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The Star Wars Expanded Universe: Past Present, and Future

In this special look at the Star Wars Expanded Universe, many of Lucasfilm’s brightest talents and authors discuss the legacy and exciting future of the company’s comics, books, and videogames.

When George Lucas created Star Wars, he depicted it as a lived-in universe with a history. That’s where the creation of the Expanded Universe, or EU, comes in. “The movies are so rich and so full of detail,” says Howard Roffman, EVP, Lucasfilm Franchise Management, “and you know that there’s a ton of things that aren’t revealed in the movies but obviously exist in the lore of Star Wars and in the story of Star Wars. The EU has been our attempt to take you into areas that aren’t explored in the movies and give you much more depth.” Kilian Plunkett, art director of Star Wars Rebels, names Brian Daley’s classic novel, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy, as his introduction to the EU, while Lucas Books senior editor Jennifer Heddle cites Splinter of the Mind’s Eye as her first EU experience — a tale featuring Princess Leia dueling Darth Vader. The EU took a new direction with the 1991 landmark release of Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, which takes place five years after the events of Return of the Jedi and set the stage for the modern era of connected Star Wars stories. It led to comics like Dark Empire — a favorite of Lucasfilm’s Dave Filoni — and videogames like Knights of the Republic, all informing each other. Many concepts that would be used in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, such as the Nightsisters, came from the EU.

Now, with Lucasfilm’s Story Group, the EU will be unified like never before. Across the new films, TV animation, comics, novels, and games, the Star Wars narrative will be entirely consistent and cohesive. “I think the idea of aligning the content,” says Kiri Hart, head of development, “is actually a really fantastic and exciting opportunity that no other fictional universe could really even support.”

The EU remains an important resource for a galaxy far, far away. “There’s a bright future for Star Wars,” says Filoni. “But I think the EU will be a legacy that’s mined forever.”

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