Containing the Canon

The Impact of Disney’s Acquisition on Canonicity in the Star Wars Franchise


  • Shawn Gilmore University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign



Ever since Star Wars became a franchise -- immediately after the release of A New Hope - -there have been a wide variety of efforts to structure, explain, and systematize its ever-expanding narrative universe. Going under various names, including the "Extended Universe," the Star Wars franchise beyond the core films has always been somewhat contentious, both as markers of fan knowledge and as potential for nearly endless corporate profit. What was originally kept in a vast archive of narrative data at Lucasfilm led to a hierarchy of canons and canonicity, which was distributed back to fans via elaborate reference books and contained within Star Wars plots as holocrons kept as lore in Jedi and Sith temples. This paper examines the fate of that canonicity in the wake of the 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney, exploring how various aspects of these already commodified franchise elements have been contained and redeployed as Disney both continued the Skywalker saga of films and elaborated the Star Wars franchise in new ways.




How to Cite

Gilmore, S. (2023). Containing the Canon: The Impact of Disney’s Acquisition on Canonicity in the Star Wars Franchise. Unbound: A Journal of Digital Scholarship, 3(1), 40–45.