Of all the things that passionate Star Wars fans debate about, the more pedantic fans have wasted countless hours arguing about the saga's official canon. The debut of the animated shorts Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures perfectly illustrates just how fluid the details of the saga can be, making those finicky squabbles completely unnecessary.
In the first installment (seen above), Obi-Wan Kenobi gifts Luke Skywalker with his father's lightsaber. When Luke ignites it, the power of the weapon blows his hair back, inspiring Luke to wildly swing the lightsaber and perform an acrobatic maneuver.
In the original 1977 Star Wars, the moment actually plays out with Luke mundanely igniting the saber, gesturing with it briefly, then sitting back down like he was merely handed a grimy power converter. These discrepancies might seem like minor details to the casual viewer, but this new short directly contradicts what "actually" happened, solidifying fluid canonicity.
These conflicting interpretations of one moment might cause many viewers to shrug and ask, "Who cares?" but the different perspectives of one moment reminds fans that even "official" explorations of a sequence can possess details that cancel one another out.
For 20 years, Star Wars fans knew that Han Solo was a badass. When he collided with the bounty hunter Greedo, he took advantage of a situation and murdered the Rodian in cold blood as to avoid apprehension. In 1997, a Special Edition release of the trilogy updated the films' effects, included deleted scenes, and manipulated the footage so it appeared as though Han Solo was merely retaliating fire defensively, angering nerds everywhere.
A later home video release of the trilogy saw the sequence altered again, depicting the duo shooting one another at the same time. Fans now had three versions of the same event, with George Lucas regarding the first two efforts as not being in line with his vision. Despite the creator of the saga definitively stating his vision of the films, fans decried that "Han Shot First" and refused to accept any other explanation.
Another defining moment in regards to canon is when Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 and established the Lucasfilm Story Group the following year to ensure the official canon of the saga. The group implemented the directive that the only six live-action films and Star Wars: The Clone Wars were officially canon, extraditing all other novels, comic books, and video games to the Star Wars Legends corner of the universe. Going forward, all future releases would fall within the canonical continuity of the new unified narrative.
What makes Galaxy of Adventures so important in the discussion of Star Wars canon is that they are official animated releases from Lucasfilm, utilizing actual dialogue from the films themselves. This means that the events of each of these shorts are technically canon, as are the movies, even if they present contradictory information. Another new animated short depicts a Wampa's eyes glowing red, though we don't see evidence of this in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Another short depicts Darth Vader tearing through a handful of Rebel Troopers, yet, in the Rogue One: A Stars Wars Story scene upon which this sequence is based, the Sith Lord cuts through nearly two dozen Troopers.
After multiple official depictions of the same sequences, we know that Obi-Wan gave Luke a lightsaber, a Wampa attacked Luke, and Vader killed Rebel Troopers. To
Last year, Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo shared in a series of now-deleted tweets that certain elements of canon don't require explicit details. As Hidalgo unofficially described the Han Solo and Greedo debate, "All that's canon is that two people entered that booth, & Greedo died."6comments
What do you think about the new animated shorts? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!