Opinion - Star Wars: Canon vs Legends

Canon or Legend? Our resident Star Wars expert Kraig Taylor-Bryant explains the difficulty with Disney sidelining some of the Star Wars stories...

So for those non hardcore Star Wars fans that still curiously wonder what exactly Star Wars Canon and Star Wars Legends is, let me give you a (reasonably) brief summary of what exactly they both are and what is the difference.

In 2012, George Lucas sold his wildly famous franchise known by many as Star Wars. When Disney bought this, they not only announced that they would be releasing a new film every two or three years (not counting the stand alone movies in between these gaps) but also that they would separate the ever expanding universe into two categories, Canon and Legends. Canon is exactly what it says on the tin really; everything shown on screen in the universe at the time of them buying Star Wars, such as the Clone Wars TV show and, of course, the Star Wars films, would be considered “canon”, meaning that they are still officially part of the Star Wars timeline. Then they went and made everything that was previously defined as the “expanded universe” non-canon, meaning, of course that they are not considered officially part of the story but, to the audience's interpretation, some of it could still be true, as Ashley Eckstein, who provides the voice of Ashoka in the Rebels TV show stated, “there is always a bit of truth in legends”. So what is there, besides the films and the TV shows in the universe you may ask? Well at the time, there were many books, comic books, video games that were, from the time that Disney purchased Star Wars onwards, cast away into the pits of non-canon and referred to as “legends”.

Now, after that extremely not-so-brief explanation of Canon and Legends lets talk about the good and bad of both. Firstly being the benefits of canon. Anyone who has read the comics written in the times of the “expanded universe” knows that these stories at times could seem a little ridiculous. From a young apprentice tearing down a star destroyer on his own to Luke Skywalker manipulating black holes, it seems pretty obvious that canon is at least believable in comparison to this. And we also have the fact that, with the canon stories being created, we don’t have ridiculously overpowering characters, we have what we would expect there to be, the empire reforming under a new leader. And as well as this, from a fans’ point of view, we don’t have to worry about having to read over twenty years worth of different stories from different writers (that is if you, from now on, have little interest in legends). I’ve also got to be honest, some of the canon stories that Disney has created for us are actually incredible, my favourites being the “Aftermath” series and the adventures of our favourite characters that were released leading up to The Force Awakens, one of them being titled “Moving Target.”

We also have the films provided to us through Disney that are also considered canon along with the other films (obviously). To be perfectly honest, The Force Awakens was not great but it introduced Star Wars to a new generation, which is what the franchise needed, a reboot. And the incredible film titled “Rogue One” that brought the franchise a much darker vibe into the events of what is referred to by Obi Wan as “the dark times” so of course, they nailed that.

Now let's take a look at the benefits that Legends once gave us before Disney sidelined them. One of these mainly being the companies that provided us with Star Wars games. Before Disney took over and deemed many games cancelled, and renamed others as Legends, there were many games available to people to enjoy immersive gameplay and intriguing story, from The Force Unleashed to the Jedi Knight series, these gave players an on screen look into events between films and after. Many anticipated games such as a Darth Maul game and a game actually named “Battlefront 3” as opposed to the rebooted EA’s version of “Battlefront,” which was pretty much battlefield but with blasters instead of modern day guns. There were also other games such as Star Wars 1313 planned for the future which all had to be scrapped the moment Lucas handed over the rights. Of course all this could be forgiven if Disney would provide us with a decent Star Wars game already to replace the cancelled ones but, unfortunately, all we are yet to receive from them so far is the rebooted Star Wars Battlefront although it seems that there is some hope for the sequel at least, as this one fortunately has an actual story.

Right, now that the rant about games is over, lets talk a little more about the drawbacks of what has now been made Legends, becoming so. We have the fact that there are now many aspects of the timeline that are no longer filled in, such as what happened thousands of years before the events of the films. We get small hints of battles in the Star Wars Rebels TV show in one episode, but this is pretty much it whereas, before, we had the tales of the Old Republic that were given to us through games such as “Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic” and “Star Wars the Old Republic”, as well as the novels based off of these games.

We also have the fact that, after the Empire's rule ended, in Legends the readers were introduced to a new enemy, the Yuuzhan Vong, as well as other enemies which actually seemed like a threat to the newly built Jedi order as opposed to one moody teen brought to us in The Force Awakens. So in this aspect, Legends seems a little more believable and, for those lovers of Han Solo, I don’t believe that we actually saw him get killed in Legends, in fact it was Chewbacca that died before he did.

So, overall, I think that the drawbacks of turning many of these stories into legends far outweighs the benefits at the moment as there is a lack in story for now in terms of events after Return of the Jedi and, of course, games. We all know that we will eventually see more from the events between episodes three and four, as well as six and seven, and hopefully, many more games in the future that can rival the games that were anticipated before Disney’s take over. We will simply have to wait and see.

Follow Kraig on Twitter @hayaface13

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