Star Wars canon
Star Wars canon is the depiction of Star Wars storylines and characters considered officially canon to the franchise by its owner, Lucasfilm. Canon material is represented in media designated as such by the company.
A large number of derivative Star Wars works have been produced in conjunction with, between, and after the original trilogy (1977–83) and prequel trilogy (1999–2005) of films. This body of work was collectively known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe for decades, and a hierarchy of canonicity was created and maintained by Lucasfilm to organize its content. The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, and in 2014 the Expanded Universe material was rebranded as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise.
Post-2014, the official Star Wars canon consists of the seven released Star Wars theatrical feature films, the Star Wars animated film, the television series The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, multiple novels and comics, and any other material released after April 25, 2014, unless otherwise stated.
George Lucas' original trilogy of films—Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983)—spawned a series of novelizations, comic books, newspaper comic strips, radio dramas, video games, role-playing games, and spin-off novels not written or produced by Lucas. This body of work became known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Lucasfilm tracked the storylines and content of these media in large black binders called as bibles until Leland Chee was hired in 2000 to create a Star Wars continuity database.
The Star Wars canon was first defined in a 1994 interview with Lucas Licensing's Allan Kausch and Sue Rostoni in issue #23 of Star Wars Insider:
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.
In a 2001 statement on the franchise's official website StarWars.com, Director of Fan Relations Steve Sansweet clarified:
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 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.
Lucas Licensing's managing editor Sue Rostoni said in 2001, "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."
By 1996, the collection of reference materials documenting the Expanded Universe had grown unwieldy. Lucasfilm Licensing decided something had to be done to organize the increasingly large collection of media which chronicled the Star Wars universe. A hierarchical system of canon was developed to organize the materials. Chee was hired in 2000 to implement a database, which become known as the "Holocron". It consists of over 55,000 entries for franchise characters, locations, species, and vehicles.
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The Holocron was divided into five levels (in order of precedence): G-canon, T-canon, C-canon, S-canon, and N-canon.
- G-canon was George Lucas canon: Considered absolute canon, it included Episodes I–VI (the released films at that time), 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 scripts, filmed deleted scenes, film novelizations, reference books, radio plays, and other primary sources were also G-canon when not in contradiction with the released films. G-canon overrided the lower levels of canon when there was a contradiction.
- T-canon was Television canon: Referred to the canon level comprising only the animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the two television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the planned live-action series.
- C-canon was Continuity canon: Consisting of materials from the Star Wars expanded universe including books, comics, and games bearing the label of Star Wars. Games and RPG sourcebooks were a special case; the stories and general background information were themselves fully C-canon, but the other elements such as character/item statistics and gameplay were, with few exceptions, N-canon.
- S-canon was Secondary canon: Covering the same medium as C-canon, it was immediately superseded by anything in higher levels of canon in any place where two elements contradicted each other. The non-contradicting elements were still a canon part of the Star Wars universe. This included certain elements of a few N-canon stories.
- N-canon was Non-canon: "What-if" stories (such as stories published under the Star Wars: Infinities label), crossover appearances (such as the Star Wars character appearances in Soulcalibur IV), game statistics, and anything else directly contradicted by higher canon ends up here. N-canon was the only level that was not considered official canon by Lucasfilm. Any published material that contradicted things established in G-canon and T-canon was considered N-canon.
In October 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion. Subsequently, the Lucasfilm Story Group was established to keep track of and define the "canon" in an effort to unify the films, comics, and other media with the existing canon. Chee said in a 2014 Twitter post that a "primary goal" of the Story Group would be to replace the previous hierarchical canon with one cohesive one.
With the sequel film Star Wars: The Force Awakens in production, in April 2014 the whole of the Expanded Universe material was rebranded as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise. The announcement called the feature films and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series "the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align". It was also made clear that the planned sequel trilogy would not be based on Legends material. The first new canon onscreen vehicle was identified as the then-upcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels, and the first new canon novel was revealed to be Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, a prequel to Rebels. A New Dawn was released in September 2014, and Rebels premiered in October 2014.
The following is a list of Star Wars works considered canon to the franchise. They are sorted by how many years within the in-universe timeline that the events in the story occur before (BBY) or after (ABY) the Battle of Yavin, an event in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977).
|List of Star Wars canon works|
|Release date||In-universe timeline||Title||Type of media|
|May 1999||32 BBY||The Phantom Menace||Film|
|January 2016||29 BBY||Obi-Wan & Anakin||Comic|
|May 2002||22 BBY||Attack of the Clones||Film|
|August 2008||The Clone Wars|
|October 2008||22–20 BBY||The Clone Wars||TV series|
|August 2014||20 BBY||Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir||Comic|
|July 2015||Dark Disciple||Novel|
|May 2005||19 BBY||Revenge of the Sith||Film|
|April 2015||19–18 BBY||Kanan||Comic|
|14 BBY||Lords of the Sith||Novel|
|September 2014||11 BBY||A New Dawn|
|September 2015||11 BBY–5 ABY||Lost Stars||Young adult novel|
|May 2018||10 BBY||Unnamed Han Solo prequel||Film|
|October 2014||5–3 BBY||Rebels||TV series|
|December 2016||0 BBY||Rogue One||Film|
|May 1977||Star Wars: A New Hope|
|March 2015||0 ABY||Princess Leia||Comic|
|September 2015||Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure||Young adult novel|
|March 2015||Heir to the Jedi||Novel|
|September 2015||The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure||Young adult novel|
|January 2015||Star Wars (main series)||Comic|
|February 2015||Darth Vader|
|November 2015||Vader Down|
|July 2015||1 ABY||Lando|
|November 2015||3 ABY||Battlefront: Twilight Company||Novel|
|May 1980||The Empire Strikes Back||Film|
|September 2015||4 ABY||Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure||Young adult novel|
|May 1983||Return of the Jedi||Film|
|September 2015||Shattered Empire||Comic|
|September 2015||Uprising||Video game|
|July 2016||Aftermath: Life Debt|
|January 2017||5 ABY||Aftermath: Empire's End|
|May 2016||28 ABY||Bloodline|
|November 2015||34 ABY||The Perfect Weapon||Novella|
|November 2015||Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens||Young adult anthology|
|December 2015||Before the Awakening|
|April 2016||Poe Dameron|
|December 2015||The Force Awakens||Film|
|December 2017||Episode VIII|
|May 2019||TBA||Episode IX|
- "The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page". StarWars.com. April 25, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
- McMilian, Graeme (April 25, 2014). "Lucasfilm Unveils New Plans for Star Wars Expanded Universe". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
- Chee, Leland (July 20, 2012). "What is the Holocron?". StarWars.com. Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- Kausch, Allan; Rostoni, Sue (Fall 1994). "Star Wars Publications Timeline". Star Wars Insider (23).
- Sansweet, Steve (August 17, 2001). "Ask the Lucasfilm Jedi Council". StarWars.com. Archived from the original on February 5, 2002. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
- "Sue Rostoni, LucasBooks Managing Editor". Star Wars Gamer. Wizards of the Coast (6). July 2001.
- Leonard, Devin (March 7, 2013). "How Disney Bought Lucasfilm—and Its Plans for Star Wars". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- Baker, Chris (August 18, 2008). "Meet Leland Chee, the Star Wars Franchise Continuity Cop". Wired. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
- Chee, Leland (July 19, 2012). "Introducing… Leland Chee". StarWars.com. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
- "Disney and Random House announce relaunch of Star Wars Adult Fiction line". StarWars.com. April 25, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
- Schou, Solvej (December 21, 2012). "Mickey meets Star Wars: Walt Disney Co. completes acquisition of Lucasfilm". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- "Disney To Acquire Lucasfilm Ltd." (press release). The Walt Disney Company. October 30, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- Moore, Trent (January 7, 2014). "Here's how Disney + Lucas plan to define (and redefine) Star Wars canon". Blastr. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
- Goldman, Eric (August 30, 2014). "Star Wars: A New Dawn Review". IGN. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- "Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion Premieres Friday, October 3 on Disney Channel". StarWars.com. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- Star Wars Canon on Wookieepedia, a Star Wars wiki
- Saxton, Curtis. "Continuity, Canon, and Apocrypha". Star Wars: Technical Commentaries. TheForce.net. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
- "The Star Wars Canon: Overview". CanonWars.com. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
- "Star Wars Canon Full List". Canonkillerbase.com. Retrieved August 8, 2016.