- Christopher Nelson
The Clone Wars contradictions and the Force & Destiny loophole
The 2003-2005 Clone Wars microseries and the 2008 television series The Clone Wars are among the EU's most significant contributions to our understanding of the Clone Wars, but both are in many ways very different. Many are fans of both; some prefer one over the other. Both introduce inconsistencies to the overall continuity of the EU, but it's arguably the case that The Clone Wars (the 2008 show) introduces the most challenging number of contradictions, writing over parts of the existing clone wars timeline seen in the microseries, books, and comics.
When the Expanded Universe was rebranded as part of the Legends canon in 2014, the 2008 The Clone Wars was included in the new Disney canon, making it, oddly, part of the Expanded Universe and the new Disney canon.
But that didn't solve the problem with continuity. Just because it had been reintroduced into the new canon, it still remains part of the old, meaning those pesky contradictions remain.
Prior to the 2014 decision to set the EU in an alternate canon from the new Disney canon, Star Wars fans argued about many, many things. Since The Clone Wars, however, nothing gets fans more riled up than how to deal with The Clone Wars itself.
Leland Chee, Keeper of the Holocron for Lucasfilm, had prior to 2014 promised that one day a retconned timeline would be hashed out that would definitively clear up the known problems The Clone Wars had created for continuity.
We're still waiting for that definitive timeline...
Putting headcanon aside, is there anything definitive to go on in the meantime? Anything that helps make sense of The Clone Wars in the context of EU continuity?
Yes (well, perhaps)!
Fantasy Flight, the current producer of Star Wars roleplaying game content, created its Force and Destiny game in 2015 (it had been in production for a while and its beta was even released in 2014). Don't let the date 2015 confuse you. Fantasy Flight is a proper licensee of Lucasfilm and its Legends era content is canonical (s-canon) within the continuity of the Expanded Universe. The core rulebook was essentially the last thing Fantasy Flight would produce before Disney canon storylines would start to become predominant in its content (even though Fantasy Flight is clear that for gaming purposes players can mix canons if they choose).
Perhaps knowing major contradictions created by The Clone Wars were going to be a gaping hole in EU continuity without new Legends content being produced by Lucasfilm, they offered a loophole; a possible tool for retconning the apparent contradictions.
Fans have caught on and been discussing this for the last few years. Someone even edited The Clone Wars entry on Wookiepedia to speculate on how the Force and Destiny loophole works:
It's entirely fair to say that this speculation goes perhaps a bit too far in places (at least for the purposes of Wookiepedia, which is encyclopedically trying to capture all known knowledge about the Star Wars universe through definitive sources). But it's all entirely plausible.
But instead of relying on the Wookiepedia entry, let's examine the actual, definitive Force and Destiny text itself:
(Pic: h/t JT/DK)
And then there's this:
The Emperor and Empire have taken control of the HoloNet. Planets are now isolated from the truth. Few in the galaxy believe what they see from HoloNet News. Belief about how the Empire came about (including the Emperor's role in staging the Clone Wars to facilitate his rise to power) is clouded in untruth as a result. Contradictions in The Clone Wars might just be the result of imperial tampering with the historical record. Or the result of cloudy historical record in general.
Now, it's possible to run too far with this. We've seen fans argue that this loophole does everything from explain minor, insignificant contradictions in non-Clone Wars content to outright arguing that this makes it possible for the Disney canon and the Legends canon to be reconciled. We're not buying that last one.
But the loophole does seem like it's there for a reason. We think it's a helpful, definitive way of making sense of contradictions in The Clone Wars.
This doesn't mean you have to like The Clone Wars. This doesn't mean you have to consider it part of your own personal canon - whatever it is you choose to follow in Star Wars is fine!
But for folks who followed the Expanded Universe for years and wondered what the heck The Clone Wars was doing at times to established lore, Fantasy Flight offers us a helpful retcon that just might be what we need to bring some closure to the issues the show has created.
For more on Fantasy Flight and the loophole, see Matt Wilkins' video on the subject here:
Star Wars Fantasy Flight RPG Collection, Youtube, December 3, 2015
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