SWCA: One Big Story – Star Wars Canon Panel Liveblog

Join Lucasfilm's Leland Chee, Jennifer Heddle, and more special guests as they discuss Star Wars storytelling!

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:40 pm

And we’re off! The panel takes the stage. Michael Siglain, Lucasfilm publishing creative director, Jennifer Heddle, senior editor,
from Lucasfilm and Disney publishing; editor-at-large Shelly Shapiro
from Del Rey; managing editor Sadie Smith from DK; and Leland
Chee from the Lucasfilm Story Group; C.B.
Cebulski from Marve; and editor Jordan D. White, VP International Development.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:40 pm

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:41 pm

Pablo Hidalgo explains that the shift in Star Wars storytelling came from Kathleen Kennedy.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:42 pm

In the past, there were two camps developing story — cinematic and published entertainment. But they weren’t as in sync as should be. Kennedy wanted them aligned, created the Story Group. They have much more “of a long-term gameplan than ever before.”

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:44 pm

Chee says they also have much more content than ever before — one movie a year. So they need to plan.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:44 pm

Hidalgo says there are about to be a lot more Star Wars fans in the world. So it’s important that all stories align, which is part of the reason why the Expanded Universe became Legends.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:45 pm

Jen Heddle discussing her role: works directly with outside publishers on stories, develops it, and shares it with Story Group. The Story Group is involved in every stage of development.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:47 pm

Shelly Shapiro also works to develop stories with authors, occasionally visiting Lucasfilm. They all work together to make sure “everything falls into place in the right places.”

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:49 pm

Sadie Smith shows off DK’s new Ultimate Star Wars – their first book that adheres to the new canon. It’s the “most definitive encyclopedia” that they’ve done. An illustrated guide to all the canonical characters, planets, ships, etc.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:50 pm

Coming this May!

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:53 pm

Hidalgo says that some facts have been hard to settle on — for example, Death Star sizes. But with the new canon, and a clean slate, it’s easier. Also, Hutts now have single sexes. (Jabba is definitely a dude.)

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:53 pm

Jordan White is now discussing Marvel’s role.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:54 pm

Marvel has met with the Story Group a couple of times — Marvel has several series running right now.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:55 pm

The new Kanan comic is a good example of the new alignment — a definite backstory told by Star Wars Rebels creators.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:56 pm

C.B. Cebulski adds that Marvel has experience dealing with their own characters being licensed, and needing to collaborate to keep stories authentic.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:57 pm

Hidalgo adds that new directors and writers are excited that their characters can appear in comics and novels.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20153:58 pm

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a big initiative across all publishers…it will be filled with hints that fans will have to figure out.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:00 pm

Just announced this morning, Greg Rucka is writing Shattered Empire in the Journey series.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:00 pm

And there will be a Battlefront tie-in novel!

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:01 pm

Shapiro: “The books…are a level above. Something is working with this Story Group approach.”

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:02 pm

Heddle: “It’s opening doors more easily than in the past…Now we have people in the Story Group handling the overall look [for stories].” Collaboration is much easier.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:03 pm

Hidalgo notes that he and Chee work down the hall from Dave Filoni. It allows for much better communication and exchange of ideas.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:03 pm

Now onto fan questions!

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:04 pm

Now that there’s the Story Group, is there a plan to revisit the continuity problems of the original trilogy novelizations?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:06 pm

There are a lot of new stories to tell, so that’s the current focus, says Shapiro. There are upcoming novels, however, that will retell the original trilogy from new points of view.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:09 pm

Heddle is working with a Korean creator, Writer Hong, who is retelling the original trilogy in an artful new way. It adds in bits about Luke’s childhood, Uncle Owen struggling, and deleted scenes.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:09 pm

Since Star Tours was kind of referenced in Star Wars Rebels, is it canon?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:11 pm

Hidalgo: “We talk about canon and we talk about authenticity…there are certain experiences that are tailor made to exist in our world. But does Vader look right?” Star Tours is more an authentic experience.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:12 pm

Are The Old Republic expansions canon?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:13 pm

No — BioWare “has created their own universe that is so fantastic,” we’re not going to change it, says Hidalgo.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:14 pm

Is it possible that we may see unfinished EU stories completed?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:15 pm

“Anything is possible.”

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:16 pm

Right now the focus is on the new canon, “but who’s to say what comes after that?” says Hidalgo.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:16 pm

Shapiro: “This is an ongoing history, whichever version [you like]. Who’s to say when it’s finished?”

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:17 pm

When are you going to explore the Old Republic part of the timeline?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:17 pm

“It’s definitely not off the table.” — Chee

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:18 pm

Will there be an outward facing list of canon materials?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:19 pm

DK’s Ultimate Star Wars is one! But all new material going forward will be canon.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:20 pm

Marvel is going to be working on a timeline for their books.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:21 pm

With Legends, will any of the more popular characters be reintroduced into canon?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:22 pm

“Yes.” — Hidalgo

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:26 pm

Can you initiate large changes in the galaxy?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:27 pm

The films will not always get first dibs at the biggest stories. Sometimes, a story is a better fit for a novel.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:28 pm

“We are totally against the idea that novels just fill gaps.” – Hidalgo

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:29 pm

What is the new line of defense against continuity errors?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:30 pm

“The honest answer to your question is case by case…We would talk it through.” – Hidalgo

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:31 pm

Does the Story Group have the authority to correct a film director who wants to do something that conflicts with a story plan?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:32 pm

The Story Group is in constant conversation. Has not been a problem.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:33 pm

How much has the slate been wiped clean for on-screen characters? For example, is it Ponda Baba or Walrus Man?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:33 pm

According to the DK Ultimate Star Wars — it’s Ponda Baba.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:35 pm

Will we see more series of novels by multiple authors?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:36 pm

Nothing currently planned. “I think as we go along…that might be something that we would look into doing.”

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:38 pm

Last question! How can one get a job on the Story Group?

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:38 pm

No set path — Chee started as a game tester, Hidalgo in online.

StarWars.com Team April 17, 20154:38 pm

And that’s it! Thanks for reading!

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