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Discontinuity / Star Wars

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Being a long-running franchise that has undergone some drastic changes over the decades, there are bound to be fans who disagree over what is and isn't canon.

  • In general, concerning the mainline films, the earlier the better. Some fans disown the prequel trilogy, disown the sequel trilogy, disown them both, or disown everything other than A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, essentially disregarding anything that happened in the franchise since 1980. Of those films:
    • Many fans disregard the entire prequel trilogy for rearranging some of the original movies. They particularly hate things like midichlorians, and they point out that many of the things depicted in the prequels contradict what had already been established (for instance, Anakin's descent into The Dark Side is so obvious and drawn-out that it's unlikely that Obi-Wan in A New Hope would ever remember him as fondly as he does). Fan Fic writers also tend to disregard the prequels' depiction of a strict prohibition on Jedi having relationships (even though George Lucas clarified that this didn't mean they Can't Have Sex, Ever) so that they could make every Slash Fic they want.
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    • A few fans disregard only The Phantom Menace. They're followers of the "Machete Order", in which they watch Episodes IV, V, II, III, and VI, in that order. The argument is that this order is the most effective way to see Anakin/Vader's character arc — once you get the revelation that he's Luke's father, then you can see how he fell to The Dark Side, followed by his redemption. The Phantom Menace doesn't actually add anything to that character arc and can thus be disregarded. This actually makes the other two prequels make a little bit more sense as well.
    • Some fans disregard the entire sequel trilogy but not the prequel trilogy. They argue that for all the technical flaws of the prequel trilogy, it at least fits into the original trilogy and leads up to A New Hope, whereas the sequel trilogy at least partly undoes the resolution of the original trilogy and shouldn't be considered canon at all. Some of them adopt a sort of contrarian "the prequels weren't that bad" attitude to justify their dislike of the sequel trilogy; the aforementioned prequel haters generally accuse them of historical revisionism in that regard.
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    • Some fans accept The Force Awakens but disregard The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, both of which they consider Sequelitis. These fans liked the new characters introduced in The Force Awakens but didn't like the subsequent films' directions. As with many of these things, part of it is the Ship-to-Ship Combat; they would have preferred Rey and Finn to have ended up together. The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker also remain difficult to reconcile; it's entirely possible to accept one and not the other, given how they seem to affect each other so little, and neither of them mesh well with The Force Awakens either. The Last Jedi's particular fondness for internal Deconstruction and every Plot Twist was so poorly received in some circles that an online petition right after its release called for it to be declared officially non-canon.
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    • Fans who disregard only The Rise of Skywalker generally considered it an Ass Pull to make Palpatine the villain, as his survival of the destruction of the Second Death Star in Return of the Jedi negated the happy ending of the original trilogy, in particular Anakin's Heroic Sacrifice. They consider The Last Jedi to be the "true" finale of the saga.
    • Fans who disregard Return of the Jedi generally have two reasons to do so: either they hate the Ewoks that much, or they don't like the revelation that Luke and Leia are siblings. The latter includes a subgroup who ship Luke and Leia and aren't into Twincest. Even some of the people involved with Star Wars hated the Ewoks, like C-3PO's actor Anthony Daniels. A few fans will accept only the first act of Jedi, where Han is rescued from Jabba's palace, whereas everything after that is thrown out of the canon.
  • Many fans only accept certain versions of the films. In particular, there's a divide between fans who accept the Special Editions and those who don't. Perhaps the biggest point of contention is whether "Han shot first"(read: Han shot only), of which there are three variants: the original where Han just shoots Greedo, the modified version where Greedo shoots first and misses and Han shoots him back, and the third version where Han and Greedo shoot nearly simultaneously. Most hardcore fans will suggest that the only definitive version has Han shoot first. This view is so widespread that George Lucas even once wore a T-shirt on set reading "Han shot first", although given that he was responsible for all three versions this could go either way. The official Disney+ movie uses the third version with the twist of Greedo saying "Maclunkey" without subtitles for a few frames before the shots.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe is its own mess. For the longest time, there was a strong divide between fans who accepted it as canon and fans who did not. Then, after the Disney acquisition and release of the sequel trilogy, the existing EU was considered Canon Discontinuity — meaning that one cannot accept both the sequels and the EU as canon, which further divides the base as to which one to accept. Many fans accept the EU as canon but not the sequels. Within that, of course, some fans accept only certain parts of the EU as canon, like Star Wars Legends or Star Wars: Legacy.
    • Some fans accept The Clone Wars as canon, but not the prequel films; they consider The Clone Wars to supersede them. Others consider the entire EU canon except The Clone Wars because it contradicts the rest of the EU to the extent that it was not considered Canon Discontinuity by the Disney acquisition (and indeed was one of the first things produced in the Disney era). Indeed, many fans who disregard the sequel trilogy because of the EU tend to disregard The Clone Wars as well. In particular, The Clone Wars contradicts the pre-existing and similarly named Star Wars: Clone Wars, which it was meant to supersede; some fans mix and match between the two, preferring the older series' portrayal of General Grievousnote  and its buildup to Anakin and Obi-Wan's role in Revenge of the Sith (and also Anakin's use of his skeletal golden arm from Attack of the Clones; fans consider these things important), while preferring the new series' portrayal of Ahsoka Tano and the general character interaction. The most accepted "canon" is the old series up until Anakin gets his facial scar, then the new series up until Anakin and Ahsoka's goodbye in Season 7, then a mix of the two depending on the characters (old series for Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Grievous, new series for Ahsoka).
    • Some fans accept the older EU but are willing to fit in certain Disney-era works — generally not the sequel trilogy, but they can work with The Mandalorian or in some cases Rogue One. It helps that both take place before the original trilogy and are forced to fit more closely into the canon (and critically better received), so they're easier to work into the EU canon as Broad Strokes.
    • Fans of the Knights of the Old Republic games tend to give them canon primacy. While they generally accept Disney canon over EU canon, they'll happily throw out Disney canon if it contradicts the games.
    • Fans of Dark Forces Saga give it priority over the later Rogue One, which contradicts how the Death Star plans were stolen.
    • Certain bits of Legends continuity are considered more "canon" than others. Fans who like Anakin Solo will disregard the character's death in the New Jedi Order series. Other fans disregard the All There in the Manual deaths of Ki-Adi Mundi's family. Fans of the Star Wars: Republic series, meanwhile, will accept the Disney canon except for that which contradicts the comics (such as Dark Disciple). Fans of Aayla Secura will disregard her anticlimactic death in Revenge of the Sith even as they accept the rest of the film. And The Last Jedi (not to be confused with the sequel film of the same name) is a particularly divisive work, as it fits closer with The Clone Wars and the new Disney canon than with the existing EU (and also kills off fan-favourite Laranth in a particularly unsatisfying way).
  • The Star Wars Holiday Special is almost universally considered non-canon. George Lucas himself disowned it and once famously said he would personally destroy every copy of it if he could. However, officially it was always considered canon in Broad Strokes and only became non-canon once Disney jettisoned the entire EU.


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