January 10, 2014 – I had the fortune of meeting Leland Chee, keeper of the Holocron, back in 2012 at Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando, Florida. His primary job for Lucasfilm? As “Continuity Database Adminstrator” (his official title), Chee’s job at that time was to ensure that all Star Wars characters, venues, story arcs, timelines and details were in harmony and that there were no jarring incongruities. No easy task when you consider the thousands of characters in existence not just from the six Star Wars feature films (official canon), but across the Star Wars Expanded Universe of fan-made fiction and numerous media – electronic games, comic books, novels, cartoons, and television.
Leland Chee has recently tweeted about the creation of a brand-new committee of knowledgeable employees, Lucasfilm Story Group. Chee will be one of several members (including Pablo Hidalgo) on the LSG committee, whose purpose will be similar to Chee’s previous role as keeper of the Holocron. You can read the details here and here.
Lucasfilm Story Group’s main mission is to re-organize the Star Wars franchise’s current canon hierarchy and to create one cohesive canon. The six Star Wars feature films are considered official canon as well as whatever George Lucas officially pronounces (labeled “G-canon”). Contents from The Force Unleashed multimedia project had, until now, been considered canon as well, but that may be about to change as LSG evaluates and rebuilds the Star Wars hierarchy.
As Disney prepares to release its new animated television series Star Wars Rebels on the Disney X-D Channel in the fall of 2014, the necessity of LSG’s mission becomes clear: Star Wars Rebels occurs during the time period between Episodes III and IV — essentially the events leading up to the first 1977 Star Wars film — and introduces a new badboy character named the Inquisitor. The Emperor has tasked the Inquisitor with the job of hunting down the remaining Jedi Knights. And therein lies the conflict: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed had already tasked that assignment to a different bad guy, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, code-named “Starkiller” (born Galen Marek). See the conflict?
Lucasfilm Story Group will have to make some difficult decisions as it attempts to harmonize the different strands of Star Wars. LSG risks alienating competing fan bases, who have their own preferences rooting for the Original Trilogy, The Clone Wars, The Force Unleashed, or other serializations. One possibility is to turn what was once considered canon (e.g., The Force Unleashed) into a “What If?” line of fiction. This may or may not appease particular fans. Stay tuned for further developments.