Why the Old Republic Era Could be Canon

Not long ago, I wrote a post about how to compromise between die-hard Star Wars Legends fans, and those who want to see a completely new canon. Step one in my suggestion was to bring the Old Republic era into official canon. There are several reasons why I thought this was a good idea, and there are a few reasons why I think it might happen. While some of these reasons may seem like grasping at straws, I do feel that collectively there’s a good case to be made.

1) The Old Republic is Ongoing

We’ve reached the point in publishing where no more Legends material is being published in book or comic form. The only non-canon books being published are early-reader and parody books (like Star Wars Shakespeare). And yet, the Old Republic continues to function, not just with their servers (which would not have shut down anyway), but also in releasing their expansions. Bioware is obviously still hard at work on that game. The next expansion Shadow of Revan is due for release this December 9th. Although it could be simply part of their pre-Legends plan, I think it’s interesting that they haven’t stopped. I think it’s likely that they will produce a sequel game (common in popular MMORPGs). I’ll get back to that later.

2) No Legends Banners…yet

Many books/comics have been given the Legends banner. We’ve seen them in the prequel, dark times, classic, and post-ROTJ eras so far. Curiously, we haven’t seen any Legends banners on Old Republic material. The closest we’ve come is a Legends banner on the Darth Bane books. However, though they take place 1,000 years before the prequels, they really have nothing to do with the Old Republic era. In fact, those books begin to affect the timeline in the classic era (like the thought bomb/Valley of the Jedi connection), so I understand why those wouldn’t be canon. They’re quite different from the Old Republic books/comics though, and we haven’t seen any Legends banners there. I realize this is circumstantial, but at least no one has explicitly said it’s not canon yet.

3) Words from Jennifer Heddle

Immediately after the Legends announcement, Jennifer Heddle of Lucasfilm publishing braved Twitter to answer some of our questions. That is how we learned that all of the EU, including books not in the post-ROTJ era were Legends. I asked her if the Old Republic was included in the Legends branding. She responded that she wasn’t sure, but that they had discussed it. She later deleted that tweet, adding to my suspicion that we hadn’t heard the last of the Old Republic. Thankfully, another fan recorded a similar response, which I was able to find:

Q: What about the Old Republic era?
JH: That’s something we’ve wondered ourselves. 😉 Operating under assumption it’s part of “past EU” but I guess we’ll see.

Keep in mind that Jennifer Heddle is not part of the Lucasfilm Story Group, or involved with any video games. She might not have the whole picture when it comes to this issue.

 

4) Has Little/No Effect on Canon

Granted, the Old Republic era has some effect on canon. There are certain planets/races that would have to be included in canon, like the Chiss race. However, I don’t see this as a huge problem. From what I’ve seen, the canon universe is pretty much the same as the Legends universe, just with different stories told in each. You can see this in the novel Tarkin, which name drops places like Eriadu, Taris, and the Unknown Regions, all of which come from the Legends EU.

Story-wise, there isn’t anything that could conflict with the canon. One could argue that Sith force-ghosts conflict, but as we see in the Yoda arc of The Clone Wars, they can exist in some form, even if it’s just a shadow of a memory. So I don’t think that argument has feet.

5) The Lucasfilm Story Group has been Involved

LucasfilmStoryTeam-TORGSStarting with TOR expansion, Galactic Starfighter, credit has gone to the entire Lucasfilm Story Group as creative consultants. I’m not sure why the entire group would be credited on something that isn’t canon, especially when they weren’t credited before. While this is not definite proof by any stretch of the imagination, I think it’s a hint that TOR might be brought into canon.

6) This Little Rumor

StarWars7News.com ran this little story a few months ago. It details some anonymous information that was posted on a Reddit forum, claiming to know the future of the game. While there was no proof to back this up, it was partially corroborated, and they do a great job of pointing that out. I won’t go into full detail here, since I still consider it a rumor, but it’s interesting to see what could happen in the future.

6) Bioware Will Probably Want to Make More Games

EA has exclusive rights to make console games for the Star Wars franchise. Bioware is among the subsidiaries that EA owns. They continue to work on The Old Republic, and they will probably wish to continue making more games in the future. That doesn’t mean that their games will be Old Republic era, but that is their area of expertise. And it wouldn’t make much sense to reboot the era, not when it’s the same developer delving into a hugely popular timeline.

7) It’s easier…

My last reason is that it’s simply easier to leave it canon. This is not the case with the rest of the EU. Leaving the post-ROTJ EU would have been hard for the filmmakers of Episode VII. Trying to retcon everything in the prequel era would also have been a pain, given the conflicts with The Clone Wars. The Old Republic era, on the other hand, is largely isolated, and there’s plenty of un-touched timeline if they want to do something original. Plus, if Bioware decides to make a sequel to The Old Republic (which is likely), it wouldn’t make sense to change the canon. The Old Republic has a large gamer following, many of which are not huge Star Wars fans. It’s a franchise within a franchise, and one that begs expansion. It wouldn’t make sense to make a sequel without it being part of the canon.

So we’re facing a situation where it might simply be easier leave it as canon. The era has been enormously popular ever since 2003 brought us Knights of the Old Republic. It would be weird to start over with a new canon when the old one works so well. And there’s no sense to shut down a franchise (within a franchise) that has so much potential for future expansion. No other non-film era has spawned the level of merchandise and lore that The Old Republic has, and I doubt we’ll see it go away anytime in the future.

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