While George Lucas had built a world around “Star Wars” through movies, TV shows, comicbooks, novels, videogames and other forms of entertainment, storylines were developed by separate teams creating what’s been called an “Expanded Universe” that veered away from what was seen onscreen by audiences.
As a result of the plethora of “Star Wars”-related characters, creatures, spaceships and worlds created for those properties, Lucasfilm has formed a new story group to oversee all “Stars Wars” creative development, according to Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, that will connect all aspects of storytelling moving forward.
Onscreen, the first new canonical material to appear will be the animated series “Star Wars Rebels” (see a clip presented at WonderCon below), followed by the J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Wars: Episode VII,” set for release on Dec. 18, 2015.
In print, the first new books to come from the group include novels from Del Rey Books, such as the John Jackson Miller-penned “Star Wars: A New Dawn,” set before the events of “Star Wars Rebels” and offering insight into the backstories of key characters Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, with input directly from executive producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman.
“A New Dawn” will be published in hardcover and as an e-book on Sept. 2, followed by “Star Wars: Tarkin,” by James Luceno, on Nov. 4; “Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi,” in January, by author Kevin Hearne; and “Star Wars: Lords of the Sith,” by Paul Kemp, in March.
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Lucas may have enabled other people to play in the world of the “Star Wars” Expanded Universe, but “he set the films he created as the canon,” Lucasfilm posted on the StarWars.com site Friday. “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.”
“We have an unprecedented slate of new ‘Star Wars’ entertainment on the horizon,” Kennedy said in a statement. “We’re set to bring ‘Star Wars’ back to the bigscreen, and continue the adventure through games, books, comics, and new formats that are just emerging. This future of interconnected storytelling will allow fans to explore this galaxy in deeper ways than ever before.”
That includes the launch of a new “Star Wars: Legends” banner that will keep tales from the Expanded Universe in print.
Lucasfilm added that elements from the Expanded Universe, like the Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau and Sienar Fleet Systems created in role-playing games of the 1980s, are story elements in “Star Wars Rebels.”