I saw a great post on twitter from Devin Grayson, somewhat ironically a former Batman writer for DC, which got me thinking about our culture in general.
I love this advice. Like what you like, ignore what you don’t. There’s no “canon” that’s for real in anything fiction, as none of it is real. It doesn’t matter that there’s a Star War movie that you don’t like, or that they tell you the Thrawn Trilogy isn’t “real canon.”
The Thrawn trilogy are still great books (much better than any of the movies, including the original) and you’re perfectly allowed to enjoy and care about those more than the movies.
It’s a strange culture we’ve invented as of recent where we look to giant multinational corporations to tell us what is “real” or “not real” in fictional universes. They do this based on US Copyright laws giving them their official licenses to tell stories in the universes — and the copyright laws are manipulated by these same corporations so they can maintain them even when they shouldn’t be able to.
It stifles creativity, because I can’t just go out and sell the Star Wars story I want to… or can I?
What I’ve found, is I’m able to write what I want, change the setting some make it my own, but the creative process can start right there. And in Devin’s case, sometimes she just writes stories directly in said universes that she wants. Maybe she can’t sell them, and I think that’s a travesty of our current system because she should be able to make money for her creations, but it doesn’t make her work less interesting or valid than someone who’s officially hired to do something by the corporation.
But too many people out there only care what the corporation says is official. It’s a mindset thing in our culture and it has to change if we truly want the best experiences both as readers and as writers.
It starts with the readers saying “I’m just going to like what I like, and your definition of official doesn’t matter to me.”
It shouldn’t be that hard to do, should it?