Lucasfilm Confirms New STAR WARS Films Will Ignore Expanded Universe

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It was the day that some saw coming and some were dreading was coming ever since it was announced that Disney and Lucasfilm were going to make new Star Wars set in the years after the six-film series’s finale Return Of The Jedi. Lucasfilm has announced that the upcoming new films will ignore the continuity known by fans as the Expanded Universe that had been build by the authors and artists of numerous spinoff novels and comics.

The announcement came on the official Star Wars site just a few hours ago. We have the entire post below, as well as a video praising the Expanded Universe also released by Lucasfilm today, but here is the most relevant quote –

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. While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in Star Wars Rebels. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s.

I can’t say that I am surprised by this announcement, as it was becoming more obvious the more breadcrumbs we glean about the upcoming films. The groundwork that this was a real possibility was first laid last summer when director J J Abrams was asked about teh Expanded Universe’s fate with the new films coming out and he stated that he would be “honoring but not revering what came before.” The reveal that Peter Mayhew would be reprising was his role of Chewbacca in the new films, which are set in a time period after his character was killed in the continuity set by the novels, was a clear indicator that the Expanded Universe was not going to be a factor in the upcoming films. Producer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg confirmed that suspicion earlier this week. And now Lucasfilm has made it official.

Undoubtedly, there will be some fans who will take this as a betrayal by Lucasfilm, and I suppose that it is understandable. The fans were the ones who kept the franchise alive for the years between film and television projects, keepers of the flame as it were. And I can see where that can lead to a sense of entitlement about the franchise. But Lucas himself was always very upfront about the status of the Expanded Universe and that it could always be superseded by any film or television show released by the company. And that day has come.

It should also be noted that Lucasfilm is not forsaking the Expanded Universe. As noted in the announcement, buts of the Expanded Universe have made their way into the official Star Wars canon in the past and could very well do so in the future. In addition to the example about the upcoming Star Wars Rebels series, the novel The Courtship Of Princess Leia introduced the planet Dathomir and its inhabitants, witches who have their own connection to the mystical Force, and they showed up in the canon Clone Wars animated series. Given that Lucasfilm does have its own Story Group designed to oversee all the various pieces of Star Wars media to determine who well they fit together, it looks like the films may mine the Expanded Universe for more material without directly adapting specific stories.

And as you can see in the full announcement below, they will be keeping the numerous novels that have been generated over the past two decades in print, under a new “Legends” banner. And while the company is not extending the Expanded Universe on the screen, fans still do have twenty-some years of novels and comics to

For over 35 years, the Expanded Universe has enriched the Star Wars experience for fans seeking to continue the adventure beyond what is seen on the screen. When he created Star Wars, George Lucas built a universe that sparked the imagination, and inspired others to create. He opened up that universe to be a creative space for other people to tell their own tales. This became the Expanded Universe, or EU, of comics, novels, videogames, and more.

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.

Now, with an exciting future filled with new cinematic installments of Star Wars, all aspects of Star Wars storytelling moving forward will be connected. Under Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy’s direction, the company for the first time ever has formed a story group to oversee and coordinate all Star Wars creative development.

“We have an unprecedented slate of new Star Wars entertainment on the horizon,” said Kennedy. “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.”

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. While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in Star Wars Rebels. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s.

Demand for past tales of the Expanded Universe will keep them in print, presented under the new Legends banner.

On the screen, the first new canon to appear will be Star Wars Rebels. In print, the first new books to come from this creative collaboration include novels from Del Rey Books. First to be announced, John Jackson Miller is writing a novel 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.

And this is just the beginning of a creatively aligned program of Star Wars storytelling created by the collaboration of incredibly talented people united by their love of that galaxy far, far away….

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About Rich Drees 6619 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture.
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Henry Ruszkowski Jr.
April 25, 2014 7:02 pm

Henry Ruszkowski Jr. liked this on Facebook.

Austin William Thompson
April 25, 2014 7:02 pm

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FilmEksis
April 25, 2014 7:04 pm

Lucasfilm Confirms New STAR WARS Films Will Ignore Expanded Universe http://t.co/WDPfZWXtRC

William Gatevackes
April 25, 2014 7:26 pm

Allow me to translate that statement: “Since Abrams and the fellows that we entrusted to do some new films for us don’t have time to do even the modicum of due diligence needed to honor the Expanded Universe we conned you into buying, we are getting rid of it. Well, not really! The books are still out there and we encourage you to keep buying them! Hey, we know you’re upset. So, we give you old fans Star Wars: Rebels. We use some of the role-playing game in that! Aren’t we great guys for doing that! Oh, BTW, we will… Read more »

Joseph Januszewski
April 25, 2014 9:23 pm

Please., it’s Abrams. We saw what he did to Star Trek. We should hardly be surprised.

Jacob Garner
April 25, 2014 9:47 pm

Jacob Garner liked this on Facebook.

Joseph Januszewski
April 25, 2014 9:47 pm

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Michael Henley
April 25, 2014 11:10 pm

Is there some reason why Abrams should be straitjacketed by an exhaustive (and exhausted) continuity? I thought his job was to make a movie, not also read five million novels and have them influence it.

William Gatevackes
April 26, 2014 12:05 am

Well, 1. He’s straitjacketed by the six films that came before, isn’t he? So he doesn’t have the complete creative freedom needed to make a great film from the get go. And, 2., he wouldn’t have to read the five million novels. Lucasfilm has people, apparently quite a number, who were reading all along and keeping an eye on the Expanded Universe for years. There is a database with all the various continuity points that would be able to answer any questions. So, being faithful to the EU would not be that onerous a task. I mean, it’s not like… Read more »

Michael Henley
April 26, 2014 9:44 am

But he has to make a movie for a mass audience–including people who have never picked up a Star Wars book and aren’t going to start. The EU has become so cumbersome and unwieldy that it’s extraordinarily difficult to tell an accessible story anymore in this universe. When nitpicks of continuity get in the way of telling a good story, I’ve always felt that it’s time to throw continuity away.

(Granted, this is assuming that they have found a good story.)

William Gatevackes
April 26, 2014 11:13 am

See that’s the biggest thing for me. I like a lot if Abrams stuff, but I still have memories of that awful Superman script he wrote in my head. Granted, that script might have been dictated to him by producers, but still. I mean, if there is a solid reason for Chewbacca to still be alive–that the character is essential to the plot and the movie–fine. Have him still be alive. My fear is that someone said “Seeing Han and Chewie again on screen will be kewl! We have to include one scene with that!.” And that’s why that part… Read more »

Anthony Ryba
April 26, 2014 12:28 pm

Well I for one am disappointed. You could have at a minimum used some elements of the Expanded universe (most of them stemming from either Tales of the Bounty Hunters and the Zahn Trilogy in my mind) and just chuck what didn’t work. Grand Admiral Thrawn would have made an excellent adversary. Mara Jade as a subplot with Luke Skywalker would have brought the character forward and added dimensions to him. Shame…now things grow…more uncertain.

Grim'alkun
Grim'alkun
January 8, 2020 5:02 pm

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, October 2nd, 2012 —————– Lucas said of the Expanded Universe:** *”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.*…When I said [other people] could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided… Read more »