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While recently reading the 1976 novelization of Star Wars penned by none other than George Lucas himself, I have found that there are several inconsistences between the novel and the 1977 version of Star Wars and some additions that were included in the 1997 version of Star Wars: A New Hope. While I know that the movies basically trump anything written in a book, I was wondering about this certain occasion. The novel is written by George Lucas, and the screen play is by him also; if (and there are) parts which are different from each other, which one is actually considered canon?

marked as duplicate by Valorum May 3 '15 at 8:20

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    Is it worth pointing out that Alan Dean Foster ghost-wrote the 1976 Star Wars novelisation (which would immediately explain the inconsistencies)? – Valorum Jul 14 '14 at 0:49
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    @Richard the explanation for the inconsistencies is actually that the book was written before the screenplay was complete, not necessarily because it happend to be ghostwritten by ADF. – Mr Lister Jul 14 '14 at 12:58
  • @MrLister - Potayto, potahto... – Valorum Jul 14 '14 at 18:46
  • The answer is (now) that neither are canon. See dupe match. – Valorum May 3 '15 at 8:21
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According to George Lucas himself - and bear in mind, with Lucasfilm now owned by Disney, all of this is subject to changes - everything in a film screenplay or novelisation is considered canon; unless it contradicts something on-screen. This includes situations where he is responsible for both the film and the novelisation. There are contradictions that Lucas has never directly fixed, however, particularly regarding differences between the original films and later revisions, such as the infamous Han shot first incident.

G-canon is George Lucas canon: Considered absolute canon, it includes Episodes I–VI (the most recently released versions) and the upcoming Episodes VII–IX feature films, the animated film, and any statements by George Lucas (including unpublished production notes from him or his production department that are never seen by the public). Elements originating with Lucas in the scripts, filmed deleted scenes, movie novelizations, reference books, radio plays, and other primary sources are also G-canon when not in contradiction with the released films. G-canon overrides the lower levels of canon when there is a contradiction.

I'll offer a few examples. In the novelisation of Revenge of the Sith, written by Matt Stover (but with Lucas's input, as was the case with all film novelisations), the newly-christened Darth Vader and his master, Sidious, sit down and have a polite discussion about the plans for their new Empire, and the best way to eliminate the Jedi. There was not enough time to include this scene in the film, so it was cut, but as there is nothing on-screen which contradicts it, it is considered canon.

In the novelisation to A New Hope, however, there is a scene where General Moradmin Bast speaks to Grand Moff Tarkin:

Bast: Sir, I've analysed their attack plan and there is a danger. Shall I have your shuttle standing by?

Tarkin: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.

This scene appears in the film. There is a difference, however, in what happens next. In the novelisation, Bast, having correctly deduced that the Rebels are capable of destroying the Death Star, sprints from the bridge/ command centre, presumably to take a shuttle for himself. In the film, on the other hand, Bast can be seen in the background, operation a console just seconds before the Death Star explodes. Since the text in the novelisation directly contradicts something that appears on-screen, the film takes precedence.

There are many different rules regarding Star Wars canon, which you can find here. As I said, all of this is now subject to change given the franchise's new ownership.

  • I think i remember some news that was released saying that everything that was canon before Disney bought the Star Wars IP is not apart of the new canon of their work, as such unless Disney says otherwise, all Star Wars Works mean zip interns of the new canon (like the Simpsons Star Wars Parody intro that says that some sort of time paradox made it so that the first 3 films never happened) – Memor-X Jul 14 '14 at 0:26
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    @Memor-X - It's a bit more nuanced than that - there is a line of demarcation - those things pre-Ep III are still canon, while those after Ep-III, excluding films, may or may not be (most are not). However, those works released after a certain date (IIRC, April 24, 2014), are canon. They haven't yet made a clear canon structure, however, so things could change. – The Fallen Jul 14 '14 at 0:58
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    I prefer to think of the complete canon being only Episodes IV-VI ;) – curiousdannii Jul 14 '14 at 10:22
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    That, and George seemed to change his mind... a lot. – BBlake Jul 14 '14 at 16:08
  • @BBlake: Bingo. He also has a rather pathological tendency to lie about easily verifiable facts, such as his statement that he always intended for Greedo to shoot first, despite the fact that there is literally no mention of Greedo shooting at all in any script, novelisation, screenplay, or handwritten note, until the Special Edition was released. Then there's his gem about how he originally planned the whole trilogy to be one film, despite his screenplays being fairly consistent in not doing that from start to finish. He should enter politics. – James Sheridan Jul 15 '14 at 0:53

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