This morning we were all rocked by the news that the Star Wars Expanded Universe as we knew it was changing. We were informed of these choices by Lucasfilm over the past year. But we were still shocked. It was like a baby coming. We all know it will be here, but when it arrived, we freaked out in excitement.
All of the stories told for the last thirty five years are being moved into a new category called Star Wars Legends. The very books that defined the Star Wars Expanded Universe like Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zhan are now legends in the Star Wars universe, but they are not apart of the new continuity Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: Episode VII are setting the stage for. Rebels and Episode VII will join the likes of what is immovable, Star Wars: I-VI and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the works of George Lucas.
I feel the choice to move forward and not forget or deny the past is a smart move. The moniker Legends really sums up the past in a solid and respectful way. It also allows the lovers of those stories to not lose what they prize most, 35 years of stories they fell in love with.
What is a legend? A legend is a story that cannot be proved true and is probably not entirely accurate. Yet, a legend is a story that lives on and refuses to die. A legend is a story that is good enough to be retold regardless of what we believe to be true. So these stories are legends in the Star Wars universe now. They are stories worth retelling but do not necessarily reflect the interpretations or realities of the world as it is today.
What else is a legend? A legend can be a map’s key. It can help guide you along your path. A legend explains the map to the reader. I think that is the best way of looking at the past Expanded Universe as new writers and filmmakers forge forward. The legend that was laid down will help guide new storytellers as they follow their own paths.
It was made pretty clear the new creators of Star Wars tales were going to pull the great things from those legends and put them into their new works. We saw this method utilized well during The Clone Wars as things like Dathomir and the Nightsisters showed up but were rethought and re-imagined for the screen instead of the page.
I look forward to the future of Star Wars storytelling and I’m glad we don’t have to forget the past.