Petition of the 2000: A Fanboy’s Response

Across the galaxy, a small band of Rebels have banded together in an effort to stand against what they perceive as a threat to the Star Wars continuity.  As they see it, this threat, primarily in the form of The Clone Wars animated series, represents a “relaxed attitude” in the integrity of the franchise.  You can read more about the Petition of the 2000 here.  Special thanks to for letting the fans know.

To best explain the viewpoint of George Lucas, it’s best to look at this in his own words.  As sited in a 2008 interview from Total Film magazine:

TOTAL FILM: “The Star Wars universe has expanded far beyond the movies. How much leeway do the game makers and novel writers have?
LUCAS: “They have their own kind of world. There’s three pillars of Star Wars. I’ll probably get in trouble for this but it’s OK! There’s three pillars: the father, the son and the holy ghost. I’m the father, Howard Roffman [president of Lucas Licensing] is the son and the holy ghost is the fans, this kind of ethereal world of people coming up with all kinds of different ideas and histories. Now these three different pillars don’t always match, but the movies and TV shows are all under my control and they are consistent within themselves. Howard tries to be consistent but sometimes he goes off on tangents and it’s hard to hold him back. He once said to me that there are two Star Trek universes: there’s the TV show and then there’s all the spin-offs. He said that these were completely different and didn’t have anything to do with each other. So I said, “OK, go ahead.” In the early days I told them that they couldn’t do anything about how Darth Vader was born, for obvious reasons, but otherwise I pretty much let them do whatever they wanted. They created this whole amazing universe that goes on for millions of years!
TOTAL FILM: “Are you happy for new Star Wars tales to be told after you’re gone?
LUCAS: “I’ve left pretty explicit instructions for there not to be any more features. There will definitely be no Episodes VII-IX. That’s because there isn’t any story. I mean, I never thought of anything. And now there have been novels about the events after Episode VI, which isn’t at all what I would have done with it. The Star Wars story is really the tragedy of Darth Vader. That is the story. Once Vader dies, he doesn’t come back to life, the Emperor doesn’t get cloned and Luke doesn’t get married…


In other words, as much as the petitioning fans don’t want to hear it, continuity is whatever George Lucas says it is.  Now, as I’ve mentioned here on this site and in our podcast many times before, somewhere along the lines it became popular to make George the public punching bag.  No matter what he says, he’s automatically wrong to a vocal portion of the population that seems to think they’re too cool for the room.  It’s time to deflate this argument at its source.

The petition states:

Since much of the enjoyment of the Star Wars universe comes from the verisimilitude of the saga—that necessary aspect of congruous historicity—a loss of this, whether intentional or not, creates a domino effect of contradictions, and erodes the ability for newer and older fans to confidently move forward in their support of the saga. A fictional universe where different stories controvert one another is not one that can long survive, as has been demonstrated over the years by various franchises which—taking little measure to ensure congruity—plummeted.

In other words, the printed material can’t be contradicted by the visual material (or vice versa) if the saga is to survive more than the 35 years it’s approaching.  Is it safe to say that this is an agreed upon translation of this?  If that’s the case, then one needs to look no farther than to existing franchises who have survived and thrived to this day across multimedia since before 1977.

1.  Star Trek – Does anyone remember right after Star Trek III when the former crew of the Enterprise took control of the Excelsior and continued their mission, only to face down their counterparts from the Mirror Universe yet again?  It seems Spock never overthrew his captain in that version as told in the comics, and there was no Enterprise-A to be had.  Yet in David Mack’s novel The Sorrows of Empire, Mirror Universe Spock assassinated his captain and proceeded to control the Empire up through the timeline of Star Trek VI with the hopes of helping the Empire to fall.  Or perhaps no one remembers the old Gold Key comics where the Enterprise was rocket-propelled rather than warp-capable, and a number of other technological discrepancies are sited.  It seems penny ante until you acknowledge the warp drive is the entire basis of Star Trek history itself.  And don’t even get me started on the timeline.  Different sources site the entirety of the 23rd century for the dates of the 5-year mission.  Both Captain Christopher and Khan Singh are characters firmly placed in the 20th century, yet Kirk (in the 23rd century) tells them both he’s from 200 years in their future.  And while we’re at it, were the Eugenics Wars and World War III the same war?  Some episodes say yes (“Space Seed”), and some say no (“The Savage Curtain”).  Star Trek: The Next Generation – a later incarnation of Trek – helped to establish the continuity that was not established by the original series or films, just as The Clone Wars is doing now with our unanswered questions.  Both shows proceeded with no thought to the novels or comics that stacked up in those eras.

2.  DC Comics – You know the names.  Superman.  Batman.  Wonder Woman.  Green Lantern.  The Flash.  The list goes on and on, and all of these characters had been going for nearly 40 years when Star Wars took to screen.  In this case, the printed versions come first, so it’s a reversal on the saga.  Different eras see different takes on the characters.  Powers are added, powers are subtracted, identities are changed, characters are changed, universes are changed or are outright destroyed.  In the case of Superman specifically, most of what we know today is based on the radio program.  The comics gave us Superman.  The radio gave us the Daily Planet, Perry White, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Kryptonite.  Meanwhile the movies and TV series were anything but loyal to any version that came before.  Take a look at the weaponry on Michael Keaton’s Batmobile or Batwing, or his willingness to drop opponents off of bell towers or to ignite them with the Batmobile’s flamethrower.  Look at the new Wonder Woman’s triple identity.  And who can forget Christopher Reeve’s giant cellophane S-shield or memory-stealing super kiss?  Or perhaps did anyone else notice Tom Welling’s Clark Kent blasting away at twin towers with his heat vision in the heart of Metropolis?  Pop quiz: can Wonder Woman fly?  1942 says no.  1987 says yes.  And today she can astrally project herself, thus rendering the point almost moot.  If anything, these characters have thrived in spite of their horribly scrambled continuity problems.

3.  Doctor Who – the longest-running science fiction series in history.  I saved the best for last because, let’s face it, if ever a show can contradict itself, it’s Doctor Who.  Such is the nature of time traveling.  Consider the case of the 6th and 7th Doctor crossover companion, Melanie Bush.  Go ahead, figure that out if you can.  Look her up, I’ll wait.  Or perhaps you’d like to explain the Weeping Angels and the complete change of rules in only their second appearance?  Or how The Master got Iron Man-like superpowers and a completely new origin story – which, by the way, completely stomps all over the Big Finish Productions audio origin story for the character, to say nothing of his previous appearances.  Let’s look at an early appearance, specifically the 8th Doctor’s TV movie.  Did you know they hold trials on Skaro?  That’s where the Daleks tried and executed the Master, then apparently allowed the Doctor to claim what was left of the body.  The truth is, there are whole volumes available for purchase that discuss the discontinuity of Doctor Who.  And such books don’t even take into account the novels, the comics, the audio plays, the stage productions, etc. that comprise that marketing empire.  You can pretty much base a Ph.D. study on Time Lord Goofology.  I’ve asked diehard fans of the Doctor to explain some of this to me.  The most intelligent answer I ever got was a shrug.

So with just these handful of examples in mind, and rest assured there are others, we’re supposed to believe that The Clone Wars is undermining the integrity of Star Wars when the majority of the Expanded Universe never had consultations with George on the nature of the Force, the timelines, the history of the Jedi and Sith, etc.?  No, I don’t buy it.  Star Wars will be around for a long time to come because the George Lucas vision is a solid one.  The EU books, comics, etc., are fun and invigorating, and they provide us with even more of what we fans want: more Star Wars.  That we want more is a testament to George’s creative engine.  This fan lived through the Dark Times, when there was no new material to absorb between the Ewok movies and the first appearances of the modern EU.  Today we get new novels and comics every month, new Clone Wars every week during the televised season, and there are promises of new material in the immediate future.  We’re lucky to have it at all.  The very first Expanded Universe novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, was contradicted by The Empire Strikes Back.  I don’t see anyone wiping their tears over that.  As near as I can tell, the straw that broke the tauntaun’s back is the death of Jedi Master Even Piell as the TV episode contradicts an EU novel that, to be honest, I can’t find anyone online that actually read it!  Yet, nobody’s making waves over the first meeting of Anakin and Tarkin in these episodes, even though their first meeting is chronicled in Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, a novel that virtually 85% or more of the Star Wars fan population read and enjoyed.  What does this say?  To me, it says the expectation of entitlement has reached an all-time high within the community of modern fandom.  It’s time to stop.  In the Star Wars Universe, George Lucas is the first and last word.  If it doesn’t fit his story, so be it.  It doesn’t change the fact that you enjoyed the novel or the comic, does it?  No, it doesn’t.  There’s another phrase I’m fond of saying: “vote with your dollar.”  If you don’t like something, don’t buy it, don’t watch it.  If you do enjoy it, buy it, watch it, share it with friends.  Internet searches drive up interest, and that equates to money in this kind of machine.  Money = “they’re doing something right, let’s make more of it.”  As a highly opinionated and vocal fanboy with a podcast, I’m certainly as guilty as anyone of thumping the continuity bible of a given franchise.  But in most cases, the creators are dead and were taken out of the loop long before it ever got truly crazy.  George is still here, he’s still active, and he’s still telling the story he’s had in his head all those decades ago.  For the love of the Force… enjoy the ride.