Portrait of a Wookieepedian

brandonrheaAs I explained in the intro to my last Better Know a Fan interview, sometimes I get to know people online who defy even my hardest-earned assumptions and expectations. While I’m an outspoken contrarian by nature, I’m occasionally even a contrarian against myself, and when I meet someone who brings a very different background and point of view to their Star Wars fandom, but who nonetheless earns my respect, I like to use ETE as a venue to show that I don’t think everyone I disagree with is a bad fan—often they’re just as deserving of a little attention as anyone else.

This time around, I spoke at considerable length with Brandon Rhea, outspoken fan of the open-source encyclopedia format both in an official capacity as an employee of Wikia and unofficially as a regular contributor to Wookieepedia. I’ve had my own mixed feelings about the wook over the years—and we get into that a good bit—but in his recent guest piece, Brandon made a fair case for its continued existence, and for himself as a friendly and level-headed guy who’s always willing to listen, even when the first thing he hears from you is “it’s time to start over“.

Your recent guest editorial detailed some of your early feelings about the Expanded Universe and the reboot, but tell me about your Star Wars fandom prior to the Disney purchase. One thing I always liked about the EU was that it kept SW storytelling active in my life, rather than a finite story that had come and gone—in what ways did you engage with it in those days, if not the EU?

I wrote my own stories! With that said, let me back up and give a quick overview of my road through fandom (and I’ll try to be pithy about it).

I joined a few Star Wars websites back in 2004, which is when I actually started getting into fandom. The most prominent among them for me was TheForce.Net’s Jedi Council Boards. While I was there, one of my favorite boards was the Classic Trilogy board (I actually became a manager of it several years later). I got involved in a discussion about what the original trilogy would look like if the prequels were made first — mind you that Revenge of the Sith hadn’t come out yet, so we didn’t have a fully informed way of looking at that idea quite yet. Nonetheless, that led a group of us to create a site called Sequel-Trilogy.Net, which we set up like a news site giving out news as if A New Hope hadn’t been released yet. “RUMOR: Plot to center around a rebellion against the Empire?” and things like that.

Eventually we thought, what if we actually wrote our own version of the original trilogy, as a sequel to the prequels? A few of us started working on that, and ultimately I started working on my own. Around this time I also met another JCB user named Jetzt, who operated a role-playing site he, quite aptly, called The Star Wars RP. He invited me to join, and I soon became an administrator. I am now the owner and head administrator of the website, which has helped me hone what I hope are my creative writing and storytelling abilities.

brandonquote1Those two sites informed my story ideas and I started working on my own full saga reboot, which I called the Alternative Star Wars Saga. For years I worked off and on but mostly off on a fan fic novel called Star Wars: Episode I The Chosen One, which re-imagined the series starting from the beginning. So crafting my own version of Star Wars certainly kept me occupied. Sadly, I never finished it.

Meanwhile, on SWRP, I was also writing stories and crafting major galactic storylines based in numerous different eras of the saga. On SWRP, we started thirty years after Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and then we jumped ahead seventy years for a second storyline. Then we went back in time to 13,000 BBY and told the story of one of the Alsakan conflicts, and then we moved ahead twenty years to what we called the Great Hutt Wars between the Old Republic and the Hutt Empire. Most recently, beginning in 2011, we’ve been role-playing a storyline we call Star Wars Legacies, set over 1,000 years after Return of the Jedi.

So I would say that the heart of my fandom is storytelling. Actually getting down to it and writing something isn’t the most enjoyable thing for me, but I love the story development process. I love crafting it. I love creating mythologies and great galactic tales. Because of that, Star Wars Legacies is probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done as a fan. All of our stories on SWRP have been connected in one continuity, despite often being separated by thousands of years, and Star Wars Legacies is the last story of that continuity. In the next six or seven months, we’re ending it and rebooting our mythology. And we’ve not only crafted Star Wars Legacies as an ending for our own story, but the ending of the entire Star Wars story that includes the Expanded Universe. It is, to put it cheesily, the last of the Force wars, and I think my enthusiasm for talking about it here shows that I am incredibly proud of it.

Wow, that’s really interesting and not at all the response I would’ve expected.

My first online SW fandom experience was actually with a roleplaying group called the Rebel Squadrons (whose website, at least, amazingly still exists) that revolved around custom missions for the X-Wing PC games, but the actual text roleplaying was minimal beyond silly IRC stuff—y’know, “/me storms into the cantina and orders a Corellian brandy”. I’ve always been dimly aware of textual RP sites like yours but I’ve never had the requisite interest to really learn about them. Tell me a little about how it actually works logistically as RPing; what I picture is sort of just round-robin fanfic, but I’m assuming there’s more to it than that.

It’s almost like writing a group novel, except you only write the parts about your character. Each thread is its own story that you can put your character(s) into. It may be a one-off adventure, or it could be part of a longer-running storyline.

When you write a post in a thread, you’re writing it about your character’s latest action, latest thoughts, and latest dialogue. These threads can evolve naturally, with no specific endpoint in mind, or they can be written to accomplish a certain set of story objectives. Maybe a character wants to get from Tatooine to Ryloth, or they want to find an ancient Jedi artifact, or they just want to walk into a cantina, meet up with other characters, and then see what happens from there. The benefit of free-form role-play is that while you and the others who you are writing a thread with can determine the ending, you can also have threads that are completely open and can take a hard left turn at any time and without warning. That can lead to any number of story opportunities or character explorations that you hadn’t thought of before.

In the backdrop of every single one of our story eras is a war. It’s Star Wars, after all, and Star Wars Legacies is no exception to that. So the overarching conflict on the the site is a war between good and evil. The individual faction leaders, and sometimes even the administrators, will create battle threads that people can sign up to be part of and fight in the conflict between light and dark. When we started Star Wars Legacies in 2011, it was a war between the Galactic Alliance/Jedi Order and the New Sith Imperium. In 2013, the Galactic Alliance fell. It’s now a war between the New Sith Imperium and the Galactic Rebellion, which, along with the shattered remnants of the Jedi Order, is seeking to restore freedom to the galaxy. We were really keen on having an empire vs rebellion timeline, since it’s classic Star Wars.

Along with the war is our long-running mythology, in which, for this era and for the purposes of ending the story, we introduced the last remaining descendants of Luke Skywalker as well as the Chosen One. So in doing that, we made our own spin on canon by saying that because Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side, he gave up his destiny on Mustafar and it ultimately passed on to someone else. The Chosen brandonquote2One, whose story is only now just getting started, is a young woman named Lana, who is the daughter of the Galactic Empress Andraste.

So that’s another long answer but it shows you the wide range of stories on the site and how the site works. Our stories range anywhere from smugglers in a cantina who want to go on an adventure, to great galactic conflicts, to a personal story about a mother and her daughter who will help shape the fate of the galaxy forever. It’s ambitious, but it’s a lot of fun.

One more question about this just because I’m curious: how genuinely freeform can you really be when running this? It’s one thing for the admins to plan out roughly how a big arc is going to go and then let people participate in it, but what’s stopping some rando from popping their character into an important thread and, say, shooting Lana in the head?

That’s a good question, and it’s one we’ve had to answer ourselves. In general, the people on the site are great and they wouldn’t just shoot Lana. They recognize that there are mythology plans and that certain characters are integral. We are aware, though, that not everyone on the internet is willing to play ball, and that one person could decide not to respect that storyline, so we’ve chosen to make a few characters — Lana and Andraste among them — unkillable. Because of that limitation, and in the interest of fairness, we’ve also decided that unkillable characters can’t kill other player characters without the writer’s permission.

In order to make an unkillable character and carry out our mythology storyline, we have to exert a certain amount of creative control over the story, which runs somewhat counter to the freeform idea, but we only do that for the mythology. How the war plays out and what its resolution will be is up to the players, and the mythology works no matter what happens. I liken it to the end of Return of the Jedi. Unless you want to get into an EUish explanation of the Emperor using battle meditation or something, then what we see on screen is two final battles that ultimately don’t affect one another. Whether the Emperor died or not, and whether Luke rescued Darth Vader or not, Lando Calrissian was going to fire the shot that blew up the Death Star. So the mythology and the war are very closely linked, but one doesn’t necessarily have to dictate how the other ends.

So in light of all this history, how did your relationship with Wookieepedia begin? Was it driven by your job at Wikia, or did you get involved as a fan who just happened to have a relevant job?

It was a lot of factors, including the ones that you mentioned. I was an administrator on the Star Wars Fanon wikia for several years, and Star Wars Fanon was an offshoot of Wookieepedia, so there was a basic awareness between both communities. The earliest I can remember getting involved with Wookieepedia in any meaningful way was in 2009, after the release of The Essential Atlas. I wrote the page for Supreme Chancellor Tarsus Valorum, who instituted the Ruusan Reformations. I nominated it for Featured Article status and succeeded. I intended to be more active there, but I was too busy with other things and that never really stuck.

I started to have interaction with some of their administrators and community members when I was running Star Wars Fanpedia, but that was more for content sharing on social media than anything else. So working at Wikia wasn’t a big factor, though already knowing a lot of the people there was certainly a plus once I did get involved.

I got involved and stayed involved starting in May 2014, so it was right after the Legends announcement and Wookieepedia deciding to have canon pages and Legends pages. I started editing after I read Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #1. A lot of relevant canon pages hadn’t been created yet, since it was so soon after the split, so I suddenly found myself with things to write about — including the page for Darth Maul himself!

Like I said in my editorial, I was never a huge EU fan, and Wookieepedia had already covered pretty much everything for Episodes I-VI and The Clone Wars before the split, so my options for editing were limited. But being able to contribute canon information gave me something to do, because suddenly the things I knew about were available to write about again. To give a bit of backstory for those who don’t know, most canon subjects also have Legends counterparts, so the preexisting pages all stayed Legends. Canon-only pages had to be created from scratch, which is why I found myself with all of these writing opportunities on Wookieepedia.

The Fanon wiki is another of those things I’ve always known about but never really given any thought to—did that come about as a way to solidify the canon your RP group was developing? I imagine that site must have a lot of little interconnected continuity fiefdoms that don’t really relate to each other; is that fair?

Sort of. I was the most prolific contributor from The Star Wars RP, but other site members used it if they wanted to bring their characters or plots to a larger audience. It was a good way to help get the word out since there are a lot of readers on Star Wars Fanon. I also incorporated the first four story eras into the backstory of my own Star Wars reboot fic, so for me personally having it laid out in that style was helpful.

Tell me a little about Fanpedia as well—according to the Welcome page, what distinguishes it from the other SW wikis is “enthusiasm”, but I’m unclear what that actually means. The main difference between a wook article and a Fanpedia article seems to be multimedia and comment/blogging infrastructure; do/did you see it as tonally different, too? And on that note, is it something you’ve moved on from, given your use of past tense?

In my mind, when we started with Fanpedia in 2013, the three core Star Wars wikias were Wookieepedia, Star Wars Fanon, and Star Wars Fanpedia. Each one represented a key part of fandom: knowledge, creativity, and enthusiasm. Those can and do exist on all three of those wikias, but each one is emphasized a bit more. Wookieepedia is about documenting the collective knowledge of Star Wars lore. Star Wars Fanon is about expressing your creativity by writing your own lore.

Where Star Wars Fanpedia represented enthusiasm, at least conceptually, was that it would have two things the other two wikias didn’t: news reporting and the ability to comment, be it on forums, blogs, or article comments. Specifically, commenting and sharing enthusiasm about the upcoming films, the latest TV episode, the latest book, and more. Wookieepedia didn’t emphasize that so much when Fanpedia started, since discussion is meant to be based around the articles rather than the subjects of the articles, so we found a niche that wasn’t being filled on Wikia at the time.

Unfortunately it was an uphill battle that never really took off, despite my best efforts in updating news and discussions every day. But I’m totally OK with that. Wookieepedia increased its social media presence and has a lot of news reporting and commenting on social media, so that niche is being filled by Wookieepedia now. Considering what brandonquote3Wookieepedia’s reach is and how the fans there are some of the most dedicated and passionate people you’ll ever meet, I was happy to see Wookieepedia take that torch and run with it instead of Fanpedia. That’s the way it should be.

But even though Fanpedia won’t be in the news business anymore, there’s still a place for it if it’s something I ever go back to. The original intent of Fanpedia, which was founded in 2008, was to be a “fan encyclopedia.” By that I mean, using the Wookieepedia style of encyclopedic content, but applying it to document fan films, fan groups, fan websites, and more. I think if something like that ever took off then there are a lot of people in Star Wars fandom who would benefit from a site like that.

That’s actually exactly what I assumed Fanpedia was when I first became aware of it, so I certainly think that’s a reasonable niche for it to fill going forward, if only for branding reasons.

As you and many people know by now, I’ve put forth some criticisms of the Wookieepedia community recently—some based on my own personal experiences there and some based on others I know who have felt unwelcome there. I’m sure you have a unique point of view as someone who actually works for Wikia, but just as a fan and a wook user yourself, what’s your reaction when someone tells you they’re uncomfortable with the site culture? Is that reasonable to some extent, or unfounded?

I think the answer to that depends on what we’re specifically talking about, so I’d respond first with a question: what was your experience? I’ve seen your criticism but — and I may very well have missed something in one of your articles — what personal experiences did you have with Wookieepedia?

Well, it’s complicated for me personally. As I explained in detail last year, the primary thing that drove me away from Wookieepedia was that my writing style was deemed non-encyclopedic by some, and I wasn’t interested in writing any differently—and eventually I got tired of defending some of the things I’d already written, so I had no desire to develop more articles, which inevitably became no desire to do much of anything. But not only was this years and years ago, in retrospect I don’t really have any animosity about it; some people just aren’t a good fit for certain communities, and that doesn’t always mean one or the other party is wrong.

In preparing my wook anniversary piece, though, I did find it interesting that more recent (and longer-term) contributors who had ultimately left the site typically had complaints involving two common elements—pedantry and hostility. It wasn’t just that there were three-thousand-word debates over whether generic RPG art warranted new character articles, it was that such trivial things were often resulting in flame wars. That wasn’t my personal experience—certainly I was being just as pedantic as my detractors, because ultimately who cares how a sentence or two in a four-thousand-word article is worded—but I can see how the one would’ve led to the other over a period of years.

Ultimately I don’t think I even blame any particular individuals for making the wook hostile; I just see it as the inevitable result of too much bureaucracy governing too broad a remit. You would think hard numbers would be the least controversial thing in fandom, but ask some people how long a Super Star Destroyer is or how many clonetroopers there are and you’ll get a face full of fire in response. I think giving people the task of creating a “comprehensive” SW encyclopedia, when the SW universe is effectively infinite, was maybe inevitably going to produce similar reactions.

But if having a specific criticism to respond to is helpful, take this one from Jeff Ferguson, who was actively contributing as recently as last year: “much of the site’s policies are bogged down by the community’s slavish adherence to procedure and lack of imagination, with common sense often being thrown out the window in favor of procedure for the sake of procedure.” He went on to give a specific example: “Around the time I left, it was decided that the rarely-used ‘Equipment’ section in character articles was now always necessary, even if only to say ‘This character wore clothing.’ Any attempt to argue against this or other policies is often met by scorn, bullying, and even outright personal attacks by the site’s administrators, of all people.”

Again, I recognize that you’re not in a position of power over there and I’m not asking you to answer for criticisms like these. What’s interesting to me here is that you seem to be the antithesis of stories like Jeff’s, and I’m curious how you feel about them, personally.

I think it’s good that you recognize that there are two sides to a story in many cases, which I knew already just by virtue of the fact that we’re having this conversation. In your personal experience, you gave a fair analysis and self-analysis. There is a certain expectation about the type of writing style to use, and not everyone is going to fit right into that. Encyclopedic article writing can be difficult sometimes even for people who are experienced at it. Coming from my perspective, there are times where my instinct is to add a bit of flare here or some analysis there, but I have to remember that this isn’t what Wookieepedia was set up to be. I don’t think that detracts from Wookieepedia anymore than that style of writing detracts from, say, Wikipedia, which Wookieepedia is at least in part modeled off of.

Of course, I can’t speak to how things were before I got there last May, and I haven’t had the pleasure of talking to Jeff Ferguson (so far as I know, at least), but I think I can speak to some of the ideas that you brought up.

Wookieepedia uses article talk pages, as you know, and talk pages are, conceptually, not that different from Facebook wall threads or even forum threads. I’m an avid Facebook user and, as we talked about, I’m a forum owner, and I can tell you something about that style of discussion that I’ve found over the years: in no way is it conducive to a real conversation. I think there’s often confusion between being pedantic and being long-winded. Sometimes in these discussions, once someone says something that you want to respond to, you want to respond with as much info as possible to backup your opinion. So you may dig into obscure sources, or write long explanations, or debate about the issue for awhile, but that doesn’t mean you’re being pedantic or hostile. It just means you’re being thorough. Just like I’m being thorough with this super long answer!

And there’s also the sheer fact that Wookieepedia is looked at by fans, as well as the creative teams and talent at Lucasfilm, as being the key source for Star Wars information. It has way more information than the StarWars.com Databank, it’s more comprehensive and detailed than the Holocron continuity database, and it’s the one public resource for, theoretically, the totality of Star Wars lore. Wikia made a 10th Anniversary video for Wookieepedia at Celebration Anaheim, and so many different people from Lucasfilm talked about how important Wookieepedia is. Dave Filoni told me, for example, that he uses Wookieepedia all the time to look up information. Every author I talked to — John Jackson Miller, Christie Golden, James Luceno, Drew Karpyshyn, and even Alan Dean Foster himself — all told me that they’ve used Wookieepedia at some point when writing their books or, at the very least, are aware of Wookieepedia and its prominence. Vanessa Marshall, likewise, told me that she uses Wookieepedia every day and that it was a key resource for her when she was cast as Hera Syndulla.

brandonquote4Why do I say to all of that? Mainly to push back on the idea of trivial conversations. Yes, there are things that can seem trivial to people if you just view it as a simple website, but Wookieepedia influences canon. Writers use it. Actors use it. Some conjectural article names have been officially canonized because an author saw the title on Wookieepedia and then used it. An actual article page was added into The Clone Wars episode “Cat and Mouse.” So what may seem like a petty dispute over a trivial piece of information is still part of an important whole, because Wookieepedia strives for accuracy, an idea made all the more important by the fact that Wookieepedia has a major influence on fans and creators alike. I don’t think anyone, that I know of, gets wrapped up in a sense of self-importance over that, but there is a sense of great pride and, especially, the responsibility to be accurate.

Which isn’t to say that no one in the history of the site has never been pedantic or hostile before, but I do think that perceptions play a key role in deciding how we view those situations. If someone isn’t keen on having a long discussion about whether something is notable enough for an article, or a conversation over the accuracy of the length of a Super Star Destroyer, then they’re probably going to view those things in a more pessimistic light. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad things, or that the intent of those conversations is coming from a bad place.

The way I approach it is to always remember that the people in these conversations, unless they’ve given me reason to believe otherwise, are not approaching it from a sense of pedantry, or hostility, or malice, or whatever else it could be mistaken for. They’re passionate superfans and they want to make sure that the site is as great as it possibly can be. And being in the position where I am on social media and on the convention floor and in talking to superfans as part of my job, I can see the importance of Wookieepedia and why Wookieepedians strive so hard to be accurate.

People are going to have different opinions sometimes, and some people have stronger personalities and stronger tolerances for those personalities than other people do, but actual hostility is, at least in the last thirteen months that I’ve been there, not that common in my experience.

You cite a lot of great interactions between the wook and the official community, and certainly I don’t doubt its usefulness or begrudge its success, but to people with harsher personal experiences than my own that can come off like, well, bragging. Is there anything you can point to as tangible evidence that people like Jeff (who edited under the name Menkooroo, for the record) would be welcome again if they came back? Because the site is so hugely prominent it’s always going to have an influx of new fans (which may well one day solve these problems on its own), but what would you say to convince old editors like Jeff—or, hell, like me—to resume our efforts?

That’s a great question, but one that’s somewhat difficult to answer. The experiences people have can so widely vary, and I can’t know every detail of why a person left, so I can mostly just come from my personal experience.

I work for Wikia, so when I showed up and started contributing there were questions as to why I was contributing (imagine if someone from WordPress started actively contributing to your site — you might start to wonder why), as well as why I was there just to contribute to canon pages (this was less than a month after the Legends announcement, so feelings were still raw). Was it work-related? Was I being paid to do it in order to improve Wookieepedia to Wikia’s liking? As a few people wondered, was it because Wikia has worked with Lucasfilm before, and my arrival was somehow timed to write the canon pages because of that relationship? The answers to those questions was no, of course, but there was skepticism about my arrival, which I don’t begrudge. As I contributed, though, and showed my genuine interest in growing Wookieepedia and being part of the community, I was very quickly embraced.

brandonquote5So I would say this: one of the tenets of Wookieepedia, which was carried over from Wikipedia, is to be bold. Try new and positive things, and then see what happens. The best way to know whether you would be welcomed back is to jump in again and see what happens. If you can drop years-old preconceptions, and if you can be willing to respect the fact that the community has decided on certain things even if you don’t agree with them, then I think you’ll find yourself being welcomed back very easily.

If the person’s leaving was acrimonious then, yeah, that might be a bit harder, but in your situation that doesn’t sound like it was the case. You said the main reason for leaving was your writing style, and that you weren’t interested in writing differently. You didn’t want to defend things you had written, so you didn’t want to write more. Fair enough — like you said, not everyone is going to fit everywhere. But if you wanted to join again, I’m sure people would love to see another talented writer on the site. You would just need to remember that there is a style for writing on Wookieepedia, and you would need to follow that style. Which, I think you would say as well, is a very fair expectation.

So coming from the perspective of someone who had originally not been into the EU much, how do you feel about the actual material that’s come out post-reboot? Does anything jump out as particularly good (or bad)? I’ve heard from people who had given up on the EU in the past now being motivated to dip their toes back in because they can just pick what looks interesting without worrying about what “matters”; does that sound like you at all? Is there anything in the Legends pantheon you think you’d still like to check out eventually?

I love Star Wars Rebels. I liked A New Dawn, Tarkin, and Lords of the Sith — the latter especially, since I’ve always been a fan of Cham Syndulla. Comic-wise, I like Star Wars, especially Luke’s journey to learn more about his father and the ways of the Jedi; Princess Leia, which is just well-done across the board (especially the retro art) and shows a side of Leia we didn’t see much of in the original films; and The Last Padawan, which is the best of the new comics so far. I’m a little more mixed on Darth Vader — the cyborg apprentice storyline is a bit weird to me — but I like the idea of seeing Vader evolve from how we saw him in the original film to how we saw him in The Empire Strikes Back, as well as the evolution of his relationship with the Emperor. I haven’t read the Servants of the Empire book series yet, but I definitely plan to. I’ve heard a lot of good things, and I like Zare Leonis.

The one thing I would say I haven’t enjoyed as much is Heir to the Jedi. Half of it is a really cool Star Wars adventure, but the other half was not that great. I found the first person perspective distracting, and the end trope involving Nakari Kelen — a character I liked a lot — was very disappointing. The story felt unnecessary as well. When you consider that the Star Wars mainline comic is dealing with Luke’s evolution as a Jedi, did we really need to see a novel that was ultimately about Luke learning to move a noodle with his mind? It was meant to explain how Luke learned the telekinesis he used in The Empire Strikes Back, but that didn’t need much explaining.

Whether or not I’ll dip my toes into the EU is an interesting question. “What mattered” never really mattered to me, since I always had a hard time seeing most of it as canon anyway, so the fact that it isn’t canon anymore isn’t a big motivator for me. There are still Legends games I enjoy playing — Knights of the Old Republic, Jedi Outcast, and Jedi Academy among them — but as far as material I haven’t read yet, the biggest thing that interests me is the Dawn of the Jedi series. That was one EU series I always did want to see Dark Horse make, so I was happy that they did make it. I just need to find the time to read it!

Yeah, Dawn of the Jedi is both a good series and a safe bet to not be overwritten (in the near future, anyway). It’s only fifteen issues, so you should be able to knock them out in two or three hours if you really want to.

Let’s go back to Wookieepedia for the last topic: what’s your favorite canon article that you’ve written? You mentioned Darth Maul earlier; is that primarily your work at this point? And if someone were joining up now, what areas would you most like to see improved or expanded?

The Darth Maul article is primarily my work at this point, yeah, since I updated it after each new issue of Son of Dathomir came out. That was the first big article I tackled, though, so I think I could do it better if I went back to it now. I plan to at some point.

As for what my favorite is… that’s a tough call. I wrote the canonical Darth Bane page and it was the first canon article to reach a status milestone (it’s a “Good Article”), so that’s pretty cool. I also have the first Featured Article from Star Wars Rebels: Mission to free Wookiee prisoners, so I like that as well. Probably my favorite one I’ve written so far is one that I’m currently in the process of writing off-site, which is the canonical Asajj Ventress page. That page exists right now but I’m greatly expanding it, and I hope to have it finished before Dark Disciple is released. (Editor’s note: this interview concluded a little over a week ago.) Ventress is a great character so I’m enjoying documenting her canon story.

One more I’ll mention — even though you only asked for one! — is another article I’m currently working on: the Jedi Purge. The reason why I’m really enjoying writing that is that I can see the whole canon story of that laid out, particularly its backstory. Before the Legends reboot, Wookieepedia articles — the ones that are now Legends — were obviously a mishmash of The Clone Wars, the films, and the Expanded Universe, and those often contradicted each other. So if you want to read about the Jedi Purge in Legends then you see that Order 66, for example, is both a contingency order as well as the bio-chip introduced in The Lost Missions. By focusing purely on canon articles, I’m able to see what the official story is, and I like being able to lay that out. Wookieepedia is a great resource for getting the full, official story.

As for where people should focus, I try not to direct people to what I want them to do and instead like to say this: write what you want to write. If there’s something missing and you want to contribute to it, be bold! Enjoy yourself. Contributing to Wookieepedia is something you should want to do because it’s fun, so focus on what you’re interested in and you’ll have a good time.

Man, the term “official story” would be fighting words in certain parts of the internet.

I think that’s a good place to finish—any parting words?

Hah! I can imagine they would be fighting words. I think we can all agree that it’s the official. Whether or not you decide it’s your own personal “true” version is, of course, up to you. Which I think is a good note to finish on, since it also brings things a bit full circle with my initial editorial. Star Wars is ultimately what you make of it, and in my case I’ve found a great way to participate on Wookieepedia with the official canon story. I encourage your readers to join in! Wookieepedia, like Star Wars, will never be finished, so there’s always something to contribute.

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