Star Wars canon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Star Wars Logo.svg

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. In April 2014, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film Star Wars were rebranded by Lucasfilm as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise.

Post-2014, the official Star Wars canon consists of the eight 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's original trilogy of films—Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983)— was followed decades later by a prequel trilogy which included the films The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005).

Expanded Universe / Legends[edit]

Star Wars Expanded Universe[edit]

Since 1977, the Star Wars films have 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, until rebranded as Star Wars Legends in 2014.[1][2]

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.[3]

Holocron canon hierarchy database[edit]

Main article: Holocron

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.[citation needed]

Historically, Lucasfilm tracked the storylines and content of these media in large black binders, known as bibles. In 2000, Leland Chee was hired as Continuity Database Administrator for Lucas Licensing, and implemented a database to replace the bibles. The database was named the Holocron,[4][5][6][7] a term used within the fictional Star Wars universe for "ancient repositories of knowledge and wisdom" used by the Jedi and Sith.[8][9] Lucasfilm's Holocron consists of over 55,000 entries for franchise characters, locations, species, and vehicles.[4]

The Holocron was divided into five levels of canon (in order of precedence): G-canon, T-canon, C-canon, S-canon, and N-canon.

GWL-canon or G-canon stood for George Lucas canon: Marked GWL after George Lucas (whose middle name is Walton).[6] 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.[10] GWL-canon overrode the lower levels of canon when there was a contradiction. In the words of Leland Chee: "George's view of the universe is his view. He's not beholded to what's gone before."[6]
T-canon was Television canon: Referred to the canon level comprising the animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Many stories wound up superseding those depicted in continuity canon, and the second Clone Wars animated series and its film also overwrote Gendy Tarkakovsky's 2003 Clone Wars animated micro-series.[10]
C-canon was Continuity canon: Consisting of most of the materials from the Star Wars Expanded Universe including the books, comics, and videogames bearing the label of Star Wars.[10][11][12] According to a Wired article, the creation of stories that introduced radical changes in the continuity, like The Force Unleashed video-game which introduced Darth Vader's secret apprentice, required Lucas's approval, and he spent hours explaining the developers anything he deemed necessary for them to know.[6] 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.[citation needed]
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.[10] The Star Wars Holiday Special is an example of secondary canon.[6]
N-canon was Non-canon: "What-if" stories (such as the Star Wars Tales comic anthology series 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.[10]

In a 2001 statement on the franchise's official website, 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.[13]

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."[14]

Lucasfilm Star Wars Story Group[edit]

In October 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.06 billion.[15][16] Subsequently, Lucasfilm formed the "Star Wars Story Group", which was established to keep track of and define the canon and unify the films, comics, and other media.[17][18] Among its members are Chee, Kiri Hart, and Pablo Hidalgo.[19] 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.[18]


In April 2014, Lucasfilm rebranded the Expanded Universe material as Star Wars Legends and declared it non-canon to the franchise, rendering the previous levels of the Holocron obsolete. At the same time it was announced that no further Star Wars Legends works would be published, and that all the focus would be shifted towards a restructured Star Wars canon.[1][2][20]

Official Star Wars canon[edit]

Canon restructuring[edit]

At the same time in April 2014, Lucasfilm explained that the only preexisting works to be considered canonical within the franchise from that point on would be the original trilogy and prequel trilogy of films, the Star Wars: The Clone Wars film, and The Clone Wars animated series. The announcement called these works "the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all the other (subsequent) tales must align".[1][2] It was also made clear that the planned Star Wars sequel trilogy, and subsequent works developed within the restructured canon, would not be based on Legends material but could possibly "draw inspiration from it".[1][2]

Dave Filoni, supervising director of The Clone Wars and Rebels, commented on the restructuring of the franchise in a video interview published by the official Star Wars YouTube channel in August 2016. He said that the loss of the Expanded Universe/Legends storylines was not a big change for him, because during their years of working together, Lucas had always made it very clear that the films and the television series were the only things that he considered canon. Filoni therefore developed his animated series sharing Lucas's mentality. He noted that Lucas had never been against the introduction of Legends material, citing the time Lucas added comic book character Aayla Secura into the prequel films. Filoni added that he had also added Legends material into The Clone Wars and Rebels himself.[21] Filoni had previously talked about how he and his team incorporated Legends character Grand Admiral Thrawn into the third season of Rebels.[22]

Subsequent works[edit]

Production on the sequel film Star Wars: The Force Awakens also began in 2014. The first canon onscreen vehicle after the restructuring was identified as the then-upcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels, and the first new canon novel would be Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, a prequel to Rebels.[1][2][20] A New Dawn was released in September 2014,[23] and Rebels premiered in October 2014.[24] Since January 2015, Marvel Comics has been publishing a Star Wars comics line which fits within the canon of the restructured franchise.[citation needed]

The Force Awakens was released in December 2015, and marked the beginning of the sequel trilogy. The following December, the film Rogue One: a Star Wars story was released, the first in a planned Star Wars Anthology series of films taking place outside of the main saga.[citation needed]

List of canon works[edit]

The following is a list of Star Wars works considered canon to the franchise, which being a multimedia franchise, includes the Episodic and Anthology films, as well as animated series, video games, comics, and books.[1]

List of Star Wars canon works[25]
Release date Title Type of media
May 1977 A New Hope Film
May 1980 The Empire Strikes Back
May 1983 Return of the Jedi
May 1999 Episode I – The Phantom Menace
May 2002 Episode II – Attack of the Clones
May 2005 Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
August 2008 The Clone Wars
October 2008 The Clone Wars TV series
August 2014 Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir Comic
September 2014 A New Dawn Novel
October 2014 Rebels TV series
November 2014 Tarkin Novel
January 2015 Star Wars Comic
February 2015 Darth Vader Comic
March 2015 Princess Leia Comic
March 2015 Heir to the Jedi Novel
April 2015 Kanan Comic
April 2015 Lords of the Sith Novel
July 2015 Dark Disciple Novel
July 2015 Lando Comic
September 2015 Lost Stars Young adult novel
September 2015 Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure Young adult novel
September 2015 The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure Young adult novel
September 2015 Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure Young adult novel
September 2015 Shattered Empire Comic
September 2015 Uprising Video game
September 2015 Aftermath Novel
October 2015 Chewbacca Comic
November 2015 Vader Down Comic
November 2015 Battlefront: Twilight Company Novel
November 2015 The Perfect Weapon Novella
November 2015 Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens Young adult anthology
December 2015 Before the Awakening Young adult anthology
December 2015 The Force Awakens Film
January 2016 Obi-Wan & Anakin Comic
April 2016 C-3PO Comic
April 2016 Poe Dameron Comic
May 2016 Bloodline Novel
June 2016 Han Solo Comic
July 2016 Aftermath: Life Debt Novel
October 2016 Ahsoka Young adult novel
November 2016 Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel Novel
December 2016 Rogue One Film
December 2016 Doctor Aphra Comic
February 2017 Aftermath: Empire's End Novel
February 2017 Darth Maul[citation needed] Comic
April 2017 Thrawn Novel
May 2017 Guardians of the Whills Novel
May 2017 Rebel Rising Young adult novel
July 2017 Inferno Squad Novel
December 2017 The Last Jedi Film
May 2018 Untitled Han Solo film
May 2019 Episode IX


  1. ^ a b c d e f "The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page". April 25, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e McMilian, Graeme (April 25, 2014). "Lucasfilm Unveils New Plans for Star Wars Expanded Universe". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 26, 2016. 
  3. ^ Kausch, Allan; Rostoni, Sue (Fall 1994). "Star Wars Publications Timeline". Star Wars Insider (23). 
  4. ^ a b Chee, Leland (July 20, 2012). "What is the Holocron?". Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2016. 
  5. ^ Leonard, Devin (March 7, 2013). "How Disney Bought Lucasfilm—and Its Plans for Star Wars". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved August 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Baker, Chris (August 18, 2008). "Meet Leland Chee, the Star Wars Franchise Continuity Cop". Wired. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  7. ^ Chee, Leland (July 19, 2012). "Introducing… Leland Chee". Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Jedi Holocron". Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Sith Holocron". Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Whitbrook, James (February 2, 2015). "A Brief History Of Star Wars Canon, Old And New". Gizmodo. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  11. ^ Leland Chee on Wookieepedia, a Star Wars wiki
  12. ^ Holocron continuity database on Wookieepedia, a Star Wars wiki
  13. ^ Sansweet, Steve (August 17, 2001). "Ask the Lucasfilm Jedi Council". Archived from the original on February 5, 2002. Retrieved August 4, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Sue Rostoni, LucasBooks Managing Editor". Star Wars Gamer. Wizards of the Coast (6). July 2001. 
  15. ^ Schou, Solvej (December 21, 2012). "Mickey meets Star Wars: Walt Disney Co. completes acquisition of Lucasfilm". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 26, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Disney To Acquire Lucasfilm Ltd." (press release). The Walt Disney Company. October 30, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2016. 
  17. ^ Bricken, Rob (January 9, 2014). "Disney appoints a group to determine a new, official Star Wars canon". Gizmodo. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Moore, Trent (January 7, 2014). "Here's how Disney + Lucas plan to define (and redefine) Star Wars canon". Blastr. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  19. ^ McMillan, Graeme (May 22, 2015). "Star Wars: Meet the Man Responsible for Keeping the Story Straight". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b "Disney and Random House announce relaunch of Star Wars Adult Fiction line". April 25, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2016. 
  21. ^ Filoni, Dave; Gutierrez, Andi (August 12, 2016). "Dave Filoni Extended Interview | The Star Wars Show". Official Star Wars YouTube channel. 40:51. Retrieved January 28, 2017. 
  22. ^ Krupa, Daniel; Goldman, Eric (July 17, 2016). "Star Wars Celebration 2016: Rebels Will Treat Thrawn As A Vader-Level Threat". IGN. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  23. ^ Goldman, Eric (August 30, 2014). "Star Wars: A New Dawn Review". IGN. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion Premieres Friday, October 3 on Disney Channel". Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  25. ^

External links[edit]