Canonology

Canonology September 6, 2018

Having invented a game called Canon: The Card Game, I’m inevitably going to keep returning to the subject of canon over and over again. But as you’ll see below, interesting images, books, articles, videos, and calls for papers keep highlighting the subject and calling me back to it. And in this particular instance, it isn’t just canon in general but precisely the intersection of the canons of Star Wars and Christianity that have been prominent.

First, Joel Hingston made and shared this image making comparisons between Star Wars and the Bible:

Soon after seeing that, I came across this video about Christian apocrypha and Star Wars:

Then I saw a call for paper specifically about works that are at the fringes of the Star Wars canon – here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite:

Star Wars TV: Transmedia Worlds, Franchise Politics, and Televisual Culture seeks essays that offer critical insight into the televisual culture and transmedia politics of the Star Wars franchise as it spread across TV beginning with the Star Wars Holiday Special in 1978 and continuing to the present array of shows in the Disney era. This collection takes as its basic premise that the televisual entrants into the Star Wars transmedia storyworld are both important texts in the history of American and global media culture and also key to understanding how the Star Wars media empire—and, thus, industry-wide transmedia storytelling strategies themselves—developed. Previous work on Star Wars has emphasized the films, fandom, Campbellian myth criticism, and occasional discussions of storyworld expansion in games, comics, and novels, while charting the politics of race, gender, sexuality, and imperialism in individual texts. Star Wars TV expands previous work on the transmedia franchise to consider television studies and sharp cultural and political criticism together in an effort to bring long-ignored texts, like the Holiday Special and the 1980s Droids and Ewoks cartoons, and long-running popular series, like The Clone Wars, to bear on the franchise’s complex history, storyworld, and politics.

There was also an interesting post on how young-earth creationists discuss science not at all the way scientists discuss science, but very much the way Star Wars fans discuss how things work in the Star Wars universe.

I also learned about the forthcoming book The Myth Re-awakens: Canon, Conservatism, and Fan Reception of Star Wars.

Also related to this topic:

Another Look: How the Bible “Works” Today

And finally, don’t miss the new addition to the Star Wars canon: the new animated series, Resistance.

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  • John MacDonald

    Thanks for the heads-up on the upcoming Star Wars Resistance on Disney. I really enjoyed the Star Wars Rebels show!

  • Phil Ledgerwood

    In another interesting parallel, many Star Wars fans consider the SW pseudigrapha/apocrypha to be the true canon and the “official” additions to be a deviation.

    • John MacDonald

      Vader kicked butt at the end of Rogue One. I wanted to cheer, lol

      • I had a great conversation with my son last night about Star Wars, in which he explained why he thinks the prequels are even better than the original trilogy.

        • John MacDonald

          I agree with your son. Revenge of the Sith is my favorite episode. It really shows how a dystopia society can be birthed out of a normal democratic society. People sometimes forget how Dystopian Star Wars really is. There was a brief recess at the end of Return of the Jedi, and then the dark side clamped down again. In “The Mass Psychology of Fascism,” Wilhelm Reich asks the key question: In societies where fascism/authoritarianism come to govern, why do people go against their own self-interests and will their own repression?

          • John MacDonald

            An astute observer, Padme Amidala, noted, “So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.” That, in a nutshell, is the story of the “Star Wars” prequels: the triumph of empire over democracy, facilitated by Anakin Skywalker and resulting in autocratic rule by Chancellor (later Emperor) Palpatine.

          • jh

            It shows how a republic can go from functioning to dysfunctional. And that’s when you start seeing the cracks in the system. When people don’t see their government working to their benefit; when they are actively taught to hate those lazy blue states (because those east coast liberals aren’t real Americans); when they are taught to believe “trust me, trickle down works” nonsense, aka lied to by their republican masters… we’re going to see this kind of nonsense.

            The Obama years were a revelation in how far conservatives have gone towards fascism and authoritarianism. (I personally blame the religious conservatives. Actually – I blame all conservatives. They offend my value oriented liberal sensibility.) And I hate to tell that idiot Meghan McCain but the US was never great. Even in the OT, it shows that a great nation is measured by how the poor and the marginalized are treated. Considering this nation’s founding on slavery and theft of native american lands… I’m not too impressed by our christian propaganda about manifest destiny and being a special little christian snowflake. (recall – when the Iran-Contra affair happened, the democrats didn’t behave like this. When there were terrorist attacks at american targets during Bush Jr.’s regime, we didn’t have democrats grandstanding. But Benghazi became a republican political weapon.)

            But my favorite will always be Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. I wish Disney would make that official canon.

          • John MacDonald

            Interesting thoughts. I haven’t read the Zahn books yet. My next one to read is the Darth Plagueis book. I keep meaning to get into it, but then I order a Philosophy book and that’s another week gone, lol.

            What I think is cool about the prequel trilogy is that once you have seen it, you can go back again and see how the orchestrating hand of Palpatine/Darth Sidious lies behind all the major events that happen, from the Trade Federation invasion of Naboo, to the creation of the clone army, to the betrayal of the Jedi by the clones, etc. Palpatine was Machiavellian in his genius. Sidious even took the arrest attempt by Mace Windu and used it as a catalyst to turn Anakin to the Dark Side, and even to use his own disfiguration to gain sympathy from the Senate. And I love the little clues by Sidious of what he is doing, like when he says to Anakin at the end of Episode 1 that he will be following Anakin’s career with great interest, and when he says to Padme he didn’t know what they would do if anything happened to her (since Padme was crucial in Palpatine’s plan to turn Anakin).

          • John MacDonald

            Obi Wan Kenobi: “It appears that the Chancellor is behind everything, including the war!”
            (Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith)

          • John MacDonald

            (1) George W. Bush — “If this were a dictatorship it would be a heck of a lot easier… as long as I’m the dictator. Hehehe.”

            (2) Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Scene 5…

            Anakin Skywalker: I don’t think the system works.
            Padmé: How would you have it work?
            Anakin Skywalker: We need a system where the politicians sit down
            and discuss the problem… agree what’s in the best interest of all people… and then do it.
            Padmé: That’s exactly what we do. The trouble is that people don’t always agree.
            Anakin Skywalker: Well, then they should be made to.
            Padmé: By whom? Who’s going to make them?
            Anakin Skywalker: I don’t know. Someone.
            Padmé: You?
            Anakin Skywalker: Of course not me.
            Padmé: But someone.
            Anakin Skywalker: Someone wise.
            Padmé: Sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship to me.
            Anakin Skywalker: Well, if it works.

  • I’m curious about the game (for me, it would be used for educational purposes). Do you have the front and back of any of the cards online?