Why Canon Matters


-the works of a particular author or artist that are recognized as genuine.

Be it Star Wars or Harry Potter we always seem to want to know what is or is not canon. What is “real” and what is not in a world that by definition is already “unreal” or fictional is an odd paradox. Nevertheless, it’s one I and many others seem to care passionately about. Why though? Why if Star Wars is a fictional universe do we care if the expanded universe before Disney is no longer a “real” one or not?

One idea is that it’s how stories are told. We need a sense of a plot line, and when it spans multiple books or movies we need the same out of a meta plot line. How does event A lead to event B? This might be true but it lacks the explanation of that deep feeling that something is real or something is not.

But if the world of Lord of the Rings isn’t real by definition then why do we have a feeling it is? Maybe because to us, it is real. When we read a book, watch a movie, or play a game there’s a sense that it’s real even if that’s just inside our minds.

If suddenly our favorite expanded universe book or movie isn’t considered canon anymore then it’s as if those characters died, or worse, never existed. It’s the nature of stories to ignite our imagination and losing that suddenly the world we say is laid bare its mystery lost.

This is why I believe canon is so important for us. It’s so that some part of us can believe that Luke Skywalker did indeed live and exist in a galaxy far far away…