Now, with an exciting future filled with new cinematic installments of Star Wars, all aspects of Star Wars storytelling moving forward will be connected. Under Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy's direction, the company for the first time ever has formed a story group to oversee and coordinate all Star Wars creative development.
There's been a lot of hand-wringing among Star Wars fans of late.
Yes, there is a slate of new content on the horizon, spanning multiple media, with the tease of annual Star Wars movies for some time to come. But this whole canon thing has people in a tizzy.
What will happen to the Timothy Zahn books, to the Ewoks cartoon, to the Christmas Special? If they are officially not part of canon now (as opposed to neither officially nor unofficially anything other than stories before), do they somehow lose their entertainment value?
For many, it's as if the pharaohs of old have returned.
Not me though. I love the idea of multiple stories all connecting together with continuity. Like the Marvel franchise, you feel like there's really a whole galaxy of story out there; you can go micro, or macro, switch from one character to a next but still get the throughline. Plus, as is the case with the real-world, you just never know how these stories could connect.
Having continuity and some consistent rules provides a rich framework that grounds a story (or a society) and gives it gravity that's missing when every tale and character is a tumbleweed.
How one-world-stateish of you, some might say - you must be a liberal.
But think about this for a second. Can you still read and enjoy all your old Star Wars content? Of course you can; Disney isn't burning the EU history books, it's simply taking ownership of their story so that they can provide consistent entertainment. If nobody buys in to their approach, they could very well change their minds down the road and return to the nebulous state of continuity Star Wars had before.
We see shifts and revamps and reboots in comic books and film franchises all the time. So long as the new product is good, we generally don't mind, after the fact.
Regardless, for Star Wars fans nothing really changes, except that you get more official. For the personal experience, Star Wars is what each individual fan wants it to be. The canon content is the official Lego kit; the EU stuff is other sets. There's no reason individual fans can't mix and match and create their own continuities in their homes or on their blogs.
Do you think Official Canon is going to stop fanfic?
People can still do their own home-made videos, their mash-ups and write their own stories, doing whatever they want with the story. If fans want to write a ret-con of the entire Prequel Trilogy, nobody is stopping them. In fact, writing their own stories in defiance of canon might be the truest representation of the Star Wars spirit that we could see.
Disney isn't the empire, after all. They're an entertainment company that wants to succeed and grow by offering quality content to their fans. Disney is also smart enough to know that User Generated Content is part of that mix these days.
So fear not, Star Wars fans. That galaxy far, far away that you loved a long time ago isn't gone; it's growing and strengthening its narrative spine.
And what that galaxy means is what it has always been - less static story silos than a force that binds us all together.