When Disney bought Lucasfilm and announced that Episode VII was coming, it was obvious that the Expanded Universe, or EU, was going to take a hit. Would it be a completely discarded? Would they pick and choose? It was something many fans wondered about, until Lucasfilm dropped the hammer, but one that wasn’t surprising: The Expanded Universe would be completely discarded, taking years worth of stories and turning them into Star Wars Legends. In doing so, it created the first official canon, which includes all six films, The Clone Wars film and TV series, and the Star Wars: Rebels series. From there, any new novel, Marvel comic, movie, or TV series planned would be part of the new, official, Lucasfilm canon, where we’d get the official stories in our favorite galaxy far, far away.
Now with just over nine months to go until the release of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awaken, it seems we may be getting the first few stories in the post-Return of the Jedi era, hoping to bridge the thirty-two year gap between the two. Entertainment Weekly broke the news of the new series, Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which will be encompassing twenty new novels, kids books, Marvel comics, and more, hoping to flesh out the years between the films.
This huge joint effort will go between the many publishing arms of Disney Publishing Worldwide, Del Rey, Marvel Comics, and Dorling Kindersley. Of course, for something this massive, all the authors now are in constant contact with a Star Wars story group, which is the think tank between all the chronology in the series from here on out, to keep everything together. Andrew Sugerman, the executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide had this to say on it:
The partnership with the story group and the editorial team always had to be true to the sanctity of the film while making sure that we find these moments to introduce hints, clues, and puzzle pieces. Without revealing what those pieces are, it will just allow readers to speculate about the new film: What could a location mean, or what could a character mean?
It would seem that not only are they using these books to flesh out the characters we already know and love, but to also plays pieces down that will hint at where the series will be going by the time December 18, 2015 gets here. This is huge news, and though the jettisoning of the EU was met with a mixed response from fans, it’s great to see that Lucasfilm is already getting the ball rolling on covering post Return of the Jedi material for fans.
While everything is still being worked, they couldn’t announce all the upcoming titles, but here were a few that were:
- Star Wars: Aftermath – a novel
- Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens, a Marvel Comics prequel
- A Marvel Comics prequel told from C-3PO’s perspective
- Star Wars: Ships of the Galaxy, printed by Studio Fun International
- Moving Target, a Princess Leia story by Cecil Castellucci
- The Weapon of a Jedi, a Luke Skywalker story by Jason Fry
- Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
- Smuggler’s Run, a Han Solo story by Greg Rucka
That’s a pretty interesting list, and it’s a safe bet that Star Wars: Aftermath will pick up at the end of Return of the Jedi, where we’ll get our first look into a new world set after the sixth film’s finale. It’s not surprising to see that Marvel Comics is getting in on the action with two separate prequels to The Force Awakens, but I’m almost more curious to see the one from C-3PO’s perspective, and what it means for our characters.
There’s a lot of potential here to really expand on the Star Wars universe in a big way, and it’s great to see it being done so meticulously, and making sure everything will fall into place together. It’ll be interesting to learn more about the titles as they’re announced, but I’m certainly looking forward to a chance to seeing what Lucasfilm has in store for us. It’s a vast new world in a galaxy far, far away, and I can’t wait to explore it.