RSA vs Lucasfilm

It should come as no surprise that RSA's overblown "canon wars" behaviour has been applied not only to Paramount, but also to Lucasfilm. Do you recall how he tried to pretend he was being reasonable but ended up dismissing Paula Block, head of all Star Trek licensing, by claiming that she was not authorized to make statements on behalf of any other part of Paramount? As if it isn't one big company? Well guess what: he employs the same tactic against Lucasfilm.

Leland Chee is the maintainer of the Star Wars Holocron, which is the internal Lucasfilm resource that is used in order to determine what is and isn't part of the continuity. It is used in order to determine what future Star Wars licensees must conform to, in much the same way that Paula Block determines what Star Trek licensees must conform to. There have been many conflicting statements in the past about exactly what Lucasfilm's canon policy is, and Leland Chee cleared up the reasons for these conflicts: Lucasfilm does not actually have a strict canon policy at all, save one: the films produced by George Lucas take precedence over everything else. All other "rules" of continuity are applied and interpreted on a "case by case" basis.

Of course, this "case by case" policy means that the continuity of specific events or facts are indeed subject to debate, and Leland Chee has in fact allowed and participated in such debate in the past. But the fact that there is no strict "canon policy" other than the supremacy of the films is not up for debate, never mind RSA's delusion that you can fabricate some kind of strict consistent "canon policy" by carefully poring over dozens of public quotes and "analyzing" them for hidden meaning and intent (and then tell people who actually work with George Lucas that you know his intentions better than they do). Before we get to RSA's attempts to dictate Lucasfilm policy to ranking Lucasfilm employees, It is noteworthy that there are several "levels" of canon. Rather than explain them myself, I'll just quote Chee's statement on the matter, taken from the thread at starwars.com which describes all of this:

Tasty Taste (Leland Chee): "Are the entries in the Holocron sorted as canonical & non-canonical? Are there various degrees of officialness?"

The database does indeed have a canon field. Anything in the films and from George Lucas (including unpublished internal notes that we might receive from him or from the film production department) is considered "G" canon. Next we have what we call continuity "C" canon which is pretty much everything else. There is secondary "S" continuity canon which we use for some older published materials and things that may or may not fit just right. But, if it is referenced in something else it becomes "C". Similarly, any "C" canon item that makes it into the films can become "G" canon. Lastly, there is non-continuity "N" which we rarely use except in the case of a blatant contradiction or for things that have been cut.

I will not go into specifics as to what is considered "S" canon or what items that are seemingly "C" canon are actually "G" canon.

In a nutshell, "G" is the top level, and "C" is secondary. I include this only because you'll need to know that in order to understand what RSA is talking about when he tries to peddle his "canon policy" nonsense, later in the same thread:

Ackbar's Trap (RSA): If I may . . .

"Is the "C" class part of the overall continuity alongside "G" class?"

As far as LucasBooks and Lucas Licensing are concerned, of course it is. LucasBooks and Lucas Licensing hold sway over the content and storylines of the Expanded Universe, and thus have every right to declare a canon of those materials.

Whether this internal declaration is subscribed to by parent company LFL or Lucas himself is another matter, one which, though interesting, is outside the scope of this Holocron-oriented thread.

Take a good look at that last sentence. Notice how he tries to pretend that LucasBooks, Lucas Licensing, and Lucasfilm are all completely distinct entities with inconsistent policies, and that they might be running around doing things which George Lucas himself totally disapproves of (if you've ever had a real job, ask yourself how likely it is that entire divisions of the company might have been openly contravening the wishes of the owner for years). Now let's skip ahead many pages (it's a huge thread) to the part where somebody starts quoting RSA's arguments:

mike4ty4: Could you clarify the following:

1. George Lucas said in the Starlog magazine recently that the books, games, etc. are a "different world" than his films, and that "we decided that we would have two universes", with one being his films and the other being everything else. Does this mean that George Lucas (and presumably others, as evidenced by his use of "we" deciding...) does not consider the EU canonical?

2. Does LucasFilm Ltd. itself actually have a Canon Policy? You said anyone can have their own perception of what is and isn't canon... which I take means that there isn't one single overarching "Canon Policy" used by every single Lucas entity. What is Lucasfilm Ltd. proper's canon policy, if it exists? Is it the same as used by George Lucas? (By Lucasfilm Ltd. proper, I'm referring to the company (or part of the company?) that produces the films.)

Notice how he repeats RSA's assertion that George Lucas does not think the films and the books share a continuity, based on some quotes which are interpreted the same way a religious fundamentalist interprets the Bible: mindless literalism. When normal people say that things exist in two worlds, they could mean that they are made by totally different groups, or with totally different mindsets, just as I often say that religious fundamentalists exist in a totally different world than I do. Haven't you ever remarked that you know someone who seems to live in his own world? But in RSA's mind, it must refer to literal parallel worlds, or as he puts it, "separate continuities". And of course, in the second paragraph we see a repetition of the notion that Lucasfilm is composed of various distinct entities which are free to totally ignore George Lucas' wishes.

Lucasfilm reps Leland Chee and Pablo Hidalgo shut down this nonsense immediately. Leland Chee addressed the idea that Lucas' "parallel universe" quote had to be interpreted literally rather than figuratively:

Tasty Taste (Leland Chee): All contradictions are dealt with case-by-case ... Does LucasFilm Ltd. itself actually have a Canon Policy? No.
...
The quote you provide makes it sound like the EU is separate from George's vision of the Star Wars universe. It is not.

And Pablo addressed RSA's attempt to dismiss Chee's statements by pretending that they came from a totally different corporate entity than Lucasfilm "proper":

Pabawan (Pablo Hidalgo): And here I thought we were one big company.

Naturally, RSA continues to deny that Lucasfilm representatives can actually speak on behalf of Lucasfilm, no matter what jobs they do at the company. You can take the time to read through the entire thread yourself, but to make a long story short, RSA believes that he knows Lucas' intentions better than people who have actually worked with him. After all, he has quotes! And to prove that "C"-level material doesn't count to George Lucas at all, he cites the fact that George Lucas "does not consider himself bound by" the "C"-level material (of course, Mr. Lucas has repeatedly revised his own films so he doesn't seem to feel "bound" by them either, but why let facts get in the way of good RSA rhetoric?)

At the end of the day, RSA's latest escapades have only demonstrated that he honestly thinks he knows more about Paramount policy than Paramount employees, and that he konws more about Lucasfilm policies than Lucasfilm employees. He also seems to know more about the intentions of Gene Roddenberry, Rick Berman, and George Lucas than people who have actually worked with these men directly! RSA really is quite a remarkable fellow, isn't he? Such clairvoyant powers, such brilliant "analysis" when he could have taken the simple route of simply accepting the answers given to him by representatives of the organizations he claims to be "analyzing". One cannot help but be awed.

Seriously though, there is a point, in the life of a troll, when his behaviour becomes so absurd that he makes himself irrelevant, at least to any reasonable observer. By presuming to dictate to both Lucasfilm and Paramount employees about the policies of their own companies, RSA has clearly passed that point. It's over, the cuckoo has left the nest, Elvis has left the building, RSA's transformation into a caricature of himself is complete. Good night.

Return to RSA Canon page



Valid HTML 4.01!Valid CSS!This website is owned and maintained by Michael Wong
This site is not affiliated with Lucasfilm or Paramount
All associated materials are used under "Fair Use" provisions of copyright law.
All original content by Michael Wong is copyrighted © 1998,2004.
Click here to go to the main page