I enjoyed Amazon’s Rings of Power series to such an extent that it actually delayed the watching of my most anticipated Star Wars series to come to episodic television. Some fans, though, had problems with the way the series handled canon. Adrienne Westenfeld writes about how the series was actually very clever in its intersections with canonical material.

To be clear, the Star Trek and Lord of the Rings fandoms are not without their own share of bad behavior—and for some fans, even simply enlarging the canon is still a bridge too far. “But Gandalf wasn’t in Middle-earth during the Second Age,” these persnickety purists argue, taking aim at the all-too likely theory that Rings of Power’s mysterious Stranger is, in fact, the notorious wizard Gandalf. Sure, Gandalf the Grey had yet to arrive in Middle-earth during the Second Age setting encompassed by Rings of Power, but during this timeline, he was knocking around the continent by other names in other forms. Where canon-obsessed fans might see a limitation, any good storyteller would see a tantalizing mystery. Tolkien himself often amended and expanded his own work, so why shouldn’t Rings of Power take some creative liberties, especially with the author’s gray areas? Isn’t it more fun to think about what could be true, rather than what must be true?

Westenfeld’s point that it can be interesting to color in the gray areas is well taken. I think that the creators have to be judicious enough not to feel chained to the idea of filling in every piece of history, though. Some things are better left to the imagination.1

The Problem With Canon | Esquire

  1. See the Star Wars prequels. ↩︎

Robert Rackley @rcrackley
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