Discussion How Do YOU Choose Your Blaster...err, Canon

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Jedi_BMK, Jun 17, 2010.

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  1. Jedi_BMK

    Jedi_BMK Jedi Padawan star 4

    Sep 10, 2004
    I looked for a similar discussion thread, but didn't find anything before I got to the locked threads so I thought I would go ahead and post this.

    About a month ago, I came across a concept in the comments section of an article that I can't seem to track down. The context is irrelevant, but the commenter basically said that the answer to the mess that is Star Wars canon is to simply produce more material. The only ground rule is that it fit within the framework Lucas created. It is still a story in a galaxy far, far away, filled with starships, Jedi, the Force, etc, but without the dogmatic restrictions that can occur from the restrictive canon that exists now. From there, people would be able to pick and choose and create the canon that makes sense to them.

    While I don't see this ever becoming the official Lucasfilm stance, the concept seems rather suited to the realm of fan fiction. We pick and choose the characters that fit into our stories and often need to dictate a particular canon for the setting of an AU. Often, it's as simple as, everything that happened up to the point where I'm beginning my story happened. Other times, it is more complicated and while some events occurred as described in the movies, novels, comics, etc., others did not happen.

    So the question I am posing is this:

    How do you choose the canon that makes sense for you? It can be for a particular story you have written or are writing or it could be just in general.

    I have some thoughts on both, as well as some other questions to throw out there, but I want to hear what others have to say first.

    By the way, if anyone has a catchier thread title, I'm all ears. I did my best, but I'm just not happy with it.
  2. Ubersue

    Ubersue Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 1, 2008
    That depends on my story. I try to stick to the novelizations canon for Beyond stories because I have read a lot of the books and a bit of research can get me up to speed on where things are at. But for my fics that I'm working on for Before and the Saga, I primarily stick to movie canon. If I'm going to ignore any canon, I'll just include that fact in my author's note.

    And I like your title. :p
  3. lonewriter

    lonewriter Jedi Master

    Jun 8, 2010
    I've been having the same issues with SW game canon. I just changed the plot of my story so it sticks with canon.
  4. moosemousse

    moosemousse CR Emeritus: FF-UK South star 6

    Oct 3, 2004
    Mostly I go by what wookieepedia says, though sometimes I like to do my own things. A lot of my fics revolve around a unique Jedi Academy where the Jedi could be in relationships and it's different from the rest of the Jedi Order. For my current Diary Challenge fic I've said that Revan was female because of personal preference really, and I had her save the Galaxy from the Sith. When there isn't any canon to go by, like the decades before the Legacy comics, then I do my own thing mostly, within reason.
  5. lonewriter

    lonewriter Jedi Master

    Jun 8, 2010
    Today I got in a great resource book. I got Jedi vs. Sith The Essential Guide to the Force, it is filled with a lot of material to use.
  6. YodaKenobi

    YodaKenobi VIP star 6 VIP

    May 27, 2003
    Definitely one of the best guides that's ever been released. The New Essential Guide to Chronology that came out a year or two before that was also impressive.
  7. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002
    My personal 'canon' stems from the movies (at least 90%) and I try not to deviate too far - hence my first trilogy works tend to avoid ROTS and that era. Return of the Jedi, and during the OT, I definitely try not to contradict (but I do slide in my OC's) 'film canon' - Post Jedi, I will borrow some elements from the EU, but I work harder at keeping things in line with MY universe (with over 20 works that fit directly into it, it can be difficult sometimes!) and call it good.
  8. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    Much as I hate the way canon's been going for a few years, I usually stick to it as far as considering it canon. That being said, most or all of my longer stories have been AUs. But I create different alternate universes for different stories, so there's no one set of personal canon I stick to for everything.
  9. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    My canon is from the movies, the JA and JQ books, the games and the Wikipedia and for some of my older stories, the timeline started in the Jemmiah chronicles.
  10. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 22, 2003
    I'm in a similar boat. Just keeping track of where my own army of OCs are when is complex enough. Especially since I tend to jump around the timeline filling in stories here and there rather than constantly moving forward. Priority one for me is keeping my stories consistent. As long as they fit into the movies and have a vaguely accurate relationship with the larger EU, I don't worry about the exact dates on Corran Horn's day-planner.

    If I read two stories that contradict each other, I still have the enjoyment contained within each story. The bigger universe and all its connections is just a bonus.
  11. Jedi_BMK

    Jedi_BMK Jedi Padawan star 4

    Sep 10, 2004
    The biggest issue with following an established canon is that it is a double edged sword. One one hand you get this massive sweeping story and on the other the hands of future creators are tied by the decisions of those who came before them, good or bad. I find it to be especially frustrating in comic books, but the Star Wars EU is getting to the point where it is having the same issues. And unlike comic books, rebooting Star Wars would be nearly impossible.

    To cope with the inconsistencies, I have applied the same technique I use to keep my sanity when reading comic books. History is not important as long as the actions are true to the character. Essentially, I worry about what I think of as character canon rather than historical canon. Of course, characters are shaped by the event before them so some basic structure is required. But most characters in Star Wars are archetypal and can be drawn out pretty realistically before too long.

    In the end, for me at least, the character arcs in the movies trump everything to the point where I can easily apply selective memory blocks while taking what I need (i.e. what's a gungan? :p). Of course, the movies are the easy part. I'll ignore any books, comics, etc. that contradict what I learned about these characters in the movies (goodbye, Dark Empire). Game canon gets taken with a grain of salt and treated as a tall tale with some element of truth since I know things were embellished to make the gameplay more interesting. For the remaining things that do treat the characters properly, I'll take away some basics as long as it is a well crafted story in keeping with the mythological grounding Star Wars does so well. Hence, anything that seems to be more of a look at my new, bigger and better superweapon and awesome Force users rather than mythology gets thrown out.

    Basically, I know the events from Wookieepedia but only the movies, select books (Zahn and a few others) and most video games with the grain of salt corollary (though Force Unleashed doesn't work even if it was fun) actually count. This is how I was able to drag myself back into things after the frustration of the NJO series that put me off to any further profic novels and caused me to pretend just about none of it happened.
  12. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Well, the EU canon can't keep track of itself, so why should I bother using it? So I don't, except for minor random elements that might work if I find them interesting...even then, I stick to things from the Prequel EU. There's no room in my stories for what comes after ROTJ in the Original EU. Movie canon is my sole guide when writing my stories, except for one major change I decided had to be made (no dead Padme).
  13. Harpalyce

    Harpalyce Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 19, 2010
    To be honest, when it comes to canon outside of the movies (and even then a little loose-and-free occasionally, since I usually write in AU), I approach it like I'm at a buffet. If it looks good, I take it. If it looks yucky, I don't feel obligated to put it on my plate. And occasionally I'll smother something with gravy that shouldn't be smothered in gravy, or ketchup, or ranch sauce, but in the end when I finish it's still tasty. ...I think I may be stretching my metaphor a little there, but you get the idea.

    In the end we're all here to eat, so don't worry about having to get everything on your plate if you're just going to be disappointed about how non-tasty it is. (Did you hear that snap? I think that was my metaphor breaking...) The way I look at it, spelunking through Wookieepedia is a great inspiration. But I don't feel like I need to make all the pieces fit. I imagine that those people who do 'get it' when I reach for an obscure something I found will be tickled to see it in there, but I don't write assuming that people have seen anything but the movies.
  14. Lilith Demodae

    Lilith Demodae Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 1, 1999
    I have to say that when it comes to canon, I accept the original tril totally. I accept select parts of the pre tril, the parts that don't contradict the original tril or aren't plain lame. And I accept a handful of the post tril novels. All of my SW FF fits into that framework, except where I specifically denote it as AU.
  15. Jedi_BMK

    Jedi_BMK Jedi Padawan star 4

    Sep 10, 2004
    It appears that quite a few people (myself included) take issues with at least some of the accepted canon. Which brings up another question for discussion:

    What elements of canon are you most likely to ignore? Or to be more blunt, what would you strike from your own canon?

    As an example, I already mentioned Dark Empire as something I've thrown out of my personal canon since I don't think it makes sense for Luke's character. Not necessarily a bad concept, but the execution is insulting in the face of what we saw in ROTJ.
  16. Lilith Demodae

    Lilith Demodae Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 1, 1999
    I'd strike anything that includes change-on-the-fly lightsabers. From a purely engineering standpoint it makes no sense at all.

    I'd strike out anything that contradicts the original Tril. I.E. Leia knew her mother as a very young girl, however briefly, before Padme died; Anakin's force ghost looks like a redeemed father figure, not a smug punk; the sarlac doesn't look like a lame flesh-color Audry from Little Shop of Horrors; and Han shot first.

    And I just plain deny the entire concept of the Vong and everything that happened thereafter.

  17. Alexis_Wingstar

    Alexis_Wingstar Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 16, 2006
    I don't so much reject Jacen falling to the dark side and going Sith, but I don't like how it occurred. It was poorly handled. I do reject that he was not able to be saved. IMHO, Jacen had so much more going for him, and his attitude when he was younger was so much better than his grandfather, Anakin. If Anakin could turn from the dark side (even if he did die shortly after doing so), so could Jacen.

    I like the concept of the Yuzhaan Vong... a race of people that the Force rejected because they'd committed genocide. I thought it was a very interesting concept.

    One thing I've noticed in the SW universe that I don't like is stereotyping. For instance, Jabba was a Hutt who was a crimelord... so the whole race is made up of crimelords. Elan Sleezbagano is a scrawny Belosar who tries to sell Obi-Wan deathsticks in a lower level nightclub on Coruscant, so you have a race of deathstick dealers who become addicted to the product they sell. Humans are the only race in the SW universe that are portrayed with a wide variety of characters from hard working moisture farmers to Jedi Knights; from pirates, smugglers, con-men and druglords to politicians (again a variety here from honest folk who want to do what's best for the Republic to self-serving despots), career military personnel, bartenders, etc.

  18. Space_Wolf

    Space_Wolf Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 13, 2007
    I try to fit my stories in with canon, but as I tend to write about original characters rather than canon ones, the only thing I have to worry about is making sure that they make sense timeline wise with what happens in the films and EU. (Even the offical material has difficulty making things fit - the current animated Clone Wars cartoon and it's novel spin-offs don't seem to fit in with the Clone Wars novels that were published before they came out.) It can be a bit of an headache sometimes as I remember writing a short story only to find out later that it wouldn't fit into the timeline but the material it was based on is so obscure people probably wouldn't notice it unless I pointed it out.
  19. lonewriter

    lonewriter Jedi Master

    Jun 8, 2010
    My thoughts exactly, I had planned on not using the great holocron because it was used in the game, the Force Unleashed but I changed my mind decided to use it anyway.
  20. Alethia

    Alethia Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 13, 2005
    My canon is anything that appeared in the movies, aka Episodes 1-6. Anything that is EU doesn't necessarily count for me. If it takes place between the movies, I'm more likely to add it in, but even that isn't a necessity for me. Of course, I haven't written SW fan fic in a long time, but I don't think my stance has changed any. If I add in a character, like hmm, Ashoka, then I'll probably mention it in the AN. And I write/wrote AUs for the most part, so yeah. It gives me a right to screw with characters and history *grins*.

    I never liked most of the post-ROTJ EU, so I'll never really consider that canon. However, since I know a lot of people love the characters (like Mara, for instance), I tend to not write that era. I don't want a bunch of fans after me because I split up their favorite pairings or wrote out their favorite characters. *grins*
  21. FelsGoddess

    FelsGoddess Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Sep 5, 2004
    It depends on what I'm writing. If I want something to fit canon, I read what Wookieepedia has to say. If it's an AU, I use what happened in canon up to the point the story begins.
  22. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 6, 2007
    The Wook is a good source but is best used backed up by the actual sources themselves. I often try to find the sources on the Wook at the library or thorugh another source just to confimr the validity.

    For instance The Clone Wars has established that Eeth Koth was not killed on Geonosis. Karen Miller used this knowledge in Wild Space, but the Wook editors viewed his appearances in her novel as an error and refused to allow the page to be changed.

    Almost a year latter TCW confirmed Eeth was indeed very alive, as Karen knew at the time but was unable to share due to her contract I'd assume.

    In short I'm saying its hard to figure out what is canon and what is not:p. For myself, I write too slow. Both of my longer stories started out as very canon compliant only to have the canon become radically changed by new releases while I was still writing.

    So I just changed them to slightly AU and carried on.:p
  23. darkladypurplepencil

    darkladypurplepencil Jedi Knight star 2

    Jan 16, 2006
    I think my method is closest to Harpalyce's buffet metaphor. If it works for the story I'm trying to tell or wouldn't affect it, I think of it as still "in." If it doesn't, I'll put in a note about what I'm changing and move on.

    And if I want to do something AU, I tend to choose a moment in the chronology of Star Wars to change. For example, in Treason and Treaties, Coruscant never fell to the Rebels. Then, anything in the EU after that either can be justified in the change or it can't. In Treason and Treaties, couples like Luke and Mara are together, but did not necessarily come to their relationship in the same way as in the EU. I find having that pivot to be much more helpful in rooting through the EU, since there is so much to it.

  24. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 5, 2005
    I just kind of do my own thing. I check wookiepedia for general knowledge (usually to check up on the happenings of the ever-expanding EU). If there's just one little thing that is contradicted, I'll make a note of it at the start of the story. If there's several little things, or a lot of them, I'll just stick an AU sign on the story.

    In my mind canon is the films and everything else is wibbly-wobbly. :p For some reason, wibbly-wobblyness is linked to popularity and how familiar I am with the material. So, I generally consider most of the EU books to be canon (even if I don't like what happened in them *cough*LOTF*cough*), and will work around contradictions as I see fit; same with the more popular comics (like Legacy). Games I'm a little iffy on, but I'll take the general storylines as canon enough but skip over some of the details. The books and comics that no one wants to admit exist, I will ignore. I haven't made up my mind on the TV show yet because I'm not all that interested in the Clone Wars and haven't written anything in that era.

  25. iceaffinity

    iceaffinity Jedi Knight star 1

    May 23, 2010
    There seems to be so much canon! As a relatively new SW fic writer, I stick with what I'm most familiar with - the movies, and the Clone Wars tv show that got me writing. I'm usually a very strict canon kind of girl - I use fanfiction to supplement the series when there's nothing new, to still be able to follow along and enjoy it even when there's a current lacking of new, official stuff. But with so much canon in SW, and so much of it potentially contradictory, it's been an interesting time muddling through and learning more about the GFFA.

    I write mostly about minor characters, usually off the Clone Wars tv series (Rex, Ahsoka, others I was was introduced to via the series such as Ventress and Barriss Offee). Since characters like Rex and Ahsoka were introduced in the Clone Wars, I use that and the movies as a base. For characters who have been around longer and in other mediums, such as Ventress or Barriss, I still stick to their TCW incarnations, since that's what I know best. I will hit up the Wookiepedia and borrow from other sources (comics, novels) as it suits a story, to help flesh it out.
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