Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Star Wars Cartoons Don't Count?

Happy Star Wars Day, everyone! Yes, it's always nice to see geek holidays getting widely accepted and celebrated, even if we still can't use them as a valid reason to take off from work. And, as expected, I will be talking about something related to both Star Wars and animation. Namely, we're here to discuss a strange idea that seems to exist among some fans, that being that the animated contributions to the Star Wars franchise do not matter in the least and should not be considered canon.

"Someone's been taking too many death sticks."

Now, let me start off this with a simple statement: if you think this then you're a fucking idiot. I mean that too and I don't care how much hate mail you send me, as I will stack it among all the others I got for talking about a bad movie about Jesus being beaten to death and for not jerking off Zack Snyder or Frank Cho when they act like spectacular douches. They don't get to hide behind their talent and you certainly don't special treatment when they don't. Star Wars is owned by a company and all of the things bearing the Star Wars name are also owned by them. That company, and no one else, gets to decide what is canon because they own it completely. Now, while I do admit to understanding the complaints fans have regarding the dismissal of all of the previous stuff in the books and some of the games (seriously, make KOTOR canon, Disney) I won't sit and pretend I am allowed to say I know better. That massive expanded universe is a daunting thing to a lot of new fans, so I get them wanting to start a bit fresher after buying the property.

But, I also won't be surprised in zombie Stormtroopers become canon either, because money.
The separation here is that, while the books and games have mostly been slid to the side to exist in an alternate reality all their own (which is fine), things like Clone Wars have not. Clone Wars, for those unfamiliar, was a long running animated series that was actually a sequel to another animated series of the same name that was much shorter. Both of those series were very popular though, fleshing out many characters introduced in the prequels who would never get that chance otherwise. But it also did something beyond that...it made Anakin Skywalker a likable character. I know, I'm still shocked by that too. The basic concept of the series is it follows Anakin and his padawan, Ahsoka Tano, as they lead Clone Troopers into various battles throughout the galaxy. Now, that's getting to another thing many people love about the show: Ahsoka is basically the main character.

A FEMALE LEAD IN SOMETHING STAR WARS?!?!
Long before shitlords were bitching and moaning about Rey or Jyn Erso being thrust into the spotlight, Ahsoka was already there proving that a female padawan could kick major ass and still have enough sass to keep things light in serious situations. She's a great character and it's really easy to see why fans of the show revere her so much. Strong female characters are important in the often male dominated world of geekdom. Not having her sexualized in the series also helps keep the focus on her as a character over her as a fantasy fucktoy to be wanked off to, which is something that sadly ends up happening to many strong female characters. She stayed the primary focus throughout the series because she was the audience's viewpoint character. She came in with a fresh perspective and it;s with that perspective we see the events of the Clone Wars unfold, for the most part. But then, she's not the only eyes we get to see things through.

This series really had no shortage of eyes.
What I personally think is the strongest thing about the series is the Clone Troopers themselves. In the movies, the were basically cannon fodder soldiers who you didn't know anything about besides them being clones of a now dead bounty hunter. The show instead gave us time to get to know many of them, showing that they have names and personalities as distinct as any other living person in the universe. They had individual feelings, desires, and motivations outside of them being soldiers. A major point that is shown is the troopers getting differing hairstyles, facial hair, and tattoos so that they can stand apart. They're not just cannon fodder, they're individuals, and many of them are main characters in these stories. Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan, Plo Koon, and many other Jedi consider these men to be friends and mourn them when they fall. This is important because it is the thing that turns this cartoon from being a simple spin-off meant to sell toys and treats it as a war drama. Decisions have consequences, deaths carry weight, and no one is unimportant. Every life feels like it has value, something that is sadly missing from the movies this ties into.

Probably because it had writers who knew how actual emotions worked.
Since it ended, there was some initial debate over whether it was still canon, as it was created before Disney purchased all things Star Wars. That debate officially stopped having any validity when Disney created their own show though, Star Wars: Rebels, which acts as a sequel series to Clone Wars and features some returning characters from the previous series. But then...why is there still a gaggle of gobshites loose in the world still insisting that the animated series and it's still-going sequel series are not canon and do not matter? Because, sadly, there's no law against outright stupidity just yet. Mickey Mouse himself could materialize into existence with Darth Vader, hold a press conference, and declare that these shows are completely canon and in line with the films, yet there would still be a douchebag rolling his eyes and saying they're wrong. Walt Disney could rise from the grave with a zombie legion that only feeds on people who claim these things aren't official canon and these nards would most likely still be saying this proves how right they are as they die horribly.

Seriously, Disney, make Death Troopers canon.
My point is, assholes and idiots will say and do what they like but it will never make them right. The fact is that the Clone Wars and Rebels shows are canon, no matter however much they might want them not to be, and both are very well done series that have done a lot to expand the brand and fanbase. There's even talk that characters from Rebels will be showing up in the movies, meaning that these shows will so tied into the franchise that they'll be as canon as anything else in the films. I doubt that would shut them up about it, but it would definitely piss them off. I do so love pissing dickbags off. And sure, they can still debate Ewoks and Droids if they want...I'm not really sure why they would, but they could. Really though, there's no actual debate to be had regarding the more recent animated contributions to Star Wars...expect for maybe which you think is better. So, go check them out and enjoy some good animation and solid storytelling. Me? I'm gonna go light some incense a pray to an idol I have erected to get Knights of the Old Republic made canon. Later days, bleeders.

Oh yeah, and Clone Wars made Darth Maul an actual character. Argument over.

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