Disney to rid Star Wars canon of spinoff books' "expanded universe"

You mean my story about Wedge Antilles being the love child of Darth Vader and Aunt Beru might not be cannon… nooooooo!


Is this news? Didn’t George already say as much way back when he was doing the prequels? That he wasn’t going to pay any heed to the EU stuff?

Reading through the ed piece and some of its links, it looks like, rather than eliminating the EU, they’re instead adjusting the current practice of “only films are canon, everything else is not” (by which EU was already not canon), toward “only films and new non-film media are canon, everything else is not.” The bastard-step-child state of the EU isn’t changing, rather, the scope for what constitutes canon is expanding.


Neither can I, my friend.

1 Like

way more complicated then that. just as one example what about the games, books and other media that were controlled by Lucas and filled in bits between the prequel films.

It’s way more complex.

Unfortunately, the prequels already contradicted the extended universe [with Death Star plans in one of the prequels] and the novels already contradicted the comics [with the later novels completely ignoring Dark Empire]. Beyond that, the quality of the stories, adventures, etc. varied between very good, very bad, and repetitive. Beyond that, although the galaxy is a big, big, place, there are inconsistent figures for the number of worlds, for travel times, for the size of the Imperial Navy, and so on. Years ago, my brother and I tried adapting the Freedom in the Galaxy rules to Star Wars, so we had a lot of trouble with these issues.


But it does connect, of course. Not many authors given permission to write in Star Wars think “Yes, finally an opportunity to tell the story of an obscure character in an obscure system that might as well not be in the Star Wars universe at all!” And the ones that do don’t sell that well, because the fans don’t want to read about doomed love and labor relations on Backwhizz IV, they want to read about Luke and Han and Leia, or at least Dengar and IG-88 and that one giant snail dude from the cantina. (Seriously, I’m pretty sure every single random background character from the Mos Eisley cantina has a complete backstory somewhere in the EU.)

The Old Republic setting is sort of a major exception, but it has the backing of some hugely popular video games to anchor it, in the same way the movies anchor the rest of the EU; and even then, Old Republic tie-in stuff doesn’t sell as well as the rest.


Doesn’t really surprise me about the announcement, but I really have to disagree with the whole of the EU being crap. Sure you have your duds of stories like the time where Luke jumped into an armored gelatin cube* because of FORCE INSANITY, or just even the run of the mill ‘imperial remnant/hutt mobsters/other crazies get a super weapon that rivals the deathstar’ (which became highly repetitive) but that malarkey was still better than the prequels.

Any ways the thing I’m sure that will be most gutted is the Legacy of the Force series, since I assume that’s when most of the new films will be taking place.

*if anybody can remember which story that is I’d be really happy


So I’m kinda torn about this decision. On the one hand, most of the EU was pretty godawful. (Try to read random articles on Wookieepedia without going “what the fuck” at least once every 10 minutes.) On the other hand, if you don’t want to corrupt the purity of your artistic vision, you shouldn’t have let other people scribble in the corners in the first place. A lot of folks like to spin this as Lucas graciously allowing lesser authors to play at the edges of his sandbox, which of course is bunk; it was always about more money for less effort. The cash from Kevin J. Anderson and Karen Traviss’ books spends just as well as the cash from the movies right up until the bigwigs want to make new movies, and then suddenly it’s “Oh no no, those little people never actually mattered!” It’s irritatingly hypocritical.

(And of course I know it’s not George but Disney making these decisions, but Lucas has done similar things himself–see the multiple contradictory Mandalorian backstories–and anyway the existing canon doesn’t change with new owners.)

1 Like

You said it. I don’t know who this Lee Hutchinson dweeb is, but when he says

the chainsawing of canon is unequivocally a good thing
he demonstrates himself to be ten kilos of Bantha pudu in a five-kilo bag. The only reason to do this is very simple: the sales of games and novels from the 80s, 90s, and '00s are flat; nobody’s apt to spend any more money on the Thrawn trilogy or the Yuuzhan Vong invasion anymore. The post-ROTJ material is being discarded not because it was uniformly awful (because it wasn’t), but because it stands in the way of Disney making fresh bucks off of fresh stories that could otherwise conflict with the EU. Greed and laziness, nothing more, but that was to be expected from the moment Disney made the $4 billion dollar investment.

So why not be honest about it? Stackpole and Allston’s Rogue and Wraith Squadron books were a hoot. Zahn’s stuff earned every award it won. Barbara Hambly’s Children of the Jedi was uncharacteristically awful, and the sheer volume of EU material guarantees that some of it’s gonna suck Hutt ovipositor, but when I gave up on keeping up with the Solos and Skywalkers (2002, at Destiny’s Way, which was most of the way through the New Jedi Order series), I’d read several dozen EU books that were each objectively better space operas than Phantom Menace ever was, to say nothing of Attack of the Clones.

One can’t expect all of the older stuff to be canonical anymore (like Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which is 36 years old now and had nothing at the time to avoid contradicting but one single screenplay and George’s nebulous whims about what he might like to do later), but the licensed Lucasfilm novelists went to Herculean efforts to keep the EU as internally consistent as possible (far more so than George ever did), and crapping on their efforts and talents while welcoming Disney’s chance to do it all over again is neither classy nor intellectually honest.

Time will tell if Disney manages to commission better stories for Luke and Leia and Han and Chewie and the droids than the ones that already exist. Maybe they’ll pull it off, and I certainly hope they do.

But I’m not betting any money on it.


And of all the possible adventures they could be having, most of them involve re-hashing tired plot devices from the original trilogy. A Skywalker turns to the dark side before being redeemed through a family member! More gigantic planet-destroying super-weapons! Oh, looks like it’s time to kill Emperor Palpatine a couple more times!


Youse guys gotta read those Rogue and Wraith Squadron books. Usually, the highest-profile movie character therein is Wedge Antilles, and I don’t remember any obvious plot recycling going on there (except maybe of old Black Sheep Squadron episodes… and who’s got a problem with that?).


It really just means that, like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they’re free to use what they like create what they like and make the changes they like. You can mine the EU for ideas, if you like, or ignore it completely.

The only ones ever declared “canon” were The Force Unleashed.

I think I’d prefer the LEGO games to be part of the official canon than those ones. The main character was way, way too over-powered to fit in with the movies. Luke was supposed to be some kind of Force prodigy and he had to struggle to lift a damn lightsaber. Yoda was one of the most powerful Jedi of all time, and after centuries of practice he still had to concentrate to lift an X-wing. And we’re supposed to believe that some apprentice that nobody’s ever heard of could crush giant spaceships into scrap and hurl them around like it ain’t no thang?


I read the Thrawn stuff and it was better than Episodes I-III.

He did specifically mention this as the prime example of the best that EU could offer… but generally didn’t.

Anyhow, it doesn’t matter if they axe all this stuff from canon or pseudo-canon. You’ll still have the books!

1 Like

I think I’d prefer the LEGO games to be part of the official canon than [Force Unleashed].

True story: the reason he’s just referred to as ‘Starkiller’ is that was the placeholder name, but when they asked George Lucas to bestow an official Darth name on him (which is like the Pope naming a Cardinal) George came up with ‘Darth Icky’.

Everyone was too afraid to ask him if he was joking, so they just stuck with Starkiller.


I’m conflicted.

On the one hand, we have Timothy Zahn’s books.

On the other hand, we have Kevin J. Anderson’s.


Is this canon, or part of the expanded Universe, or what?

1 Like

I’m just zis guy, you know?

I think I trust Disney as a monolithic corporation about as much as far as I could throw one of their office buildings. However, I’ve got a lot more faith in Lawrence Kasdan, who is (at least for now) handling the Ep7 screenplay. He has, how you say…pedigree. He also isn’t looking at the EU at all for story elements.

Saying that the why of the cutting is as simple as “we need to pump sales to monetize the franchise moar harder” is exactly that—a simple point of view. As with anything this big, there were doubtless layers of politics and agendas mixed in. I’d be much more likely to believe that the canon unification is a compromise between Disney’s desire to jettison the whole mess and start fresh and Lucasfilm’s desire to hang onto the best bits. After all, the chainsawing itself is being done by Leland Chee and a group of folks who are more familiar with the ins and outs of the EU than just about anyone else.

From Disney’s perspective, a flush is advantageous because it gives them much more creative freedom. It sounds like—and please correct me if I’m misinterpreting your words—when you say “[the EU] stands in the way of Disney making fresh bucks off of fresh stories that could otherwise conflict with the EU” that you’re implying you’d prefer Disney instead adopt some of the EU for the screen, or at least expend a lot more effort in coming up with an Ep7-9 storyline that meshes with the existing top tiers of canon.

I don’t begrudge anyone their skiffy—God knows I love some Trek tie-in books, like Ford’s—but Disney is cleaning house and it’s a good thing. The stories that have been written aren’t going away—they’ll still be there to be read and enjoyed, even KJA’s stuff, if that’s your thing. But this is a way of allowing Disney to both eat their cake and have their cake, in that they don’t have to worry about massive, impossible to integrate story elements like Yuuzhan Vong invasion and the ludicrous retcon that puts on Palpatine’s motivations.

So, yes. It’s a good thing. It doesn’t take away what is, but it does mean that Kasdan can bring us an Ep7 that isn’t tied to an entire Corellian bulk cruiser’s worth of baggage.


Luke jumped into an armored gelatin cube* because of FORCE INSANITY

That would be the book whose title I swore never to speak again, but it was written by Vonda McIntyre, the initials are “TCS,” and people have been disavowing it for the past 19 years already, so…

With regard to the rest of the canon clearance, there were definitely some good stories told in the last 25 years of EU, but I can see why the big D would want to clear things out so they can sell their own new stuff… and it’s much easier to shoot everyone than argue about what to keep.

1 Like