People really seem to like this Star Wars thing. But originally, there wasn’t that much Star Wars to go around. You saw the movies, you bought a small, cheaply-made Han Solo action figure to play with in the tub, and you called it a day.
But for those people who truly loved Star Wars – who loved it like their own mothers, only with robot alien laser swords – plain ol’ Star Wars wasn’t enough. And so, in January of 1978, a mere eight months after the original film was released, the first piece of extraneous Star Wars canon was born: Marvel Comics’ Star Wars #7 (issues one through six, of course, were just the movie in comic book form).
And then a hundred billion novels, role-playing games, comics, television shows and radio dramas. Radio dramas. Because once you give Star Wars fans carte blanche to make their own Star Wars, they will never, ever ever stop for any reason.
Except that now they have to.
Because Lucasfilm just torpedoed all those decades of novelization and tabletop gaming lore, stating conclusively that Star Wars: Episode VII and all episodes to follow will have nothing to do with the official Star Wars Expanded Universe. To celebrate, they’ve even released a video, wherein multiple Lucasfilm employees explain why the Expanded Universe is a wonderful thing, and why obliterating the Expanded Universe is a wonderful thing.
In their official statement, the justification for this sudden explosioning of the Star Wars extracurriculars was done “in order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience.” Which I suppose makes sense. We’re dealing with J. J. Abrams here, the guy who was tasked with remaking Star Trek and made an entirely separate Star Trek just for himself. If there’s two things that man likes, it’s “surprising people” and “taking obsessively secretive measures to ensure he can surprise people.” And using the previously established everything from the Star Wars canon might give people an inkling of a basic story detail for Episode VII. So it must all be destroyed.
I get the feeling it’s not just Abrams that asked for this. No, something tells me that this mass excommunication of so much Star Wars memorabilia is because Lucasfilm is planning to use Star Wars: Episode VII as a launch platform for a new billion dollar revenue stream of Expanded Universe material. Maybe because Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm and producer of Episode VII said this exact thing: “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.”
Also because even as Lucasfilm announced the shepherding of all the old EU stuff under the name of “Legends,” the company also announced its first piece of brand new EU- a spin-off of Star Wars: Rebels entitled Star Wars: A New Dawn. Everyone who had that as the subtitle for Episode VII, please deduct the appropriate points from your rumor mill scorecard.
Now, the only things left that will affect the story of Episode VII are Episodes I-VI, and two TV series- The Clone Wars, and the upcoming Star Wars Rebels. So even as Episode VII is filming, right now, as you read these very words, we still won’t be able to know a single thing about new Star Wars until Abrams says it’s OK. Which I guess is the status quo, from now until we’re all sitting in a theater watching a new Star Wars.