Primary Evidence: Canon
The STAR WARS films are the only primary reference.
With the exception of only a few minor points, they are indisputable.
This is not a merely personal opinion;
it is the explicit policy of the Continuity and Production Editors at
They are interviewed in STAR WARS Insider #23:
What's 'gospel' and what isn't?
'Gospel,' or canon as we refer to it, includes the screenplays, the films,
the radio dramas and the novelisations.
These works spin out of George Lucas' original stories, the rest are written by
However, between us, we've read everything, and much of it is taken into account
in the overall continuity.
The entire catalog of published works comprises a vast history —
with many off-shoots, variations and tangents
— like any other well-developed mythology.
Therefore the films and their adaptations are canon,
meaning that they take precedence in essentially all matters.
Any other form of unfilmed STAR WARS fiction may be
meaning that it is subordinate to canon and is required to be consistent with
other official works.
Issues relating to these secondary sources are described below.
Works which do not have the blessing of Lucasfilm Ltd
(which is not the same entity as LucasArts)
are unofficial and cannot be given consideration.
The above continuity policy has been reaffirmed very recently
in the introductory pages of the
STAR WARS Encyclopedia by Stephen J. Sansweet.
His terminology includes
absolute canon for canon,
and quasi-canon for the secondary and lower official material.
He avoids the use of the official non-canon term more commonly used by fans:
This may have something to do with the religious pejorative undertones
that some readers perceive.
However this site uses the more common terms for the sake of brevity.
The terms are well understood by
most online commentators on science fiction and fantasy literature,
and no religious connotations are intended.
Like all films, the STAR WARS movies contain errors of a
technical nature, which are unrelated to the spirit and substance of the
Bloopers emerge unexpectedly from the idiosyncracies of the film creation
From the viewpoint of the creators of the film they are unintentional and
Actually being in the film does not make them a truly "real" part of
Judgements about the internal reality of the STAR WARS
universe must correct for the bloopers.
ROTJ badge blooper:
A costuming error in Return of the Jedi meant that all Imperial
officers had exactly the same rank badge.
Moff Jerjerrod and Admiral Piett had the same badges as the most lowly
staff officer at the Endor ground facilities.
This does not mean that everyone in the film was at the rank of captain or
Due to the blooper, where ranks are concerned the Return of the Jedi novel, Galaxy Guide 5 and similar references must be
given more consideration than the film itself.
For further information read:
Imperial Military Insignia.
Secondary and Further Sources.
Where they do not conflict with the spirit or fact of the canon,
other sources are considered.
These sources themselves must be sorted according to an order of precedence.
First are the film novelisations and the radio dramas.
This material is acceptable where it adds to or simply reiterates what is known from the films.
Where they conflict with the films they are in error (except in cases where the film has an obvious blooper).
Otherwise the secondary source is in error, and cannot serve as a basis for judging the internal reality of the STAR WARS universe.
Such contradictory materials may be of little worth other than as entertainment.
According to STAR WARS Encyclopedia,
movie-based secondary sources are very close to canon status.
- Jerjerrod's last stand.
Following orders left by the Emperor, Moff Jerjerrod began rotating his
Death Star to destroy the sanctuary moon when the rebels managed to
eliminate the security deflector shield.
He remained bravely at his command station ready to fire the superlaser
while his troops and crew evacuated.
This scene is in the novel but for some reason it was cut from the film.
The film does not contradict it, and indeed the battle station is seen to
have rotated so that it almost points groundward by the time it explodes.
Thus this is an acceptable part of the greater continuity.
Next in precedence are most of those materials which are based in the time
period spanned by the films.
This includes the classic-era products from West End Games,
the Williamson Classic STAR WARS comics,
several of the republished Devilworlds comics,
STAR WARS Holiday Special,
the TIE Fighter computer games
and Shadows of the Empire.
- Length of Executor.
The books and journals published by West End Games mention
several ships of the same class as Lord Vader's Executor.
This is compatible with the films and therefore these vessels can be
regarded as part of the proper STAR WARS continuity.
However WEG incorrectly states the ships' length as a mere
This conflicts with the films, which clearly and consistently indicate a
length of about eleven miles.
Therefore the ships are accepted to exist, but they are much longer than
For further information read:
Super Star Destroyers and
History of the Five-Mile Fallacy.
- Quarren in Episode I.
An official publicity photograph for Episode I
on the streets of a Tatooine town,
and there have been television reports of
at least one other member of the species.
According to RPG sources,
the Quarren live on the same planet as the Mon Calamari,
and this world was not discovered until after the rise of the Empire.
There are several possibilities:
- Rejection of the story of recent discovery and enslavement by the Empire.
- Quarren achieved interstellar travel before the Mon Calamari,
and then those who were left on the homeworld
underwent a technological regression.
- Quarren are not native to Calamari, but are a lost colony from elsewhere.
- The individual on Tatooine may have been "abducted by aliens"
like traders or pirates roaming unexplored space,
and the planet has not had substantial contact with galactic civilisation.
Following these sources,
I rank the stories which are outside the time span of the
films but which are of sufficiently limited scope or are otherwise of a
nature which does not impinge upon the facts of the universe known in the
These sources include the Lando Calrissian Trilogy,
Han Solo Trilogy and the comic This Crumb for Hire.
Next in precedence are those works of fiction which are set outside the time
frame of the movies.
Tales of the Jedi comics and all post-Endor novels and comics
are included in this category.
The further they depart from the filmed STAR WARS era,
the more likely they are to contain inaccuracies of fact
or distortions of historical emphasis.
Next are those miscellaneous items which have serious or fundamental
Here I include Splinter of the Mind's Eye,
some of the North American Marvel comic series
and the Droids cartoons and comics.
In postings to STAR WARS newsgroups author Andy Mangels has
suggested that these stories should be regarded as garbled history, like
the delerious dreams of Luke Skywalker when he was in a bacta tank.
Some elements of these stories can be sanitised and brought into the fold of
respectable STAR WARS but many of the surrounding historical
details must be discarded or adjusted.
Droids cartoons and comics:
These supposedly are set in a time frame several years prior to
A New Hope.
However we know that R2-D2 and C-3PO were in the possession of the previous
generation of STAR WARS heroes (to be featured in the prequel
They almost certainly remained continually in the possession of the Skywalker
or Organa families between the two generations.
The idea that they were somehow lost after Episode III and then
reattached themselves to the same crowd of people just before
A New Hope strains credulity to breaking point.
There are four clear alternatives:
- The Droids stories are delusions, distortions or are
simply unconnected with the real continuity.
- These stories really depict events which took place before
- These stories really depict events which will take place after
- These stories deal with droids who are similar to but not identical to
the pair who feature in the movies.
According to the Marvel comics, a one-time romatic interest of
Luke Skywalker and apprentice to his father succeeded Lord Vader to become
Dark Lady of the Sith.
Although it is difficult to fit parts of the comic series into the modern
STAR WARS continuity, this character has been reintroduced
via a Topps card and in a SWRPG article of the
STAR WARS Galaxy Magazine.
The troublesome peripheral points of continuity surrounding her personal history
are left unmentioned, however.
Only reject existing material where absolutely necessary.
Story elements must have genuine continuity problems to justify discarding them;
material shan't be thrown away simply because many people hold it to be
repugnant or embarassing.
The STAR WARS Holiday Special is a prime example.
If a source is uncomfortable or incongruent at face value,
it is often possible to add background circumstances to alter
its significance and give a more realistic perspective.
Sources should be treated with a view towards unifying everything to give
a coherent and concise internal reality to the STAR WARS
Wherever phenomena can be explained in several different ways, the theory to be
favoured is that which requires the simplest and fewest postulates, and which
entails the least ad hoc changes in time.
Wherever possible, real physical principles must be applied for the assessment
Common phenomena in technological and natural features of STAR WARS
should have common causes.
The Imperial military rank badges of A New Hope and
The Empire Strikes Back have some dissimilar characteristics.
Some people would choose to ignore one set of badges or the other.
Others would glibly assume that the badge system underwent a change during
the three years between the films.
My approach is to attempt to develop a simple mathematical system which
attaches meaning to all of the badges at once, preserving the order of the
officers' ranks and bringing everything under one grand unified scheme.
For further information see
Imperial Military Insignia.
STAR WARS Holiday Special:
Most of those people who are fortunate (unfortunate?) enough to own
videotapes of this 1978 television show wince at their recollection of it.
It is generally regarded as insufferably corny.
Nevertheless one of the most deeply embarassing aspects of the story,
Chewbacca's purile son Lumpy, has been referenced in the modern
STAR WARS novel Before the Storm.
Perhaps some of the events of the television show are delusional memories of
the child Wookiee himself, but it seems clear that Chewbacca's family has
become at least as real as the post-Return of the Jedi novels.
Try as we might, it really is not possible to find anything in the
STAR WARS Holiday Special which conflicts with primary references.
Aspects of the show which are less offensive than the Wookiees, like
the cartoon encounter between Skywalker and Fett or the discussion between
Vader and Bast, are more readily acceptable into the greater
STAR WARS continuity.
For further information read:
Death Star Survivors.
The only known, debatable contradiction
between the Holiday Special and other official non-canon literature
concerns Chewbacca's diligent attendence of
Life Day celebrations,
versus his multi-year absence from his homeworld in A.C.Crispin's
Han Solo novels.
This is not really a contradiction though,
because Life Day need not be an annual event:
for all we know, it could be a once-per-decade event.
The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook created a rebel politician
from the Corellian system.
Corellian characters with this name appear as important New Republic senators
in several post-Endor novels, in The Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy
and in the X-Wing Rogue Squadron series.
Unfortunately Beruss appears as a woman in the earlier story and a man in the
I brought this discrepency to the authors' attentions.
Subsequently, additional corrective background
was created for the male character,
making him a human Imperial senator from Illodia.
In X-Wing Rogue Squadron: In the Empire's Serivce
the Corellian female was explained
as belonging to a branch of the Illodian family
which migrated to Corellian space.
She seems to be an aunt of the younger male Doman Beruss.