report

Contradictions in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU)/Legends

Hallmarks of the EU; the Skywalkers and the Yuuzhan Vong invasion
Hallmarks of the EU; the Skywalkers and the Yuuzhan Vong invasion

Cutting Ties with the Past for a Better Future

The announcement on April 25, 2014 by Lucasfilm was something that faithful Star Wars fan feared would emerge sooner or later ever since Disney purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012. And the fans unfortunately didn’t have to wait long for their fear to be confirmed. In anticipation of the new entry in Star Wars cinematic universe, ‘Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens’, Lucasfilm made the decision not to rely on the Expanded Universe (EU) as a source material for future Star Wars projects. According to the official statement by Lucasfilm on StarWars.com on the same day, "In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe."

Any loyal fans of the franchise can immediately read the writing on the wall; the EU will no longer be considered canon. As such, 35 years’ worth of the EU materials in the form of novels, comic books, games, TV series, toys and spin-off films will no longer have any bearing on upcoming Star Wars story line. As an alternative, all the past tales in the EU will be printed under the ‘Legends’ banner. Although considered non-canon, tales under ‘Legends’ banner are still licensed properties of Lucasfilm and can be considered as an alternate universe in Disney-approved Star Wars story line.

Today, the definition of EU/Legends applies to any Star Wars properties and tales that falls outside the 7 featured films (from ‘Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) until the 2015 installment, ‘Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens’ ), ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ animated television series (2008) and the latest project of Lucasfilm Animation, ‘Star Wars Rebels’ (2014). Furthermore, any Star Wars EU material that existed prior to the announcement by Lucasfilm on April 25, 2014 automatically falls under the ‘Legends’ banner.

Since that fateful announcement, Disney had already launch several projects that will define the new canonicity of the Star Wars story line. TV viewers are given a new perspective on the rise of the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance in ‘Star Wars Rebels’ animated series. Fan base of Star Wars novel are treated with various exciting new titles such as ‘Dark Disciple’, ‘Heir to the Jedi’, ‘Lords of the Sith’, ‘Tarkin’ and ‘Aftermath’. Cinema-goers worldwide and film critics gave mixed reaction (although majority of feedback were positive) to ‘Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens’ which was released in December 2015. Another stand-alone film, the first of its kind in Star Wars franchise, will roll into cinemas in December 2016 under the title ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’.

Cover art for various Disney-sanctioned Star Wars novels
Cover art for various Disney-sanctioned Star Wars novels

Official Teaser Trailer for 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

Factors behind Contradictions in the EU/Legends Narratives

The chief reason given by Lucasfilm in re-branding the EU into ‘Legends’ was to grant unlimited creative freedom to the filmmakers and authors of Star Wars projects in driving the story line forward in accordance with the new established canon. Another excellent reason in doing so was to push the reset button of the EU. It is an open secret in the Star Wars fandom that the fabric of the EU was not without its wrinkles. Contradictions between the EU tales were detectable all around, if one managed to carefully thread the multiple branches of the narratives in the EU and pay close attention to the details. Where else in the featured film from Episode I until Episode VII were organized numerically and chronologically, the EU was published out of chronological sequence. Despite the best efforts of Lucas Licensing, both minor and major contradictions still showed up in the EU from time to time.

As powerful as a key figure in Lucasfilm before the Disney acquisition, George Lucas did not actually play an active role in the evolution of the EU. Nor he was the top figure who was accountable for the grand design of the EU. Instead, Lucas delegated this assignment of maintaining continuity in the various EU projects and his featured films to a specialized team of ‘continuity gatekeepers’ in Lucasfilm. In his thinking, George considered the 6 featured films and the 2008 animated series ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ that he was directly involved in to be the ultimate canon in Star Wars universe. This was what Lucas had to say regarding this subject matter:

I don't read that stuff. I haven't read any of the novels. I don't know anything about that world. That's a different world than my world. But I do try to keep it consistent. The way I do it now is they have a Star Wars Encyclopedia. So if I come up with a name or something else, I look it up and see if it has already been used. When I said other people could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided that, like Star Trek, we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one.

— George Lucas

Another factor that led to contradictions in the EU was Lucas’s prioritization. According to him, if there is any contradiction between the canon in the featured films and the EU source, that particular point in the EU source will be considered invalid, although the rest of the source is still part of the continuity. What was the downside to this approach? The internal continuity between the EU projects was compromised as they were not as prioritized as the featured films. No matter how much Lucas tried to devote his time in working with other authors, writers and artists in the evolution of EU, there was always some minor details that risked to be overlooked. This is quite a norm when a lot of people are involved in working towards a common goal, where different decision makers may have different ideas and approach in getting things done. And those overlooked details, one way or another, ended up in the final products that conveyed the EU tales.

List of 15 Contradictions between EU/Legends Narratives

The following list spells out 15 inconsistencies that exist between various EU/Legends narratives. Contradictions between the EU/Legends sources and the canon material (all 7 featured films, 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' series and 'Star Wars Rebels' series) are not highlighted here. The reason being; the rule of thumb is that if anything in the Star Wars canon conflicts with the EU/Legends material, the EU/Legends material is automatically relegated to non-canon status.

Source; Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
Source; Jedi vs Sith
Format: Novel
Format: Comic Book
Publisher: Del Rey
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Year: 2006
Year: 2001
Author: Drew Karpyshyn
Writer: Darko Macan

Contradiction:

  1. In 'Darth Bane: Path of Destruction', Githany is one of the victims of the thought bomb. Her death takes place immediately after the detonation. In 'Jedi vs. Sith', Githany live long enough after the detonation to have one last conversation with Bane before she dies from the thought bomb's effect.

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Source; Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Darth Bane: Rule of Two
Source; Bane of the Sith
Format : Novel
Format: Short story in 'Star Wars Gamer #3'
Publisher: Del Rey
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Year: 2006 - 2007
Year: 2001
Author: Drew Karpyshyn
Author: Kevin J. Anderson

Contradictions:

  1. The thought bomb that annihilates all the Jedi and Sith on Ruusan is the result of Bane's scheme in 'Darth Bane: Path of Destruction'. In 'Bane of the Sith', Bane insisted Lord Kaan to avoid using the thought bomb.
  2. After adopting the title of 'Darth', Darth Bane has an apprentice in Darth Zannah. Darth Zannah plays a key role in both 'Darth Bane: Path of Destruction' and 'Darth Bane: Rule of Two'. In 'Bane of the Sith', Darth Zannah is not mentioned whatsoever.

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Source; Jedi Trial
Source; Star Wars: Clone Wars, Season 3, Chapter 21
Format: Novel
Format: Animated TV microseries
Publisher: Del Rey
Network: Cartoon Network
Year: 2004
Year: 2005
Author: David Sherman, Dan Cragg
Director: Gendy Tartakovsky

Contradiction

  1. In the animated TV microseries, Anakin Skywalker's ascension to Jedi Knight takes place during the early days of the Clone Wars. The shortage of Jedi Knights necessitates this action, even though Jedi Master Oppo Ranciscis raised objection to the Knighthood of Skywalker. In 'Jedi Trial', Skywalker is only promoted to Jedi Knight towards the end of the Clone Wars, around 6 months before the end of the conflict.

A rare instance in Star Wars EU history, where Knighting ceremony is presented visually
A rare instance in Star Wars EU history, where Knighting ceremony is presented visually

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Source; Star Wars: Clone Wars, Season 1, Chapter 3
Source; Star Wars: Clone Wars, Season 1, Chapter 9
Format: Animated TV microseries
Format: Animated TV microseries
Network: Cartoon Network
Network: Cartoon Network
Year: 2004
Year: 2004
Director: Gendy Tartakovsky
Director: Gendy Tartakovsky

Contradiction

  1. The rank of ARC Trooper Captain Fordo changes in the course of the series. In Chapter 3, he is a sergeant, but in Chapter 9 he is a commander. Additionally, he is referred back to his original rank of captain in Season 2, Chapter 20.

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Source; Boba Fett #5, A New Threat
Source; Jedi Trial
Format: Juvenile Novel
Format: Novel
Publisher: Scholastic
Publisher: Del Rey
Year: 2004
Year: 2004
Author: Elizabeth Hand
Author: David Sherman, Dan Cragg

Contradiction:

  1. Anakin Skywalker is still a Padawan in the juvenile novel. This contradicts the fact that events in the juvenile novel takes place after events in 'Jedi Trial', where Skywalker is promoted to Jedi Knight.

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Source; Boba Fett #6: Pursuit
Source; Boba Fett #1: The Fight to Survive
Format: Juvenile novel
Format: Juvenile Novel
Publisher: Scholastic
Publisher: Scholastic
Year: 2004
Year: 2002
Author: Elizabeth Hand
Author: Terry Bisson

Contradiction:

  1. It is claimed in "Boba Fett #6: Pursuit' that Boba Fett has never been to Coruscant. However, 'Boba Fett #1: The Fight to Survive' clearly chronicled the incident where Fett is captured by Aurra Sing on Coruscant.

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Source; Labyrinth of Evil
Source; Republic Commando: Order 66
Format: Novel
Format: Novel
Publisher: Del Rey
Publisher: Del Rey
Year: 2005
Year: 2008
Author: James Luceno
Author: Karen Traviss
Battle of Coruscant rages on in space above Coruscant
Battle of Coruscant rages on in space above Coruscant

Contradiction:

  1. The Battle of Coruscant in 'Republic Commando: Order 66' spans several days, but it occurs in the course of a single day in 'Labyrinth of Evil'.

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Source; Labyrinth of Evil
Source; Star Wars: Clone Wars
Format: Novel
Format: Animated TV microseries
Year: 2005
Year: 2005
Publisher: Del Rey
Network: Cartoon Network
Author: James Luceno
Director: Gendy Tartakovsky

Contradictions:

  1. In the novel, Mace Windu fights on a maglev train against General Grievous. In the series, Mace fights droids alongside Yoda.
  2. In the novel, several different Jedi attempt to rescue the Supreme Chancellor. In the series, a trio of Jedi Masters made up of Shaak Ti, Roron Corrob and Foul Moudama attempt to rescue him.

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Source; Interlude at Darkknell
Source; The Force Unleashed
Format: Short story in 'Tales from the New Republic'
Format: 1.Video game, 2. Novel
Year: 1999
Year: 2008
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Publisher: 1.LucasArts, 2. Del Rey
Authors: Timothy Zahn, Michael A. Stackpole
Author: Sean Williams

Contradiction:

  1. In 'The Force Unleashed', Garm Bel Iblis, along with Mon Mothma and Bail Organa attended and signed the Corellian Treaty at Corellia that marks the formal birth of the Alliance to Restore the Republic. However, they are ambushed by the Imperial forces under the command of Darth Vader and taken captive aboard the nearly completed first Death Star. In 'Interlude at Darkknell', the Rebel Alliance is already active, but it is pictured in the novel that Garm Bel Iblis knows very little about the existence of the Death Star.

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Source; X-Wing
Source; Dark Forces
Format: Video game
Format: Video game
Year: 1993
Year: 1995
Publisher: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
Author: -
Author: -

Contradiction:

  1. The Rebellion agent tasked with stealing the plans to Death Star is inconsistent in these two video games. It is Kyle Katarn in 'Dark Forces', while in 'X-Wing', the person in charge of the heist is Keyan Farlander.

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Source; Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi
Source; Goatgrass: The Tale of Ree-Yees
Format: Role playing game supplement
Format: Short story in 'Tales from the Jabba Palace'
Year: 1995
Year: 1996
Publisher: West End Games
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Author: Michael Stern, George Strayton
Author: Deborah Wheeler

Contradiction:

  1. The role playing game supplement that provides Ree-Yees's basic backstory as a murderer suggests that he survived Jabba's sail barge explosion in 'Return of the Jedi', but the short story seems to suggests that Ree-Yees perished in the blast.

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Source; Dark Forces: Jedi Knight
Source; Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
Format: Illustrated novella
Format: Novel
Year: 1998
Year: 2006
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics, Boulevard
Publisher: Del Rey
Author: Dave Dorman
Author: Drew Karpyshyn

Contradictions:

  1. In 'Dark Forces: Jedi Knight', the final moments of the thought bomb that wipes out both Jedi and Sith is different from the accounts of the event as told in 'Darth Bane: Path of Destruction'. Notably, the thought bomb is envisioned by Kyle Katarn to be detonated in an open valley, as opposed to in a cave according to Drew's novel.
  2. The thought bomb is created by Lord Kaan before the arrival of the Jedi in the vision of Kyle Katarn. In Drew's novel, the thought bomb is simultaneously created and detonated at the arrival of the Jedi in the cave.

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Source; Rebel Dawn
Source; A Forest Apart: A Chewbacca Adventure
Format: Novel
Format: Ebook novella
Year: 1998
Year: 2003
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Publisher: Del Rey
Author: A.C. Crispin
Author: Troy Denning

Contradiction:

  1. Though Lumpawarrump is said to be eleven years old in 'A Forest Apart: A Chewbacca Adventure', 'Rebel Dawn' specifies he was born in 1BBY, meaning he should be about eight or nine years old instead.

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Source; The Last One Standing: The Tale of Boba Fett
Source; Jango Fett: Open Seasons
Format: Short story in 'Tales of the Bounty Hunters'
Format: Comic book series
Year: 1996
Year: 2002
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Author: Daniel Keyes Moran
Author: Haden Blackman

Contradiction:

  1. Jaster Mereel is identified as the leader of True Mandalorians and he is the mentor of Boba Fett's father, Jango Fett in the comic book series. However, the name Jaster Mereel is revealed to be the real name of Boba Fett in the novel.

Jaster Mereel reunited with the young Jango Fett after a skirmish against the Deathwatch
Jaster Mereel reunited with the young Jango Fett after a skirmish against the Deathwatch

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Source; Star Wars 68: The Search Begins
Source; Dark Empire II #2
Format: Comic book
Format: Comic book
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Year: 1983
Year: 1995
Author: David Michelinie
Author: Tom Veitch

Contradiction

  1. Boba Fett is revealed as one of the 212 Mandalorian Supercommandos from the Clone Wars in 'Star Wars #68: The Search Begins'. In 'Dark Empire II #2', Boba Fett is a former Imperial stormtrooper who murdered his superior officer

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Legacy of EU/Legends in the Future of Star Wars

While fans of Star Wars will see the franchise charting into new territories, elements from the EU/Legends are not totally discarded. Creators of the new Star Wars universe will have full access to the vast content of the EU/Legends. Fans will continue to see parts of the EU/Legends being revived in future Star Wars projects. For example, the planet Malachor from 'Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic' made an appearance in the second season finale of 'Star Wars Rebels'. In Kylo Ren, fans can see the veiled connection between him and Darth Caedus. EU/Legends materials will continue to see the light of the day to keep up with the demand from fans who are eager to delve into the rich history of Star Wars universe.

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1 comment

Randver 7 weeks ago

Most of those "contradictions" were already explained. They don't really contradict the lore anyway.

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