I think most Star Wars fans have their own personal hierarchy of canon.
For example, to me, the highest order of canon is the original trilogy of feature films. The quality may fluctuate slightly, but it’s a great cast, the stories hang together, and, since they were all out on home video before I was born, I watched all of them for the first time when I was four. I have mainlined those movies ever since. I watch them at least once a year, usually more, and they are interwoven in my DNA. They have informed my conception of filmmaking, story, humor, music, heroism, and, if we’re being honest, a little bit of my sexuality (Princess Leia has to be among the first women for whom I had feelings, and my marriage to a tough, no-nonsense lady probably owes a little to her cinematic influence).
What I’m saying is that they’re important films to me, and they are what I think of when I think of Star Wars.
On my second tier of canon are the prequels. The worst movies that I’ve seen the most, the prequels are an endless source of fascination to me, rife as they are with cringe-worthy moments, faint glimmers of potential and a sense that George Lucas had lost his way. Technically, they are on equal footing with the original movies as far as canon is concerned, but I don’t want to imagine Darth Vader, such a formidable presence in my youth, as a whiny teen, and so I won’t.
If the prequels are Star Wars fan fiction written by George Lucas, then I’ve often viewed the other movies, books, video games and TV shows set in the Star Wars universe as just plain old fan fiction that you can purchase instead of reading for free online. That’s not to say none of it is good – I played a fair amount of Star Wars video games when I was a kid, and I read the Thrawn trilogy with relish – it’s just that in the past, I’ve picked and chosen from the vast annals of canonical works that which I’ve wanted to consume and ignored the rest. There were Skywalkers and TIE fighters and wars in the stars, but it wasn’t capital-S Star capital-W Wars. I didn’t worry about it all fitting together, because it didn’t need to.
This blog will take a different approach: what if we considered each Star Wars story on its own merits and as part of a greater whole? What are the really good stories out there, and what can be skipped without regret?
Over the next several weeks, three other writers and I will be watching and writing about every officially-released filmed story set in the Star Wars universe, chronologically in the timeline of the universe. Each movie gets an entry, and each season/volume of TV show gets an entry. Along the way, you’ll also be reading reflections from us (and perhaps some guest writers) about the franchise as a whole, individual aspects that we love or hate, and any other tidbits we choose to include. Star Wars is a subject that can inspire a lot of discussion, and we encourage you to join the conversation in the comments or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a good feeling about this.