The pros and cons of Star Wars crossovers

It’s hard to make a compelling Star Wars story when stuck with creative limitations

We’ve recently learned the release dates for the High Republic series of novels have been delayed. One thing I found interesting about the official Star Wars site’s description of the era was this:

This period on the Star Wars timeline will not overlap any filmed or planned Star Wars movies or series, giving creators a blank canvas and a vast amount of creative room. There will be new worlds, new foes, new heroes, and new adventures.

At first I was disappointed: no crossovers or tie-ins to upcoming stories? One of the things I loved most about Star Wars was the intricate continuity that would build on itself in real time. But after thinking it through, a lack of direct connectivity to other Star Wars material might just be the High Republic’s greatest strength.

Star Wars canon has always been a mixed bag at best

Oftentimes in continuity-crazed universes such as Star Wars, it’s hard for writers to resist the temptation of throwing in not just Easter Eggs and references to random other stories, but also major characters and settings and the like. The sequel trilogy itself tried to have each film tie into a series of novels and comics that would give tantalizing hints towards the (then) upcoming films and their characters, locations, and plot devices, to varying degrees of success.

Canon as a whole has been hit or miss with regards to continuity: while Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel served as a delightful prequel to Rogue One that expanded on its characters and featured many tie-ins to previous novels and series, The Rise of Skywalker retconned enormous amounts of previously established material, from Palpatine’s death to Poe’s backstory to Snoke’s origins.

The trouble with major crossovers is that you constantly have to make sure that you aren’t accidentally crossing lines that contradict other stories. Resistance Reborn doesn’t contradict The Rise of Skywalker, but that’s because it does very little to set up the film in the first place, in spite of the novel’s marketing.

In fact, there’s a marked dearth of canon material that expands on the world-building (or lack thereof) of the sequel trilogy. There was Bloodline and the Aftermath trilogy, but the latter was decades removed from the sequel trilogy’s actual events, and the former didn’t have any actual impact on Episodes VIII or IX.

Of course, when pulled off well, crossovers can serve to elicit fan commendation and make the universe more cohesive. I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of the Darksaber in The Mandalorian, for instance. And the news that Season 2 might feature Aftermath character Cobb Vanth could actually present an engaging story if pulled off well, along with being the first onscreen reference to the Aftermath trilogy that wasn’t actually one-sided.

But then again, the show’s probably already getting too crowded.

Next: Thrawn Ascendancy gets a September release date

How well do you think Star Wars canon has been handling continuity so far?