Well, I’ll be a bantha’s uncle. The 1979 Han Solo Adventures and the 1983 Adventures of Lando Calrissian — both part of the very beginning of the Star Wars Expanded Universe — are being reissued this Fall with all new introductions and covers!
With Disney taking over the franchise, you knew it was only a matter of time before they opened their metaphorical vault and introduced a new generation to some great reading. I read (and reread) these books as a teen and I will admit that I was more of a fan of the Lando series by L. Neil Smith than I was of Brian Daley‘s Han trilogy. Not that the latter was bad, but I just really enjoyed the Lando books…the books really gave some depth to his character. I saw him in a whole new light after reading these. Everyone already loved Han; it was Lando that really needed a backstory.
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.”
I remember in 1994 when George Lucas announced he was making the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. The announcement opened a door to over a decade in which I was able to channel my obsession with Star Wars into hunting down any and all tidbits of filming news. It was a fascinating and exciting period, and one of the things I learned from that time was an ability and skill to filter the facts from the rumors from the horseshit.
Star Wars was somewhat breaking new ground on the internet during that time, and it was the fans that were leading the charge. Sure there were many basement-dwelling neckbeards who became elitist trolls, but on the positive tread of the tire, it was the Star Wars fans who popularized the meme phrase "spoilers" in that early internet phase – and while there are cited examples of the phrase being used pre-internet, it truly was the Star Wars addicts that pushed it from web meme to culturally recognizable phrase.
Consequently here we are in a new exciting era in which we get to follow news and rumors and speculations on what we could possibly expect from Star Wars: Episode VII and the other chapters of the Sequel Trilogy. Having said that, we are in a completely new era now, with a lot of newer and younger fans out there, so I thought I would ramble on a bit about what we can expect, and the likelihood of certain elements arising.
Permit me to preface the list below by saying that I’ve held off from doing this article for some time. I wanted to wait until we at least had a confirmed director. And now we have, in the form of J.J. Abrams. But this also emphasizes an important aspect of Star Wars fan lore when it comes to new movies: EVERYTHING is rumor or speculation until confirmed by the official Star Wars site. This is almost biblical canon or Force Holocron or karma sutra or something to the hardcore SW nuts like me, and I can almost see the Prequel era speculators nodding their heads at this.
So here we go. Bear in mind, these are early days, and there are some only basic fundamentals we can ascertain right now. But at this point, in 2013, what can we possibly expect from Star Wars: Episode VII?
Today will be a day long remembered for Star Wars fans, particularly for enthusiasts of the Expanded Universe: LucasBooks has released their Star Wars: Heir to the Empire: The 20th Anniversary Edition written by Timothy Zahn. The novel has long been an enduring fixture in the reading collections not only of Star Wars fans, but also for general readers of Sci-Fi as well. Zahn contributed a significant first chapter in the beginning of a journey that would continue expanding the cosmos of Star Wars.
Originally released in 1991, Heir to the Empire was the first part of The Thrawn Trilogy. Set five years after Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, the Rebel Alliance has claimed Coruscant and instituted the New Republic. Meanwhile, the remnants of the Empire have coalesced under the strategic genius and foresight of Grand Admiral Thrawn, placing the Imperial Forces under the strongest direction it has had since the fall of Palpatine and Vader, and becoming a new menace to the infancy of the New Republic.