000, in a post published on the official Star Wars forums, Sansweet clarified the distinction between canon and "quasi-canon" even further, referring to "different degrees of canon" among which there is "only one true canon":[5]

"As many fans know, when it comes to Star Wars knowledge, there are degrees of 'canon.' The only true canon are the films themselves."

In June 2001, the fourth issue of the Star Wars Gamer magazine raising the issue of what is and isn't considered to be "canon" in the Star Wars universe. On August 14 2001, in Star Wars Gamer 6, Sue Rostoni was quoted by the magazine, defining canon as an authoritative list of books complied by Lucas Licensing editors:[16]

"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."

On August 17 2001, when Sansweet was asked to clarify what is and what is not canon, he directed fans' attention to Christopher Cerasi's statement about the "absolute canon" and the "real story of the Star Wars universe":[6]

"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 Master Obi-Wan Kenobi said, 'many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view."

In August in the section Rebel Rumblings of the 57th issue of the Star Wars Insider magazine Sansweet again defined the films as the "one, true, absolutely and only canonical source."[17]

In an interview done in 2001 and published in July 2002 by Cinescape, George Lucas explained that he has no plans for a third trilogy and that the only continuation of the saga will be in the form of licensed properties, describing two different "worlds" and "a parallel universe" to his own:[18][19]

"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."

In May 2003, questions about canon were raised on the official Star Wars forums when the sixty-eighth issue of Star Wars Insider stated that David West Reynolds' Incredible Cross-Sections books "would receive Lucasfilm's formal imprimatur as canon," as some saw it as contradictory to what Sansweet and Cerasi said in 2001. In his answer, Leland Chee made a clear distinction between "Lucasfilm's canon" and "movie canon":[20]

"Perhaps your confusion is with the meaning of Lucasfilm. "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."

Addressing the topic, Sue Rostoni admitted that canon can be confusing, as all Star Wars material that are not published with the "Infinity" logo is considered canon, however, canon has a hierarchy to it, reiterating what was established by Slavicsek, Sansweet and Cerasi:[21]

"Canon -- confusing sometimes. Basically, everything except those items marked with an "Infinity" logo (i.e. the Star Wars Tales comics) is considered canon. There is a hierarchy -- the movies, novelizations, radio dramas come first. Then everything else. If something in a novelization contradicts the movies, then we defer to the movies. IE, the ROJ novelization says that Obi-Wan and Owen Lars were brothers. This wasn't in the movie, and has since been discounted. Maybe it was a cover they used at one point... who knows."

In June 2004, Rostoni confirmed that George Lucas is not bringing ideas or concepts to the Expanded Universe and that in general, he doesn't see any of the story ideas or concepts, and although he is reading the comic books, he does so after they were published.[22]

"In general, George doesn't see the overall story ideas or concepts. If there is a sensitive area, or if we are developing backstory for a character he's created or mentioned in an interview, we can query him to get more information, his approval, or whatever. And yes, we always query him if we're doing something drastic to a film character. I believe he does read the concepts for the games, though."

However, when it was proposed that this might mean that some fans might know the Star Wars universe better than Lucas, Rostoni clarified, there is no one who knows more about Star Wars than Lucas himself, and that he doesn't see the Expanded Universe as "his" Star Wars but as "theirs":[23]

"[Lucas] knows the comics very well - - after the fact. He reads the comics. George knows more about Star Wars than we do. He doesn't see the extended universe as 'his' Star Wars, but as 'ours.' I think this has been mentioned previously, maybe in other places, but it's not new info, as far as I remember."

In August 2004, Chee was asked, "a clarification is needed if the C and G level are separated, i.e. do they form independent canon or are both part of the overall continuity?" It should be noted that the question is confusing: in the Holocron continuity database, "C-canon" and "G-canon" are making up two separate canons, with Rostoni and Kausch stating, in 1994 and 1996, Lucas Licensing seeks to maintain an overall continuity. Echoing those statements, Chee replied:[24]

"There is one overall continuity."

In August 2005, George Lucas gave an interview to Starlog magazine, in which he explained, he is a stranger to the Expanded Universe, reiterating his statements from 2001 about two different "worlds" and two "universes", also noting that there might be inconsistencies between the two:[25]

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."

In August 18, when she was told about the article on the message boards, Rostoni confirmed:[26]

ROSTONI: "Yeah, this is pretty much what I've heard, except that people said he reads the comics."

In December 2005, Chee was asked questions about whether or not the interview Lucas gave to Starlog means that he doesn't consider the Expanded Universe canonical, to which Chee gave a somewhat evasive answer:[27]

CHEE: "GL is certainly not bound by the EU, though he's certainly open to using things created in it (Aayla Secura and the Coruscant name, for example). On the other hand, the quote you provide makes it sound like the EU is separate from George's vision of the Star Wars universe. It is not. The EU must follow certain tenets set by George through the films and other guidelines that he provides outside of the films."

He answered a question about whether George Lucas, Lucas Licensing and Lucas Publishing are using the same canon policy or Lucas and Lucasfilm use different policies, in which he stated, anybody can have their own perception of what is and isn't canon, and that the Holocron continuity database applies when something official is developed for books, games, websites and merchandise, but for anything beyond that it's just a reference tool:[28]

"Anybody can have their own perception of what is and isn't canon. The Holocron comes into play for anything official being developed for books, games, websites, and merchandise. For anything beyond that, it is simply a reference tool."

Furthermore, he stated, Lucasfilm Ltd. doesn't have a canon policy, as it couldn't be applied beyond merchandise and online, and there is no such thing as a document that could be used to determine what is and what is not canon.[27]

In November 2006, Chee was asked to resolve a debate between two fans, with one of them stating that based on George Lucas' interviews from 2002 and 2005, there are two official continuities, one encompassing the movies only, reflecting Lucas' vision, and one made up of the Expanded Universe, whereas the other claiming, based on Chee's comments on the Holocron continuity database, that there is only one official continuity comprised of Lucas' movies and the Expanded Universe, divided into different levels of canonicity. In his answer posted in December, Chee confirmed that there is not one, but two distinct official continuities and that when it comes to Lucas' views on the Star Wars universe one must not go beyond the movies:[29]

"The only relevant official continuities are the current versions of the films alone, and the combined current version of the films along with whatever else we've got in the Holocron. You're never going to know what George's view of the universe beyond the films at any given time because it is constantly evolving."

Subsequent questioning over which continuity was "more official" revealed that Chee favored the "film + EU" continuity, but stated that in the end, it was up to the individual fan, as it would be "great disservice" to discount those who watched only the movies, as fans.[30]

"You're asking the Keeper of the Holocron, so of course I'm gonna be a bit biased ... The reality is that a huge number of people who have seen all 6 Star Wars films have never played a Star Wars game, visited a Star Wars website, watched a Star Wars television program, read a Star Wars publication, or purchased a Star Wars action figure or collectible. It would be great disservice to discount these people as fans."

Chee also clarified whether or not the "foggy windows" to the Star Wars universe mentioned by Cerasi in 2001 are offering a glimpse to the films only continuity or the combined continuity of the films and the Expanded Universe:[31]

"Film+EU continuity. Anything not in the current version of the films is irrelevant to Film only continuity."

Six levels of canon, three pillars and two visions (2008-2014)

In February 2008, Howard Roffman commented on the subject when discussing Lucasfilm's marketing plan for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series:[32]

"We've stuck to a very clear branding strategy for the past decade. This is Star Wars. Individual movies come and go, as do TV shows, video games, books. They all contribute to the lore of Star Wars, but in the end it is one saga and that saga is called Star Wars. We've wanted to send a clear message to our fans that everything we do is part of that overall saga."

In March, during ShoWest 2008, Lucas gave an interview where he clarified that in his mind, Star Wars doesn't go beyond the story of Anakin Skywalker and the books about Luke Skywalker, taking place after Episode VI, are belonging to the "licensing world." He mentioned three distinct "worlds": his own, the licensing's "world" and the fans' "world", pointing out that they're not always matching:[33]

Interviewer: "Do you think you'd have other people continue the Star Wars saga past Episode VI or turn some of the other material into films?"
Lucas: "But there's no story past Episode VI, there's just no story. It's a certain story about Anakin Skywalker and once Anakin Skywalker dies, that's kind of the end of the story. There is no story about Luke Skywalker, I mean apart from the books. But there's three worlds: There's my world that I made up, there's the licensing world that's the books, the comics, all that kind of stuff, the games, which is their world, and then there's the fans' world, which is also very rich in imagination, but they don't always mesh. All I'm in charge of is my world. I can't be in charge of those other people's world, because I can't keep up with it."

In May, Total Film Magazine published an interview with Lucas, in which he described the three different and sometimes mismatching "worlds" as "pillars" and drew an analogy between Star Wars and the Trinity of the Christian religion:[34]

TOTAL FILM: "The Star Wars universe has expanded far beyond the movies. How much leeway do the game makers and novel writers have?"
LUCAS: "They have their own kind of world. There's three pillars of Star Wars. I'll probably get in trouble for this but it's OK! There's three pillars: the father, the son and the holy ghost. I'm the father, Howard Roffman [president of Lucas Licensing] is the son and the holy ghost is the fans, this kind of ethereal world of people coming up with all kinds of different ideas and histories. Now these three different pillars don't always match, but the movies and TV shows are all under my control and they are consistent within themselves. Howard tries to be consistent but sometimes he goes off on tangents and it's hard to hold him back. He once said to me that there are two Star Trek universes: there's the TV show and then there's all the spin-offs. He said that these were completely different and didn't have anything to do with each other. So I said, 'OK, go ahead.' In the early days I told them that they couldn't do anything about how Darth Vader was born, for obvious reasons, but otherwise I pretty much let them do whatever they wanted. They created this whole amazing universe that goes on for millions of years!"
TOTAL FILM: "Are you happy for new Star Wars tales to be told after you're gone?"
LUCAS: "I've left pretty explicit instructions for there not to be any more features. There will definitely be no Episodes VII-IX. That's because there isn't any story. I mean, I never thought of anything. And now there have been novels about the events after Episode VI, which isn't at all what I would have done with it. The Star Wars story is really the tragedy of Darth Vader. That is the story. Once Vader dies, he doesn't come back to life, the Emperor doesn't get cloned and Luke doesn't get married..."

On May 7, Lucas was interviewed by Los Angeles Times magazine, in which Lucas, once again, emphasized the distinction between his vision and the Expanded Universe:[35]

"'There really isn't any story to tell there,' the filmmaker said. 'It's been covered in the books and video games and comic books, which are things I think are incredibly creative but that I don't really have anything to do with other than being the person who built the sandbox they're playing in.'

It was also added:

"'I get asked all the time, 'What happens after Return of the Jedi?,' and there really is no answer for that,' he said. 'The movies were the story of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and when Luke saves the galaxy and redeems his father, that's where the story ends.'"

On May 6 2008, Star Wars Insider 101 was published. The magazine featured an article, titled "The Essential Expanded Universe" by author Daniel Wallace, dedicated entirely to the Expanded Universe. Wallace indicated that the Expanded Universe is official, but, as it was done previously, he made a distinction between the canon of the six movies, that had "absolute authority" and a canon on a "lower level":[8]

"The concept of an Expanded Universe certainly isn't unique to Star Wars. Many popular genre properties, from Star Trek to Alien, release spin-off tales that shed light on events not seen in the "official" narrative. But the Star Wars EU is unique in both in its size and in the care with which its narrative is shepherded and organized. In Star Wars, the Expanded Universe is official, albeit on a slightly lower level - sometimes called C-canon (see box on page 40) - than the absolute authority of the six Star Wars films."

The article revealed that Wallace was unsure about the status of the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, hinting that it might be part of George Lucas' canon:

"The biggest EU projects to date, or an official "G-canon" extension of the film saga? Either way, we can't wait!"

On May 8, Chee adopted Lucas' usage of the pillar system, confirming that the television production, just like the movies themselves, are both separate from the Expanded Universe:[36]

"The clarify this point just a little bit further, The Clone Wars will not be considered Expanded Universe. They'll be ranked up there with The Movies."

On the following day, answering for questions about Lucas' mention of "three pillars" he clarified it even further:[37]

"T-canon in its entirety is not supposed to be considered part of the EU pillar, but part of the Lucas pillar."

The two posts, in accordance with George Lucas' statements in the same year and month, confirmed that there are "pillars" rather than "tiers" of canon, and the canon encompassed by the Expanded Universe exist separately from Lucas' canon - the films and television series.

Star Wars Insider 104, published in September, quoted George Lucas, with his statement being identical to what he said to London Times in July,[38] where he repeated what he told to Total Film in May: that his work, what he oversees and in which he is involved in, encompasses the Star Wars feature films, the Clone Wars movie and television series, and a planned live-action television series, and then there is the licensing group doing the games, toys and books and everything else, and in addition, there is the fan's own world:[39]

"I am the father of our Star Wars movie world - the filmed entertainment, the features and now the animated film and television series. And I'm going to do a live-action television series. Those are all things am very involved in. I set them up and I train the people and I go through them all. I am the father that's my work. Then we have the licensing group, which does the games, toys and books and all that other stuff. I call that the son - and the son does pretty much what he wants. Once in a while, they ask a question like "Can we kill off Yoda?" Things like that but it's very loose. Then we have the third group, the holy ghost, which is the bloggers and fans. They have created their own world. I worry about the father's world. The son and the holy ghost can go their own way."

The issue also included an Ask Lobot feature with Leeland Chee's description of the three pillars previously mentioned by Lucas:

"The three pillars that George Lucas refers to has a first pillar that is the part of the Star Wars universe that George follows and has direct control over, namely the movies and the television series. The second pillar includes the portions of the Star Wars universe created by Lucas Licensing that includes the videogames, books, and toys that George exhibits less direct control over. Both the first and second pillars are treated as official Star Wars continuity. The third pillar is anything generated by the fans, referred to by some as fanon (short for fan canon)."

As the year neared to the end, there was a considerable change of rhetoric regarding canon. During an interview conducted in October by CBR, director Dave Filoni was asked about whether or not Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be "canon or part of the Expanded Universe," he confirmed that Lucas considers his movies, the television series and the planned live-action production canon, although he often brings Lucas information from the Expanded Universe to see how he wants to use it or review it:[40]

Interviewer: "Do you consider "The Clone Wars" canon or part of the Expanded Universe? Is the old Cartoon Network show canon? How do the two relate and where do the two series fit in the Star Wars Universe?"
Filoni: "That's one of the biggest debates in Star Wars, what counts? The idea of what is canon? When I talk to George I know that he considers his movies, this series and his live-action series canon. And yet as a fan, I bring him a lot of information that is in the Expanded Universe and say, well this was done and this was done too. I get that information in front of him to see how he wants to use it or review it. I'll try to add little touches and things that I know that the fans that are well versed in the Expanded Universe will know; what we can work in from the Expanded Universe really does gel. But there's never an implicit connection between the micro-series that Cartoon Network did previously and the series that we're doing now. I personally as a fan never think of it as discrediting any of the other material, it's just that other material is from a different point of view, a different look at the war and take on the war. It's an ever-Expanding Universe in a lot of ways."

In December, 2008, in an interview he gave to TheForce.net, together with writer Henry Gilroy, Filoni drew a clear line between canon and the Expanded Universe, matching with the line dividing Star Wars as how George Lucas sees it and the Expanded Universe:[41]

"We could come up with ideas and present them to him immediately, so there was no concern as to whether or not it "was" Star Wars. This series at least to George is NOT EU, it is a part of Star Wars as he sees it. I think if anything there was a period where Henry and I had to learn exactly what it took to be a part of George Lucas' Star Wars, and tell the Star Wars story his way. We had to learn how to look at the Galaxy from his point of view and let go of some of what we considered canon after we found out the ideas were only EU. Really we had to "unlearn what we had learned" and go back to the movies as the defining source material."

In 2009, Filoni reinforced the distinction when he mentioned that General Grievous' backstory, covered in Expanded Universe comics, "wasn't canon, it's just a possibility."[42]

Henry Gilroy's letter, read out loud in The ForceCast in August, commenting on the indecent when author Karen Traviss announced her departure from Lucasfilm because of her opinion that canon had been changed in the Clone Wars series,[43] is also noteworthy:[44]

"[The books of author to the Expanded Universe Karen Traviss] thrilled and entertained many fans and she is to be thanked for her hard work and I think she has brought a lot of fans to Star Wars with her modern journalistic military style, and I'm certain she will be missed. Although I have a feeling that she will be back. It's unfortunate that she is moving on because of her opinion that canon is being changed. I guess the big problem is the assumption that her work is canon in the first place. After working with George [Lucas] on The Clone Wars series I know there are elements of her work that are not in line with his vision of Star Wars, and in my mind only George Lucas' Star Wars is canon. Everything else is Expanded Universe. In my opinion, George's work on Star Wars, whether he created it before or after other writers, trumps all because he created Star Wars in the first place."

Meanwhile, in 2010, during an interview with Time Magazine, Daniel Wallace maintained that everything was officially canon the Star Wars publishing universe, however, he admitted that George Lucas can override anything he chooses to override:[45]

"Officially everything in the Star Wars publishing universe is canon, though George Lucas retains creator privileges to override anything he wants. Lucasfilm employs a "Keeper of the Holocron," namely Leland Chee, to keep it all straight. In this Star Wars is unique from most other franchises. DC, for example, keeps the Batman comics separate from The Dark Knight movie and Arkham Asylum the video game."

In November, when asked about his opinion regarding the fact that the Clone Wars series not matching with the continuity established by the Expanded Universe, Pablo Hidalgo drew parallels with the arrival of the prequel trilogy in 1999:[46]

"I see The Clone Wars as being no different than the arrival of the prequels in 1999. We fans knew that those movies would be a representation of the true Star Wars universe as imagined by George Lucas, and in some cases, it would not perfectly match the stories told by Expanded Universe authors. […] I think with each episode, we start to get a better understanding about what the real Star Wars universe is like, and it won't be until whenever the series ends that we'll be able to accurately decide how the older EU material fits into the big picture."

In October 2011, talking to Scifinow, Lucas indicated he makes no distinction between his feature films and the Clone Wars series:[47]

"I haven't limited myself with what stories I've wanted to tell; this is Star Wars, and I don't make a distinction between the series and the films. It's just a different format and a different delivery. But the fact of the matter is that our improved processes for the stories have allowed us to tell consistently bigger stories. Our teams are constantly pushing the envelope, so that the standard keeps raising itself higher and higher. And we keep asking for more than can be delivered, so we're always reaching and the show is always improving. Each week is a Star Wars feature, boiled down to 22 minutes."

In May 2011, Leland Chee clarified the distinction between George Lucas' vision of the Star Wars universe, encompassed by the movies and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the vision held by Lucas Licensing:[7]

"'G' canon and 'T' canon comprise George Lucas's vision of the Star Wars universe. 'C' canon and 'S' canon comprise the vision of the Star Wars universe held by Lucas Licensing that goes beyond George Lucas's vision. This material is collectively referred to as the Expanded Universe."

In Star Wars Insider 134, published in June 2012, Dave Filoni strictly differentiated between the two, indicating that the Expanded Universe needed to be seen as a creative collection or well of ideas, serving as inspiration, separate from George Lucas' creation:[48]

"The EU is a well of ideas, and there's what's on screen. They don't live in the same universe. Everyone wants to think so, I know, and there is a lot of effort to make it all work, but it's pretty clear when you start really looking at it that when you take ideas from the printed realm and bring it on screen, it's not always the same. They relate. There are similarities. I still enjoy a lot of those stories. They influence you. They inspire you, which I think is the whole point of having an EU. We try hard to honor things when we can, to give nods to things, but at the end of the day there is a difference between what you see in the Star Wars films and TV series and what you see in those books. It's mainly because writing for the visual medium is different, as Henry Gilroy will attest to. I mean, look at the monumental task in the opposite direction that Peter Jackson had to go trough in taking the written form of The Lord of the Rings and trying to distill it onto the screen. There's a lot of difficulty in translating between the written word and the moving image. The writers of the Star Wars books have to somehow capture the energy, the excitement, the snappy dialogue, and all the things we get from the Star Wars world, and put it on a page. That's a very big challenge. We just need to think of it all as a creative collection of fun ideas separate from what George Lucas has made, I think a lot of EU creators think of like that, and like it when they see their creations on screen, whether or not it's used one-to-one as they created it or not."

In "Canon and Continuity" section of the introduction of The Essential Reader's Companion published on October 12, 2012, listing all works from the Expanded Universe, Pablo Hidalgo wrote:[3]

"Common questions are: How "real" are these stories? Do they count? Did they really happen?"
"The most definitive canon of the Star Wars universe is encompassed by the feature films and television productions in which George Lucas is directly involved. The movies and the Clone Wars television series are what he and his handpicked writers reference when adding cinematic adventures to the Star Wars oeuvre."
"But Lucas allows for an Expanded Universe that exist parallel to the one he directly oversees. In many cases, the stewards of the Expanded Universe—editors within the licensing division of Lucasfilm Ltd. who works with authors and publishers—will ask for his input or blessing on projects. Though these stories may get his stamp of approval, they don't enter his canon unless they are depicted cinematically in one of his projects."

Canon and Legends (2014-)

"The thing with legends is that parts of them are true."
―John Jackson Miller[49]

On October 30, 2012,[50] it was announced that Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm, completing the acquisition on December 21, 2012.[51] On April 25, 2014, in preparation for the upcoming feature films, Lucasfilm announced that the Expanded Universe was rebranded as Legends,[2] thus, the term "canon" come to be reserved exclusively for George Lucas' canon - the six movies and the seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars he developed and producered - and the movies, television series, novels, comics, toys and video games created by Lucasfilm after the acquisition. Since then, the only previously published material still considered canon are the six original trilogy/prequel trilogy films, novels (where they align with what is seen on screen), the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and film, and Part I of the short story Blade Squadron. Most material published after April 25—such as the Star Wars Rebels TV series along with all Marvel Star Wars comic books and novels beginning with A New Dawn—is also considered part of the new canon, on account of the creation of the Lucasfilm Story Group, which currently oversees continuity as a whole. Characters under the Legends banner are still available for use as needed, even if events concerning them are no longer canon.

On September 29, 2018, Lucasfilm Story Group's Matt Martin revealed on his Twitter account that the canon tier system originally established by Leland Chee in the early 2000s is no longer used.[52] Regardless, it is still official that Episodes 1-6 and The Clone Wars are the highest form of Canon in the case of contradictions, in both timelines.[2]

In March 2018, Howard Roffman, answering to questions about Lucasfilm canon policy in the past, explained:[53]

"We controlled it very tightly, and that was one of my mandates 'cause when I began the spinoff publishing program, it was a sacrosanct rule that everything had to relate to each other, be consistent to each other, and of course be consistent with the movies, which were canon. That was different from the way that Star Trek had done things, and we were pretty religious about doing that. Our biggest problem was a guy named George Lucas because he didn't buy into … Necessarily buy into the spinoff fiction and game program, and all the alternate universe that we were creating." "We wanted it to be one universe, we really felt strongly that that is what it needed to be, but George as the filmmaker didn't want to be beholden to somebody else's creative vision. So we would have very interesting skirmishes 'cause we had a bunch of stuff that became, for the fans, pretty much canon about what happened after Return of the Jedi, what different places in the galaxy were called, and lots of different things, and if he was proposing to do something in the prequels that contradicted that, we would have long debates that usually ended, at least in the first session, with "I don't care, this is what I'm doing," and maybe in the fourth or fifth session it'll be, "Well, alright, we could change it this way." That was how it operated. Now that everything is controlled by one central committee, we can have canon that applies across everything, so don't judge us too harshly, please."

Maintaining a unified and seamless canon created by several authors and directors proved to be difficult. For instance, the premiere of Bad Batch, "Aftermath," directly contradicts events depicted in the Star Wars: Kanan comic series regarding the Battle of Kaller and how Depa Billaba and Caleb Dume experienced Order 66. On May 7, 2021, Pablo Hidalgo addressed the discrepancy, advising fans to view canon as a history textbook that lists events that are expressed fictionally with potential dramatization and embellishment for its medium:[54]

"If you want, one way to square this circle is the history textbook version of events "persons X and Y where on planet B when A occurred" is the canon; a fictional expression of it is potentially dramatized and embellished for its medium. Your space mileage may vary."
"(This allows for the inevitable variations that must occur in transmedia adaptations of stories across formats.) okay, enough scholarship. It's early."
"Did a talk about this at the Seattle Film Summit a few years back showing how different various versions of Luke destroying the Death Star are across retellings, yet where they agree is what we accept happened. Where they differ is dramatically important but historically not."


The following material, although released after April 25, 2014, is not considered canon:

Canon in the Holocron continuity database

"He [Lucas] didn't really have that much concern for what we were doing in the books and games. So the Expanded Universe was very much separate. What we had to do in the Expanded Universe was, if George did something in the films that contradicted something we had done in the Expanded Universe, then we'd have to change the EU to match what he did in the films."
―Leland Chee[55]

In 2000, Lucas Licensing appointed Leland Chee to create a continuity-tracking database referred to as the Holocron continuity database. The Holocron followed the canon policy that had been in effect for years, but the capabilities of database software allowed each element of a story, rather than the stories as a whole, to be classified.

The Holocron's database included a field for a single letter (G, T, C, S, N or D) representing the level of canonicity of that element; these letters were since informally applied to the levels of canon themselves: G-canon, T-canon, C-canon, S-canon, N-canon and D-canon. As part of his work with the Holocron, Chee was responsible for the creation of this classification system, and he spent the early stages developing and refining it. G, T, C and S together formed the overall Star Wars Legends continuity. Each respective level typically overrode anything later in the list; for example, Boba Fett's backstory was radically altered with the release of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, forcing the retcon of older source material to fall in line with the new G-canon backstory. However, this was not always absolute, and the resolution of all contradictions was handled on a case-by-case basis. G-canon and T-canon comprised George Lucas' vision of the Star Wars universe, whereas C and S canons comprised the vision of the Star Wars universe held by Lucas Licensing until 2014.[7]

  • WhiteVader

    Some non-canon stories with alternate plotlines have been written.

    G-canon was George Lucas Canon; the six Episodes and any statements by George Lucas (including unpublished production notes from him or his production department that are never seen by the public). Elements originating with Lucas in the movie novelizations, reference books, and other sources were also G-canon, though anything created by the authors of those sources was C-canon. When the films were changed, the newest editions were deemed to take canonical precedence over older ones, as they corrected mistakes, improved consistency between the two trilogies, and expressed Lucas's current vision of the Star Wars universe most closely. The deleted scenes included on the DVDs were also considered G-canon (when they didn't conflict with the movie).[15]
  • T-canon,[56] or Television Canon,[57] referred to the canon level comprising the feature film, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the television show, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (It would have also included the ultimately unproduced Star Wars live-action TV series.)[36][37] It was devised more recently in order to define a status above the C-Level canon, as confirmed by Chee.[58]
  • C-canon was Continuity Canon, consisting of all recent works (and many older works) released under the name of Star Wars: books, comics, games, cartoons, non-theatrical films, and more. Games were a special case, as generally only the stories were C-canon, while things like stats and gameplay may not have been;[59] they also offered non-canonical options to the player, such as choosing female gender for a canonically male character. C-canon elements have appeared in the movies, making them G-canon; examples include the name "Coruscant," swoop bikes, Quinlan Vos, Aayla Secura, and Action VI transports.
  • S-canon was Secondary Canon; the materials were available to be used or ignored as needed by authors. This included mostly older works, such as much of the original Marvel Star Wars comics, that predated a consistent effort to maintain continuity; it also contained certain elements of a few otherwise N-canon stories, and other things that "may not fit just right." Many formerly S-canon elements were elevated to C-canon through their inclusion in more recent works by continuity-minded authors, while many other older works (such as The Han Solo Adventures) were accounted for in continuity from the start despite their age, and thus were always C-canon.
  • D was Detours Canon, used for material hailing from Star Wars Detours.[60]
  • N was Non-Canon. What-if stories (such as stories published under the Infinities label) and anything else directly and irreconcilably contradicted by higher canon ended up here. N was the only level that was not considered canon by Lucasfilm. Information cut from canon, deleted scenes, or canceled Star Wars works fell into this category as well, unless another canonical work referenced it and it was declared canon.

Canon and games

Kyle with guns

Topps card featuring Kyle Katarn

Some games are having canonical storylines, others are non-canon.[61][62] Sourcebooks written for roleplaying games were part of the canon maintained by Lucas Licensing - the first edition created for Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game by Bill Slavicsek had served as the background material for the licensed Star Wars universe[63] and it was an inspiration for George Lucas himself. In the case of side-choosing games such as the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series and Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series where the player has the choice between light side and dark side, the course and final outcome of the story considered to be part of the continuity maintained by Lucas Licensing, as well as the species, gender, or alignment of the main character, varies from player to player.[64] Some of these questions were answered in Legends materials out of editorial necessity, however, others were intentionally left undetermined.[65][66] Wookieepedia articles currently assume that the player picks the light side choice for all scenarios, noting that the described narrative may or may not have been confirmed as canon within the Star Wars Legends continuity.


Notes and references

  1. Dave Filoni Weighs In On Debates About Star Wars Canon by Caitlin Tyrrell on Screen Rant (April 11, 2023) (archived from the original on May 15, 2023)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 StarWars The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page on StarWars.com (backup link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Essential Reader's Companion
  4. 4.0 4.1 Star Wars Encyclopedia
  5. 5.0 5.1 StarWars Ask the Lucasfilm Jedi Council, April 24, 2000 on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  6. 6.0 6.1 StarWars Ask the Lucasfilm Jedi Council, August 17, 2001 on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 StarWarsDotComBlogsLogoStacked "What is the Holocron?" — Keeper of the Holocron's BlogLeland Chee's StarWars.com Blog (backup link)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Star Wars Insider 101
  9. Star Wars Insider 23
  10. A Guide to the Star Wars Universe
  11. Splinter of the Mind's Eye
  12. The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
  13. Star Wars Insider 45
  14. StarWars What is the Holocron on StarWars.com (backup link)
  15. 15.0 15.1 StarWarsDotComBlogsLogoStacked "What'd I say again? Select posts by me regarding continuity" — Keeper of the Holocron's BlogLeland Chee's StarWars.com Blog (backup link)
  16. SWGamer-icon "[[]]" — Star Wars Gamer 6
  17. Star Wars Insider 57
  18. "Jedi Master". Cinescape Issue 62, Mania Entertainment LLC, 2002-07.
  19. Cinescape Scoop - George Lucas talks future of STAR WARS with us by Christopher Alan Smith; Zachary Sotolongo on cinescape.com (June 14, 2002) (archived from the original on May 4, 2005)
  20. StarWars Books, Comics and Television on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on May 30, 2003 at 12:09 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link) ""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."
  21. StarWars Official Fan Clubs on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Eeusu Estornii on May 30, 2003 at 4:15 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  22. StarWars Books, Comics and Television on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Eeusu Estornii on June 4, 2004 at 10:40 AM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  23. StarWars Books, Comics and Television on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Eeusu Estornii on June 4, 2004 at 12:09 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  24. StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on August 4, 2004 at 1:40 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  25. StarlogLogo "New Hopes" — Starlog 337
  26. StarWars Books, Comics and Television on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Eeusu Estornii on August 18, 2005 at 1:04 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  27. 27.0 27.1 StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on December 7, 2005 at 4:07 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  28. StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on December 7, 2005 at 2:11 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  29. StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on December 6, 2006 at 11:04 AM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  30. StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on December 6, 2006 at 4:23 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  31. StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on December 7, 2006 at 6:15 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  32. StarWars Clone Wars Packaging Designs Unveiled on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  33. StarWars George Lucas Talks Star Wars: The Clone Wars on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  34. Total Film Isssue 140, Future plc, 2008-05. (Archived here)
  35. George Lucas: 'Star Wars' won't go beyond Darth Vader by Geoff Boucher on Los Angeles Times (August 7, 2008) (archived from the original on November 29, 2014)
  36. 36.0 36.1 StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Leland Y Chee on May 8, 2008 at 9:16 AM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  37. 37.0 37.1 StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Leland Y Chee on May 9, 2008 at 6:37 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  38. George Lucas: Mr Emperor strikes back by Will Lawrence on The Sunday Times (July 27, 2008) (content now obsolete; archived from the original on October 15, 2008)
  39. Star Wars Insider 104
  40. Director talks Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Comic Book Resources (October 7, 2008) (archived from the original on November 15, 2022)
  41. Interviews - Face To Face With The Masters on TheForce.net (December 29, 2008) (archived from the original on April 15, 2023)
  42. StarWars Lair Of Grievous Episode Featurette on StarWars.com (backup link)
  43. Sooty and a clean sweep by Karen Traviss on karentraviss.typepad.com (December 2, 2009) (archived from the original on December 27, 2009)
  44. Weekly ForceCast: August 14, 2009 by Jimmy Mac; Jason Swank on The ForceCast (August 14, 2009) (archived from the original on July 28, 2021)
  45. Q&A With Jedi Path Author Daniel Wallace by Peter Ha on TIME (August 24, 2010) (archived from the original on June 29, 2022)
  46. Blogger-Logo Star Wars VeracruzInterview with Pablo Hidalgo on Blogspot (February 16, 2016) (backup link) – original interview from November 2010, published on the now defunct Datapad de Korpil website.
  47. George Lucas and Dave Filoni talk Star Wars: The Clone Wars by James Hoare on SciFiNow (October 11, 2014) (archived from the original on April 15, 2023)
  48. Star Wars Insider 134
  49. StarWars The Journey to Star Wars: A New Dawn on StarWars.com (backup link)
  50. Disney buys Lucasfilm for $4 billion by Matt Krantz; Mike Snider; Marco Della Cava; Bryan Alexander on USA Today (October 30, 2012) (archived from the original on May 6, 2023)
  51. Mickey + 'Star Wars' = Disney completes Lucasfilm acquisition by Solvej Schou on Entertainment Weekly (December 21, 2012) (archived from the original on June 19, 2020)
  52. TwitterLogo Matt Martin (@missingwords) on Twitter: "There is no need for a tier system anymore for SW. There hasn't really been any new Indy stories since the acquisition so I guess that's TBD," (backup link)
  53. Messing with a Classic on [[Wikipedia:VMware |WVMware]] (March 12, 2018) (archived from the original on April 11, 2021)
  54. TwitterLogo Pablo Hidalgo (@pabl0hidalgo) on Twitter: "If you want, one way to square this circle is the history textbook version of events "persons X and Y where on planet B when A occurred" is the canon; a fictional expression of it is potentially dramatized and embellished for its medium. Your space mileage may vary. [...]" (backup link)
  55. How Star Wars authors work with Lucasfilm and earn creative control by Jamie Greene on Syfy (November 3, 2017) (archived from the original on May 12, 2020)
  56. StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on May 12, 2007 at 4:53 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  57. StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on February 20, 2008 at 4:19 PM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  58. StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on March 11, 2008 at 2:00 AM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  59. StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on December 12, 2005 at 10:39 AM. (content now obsolete; backup link)
  60. Facebook icon Leland Chee on Facebook: Star Wars Detours canonicity (August 26, 2012): "It's classified separately in the Holocron as D - Detours canon." (backup link)
  61. Star Wars Battlefront II
  62. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  63. Timothy Zahn, in the Foreword to The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook
  64. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  65. The Old Republic: Revan
  66. StarWars Holocron continuity database questions on StarWars.com Message Boards. Posted by Tasty Taste on November 14, 2006 at 10:16 AM. (content now obsolete; backup link)

External links