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Star Wars VS Debating in 2022 - Canon and Considerations 1.0 Empty Star Wars VS Debating in 2022 - Canon and Considerations 1.0

August 15th 2021, 1:54 am
Message reputation : 100% (6 votes)
You are reading version 1.0 of "Canon and Considerations" (CC), my proposal for a new Star Wars versus debating meta to supplant the generally accepted "Shedding Limitations" (SL) debating meta used across 2021. Special thanks to KingofBlades, The Ellimist, Azronger, DarthSkywalker0, XSupremeSkillz, Praxis, and Franklin Richards for directly or indirectly helping shape this. Emphasis on this being version 1.0 because I expect significant reworks after community discussions. 


In the past, Star Wars versus debaters have generally either been overly optimistic or willfully ignorant of the actual official policies regulating the Star Wars Legends continuity. As DarthSkywalker0 and others have pointed out time and time again, and despite incessant efforts by some like myself to reason one's way to the contrary, maximizing adherence to 'canon truth' is fundamentally incompatible with debating itself. If Lucasfilm were tasked to reveal the 'canon truth' and release their standing 2021 Star Wars Legends power-level rankings, us merely looking at a casual fan's rankings in the YouTube comments section would reasonably be a far better predictor of their output than radical devotion to every statement and statistic found in obscure foreign kids magazines or the the complex theories and arguments sprawled throughout our forum and server. For one, as will be repeated and further detailed later, Lucasfilm neither even has power-level rankings nor recognizes virtually any power-level commentary as canonically binding anyway. And for two, as The Ellimist put aptly, how can there be expectation that Lucasfilm officials like Leland Chee or Pablo Hidalgo -- who probably know as much in an applied sense as a mid-rate debater -- would independently 're-discover' or replicate any of our more advanced creative appeals? Content like XSupremeSkillz's Tenebrae-balloon theory or Azronger's Palpatine-body-cap theory, or even perhaps a simple Darth Caedus fight analysis by DC77 or Greysentinel365, would be beyond Lucasfilm's scope. Indeed, we would need to be actively dumbing ourselves down to their expected level of depth.

Accordingly, starting assumptions must be made for this hobby to even work. Although any debating model beyond an anarchic and nihilistic approach generated from the aforementioned can be thought of as subjective, I believe the intersection point between attention to 'canon truth' and attention to the inextricable traditions of the Star Wars versus debating hobby is the most obvious, reasonable, and defensible hill to build our city upon. The fact we review and want to review sourcebooks, encyclopedias, articles, etc. means the 'canon truth' definition of 'what Lucasfilm thinks as-is' must be changed to 'what Lucasfilm would think after first reviewing and considering all existing sources.' And the fact we cherish and promote our community's unrivaled debating complexity means 'what Lucasfilm officials like Leland Chee and Pablo Hidalgo would think' must be changed to something along the lines of 'what an optimally rational, calculating, and intelligent Lucasfilm would think.' Furthermore, there exists two non-fandom models defining the framework and root authority of 'canon truth' to acknowledge and choose between: Lucasfilm Licensing (LFL)'s views of canonicity within the Star Wars Expanded Universe from inception until its 25 April 2014 destruction and reworking under the Star Wars Legends banner, or the Star Wars Story Group' views of canonicity for Legends. However, there exists no actual policies for Legends, meaning all content -- including previously non-canon content like Star Wars Lego or dark-side endings -- are of equal (and no) value (Leland Chee) . Leland Chee even rejects the notion of a Legends continuity itself (link) . Accordingly, given Legends' definitional absence of 'canon truth' or even the barest hierarchization or reconciliation policies needed for discussion of any meaningful depth and direction, we must assume LFL's prior conception of Expanded Universe is still operational, in place of the Legends 'continuity' and parallel to the 'Disney canon' continuity. These three basic assumptions are a good starting point, but the definition of 'canon truth' must undergo further reworking in section III before codifying.


Before 25 April 2014, Star Wars was split between two universes: George Lucas' universe -- comprising of the films, screenplays, and The Clone Wars 2008 film and TV show -- and the Lucasfilm Licensing (LFL) universe -- which includes, creates, and maintains a sprawling multi-media Star Wars Expanded Universe. (Recall that our debating history and model concerns the LFL universe.) Contrary to common fan belief, and even despite Lucas' lack of involvement or knowledge of most Expanded Universe affairs, the LFL universe is generally beholden to Lucas' universe and whims. That is, explicitly per Leland Chee, the LFL universe "is definitely beholden to Lucas' vision" (link) , "must follow certain tenets set by George through the films and other guidelines that he provides outside of the films" (link) , "is bound by directives from George Lucas" (link) , "would have to bend to fit George's current vision" (link) , etc. Indeed, "as always, a story line direct from George Lucas trumps publishing continuity" (Essential Reader's Companion) . Testament to this is how 1997's Visions of the Future novelization made reference to Yoda fighting a Bpfasshi Dark Jedi on Dagobah during the Clone Wars. However, the Revenge of the Sith script states Yoda "surveys the unfamiliar terrain" after arriving on Dagobah, so LFL deemed all references to Yoda on Dagobah in Visions to be simply non-canon -- even despite the fact it destroyed the backstory of the novel's central character, Jorj Car'das. This was only reconciled later by pushing the events back until after Revenge of the Sith. However, LFL does have authority to regulate what is and isn't a part of their universe and, in exceptional circumstances, have even restricted Lucas positions strictly to his own universe, generally first with Lucas' permission. For example, although Lucas' universe holds Boba Fett died in the Sarlaac and Palpatine never returned as a clone, the LFL universe does -- but only after Lucas signed off and approved of such happenings there.

So, what does 'canon' mean to the LFL universe? For starters, Keeper of the Holocron Leland Chee considers "anything that has the LFL copyright" as "official" (link) . 'Canon', though... 'canon' is a bit messy because LFL has (unknowingly?) fleshed out two distinct thresholds for it. 

Canon¹, seemingly analogous to "official," refers to any source that is both published by LFL and approved by LFL (generally via a LFL editor). 

Canon², analogous to "continuity" (Sue Rostini) , refers to any source that satisfies the definition of canon¹, prevails through LFL's hierarchization (Leland Chee's Holocron database's "canon hierarchy" and other rulings) and case-by-case review of sources, and is ultimately regarded as within the "continuous and unified history of the Star Wars galaxy" (Sue Rostini) and as "the accepted truth of the galaxy" (Leland Chee)

Emphasis on both definitions of canon, or at least the distinction between official content and canon² content. Take Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi fighting Dooku in the Revenge of the Sith novelization, for example. Even though most of that fight is hierarchized as non-canon² due to contradictions with the film (again, canon² = continuity), it's still... official Star Wars. It's not just fan-fiction. It's not just nothing. This importance will be fleshed out further in section III. 

Implicit in the term "continuity", and explicit in LFL statements, is that LFL officials and authors alike must be generally beholden to what is 'canon'. More specifically, beholden to what is classified as G-Canon, T-Canon, and C-Canon content. A new source is not permitted to ignore and contradict an existing G/T/C-canon event, and if it does so, LFL officials are tasked to remedy the conflict via retcon or reconcile to preserve the continuity (example) . Unsurprisingly, "C-Canon" itself actually stands for "Continuity Canon." S-Canon, which includes gameplay statistics and video gameplay mechanics, is different, however. S-Canon content is "not conclusive" and future authors "can use or disregard such material however they saw fit" (Leland Chee) . (Note that I expect immediate readers of the blog to be generally familiar with the canon hierarchy, but I will either update this blog at a later date with more details on all the levels and sub-levels or write a "Star Wars Debating 101" blog including it.)


Virtually all power-level commentary and extrapolations are functionally S-Canon. That is, LFL officials have neither expectation nor anticipation for future authors to beholden themselves to prior official power-level indications. LFL does not record power-levels in the Holocron database system. LFL does not advise or change power-levels in upcoming sources (indeed, they give authors total freedom on dictating the power-levels of their work). LFL does not even believe power-levels can be truly "attained or measured" in the first place. LFL regards power-level statements as "for marketing purposes" or "colorful prose for a book" and power-level statistics as "for gameplay purposes only," emphasizing that books should not be "artificially limited" by such. As to how this works, look no further than sourcebooks. The 2001 Dark Side Sourcebook is 'default' C-Canon but all gameplay statistics within are S-Canon. Likewise, all power-level statements within are also definitionally S-Canon as future authors are free to ignore whatever they want. Again, if power-level statements were C-Canon, LFL would record them, consider them binding as-is, and mandate future authors to adjust to them. They do not. Simply put, the conception of 'statements binds' like "Darth Wyyrlok is canonically more powerful than Darth Nihl because he is stated to be such" is incompatible with LFL. Of course, I recognize the gravity of this charge. 'Statement binds' have become the cornerstone of Star Wars versus debating since the establishment of the Coalition of Darkness in 2015 and the rise of Azrongerism in 2016 -- the fuel that motivated and pressured brigades and debaters into an endless search for a killing blow. And though our powers and knowledge have multiplied a hundred-fold thanks to it, to advance further we must shed this final illusion. 


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The three basic assumptions from section 1, informed by section 2 and the above paragraph, can be thought of as steering our Star Wars versus debating hobby to the pursuit of predicting, effectively, the output of a super intelligence that created power-level rankings after reviewing all LFL sources within LFL's known canon² framework. The issue with that alone is it's not reviewing anything outside of what is canon² or continuity. Indeed, this definition has divorced itself from 'LFL intent' itself. There's no room for holistic, authorial, or source veracity considerations, general plausibility, even (again) the Revenge of the Sith novelization or The Phantom Menace video game fight depictions. The mechanical, black-and-white output of such without external guidance and reference could potentially yield results far deviant from the most basic intuitions, observations, or common sense -- far deviant from imperfect-alone but conceptually related metrics like 'what would LFL think as-is' or "what would LFL do if they produced a new source about it.' It is challenging to combine this multi-variable 'LFL intent' with the standing definition's 'LFL facts.' Prioritization of 'LFL intent' would lead to an increasing focus on meta arguments, author interviews, perhaps even poll sampling of casual fan opinions. Prioritization of 'LFL facts' would continue the current trend of increasingly complex analysis of feats, statements, statistics, etc. and debating foreign communities. Circling back to my preface of finding "the intersection point between attention to 'canon truth' and attention to the inextricable traditions of the Star Wars versus debating hobby," tailoring 'canon truth' foremost to 'LFL facts' and secondarily to 'LFL intent' seems self-evident. Put simply, most debaters would probably quit if we did it the other way. Accordingly, I propose a tentative definition of 'canon truth' as... 'the output of an omniscient LFL that created power-level rankings after reviewing all canon¹ LFL sources, with adherence to LFL's known canon² framework, then adjusted within the ranges of uncertainty by the actual LFL directed to review all canon¹ LFL sources and then make official power-level rankings.' *Phew* OK, I understand that's long-winded, and I'm sure The Ellimist could word it better, but I hope it makes more sense after we break it down. 

the output of an omniscient LFL → As explained already, we need an optimally rational, calculating, and intelligent LFL here. The actual LFL officials aren't on our level. 

that created power-level rankings after reviewing all canon¹/official LFL sources → Suppose this omniscient LFL runs through every LFL source and ranks characters without any intent considerations.

, with adherence to LFL's known canon²/continuity framework → The omniscient LFL then structures these rankings using LFL policies like the Holocron canon hierarchy, meaning G-Canon takes precedent over C-Canon, etc. 

, then adjusted within the ranges of uncertainty → Even an omniscient LFL could not pinpoint the exact power-level for most characters. There's just not enough data. There would exist a range across which the character's power-level is optimally found. For example, most people believe Darish Vol ranks somewhere between Darth Maul and Return of the Jedi Palpatine, but no one really knows exactly where. 

by the actual LFL directed to review all canon¹/official LFL sources and then make official power-level rankings → This time, actual LFL officials runs through every LFL source and makes adjustments across the range of uncertainty. This allows for the interjection of 'LFL intent' into the equation. 

Put simply, 'canon truth' is the combination of 'LFL facts' and 'LFL intent' with the prioritization of the former. It wouldn't surprise me if this definition is the most controversial part of the blog or if a superior definition presents itself in the coming days/weeks, although I expect any final definition to still be proximate to this one. 


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Suppose the omniscient LFL is scanning back through all LFL sources, adjusting its power-level rankings as it goes. Whenever it comes across a power-level statement or statistic, it should pause in consideration toward it. If it had a mouth, it would say, "Interesting." LFL can take it or leave it, but that's different from a fandom statement or statistic that would never be interjected into the model to potentially alter its results in the first place. Note that I especially like the word 'consideration' when conceptualizing this concept. When I say that "a power-level position has consideration," I mean that a power-level position has some probability of being accepted, rejected, or somewhere in-between. It has potential value, but it doesn't necessarily have value, and it certainly doesn't have absolute value. Obviously, the more instances a power-levels position is repeated, the greater its consideration. Given our definition of 'canon truth' includes 'LFL intent' (incl. e.g. again, "holistic and authorial considerations, general plausibility, source veracity scrutiny, etc."), a sort of consideration will be made to all sorts of intangibles, too, the intensity by which is determined case-by-case. For example, it follows the consideration toward a power-level statement would differ depending on if there are no exceptions/contradictions, just a few contradictions, or a litany of contradictions. Altogether, every power-level indicator -- be it 'LFL fact' or 'LFL intent' -- can be thought of as a point on a graph, with the weight toward every point being influenced both by its own merits and with its uniformity or lack thereof with all the surrounding points. 

And there's Shedding Limitations, which refers to both the core debating tenet that power-level statements are not binding to future authors and content and to a broader multi-layered debating model. Said core debating tenet is indeed true, but it's true across the board. And as the debating model was developed assuming 'statement binds' are true -- and they are not -- it requires an overhaul. Under this revised debating model, given power-level position should still enjoy distinctively less consideration over a future source than a prior source. Suppose a 1999 source states, "Darth Maul is more powerful than any ancient Sith." The level of consideration that would have over Darth Maul versus Darth Malak (created in 2003) is distinctively less than for Naga Sadow (created in 1993). This dynamic is both intuitively apparent with consideration to 'LFL intent' and a repeatedly stated component of the LFL's canon² framework anyway, with LFL official Bill Slavicsek stating, "There was no way we could have included characters that had no yet been created when we wrote the Dark Side Sourcebook," when asked if power-level statements within 2001's Dark Side Sourcebook should be considered to include characters created afterwards (link) ; LFL's "ambassador" and "official representative" Steve Sansweet stating even in-universe omniscient sources like 2008's The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia "just speak as to the knowledge as of 2008" (link) ; and Keeper of the Holocron Leland Chee's repeatedly explaining that canon is constantly evolving (link) and newer material is more canon than older material (link) . However, to emphasize for clarity, that is not to say power-level statements have no consideration over a future source. The exact consideration, though relatively low, would again need to be determined case-by-case.


Last edited by DarthAnt66 on August 16th 2021, 3:56 pm; edited 4 times in total
Reynard (Ethanion)
Reynard (Ethanion)

Star Wars VS Debating in 2022 - Canon and Considerations 1.0 Empty Re: Star Wars VS Debating in 2022 - Canon and Considerations 1.0

August 16th 2021, 12:02 am
True utility.
Freedon Nadd
Freedon Nadd

Star Wars VS Debating in 2022 - Canon and Considerations 1.0 Empty Re: Star Wars VS Debating in 2022 - Canon and Considerations 1.0

August 16th 2021, 3:26 pm
Message reputation : 100% (2 votes)
You can't make versus's and use source statements if they are obsolete. Star Wars is literature. It ain't maths.
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Star Wars VS Debating in 2022 - Canon and Considerations 1.0 Empty Re: Star Wars VS Debating in 2022 - Canon and Considerations 1.0

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