Novelisations are part of the canon

So it turns out the novelisations of the seven Star Wars feature films (including the novelisation of the Clone Wars feature) are part of the new canon…at least where they don’t contradict the seven films themselves or the Clone Wars series. This means, of course, that so many scenes deleted from the films proper are still part of the canon, as well as a whole bunch of other stuff (particularly the additional material in Terry Brooks’ Phantom Menace novelisation). There’s still no word on the radio dramas, however.

Two interesting points here:

  1. This means that the novelisations include assumed facts about the Star Wars universe relevant to the Story Group. All future media should then also assume these facts.
  2. This does not mean, however, that because Darth Bane was mentioned in the Phantom Menace novelisation for example, the Bane books are now also part of the canon.

Point 1, of course, remains to be seen. but it’s significant that the authors of the novelisations often had direct guidance from George Lucas while writing the books. (Lucas apparently line-edited Matthew Stover’s novelisation of Revenge of the Sith himself.) The novelisations often expand on the films while preserving the essence of Star Wars for that very reason.

People seem to struggle with point 2, but it’s simple: what you see (or read) in the canon is what you get. If you see a ship that looks like the Outrider in the background of Star Wars: A New Hope, that doesn’t suddenly mean that Shadows of the Empire is canon. A ship that looks like the Outrider is simply a ship that looks like the Outrider.

So that clears that up, then. Looks like we already have seven books in the new canon after all…

Addendum: Thinking over this issue, I’m just not convinced. The wording in the second tweet is ambiguous, and my gut feeling is that the novelisations are “legends” where they are not direct representations of what’s seen on film. In the past, Lucas himself freely contradicted ideas in the novelisations, such as Owen being Obi-Wan Kenobi’s brother; however, I suspect the apocryphal elements of novelisations will be respected and gradually re-incorporated into the canon where appropriate.

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