Tabletop RPG Podcast and Roleplaying Resources

Star Wars ‘Shinn Canon’

With the disastrously low IMDB rating of Disney’s recently released ‘The Acolyte’, I’ve decided to revisit what I consider to be Star Wars canon. Since this is based on my personal preferences, I’ll call it ‘Shinn Canon’ (Shinn is my last name).

The Reason for the Shinn Canon

Having my own ‘Shinn Canon’ is helpful in setting the stage for any Star Wars roleplaying games I run in the future. Also, as I consider new novels to read, I only want to consume media that is internally consistent with and respectful of the original Star Wars concepts and ethos presented in the original Star Wars trilogy.

What’s Not In the Shinn Canon

Here are a few examples of why I want to exclude some movies, TV series, and novels from my personal canon.

Redefining the Force

Midichlorians – I dislike the concept of midichlorians introduced in the prequel trilogy movies because it shifts the mystical and spiritual nature of the Force to a more scientific and biological explanation. In “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace,” midichlorians are microscopic organisms within cells that enable individuals to connect with the Force. This explanation undermines the original portrayal of the Force as an energy field created by all living things, which is more spiritual and mysterious. I think the idea of midichlorians diminishes the Force’s mystical qualities and reduces the sense of awe and wonder associated with the Force, making it more about genetic destiny than individual belief and connection.

Expanded Force Powers – The sequel trilogy introduced new Force abilities including projecting one’s image across the galaxy, healing others, and physically interacting with the environment during Force visions. These additions seem unnecessary and leave one bewildered as to why Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, Luke, and Leia never used such powers.

Physics Anomalies

Hyperspace Skipping – “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” introduced hyperspace skipping: rapidly jumping in and out of hyperspace without plotting coordinates. Were this something available to talented pilots, why did Han not use it to evade the Empire?

Lightspeed Ramming – “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” introduced the concept of using a ship’s jump to hyperspace to destroy another ship. If this were a reality, it would lead to robot-powered kamikaze ships that could easily take out an Imperial fleet.

Bad Writing and Acting

Aside from the leaps in logic and inconsistencies of the laws of physics, there is also the issue of bad writing and acting. While Star Wars has always been a bit of cheesy B-Movie fare, some works (I’m looking at you, ‘Ahsoka’ and ‘The Acolyte’ TV series) are simply horribly written with bad acting and poor pacing. They just don’t feel like Star Wars to me.

Subpar Sound and Lighting

The original Star Wars trilogy was filled with excellent scores from John Williams. The music really conveyed a thrilling, pulp action vibe. Some newer series (such as ‘Ahsoka’) have mediocre music that just doesn’t convey the Star Wars feel. That, plus the lighting (in ‘Ahsoka’ it is always grey, overcast, and depressing) really set a different tone that what I’d expect.

The Star Wars Shinn Canon

So, with my goals of making a personal fan canon that has a traditional, mystical definition of the Force, avoids physics anomalies, and skips the worst movies and TV series with bad acting and writing or subpar sound and lighting, here is what I’ve come up with.

First a note on BBY/ABY Notation. In the Star Wars universe, BBY and ABY are chronological markers used to date events relative to the climactic battle in “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” where the Rebel Alliance destroys the first Death Star. BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) marks the years before the Battle of Yavin, and ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) marks the years after the Battle of Yavin.

Core Shinn Canon

The core of my canon are these movies and TV shows:

  1. “Andor” (2022-) – 5 BBY [TV Series]
  2. “Star Wars Rebels” (2014-2018) – 5 BBY to 0 BBY [TV Series]
  3. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016) – 0 BBY [Movie]
  4. “A New Hope (Episode IV)” (1977) – 0 BBY [Movie]
  5. “The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V)” (1980) – 3 ABY [Movie]
  6. “Return of the Jedi (Episode VI)” (1983) – 4 ABY [Movie]

All other movies and TV shows are excluded due to the inconsistencies mentioned above or poor quality. I’ll consider other movies and TV shows to be what amounts to fan fiction.

Expanded Shinn Canon

Expanding the canon a bit to include novels and comics, here is what would also be included in my canon. There are probably other novels I could have included; feel free to drop me a comment to recommend any!

Old Republic Era

Too numerous to list here, from 1993 to 2012 there were a number of comic books released set in the 4000 BBY to 3962 BBY era. I have not read them but based on some research I understand they don’t contradict my canon, so I’ll tentatively leave them on the list.

Rise of the Empire Era

  1. “Andor” (2022-) – 5 BBY [TV Series] (We’ll see if this entry holds after Season 2 drops)
  2. “Star Wars Rebels” (2014-2018) – 5 BBY to 0 BBY [TV Series]
  3. “Thrawn” (2017) – 2 BBY [Novel]

Age of Rebellion

  1. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016) – 0 BBY [Movie]
  2. “A New Hope (Episode IV)” (1977) – 0 BBY [Movie]
  3. “The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V)” (1980) – 3 ABY [Movie]
  4. “Shadows of the Empire” (1996) – 3 ABY [Novel]
  5. “Return of the Jedi (Episode VI)” (1983) – 4 ABY [Movie]

New Republic Era

  1. “Alphabet Squadron” (2019) – 5 ABY [Novel]
  2. “X-Wing: Rogue Squadron” (1996) – 6.5 ABY [Novel]
  3. “X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble” (1996) – 6.5 ABY [Novel]
  4. “X-Wing: The Krytos Trap” (1996) – 6.5 ABY [Novel]
  5. “X-Wing: The Bacta War” (1997) – 6.5 ABY [Novel]
  6. “X-Wing: Wraith Squadron” (1998) – 7 ABY [Novel]
  7. “X-Wing: Iron Fist” (1998) – 7 ABY [Novel]
  8. “X-Wing: Solo Command” (1999) – 7 ABY [Novel]
  9. “Heir to the Empire” (1991) – 9 ABY [Novel]
  10. “Dark Force Rising” (1992) – 9 ABY [Novel]
  11. “The Last Command” (1993) – 9 ABY [Novel]
  12. “The Hand of Thrawn Duology” (1997-1998):
    • “Specter of the Past” (1997) – 19 ABY [Novel]
    • “Vision of the Future” (1998) – 19 ABY [Novel]

One final note about the “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” novel by Alan Dean Foster (1978). This takes place before “The Empire Strikes Back” was released and was overwritten by the events of the next two movies. Given the inconsistency with the movies that followed, I’ve removed it from my canon. At the time I read it back in ’78, I just loved that book though!

 

2 Comments

  1. Jeffrey Webb

    Greetings.

    Damn, we seem to be on the same page in much of what we use as Star Wars canon in our tabletop games. While I had a minor disagreement in your including healing as a “new” Force Power- one could argue Obi-Wan used it to revive Luke to consciousness in Star Wars ’77 – most of what you included is what I would have included.

    What I miss is Star Wars as it existed in about 1989. We had the West End RPG, the original three films, and the Han Solo/Lando novels and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (which I loved as well.) The Marvel comics had some cool ideas, and some very strange ones. But for us, in that moment, with books like the Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, and Imperial Sourcebook, we had a wide open Star Wars universe to play in. Every single detail had not been filled in. Wookieepedia had not given everyone with 3 frames of screen time a six-page backstory. The Clone Wars were not what we got in the prequels. In fact, we only started to get a feel for what they had been as Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy began. We had this huge canvas upon which to put our Star Wars adventures.

    I miss that.

    There have been some stellar additions. The X-Wing series. Rebels. Andor. Rogue One. But the entire amalgam has become more than a little convoluted. I miss the simplicity of Star Wars before it made the huge comeback post-Shadows of the Empire and Thrawn Trilogy.

    My Star Wars RPG canon is the 1st Edition Corebook, The Star Wars Sourcebook, The Rebel Alliance/Imperial Sourcebooks, the original Galaxy Guides, the Rules Companion, and the Han Solo/Corporate Sector Sourcebook.

    • Stan Shinn

      Jeff, your Star Wars RPG canon is one I’d be very happy with at the table! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2024 Dicehaven

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑