Remember all that interesting information you learn about the history of the Star Wars universe from Knights of the Old Republic? Remember the Force Unleashed’s excellent tale about how the rebel alliance came to be, the surprisingly decent (and superhardcore) story of the 501st from Battlefront 2 or just Kyle Katarn being awesome in Dark Forces?
Well, it turns out that’s not canon any more. Though these stories were written especially to fit into pieces of the time line, with more care given to continuity than was ever given to the prequels, they are now irrelevant. Everything you think you know about the Old Republic is a lie and who knows if there even is a Kyle Katarn any more.
Of course, these stories are still good independently. Just because the brilliant narrative of KOTOR1 is no longer canon doesn’t mean it’s now bad. It’s still one of the best stories to come out of Star Wars. The issue is that a lot of these tales are some of my favourite chapters in the Star Wars franchise. For example, I love how the Force Unleashed bridges Episode III and IV, it has a mature and affecting story that outshined the game itself.
What is even more frustrating about this decision is that these stories were handicapped by canon in the first place. What they could do with the universe was restricted by what had already been done; the logic and lore had to be consistent and the story appropriate. People put in a lot of effort to make their mark on the Star Wars franchise. People at Bioware were probably super proud to be an authentic part of such a beloved franchise, and happier still to be such a popular one.
A lot of people have done wonderful stuff with the Star Wars universe (though there’s a lot of bad stuff too) and a good amount has been in video games. I hate that these great stories are now no longer a part of the official ‘history’. It shows this huge lack of oversight and it seems unfair that Episode VII and beyond don’t have to fit in like everything else had to before them. They might step on the toes of things in the expanded universe, which is annoying in itself, but surely they won’t obstruct everything? It’s so frustrating to have this blanket ban, rather than a thoughtful assessment of what quality content could still fit.
This removal of all games and books from canon is a really bad move. A lot of these great stories added so much to the overall universe. They kept me more invested, added great lore and just enriched the whole franchise. They were constrained by rules and now those constraints have become irrelevant, as the new films come in and bulldoze all else. I still have those memories, but I miss the time when they meant so much more.