One of the many things that makes the Star Wars franchise great is the massive expanded universe, stretching through games, novels, comics, and more. One of the things that makes the franchise tricky for those trying to get in, the many different spinoffs and entries in the expanded universe. Which can make it difficult to know what is canonical, what order certain things go in, and what parts actually matter.
With the upcoming Episode VII, however, Lucasfilm is preparing to cull the tangled mass and establish what lies in the Star Wars continuity and what holds no more weight than fanfiction. According to Leland Chee, who is in charge of continuity for Lucasfilm, the canon is now being determined by the Lucasfilm Story Group, which aims to establish a single cohesive canon.
When it was announced that the rights to the Star Wars comics were moving from Dark Horse to Marvel, that raised some questions about what will remain canon between the two. Now it seems that the questions extend through all of the expanded universe, and it’s up to the Lucasfilm Story Group to put everything in order for us.
That does mean that many of the tie-ins and spinoffs will remain canonical, with a time and place in the proper Star Wars universe. So if you’re a fan of Jacen and Jaina Solo, there’s a good chance they’ll still be around. Mara Jade may still have had her romance with Luke Skywalker, and Boba Fett will undoubtedly still have survived the Sarlacc pit. Some less popular elements may be cut from continuity, but to avoid pissing off certain fans, I’ll leave what elements in particular up to your imagination.
If all goes well, we should have a fully established continuity stretching from the days of the Old Republic to beyond the New, and fans new and old will know where everything from the expanded universe fits in. How much these will be referenced in Episode VII is questionable, but if the official Star Wars canon counts it, then we can count on the movies to at least keep them in mind.
Still, until the movie comes out near the end of 2015, and we get official word on continuity, all we can do is hold on tight to our vintage copies of “Heir to the Empire” and hope our favorite characters and scenes make the cut. May the Force be with us all.