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The Star Wars franchise continuity administrator
September 27, 2012 3:09 PM   Subscribe

His official title is continuity database administrator for the Lucas Licensing arm of Lucasfilm — which means Chee keeps meticulous track of not just the six live-action [Star Wars] movies but also cartoons, TV specials, scores of videogames and reference books, and hundreds of novels and comics.
posted by Egg Shen (65 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder if he's allowed to admit that Han might not have shot first once upon a time, or if that would be like a one way ticket to the Skywalker Ranch Ministry of Truth.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:21 PM on September 27, 2012 [19 favorites]


I can't seem to find the link.. but I seem to remember at some point some utterly mad individual went about the task of attempting to form a singular, all inclusive Doctor Who timeline that treats EVERYTHING as canon. There was a website, 'twas a complete mess, but a worthy attempt to pull together the most bonkers continuity in the history of imagination.

No, not the DiscContinuity Guide. I can't remember the name of it, it was of GeoCities quality coding I remember that much..
posted by mediocre at 3:24 PM on September 27, 2012


I think you might be thinking of TimeCube.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:24 PM on September 27, 2012 [11 favorites]


Imagine having to read every shittastic extended universe book and comic, making sure all the references to midichlorians were right or what have you.

I honestly think that would be a horrible job.
posted by Palindromedary at 3:26 PM on September 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


BUt what of the final fate of Ahsoka Tano?
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Did you know that wampas were illegally hunted in arranged big game hunts away from their native Hoth?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:31 PM on September 27, 2012


from article: “Careful nurture of the Star Wars canon—thousands of years of story time, running through all the bits and pieces of merchandise—has kept the franchise popular for decades.”

Yes, it's what I love about the Star Wars franchise, too. I mean, everybody was complaining so loudly about the last three movies they released, but for the life of me I can't figure out why. The continuity was perfect! What more do people want?
posted by koeselitz at 3:31 PM on September 27, 2012 [19 favorites]


"Welp, I could be reading Slaughterhouse Five or watching High Noon, but "Sarlaac Babies Across the Nth Dimension" just came about, and I'm concerned about the description of the hue on that Tauntaun's fur on pg. 47. God I love my job!'
posted by Palindromedary at 3:35 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm honestly surprised more enormous fictional universes don't do this (or do they?). I'm sure Marvel and DC could use a continuity wrangler to make sure people keep the stories in line with whatever the current retcon is.
posted by themadthinker at 3:37 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have to say, though – I had never heard of the Ewok extinction event apparently extrapolated from the necessary fallout of the exploded Death Star on Yavin. And I find that idea deeply intriguing.
posted by koeselitz at 3:38 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


That'd probably fall to the editors and more often than not the writers. These days whatever is in Wikipedia is probably canon.
posted by Artw at 3:39 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The most depressing bit of Star Wars wankery is this explanation of Han Solo's Kessel Run claim.
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on September 27, 2012


I had never heard of the Ewok extinction event apparently extrapolated from the necessary fallout of the exploded Death Star on Yavin. And I find that idea deeply intriguing.

On Yavin? That would be incredibly intriguing.
posted by LionIndex at 3:52 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't seem to find the link.. but I seem to remember at some point some utterly mad individual went about the task of attempting to form a singular, all inclusive Doctor Who timeline that treats EVERYTHING as canon. There was a website, 'twas a complete mess, but a worthy attempt to pull together the most bonkers continuity in the history of imagination.

This?
posted by Artw at 3:58 PM on September 27, 2012


I'm sure Marvel and DC could use a continuity wrangler to make sure people keep the stories in line with whatever the current retcon is.

The medical expenses incurred when the person with that job inevitably loses his mind may be prohibitive, but his behavior when he does could be used in ongoing portrayals of The Joker (DC) or Deadpool (Marvel). In fact, I'm somewhat surprised the poor Lucasfilm Administrator hasn't at least once curled up in the belly of a Wampa next to his desk.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:01 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, he's got a good Mastermind topic at least...
posted by Drexen at 4:14 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This article is about the hyperlane. You may be looking for the phrase Kessel Run in Deal-slang.

No, Wookieepedia, I most certainly am not looking for that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:20 PM on September 27, 2012


In German it's "Kessel Flug".
posted by Artw at 4:26 PM on September 27, 2012


SOMETIME PRE-1999

GEORGE LUCAS: Hi Chee. 'Sup? Hey man, what did you think of my script for The Phantom Menace?

CHEE: It was alright George. But y'know, my job is continuity, so I'm obliged to point out that in the original trilogy, Obi Wan implies he met Anakin as an adult and that he was the greatest pilot he had ever know. I don't think your script conforms to that pre-established continuity.

LUCAS: The correct answer is, the script was awesome sir and I would like to keep my job.

CHEE: ....
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:26 PM on September 27, 2012 [20 favorites]


Did this guy let Knights of the Old Republic 2 slip by?
posted by Grimgrin at 4:31 PM on September 27, 2012


not just the six live-action [Star Wars] movies

Six?
posted by slater at 4:38 PM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Welp, I could be reading Slaughterhouse Five or watching High Noon, but "Sarlaac Babies Across the Nth Dimension" just came about, and I'm concerned about the description of the hue on that Tauntaun's fur on pg. 47. God I love my job!'

You get to read Slaughterhouse 5 and watch High Noon at your job? (Let me guess - Googler?)

Being involved in localization, much of my job is actually pretty similar to this guy's. Just substitute "Hungarian translation of 'Power Settings'" for "Tauntaun fur". I'm not sure which is better. On one hand, I get to learn a lot of neat things about languages. On the other, he gets to be right all the time.
posted by No-sword at 4:47 PM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The most depressing bit of Star Wars wankery is this explanation of Han Solo's Kessel Run claim.

I thought that was cute, but higher on the pantheon of depressing, in the same novel that gave us that Kessel Run explanation, the author also claimed that TIE fighter was short for Twin Ion Engine fighter.

No, author dude, that's not where the name came from or what it meant.
(I get that he wanted the fiction to have substance, but that sets up a fourth wall conflict in me, and he shouldn't be making me aware of the wall.)

Neither of these are as bad as midiclorians, but you didn't mention that because it goes without saying :)
posted by anonymisc at 4:48 PM on September 27, 2012


not just the six live-action [Star Wars] movies

Six?


Five, plus some assorted DVD bonus content stuff, deleted scenes etc. etc..
One of the deleted scenes is nearly 3 hours long, but you probably want to just skip through most of it until you reach the lightsabre fight bit.
posted by anonymisc at 4:51 PM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, you people are all laughing, but get this.

Exhibit 1: Here's George Lucas testifying before Congress in 1998 about copyright and the importance of artistic integrity:
“The destruction of our film heritage, which is the focus of concern today, is only the tip of the iceberg. American law does not protect our painters, sculptors, recording artists, authors, or filmmakers from having their lifework distorted, and their reputation ruined. If something is not done now to clearly state the moral rights of artists, current and future technologies will alter, mutilate, and destroy for future generations the subtle human truths and highest human feeling that talented individuals within our society have created.”

“[...] People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society. The preservation of our cultural heritage may not seem to be as politically sensitive an issue as “when life begins” or “when it should be appropriately terminated,” but it is important because it goes to the heart of what sets mankind apart. Creative expression is at the core of our humanness. Art is a distinctly human endeavor. We must have respect for it if we are to have any respect for the human race.”

“These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tomorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with “fresher faces,” or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor’s lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new “original” negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires. The copyright holders, so far, have not been completely diligent in preserving the original negatives of films they control. In order to reconstruct old negatives, many archivists have had to go to Eastern bloc countries where American films have been better preserved.”

“In the future it will become even easier for old negatives to become lost and be “replaced” by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.”
I invite you to compare that to Exhibit 2, Dancing to "I'm Han Solo", in the Kinect Star Wars video game, a rewritten version of Jason Derulo's "Ridin' Solo" and a blandly-rehashed second-order knockoff of a parody MC Chris did better.

Which is all to say, it's nice that this guy has a job and seems to like it, but any reason for that job's existence was shot in the neck and buried in a shallow grave out back of Skywalker Ranch a long time ago.

As far as Lucas is concerned, seriously, fuck that guy. He's the M. Night Shamalyan of his era, successful without a single clue why, and it's only the misplaced loyalty of a generation of nerds that's kept his career out of the same smoking crater that Shamalyan's calls home these days.
posted by mhoye at 5:05 PM on September 27, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's just occurred tO me that I don't think I've ever heard Midiclorians mentioned in Clone Wars.
posted by Artw at 5:05 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


LionIndex: "On Yavin? That would be incredibly intriguing."

Sigh.

Okay, yes. The fourth moon of Yavin. Mea culpa.
posted by koeselitz at 5:14 PM on September 27, 2012


The real question is not why Lucas has screwed up everything else he ever touched. The real question is: Who really made the first 3 movies?
posted by DU at 5:18 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hate to be that guy, but you've still got the wrong Death Star battle, koeselitz.
posted by zjacreman at 5:28 PM on September 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


I wonder if he's allowed to admit that Han might not have shot first once upon a time, or if that would be like a one way ticket to the Skywalker Ranch Ministry of Truth.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:21 PM on 9/27
[6 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


This guy IS the Ministry of Truth. What he would face is a one way trip to the Ministry of Love
posted by Bwithh at 5:44 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


meh.
posted by koeselitz at 5:46 PM on September 27, 2012


See, the thing is, between fourth and twelfth grade, my brother and I watched the full Star Wars trilogy 53 times. So I am going to just say that, at the age of 33, I am allowed to not remember the stupid name of the stupid ENDOR

oh geez how did I forget that
posted by koeselitz at 5:48 PM on September 27, 2012


Endor, planet of the Wookies.
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM on September 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


THAT WAS KASHYYK or Kashyyyyyyyk or Kashhhhhhhhyyyyyyykkkkkkk!@!1 or some such stupidity.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:52 PM on September 27, 2012


Kid Charlemagne: "I wonder if he's allowed to admit that Han might not have shot first once upon a time, or if that would be like a one way ticket to the Skywalker Ranch Ministry of Truth."

You know, until I read this comment it never occurred to me how weird it is that such continuity-obsessed people would feel comfortable retconning that blatantly.

"We have to make all these tiny details make sense in these hundreds of novels, but the movie that started the franchise? Fuck it."
posted by brundlefly at 5:54 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Like two days ago I thought about posting an ask.me asking why droid names are spelled out phonetically in scripts and expanded universe materials. I kinda wish I had. I have a feeling the answers would have been interesting.

Also once my husband and I had this epic argument about whether Endor refers to the planet or the moon and I have no idea who won.

This felt like the right thread to share these thoughts.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:17 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


,not the DiscContinuity Guide. I can't remember the name of it,it was of GeoCities quality coding I remember that much

I know what you're talking about because I remember in the early days of the web when I saw it and wondered what my 13 year old self would have thought about it (other than read it start to finish)

But I can't find it either. It's probably a victim of web decay, but I like to pretend Torchwood, UNIT, or the Bad Wolf virus wiped it out. Or the Time War just made it so wrong the webmaster gave up.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:43 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know what I'd like to see? Chee's resume. I mean, what do you put on that? Where do you go from this job? Presumably he really does have great database maintenance skills, but just... translating that into something that a job interviewer would take seriously (someone who doesn't work in the fiction/gaming industry) must be tough.

What's the tactful way to boast about your ability to diplomatically handle hordes of upset fanboys? Or, for that matter, dealing with a boss like Lucas?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:49 PM on September 27, 2012


*Sorry. By translating "mad database maintenance skills" into something a job interviewer would take seriously, I mean it must be tough to impress upon a non-geek the sheer volume of stuff that Chee has to manage and the level of detail involved.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:52 PM on September 27, 2012


Exhibit 1: Here's George Lucas testifying before Congress in 1998 about copyright and the importance of artistic integrity:

Where are those transmissions you intercepted?
posted by Darth George Lucas at 7:06 PM on September 27, 2012 [11 favorites]


"People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society."

I'm going to assume this part was edited out in the new release.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:15 PM on September 27, 2012


The real question is: Who really made the first 3 movies?

Marcia
posted by sammyo at 7:41 PM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, Marcia Lucas made Star Wars. George had nothing to do with it, no matter how much he may pretend to be responsible for it.
posted by koeselitz at 7:48 PM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


but I seem to remember at some point some utterly mad individual went about the task of attempting to form a singular, all inclusive Doctor Who timeline that treats EVERYTHING as canon.

It's not a website (or maybe it started as one?) but the book Doctor Who: A History of the Universe does just that, complete with oodles of cross-references, footnotes, and appropriate amounts of insane hand-waving (remember how classic Doctor Who gives three completely different explanations for the "destruction" of Atlantis? Yeah.)

I remember getting this book in the late 90s and spending hours thumbing through it.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:10 PM on September 27, 2012


Is it time to talk about Duloks? I think it might be time to talk about Duloks.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:15 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know that part in major motion picture The Postman where the titular postman goes to some outpost and they are playing a popular track from 1997 as though it were a song of their people? I think that George Lucas knows that if it all goes to shit there *will* be people getting into shiv fights over technical Star Wars details by the fading light of their campfires, and every thing he says publicly is him moving a chess piece in the wretched chessboard of the future so that Lucasian partisans will prevail over that campfire dispute, and Skywalker Ranch will continue to receive regular shipments of food and medicine.
posted by passerby at 9:50 PM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


The temptation to retcon Bea Arthur into every narrative strand must be enormous.
posted by rmxwl at 10:02 PM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


...Engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tomorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with “fresher faces,” or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor’s lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new “original” negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires.

I know the enormous, planet-shattering irony was of course the intent of posting that, but it is incredible how much that sounds like Lucas' manifesto rather than the defence he at one point must have intended.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:02 PM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


not just the six live-action [Star Wars] movies
Six?


NINE.
Ewoks: Caravan of Courage and Eworks: Marauders of Endor count people.
And so does Clone Wars, and you know it.

No one forgets the Holiday Special (it's move length), but it was never shown theatrically as far as I know.
posted by Mezentian at 1:58 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I doubt this is the Dr Who website everyone is thinking of, but it's not this one?
posted by Mezentian at 2:06 AM on September 28, 2012


Proofreading nerdbooks for the correct spelling of Kashyyyk, Hras'kkk'rarr, Srrors'tok etc etc is exactly my idea of hell.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:51 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my more popular comments on Metafilter dealt with what canon level the Star Wars Kinect game would most likely fit into. At the time, I had it pegged as N-Level Noncanon, for all the dancing in places that G-Level Lucas-sourced material have never depicted as being places to hold dance parties.

Then they put out the preview to Star Wars Detours with dance numbers in the same types of ill-suited locales as the Kinect game. I suspect someone at Lucasfilm lurks Metafilter and did that just to troll me. Won't work though, because Detours is as N-Level as the Kinect game, Tag & Bink, and all the other Infinities stories from the comic books. Just because two pieces of N-Level agree with each other, they don't promote themselves into Secondary Canon.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:23 AM on September 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Radwolf76, I've seen some nerdy things in my time.
But that takes the cake.

40 cakes even.
posted by Mezentian at 5:27 AM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The unreliable narrator is basically the Death Star in this system, right?
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:30 AM on September 28, 2012


Mezentian: "40 cakes even."

And That's Terrible.

[The forms must be observed.]
posted by radwolf76 at 6:11 AM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I envy the guy's job, and it definitely would have one that my teenage super Star Wars geekdom would have allowed me to slip into pretty seamlessly. However, that seem crazy passion lead me to read, re-read, and re-read, and re-read over and over the Star Wars Encyclopedia that was issued, cover to cover. In the process, that's when I really began to develop my horror of the Star Wars merchandise empire. It's when as I read about X or Y character that the otherwise "cool" background would suddenly have some kind of stupid insertion which ultimately lead back to a blatant merchandising decision.

On an annual basis, there's always something that makes me cry, even in my newly beloved Clone Wars series. Those things why make me scream at the tv, "Really, George?! Really?!"

As strange as it sounds, I now fitfully dream that someday (after the death of George Lucas, cause it won't happen before then), someone will re-boot the Star Wars universe. It's hard to imagine how this could be done properly, if at all.
posted by Atreides at 7:18 AM on September 28, 2012


Endor, planet of the Wookies.


TEACH THE CONTROVERSY! Chewbacca is Wookie Jesus!
posted by KingEdRa at 7:18 AM on September 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm honestly surprised more enormous fictional universes don't do this (or do they?). I'm sure Marvel and DC could use a continuity wrangler to make sure people keep the stories in line with whatever the current retcon is.
I thought the whole purpose of retcons was that you didn't need to remember or be continuous with whatever happened in previous editions ?
posted by k5.user at 7:54 AM on September 28, 2012


Oh, right, this was published in 2008. I thought I remembered reading it. No less fascinating now than it was then.

Really, a Filemaker database?
posted by lhauser at 3:19 PM on September 28, 2012


It's probably important to note at this point that unlike Star Wars or Star Trek and their respective franchise owners, the BBC's never ever tried to say what is or isn't canonical which is why it was entirely possible last Saturday for a character created for a spin-off video in the 1990s to wander into the modern prime time version of the show.

You might also like to know, especially RonButNotStupid, that the Doctor Who chronology that just about puts everything Who in chronological order, Lance Parkin's AHistory is soon to be in its third edition:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ahistory-Unauthorized-History-Universe-Edition/dp/1935234110/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348873029&sr=8-1

At 784 pages its now a book so long it's apparently at the upper limit of what the printing machine is able to safely bind.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:58 PM on September 28, 2012


At 784 pages its now a book so long it's apparently at the upper limit of what the printing machine is able to safely bind.

Man. I have the first edition and it clocks in at about 280 pages.
posted by Mezentian at 12:37 AM on September 29, 2012


10 weird clichés from Marvel Star Wars comics
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Star Wars characters holding bunnies.
posted by homunculus at 12:00 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


And now, the mayor of Iceland’s capital dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi
posted by homunculus at 12:03 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate
posted by homunculus at 1:08 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


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