On Jossing, canon, and The Clone Wars

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.

11 Replies to “On Jossing, canon, and The Clone Wars

  1. I’ve generally loved the Traviss books and think that, over the past several years, she has been responsible for almost everything I’ve loved about the Clone Wars era. But my discomfort with her departure stems less from that opinion than from, as you say, the implications for the state of canon as a whole.

    But I nevertheless generally agree with your assessment. The prequels teach that obsession is wrong, right? And that extends to an obsession with continuity.

    Still, you can only go so far before events cease to have meaningful consequences and everything just falls apart. And I think TCW may be going a little too far. (I sometimes like to think of it as in-universe propaganda for the kiddies.)

    That said, while it’s not at all how I imagine Mandalore, that concept art looks pretty cool in its own right. :)

  2. Remember when Bespin had a jungle surface?

    When having wives or being a mere Jedi Knight was a-okay for Jedi Council members?

    When the Emperor cut off Vader’s hand as punishment for failing to capture Luke?

    When no one in the galaxy could have possibly known Luke and Leia were Vader’s children, least of all Thrawn (or else the entire end of that series falls apart?)

    What spin-off universe are these folks reading, exactly?


  3. Canonicity in Star Wars, at least, is a dynamic element. It always has been. Change in continuity signifies development, and I, for one, am happy to have a fandom that adapts, and continues to yield a new product.

  4. the bigger issue with this is going to be the ultimate reconciling / paving over of the Clone Wars as it was pushed to fans in the 2002-2005 timeframe (books, comics, video games, and the Tartovsky animated series – and continuing with Karen’s RC novels), and TCW canon.

    right now they closer to parallel Clone Wars than being able to be knit together.

    i don’t mind drastic changes – but this is going to take more work than the others.

    i’m sad to see Karen’s departure from the sandbox especially since she has done a great job so far and brought in a whole new element and subfandom into SW. but ultimately, that’s her choice.

    personally, with the general nomadic and chaotic structure of mandalorian culture – who is to say that there isn’t more than one planet called Mandalore. one’s the one they present outsiders, and one is the homeworld… or at some point rival factions claimed separate worlds as the true Mandalore.

  5. I think SW readers should just choose a thread, or a story line that they enjoy and stick with it. There are a lot of separate storylines and occasionally they overlap but they aren’t all one story. It’s been happening for years, remember the Marvel SW comics, then there’s the Dark Horse comics, then there are all of the unorganized post-rotj books, then the organized era with the NJO and the LOTF. Now there’s Invasion. Even the organized parts of the EU are confusing.
    But I don’t think anyone should expect to be able to treat all prequel era storyline as canon. They are just too disorganized and separate.

  6. I can’t imagine reading the ENTIRE EU. The only way I’ve done as much as I have is because I’ve been reading so long… Hell, I haven’t finished more than two PT-era books (not counting the novelizations) and I have no regrets.

  7. Mmmm. What was exciting and interesting about Traviss’ Republic Commando novels? Was it the fact that she imagined a Mandalore and Mandalorean culture, or was it that she explored that by choosing to lead a slave army to war, the jedi clouded their own force and sealed their fate… I’m going with the latter, and its still an exciting spin on the prequel story.

  8. For me, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t canon.
    What makes me sad is that she will not write the last book and the storiline will be incomplete.

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