Let Them Eat Canon,
or,What Do Those Billboard People Want, Anyway?
An open letter to Lucasfilm in response to the letter they’ve been replying to #GiveUsLegends correspondence.
In pretty much every article that ever popped up describing the billboard and the fantastic dedication of fan love it represents, the authors were baffled about what “Give Us Legends” is about. You’d think it’d be straightforward. I mean, there’s even a press release on the site! But it’s not just the media — Lucasfilm itself has zero comprehension of what we’re asking for. Check out this letter received by some of our realcanon warriors:
And now, allow me to respond.
Thank you for sending letters back to the dedicated fans who spend time and postage on writing to you begging for the lives of Star Wars characters we all love. It’s amazing and exciting to be acknowledged.
Unfortunately, you have no idea what you’re acknowledging. This communications breakdown between us is why I think this schism in the fanbase is continuing to grow and hurting everyone involved.
You’ve probably heard this famous story. A naive French aristocrat was told, “The peasants have no bread to eat!” This young woman, completely unable to understand the reality of peasant life, merrily replied, “Then let them eat cake!”
No, it probably wasn’t Marie Antoinette who said that, but I’m not here to clear up historical misapprehensions — I’m here to clear up your misapprehension, Lucasfilm. Because I think this conversation has taken place in your offices a time or two since 2014.
Ever since you Order 66’d the Universe, announcing that more than 90% of Star Wars’ unprecedented and record-breaking canon was no longer canon due to your new movies coming out, you have been trying to throw us the bone that “some stuff is going to get integrated.”
For two years, you’ve seemed baffled that we aren’t responding to that with the unbridled enthusiasm you expected. You apparently refuse to ask why we don’t like that, because you keep throwing it in our face over and over again. “We’re going to recycle it. It’s not going away. We’re going to take cool stuff and integrate it. Why aren’t you excited? What is wrong with you?”
Did you ever stop to think that maybe we aren’t excited about you poaching the trEU (that’s True Expanded Universe) because we’re angry about what you did to it in the first place?
Fans say “Give us legends,” “We want legends,” “Bring back legends,” but it’s clear that you don’t understand what they’re saying. I’ll be honest: I don’t think they really understand what they’re saying, either.
Because continuation is a side issue. It’s not the main thing. Cutting off the story isn’t where you goofed, Lucasfilm.
Declaring it non-canon is where you goofed.
Take a look at every other reboot and remake in history. You — I mean, your master Disney has done remakes before and not gotten this response. Why? What’s the difference?
The difference is, when Christopher Nolan made Batman Begins, he didn’t issue a press release before the premier saying, “This is super exciting. NONE of the Batman stuff you knew and loved is canon anymore, but I’ve integrated all the best stuff into my new movie, which isn’t a reboot even though it’s meant to replace everything that came before. Actually, none of the Batman stuff that came out until now was canon anyway. Enjoy!”
When Star Trek (2009) hit theaters, it included a bit of timey-wimey whitewash to very graphically emphasize that it took place in an alternate timeline, but Paramount didn’t feel the need to tell all the world’s Trekkers that all prior Star Trek canon was rendered moot and had never, actually, been canon in the first place.
Are you seeing the difference? You’re denying our universe the legitimacy it is owed.
Understand this. If you had said “No, the new movies aren’t going to follow the EU,” no one would have been surprised (Abrams set that precedent with Trek 09), but more importantly, no one would have fought you. People would’ve seen the movie out of curiosity. Pretty much nobody would’ve bothered picketing it because it wouldn’t have been a threat.
Your “nucanon” is a threat to us, Lucasfilm. It’s a threat because you’re taking away the legitimacy of a canon that made your current life possible, replacing it, and treating us like we’re idiots for not loving the decision.
This is bad. It’s bad customer service. It’s bad franchise/fandom relation. Do you see why we’re so insulted when you say that you’re going to cherry-pick the stuff you like and “bring it back”? It’s because you threw it in the trash, said it never counted, and then you’re basically plagiarizing it.
It’s as if the Empire blew up Alderaan, told the people of Alderaan it was for their own good, and then started processing what was left of the planet into cheap furniture to sell back to them.
That’s why continuation is important but it’s not the heart of the issue. The heart of the issue is that you’re lying to us all. Fix it. Make it right, Lucasfilm. It’s not too late!
All you need to do is say, “Yes, Star Wars 1976-2014 is canon, but it’s a separate timeline from the canon of 2015 and after.” People won’t be confused, I promise. Nobody watches Star Trek Into Darkness and is baffled about how it fits with Deep Space 9.
We’re smart. We’re geeks; it’s our defining characteristic. We can figure it out. And then instead of fans spending time and money trying to get your attention to right this wrong, those fans might start dedicating time and attention to checking out your alternate timeline.
Now, I said continuation is important. It is important. A lot of fans feel that continuation is the heart of the issue, which is why there’s all this confusion. But hear me out. Understand that granting us LEGITIMATE CANON STATUS is what you need to do to fix this, but that continuing the storyline is a great idea because it will completely double your profits.
Do you know how many fans are saying they would try Lords of the Sith if they only had Sword of the Jedi, too? Do you care? You should. You think it’s more trouble than it’s worth monitoring two timelines? I promise, the EU has been self-policing for decades. Give Leland Chee his job back, fire up the holocron, and for pete’s sake give them their Sword of the Jedi.
I can guarantee you that your profits will soar, and that fans, set at ease that the canon they invested in before is solid and available, will be willing and maybe even eager to explore alternate universe options. Star Wars Infinities were always popular. I promise, after all these decades of X-Men, geeks know how to process and keep alternate universes separate.
Think about it.
Rebel till I die,
The Star Wars Realcanon RebeLibrarian.