Lucasfilm Jettisons The Star Wars Expanded Universe (Games Included)
Which stories are included in the official Star Wars canon has been a source of debate for years, but in light of the new upcoming films, Lucasfilm has made a statement regarding what it considers to be the true timeline. In short, all of the Expanded Universe – including video games, comics, and novels – didn't really happen.
The statement explains that, in order to make the upcoming movies what they need to be, the creators can't be beholden to events and characters than have already been explored in full. Beyond that, while much of the Expanded Universe content is entertaining, it doesn't have any official bearing on the future of Star Wars. The statement reads, in part:
"[George Lucas] set the films he created as the canon. This includes the six Star Wars episodes, and the many hours of content he developed and produced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These stories are the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align."
In terms of gaming, this means that fans shouldn't expect Dash Rendar's adventures in Shadows of the Empire, Starkiller's apprenticeship under Vader, or Darth Revan's exploits to inform any of the upcoming Star Wars fiction. Not that they ever were big parts of the lore, but the clarity helps. If the new movies reference an alternate story behind the founding of the Rebellion, for instance, that officially negates Starkiller's contributions.
While this comes as a blow to some invested Star Wars fans, the good news is that the divide between the "official" and "expanded" versions of the Star Wars universe could be going away.
"Now, with an exciting future filled with new cinematic installments of Star Wars, all aspects of Star Wars storytelling moving forward will be connected. Under Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy's direction, the company for the first time ever has formed a story group to oversee and coordinate all Star Wars creative development."
That statement, along with references to upcoming novels and Star Wars Rebels as canon, hints that all upcoming content will be unified under a single banner.
As a Star Wars fan, this is neither a big surprise nor a big disappointment to me. Just because the things that happen in the Expanded Universe aren't official doesn't erase the cool things they add to the lore. I don't care if Darth Revan never officially existed; I enjoyed my time with Knights of the Old Republic. Similarly, fan-favorite tales (like Timothy Zahn's trilogy of novels) aren't any less fun to read. Of course, a fraction of fanatics will be upset, but in the larger scope of Star Wars, bringing everything together into a unified timeline is probably best for the future health of the franchise.