Can’t say I’m particularly broken up about the departure of Karen Traviss from Star Wars, as I wasn’t planning to read any of her forthcoming novels anyway. However, I’ve been following the threads on the fan boards and in-between the mourning/celebration some interesting points have been raised: How far is The Clone Wars going in railroading over existing canon, if it’s driven away an author who infamously loved to retcon?
From the beginning, the The Clone Wars cartoon has made the canon-centric very nervous, and what Traviss is alluding to may end up being their worst fear realized. Speculation so far is resting on TCW’s new Mandalore, as in seen in the concept art above – a radical departure from the version of the planet developed primarily by Traviss for her Republic Commando and Legacy of the Force books. And that’s presumably only the tip of the iceberg.
So people are very disturbed that the canon is leading to things like may mean whole storylines that suddenly don’t jive with the previous canon.
And as a long-time EU and fanfic reader? I’m just puzzled. I can’t say I understand that viewpoint any more. The very nature of Star Wars, particularly when George Lucas is at the wheel, leads us to one and only one conclusion: Things are going to get Jossed. It’s the very nature of the beast, and this is far from the first time. (Remember when Boba Fett actually was Jaster Mereel?) Though it’s sad for Traviss’ fans that they won’t get an Imperial Commando #3 or #4 or that Fett novel, there’s no reason for them to stop enjoying Traviss’ books just because another source says that Mandos live in climate-controled boxes on an arid planet. (Or whatever George and Filoni happen to have cooking.)
Canon is an important element. But sadly, it can’t be the be-all and end-all of your Star Wars experience – at least not if you want to stay sane. If your primary enjoyment rests on the franchise being one continuous whole with a complete lack of major contradictions, man are you hanging out in the wrong place… (Try Tolkien? Though not even single-author canons are immune…)
We’ve survived it before. We will again. (Who knows what retcons will come to be in a year? Five years? Eventually, someone will try.) We’re in a transitional period, so buck up.