King Daniel Into Darkness wrote:
The Star Wars EU is directly based on the way Star Trek did it. See this comment from George Lucas:
Yes, but that's different from what they used to say. Back when the tie-ins were the only new SW content in town, they could stay as consistent with canon as they wanted, and thus they put forth the notion that they represented a sort of secondary level of canon. But once Lucas actually started making new Star Wars
, then naturally, of course, he considered what he created to be distinct from and preemptive of any alternative interpretations of his creation done without his direct involvement. As the creator of the franchise, he was entitled to make it the way he wanted and not be bound by what others had done based on his work -- though of course he was free to borrow useful elements from it if he so wished.
You see the same process with Trek, going both ways. In the '80s, when there was little new Trek content, the novels and comics were able to develop their own ongoing continuities (though distinct from each other). But when new Trek shows came along, they overrode the books and took the lead in defining new continuity, and the tie-ins' brief was pretty much to follow their lead and stay out of their way. And now that there aren't new shows or Prime-universe movies being made, the books are again free to build their own ongoing continuity -- whereas meanwhile the comics are attempting to do a continuity that's consistent with the ongoing movie series but finding themselves contradicted by it despite their best efforts.
And you see it with other franchises. The Buffy
comics done during the series got contradicted all the time by the show, but now the show is gone and the comics are supervised by Whedon and count as canon. The Babylon 5
novels published during the run of the show, which Straczynski tried to oversee and keep canonical, all ended up being mostly apocryphal because he wasn't able to oversee both the show and the books directly at the same time; but the novel trilogies that came out after the show, which he personally plotted and shepherded through the writing process, were indeed canonical.
This is what needs to be understood. The determiners of canon aren't some studio board handing down regulations; they're the creators of the work itself. Canon simply means the original output of the core creators -- or their inheritors, in the case of a legacy franchise like Trek, Doctor Who
, or future Star Wars
installments. Anything that other people do in parallel, that the creators or showrunners have only limited control over, is by definition not canon because they're not the ones making it. They can try to treat the supplemental material as part of the canon, try to supervise it closely enough to keep it consistent, but as we've seen in cases like Star Wars
, B5, and now the Abramsverse comics, it usually ends up being contradicted anyway.