Star Wars Day 2015: Wikia's Senior Community Manager On Wookieepedia, New 'Star Wars' Canon And More


When it comes to lore, few franchises can rival Star Wars. There are decades worth of stories and continuity, and trying to keep track of all that information is a daunting task. When Lucasfilm decided to rewrite the canon after the Disney purchase, a lot of that information was turned on its head - and even the most dedicated of fans were suddenly confused as to what was and wasn't canon.

Thankfully, that's what Wikia is for: the Star Wars Wikia is one of the biggest of its kind, and features roughly 120,000 pages on everything Star Wars. Everything from the names of each ship to different lightsaber fighting techniques are available on the site.

So, in honor of Star Wars Day, we spoke with Wikia's Senior Community Manager Brandon Rhea about the updated continuity, Wookieepedia and whether or not Boba Fett made it out of Episode VI alive:

First things first: what stories are considered 'canon,' and which are considered part of the Star Wars Legends brand?

Canon is the live-action films, the television shows Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and all new original fiction beginning in April 2014. Legends is comprised of all of the books, comics, games, and more released before April 25, 2014, the day that Lucasfilm announced the new Legends branding. Everything that's being released now is canon. Unless Lucasfilm says otherwise, fans never need to ask "Is this canon?" again.

What was your initial reaction to Disney and Lucasfilm rewriting the Star Wars universe's history?

I was all for it. Opinions may vary widely on this, but Star Wars is primarily a film franchise and those films have to appeal to the widest possible audience. It wasn't realistic to expect Lucasfilm to be able to completely follow the continuity of hundreds of books, comics, and games, while at the same time making a story that satisfies mass audiences. After all, Chewbacca died in the books. Can you imagine The Force Awakens without Chewbacca?

How do you feel about the new canon now?

I've been enjoying it. The books have been fairly enjoyable so far, the comics are really solid, and Star Wars Rebels is a great show. I'm eagerly awaiting the release of The Force Awakens. That's the one that's going to show fans if creating a new canon was worth it or not, because the movie is the reason why that decision was made. I think it'll be seen as a good decision.

Do you think Lucasfilm was justified in rewriting the canon, or do you think they could have found a way around all of the Expanded Universe stories?

That's ultimately up to each fan to decide. The Lucasfilm Story Group, the team set up by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to oversee the canon, is going to work to make sure that everything fits together, and the creative teams are going to deliver the best possible stories they can. There are passionate Legends superfans who see Legends as their one true Star Wars, and that's fine. That's what they're passionate about. I suspect that most people will come to accept the decision, though, as long as the stories that Lucasfilm creates are good and worthy of the Star Wars name.

Have any plot holes or continuity errors appeared because of the reworked fiction?

Nothing that can't be easily explained or handwaved. The Story Group is doing a great job to make sure that everything is working together in the first major transmedia Star Wars experience.

What was your favorite story that was deemed as non-canon?

I always enjoyed the book Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. It was the first book of the modern Expanded Universe, and the first book that felt like a worthy successor to the original trilogy. Heir to the Empire and its sequels - Dark Force Rising and The Last Command - were even dubbed Episodes VII, VIII, and IX by a lot of Star Wars fans.

What's your favorite Star Wars story in general (canon or non-canon)?

The Empire Strikes Back. Can't beat the classic.

What sort of work goes into maintaining something as big as Wookieepedia? Were there many changes to be made on Lucasfilm announced the new canon?

Wookieepedia is a colossal effort that is only successful because of the community of superfans surrounding it. Hundreds of fans contribute to the project each month. In 2015 alone, there have already been over 240,000 unique contributions made to Wookieepedia since the beginning of the year. Even at that rate, it took ten years to build the nearly 120,000 pages of content it has now, and thousands of contributors have spent an uncountable number of hours working on it over the years. In fact, Wookieepedia just celebrated its 10th anniversary at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, and the rest of 2015 is a year-long celebration of Wookieepedia and Star Wars on Wikia, leading up to The Force Awakens.

One of the ways we're celebrating the year of Star Wars kicks off today, with the Star Wars Fanon Collaborative Writing Project. The project is hosted on Wikia's Star Wars Fanon community, with an original (non-canon, of course) fiction story written by Star Wars fans themselves. Fans will each be able to contribute to parts of the story in order to build on what others have written. In the end, we'll have a completed, fan-written Star Wars adventure about how the Empire investigated Princess Leia's claims of a Rebel base on Dantooine - and how Dantooine was a little less abandoned than the Empire may have thought.

If LucasFilm were to adapt one of the Expanded Universe stories into a film, which one would you choose (and why)?

I would choose the video game Knights of the Old Republic. That game was set thousands of years before the films and showed one of the ancient wars between the Jedi and the Sith. It introduced the iconic character of Darth Revan and spawned an entire era of Star Wars storytelling. I would love to see something like it adapted into a film. That era is ripe for a saga of its own, with multiple films.

Do you think Lucasfilm and Disney will reinstate any of the Expanded Universe stories back into canon?

I don't think we'll see any direct reinstating. There will always be minor details in Legends stories that don't align with the new canon continuity. However, what Lucasfilm has been doing is using Legends stories as a source of inspiration. Star Wars Rebels and the other new stories have been chock full of details that originated in Legends. So Legends may not be part of the official canon, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. It's similar to how the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes a great deal of inspiration from the Marvel comics, but the comics itself aren't canon to the film universe.

If they did, which one would you choose?

Probably the Han Solo book trilogy, but I suspect that we'll be getting a Han Solo movie soon enough. I also think that Mara Jade would fit in well as an Inquisitor on Star Wars Rebels.

Finally, and most importantly: is Boba Fett returning for Episode VII?

Only if the sarlacc thought he didn't taste very good.

If you're still having trouble piecing together the official Star Wars canon, you can take a look at our official guide to everything Star Wars!

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will arrive in theaters on Dec. 18.

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