Star Wars: The Bad Batch officially has its first week of episodes in the books, but, as always, the new content comes with controversy.
The extended premiere for the series opened with a sequence on Kaller, in which Star Wars fans once again saw the tragic outcome of Order 66. In this case, the victims of the clones' betrayal were Jedi Master Depa Billaba and her Padawan Caleb Dume, who survived and went on to become the man Rebels fans know as Kanan Jarrus.
While the young Jedi's cameo came as a surprise, what was more striking was the manner in which the events transpired. The sequence in The Bad Batch is nearly a complete re-imagining of the Order 66 experience Caleb goes through in the Marvel story Kanan, retconning that portion of the comic entirely.
This move is yet another in an increasing list of retcons under the current canon umbrella and, given the confusion, a Lucasfilm executive has weighed in on the matter...
PABLO HIDALGO SHARES PERSPECTIVE ON STAR WARS CANON
Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo recently gave his thoughts on how to view canon, likening it to a "history textbook:"
"If you want, one way to square this circle is the history textbook version of events “persons X and Y where on planet B when A occurred” is the canon; a fictional expression of it is potentially dramatized and embellished for its medium. Your space mileage may vary."
Hidalgo's comments come from his Tweet below:
If you want, one way to square this circle is the history textbook version of events “persons X and Y where on planet B when A occurred” is the canon; a fictional expression of it is potentially dramatized and embellished for its medium. Your space mileage may vary. https://t.co/ZBuJ0OB7v9— Pablo Hidalgo (@pabl0hidalgo) May 7, 2021
ALWAYS IN MOTION IS THE FUTURE OF STAR WARS
Hidalgo's input is much appreciated, as the retcon in The Bad Batch has led to a great deal of confusion and aggravation for fans of the novels and comics.
Something that was mentioned once when reports were made on the series' executive producer's comments on the matter and should be reiterated is that some stories told in the publishing realm were done so before their live-action and animated counterparts. This issue extends much further back than the retconning of Kanan as there have been several other instances of similar things transpiring in the canon.
Dave Filoni didn't know he'd have the opportunity to complete The Clone Wars or create The Bad Batch, so the retcons done to both the young adult novel, Ahsoka, and Marvel's Kanan are the result of an unforeseen opportunity presented to the creator. Some changes are minor, like the colors of lightsaber blades or clone armor, and others are far more significant, such as The Bad Batch's Order 66 sequence in question.
While Hidalgo's comments highlight a way that the canon can be viewed in order for fans to make sense of changes, there seems to be an element of an unreliable narrator's perspective being what justifies inconsistencies. In this sense, it seems that Lucasfilm is shooting itself in the foot as one of the major selling points on the new canon was that no such inconsistencies would exist, as had been so prominent in the Legends material.
Ultimately, the decision to make changes to the story lies in the hands of the creators. The Story Group's job is to help storytellers create their content in the manner that best fits the continuity possible, but they don't create the stories, nor do they have much veto power over the creative leads when a retcon is proposed.
Caleb's backstory being altered is certainly cause for irritation for those who enjoyed Kanan and track the continuity, but in the grand scheme of things, it changes little overall.
The latest retcon in an ever-growing list may be frustrating for many of the hardcore fans, but The Bad Batch is off to a fantastic start, and it's best to move on and enjoy the ride.