Though the film is a year and a half away, fans cannot get enough news on the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. The anticipated film set to go into production in the coming month as director J.J. Abrams helms the anticipated sequel to the Star Wars Saga. However, there has been a growing conflict for Star Wars fans. With Episode VII on the way, what does this mean for the Expanded Universe?
For those who are unaware, the Expanded Universe is almost as old the Star Saga itself. Through books, comics and video games, the Expanded Universe (or EU) explore new areas of Star Wars; like what happens to Luke Skywalker and the rest of the cast after the events of Return of the Jedi. While the EU has been popular with fans, creator George Lucas has stated to ignore the EU and just stick with the films as canon. Be that as it may, we are entering new territory with Episode VII and with it determines the fate of the Expanded Universe. Well the time has come to address the matter as Lucasfilm released this statement on the EU.
"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.
This might be a blow to some Star Wars fans out there. However, the people behind Lucasfilms are not ignoring the EU entirely. The statement continues with addressing how EU will be handled from now on.
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....
There is no doubt that Episode VII is going to change the Star Wars Universe and with it the EU. However, while some the EU's best stories will not be cannon, that is not to say they will be forgotten. Who knows, perhaps we will inspiration from the old EU in the new Star Wars films. Only time will tell.
Star Wars: Episode VII hits theaters on December 18, 2015.