Excellence in Journalism: The Expanded Universe

Building upon Pablo Hidalgo's blog posts about journalistic faux pas, here's a good one. In a Newsarama.com post on the new Legacy series from Dark Horse Comics, the author quotes artist Jan Duursema as follows:

"We spent long hours discussing the return of the Sith Order," she posted on the Dark Horse boards. "We analysed the problem in great detail, and it is not conflict with George Lucas' vision of Star Wars. Even Lucas approved the basics of the story and he still thinks that the Expanded Universe isn't just an alternative universe which is different from his own. The Legacy series will not ruin the significance of the Prophecy and Anakin Skywalker's redemption. You really think that we didn't think about this and we missed it???"

As we all know, Lucas does think the EU is an alternate, parallel universe . . . or at least he says so all the time. However, a small-but-loud group of EU-phile fans rejects that fact, and as soon as I saw the quote I could already imagine their attempts to elevate this Dark Horse artist above Lucas's own words.

But if you follow the broken link given at Newsarama (here is a fixed one), you find something interesting. The quote actually comes from a fan who asked to be told this to assuage his/her fears regarding Legacy. The Dark Horse artist simply quoted it back and said "Feel better now? :D"

In other words, that's not exactly a quote of Jan Duursema's opinion, and yet it was presented as such. Maybe it conforms and maybe it doesn't, but we don't know based on what we have there.

Of course, folks like me would rather just take the info from the top dog anyway.


Main Page Delay

Due to a technical issue with the way things had to be set up, there will be a delay before the main pages appear here at CanonWars. Stay tuned.


StarTrek.com Update and Broken Canon

Continuing the coverage of post-Viacom-split news:

StarTrek.com features a new article regarding the future of the website. It is now under the CBS Digital Media Group. The page says:

CBS Corporation is well positioned to serve Star Trek fans through STARTREK.COM and through its other Star Trek-related properties which include: a television library with more than 700 episodes of the Star Trek series; Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books, which publishes all official Star Trek books; and CBS Consumer Products, which creates and distributes licensed Star Trek merchandise.

According to CBSCorporation.com (in what appears to be a yet-to-be-updated bio), the head of CBS Digital Media reported straight to Les Moonves (now CEO of CBS Corp.) prior to the split, suggesting that CBS DMG probably is not a sub-unit of any other sub-unit of CBS Corp.

More interesting, however is that there is once again no mention of the films. I am led to believe that the films somehow remained with Paramount Pictures under Viacom, though I haven't a clue what this would do to intellectual property concerns and contractual issues when it comes to the creation of new films. I would imagine, though, that scenes such as the one from "In A Mirror Darkly"[ENT4] wherein film clips from Star Trek: First Contact were used would be right out.

(Update: Indeed, Tim Gaskill confirms here that Star Trek films are owned by Paramount Pictures.)

Meanwhile, new Trek computer games are coming. The press release (posted on StarTrek.com) mentions that "CBS Consumer Products, a unit of CBS Enterprises, manages the worldwide licensing, merchandising and video activities for a diverse slate of properties owned or controlled by the CBS Corporation."

Naturally I was led to wonder how CBS Enterprises fits into the picture. My search led me to Roger King, who seems to somehow be related to both CBS Enterprises and King World, a CBS acquisition probably best known for game shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. This led me to the King World website. In short, CBS Enterprises seems to be a division of CBS Corporation now, with distributors like King World and other stuff like CBS Consumer Products within it. (King World seems to be a separate subsidiary, but we don't particularly care about that.)

Am I perfectly certain of these relationships? Not really, no. Not only is the information headache-inspiring to begin with, but it is also in a state of flux as the new order supercedes the old.

So, long story short, we have CBS Corp., beneath which are simple divisions such as CBS Paramount Television, CBS Digital Media Group, and CBS Enterprises (a part of which is CBS Consumer Products, which handles licensing). Another CBS Corp. division is Simon & Schuster, Inc., which includes Pocket Books (which according to this site is merely an imprint of Simon & Schuster anyway).

Last but not least, I'd like to take a moment to revel in the end of UPN, which lasted, oh, a few months without Star Trek before everyone realized that it was crap and something crazy had to be done (in this case, a merger of the network with its competition). Good job, guys.

Star Wars: Tales from a Parallel Universe

Recently announced on the EU section of StarWars.com and by Dark Horse Comics is the new Legacy comics series. Whereas the rest of the 'Expanded Universe' has always either stuck with the same characters from the films or (rarely) leapt backward in time to a point well before the film era (but curiously similar to it), Legacy is where we truly find ourselves with Star Wars: The Next Generation, with an "all new Sith Order!", "all new Skywalker!", and most interestingly an "all new Empire!".

See, that last part's the kicker. If it's an all new Empire then, well, whatever. But the main site suggests that we're looking at "a galaxy held in thrall by a resurgent Empire seeking to destroy the last of the Jedi". In other words, we're talking about Palpatine's Galactic Empire, which in the EU has continued to exist into the New Jedi Order era decades after the canon declared the Empire "dead" as of the end of Return of the Jedi (after which point Lucas simply thinks Han and Leia settle down into a pleasant life in the new Republic, contrary to the struggles shown in the EU).

If the Empire has survived and taken over from the New Republic in the EU at this point, over a century after RoTJ, then this means several things. First, nothing in the rest of the post-RoTJ EU has particularly mattered. Second, and most importantly, there can be no doubt that the EU is a parallel universe.