The Wing Commander series 'canon' includes the games (including ports and remakes which sometimes add additional material), the manuals, the strategy guides, the novels, the Wing Commander: Academy animated series, the card game, and finally the movie (and its related material).
Secondary includes published promotional material (advertisements, trailers), boxes, etc.
Third is unpublished (sometimes published) design material or other documents which may be of lesser canon or dubious canon as in unused or outdated, but interesting as to how they related to development of various topics (these include material such as the Wing Commander Universe Bible, unpublished WC4 timeline, and material concerning Privateer 3/Online, pitched Privateer TV show, Academy TV Press Kit, etc). Some of this has made it into later sources, or influenced later sources, but most of it has remained unused or left outdated by later released sources. But generally speaking most of this may be less than canon (or only broadly defined the general canon as was the case with the WC4 Bible and the unpublished WC4 timeline).
Of final note is that material such as Unauthorized Wing Commander Guide, or fan fiction are simply not canon.
Note how we incorporate these various sources of info is covered in the Manual of Style. Please read for better understanding of how to incorporate things.
While these various sources do not necessarily perfectly mesh with each other (and do include discrepancies), according to the current game developers they are still part of the canon. In general anything made by Chris's Roberts for the universe, any of the games (including remakes) or officially published material is considered canon.
As Ben Lesnick explains:
- I think there's something of a misconception as to what a 'canon' is, though - because it's not *for* us... it shouldn't matter to the average fan. It's the rules that the IP owner has for future products - you need to respect, X, Y and Z... and it only makes sense that the movie made by the series' creator is in that list. We use that 'canon' for our debates... but beyond that, I can't really imagine why anyone should care about it. If you don't want to accept that the movie (or Privateer 2 or End Run or whatever you've chosen) didn't happen, then that's fine... but don't be surprised when we talk about those things and when they're referenced in future stories.
Novels may have scenes that differ from the games or other sources (or share a mix of winning and losing paths, rather than all winning paths, in which case the novel represents the 'true' and 'realistic' outcome), and some of the movie material may give certain alternate details for example. However based on the manual and development notes from Wing Commander Arena, all the sources are considered 'valid', in a kind of shared universe (see Looking Back: A Century of Turmoil, the Arena timeline). Even the novels for the movie, and guide for the movie include details sourced to the animated series, and the games.
Even characters based on the same character Bluehair (Carl T. LaFong, Jason Armstrong, Lyle Starbuck and Christopher Blair) are considered separate characters that 'exist' in the same universe according to Star*Soldier's notes. This was used to fix a few discrepancies made between the animated games and the live action games (the novels based on the live action version of the universe), as well as the Wing Commander I and II: The Ultimate Strategy Guide, and the version of Blair's backstory as retold in the novels, and movies, and animated series, and games (LaFong for example is some 78-80 years old active citizen at the time of the guide and Star*Soldier, whereas Blair is thought dead or missing at that time). According to the explanation in the guide (and to lesser extent in Star*Soldier/notes) is essentially the original versions of WC1 and WC2 (sans Kilrathi Saga version which is clearly defaulted to "Maverick" "Blair" in the original two games) is basically the video game 'based' on the life of Carl T. LaFong, and a few other confederation pilots (Pitak Puzaki of the TCS Eagle's Talon).
Some seemingly conflicting material are simply not explained as of yet (such as the seeming death and resurrection of characters such as Bossman, and Knight as in the movie and their appearances later in the timeline in the games), while other details may not need to be 'explained', but simply represent artistic license (different physical appearances of the Tiger's Claw/Tiger Claw, or the different appearances of the Kilrathi between early animated games, animated tv show, the live action games, and the film)... though this wiki does occasionally have separate articles for some of these alternate versions of the ships when there are some specific technological information specific to them (essentially to discuss the mm as a separate ship class).
The animated series being placed before Wing Commander I, when originally it was to be set in 2655, one year after the date given in WC1 (2654) in some of the development ideas (Academy TV Press Kit). However it was always intended to be a 'prequel' to the games, and set before WC1 (causing a timing issue with the dating of the show to the academy, and a possible retcon of the timeline). It might make some material seem more 'consistent' if set the material after WC1. However, other issues arise due to the fact that Christopher Blair was already supposed to have been 'out' of the academy by that time. Wing Commander Arena chose to keep parts of it before WC1 (as originally intended), but moved other parts to during WC1 in 2654 to fix some of the these issues. At the same time some of the details of the Press Kit simply never made it into the final released program.
The veracity of Pilgrim Truth in relation to Wing Commander Canon is not entirely clear. It was not considered entirely canon at the time Star*Soldier was released (due to to the novel's unpublished, and unreleased nature according to Ben Lesnick who worked on the material), but elements of plot did make it into the timeline in that source (those references at least were considered 'canon'). However, later on the book saw online publication with EA's blessing, the blessing of the author, in conjunction with Wing Commander CIC website, etc, finally completing the story (Lesnick now considers the "published' public version canon). This wiki assumes and treats this release as an 'official' release, and therefore canon. However, fan artwork included in the digital release is still treated as 'fan craft/fiction'.
Wing Commander Arena Edit
Wing Commander Arena is the most recent produced game in the Wing Commander series canon. The game and its documentation Star*Soldier makes references to many details from the entire history of produced Wing Commander material including the original games, novels, and even the movie. References to Pilgrims and the Pilgrim Wars appear in the game itself as well.
These sources are basically used as the main template for this wiki's position on "canon".
This wiki follows a similar position to the canon system used by the original and current developers and discussed at Wing Commander CIC website and in behind the scenes developmental material.
All published sources are to be treated as equal regardless of perceived contradictions or alternate retellings. In some cases the wiki may default to the most detailed version of events as defined by the novels, as these generally define a single path through the games outside of the games multiple paths (some guides and books also seem to default to the novels for certain details as well).
The same situation occurs with the novelized story of Carl LaFong in the WC1&2 Ultimate Guide in which case it covers events from LaFong's perspective. This guide also suggests that Wing Commander 1 the game is a composite of multiple POVs and stories and may not be fully accurate. Example, Bluehair meeting Maniac for the first time in the game but many other sources stating that LaFong and Blair already knew him from the Academy days. In these situations the extended history in the guide for LaFong and any extended history for Blair (Kilrathi Saga, Academy, Prophecy guide, novels, and movie material, etc) take precedence.
Material related to the main path given in the novels or LaFong guide (which are often a mix of both winning and losing paths) is to be inserted where it's applicable to given events, characters, ships, any related topics, etc. I.E. the paths given in the novels considered the true canon path through the games, rather than the all winning path through the games.
As noted in the WC4 Guide for the WC3 novel for example (the novels are intended to be a source of material giving the complete canon explanation for events surrounding the game);
Think you know everything about the Confederation's final strike against Kilrah? Heart of the Tiger fills in the details, both on board the Victory and at the other pulse centers of the war's final days.Straight out contradictions are generally discussed in bginfo boxes under the section where it relates to the topic on a given page. There can be multiple footnotes wherever discrepencies in the series arises. But novel material is generally used as being the 'truest' version of events when there are multiple paths that could be followed.
Beyond that the latest timeline and source material from Star*Soldier and Arena act as the template for when things take place and may include the most current retcons and explanations. These take precedence where there is any confusion or conflict.
Sometimes a similar event is discussed multiple ways as is the case with Secret Missions 2: Crusade, Freedom Flight, LaFong's memoirs, and Super Wing Commander (Secret Missions 1.5). The wiki generally defaults on the Freedom Flight novel's version as that is the version that generally gets summarized in the timelines and manuals (Hunter rescues Hobbes, see The Kilrathi Saga manual for example). However LaFong's version and similar actions by Armstrong are discussed in their respective pages, Hobbes page, or the Location pages (Cairo for example), and other related pages as well briefly.
SM 1.5 is a special situation as it gets its own section between Goddard and Firekkan campaign, based on being set in a different region, and locations (though it shares some similarities to SM2). These additional regions and some of the events have been acknowledged in later materials in some form.
Material related to WC1 is generally from LaFong's perspective, especially since Academy and the Movie (and its novels) have Blair off doing his own thing for most of the Vega Campaign. As mentioned for SM2, the focus turns more to Freedom Flight as it is the most detailed version of those event but LaFong'a actions and perspective can be considered as occurring simultaneously to those events. Any additional material as in briefings and recroom discussions from the game is generally fluff and background material and is often included in LaFong's perspective as well in the book. Note: However, this wiki covers any material related specifically to Blair which take place in that 'era' as well more or less 'as is' this includes references in the novels, the Kilrathi Saga, or the biographies/historical accounts made in the Wing Commander 4 and Wing Commander Prophecy guides.
Material related to WC2 is a little more confusing since later sources generally confirm Blair as the main POV during that story, this is taken into account. LaFong's account is generally overlooked, but is discussed occasionally on other pages but in vague form, with Blair getting the primary focus.
These are important documents to read as they contain information concerning the development of the Wing Commander canon:
- Star*Soldier (contains the most current canon timeline based on earlier published timelines from the manuals, with additions from the movie handbook and material, and animated series).
- Previously... (a section from the Wing Command 4 Guide that covers Blair's life from WC1-WC3 as well as synopses of other major events of other characters as well from the novels)
- History and Biography (a section from the Wing Commander Prophecy Guide, biographies of Blair's life, and others)
- Claw Marks (assorted versions published with different versions of Wing Commander and Super Wing Commander)
- Ship Blueprints (WC1)
- Christopher Blair's Scrapbook (a section of the The Kilrathi Saga manual)
- Wing Commander Arena Star*Soldier gloss notes
- Wing Commander Bible (used by the early game designers up to Wing Commander 4 as a template of the background of the games. It is somewhat outdated, some materials completely changed in the published sources, and later games. However, it was never officially "published" for public.)
- Academy TV Press Kit
- Academy TV Bible
- Japanese Wing Commander Timeline (WCDVD)
- Wing Commander I (Secret Missions I & II: Crusade)
- Wing Commander (Sega) (US and Japanese versions)
- Wing Commander SNES
- Wing Commander: The Secret Missions (SNES)
- Super Wing Commander (Secret Missions 1.5)
- Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi (Special Operations 1 & 2)
- Wing Commander II Demo (not a game, but is a cutscene which takes place between WC1 and WC2)
- Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger
- Wing Commander III (3DO version)
- Wing Commander III (PSX version)
- Wing Commander: The Kilrathi Saga
- Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom
- Wing Commander IV (PSX version)
- Wing Commander: Prophecy
- Wing Commander: Secret Ops
- Wing COmmander: Prophecy GBA
- Wing Commander: Arena
- Wing Commander Academy (game)
- Wing Commander: Armada (Proving Grounds)
- Wing Commander: Privateer (Righteous Fire)
- Privateer 2: The Darkening
Note: The different versions of the Wing Commander games often offer different or additional cut scenes, different or expanded manuals, or different or new missions. PSX version of Wing Commander II for example has cut scenes not found in the PC version, and the 3D0 version has new missions gameplay from the ground up. Wing Commander Prophecy GBA changes a few location names, and organizations involved, and offers a streamlined version of the original games missions playing on a new engine. These maybe of interest to Wing Commander fan wanting the complete "Wing Commander Experience".
TV & MovieEdit
- Wing Commander I and II: The Ultimate Strategy Guide
- Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander III
- Wing Commander 3: Authorized Combat Guide
- Origin's Official Guide to Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom
- Wing Commander Prophecy: The Official Strategy Guide
- Wing Commander: Confederation Handbook
- Book 0: Wing Commander I and II: The Ultimate Strategy Guide
- Book 1 (E-Book 1): Freedom Flight (Mercedes Lackey & Ellen Guon)
- Book 2: End Run (Christopher Stasheff & William Forstchen)
- Book 3 (E-Book 2): Fleet Action (William Forstchen)
- Book 4 (E-Book 3): Heart of the Tiger (William Forstchen & Andrew Keith)
- Book 5 (E-Book 4): The Price of Freedom (William Forstchen & Ben Ohlander)
- Book 6 (E-Book 5): Action Stations (William Forstchen)
- Book 7 (E-Book 6): False Colors (William Forstchen & Andrew Keith)
- Book 8: Wing Commander: The Movie (Peter Telep)
- Book 9: Pilgrim Stars (Peter Telep)
- Book 10: Pilgrim Truth (Peter Telep)
- Wing Comander Junior Novelization
Behind the scenes Edit
The Wing Commander TV show being set simultaneous to WC1 rather than prequel set before KQ1 was originally a fan retcon created by WCNEWs but was adopted and made canon by the Japanese DVD release of Wing Commander Academy tv series, and reused in Star*Soldier.
This wiki chooses to follow official canon which includes all sources of material as a single canon despite any discrepancies. It also mirrors similar policy followed by Wing Commander CIC and Ben Lesnick (Bandit LOAF) who was involved in part with influencing materials in the Wing Commander movie novelizations series, influencing the timeline, and writing new official material for Wing Commander Arena.
Just as with religious '[http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/canon canon]', the term does not have anything to do with 'continuity' but rather what are deemed to be accepted or inspired body of works. Where as for example the Bible "canon" may have different accounts from varying points of views that do not always perfectly fit together, the same can be said for the Wing Commander's 'canon' body of works.
- Question about canon
- Canon and timeline discussion - contains a history surrounding the Wing Commander Academy TV series retcons.
- More details concerning additions from Arena, and references to the Pilgrim Wars.
- More canon discussion.
- ↑ http://www.wcnews.com/cgi-bin/searchnews.cgi?id=143774&page=1
- ↑ "2654.074" - My addition, describes the Wing Commander movie. "2654.079" - My addition, describes Pilgrim Stars. "2654.130" - My addition, describes Pilgrim Truth. I wanted to make the unpublished novels 'canon', even if their specifics are not.
- ↑ http://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/threads/bossmans-callsign-should-have-changed.21542/