Darth Vader. (Frank Connor / 20th Century Fox)Link
"Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi" is set between "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back" and is told from Luke Skywalker's first-person point of view. (Lucasfilm / Del Rey)Link
"Star Wars: Lords of the Sith" is an adventure starring the Emperor and Darth Vader stranded on a hostile planet. (Lucasfilm / Del Rey)Link
"Star Wars: A New Dawn" is a prequel to the "Star Wars Rebels" TV series and will introduce readers to Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla. (Lucasfilm / Del Rey)Link
"Star Wars: Tarkin" will provide more back story for Grand Moff Tarkin, played by Peter Cushing in "A New Hope." (Lucasfilm / Del Rey)Link
“Star Wars” obsessives got some good news and bad news Friday when Lucasfilm officially announced the fate of the “Star Wars” Expanded Universe, the loosely interlocked series of books, comics, video games and other ancillary products that have served to fill out the imaginary universe George Lucas established in his six original films.
First, the bad news: Fans can forget trying to decipher the future of “Star Wars” from the hints of the past. Lucasfilm is officially writing off all Expanded Universe properties that have been produced to date.
While many of the books and stories will remain available, they now will be labeled with a “Legends” banner. Despite the popularity of the Timothy Zahn-authored novels set in the years after “Return of the Jedi” or the “Dark Empire” comic books, those stories will have no bearing on what happens in the films, TV shows, novels, comics or video games that Lucasfilm creates going forward.
Now, the good news: The Expanded Universe isn’t completely gone. In fact, the company has announced a “story group” within Lucasfilm tasked with making sure all future “Star Wars”-related tales adhere to a carefully mapped out vision of the universe — a welcome relief to those who have long been bothered by the two versions of the wedding of Princess Leia and Han Solo described in EU novels. (Both had been considered “canon”; now it’s unclear whether Leia and Solo ever actually married.)
“We have an unprecedented slate of new ‘Star Wars’ entertainment on the horizon,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement on the official “Star Wars” website. “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.”
The story team tasked with ensuring the films, books and games all correlate with one another includes such longtime Lucasfilm employees as author Pablo Hidalgo, Leland Chee, the keeper of the Holocron continuity database, and “Rebels” executive producer Dave Filoni. Other members include Lucasfilm head of development Kiri Hart and screenwriter Simon Kinberg.
Fans get their first taste of “Star Wars” 2.0 this fall with the premiere of “Star Wars Rebels,” the animated series coming to Disney XD.
The first novel of the new EU, “Star Wars: A New Dawn,” will by written by “Star Wars” comics writer John Jackson Miller and will serve as a prequel to “Rebels.” It is set to be published by Del Rey books on Sept. 2, 2014.
Other new books will include “Star Wars: Tarkin” by James Luceno, about the villainous Grand Moff Tarkin (played by Peter Cushing in “A New Hope”), which will be published in November.
“Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi” by Kevin Hearne will follow in January 2015, with “Star Wars: Lords of the Sith” arriving in March 2015.
– Patrick Kevin Day | @patrickkevinday
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