Star Wars Episode VII – or VIIs?

Given the Star Wars Episode VII Canon/Legends division and disparities among different versions of the saga, Star Wars fans may have to accept, if most haven’t already, what Star Trek fans may have already decided on, fan writers were already doing, and StarGate ones may have accepted: Have multiple continuities, each with its own past, present, and future, with viewers and writers combining elements as desired, everybody and his brother living with it. it’s probably the only way to keep sane about these behind-the scene conflicts.

What follows is how I feel from a combination of:

1.)  The trio of time frames suggested for the Clone Wars versus the prequels;

2.) Fan speculation back in the 1990s whether or not “Darth Vader” was a name that Anakin Skywalker expropriated from from a fellow Jedi/Sithlord;

3.) The differing edits of the Star Wars movies themselves;

4.) George Lucas seemingly sharing in Gene Roddenberry’s attitude towards licensees (they’re good only as long as they don’t shake you down to get their work on your screen);

5.) The Grand Prize: Star Wars Episode VII and its sequels (for now, at least) ignoring the Expanded Universe (i. e., Legends) stories, likely for Point 4’s reasons as well as reader complaints about repetitive plots, darkening tone, inconsistent writing, unlikable characters, and bizarre conceits.

US/Canadian science-fiction fans may also call the last point the Bad Robot Productions/Ron Moore approach (demolish the building to the foundation, redevelop from there, and dismiss the old building as ungainly). Ask older fans how acceptable that approach and outcome are – if you dare.

Unfortunately, that point may mean that whatever was good from Legends (Luke and Leia’s spouses and children, chiefly) and some fan-favorite characters and events may never show up on screen. The writers already denied movie immortality and payouts then may have the thankless task of explaining where character A was/how that character participated in continuity X. Also, those writers may have to fight with Disney over how characters introduced in one continuity may interact with characters introduced in another continuity or originated before the split in continuities.

As it is, those writers must be seething about the situation, but likely can’t complain publicly, go to court, or run to former Star Wars distributor 20th Century-Fox, and/or publishers, Bantam Books, Dark Horse Comics, West End Games, and/or Wizards of the Coast for financial/legal/moral support. They have to deal with the Disney/Marvel megalith and its monies, after all.  So there Legends lies, tolerable/enjoyable in its own right, an historical curiosity in others, but pushed aside for corporate reasons, for good and ill, by something that time will tell is “preferable.”

And then there’s the fan reaction. Famously, for reasons explained previously, Star Trek has no two licensees agree with each other in continuity not previously established on screen. Similarly, StarGate actually has TWO continuities, the Bill McKay book series from the 1990s and the SG-1/Atlantis TV franchise. (ironically enough, the former was supposedly closer to the original film’s world-building than was the latter).

In Basic (terms and Star Wars’ English-like language), there you have it: different continuities, each created by fans based on their preferences.  It’s probably the only way to keep sane about these behind-the scene conflicts.