Marvel vs. Star Wars: Which Approach to Canon is Better?


The cinematic universe mannequin is all the fashion in Hollywood, however solely two studios are actually flourishing due to it: Lucasfilm and Marvel. Surprisingly, the 2 Disney subsidiaries take a really completely different method in terms of managing their respective universes.

When most viewers consider Star Wars or the MCU, they consider films. In actuality, each franchises are way over only a vary of blockbuster movies. The Star Wars canon contains a variety of ongoing tie-in comics, common animated sequence, and even New York Occasions bestselling novels. The MCU contains various official comics too, in addition to a staggering variety of live-action TV reveals. Each cinematic universes are increasing at an unbelievable price, even discounting the flicks; a number of Star Wars comics are launched each single month, whereas Marvel Tv drop new seasons of their reveals all year long.

Associated: A Complete History Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe

This finally signifies that each Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios are confronted with the identical problem; how do they coordinate this content material, and guarantee there is a sense of continuity between all the pieces that is set in the identical universe? Or, to place it extra bluntly, how do they handle the canon?

How Motion pictures Historically Dealt with Expanded Continuity

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There’s nothing new about film tie-ins, whether or not we’re speaking about novelizations that develop upon a movie’s plot, or official comics and books which are ostensibly set in the identical universe. However, on the whole, this sort of content material has been considered as helpful for advertising and marketing functions, or else as simply one other income stream. Few franchises have tried to soak up the opposite mediums into their canon.

There are good causes for that. The primary is {that a} film will likely be watched by way more individuals than decide up any of the tie-ins. Certainly, relying on the advertising and marketing approaches and licenses, the tie-ins could not even be revealed or aired in all of the territories the movie releases in. Meaning it is not smart to tie the completely different mediums collectively too tightly. The tie-ins must be seen as an optionally available additional, one thing that the devoted followers can decide up in the event that they need to proceed having fun with the franchise, fairly than being baked into the continuity. That is why the numerous Star Trek novels are considered as non-canon.

The second cause is that tie-ins can show too restrictive for writers and administrators, particularly when coping with a shared universe mannequin. In a shared universe, all the pieces has a possible affect upon the remainder of the franchise. However the extra issues which are a part of the canon, the extra sophisticated this turns into. It isn’t laborious to think about a state of affairs the place a author’s creativity is inhibited by a plot that occurred in a tie-in comedian revealed a decade in the past – one which’s largely been forgotten by followers. For these two causes, then, movie and TV franchises have historically ignored the expanded continuity… That’s, till Marvel Studios launched the MCU.

Associated: The Shared Universe Craze May Already Be Dying

How The MCU Modified The {Game}

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Marvel takes a two-tier method to the canon. On the one hand, you’ve the flicks themselves, that are anticipated to (largely) work collectively. It is true that there are occasional continuity issues between the movies. Typically they’re the result of a simple mistake, typically they’re as a result of a author or director determined they wanted to do something different. On the whole, although, there is a pretty robust sense of continuity between the flicks, and they are often thought of the very best stage of canon.

Then you’ve the tie-ins, particularly the comics and TV reveals. These are typically known as the broader MCU, so as to differentiate them from the movies. They exist inside the identical world, discover ideas and even characters which have appeared on the large display screen, and continuously reference the flicks, however the relationship solely works a technique. As a result of fewer individuals watch or learn these than go to the field workplace, the flicks themselves ignore these tie-ins. That is why Agent Coulson could have been resurrected in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., however Clark Gregg will not be doing one other cameo in a Marvel film set within the current; so far as the movies are involved, his character would possibly as nicely have stayed lifeless. Followers could not like this, and even the TV actors have protested against it, however by this level it is primarily baked into the design of the shared universe.

However it’s essential to grasp how continuity works when it comes to the broader MCU. The tie-ins are certainly a part of continuity – proper up till the second they don’t seem to be. The movies usually are not restricted in any manner by the TV reveals or comics, so writers and administrators are free to contradict them, successfully eradicating them from the canon at a whim. To this point, that hasn’t occurred notably usually, however because the canon continues to develop it should change into more and more frequent. Final 12 months’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 introduced a really completely different backstory for Nebula to the one seen in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude comedian. There’s already proof that subsequent 12 months’s Captain Marvel will contradict each the identical prelude comedian and the 2009 digital tie-in, Nick Fury: Spies Like Us.

Web page 2 of two: Marvel’s Approach vs. The Star Wars Approach

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