For decades, the works of the Star Wars Expanded Universe have given us more stories and details from the Star War saga, going beyond what we know from George Lucas’s big-screen films. But, while the books, comic books, video games, and more of the Expanded Universe did follow a guideline set up by LucasFilm, these works were not considered canon. Lucas considered only the six Star Wars films as well as Star Wars: The Clone Wars to be canon.
Now, “all aspects of Star Wars storytelling moving forward will be connected,” according to Lucasfilm, which made the announcement on April 25, 2014, stating that for the first time ever, the company – under Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy’s direction — “has formed a story group to oversee and coordinate all Star Wars creative development.”
“We have an unprecedented slate of new Star Wars entertainment on the horizon,” said Kennedy. “We’re set to bring Star Wars back to the big screen, and continue the adventure through games, books, comics, and new formats that are just emerging. This future of interconnected storytelling will allow fans to explore this galaxy in deeper ways than ever before.”
A new trilogy of Star Wars movies — Star Wars Episodes VII-IX — is planned, which will be set in the post-Return Of The Jedi times, but those films will not follow the storylines already created within the Expanded Universe, according to LucasFilm.
Now that a new “Expanded Universe” is being set up that will coincide with the new feature films, what will happen to the original Expanded Universe? LucasFilm said that these existing products will still be in print and will be presented under a new banner called “Legends.”
While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in Star Wars Rebels. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s.
Demand for past tales of the Expanded Universe will keep them in print, presented under the new Legends banner.
LucasFilm also said that the upcoming Star Wars Rebels, the new animated series coming this Fall, will be the first new on-screen project that’s part of the SW canon. For print, the first new canon books will be from Del Rey Books, the first to be announced being one from John Jackson Miller, called Star Wars: A New Dawn, a novel being released in September that will precede the events of Star Wars Rebels and “offers insight into a key character’s backstory, with input directly from executive producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, and Greg Weisman.”
If you’re not familiar with the novels of the EU, then definitely check out our feature 10 Star Wars Novels Worth Checking Out. Those of you of younger generations won’t remember the long drought we had where there was NO Star Wars after the third released film, 1983’s Return Of The Jedi (1983). There were those Ewok spin-off TV movies a few years later, but that’s it. We had nothing! Until finally in June 1991, Timothy Zahn’s novel Heir To The Empire was released and finally we had something again! He went on to pen what’s now known as the Thrawn Trilogy, and it was glorious. Soon, there were more novels from other authors and the comic book line from Dark Horse (Disney, which owns LucasFilm now, is moving to Marvel Comics, their other recently acquired property), and eventually video games, and the Expanded Universe was bursting with new Star Wars tales.
Again, the EU was never considered canon, but let’s face it, after all these years of storytelling, the fans have come to embrace the details we’ve learned from the EU. Now, LucasFilm is basically saying that they’ll keep the existing products of the EU, change the name to Legends, and then blatantly disregard the events that have happened there. And instead of having an EU, now, all projects they release will be considered canon, which to me, means more rigidity in storytelling and character development and no more risk-taking.
I’m guessing there’s not too many fans out there that will be happy with this news, although I know there’s a lot of people who only follow the movies and disregard the EU. What do you think about this news?