The Star Wars Expanded Universe: Why it Matters and the Danger it Faces
“After Star Wars was released, it became apparent that my story—however many films it took to tell—was only one of thousands that could be told about the characters who inhabit its galaxy. But these were not stories that I was destined to tell. Instead, they would spring from the imagination of other writers, inspired by the glimpse of a galaxy that Star Wars provided. Today, it is an amazing, if unexpected, legacy of Star Wars that so many gifted writers are contributing new stories to the Saga.”
―George Lucas, from the introduction of Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, 1996
I “took my first steps into a larger world” and watched Star Wars when I was 5, and it absolutely blew me away. This galaxy far, far away featured a thrilling story filled with strange alien worlds, even stranger alien species, and heroes fighting evil in an epic struggle that absolutely captivated my young imagination, as well as those of millions around the world. While the average movie-goer or fan might only be peripherally aware of it, the story of Star Wars was never limited to the films, and continues in a grand fashion across practically every form of media. These stories enrich and fill the universe of Star Wars, stretching from hundreds of thousands of years before the films to a hundred years after. The Expanded Universe allowed fans to continue to follow the beloved heroes from the movies while also providing context through new heroes and adventures from throughout (and sometimes beyond) the vast galaxy of Star Wars, creating a truly vibrant universe with unparalleled depth and continuity.
Through several bestselling novels we followed Luke, Leia and Han as they struggled to re-establish the Republic and the Jedi Order and starting families on the way. Threats such as Grand Admiral Thrawn, one of the greatest tacticians in the galaxy and a dedicated servant of the Empire, and the Yuuzhan Vong, extra-galactic invaders invisible to the Force and brutally genocidal are only the tip of the iceberg. The comics bring us to the beginnings of the Jedi Order on their ancient homeworld of Tython, before disagreement over the dark and light sides of the Force caused a devastating schism, and also show us how the galaxy continues after the passing of Luke Skywalker and the struggles of his descendant Cade. The video games allow us to take the reins in the eternal struggle between Jedi and Sith as they fought for the fate of the galaxy, and The Clone Wars TV series showed us the pitched battles of the war we only saw pieces of in the movies.
These various works also gave us countless original characters who have since become beloved fan-favorites, such as the aforementioned Thrawn, Mara Jade Skywalker, and Jaina Solo. They confirmed that Boba Fett was indeed too tough to be killed by the Sarlacc and gave us the wedding of Han Solo and Leia Organa. The Expanded Universe is simply too vast to briefly summarize, but the unfathomable amount of information is painstakingly documented and maintained by a legion of passionate editors (including yours truly) at Wookieepedia, and even a quick glance at the site displays just how much the Expanded Universe has to offer. From starship specifications to lightsaber combat to planetary histories, if you have ever had questions about the Star Wars setting, the Expanded Universe likely has an answer!
Admittedly not everything to come from the Expanded Universe has been good, and even diehard fans have found much to take issue with, but these missteps pale in comparison to the overall value of these contributions. The greatest strength of the Expanded Universe comes from its diversity and variety; different authors offer unique styles of writing, with genres stretching from horror to noir. To my knowledge no other franchise has such a widespread presence with this level of depth and it is truly astounding how much work has been put into building this world. A great deal of love and care has obviously been put into the crafting of the franchise and a significant population exists which appreciates it. The Expanded Universe clearly matters to the legions of individuals who have significant emotional (and likely monetary) investment in it.
This same Expanded Universe now faces a grave danger of being rendered obsolete and discarded, tossed to the side as if it never existed.
As everyone is undoubtedly aware, the rights to Star Wars were purchased by Disney in 2012, who promptly announced they would be releasing more movies starting in 2015. While most fans, myself included, initially were overjoyed at this news, excitement would soon give way to a sense of foreboding as they realized what the creation of new movies would have to entail. The vast majority, and arguably the best, of the Expanded Universe stories already take place in the years after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, and there is hardly a year in the lives of Luke Skywalker and others that is not documented in some way. Director J. J. Abrams has since stated that the script for Episode VII has been completed and rumors suggest the story plans to feature Luke, Leia and Han in their later years, as well as their children. Fans of the Expanded Universe know that these children have already existed and grown up for quite some time and have even begun to take center stage from their parents even in the EU. If Abrams and the others in charge of the production so wished, they could systematically dismantle and nullify at least half of the Expanded Universe with their new movie.
The established canon of Star Wars can get VERY complicated, and even diehard fans and the authors of the EU have difficulty keeping it all straight sometimes. Contradictions are inevitable, and despite the best efforts of Leland Chee and other officials in making sense of it all, the difficulty of adhering to previous canon can be overwhelming at times. It is difficult to imagine that Hollywood will tolerate the cumbersome task of researching and obeying canon, and unfortunately it seems far more likely that these new films will simply overwrite what has previously been written. From a storytelling standpoint it would make sense as well. Luke’s son Ben has already lost his mother and lived through several galactic crises as of the current Expanded Universe stories, and Han and Leia’s daughter Jaina has gotten married and seen her two siblings perish, one of them at her own hand. It would be exceedingly difficult to introduce these characters to new audiences when they have already accomplished so much and undergone a great deal of development. There is little incentive for Disney to cater to what they likely view as an insignificant faction of their audience.
Precedent for this sort of disregard for canon already exists in the form of The Clone Wars TV series. While showrunners did their best to respect previous works, large contradictions did emerge. Many of these could have been quite easily avoided as well, implying a lack of concern on the part of the creators. More blatant examples include the deaths of Jedi Masters Even Piell and Adi Gallia who both died over the course of the show despite having previously been showing dying under different conditions in other sources. These conflicts could have been easily rectified by a simple substitution of characters but The Clone Wars prioritized telling its own stories over the need to respect canon. To their credit most of the canon conflicts were smoothed over in a reasonable fashion with only minor alterations, but the potential for abuse is very evident.
While Abrams is certainly among the best possible choices for take the helm for the new Star Wars films, he simply does not have the knowledge, and quite possibly the desire, to maintain the complicated canon of the universe, and it is difficult to fault him for this. The Expanded Universe has become so vast that attempting to break into is can be a daunting effort and requires far more time than any director would be willing to devote. Given the past tendency of Lucas and others to simply ignore and overwrite established canon when it suits them, it unfortunately seems Abrams will do the same, destroying much of the best Star Wars has had to offer outside of the films.
Fortunately the news is not all doom and gloom, and there is some hope for at least portions of the Expanded Universe. As the films are sequels, most if not all of the material which takes place before Return of the Jedi should be spared, which includes the critically acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic game, The Old Republic MMO and several other novels and comics. The success of The Clone Wars will likely protect it and its spiritual successor, Rebels, from any changes as well. Leland Chee and other stewards of the franchise have also announced the creation of the Lucasfilm Story Group which seeks to “abolish the current canon hierarchy system and create a single cohesive continuity,” and these individuals do possess the necessary knowledge and experience to make these cuts as painless as possible. The remote possibility that Disney does decide to work within existing canon also remains, and with advisers like the Lucasfilm Story Group they could do so with minimal alterations to the Expanded Universe.
Many people may be of the opinion that none of this matter, and ask why anyone should care. Simply put, people DO care, and can care a great deal. Star Wars actor and fan Sam Witwer put it best when he stated that Disney risks “pissing off a lot of people” with their new movies. Witwer’s own character, Galen Marek, might even be wiped by canon changes. Many fans like myself have invested over a decade into enjoying and studying various aspects of the Expanded Universe and would feel a definite sense of loss if it was simply discarded, and community fansites such as Wookieepedia show that I am not alone. The Star Trek Expanded Universe represents my worst fear for the future of Star Wars, where it is indisputably non-canon and ignored and belittled, leading to an inevitable decrease in quality. Some of the most enjoyable science fiction novels I’ve read were from the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and I feel a great sense of sadness that such works may soon become extinct. Characters like Mara Jade, Cade Skywalker, and Jaina Solo have become precious to the fandom, and it would be a great tragedy for them simply to be wiped from existence without any form of acknowledgement.
Many of you have never and will never read anything from the Expanded Universe and will enjoy the new movies without a care for this issue, and that’s perfectly fine. It is understandable that the average viewer will not be affected by this plight, and while I urge everyone to give the better works of Star Wars fiction a chance, my goal is not to convert others or start a riot, I have no illusions about any amount of fan outrage influencing Disney (although such outrage can be quite noticeable, see the Mass Effect 3 Ending debacle). Rather, I simply hope to help others understand how strongly many fans feel about the Expanded Universe, and how devastated we may feel by future decisions. While others may disagree with me and argue that putting the Expanded Universe on the chopping block is a good thing and the franchise will be better off losing all the deadweight, I have spent most of my life reading these stories and will maintain that there is more good than bad to be found in the Expanded Universe. The universe of Star Wars is only famous for its wealth and depth because of the rich tapestry of tales it is made up of, and something truly beautiful will be lost if it is crudely cut.
I love Star Wars, and always will, no matter what future entries in the franchise may bring, but if the Expanded Universe is discarded, I will be unable to view the new movies without a sense of bitter loss. As with anything we truly love, we must take the bad with the good, as greatness is only recognizable with context. I remember the awe felt by a child who first saw starships and worlds beyond his wildest imagination, who first saw the face of evil in the mask of Darth Vader, and realized what it meant to be a hero by the light of a blue lightsaber. I also remember the joy of the teenager who read late into the night, gaping in amazement at the tactical genius of Grand Admiral Thrawn, grinning at the childish antics of a young Jaina and Jacen Solo and laughing out loud at the wit of the members of Rogue Squadron. These feelings are not and should not be mutually exclusive. The passion of fans is what gives Star Wars its strength as a franchise, and if Abrams and the others in charge have the ability to continue the saga while appeasing all of these fans, then they should stop at nothing to do so. May the Force be with us all.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
I like your article a lot and I agree that the expanded universe in Star Wars has become obsolete. I for one, in my opinion, think that the new Star Wars franchise is a very very poor decision and I’m not a big fan of the creative choices they have made.
I would like to see a story about the stormtroopers after the empire’s defeat. I always imagined the a mutiny versus the fanatics, and the deserters living a life of dangerous odd jobs.
You may be interested in Star Wars: Allegiance and its sequel Choices of One. They don’t take place after the Empire’s defeat but they do feature a squad of stormtroopers that end up deserting. Both novels are written by Timothy Zahn of Thrawn trilogy fame and also feature Mara Jade!
I’m well versed in the Star Wars EU, so I’m aware of the wealth of material there…
However, there’s also A LOT of garbage. Overall, I think there’s just too much baggage in the post-RotJ EU, which will only burden the new trilogy and limit its creativity.
I suppose it’s all right if Ep 7 and the new trilogy draws inspiration from the EU, such as certain characters (Mara Jade #1!, Talon Karde, Gillad Palleon). However, I don’t want the the trilogy to be the Thrawn trilogy, or the Dark Empire trilogy. The Thrawn trilogy was an excellent series of novels, but they lacked the grandiose scale of the Star Wars movies. Dark Empire could be adapted into a new movie trilogy, but I think repeatedly cloning the Emperor diminishes his character.
I’m certain that the screenwriter of Ep 7 can do better than that, which is why I’d prefer that Ep 7 and the new trilogy went in an entirely different direction, diverged from the established EU, and was as original and imaginative as possible.
I’m a fan of The Clone Wars CG animated series, and I think the showrunners have done an extraordinary job of exploring and exploiting the Clone Wars to its fullest potential. However, there are limitations to what they’re able to do. I don’t want Ep 7 to have any limitations imposed on it. That means if major characters need to be killed off, such as Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, Lando, etc. to give them a proper dramatic conclusion to their characters, then so be it. If the plot of Ep 7 necessitates that Luke Skywalker die heroically, similar to Obi-wan in Ep 4 and Qui-gon Jinn in Ep 1, then that should be permitted. George Lucas had a moratorium against killing off any of the Classic Trilogy’s major characters for nearly 25 years, until Chewbacca died in the NJO series. But he’s the only one so far!
Now that GL has sold Lucasarts to Disney, I hope that opens up an era of creative freedom wherein anything is possible, as long as it is in the best interest of the Star Wars universe.
I understand where you’re coming from and there are definitely some works that I wouldn’t shed a tear for if they were excised. My fear is more focused on the possibility of all the good works being destroyed in one simple action. If they introduce Solo and Skywalker kids and they aren’t Ben and Jaina then practically all the post ROTJ EU is invalidated and we’d lose some great characters in the process.
I don’t want the new films to adhere to the EU so much as acknowledge their existence, I want to make clear that I’m a huge fan of The Clone Wars and liked how they did things, making small mentions of EU works that fans would grin at if they were knowledgeable. I agree that Luke and the others should be allowed to die if the story calls for it but I’d like to see him serve as a Yoda figure. My biggest concern is once again how the children are dealt with, but as for other EU stories I’d be more than happy if a character just mentioned them off-handedly, e.g. referred to the Thrawn campaign without further elaboration at some point. Thanks for commenting!
SHOULD the expanded universe be utilized? Yes. Star Wars has a huge following, and some aspects of the EU are treated as a fact of life. Han and Leia get married and have a total of three kids. Luke finds Mara Jade and they have adventures as both friends and enemies. Those are facts for us fans and anything otherwise would be like telling us Luke’s hand wasn’t actually cut off.
WILL it be utilized? Nope. Lucas does his own thing (and I’m sure his apprentice of a director will too), and he will probably spit in the face of 30 years of EU material just to let everyone know who really controls Luke’s destiny.
Great article. Regarding Star Wars VII, they definitely should not try adhere to any existing storylines; they should give the writers as much freedom as possible to tell an original story. That said, if the script allows it, there’s no harm in adding a few things here and there.
The biggest trouble is the expanded universe has completely run away with main plot lines with massive events. My gut feeling is Disney will try to find something more colossal important than anything in the fiction and tie it together with a delicate retelling with what’s there. To be honest though I don’t want to see the Solo/Skywalker family drawn out as serial superheros like some of the books do, I’d hope there is a bit more passing of the guard and that we can look back on their events in time from a universal perspective.
I really like EU but i dont like the concept of creatures that block “THE FORCE”..that is stupid!!…That is like saying when you are in those creatures presence there is no sixth sense or any intuition.??
Nice piece. The Star Wars EU is still better written than anything George wrote. The idea of Star Wars itself is the only good writing George did.
It’s funny, even though I don’t read or consume much of Star Wars EU productions, I’m staunchly protective of them. The idea that Disney may deem them not canon is important to the idea of being a fan of anything.
The questions of “what’s real” and “what’s not real” or “did/didn’t really happen” are all valid questions that fans obsess over.
I think the best compromise would be to take the spirit (and certain key characters like Mara Jade and General Thrawn) of the greatest works of the Star Wars EU and imbue the new films with it. That way, although it may not be exactly as previously thought, Disney won’t alienate thousands of fans by telling them their favorite characters “don’t matter.”
I would like to see the EU used in some way but I will not be mad if it is not. No matter what they do post OT books will always be the continuation for me.
No no no. No expanded universe (should be called alternate universe) material!! It’s worse than soap opera drivel. And there are about five billion clones of everyone running around….. Something ORIGINAL for Episode VII and beyond please….
It all depends on what EU books you read. Yes, some are very soap-ish, but many of them are great adventures that explore aspects of this much loved galaxy.
If we have an old Luke, I guess no Mara Jade, which is a shame, but even if you have to tweak the chronology a bit, you could have Thrawn, and he makes an awesome villain : he’s got the brains, he’s got the charisma, and he’s not a one-dimensional power-hungry sith lord, his dedication to the empire even actually makes sense ( the galaxy DID have to be united to face the Vong, and the New Republic was far from reaching this goal ). If he doesn’t make it to the big screen, let’s hope the writer takes notes on how you build a good Star Wars villain.
I for one, have not read any of the EU so if anyone can point me in the right direction to start, that would be awesome.
It depends on which era you’re most interested in. If you want to start post-ROTJ then Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy starting with Heir to the Empire would be the place to go. The X-Wing series is also pretty standalone and a damn good read in my opinion. For Clone Wars I don’t think chronology is as essential since most are standalone, and books from other eras, such as The Old Republic, can generally be read alone as well.
I find that timeline to be very helpful in making sure things are read in sequence, but the Thrawn trilogy is universally regarded as a good starting point I believe. In general while works may include subtle references to events in other stories it’s almost never REQUIRED that you’ve read the others. If you follow publication date or chronological sequence to some degree you’ll be completely fine. I myself had a rather poor starting point with the Young Jedi Knights series and am none worse for wear.
Beloved series like the Thrawn novels, New Jedi Order, and the Legacy of the Force series are large works and highly recommended.
I think that the only way to preserve this expanded universe is to venture back into the years that have not been approached or the years in the future that also have not. It would require that we get rid of these characters that most fans know and love and introduce new ones. Just like Knights of the Old Republic did.
1977 I saw Star Wars loved it! Lucas sells it away. Too many books read etc etc etc I predict a death to once fabulous universe. You go Disney!!!
I wonder, after reading this article, about the flexibility of science fiction canon. The Star Wars films are unlike a lot of major sci-fi franchises in that they started as films and expanded into books, television, etc. but I do wonder if they might share with much of science fiction a flexible canon like the one surrounding most comic book continuity. As you probably know, comic book continuity and it’s canon can be very difficult to keep track of. So much so that there have been major plot events dedicated to simplifying canon (Crisis on Infinite Earths being the prime example). My point being that the nature of shared authorship, extensive and deep back story, and decades of franchise material result in canons which almost cannot being 100% consistent. When a new piece is added to the franchise it will tweak canon this way and that so that the author can carve out a little corner of the universe for their own story. In a sense this is what makes these massive franchises amazing works of social art. However, this may be more relevant when discussing fan-fiction than talking about Hollywood. Film definitely has a power over the mass perception of canon. I know that much of my understanding of X-Men, Spiderman, and even Batman has been influenced by the recent franchise films. This is only exacerbated by the fact of Star Wars cinematic origins, so ultimately it is likely that any changes made in the films will become canon for the mass audience despite any contradictions to the Expanded Universe, but I guess what I’m suggesting is that it is okay for science fiction franchises to have contradictory continuity. Part of what makes these complex continuities so fascinating is the way they allow fans to think about the history of the universe. With specific, limited contradictions, the new films might actually add a depth to the complexity of the Star Wars universe and allow fans to enjoy the process of discovery in the Expanded Universe even more.
I appreciate the depth of this article. It made me aware of some things I had not previously been. For example. The list of characters and the cases for greater development was interesting and intellectually stimulating.
I would be upset if they excised Mara Jade. Her story was always so interesting, and her character so vibrant. It would also be a shame, however, just to show her as Luke’s wife, in a background scene. Why bother having her if you won’t show how awesome she is?
Given expanded universe is badly written fanfic, I’d rather have the experts write the real story for VII thank you.
Not necessarily. The expanded universe includes many professionally written novels, comic books, TV series and even video games. All written end executed by professionals. I believe their stories are the ones referenced in this article.
You mean the incompetent “experts” who crafted the prequels? They’re visually stunning, but have absolutely atrocious writing. The original trilogy fares far better because other minds were involved in the making. It’s a good sign that someone other than Lucas is writing the script, but I’ve already lost all faith in the SW property outside the EU. These new films threaten to tread on what little Force dreams I have left.
I’ll hold my breath for Ep. VII, but I feel the Star Wars franchise is going to become another Disney cliche on par with “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “National Treasure.” At best, the new trilogy will coax new fans into Star Wars, thus sparking their own journeys into enjoying the EU through (which I have yet to do even), the many great games the series has (Force Unleashed, KOTOR, TOR) and even the role-playing games (Fantasy Flights “Edge of the Empire”).
At worst, it will be a “meh” Summer popcorn movie with the word Star Wars attached to it, causing thousands of people across the world to ask “So what’s the big deal?” I’m almost certain it’s going to hurt the canon, which is why I’ve been systematically reading Barthes “Death of the Author,” the equivalent of canonical self-defense.
Great article! I much enjoyed your explanation of the expanded universe and your hope for the canon.
…that said, I don’t think that one cohesive universe is the best thing for the story. Restrictions can impede new stories and hold back imagination. New universes and different lines of events can add and compliment the story of Star Wars.
I am reminded of all the universes that surround the story of Batman. In some universes he works alone. In some, Robin is right there with him. In others still, he works with the Justice League. There is an infinite route for his story to be told. Hell, my favorite storyline is that of the Flashpoint Paradox where Bruce Wayne is the one that is killed that night outside the theater and Thomas Wayne becomes Batman and Martha Wayne goes insane and becomes the Joker!
Anyways, I think that the inclusion of different courses of events can be a good thing for the amazing story of Star Wars.
I think The trouble is that Star wars is one of those epics that is best experienced visually. Although there are incredible novels that I have expanded the universe, which I am personally grateful for. I can see why a lot of the characters and or plot lines that have been added to star wars, risk being disregarded, because reading the story somehow isn’t the same as seeing it in this case. It is strange because in any other situation I can think of, similar epics would first be received through the novels and then the films afterward. In other stories like The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, we best experience their effectiveness through reading the text because that was the original means by which they came about. With star wars, once people saw the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, and then the beginning titles with the starship passing by, no one wanted to experience it any other way. It seems that the true fans that honor the books that have been written, and follow up on the less known stories within Star wars, are not the main audience that they are shooting for. Like Tolkien’s stories, Star wars became something that was too big for its own good.
I agree completely writer5, though I would say that my love for film actually surpasses literature. The biggest reason why I haven’t read works like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit, Game of Thrones, and the Star Wars EU is because of the fantasy elements that are an inherent part of these stories. I grew up with film, not literature, so by nature I’m a very visual person, and while I respect novelists and the way they tell their stories, I just don’t get the same sense of wonder from a book that I do from a movie. I want to see these characters and the worlds they live in, not read about them. But this of course could have to do with the way that I was first exposed to these series. I didn’t read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy when I was a kid so the movies were all I got. After that, reading the books felt obsolete. Perhaps if I had read them, I would’ve felt very differently about the movies.
I have no faith in this film whatsoever, but truly hope to be proven wrong.
BTW my lack of faith isn’t nearly as disturbing as the atrocious dialogue and planet-sized plotholes of the prequels. It’s pretty bad when cartoons have more competent writing.
This is about as tricky as adaptive storytelling can get, especially with a work that is as popular and beloved as Star Wars. I find myself being smack in the middle when it comes to the future of the series. On the one hand, I have always loved the original trilogy and I always will, but the prequels just didn’t capture the same sense of awe and wonder as the originals did. When I heard that Disney was planning to make more pictures, I didn’t really express any anger, I just said, “That’s okay, I’ll stick with the originals.” But then again, who’s to say I won’t at some point be interested in the new films? Could there be narratives there that will enchant me as much as the first three films? Also, while I understand the fear that many (including Nick Hwang, the author of this piece) have, I wonder if Star Wars purists and fans of the EU should get preferential treatment when it comes to the new movies. What I mean by that is what if someone (like me) who hasn’t read any of the novels or seen any of the expanded series were to go into the movie and not understand what was going on because I would’ve had to have read such material before hand. J.J. Abrams is a very competent storyteller and I trust him very much with these films, but I just can’t see any way he can please everyone. It seems like he’ll either have to back track and (maybe) change some of the canon or he’ll tell everything in a straight forward manner and leave those who aren’t as well versed in the Star Wars EU in the dust. I don’t want to sound like a downer, I’m just a cautious optimist.
I didn’t want a multiverse, but now I’d rather have that instead of seeing Admiral Thrawn, Wraith Squadron, Kyle Katarn, etc. to be thrown away. I hope Disney allows the old EU to continue on its own timeline instead of just being discarded and forgotten like that crappy CGI Clone Wars cartoon.
If not, then I’m through with Star Wars for good.
I haven’t read expanded universe yet… I am worried as to what the movie will entail too. I’ve heard a lot about it, enough to really appreciate how special Star Wars is to people. Even though I haven’t read any EU book except Jedi Apprentice- Obiwan’s birthday wish, I care as well what will happen to the EU if Abrams destroys it.
There are two possibilities because I perceive both the movies and the EU fandom to be huge. If Disney pisses everyone off (and they will) we can: a) ignore Disney and stick with the EU thus driving Lucasarts out of business or b) Disney wins and the EU is destroyed, all books are driven out of business. Both are very possible. Clone Wars changed a lot but from what I hear, nothing too horrible.
I think, despite what Disney does, the EU can always hold a special place in the hearts of many. There’s always the DC comic book route where one can simply choose which continuity to follow.
The problem with the star wars EU is that it was never curated well. there are to many terrible stories and ideas and endless clones and stupider and stupider super weapons and new sith empires and so and so on. wading through all the flotsam (they let Kevin J anderson of all people write some) to find the few legitimately good well written stories is to monumental a task for anyone at this point. So lets start fresh and if you enjoyed the EU then continue to enjoy it and stop worrying about this “canon” issue so much. Also http://io9.com/5988376/the-12-worst-things-in-the-star-wars-expanded-universe.
I do love the expanded universe of star wars since it does have elements that I like and characters that you have to love and hate because of what they do or strive to achieve to better the galaxy. Though if this new start wars movie is bad as I think it might be, then again it might be good, then I will disregard the new movies and just follow the expanded universe.
I’m so excited for this new Season of Star Wars Rebels! I really liked the Clone Wars edition and the First season of rebels. To be honest, sometimes I find the expanded universe more interesting than canon. Haha. But its Star Wars, everyone loves it! 🙂
The Expanded Universe was never canon. Disney didn’t decanonize a thing. It’s right in the announcement that it wasn’t canon and that that came directly from George Lucas. Lucas was very vocal on this point. EU authors in interviews say it wasn’t canon. The canon tiers were not about canonicity, they were a filing system used for the Holocron database. They were search engine filters. – Quotes below –
“While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the EU consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU. He set the films he created as the canon. This includes the six Star Wars episodes, and the many hours of content he developed and produced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These stories are the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align.”
“And now there have been novels about the events after Episode VI, which isn’t at all what I would have done with it. The Star Wars story is really the tragedy of Darth Vader. That is the story. Once Vader dies, he doesn’t come back to life, the Emperor doesn’t get cloned and Luke doesn’t get married.”
~ George Lucas,Total Film Magazine Interview, 2008
“I get asked all the time, ‘What happens after “Return of the Jedi”?,’ and there really is no answer for that,” he said. “The movies were the story of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and when Luke saves the galaxy and redeems his father, that’s where that story ends.””
– George Lucas, Flannelled One, May 2008, “George Lucas: ‘Star Wars’ won’t go beyond Darth Vader”, interview with Los Angeles Times
“I don’t read that stuff, I haven’t read any of the novels. I don’t know anything about that world. That’s a different world than my world. But I do try and keep it consistent. The way I do it is they have a Star Wars encyclopedia. So if I come up with a name or something else, I look it and see if it has already been used. When I said other people could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided that, like Star Trek, we would have TWO universes: My Universe and than this other one. They try to make THEIR universe as consistent with mine as possible, but obviously they get enthusiastic and want to go off in other directions.”
~ George Lucas Starlog Magazine Interview, 2005 – https://ibb.co/Km1CcNs
“There are two worlds here,” explained Lucas. “There’s my world, which is the movies, and there’s this other world that has been created, which I say is the parallel universe – the licensing world of the books, games and comic books.”
~ George Lucas, Cinescape, 2002
‘In 2014, Disney declared the Expanded Universe was no longer canon. It became ‘Legends’. What do you think of this, seeing all of your work suddenly become non-canon?’
“Those of us writing the EU were always told, all along, from the very beginning (have I stressed that strongly enough?), “Only the Movies are Canon.” Sure, it was disappointing.”
~ Kathy Tyers, EU author [Truce at Bakura, Balance Point] Interview, 2018
Podcast Interview with Steve Perry, Author of Shadows of the Empire from the Expanded Universe –
Interviewer – ‘So what are your thoughts about your book and all the ones that came other than this last year are no longer part of the Official Star Wars Canon ever since Disney took over?
Steve Perry – “Ohh they never were! Nothing was ever canon other than the movies.”
The Ritual Misery Podcast with hosts Amos and Kent, 2015
“I think people over emphasize the importance of the canon level. The intent of the canon levels was, as the main intent was ‘if someones looking for the ships from a film, they can than use those fields to check for them only in the films,and thus seperate that from what was in the EU. So we can look at it case by case. I think there is an over emphasis of what those fields mean and what they represent”.
~ Leland Chee, Continuity Database Adminstrator for Lucas Licensing
“That ‘level of canon’ thus helps in terms of bookkeeping. Those ‘canon levels’ are for the holocron.”
~ Pablo Hidalgo
ForceCast #273: The Galaxy Is Reading – Interview with Leland Chee and Pablo Hidalgo, 2013 Approximately the 1 hour mark so 1:00 – 1:02 mark
The G/C/S-level canon stuff is a construct specifically for the Holocron. Non-Holocron users would have no idea what this stuff even means and I would say most of the people who use the Holocron don’t use the field, instead looking specifically to the source of the material. Individual entries are not broken down by canon level.
This is how I use it:
– We need a list of characters from the films. I’ll do a search of characters by G-canon.
– We need a list of some planets from the films and the EU. I’ll do a search for planets sorted by canon to determine which ones are going to recognized by more people.
– Source A contradicts Source B. More likely than not, if Source A is from the films and Source B is from the EU, we’ll use Source A. Of course, there can always be exceptions which is why the case-by-case determination is always in effect no matter what the Sources.”
~ Leland Chee, Continuity Database Administrator for Lucas Licensing,StarWars.com, Oct.5th, 2005
“There’s this notion that everything changed when everything became Legends. And I can see why people think that. But, you know, having worked with George I can tell you that it was always very clear — and he made it very clear — that the films and the TV shows were the only things that he considered Canon. That was it.”
Dave Filoni interview on ‘The Star Wars show’ [41.40 mark]-
Audience #1: You got a rapid fan base, it seems like nowadays the way Disney handles Star Wars canon, very well controlled, very tight, but back in the ’90s when it’s a blueprint of books and games and other things, how did … Do you internally manage —
“That was one of my mandates, when I began the spin off publishing program it was a sacrosanct rule that everything had to relate to each other, be consistent with each other and be consistent with the movies, ‘which were canon.’
We were pretty religious about doing that, our biggest problem was a guy named George Lucas, because he didn’t buy into the spin off fiction and the game program and all the ‘alternate universe’ we were creating.”
We wanted it to be one universe, we felt strongly that that’s what it needed to be, but George as the filmmaker didn’t want to be beholden to somebody else’s creative vision.So we would have very interesting skirmishes because we had a bunch of stuff that became, for the fans, pretty much canon [head-canon]* about what happened after Return of the Jedi, what different places in the galaxy were called, lots of different things and if he was proposing to do something in the prequels that contradicted that we would have long debates which usually ended at least after the first session with “I don’t care this is what I’m doing” , and maybe after the *4th or 5th session sometimes “Alright ‘maybe’ we can change it this way”
Now that everything is controlled by one central committee [Lucasfilm Story Group] we can have canon that applies to everything.
Messing with a Classic — Howard Roffman,President of Lucas Licensing under Lucas/ in charge of the EU – Lucasfilm, 2017 interview. –
Genndy Tartakovsky Speaks Out About His Star Wars: Clone Wars Animated Series
Prior to the premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the traditionally animated Clone Wars was deemed “non-canon” by Lucasfilm. Tartakovsky recently addressed that in a new interview with Digital Spy.
Clone Wars aired on Cartoon Network beginning in 2003 before it was cancelled in 2005 and later declared non-canonical by George Lucas
“It’s frustrating that they tried to erase it from being canon,” explained Tartakovsky. “At first, it was canon. And then once George [Lucas] started doing the CG version, he wanted to clean the slate. And so they de-canonised ours.”
“The whole Star Wars thing — I’ve moved on. I don’t lose sleep over it,” related Tartakovsky. “It’s fun to have people still love it, and for new people to still discover it.”
Genndy Tartakovsky Interview with Digital Spy, 2020
“What George did with the films and The Clone Wars was pretty much his universe ,” Chee said. “He didn’t really have that much concern for what we were doing in the books and games. So the Expanded Universe was very much separate.”
~ Leland Chee, Continuity Database Adminstrator for Lucas Licensing, SYFY WIRE Fandom Files #13 Interview,Jan.2018
“Lucas’ canon – and when I say ‘his canon’, I’m talking about what he was doing in the films and what he was doing in The Clone Wars – was hugely important. But what we were doing in the books really wasn’t on his radar.”
~ Leland Chee, Continuity Database Adminstrator,SYFY WIRE Fandom Files #13 Interview,Jan.2018
Understand, that the Holocron’s primary purpose is to keep track of Star Wars continuity for Lucas Licensing, and to some degree Lucas Online. To my knowledge, it is only rarely used for production purposes.
The primary use that I have for the G-level canon designation is for generating reports. (ie, someone needs a list of primary characters from the prequel films.)
The Holocron is not that complex. Each entry has a single designation. So in the shuura fruit example, it gets a G. The source of each new piece of information is noted in the description which is how they would know that the term shuura fruit came from the novelization and not from production notes, visuals from the film, or the script.” (07-29-04)
– Leland Chee, LLP continuity database admin, Jan. – Dec. 2004, several StarWars.com forum posts in the “Holocron continuity database questions” thread
‘Q: ‘Hi Mr Chee! I’ve got a question about continuity – are all the various different media of Star Wars (the films, TCW, the video games, the EU) intended to form a single universe, or is the EU intended as a parallel, alternate universe? I realise that fans tend to each have their own personal preferences, but I was wondering what the official Lucasfilm company policy regarding this was? Many thanks!’.
“The dual universe question comes up often. I know George Lucas has mentioned it being two universes, but that’s not how I see it. His vision is definitely not beholden to ours, but ours is definitely beholden to his.”
~ Leland Chee, Continuity Database Adminstrator, Facebook chat, August 2012
“The question selected from The Furry Conflict poll was: How much does the Expanded Universe influence the movies?
As I asked him, Lucas leaned back a moment and said to me “Very little.” When he first had agreed to let people write Expanded Universe books, he had said “I’m not gonna read ‘em” and it was a “different universe” that he wanted to keep away from the time period of his saga. He jokingly complained, however, that now when he writes a script he has to look through an encyclopedia to make sure that a name he comes up with doesn’t come too close to something in the EU.”
– “Marc Xavier”, November 2003, “The Furry Conflict and the Great ‘Beard‘ of the Galaxy”
(report based on a Q&A session with George Lucas which occurred at USC on 11-19-03)
‘The Star Wars Universe has expanded beyond the movies. How much leeway do the game makers and novel writers have?’
“They have their own kind of world. There are three pillars of Star Wars. I’ll probably get in trouble for this, but it’s ok! There’s three pillars: the father, the son, and the holy ghost. I’m the Father, Howard Roffman [President of Lucas Licensing] is the son and the holy ghost is the fans, this kind of ethereal world of people coming up with all kinds of different ideas and histories. Now these three pillars don’t always match, but the movies and TV shows are all under my control and are consistent within themselves. Howard tries to be consistent but sometimes he does off on tangents and it’s hard to hold him back. He once said to me that there are two Star Trek Universes: the TV show and than there’s all the spin offs. He said they were completely different and didn’t have anything to do with each other. So I said “Ok, go ahead”.
~ George Lucas, TF Magazine Interview, 2008
“George Lucas says there has never been any war between the Jedi and the Sith in his Star Wars Canon” – An excerpt from StarWars.com‘s oral history of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace:
Everybody said, “Oh, well, there was a war between the Jedi and the Sith.” Well, that never happened. That’s just made up by fans or somebody. What really happened is, the Sith ruled the universe for a while, 2000 years ago. Each Sith has an apprentice, but the problem was, each Sith Lord got to be powerful. And the Sith Lords would try to kill each other because they all wanted to be the most powerful. So in the end they killed each other off, and there wasn’t anything left.
“But anyway, there’s a whole matrix of backstory that has never really come out. It’s really just history that I gathered up along the way. It’s all based on backstories that I’d written setting up what the Jedi were, setting up what the Sith were, setting up what the Empire was, setting up what the Republic was, and how it all fit together I never really got a chance to explain the Whills part.”
George Lucas’ vision of the galaxy’s ancient times is clearly different from the Expanded Universe. Many wars between Jedi and Sith in the Old Republic era were told in games, books and comics. The current Lucasfilm’s canon didn’t explore this era yet.’
“What George Saw as Canon”
*”In the old days, George Lucas saw his universe as separate from publishing [EU]. He wasn’t at all interested in connecting.”*
~ Pablo Hidalgo [Lucasfilm Story Group] 2016
*Pablo Hidalgo on Lucas and the EU being separate Universes.*
*”He [Lucas] only considers his movies and TV projects as his universe, and told the Clone Wars writers to only worry about those.”*
-Pablo Hidalgo [Lucasfilm Story Group]
“From Star Wars Insider [The Official Star Wars Magazine] – Issue 77 , Using Dark Empire & The Thrawn Trilogy As Examples.
“So do episodes beyond Return of the Jedi exist? Nothing beyond possible story points and ideas, certainly not fleshed out story treatments or scripts. Fans often wonder if Dark Empire or the Thrawn Trilogy were based off those notes or are meant to be Episodes VII, VIII, IX. – That’s not the case.
Those works are the creation of their respective authors with the guidance of editors at Lucas Licensing. They are not, nor ever were, meant to be George Lucas’ definitive vision of what happens next”*
~ Pablo Hidalgo, 2004 – https://ibb.co/K9PMgH3
“But Lucas allows for an Expanded Universe that exists parallel to the one he directly oversees. […] Though these [Expanded Universe] stories may get his stamp of approval, they don’t enter his canon unless they are depicted cinematically in one of his projects.”
~ Pablo Hidalgo, Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion, 2012
There’s hundreds more quotes
What is this and what was the intention behind it?