No love for Expanded Universe in new 'Star Wars' films

Bye-bye, Thrawn rumors. In an official statement Friday, Lucasfilm said the new "Star Wars" films "will not tell the same story told in post-'Return of the Jedi' Expanded Universe."

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
3 min read

Don't expect much love from Lucasfilm for any stories told after "Return of the Jedi." Lucasfilm

Rumors of a new "Star Wars" film featuring beloved Expanded Universe characters like feisty redhead Mara Jade, Han and Leia's twin children Jacen and Jaina Solo, the blue-skinned villain Thrawn, and even the wacky green rabbitlike creature Jaxxon have been flying around the fan community faster than TIE fighters in pursuit of the Millennium Falcon.

Lucasfilm defines the Expanded Universe (EU) as "anything in the Star Wars universe outside the scope of the movies or TV shows, such as books, comics, games, etc." Even the infamous TV program ""="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="175a8d5c-8533-11e3-bc97-14feb5ca9861" slug="in-defense-of-the-star-wars-holiday-special" link-text="" section="news" title="In defense of 'The Star Wars Holiday Special'" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key" api="{"id":"175a8d5c-8533-11e3-bc97-14feb5ca9861","slug":"in-defense-of-the-star-wars-holiday-special-as-it-turns-40","contentType":null,"edition":"us","topic":{"slug":"tv-and-movies"},"metaData":{"typeTitle":null,"hubTopicPathString":"Culture^Entertainment^TV and Movies","reviewType":null},"section":"news"}"> falls under the moniker of Expanded Universe.

But in an official statement Friday, Lucasfilm said the new "Star Wars" films -- Episodes VII to IX -- "will not tell the same story told in post-'Return of the Jedi' Expanded Universe."

The posted statement on StarWars.com said, "While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the EU consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, George Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU. 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."

Lucasfilm's Story Group, which consists of a committee of both Lucasfilm and Disney employees, has already been tasked with deciding whether characters from over 35 years of Expanded Universe comics, books, and games will ever get their time in the sun, or suns. The official statement and a new video finally address that issue, as well as the role of the Story Group.

But before fans take to the streets in a full-fledged revolt, Lucasfilm also offered a glimmer of hope that the new animated series "Star Wars Rebels," much like its predecessor "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" which featured the EU characters the Nightsisters, might glean a few elements from the Expanded Universe.

"While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded," the Lucasfilm statement said. "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 role-playing game material published in the 1980s."

In a video titled "The Star Wars Expanded Universe: Past, Present, and Future" -- also released today by Lucasfilm -- Star Wars authors, game developers, and various Lucasfilm and Disney employees recall their favorite important comics, books, and video games in the Expanded Universe and talk about how excited they are for the future of "Star Wars."

"I think the idea of aligning the content is actually a really fantastic and exciting opportunity that no other fictional universe could really even support," Lucasfilm Head of Development Kiri Hart said in the video.

Expanded Universe characters The Nightsisters crossed over to "Star Wars" canon when they appeared as part of the backstory for assasin Asajj Ventress in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." Lucasfilm

Under the Story Group, Lucasfilm will be coordinating all "Star Wars" creative development, which includes new movies on the horizon; new books, comics, and video games; and the upcoming "Star Wars Rebels" animated series.

The first new "Star Wars" books published from this creative collaboration include novels from Del Rey Books. The first novel to be announced is by author John Jackson Miller. The story comes before the events featured in "Star Wars Rebels" and offers clues to characters' backstories, with direct collaboration from "Star Wars Rebels" executive producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, and Greg Weisman.

Past stories from older novels and comics will now be kept in print under the new Legends banner.

"The EU was born out of a love for 'Star Wars,' that's what it really is. Carrying on the legacy before it really could do so on its own like it will now through Episode VII-IX and all the other films coming out. There's a bright future for Star Wars," Filoni said. "But I think the EU will be a legacy that's mined forever."

Just don't expect your favorite EU character to get his or her own film.