Today, we bring you a treat: an exclusive interview with three content creators for StarWars.com and Lucasfilm Ltd. See what they have to say about the opportunity to write for the Star Wars universe, and get an insider’s look at the “Canon vs. Legends” issue and more, after the jump…
Courtesy of our staff member, Trevor, we bring you the following interview from three of LFL’s content creators (fellow Star Wars fans, each one of them.) All three are key players in the Belgian Star Wars fanclub, TeeKay-421. Kevin Beentjes is an administrator for Yodapedia, the Dutch Star Wars Wikia, and has been contributing to StarWars.com since 2013. Tim Veekhoven, TeeKay-421’s president and co-founder, also works on Yodapedia and writes for StarWars.com. Sander De Lange has worked with Leland Chee on content for the Star Wars Insider and is a co-administrator for the Star Wars Sourcebooks page on Facebook.
And now, without further ado… take it away, gentlemen!
1. Have any of you had any input and/or been asked by LFL/Disney for new content for the new canon?
Kevin Beentjes: First of all, let’s get this difficult discussion about the “canon” over with. What is “canon” and what is “Legends” is seen too black and white by many. For me personally, it means that certain storylines are no longer canon, as for me a canon is a recounting of historical events. Names of planets, species and starships, as well as background information for such topics I see separately. We all know that the story after Return of the Jedi will change, but with the exception of something like Moraband, not much has really changed beside storylines in the “new canon”. And even then, a different name for a planet is not something new, as we already knew Korriban before as “Horuset I” and “Pesegam”. That being said, creating new content for the new canon is now in the hands of authors who write the books and comics. For the articles on StarWars.com, we mostly stick to what is already out there. If there is something we want to connect, it’s always with official approval. One example is that in one of the articles I’ve linked the Dazouri species to the planet Gibbela.
Tim Veekhoven: Yep, just want to add that the canon issue is really so uncertain right now that we might be adding something today that will be canon tomorrow.
2. Will you have any involvement with any upcoming movies or series?
KB: I think I can speak for the three of us, and say we are not in any way involved in the creation of upcoming movies and television series. The only thing we can do at this point is include information that’s been released through official channels into our articles.
3. Any idea if there is a plan to incorporate more Legends content into canon eventually as rumors have stated?
KB: This connects to what I have explained in the answer to the first question. You may also want to note that novels that have been published and will be published around this time each have a “canon timeline” or a “legends timeline” included. Careful study of these timelines show only novels, there is no word on the status of sourcebooks for example. Anyone who reads the RPG books by Fantasy Flight Games might have noticed the Story Group is mentioned in the credits. Also, reading through the new Fact Files might give a good indication of what is happening. They’ve recently started adding Expanded Universe content into the magazine, but the article about A’sharad Hett stops at the end of the Clone Wars, stating that he was most likely killed when Darth Vader hunted down the remaining Jedi. This fits with the new canon, where there is probably not a Darth Krayt. Again, this is my own interpretation of it. We are not privy to any inside information at this moment, but I do suspect we may start seeing a better integration of canon and EU in the future.
TV: The Build the Millennium Falcon Magazine of DeAgostini is written from an in-universe point of view, right after the events of Return of the Jedi. So it deliberately avoids the former post-RotJ Expanded Universe, but includes and combines previous source information. And Legends has been turned into canon from the moment the decision was made. But the old post-Endor Expanded Universe is beyond repair for inclusion into canon. The earliest post- RotJ stories could have been salvaged, but we now know they won’t.
4. Are you aware of any Legends material that definitely will become Canon?
TV: No, it all depends on what information authors want to use.
5. How does it feel to know that you create content for a fictional universe that so many millions admire?
Sander De Lange: It feels absolutely amazing and quite surreal. I recently spoke with someone from FFG about our new found status as an official and how weird it would be to walk around an official SW convention like Celebration, knowing what we did. I have the same with fans adding me on their Facebook, it is nice but a bit strange because I consider myself a fan first, despite having written Rogues Gallery entries with Kevin and Tim, or articles on the official Star Wars website.
KB: It’s one of the best things that have happened to me, and I am very thankful of Tim to include me in the Rogues Gallery series we were allowed to do for four issues of Insider. After that I was able to contribute to a series of blogs together with Tim, and have started writing solo last year. It’s funny to see how you indeed get these Facebook requests by other fans, as well as someone granting me a page on Wookieepedia.
TV: It’s fantastic and something out of a dream. But still, you got to stay awake, for the dream can be gone if you wake up. Sander, Kevin and myself all non-native English speakers and we’re from relative small countries in the world, but I’m very proud that we’re all part of TeeKay-421, the Belgian Star Wars fanclub, which I co-founded in 1997. I’ve been writing about Star Wars since the nineties so it’s great to share your writings through official channels and publications.
6. When you create SW historical content for characters, where do you draw that information from and what are the guidelines and limitations that you work by?
KB: All the historical content and background stories come from official publications, be it the former Expanded Universe, the new canon or one of the many sourcebooks or RPG game books. As long as we don’t write about stuff that’s obviously legends as if it were still “real” (someone’s role in the New Republic, or things that happened during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion for example), there are not that many limitations.
TV: Like Kevin says, existing information needs to come from officially published source material. When I created new lore for characters, ‘Rogues Gallery’ for example, I used my experience of reading Star Wars sourcebooks again and again. I had a special booklet during “What’s the Story” with names I wrote down whenever I encountered something that was interesting or obscure. Of course there are always personal inspirations. I’ve added things from ‘Masters of the Universe’ to ‘Final Fantasy’ in the lore I created. The only guideline I ever got was that the name of a character could not be linked to any existing person.
SdL: Besides the guidelines and limitations mentioned above, I recall that when Tim and I wrote for Whats the Story (a contest held on the official website’s Hyperspace section in which you got to create official backstories for background characters) that there was a word- limit as well next to that you had to use what little information was known and given about said background character. The fun was that at some point many of our group started to tie characters that someone else had won with to whatever new character we had to write about. Which to me was a creative freedom we had then, and what we have to this day when we were able to suggest our own themes/group shots to cover for the Rogues Gallery and ideas for articles on the official website. The only limitation to writing for the website is that we are not allowed to add new information to the articles, but even that has happened when it was done in good harmony and discussion with Leland Chee, which resulted in Tim and myself adding more information about the Odupiendo and Kevin with the Dazouri species. Usually when I started with a new character background for Whats The Story, or for Rogues Gallery, I would look to existing characters who had no face and who could be connected to the unnamed person we had to name and then expand on what is known. There is a danger in retconning for the sake of retconning, but it is rewarding when you able to both connect and expand on an existing character. Which is why my entry for Niai Fieso (trough Whats the Story) and Bialar Selis (Rogues Gallery) remain among my favorite work with their mix of connections, retcons and expanding.
7. Do you have any ideas (more than the typical fan) at this time as to who the TFA characters are?
KB: No, we don’t. And I don’t think I would want to. I would really like to see Episode VII without knowing where it will all lead, although some things may be predictable without even knowing all the spoilers.
SdL: I know even less than the typical fan because I do not follow every spoiler.
TV: I guess it depends on how well you have followed the spoilers so far and if the spoilers are true. I don’t know anything more about TFA than what I’ve been able to read in the spoilers.
(TO BE CONTINUED…)