Thinking about the Star Wars Cinematic Universe: The New Canon on the Big Screen?
In the 1970s George Lucas, and his gifted team of writers, actors and other filmmakers introduced us to a galaxy far, far away and full of adventures that took place a long time ago. Since then the Star Wars universe has greatly expanded. To be honest it expanded once in a series of books, then contracted back to the original films (once the shape of Episode 7-The Force Awakens- coelesced), and what we now know to be the prequels (Episodes 1, 2 and 3 if you must ask). Now a new canon is emerging, with new books, movies, TV series and comic books (the comics are some of the best Marvel have produced in any genre) joining the back bone of the Star Wars Galaxy. I know many fans of the original expanded Universe, now published under the heading Legends, have been disappointed that that EU has been largely scrapped. But having read content from both, I have to say that the scrapping is for the best. Many fans won’t admit it, but the original EU produced moderately okay fiction generally, bad fiction often, but maybe only rarely (I think never) great Star Wars content. Not even Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy holds up particularly well. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t entertaining. It didn’t live up, I don’t think, to the promise of Star Wars.
Enter the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars, (here after SWCW) and Star Wars: Rebels. The first series is a much richer exploration of causes, and players of the prequels, and actually gives sense making context the jumbled, mixed bag of Star Wars: Episode 2 Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars: Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith. SWCW gives us the Anakin that Obi Wan spoke of to Luke on Tatooine all those years ago. Great pilot? Check. Cunning warrior? Check. And most crucially of all, good friend? Big check. Clone Wars the animated series gave us the Anakin the prequels never did.
This blog isn’t really about the glory that is STCW, except to say that if you are a fan of the Star War universe and its ability to produce quality family entertainment that is both, fun and serious you should check it out. I will say it is often realistically violent (within the scope of its space opera rules). It takes war and its cost more seriously than most popular fiction. It constantly addresses the morals of using clones to fight a war, and creates deep characters of them. So go watch it if you have not.
The deep question of this blog is mostly for fans of Star Wars: Rebels (hereafter SWR). For those who don’t know the show well (you should!) here is a brief fairly spoiler free synopsis. SWR is the saga of one tiny piece of the movement that would become the Galactic Rebellion. It tells the story of close knit group of friendly people trying to do the moral thing in a galaxy governed by gross immorality. There is the ship’s captain, Hera Syndulla, a rebellion sympathizer, Kanan Jarrus, a former pad wan, survivor of dread order 66, Ezra Bridger, a force sensitive kid, who has taken up the way of the Jedi under Kanan, even if Kanan insists he isn’t really a Jedi, Zeb a refugee, Wren Sabine, not exactly a refugee, but a Mandolorian outcast. Oh and the delightfully idiosyncratic astromech Chooper. Should any of the characters be featured in the new live action films of Disney? Keep in mind they have been hinted at. We know that the Ghost was at the Battle of Scarif in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We also know that Mon Mothma asked to see a certain General Syndulla. Many fans, myself among them believe this to be Hera Syndulla formerly captain of the Ghost.