Reversals of Fortune

The Star Wars EU work Reversal of Fortune is the subject of an interesting tidbit.

The EU is awash in tie-in efforts with the last film, and many EU-philes have been all excited because RoTS characters and events got introduced in EU materials prior to the movie's release. Naturally, they are ignoring the fact that the makers of the EU have simply been quicker on the trigger this time, basing things off of production information.

Take, for instance, Anakin's scar. Lucas joked that it was obtained in a shower slip, but in reality it was simply an effective way to rapidly convey that the war has taken its toll, and that this is a battle-hardened Anakin. (Similar techniques have been used in Trek . . . the mirror-universe Sulu from "Mirror, Mirror"[TOS] had a nice scar, as did a sulking, even-less-cuddly alternate version of Worf from "Future Imperfect"[TNG].)

But, when asked by Pablo Hidalgo how the scar occurred, Pablo reported that Lucas's response (beside the shower slip joke) was to point to Howard Roffman of Lucas Licensing, since his people would undoubtedly have to explain it.

And, lo and behold, they did so. It is presented as a lightsaber wound obtained from some chick who was a "dark Jedi" or a "dark Force-user" or a "dark ysalimiri" or something, and she gets a name-drop or ten in the RoTS novelization by Stover.

Indeed, the author of the RoTS novelization wanted to participate in the EU tie-in routine, and thus threw in a large number of EU references (many of which Lucas personally deleted). He also tried to work with James Luceno, author of Labyrinth of Evil, the EU book designed by Lucas Licensing as the lead-up novel to RoTS.

The plan backfired a bit. To be sure, it will undoubtedly drive up sales of LoE (I plan to read it sometime after the film comes out . . . but not before lest it improperly color the canon). But Stover ended up leaving out a lot of plot from the canon novel under the theory that it was covered in the non-canon LoE, and with his EU interjections stripped by Lucas the result is that a lot of EU data didn't get included into the canon novel except in name-drop form.

But in any case, I digress. You see, Labyrinth of Evil is thought by some EU-philes to be of greater ranking than other novels, being the EU's version of the setup for RoTS. (This ignores the fact that Luceno has never met Lucas to my knowledge, unlike novelization authors like Stover, but that's neither here nor there.)

But, per Paul Ens ("Ghent") of Lucas Online, Reversal of Fortune does not necessarily follow the LoE version of the Palpatine kidnapping story. Instead, it follows the version as seen in the "Clone Wars" cartoon shorts, under the theory that more people saw the "Clone Wars" version. Such a concept has been elucidated by Leland Chee of Licensing before as a possible way of handling discrepancies in the Licensing continuity, but this is the first time I've seen it employed.

You would think that if LoE were on the highest level of Licensing's continuity, it would be treated as such. Instead, it seems that people are at liberty to ignore the novels in favor of whatever gets seen more.

The point of all of this? Well, the Star Wars live-action TV show is coming. As Lucas put it:

"We're going to do a live action show based on minor characters in the Star Wars series. [...] It's a spin-off, it doesn't involve any of the key characters. It's a different world unto itself [...]"


1. This spin-off is a different world unto itself, and is hence EU.
2. Lucas Licensing follows the Chee theorem (demonstrated by Ens) that what gets seen the most holds the highest-level EU continuity.
3. Lucas will be involved in guiding the TV show for at least the first season.
4. Lucas has historically avoided EU materials or the inclusion thereof, except in very specific instances.

To synthesize the above, it seems likely at this point that the TV show is going to rewrite much of the EU, meaning that we might get to see a lot of retconning as the EU hangs on for dear life to ride the tail of Lucas, as always.

But, of course, time will tell.

In the meantime, I'm planning a nap for tomorrow evening prior to the midnight showing of Episode III, and hopefully will get enough of one to allow me to post a brief entry upon my return.