Like a lot of Star Wars fans, I was sad to see the Expanded Universe of nearly 30 years worth of books, comics and other ephemera banished from continuity. The stories are still there under the new “Legends” banner, but as for what is official Star Wars canon. It’s the six films and The Clone Wars. Until, that is, this week.
This week marked the release of the first new Star Wars novel of the Expanded Universe: the first of four announced for release between now and next May. Star Wars: A New Dawn by Jonathan Jackson Miller is meant to serve as a sort of prequel to Star Wars: Rebels which will debut in about a month on The Disney Channel. I’ve just started in on it, so I can’t offer a comprehensive review. What I did find really interesting was the foreword to the book by Clone Wars and Rebels head honcho Dave Filoni. He described the new EU as:
“The old concept of what is canon and what isn’t is gone, and from this point forward our stories and our characters all exist in the same universe; the key creatives who work on the films, television, comic books, video games and novels are all connected creatively for the first time in the history of the Star Wars universe.”
Disney is taking the “Marvel Model” and bringing it to another level. The amount of coordination and pre-planning it will take to make sure that all Star Wars products agree with each other in a new EU that will grow exponentially over the next few years is staggering. I think it’s not only commendable effort on the part of Lucasfilm, but I think it shows a level of commitment to the fans that’s been missing for a long time.
I hope they cherry pick the best characters and ideas from the EU. I’d hate to think we’d never see Grand Admiral Thrawn or Mara Jade again. The decision to scrap the EU, though, was the correct one. You could never embark on a grand new exploration of the future of the Star Wars universe while bogged down by 30 years of material running hundreds of years after the films and hundreds of thousands before. Trying to make new pieces fit within that framework would just end up frustrating everyone. I can’t wait to get back to the book (I’ll try to get a review up here when I finish), and I really feel excited at the possibilities this kind of coordinated storytelling could offer us as fans.