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Old 11-21-2019, 01:34 PM   #1
pwalker8
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Star Wars Universe

A bit quiet here, so I thought I might bring up a subject that cropped up recently. With the start of Disney +, the Star Wars Universe is being expanded. In addition to The Mandalorian (I've enjoyed the first two episodes, a review described it as Clint Eastwood's Man with no Name meets Star Wars), the various movies and a number of new series and movies are planned over the next several years.

One note that I noticed this morning is that the Disney president in charge of the Star Wars franchise said that the books that were commissioned by Lucas, starting with books in the late 70's by writers such as Brian Dailey and Alan Dean Foster, and then Zahn's Thrawn trilogy were no longer going to be considered canon, thus following the comic book and movie practice of rebooting a franchise. Books following the 2014 purchase by Disney are considered cannon (Zahn apparently has a new Thrawn series coming out starting next Spring). I'm sure those who follow the Star Wars books more closely than I do were aware of this some time ago.

So, my assumption is that the all the movies are still considered canon, though there are some fairly big inconsistencies in the movies once you get past the original trilogy.

What's the point of all this. Well, there are been many, many long series of books that are set in a common universe, some by the same author, others by multiple authors. Examples range from the Perry Mason series, Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian, James Bond, Darkover, The Dragonriders of Pern, Witch World, Wizard of Oz and a whole host of others in various genres. Some are careful to maintain continuity (i.e. making sure that what is said in one book isn't contradicted in another book), others were fairly careless about such things, and that is with the original authors.

What do people think about changing canon? It's obviously common in the comic book and movie world. Does a lack of continuity bother you as a reader? How about reboots? I can't really think of many reboots in book series, but I'm sure it's happened. I seem to recall that David Gerrold wrote himself into a corner with his War Against the Chtoor series, then went back and put out new additions of the first couple of books.

Wrapping it back into the Star Wars books, I read most of the early Star Wars books (there were not a ton of them), up until the early 90's, but totally lost track of the mass of books that were produced since the original Zahn Thrawn series, so the change in direction by Disney doesn't really bother me much. I did think that the two main line movies didn't really hang together well, but that's a different matter.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:14 PM   #2
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What do people think about changing canon? It's obviously common in the comic book and movie world. Does a lack of continuity bother you as a reader? How about reboots? I can't really think of many reboots in book series, but I'm sure it's happened.
To misquote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Continuity is the hobgoblin of little minds..."

I read comics, but I tend to read mainly creator-owned series because of all the continuity in mainstream comics. I also enjoyed DC's Elseworlds stories. I don't give a crap about continuity. Reboot it as often as you need.

These are fictional stories told by multitudes of writers over decades. Expecting every detail to remain consistent is ridiculous. Plus it becomes impenetrable to new readers.

If we're so worried about continuity, why isn't Peter Parker in his seventies (assuming he was 16 when he first appeared in 1963)?

As long as within the story being told by a particular writer, things are consistent, that's good enough for me. I might pick up a Star Wars book or a mainstream super-hero title, but that book should be able to stand alone to a new reader. Sure, outside events might come up in the current story, but they shouldn't be so impactful they derail the story being told.

One mainstream comic I read and enjoyed was John Ostrander's take on The Spectre in the '90's. This was a mainstream comic with crossovers and all the other usual baggage. But without reading any of those other titles and without any previous knowledge of the character The Spectre, I was able to read and enjoy the series. I re-read the entire 63 issue series a few years ago and it held up very well. I think it was a good example of how the (to comics) necessary evil of continuity should be handled.

If later the DC Universe was rebooted and now those stories 'didn't happen' what do I care? Let's be honest, they never happened regardless because it is all fiction. Those books still exist and can still be read and enjoyed.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:17 PM   #3
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I don't particularly like shared universes and rarely read books set in them, except the originals. I also don't like novels set in the movie universes, even when they follow the canon. I've never read any Star Wars/Star Trek novels, for example, and don't plan to do so. But then I'm not a fan of franchises in general. I usually read/watch the original books/movies and that's it, I move on to something else. Dozens and hundreds of products by different creators using someone else's original idea is not really my cup of tea. I just get bored.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:51 PM   #4
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I don't particularly like shared universes and rarely read books set in them, except the originals. I also don't like novels set in the movie universes, even when they follow the canon. I've never read any Star Wars/Star Trek novels, for example, and don't plan to do so. But then I'm not a fan of franchises in general. I usually read/watch the original books/movies and that's it, I move on to something else. Dozens and hundreds of products by different creators using someone else's original idea is not really my cup of tea. I just get bored.
I tend to agree with you. But with books, sometimes an author you enjoy will write a book in a franchise and those make me curious.
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Old 11-21-2019, 05:19 PM   #5
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I like that Eric Flint has allowed others to write books in his 1632 Universe. It has created a very diverse and interesting world.
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Old 11-21-2019, 07:22 PM   #6
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I did read a bunch of the continuing Star Wars universe books, probably about 20 years ago now. I was curious when the new movies came out if they'd follow along the books I'd read since most of the books continued the story after Return of the Jedi. The movies do not at all. At the time I read the books, I figured there was no way they'd continue the movies anyway.

Lucas sold the franchise to Disney who's going to do with it what they want. I do find it a bit discordant in my mind to have several alternate stories going on so I've largely forgotten the early books although they are my favorite continuation of the story. Not thrilled with the movies and I have no interest in more books.
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Old 11-21-2019, 08:34 PM   #7
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I always treated any of the SF books (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.) as sort of legal fan-fiction. Nothing in them could be guaranteed/promised to tie into the official movie timelines.

I had a hard time (no interest) in the Star Trek reboot. Not sure how I feel about a Star Wars one...I'm kind of behind on the movies, TBH.
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:00 PM   #8
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I always treated any of the SF books (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.) as sort of legal fan-fiction. Nothing in them could be guaranteed/promised to tie into the official movie timelines.

I had a hard time (no interest) in the Star Trek reboot. Not sure how I feel about a Star Wars one...I'm kind of behind on the movies, TBH.
I know what you mean about the Star Trek reboot. I thought the first one was ok, but found how Kirk became the captain absurd. I gave up on the second after the first 15-20 minutes.
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:11 PM   #9
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To misquote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Continuity is the hobgoblin of little minds..."

...
These are fictional stories told by multitudes of writers over decades. Expecting every detail to remain consistent is ridiculous. Plus it becomes impenetrable to new readers.
...
.
While I am interested in what those who are really into the Star Wars books think, one of the series that I was thinking about was the Darkover series. MZB wasn't exactly the best when it came of keeping track of some of the things she said in previous books. It never really bothered me, though I will say that I haven't read any of the books written the writer who took over the series from Bradley (Turner I think is her name).

I do think that Michael J. Sullivan took an interesting approach to some of his back story, i.e. the difference between legend and reality.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:57 PM   #10
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I don't particularly like shared universes and rarely read books set in them, except the originals. I also don't like novels set in the movie universes, even when they follow the canon. I've never read any Star Wars/Star Trek novels, for example, and don't plan to do so. But then I'm not a fan of franchises in general. I usually read/watch the original books/movies and that's it, I move on to something else. Dozens and hundreds of products by different creators using someone else's original idea is not really my cup of tea. I just get bored.
Star Wars ended for me with the third movie (the real third movie, not the renumbered (fake) third movie) when the ewoks showed up. My brain had already rebelled at the premise that every random character (in a galaxy of billions) were seemingly related.

I also agree on novels based on movies. There never seems to be much to them.
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:24 AM   #11
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I like that Eric Flint has allowed others to write books in his 1632 Universe. It has created a very diverse and interesting world.
Apache
Not to mention the stories in the Grantville Gazette -- the text version of a soap opera where minor characters from the main books get their moment in the spotlight. There have been several story lines that have moved from the Grantville Gazette to the main story arc. Paid fanfic in many ways.
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:46 AM   #12
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Star Wars ended for me with the third movie
They made more? cf The Matrix
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Old 11-22-2019, 03:25 AM   #13
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There’s something to be said for some consistency though, I forget if it’s Nightmare on Elm Street or Jason (pretty sure it’s Nightmare) that veers all over the place between the movies in terms of what powers the bad guy and how to defeat him.

I don’t need Darth Vader’s suit to be described as obsidian black with ruby red, sapphire blue, and quartz white buttons on it in every instance the character appears but please don’t make him a robot or something.

That said I do think Disney was heavy handed with how they sliced away what is and isn’t official anymore. But As someone who likes reading all the official stories in order I’m also a little glad because the old list was huge.

I also am pretty sure this was announced when Disney bought Lucas Arts.
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Old 11-22-2019, 04:46 AM   #14
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They made more? cf The Matrix
I never watched the Matrix sequels. I was told they sucked by people I trusted and I didn't want to ruin the first one. Besides where do you go from the first one? Neo wins... the end. But then... maybe he didn't win after all? I've watched very few good sequels in my life.
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Old 11-22-2019, 05:15 AM   #15
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I never watched the Matrix sequels. I was told they sucked by people I trusted and I didn't want to ruin the first one. Besides where do you go from the first one? Neo wins... the end. But then... maybe he didn't win after all? I've watched very few good sequels in my life.
I didn't like the first movie, so I didn't watch the sequels. The premise seemed just too ridiculous, imho. Says the gal who liked the Spiderman movies... (the ones with Toby Maguire). I dunno, Matrix just didn't suit me. And I've got absolutely nothing against Keanu Reeves, so it wasn't that.
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