Disney Clarifies the Fate of the “Star Wars Expanded Universe”


So it looks as though the longstanding Star Wars Expanded Universe has officially been put to rest. Disney released a statement earlier stressing the significance that the EU posed for fans of the series, but the importance to create a more unified and singular universe going forward. I saw this coming at the offset of the Disney buyout, but alas didn’t want it to be true. There are so many good stories to mine from. But below you’ll notice that discarding the EU as a whole isn’t going to be the case either. And along with the announcement that the series is officially no longer canon, they address the books will now remain in print or digital format to buy under a new banner. They also shared a short video on how the team chosen to unify the new universe was/is inspired by earlier comics or novels from the SWEU. Their statement below.

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….

Following the announcement was actually a subsequent announcement of a few book titles currently being written for the new canon Star Wars universe. The statement below.

Following today’s announcement of Lucasfilm’s new unified storytelling approach, Disney Publishing Worldwide is proud to announce their first step into that larger world, beginning with Del Rey Books. The publishing program will feature new adult fiction novels set in the beloved galaxy far, far away, and will be closely connected to the cinematic entertainment currently in development at Lucasfilm.

Star Wars novels consistently rank on the New York Times Bestseller lists — from the very first tie-in novel, an adaptation of Star Wars: A New Hope released by Del Rey in 1976, to the recently published Star Wars: Kenobi — and dozens of titles in between. With over 75 million copies sold worldwide, these books have captured the imaginations and creativity of authors who have enriched the Star Wars experience for fans around the globe.

Going forward, Lucasfilm has begun mapping out the narrative future of Star Wars storytelling that will appear on film and television and in other media so that all projects will benefit from real-time collaboration and alignment. The future Star Wars novels from Disney Publishing Worldwide and Del Rey Books will now be part of the official Star Wars canon as reflected on upcoming TV and movie screens.

“With the establishment of the Lucasfilm Story Group and our even greater focus on unified storytelling, we expect our entire publishing program to be stronger and more meaningful than ever before,” said Jeanne Mosure, senior vice president and group publisher, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “We’re extremely excited to kick off this new strategy with Del Rey Books.”

The first novel to benefit from this deeper collaboration is Star Wars: A New Dawn, by bestselling author John Jackson Miller. Set prior to the events of the forthcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels, this novel tells the story of how two of the lead characters of the series, Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, came to cross paths. To tell this important backstory, Miller benefited from contact with series executive producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman, who together ensured this tale will be part of the Star Wars canon of storytelling going forward. It is scheduled for hardcover and eBook release on September 2, 2014.

“We’re extremely proud of the hundreds of amazing Star Wars books we’ve published at Del Rey,” said Scott Shannon, SVP, publisher, Del Rey and Digital Content, “And now we’re excited to finally be able to call our upcoming novels true canon — a single, cohesive Star Wars storyline — all while keeping the amazing backlist of Star Wars Legends content in print.”

Following Star Wars: A New Dawn, the all-new Star Wars fiction line will continue with the following 2014/2015 titles:

James Luceno

Kevin Hearne
January 2015

Paul Kemp
March 2015

In years past, the storylines that would appear in print and on screen were developed separately, resulting in an “Expanded Universe” that differed in ways large and small from the filmmaker’s “canon.” These rich stories provide a treasure trove of characters to fall in love with — and deep worlds to explore and will live on in both physical and digital editions, newly-branded as Star Wars Legends.

What are your thoughts? Happy? Depressed? Couldn’t care less? For the video, click to read more.

17 thoughts on “Disney Clarifies the Fate of the “Star Wars Expanded Universe”

  1. I loved the EU. I mean, I cut my adult reading teeth on Heir to the Empire in the fifth grade (what can I say, I was a voracious reader). In some aspects, it’s sad to know we won’t be seeing some of those great stories. Unfortunately, the time to do those works on film was when they released. So we’ve got to move on, and new characters is going to mean a new fiction.
    I don’t begrudge Disney for wanting to control that fiction and integrate it more tightly with their new vision of the Star Wars universe. We can’t forget that they spent a pretty penny on this product, and they have the write to make it back with every toy, novel, comic, and cell phone case tie-in they can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even at the time, those works would never be adapted. It’s like the Bond novels. EON has said they won’t adapt the non-Fleming books because they’d have to pay the author and the owner of the copyright for that book and for someone to write the screenplay. Original material you just have to pay someone to write the screenplay.

      All sorts of contract and copyright issues come into play that make it much easy for film makers to just start from scratch. As good as the EU is (and some of it’s better than the movies) there has never been any chance of it making it to film.


  2. Reblogged this on Constant streams… and commented:
    What do you think of this? I’m still kinda worried.
    The prequel trilogy were rather disappointing, but ignoring dozens of what were rather good books (the ones that I read, snywsy). I, Jedi (Star Wars) in particular potentially being influential to the upcoming films, in my mind. And that mind matters, to me. I think it might for many fans of the novels also. One of the cool things of the Star Wars universe was that it WAS one universe, consistent across media, different authors, even into video games, as compared to some of the big Marvel characters’ universes.
    That said, Disney has done okay by me in the recent Marvel films, especially The Avengers – so hopefully the new Star Wars films will be entertaining, and satisfying as films, at least to those only familiar with the earlier films. Some of us for whom the story is one long saga across films, books, games, and TV series’ might be a little confused for awhile.

    I wonder if Joss Whedon is a fan…I would love to see a Whedon-Abrams collaboration.


  3. I hate to say… actual I don’t hate to say it but I won’t.

    The writing was on the wall with the new films. It happens.

    Yeah, they’ll keep publishing the old stuff while there’s money in it. They always do. Dark Horse’s Conan comics ignore everything but REH’s original stories but they also reprinted the Marvel stuff. It’s just the way these things work.

    Don’t get you hopes up for character appearances. The best you’ll probably get is vague references. Anyway, sometimes a completely new character is preferable to a rebooted character, at least the differences don’t sting as much.


  4. Yeah, I’m pretty bummed by the whole thing, as there are so many stories in the current EU that just *are* Star Wars for me. But I’ve an open mind as to whether it will actually be replaced with better stuff. It’s a big task to live up to, but you never know!


  5. The written stuff will be mined in the same way Doctor Who books were mined for the television show. Russell Davies put it so well when he said that nothing can remove your enjoyment of reading the stories, and if they form your personal “canon” (or “fanon” as I coined it on TrekBBS back in 1998), all to the good.


      • I would say so. Disney’s track record is one of ruthless exploitation with no reverence for source material, so I would expect them to lift characters, disneyise them for a general audience who haven’t read the original and take it from there.

        Compare Sally Sparrow of the annual with Sally Sparrow of Blink for the best possible outcome. Compare Pocahontas of history with Pocahontas of toon version for not so good possible outcome…

        Liked by 1 person

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