Since Star Wars: Episode VII was announced, fans have wondered whether the J.J. Abrams-directed film will acknowledge the Expand Universe that preceded and followed Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in books, comics and video games.
With a lot of the Expanded Universe material taking place post-Return of the Jedi, much of the speculation centred around Episode VII-IX. You’ll also remember Abrams’ time-traveling storyline for his 2009 Star Trek reboot saw him blowing up Vulcan.
Speaking at WonderCon last weekend, original Episode VII scribe Simon Kinberg told IGN that “for the movies, the canon is the canon, and the canon is the six films that exist.” But he doesn’t say any more than that.
In attempts to clarify what fans can expect when the film hits theatres Dec. 18, 2015, Lucasfilm has released a statement on the official Star Wars website. And if you are a fan of the Expanded Universe stories, you’ll be disappointed to hear that the company is taking the Star Wars property in an entirely new direction.
“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,” a statement read in part. “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.”
It continued: “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.”
Some of the past books from the Expanded Universe will be kept in print, but presented under the new Legends banner. Going forward, new novels and comics will be part of the Star Wars canon with all Star Wars creative development being overseen in-house.
Earlier this year, Lucasfilm inked a deal that will see Star Wars comics and graphic novels published under the Marvel umbrella starting in 2015 (right now, the Dark Horse has the rights to publish Star Wars in comic book form).
On the screen, the first new canon to appear will be Star Wars Rebels (airing this fall). In terms of the books, John Jackson Miller is writing a novel that precedes the events of Rebels and offers insight into a key character’s backstory.
Lucasfilm released a video to accompany the statement:
What do you think of this news? Are you happy that they are drawing up a storyline from scratch, or should filmmakers have used the EU as a blueprint? Sound off in the comments below.