A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away… a trilogy of films marked a decisive turning point in the world of Hollywood and many other film genres as a whole, Star Wars. No one could’ve predicted the impact the films would have or the massive pop-culture domino-effect that would spread out from past to present. The original films’ success went on to spawn a trilogy of prequel films, and lo and behold, now we stand at the cusp of a further development, the Walt Disney Company has begun production of a new trilogy, “Episode VII-IX” after its acquisition of Lucasfilm. However, what stands out as the decisive turning point in the series’ long list of controversial moments isn’t the aforementioned announcement but one that carries even more ramifications in the greater scheme of everything Star Wars. The Expanded Universe (EU) has been canned.
After thirty-five years of creating, fine-tuning, and fleshing out the enormous universe of the Star Wars mythos, Disney along with Lucasfilms have announced that future film developments will ignore whatever had already been created/established in the EU. Justly so, this has struck a nerve with many of the series’ older enthusiasts as well as avid fans of the comics, books, or video games fans the opportunity to go beyond what Lucas’ films brought to the table. We let go of some of the most important plot-lines essential to the series: the Old Republic and the origins of the Jedi Order, as well as its development across hundreds of thousands of years; Grand Admiral Thrawn and his ascension to power after Emperor Palpatine’s death; Luke’s Jedi academy on Yavin IV and the Legacy era and the rise of Darth Krayt’s One Sith.
From one standpoint, it makes sense; it’s much easier for Disney to let go of the massive monolith of plot-lines and continuities that is the EU, so it can give the writers of the new Star Wars trilogy the creative liberty they need to craft a new, equally amazing trilogy of its time. Lucasfilm has also gone on to state, that it will take elements from the EU and try and reincorporate them as “inspiration” for current plot-lines and world-crafting, but as to what it might use, we’ll have to wait and see. It has yet to be seen as to whether or not any new plot-lines will be explored within the EU, which will now be dubbed Legends, and as an ongoing series either resolve their stories in the coming months or continue to expand Legends' timeline. There are many fans who are skeptical of Disney’s approach to Star Wars, anticipating a similar response to when Episode I – The Phantom Menace aired in 1999. It is a period of fandom unrest, and as the wait for Episode VII begins we can only hope Disney makes good on its promise to bring new life to the world of Star Wars.