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Continuity Snarl / Star Wars

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The Star Wars saga caused several snarls, with some caused due to conflicting Expanded Universe material, and some due to the series' jump from the original trilogy to the prequels:

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    The Movies 
  • Obi-Wan has several statements in the OT that turn out to be Half-Truth at best (which does fit in with his character; he is one of the most prominent examples of Half-Truth). He claimed he didn't own a droid in A New Hope, but did during the prequels (though apparently it was the Jedi Order's droid, not his personal droid). He apparently didn't know that Leia was Luke's sister at first, despite being present when they were both born and named. He never specifically stated that Yoda was his mentor, but it was certainly the implication in The Empire Strikes Back (before it's revealed that it was Qui-Gon Jinn, then subsequently patched up by showing Yoda trained young Jedi before they grow up and get another mentor as a Padawan). It is lampshaded in the Episode VI, when Luke asks to Obi-wan why he didn't tell the truth about his father having become Darth Vader instead of the story he was killed by him. The old Jedi explains that the one that Anakin used to be died metaphorically once he joined the dark side, so what he said was true, from a certain point of view.
  • Leia claimed to have remembered her mother in Return of the Jedi, but Padmé died in childbirth in Revenge of the Sith. Possibly explainable if she was thinking about her adopted mother Breha Organa, although Luke does specify "your real mother" when he asks, which implies Leia had a first adoptive mother or a nanny before Breha that she mistook for her true late mother. The novelization of Revenge of the Sith lampshades/handwaves this. When the twins are born, Luke is described as having his eyes shut tightly while Leia's are open as if trying to take in everything. Presumably, the Force then allows Leia to remember Padmé even though newborns don't have a working long-term memory. It's later addressed in Marvel's Princess Leia series, where she has a Force vision of Padmé while visiting Naboo, realizing at once that the former queen is her mother.
  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader does not seem to recognize C-3PO, despite creating him in The Phantom Menace (and remarking in said film that he's incredibly unique). The Expanded Universe attempted to rectify this in a (non-canon) story called "Thank The Maker", where Vader reminisces about his mother and 3PO when he's at Cloud City. Of course, at a glance he looks like every other member of a fairly ubiquitous model line.
  • Revenge of the Sith reveals that it took roughly 20 years to build the Death Star (from the time Luke and Leia are born, a rough frame of the structure is being built) without anyone realizing it. In Return of the Jedi, the Death Star II only takes 3-4 years to be fully functional and mostly-built. The aptly-named novel Death Star tries to address this, going over numerous problems that came up over the course of its construction (including at least one instance of the superlaser having to be stripped out and redesigned). Death Star II, despite being somewhere between 2 and 20 times larger than Death Star I (depending on the source), could be built much more quickly because by that point the Empire actually knew how to build a Death Star. Gets a possibly unintended lampshade when an Imperial officer complains about the speed at which he's expected to finish the project. Making it worse is that in the original Expanded Universe (written before the prequels) there was a prototype built in the secret Maw Installation (having nothing to do with the Geonosians) before work on Death Star I ever started. It's later established in Rogue One that Galen Erso deliberately dragged out the process for as long as he could, and included that infamous exhaust port in the design.
  • Obi-Wan and Yoda supposedly left Luke on Tatooine with the purpose of training him later. When that day came, Yoda acted surprised and even argued with Obi-Wan as to whether or not Luke should be trained. While in the prequels, Yoda is explicitly shown teaching young children (and therefore may simply have assumed the plan had changed since Luke wasn't brought to him, say, ten years ago and feel that Luke is now too old to begin training), which suggests that he's upset because Obi-Wan (who was literally watching over Luke his entire life) didn't train him as he was expected to.
  • Within the original trilogy, Luke and Leia are set up as possible love interests (to the point that a deleted scene shows them about to kiss), only to be revealed as siblings later on. Neither of them has the slightest idea that they are, even though Luke's Force perception should have tipped him off at some point. The problem was that Han Solo clearly has a romantic interest in Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, and the last thing old-school George Lucas wanted was to end the trilogy with a messy love triangle.
  • Obi-Wan, and Anakin after he removes the Vader mask in ROTJ, are played by actors in their 60s and 70s, respectively, suggesting they would have been in their 40s and 50s when Luke and Leia were born. Instead, they were shown to be in their 20s and 30s. Possibly justified: With Vader, he was terribly scarred and had to resort to Bacta Tank baths in order to heal his burned skin, thus making him seem older then he looks. In the case of Obi-Wan, him being Younger Than He Looks could be explained as due to living alone on a Tatooine for 20 years as well as the stress of everything he has endured throughout his life taking its toll on him physically.
    • Obi-Wan was roughly as old as Alec Guinness as of Episode IV, though: He was born in 57 BBY according to canon, which makes him only 5 years younger than his actor. The confusion presumably comes from Ewan McGregor being 30 years younger at the time of III than Alec Guinness was at the time of IV, i.e. him being 5 years younger than "his" version of Obi-Wan.
  • Tracking ships through hyperspace being treated as almost inconceivable, and certainly not something to expect, in The Last Jedi. It was shown that a small homing beacon was more than sufficient to accomplish this in Episodes II and IV. Beyond that, Episode VII showed Han somehow being tracked down by the Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub despite having deviated from his original course when he in turn had detected the Falcon. Plus, the entire reason that the First Order suddenly knew to target the Resistance base on D'Qar was because they had tracked Snap Wexley's X-wing back there after he flew a surveillance flight around Starkiller Base.

    The EU 
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • Largely zigzagged: This trope is mostly averted in regards to the canon, as not only did the Legends decision render all previous Expanded Universe material outside The Clone Wars and the six theatrical Star Wars films non-canon and thus leaving it with very little to contradict, almost every work in the canon has consistently worked with elements that were introduced. However, The Clone Wars is part of both canon and Legends due to the series running before the decision. Regardless, The Clone Wars is notorious for contradicting a lot of previously written material from the latter continuity and, in some cases, retconning it due to being in the second-highest tier of the Legends continuity (which at the time, was created for installments produced by Lucasfilm, since none of the other planned series got off the ground, The Clone Wars was the only work designated under this tier). Had The Clone Wars continued under the same tiered-canon system, many more snarls would have occurred (season seven and the other mediums are solely confined to canon).
    • The biggest was probably Wulff Yularen, a character who briefly appeared in the first movie as an Imperial Security Bureau colonel. The animators mistook him for a high-ranking Navy officer and made him an admiral during the Clone Wars. This led to an escalating series of retcons, as each attempt to reconcile his background created a new plothole somewhere else.
  • Ahsoka: When Ahsoka recalls her and Rex Faking the Dead, she mentions that dead clones are indistinguishable from each other. However, The Clone Wars episode "Missing in Action" establishes that all clones have an identifying barcode tattooed on their forearm, scannable by any astromech droid. While it's possible that Ahsoka didn't know about this, the odds of Rex not knowing about it are extremely slim, and it's stated that he worked on his fake burial with Ahsoka. Also, when Rex was captured by the Empire in the Rebels episode "Stealth Strike" (which aired roughly a year before Ahsoka came out), Admiral Titus makes no mention of Rex being presumed dead by the Empire. This could imply that the fake burial didn't work, but there's no definitive answer.
  • Kanan: Early in the comic, Caleb Dume is given a holocron by his master, Depa Billaba, shortly before Order 66. The indication is that this is the same holocron that Caleb/Kanan is shown to have in Rebels, 14 years later. However, in Kanan's first appearance in A New Dawn, set in 11 BBY, six years before the beginning of Rebels, it's stated that his lightsaber is the only thing he still owns that could reveal that he's a Jedi. The idea that he abandoned the holocron somewhere, then came back for it, is rather implausible to say the least.
  • Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith: Palpatine questions Vader if he knows how Sith create their red lightsaber crystals, and Vader responds that he only knows that the method is called "bleeding the crystal", but it wasn't discussed by the Jedi. However, in Ahsoka, published before this comic started, Ahsoka, Anakin/Vader's former apprentice, not only knows what bleeding is well enough to explain it to Bail Organa, she knows how to purify corrupted kyber crystals. It's rather strange that Vader's ex-apprentice is privy to Jedi secrets that he isn't.
  • Queen's Shadow: Although the revelation that one term of office for a monarch of Naboo is two years clears things up regarding the various queens in Attack of the Clones, The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith, it starts another mess: King Veruna, Padmé's predecessor on the throne, is said to have reigned for 13 years. Now, in Legends it was said that Veruna was massively corrupt and the rules were changed as a result, and he's indicated to be corrupt in canon as well, but there's also the fact that Réillata is 23 when re-elected as queen, and her first term is said to have happened when Padmé was a child: doing the math, that means she was either first elected at the age of 4, which is young even by Naboo's standards, or someone done screwed up (though it's also possible that Veruna's terms weren't consecutive; he may have been king both before and after Réillata).
  • Master and Apprentice, released the month after Queen's Shadow, then goes and adds even more confusion by mentioning that at the time the book is set, 7 years before The Phantom Menace, Naboo is ruled by another teenage Queen. All that can be implied by this is that, in all likelihood, Veruna is no longer Padmé's immediate predecessor on the throne, as that's the only thing that makes any sense anymore.

Star Wars Legends was infamous for its continuity snarls and errors, to the point that it could have its own page. Among the more notable:
  • Anyone who listens to the Star Wars Radio Dramas can't help but notice that Han shoots first and does not meet Jabba on Tatooine. These were two of the more infamous changes made by Lucas when he Re-Cut the 1977 film for re-release.
  • One of the biggest snarls was "who stole the Death Star plans?" This was due to the fact that it was such a pivotal and easy story to cover (there's a reason Rogue One exists) that something like six or seven different stories were about the theft of the plans. Eventually, it was declared that pretty much everyone involved found bits and pieces of the plans, and the data R2 carried was basically all the assembled schematics that people had managed to scrape together. One official article jokingly noted "if you had to throw a dinner party and invite everyone who had ever stolen the Death Star plans, you'd be surprised at how many place settings you'd have to worry about."
  • One of the simpler examples of this snarling; if you take the Original Trilogy and the EU as a whole, then it seems like Boba Fett manages to fall into the Sarlacc no less than three times: both the novel Tales of the Bounty Hunters and the comic "Boba Fett and the Jawas of Doom" start with Boba escaping from the Sarlacc's guts, but with completely different results. In the former, Boba is found and nursed back to health by Dengar,note  while in the latter, he is found and temporarily enslaved by Jawas, only to end up plunging back into the Sarlacc's mouth again at the comic's end.
  • Tales of the Bounty Hunters: 4-LOM the Jedi droid subverts this because he only fantasizes about being a Jedi. The Bounty Hunter Wars reveals he later suffered partial memory loss due to battle damage, pushing the Reset Button on his Character Development. However, some other examples still count. Fett, for instance, disbelieves in the Force, though other material have him well aware that it's real (he experiences its effects himself). It also seems hard to believe he could be around Darth Vader that often without him demonstrating it (probably on some underling). His tale also says spice was illegal, while other books say it's just highly restricted (thus the smuggling of it). Fett is also stated to be a member of the Bounty Hunters Guild here, while other depictions are insistent that he's firmly independent. Indeed, The Bounty Hunter Wars has its plot start on him having to be bribed into joining as part of a scheme against them. Han also reflects about his dead parents, wondering if they'd be proud of him. In The Han Solo Trilogy it's established he's unable to remember who they were. Fett's entire backstory was later retconned, including being virginal of course.
  • The Courtship of Princess Leia is set a year prior to The Thrawn Trilogy, but implies the Empire has broken up into many independent warlords ruling fiefdoms in the galaxy. The Thrawn Trilogy meanwhile said nothing of the kind, having it that the Empire had simply shrunken in size over the five years after Palpatine's death at Endor. This was harmonized later by saying both were true — a number of warlords broke off to form their own fiefdoms, while the Empire proper also remained, and their holdings were then reintegrated after Daala had the last warlords gassed at a meeting, then Pellaeon took power.


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