Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Leland Chee

For those of you who don't know that name, I must confess that I only learned it today.

Leland Chee is the official canonical coordinator for George Lucas' Star Wars franchise.

[Bear with me, I'm going somewhere with this.]

In other words, Mr. Chee is in charge of maintaining what is known as the Holocron, which is a sort of organized collection of all the Star Wars mythology, ranging from the six movies to the TV shows to the novels to the fan fiction available at numerous sources on the Web. Part of his chief duties is to discern which stories can be considered part of the official storyline and which cannot, as well as everything in between. Producers and manufacturers call on his knowledge and expertise when developing a new video game or product in the Star Wars universe to ensure every i is dotted and every t is crossed. This is, of course, a job bigger than the man himself, as the canon of Star Wars already had much momentum when he was assigned the task of organizing it all in 2000.

For anybody remotely familiar with science fiction, you'll know that with any new story a legion of fans (most of whom are without lives yet mysteriously aren't dead) will strive to poke holes in the continuity of the overall series. This is the one trait of sci-fi fans which irks non-sci-fi fans the most. Who cares why Anakin Skywalker's boots had three buckles on them in one shot and two buckles in the next?

It's Leland Chee who reveals the answers to vexing questions like these.

He is known as The Keeper of the Holocron and believe you me, the real die-hard Star Wars fans take him very seriously. On the Star Wars official website forums, he fields questions and directs fans to established sources of "truth" when it comes to their inquiries. But he also has at his beck and call a legion of co-moderators who keep the fans - who can be a little irrational in their quest to understand the official storyline - in check and allow only the most urgent of questions to filter up to him. There is a distinct hierarchy within the Star Wars community.

Allow me here to demonstrate my point: When George Lucas instituted the continuity checkers, he constituted them in the form of an assembly, at the head of which he placed Leland Chee.

Sound familiar?

That is a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the role of Peter, and the Pope, among the 12 Apostles, and the rest of the bishops. Obviously I've replaced some of the names and tweaked the sentence structure a bit, but I find it remarkable how the search for absolute truth is so core and elemental to our human forms that we cram it into the silliest of pursuits (no disrespect to the Star Wars fans out there).

Now for fun, go back to the beginning and re-read this, substituting Pope for Chee, bishops for co-moderators, faithful for fans... you get the drift.

In this frivolous exercise, I see that there is a little bit of God in everything created by man, even Star Wars. We truly are created in his image, and cannot help but include his impression in all that we create ourselves.

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