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Lucasfilm Announces the Future of the STAR WARS Expanded Universe

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.”

star wars rebels cover

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.

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36 comments

  • for those of you that do not like Disneys handling of our Beloved EU fear not there are others like you and we are forming a Rebellion, granted we are small in number now but with your help we can grow larger and eventually save the EU, So what do you say will join use ?

    Facebook.com/The Alliance To Preserve The Expanded Universe

  • This news was not a surprise, considering what Lucas has done all along. The prequels invalidated a certain amount of the EU, although a lot of it was incorporated pretty well (thinking here about the stuff that had been written about Boba Fett). The prequels also contradicted or threw into question a lot of details established in the original trilogy, so obviously Lucas wasn’t ever too concerned about consistency. And then there was the (second) Clone Wars series and its Mandalorian storyline. I know that Karen Traviss has her detractors, but I really enjoyed her Republic Commando/Imperial Commando books, and I was really peeved when the end of her Imperial Commando series was canceled because Lucas decided he wanted to do something different with Mandalorians. So no, I wasn’t at all surprised that, once again, a huge swath of EU material was going to be invalidated. It’s just the latest in a long line of examples.

  • Then, they put art in trash, just to give Mickey house more and more money..really…it had make me cry, see how many art expressionskilled by Disney superphluos ambition

  • This is the best news I’ve heard in years. Finally they came out and confirmed Star Wars needed and EU enema. The writers need creative freedom and don’t need to be boxed in with the more times than not hot mess known as the EU. Now I’m more excited to see the movies!

  • I knew it! Frigging Disney could not have anything cool and mature associated with that STUPID Mouse.

    Next they will water down Marvel and then it all goes to $Hit.

    This blows!

  • I have no problem with this at all. Personally, you know my own opinion, I tried MANY of the EU books and never found one that I enjoyed. That was either due to a terrible story, horrible writing, or an intriguing waste of time with both.

    Also, I agree with the statement that people will still search out old EU titles, however this is a great way to make new readers come on board as there is no backlog of b.s. to wade through…beyond the misguided prequel movies.

    I look forward to seeing what happens next, but do I keep wishing Disney would show a big act of hope by restoring the original trilogy from the tinkering and harming that Lucas did…then release it on Blu-ray.

  • Having worked at scifi cons and getting to meet and be friends with several of the EU authors. I don’t like this, not at all. I really like the EU, so…I will not be spending my money to see the new movies coming out in theaters. I may watch them if they come on tv. Which they will be, as ABC is part of the evil empire.

    I have seen no argument previously on here that can change my mind. I really love Star Wars, the old Star Wars. I guess I’ll go back to Star Trek.

  • Not gonna lie, I hated where they had ultimately taken the EU….did we really want these jack-holes responsible for the future of the films? I didn’t.

    • What’s to hate about it? The current EU was perfect. I have no complaints. Those authors should be responsible for the films. They did it a lot better than any filmmaker. The films never gave us Jacen Solo or Mara Jade. The films are just not good. They were just another lame sci-fi films. The books were a masterpiece.

  • I dislike losing decades of characters. Yes, they’ll still be on my bookshelves, but they will never have new adventures or a solid ending to their stories, and that’s depressing.

    Of course, a lot of the recent EU novels have also been depressing. It will be nice to see many events removed from the history, I suppose. Whatever Solo children exist now will hopefully have a better go of it.

    And maybe the old stories can come back and get new life breathed into them. Maybe my favorite characters aren’t gone forever (Dash Rendar, Revan, etc…).

    I do wish they hadn’t simply severed all ties. I’m 100% certain some works won’t change canon at all, and some of these have been very central to how I feel about the Star Wars Universe. Heir to the Empire was wonderful and truly helped to fill the gap between V and VI. The Old Republic games and comics also fleshed out events that probably won’t be visited in films…

    This announcement is neither all good nor all bad. So I’m neither happy nor sad about it, though I am hopeful and a bit melancholic.

  • This is the same thing DC and Marvel do every couple of years when they reinvent their universes, and, more often than not, every time there’s a new creative team on a new book like Batman or Superman. Everything that was done before is summarily dismissed and everything starts over, including redundant origin stories, first meetings with arch rivals like The Joker or Doomsday, etc. It’s why they keep rebooting Batman and Spider-man and Superman, because today’s audience doesn’t appreciate the past or have time or want to watch or read up on what went down before.

  • i think this is one lame Idea to bring surprise back into the new movies. They realized that the fans had an expectation of what the characters in the prequel should have been like and when Lucas screwed that up he didnt want it to happen again with Thrawn, the Chiss, the Hapan cluster. The yuuzon Vong (darkest novels but I really felt something while reading them). The main characters may not have died but you felt the personal pain as they had to deal with real loss. Not just the loss of some random character that got introduced in that particular book. Lame money grab from Disney!

  • Personally, this feels like a business move. I seriously think that it would be fine to maybe change things up a little with things after Return of the Jedi. I mean that is sort of necessary in order to get the best story possible for the new movies and all. I’ve been a fan of the Old Republic era and everything before that. Does this mean that Revan, Malgus, the Shans, the Ancient Sith, the Rakata and everything in the KOTOR trilogy technically wouldn’t have existed? Why do they have to touch things that happened thousands of years before the movies? To be honest, this is destroying the Star Wars I love. I’m a guy who likes all the little technicalities and all, discrediting most of what we know about a Universe we love is really depressing.

  • Maybe I’m a bit cynical, but to me this is all about control of intellectual property and money. As it stand, if the new movies wanted to use the characters created and developed by other authors, Disney would have to pay rights fee to do so. I have no doubt that Disney has looked into this knowing what it would cost to use something from the EU in any of the future SW films. By erasing [or re-branding the EU] they can pretty much write their own version of the Star Wars Universe, controlling all the characters without having to pay a fat fee to Timothy Zhan to use Mara Jade or whomever.Looks like Chewbacca lives to fight another day.

  • Everybody forgets that, in order for your late, beloved EU to emerge, the established EU that had been springing up around the edges of the Star Wars universe had to die. Sure, it didn’t have the longevity or saturation that the current EU has, but it was there. And it emerged and thrived because, lacking any real Star Wars developments, fans needed something to keep exploring. But, really, the EU grew to the point that it essentially lived a life divorced from Star Wars as its own thing, and it will still be available if you demand it. This is an opportunity for new voices to express new ideas without, as Len put it, being chained to Star Wars worst writer (discuss who that may be amongst yourselves).

  • When this news was first rumored I was kinda upset, but not surprised. After thinking about it for the next few days and all the stories that have been told I quicky realized hard it would be to use those stories in Episode VII. Beyond that, the sheer volume of EU if used would scare and alienate anyone wanting to come back into Star Wars, and it was not all good. A single focused vision with some new stories told about the stories and characters Disney wants for the future of Star Wars is an exciting prospect for this 37 year old fan who is ready for the next wave of Star Wars in my life.

  • Oh Gods… Throwing away 23 years of Expanded Universe, with characters that we loved for those 23 years in not so easy, it’s awful. Read “more creative freedom to the filmakers” as “I don’t want to read of even know what was done by the EU”, an amazingly lazy strategy. ‘Just like what happened with those new “Star Trek Movies”. You just throw 20, 30, 40 years of Star Trek in the garbage can for a couple of bald romulans and Predator-ishy Klingons. Nobody cares. I’m really sick of lazy reboots, remakes, sequels, prequels, continuations… It seems Hollywood faces a huge lack of inteligence and creativity. And has laziness in abundance.

  • The best stuff has always been the comics. Legacy, Dark Times, anything with Quinlan Vos…

    People always talk shit about the EU, but they always forget the comics and games are included in that.

  • I like the idea of making all the stories in the different mediums cohesive. The old EU was a hodgepodge of stories that would eventually contradict some new movie. I don’t see the big deal in this. Just think of the old EU stories as alternate universe stories like Splinter of the Mind’s Eye is.
    I might give the EU a new try. The stuff in the past was so hit or miss on whether or not it would be good I quit reading it.

  • “But those stories aren’t F___d. They still exist on book shelf. They just don’t matter anymore.”

    So… in other words… they’re “F____d.”

    I just think it’s unnecessary. It’s a part of their plans to oversaturate the market. It’d be perfectly easy just to make the new content, then retcon as needed. It’s OK for stuff to be neither canon nor apocrypha… but steamrolling it and saying everything is definitively apocrypha is an unnecessary move, based solely on Disney’s desire to make sure they can milk every inch of the universe.

    Yes, it was always commercial, but before now it was also independent. It occurred naturally. Now that they’re forcing it, I doubt the sincerity will remain. I was on board before, but Bob Iger hasn’t veiled his financial ambitions quite well enough; his reign has been filled with awful sequels and cash-grabs. Yes, Disney always makes cash-grabs, but previously they only attempted it when they thought they could yield BOTH profit and quality. Now, when that’s not possible, Iger takes profit, and he’s just too public about it.

  • I’m fine with this. I’m a huge fan of a lot of the EU stuff. This dosent bum me out at all. If anything it excites me. Just think of all the EU stuff as another timeline. It’s kind of like what J.J.Abrams and friends did with Star-Trek, which worked rather well I think. This is also an opportunity to take some things in a new direction, explore new possibilities. Theres also a very good chance that some of the existing EU stuff will resurface in this new time line. I’m sure that theres still going to be a happy Solo family(maybe this time 2/3′s of their kids won’t die off) and some form of a new Jedi order. So just set back and enjoy the ride and if you don’t like it,well, ignore it and continue living in the old EU. Remember “Traveling through hyper-space aint like dustin’ crops.”

  • Mr. Potato, the Bioware stories are way before anything from the movies. I don’t think they’re going to automatically shut down KOTOR online either over this.

  • Personally I think this is an amazing move Star Wars. With the very few exceptions I thought the EU had neutered Luke Skywalker, killed Chewie and generally became a very hard read. I don’t want to read a story about Jedi filling out forms every time someone loses a limb. With a new EU to look forward to they can not only fix mistakes of the past but make a cohesive universe that leads into the new films an beyond.

    And even though losing Obi-Wan in Heir to the Empire always felt like a mistake to me I will miss those books and Admiral Thrawn as part of the cannon. But those stories aren’t F___d. They still exist on book shelf. They just don’t matter anymore.

    Looking forward to the new books especially those just announced….

  • “Hey, so remember all those video games put out by Bioware and those comic books that were put out by Dark Horse, that were better then our last 3 [4 if you include the Clone Wars] movies? Yea F— those stories.” Is what I think when I read that.