One Retcon to Rule Them All

May 9, 2013 at 8:03 am | Posted in Books, Comic Books, Dark Horse, Disney, Lucasfilm, Movies, Opinion, Sequel Trilogy, Star Wars, Star Wars Books | Leave a comment

When you look at the massive franchise that is Star Wars, there are really two sides to it: the films and the Expanded Universe (EU). Most Star Wars fans only know about the films, even though they may know that there are books and comics. For that smaller number of Star Wars fans, the Expanded Universe is their outlet to fandom. They continue their joy of the films by diving into books and comics as the adventures of their favorite characters journey off to new worlds and against new threats. We’re all looking forward to what’s being dubbed the sequel trilogy, Episodes VII, VIII and IX. For EU fans, though, we’re all wondering what’s going to happen to the books and comics.

One thing that sets Star Wars apart from many other franchises is continuity. The creators behind Star Wars have managed to make every movie, television show, book, comic and video game fit together into one massive storyline. There are no alternate universes or timelines in Star Wars. It’s either canon or non-canon (ie. it’s part of the massive storyline or it’s not). There are a few items that aren’t considered canon, things like the old Marvel comics and video games like Kinect Star Wars. Yet even items that are labeled non-canon can be mined for ideas and pieces of it are often embraced as part of accepted canon. The most infamous of which is a large, green bunny by the name of Jaxxon. When it comes to Star Wars, there’s a lot of room for storytelling.

The overarching canon, however, has a pecking order. When George Lucas was in control, it was known as Lucas canon (or G canon). Anything George said, did or created was considered to be top priority. It overruled all existing canon. George is a notorious tinkerer which resulted in a lot of retcons, attempts to reconcile the previously established canon with George’s new ideas. Whether it was the new scenes in the special edition films, the prequel trilogy, or The Clone Wars television series, the EU had to go with the flow and roll with the punches. If George decided the Mandalorians were now going to live in cube cities on a desolate planet ruled by a pacifist leader, then that’s all there was to it. Henceforth, the books and comics would have to deal with this new reality, using retcons wherever necessary. In essence, retcons are the glue that holds the films and EU together.

This brings us to the subject a lot of people have been talking about: the Marvel solution. With the new Star Wars films, we’re going to get stories that don’t mesh up with the EU. The films have always done their own thing, and it’s always been the job of the EU to roll with it and adapt. The creators of the books and comics are very skilled at making things fit. But if Episode VII starts introducing things like Luke’s daughter or a very much alive Chewbacca, that’s going to cause some big issues. First off, Luke has a son in the books. Secondly, Chewbacca died way before Luke had any kids. And these kind of changes are guaranteed to happen. The decisions made by the EU were not made by George Lucas. His story ideas for the sequel trilogy aren’t going to honor every detail of the books and comics. In order to deal with the contradictions the new movies are going to introduce, some fans think that Star Wars should adapt an alternate or parallel universe ala Marvel.

The idea is pretty simple. In Marvel, there are several universes of different storylines. This allows the comics and films to tell stories that don’t mesh with each other. Star Wars could easily adopt the same idea by creating one universe for all of the EU, and another one for the films. It sounds like a nice, easy solution that makes everyone happy. But Star Wars isn’t Marvel. Since the publication of Timothy Zahn’s novel Heir to the Empire in 1991, Star Wars has made an effort to create a massive, cohesive storyline. Splintering the EU storyline off from the films would terminate over 20 years of accomplishment. On top of that, creating two divergent Star Wars timelines would run counter to what Disney’s apparent idea for Star Wars is. By cancelling and postponing several Star Wars television shows, Disney has made it apparent that they want to focus on the sequel trilogy without any distractions. A line of books and comics irrelevant to Episode VII would be a massive distraction. Furthermore, why bring in a new fix when the old one works just fine?

Yes, the tried and true monkey wrench of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the duct tape that fixes every continuity problem: the retcon. This is the answer.

Admiral Motti: Any retcons made by the EU against this film would be a useless gesture, no matter what technical prowess they have obtained. Marvel is now the ultimate power in the universe! I suggest we use it!

Darth Vader: Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to splinter a universe is insignificant next to the power of the retcon.

Admiral Motti: Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient technique has not helped you conjure up the fate of Even Piell, or given you enough clairvoyance to straighten out Barriss Offee’s backstory…

Darth Vader: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Many fans think that the changes that the sequel films will make will be insurmountable. For instance, how could the EU ever hope to retcon something as significant as Luke Skywalker having a daughter? Surely they can’t just change his child’s gender and carry on like nothing happened. But what if the groundwork for the retcons have already been laid? Lately the EU has been using ancient alien technology and mystical forces to accomplish feats in Star Wars we never thought imaginable. With techniques like flow walking, using the Force to literally walk back in time, and with artifacts such as the Mortis monument, it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to bend the galaxy far, far away in directions we’ve never thought about. And if all else fails, Timothy Zahn could always pen a novel where Luke Skywalker wakes up from the strangest dream…one where they fought alien invaders, his wife died, and he had a son named Ben. While it might cost a big chunk of the EU, it would still save quite a bit of it. Retcons don’t always come free of charge.

Episode VII is definitely getting closer, and so far Star Wars fans have been left in the dark when it comes to details. We don’t know when the new films will take place. We don’t know if Disney will embrace the idea of a single, cohesive storyline where the books and comics support the films and Star Wars hungry fans. Regardless, it’s not ridiculous to think that retcons could solve whatever problems arise. So far, EU fans have done pretty well under the power of the retcon. We’ve survived the prequel trilogy. We’ve survived five seasons of The Clone Wars. Will the Disney era be any different? Besides, you should never underestimate the power of the retcon. It certainly worked for Dallas

And in case you don’t know about the Dallas dream season, click here.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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