Star Wars found my heart at a strange time. It was 2013, Disney had bought the franchise, and soon the universe would be thrown into turmoil. In 2014, the Extended Universe outside of the movies and the cartoon Clone Wars would be moved under the title of Legends, everything going forward would be the new canonical universe. Characters who had been around for decades now would be wiped from the board, the vague lines of canon being tightened up under a new Star Wars. Everything was in upheaval. Obi-wan is still there, so limbs are probably going missing! The Stars and Wars were falling! What were we to do??
Jump in Stardusters, I’m about to take you on a trip through the multiverse.
The Multiverse is an idea very near and dear to my heart, and not just because I watched a lot of Sliders and Quantum Leap as a kid. It’s a concept that also features heavily in comics. There are different ways you can achieve a multiverse but the basics concept is that, well, there are multiple universes. These universes can often have things in common while also being very different. These universes can share characters while having unique characters to their circumstances. They can run for a long time or a short while, but their length does not make them more or less valid as a universe.
And the best thing about the multiverse is that it’s not an either/or situation. Instead it becomes a situation of “wait, which one am I in right now?”
The multiverse has so many benefits for how to view the divide, because the divide disappears. Both exist simultaneously and thus nothing is erased, nothing is lost, and in fact they can inform each other. The definition of what constitutes “canon” becomes malleable, because one of the greatest things about the multiverse is that when something happens in one, well, it can change the other.
My favorite example of this is Miles Morales from the Marvel universe. For those who don’t know Miles I highly recommend watching Into the Spiderverse which explains the multiverse better than I ever could, with a sick soundtrack to beat. Miles originated in the Ultimates Universe, a separate universe from the main Marvel comics universe (designation 616 for those who are curious). I could go on about my opinions of Ultimates, but two amazing things came from it. One was the fact that Nick Fury now looked like Samuel L. Jackson instead of David Hasselhoff (and carrying this over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe was pure brilliance) but the second was the creation of Miles. He was Spiderman. He wasn’t Peter Parker, but he was inspired by Peter. He was someone new, someone different, and he is my personal Spiderman. This allowed for Spiderman stories that were completely different from what could have played out with Peter, adding more texture and depth to what was possible for Spiderman.
But the coolest thing about Miles? He’s now in the main 616 universe! Because of comics shenanigans, Miles is in both universes, and he is still Miles. But with the different universe, different surroundings, his stories can change.
Just like a certain blue guy in an imperial uniform… come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Miles and Thrawn in the same room?
My favorite thing about the multiverse though? The idea that in the future we can experiment with “What If’s.” Scenarios that don’t fit in either Disney or Legends but are instead their own little bubble universes. The world between worlds we discovered in Star Wars Rebels opens this up. Windows into time, windows into the force, of what could be, what has been, and what still is from a certain point of view.
This lets creators have the canonical ability to create one-off universes. What if Vader succeeded in turning Luke? What if Padmé had figured out Palpatine and HAD turned against Anakin? What if Darth Jar Jar WAS A THING?!
All adaptations of a character are valid. They are as real to their specific universe as any other, and thus valid within Star Wars. Different iterations might lean on different traits more than others, but as my beloved Batmite would say it doesn’t make them less valid than other interpretations.
The force is always in motion. All options exist. So why not let them? Why not both? Why not ALL? Think of not just canon but the fanfic potential! Not that I haven’t already plotted out a “Jaina meets Rey” fic due to some collision in the world between worlds, because how beautiful would that be? After all, I think we’ve earned the treat.
At its core, the reason why I love the multiverse is because it gives me more to love. I don’t want to be bound to just one interpretation, I want to be greedy and get to live in every single universe that’s offered up to me. And that’s what works for me. Not everyone feels the same way and that’s valid. However at the end of it all, we all love Star Wars, no matter how many universes there are.
So you can join me on my trip through the multiverse, or you can pick and choose. Whatever brings you peace. Maybe the Force be with you, always.