Next week Solo: A Star Wars Story will be released to preposterous revenues and at least some amount of incendiary fan rage. A good chunk of this rage will assuredly complain that this newest installment in the prodigiously growing Star Wars cinematic universe undercuts the pre-existing material, introducing plot holes into a beloved story about space ninjas and retconning the histories of incidental characters who are never explicitly named onscreen.
A case can be made that Darth Vader revealing his position as the most unpleasant pater familias imaginable to recent amputee Luke Skywalker is the single most memorable moment in modern cinematic history. It is also the first notable instance of a Star Wars sequel (or, God help us, prequel) retconning the films that preceded it. Because in A New Hope (née Star Wars), it is extremely clear that Luke’s father and Darth Vader are two distinct and separate people.
Obi-Wan isn’t a crazy old man trying to keep the true persona of Luke’s dad a secret by weaving a needlessly complicated web of lies. He’s a crazy old man trying to convince a young hero to start his journey by telling him the truth.
So when Luke and Leia are ham-fistedly revealed to be (a notably incestuous) brother and sister, or when ground-bound R2D2 can suddenly fly in the prequels or when Han inevitably has a one-night stand with Chewbacca’s sister in Solo, well, these moments are just adhering to the standard set by the most iconic scene in movie history. Broken continuity is as much a part of the Star Wars universe as economic inequality.
Deal with it, nerds.