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Disney's False Promise Of "It's All Canon"

The Bad Batch aired its first episode yesterday and in the first few minutes of the show Star Wars canon is once more rewritten, despite Disney’s claim that everything – movies, shows, books, comics, even games – is canon. This is not the first time canon has been rewritten by a movie or show of course. So the question is, why does Disney still insist on calling certain things “canon”, when in fact they can easily be rewritten by a movie or tv show? Click through for a discussion! And spoilers for The Bad Batch apply, so don’t click if you haven’t seen the show yet and would like to avoid spoilers.

Not canon

In the Bad Batch Kanan Jarrus aka Caleb Dume from Rebels appears in the first few minutes. It turns out the Bad Batch is helping him, his Jedi master and the clones with them out of a pickle. But then Order 66 is executed, Caleb’s master is killed and Caleb manages to escape. Hunter from the Bad Batch, who is not affected by the inhibitor chip of course, goes after Caleb, trying to rescue and help him, but Caleb won’t trust any clone now (not helped by Crosshair firing at him) and gives Hunter the slip.

The problem here: it flat out rewrites and contradicts Kanan’s backstory from the Kanan comics. The comics also show us how Kanan aka Caleb and his Jedi master are affected by Order 66. But as it turns out the story is completely ignored by the Bad Batch.

This is not the first time so-called book or comic canon has been ignored and rewritten.

Season 7 of the Clone Wars largely renders the Ahsoka novel non canon.
The Mandalorian season 2 completely rewrites Cobb Vanth’s backstory from the Aftermath novel.
The Rise of Skywalker turns Poe Dameron into a drug runner and ignores his comic backstory.
The Last Jedi ignores The Force Awakens novelization and establishes that Poe meets Rey for the first time after the battle of Crait, wheras in the TFA novelization Poe and Rey meet much sooner.

And so on.

It’s very apparent that there are still two tiers of canon, just like in the old days under Lucas.

Tier 1 canon is movies and shows.
Tier 2 canon is everything else, which means it can be rewritten at any time by a movie or show.

So the question is: why does Disney still insist on calling books, comics and even games canon, when it’s very apparent that it’s not true?

The huge difference between Star Wars books and comics under Disney and Star Wars books and comics now labeled “legends” is that back under Lucas books and comics had much more freedom. Since it was tier 2 canon at best (or not really canon at all) the books and comics could tell grand stories. Much of the current Disney Star Wars canon is gap filler. It mostly fleshes out biographical details (which can be ignored at any time by a show or movie, as is evident) but is not allowed to go “big”.

In my opinion Disney should rethink their canon approach and stop labeling books or comics as canon and instead give authors more freedom again to tell stories that may fall under the “legends” category, but which would result in more epic plots.

The High Republic aims to solve that issue by exploring a new era, not yet really covered by movies or shows, but what are the chances some High Republic comic or book will be rewritten once a writer for a movie or show comes up with a new (better) idea that contradicts certain events in the comics or books? Will the Story Group intervene and say “nope, you can’t do that”? The Story Group is actually a lame duck though, they have no actual power over movies and shows at all, they can make suggestions, which can all be ignored by the writer and director.

On the plus side, if you really dislike certain Disney Star Wars comics or books you can safely assume that they are all legends, because a movie or show can and will rewrite canon at any time. And it makes sense of course. Why should a comic book, which is read by a couple of thousand people, have any impact on a high profile movie or show that is watched by millions of people and prevent the movie or show from telling its story? So when Dave Filoni wants the Bad Batch to meet Caleb Dume, they do. No matter what the Kanan comic book said. Hardly anyone (compared to the millions who usually watch a show or movie) ever read the comic to begin with.

But what about the people who are actually invested in all the books and comics? They have to see how the supposed canon is rewritten again and again and again.

Disney’s promise that it’s all canon is a lie. Books and comics (and games certainly as well) are all legends in the end. So maybe it’s time to stop the charade and establish once and for all that only movies and shows are actual canon, wheras books and comics are campfire tales, elseworld stories and legends. It would provide the writers with new possibilities.

The Star Trek franchise never had any issues at all with completely separating the books or comics from the actual canon, the shows and movies. Star Trek books can do pretty much everything and fans are not confused by the idea that books and movies/shows are two entirely different things and that books are just “what if” stories and certainly not canon. In the end Disney labeling everything canon creates more issues than it solves.

What do you think?

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