Fans have been curious about what would happen to the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) ever since Disney purchased Lucasfilm. AS you may know, the Expanded Universe canon encompasses anything that is not part of the Star Wars films or television series. Books, comics, and video games are all considered Expanded Universe, and the events that unfold within them are secondary to film and television canon. Until now.
Lucasfilm has just made an announcement about the future of the EU, and the short of it is that they’re starting over. Beginning with Star Wars Rebels, we’re entering into a new era of Star Wars in which new books, games, and comics will be part of the same universe. Lucasfilm has a story group in place to oversee creative development and to ensure that all Star Wars storytelling moving forward will be connected.
Kathleen Kennedy said, “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.”
As Simon Kinberg recently revealed, Episodes VII-IX will not reference the Expanded Universe stories that exist in the same time period. From Lucasfilm: “In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe.”
The first installment of this new, unified canon to appear on screen will be Star Wars Rebels. The first printed material in this new, unified canon will include novels from Del Rey Books. They’ve announced one of them: “John Jackson Miller is writing a novel [“A New Dawn”] that precedes 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.”
Along with this news, Lucasfilm released a video to recognize the important role the Expanded Universe has played in Star Wars. They’re aware of how fans feel about those stories because they feel the same way. Given all the possibilities, I think Lucasfilm made a sound decision about the future of the EU. Admittedly, I’ve never had trouble thinking of the films and the EU as separate entities, but a single universe that ties together – isn’t that kind of the dream for franchises like this?
Now, as far as what will happen to already existing Expanded Universe product? No one is going to come to your home and take away the stories you love. There is no Expanded Universe Order 66. However, only consumer demand will keep titles in print. From Lucasfilm, “Demand for past tales of the Expanded Universe will keep them in print, presented under the new Legends banner.” That means it may be more difficult to track down that missing Rogue Squadron book in the years to come, but let’s be honest, Star Wars is popular. Even fans who are new to the franchise will still check out the books that happened before this announcement. Certain titles will be more popular, but I’m guessing it will be a while before we see anything go out of print.
You can read further details in the release at StarWars.com. How do you feel about this decision? Let us know in the comments.