One of the biggest problems many Star Wars fans had about the new set of films was that it seemed that the Extended Universe, the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han and the rest that continued in books and comics and where once considered official canon, would be summarily done away with. Since fans spent a lot of time and money on the books and other ephemera simply because they were supposed to the official (and only) continuation of the characters’ stories, they were none too pleased to see all this time and money wasted.
Now, depending on how you interpret this Twitter conversation, fans can have hope that all or part of the Extended Universe might be part of the continuity the new round of films are based on.
The conversation was started by two Star Wars fans, bemoaning the fact that their favorite book, Heir to the Empire, the 1991 novel that essentially started the Expanded Universe, was no longer in canon. Eventually, they included Leland Chee, curator of Lucasfilm’s continuity preserving database, The Holocron, in the conversation. Chee revealed that Disney and Lucasfilm has formed the Lucasfilm Story Group, which is charged with doing away with the previous hierarchical way of determining what was canon and what wasn’t and making a one new, cohesive canon themselves.
If you are not familiar with the Star Wars Canon Hierarchy, and, really, who can blame you, let me explain it the best I can. What it boiled down to was different levels of inclusion. The levels were as follows:
- G-canon: Basically, this was anything George Lucas touched–the original films, the novelizations of said films, and the radio plays. This level preceded and superseded any level that came below it. In other words, nothing could remove anything in this level from canon, but it can remove any previous continuity from another media from canon if it contradicted it. One assumed that new trilogy would fit in here, even with Lucas out of the picture.
- T-canon: This level was reserved for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the planned live-action TV show. This level was beholden to G-canon, but could overrule and replace any other canon level.
- C-canon: This is where the Expanded Universe resides. Anything here is officially considered until something in G- or T -canon comes along to contradict it, then its not. Episodes I,II & III wiped out a lot of C-canon stuff, and fans feared that Episodes VII, VIII& VIX would wipe out the rest.
- S-canon: This is where Marvel’s Star Wars comics from the 1970s lie, along with some other properties as well. This is basically a remnant factory. Like with Marvel’s Star Wars comics, a lot of it was written out of official continuity, but there are small parts of it that could be considered canon, if only because no one has bothered to contradict it yet. But the connection to official canon is tenuous because it’s never likely to be officially confirmed. So, while Jaxxon, the Smuggling Bunny from those comics technically might still be canonical, those of you wanting a feature film with Jake Gyllenhaal playing him might just be disappointed.
- N-canon: This is anything officially outside of canon, including but not limited to anything contradicted by higher canon. It also includes anything that is deliberately outside of continuity, such as the StaR Wars: Infinities alternate reality line of comics and the infamous Star Wars Christmas Special. See, there was a reason why you haven’t received a Bea Arthur Star Wars action figure yet.
Some might take what Chee said as basically confirming what we all knew, that the hierarchy is gone, taking all the Expanded Universe with it and starting new from here. But Bleeding Cool’s Brendon Connelly makes a good point: you don’t need a story group to do this. However, if you were going to determine what parts of the Expanded Universe are still going to be in canon, or if you are trying to make sure the new films mesh up with the Expanded Universe, then a story group comes in handy.
Hopefully, the Expanded Universe makes it through, and we see some of those characters in the new films.