The old Star wars The Expanded Universe may have been dubbed “Legends,“but it’s still much more important than many fans realize. Star wars has always been a transmedia franchise; the first official tie-in novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster, was published back in 1978 – before the release of The Empire strikes back. But it wasn’t until the 1990s that the franchise’s potential finally began to be realized, following Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy and Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy Dark Empire. Over the next few years countless writers and artists would expand on the universe George Lucas had created. Some of their best ideas would even find their way into Lucas’ own films – with a notable example being the city planet Coruscant.

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In 2012, Disney acquired Lucasfilm – and thus became the owners of Star wars and Indiana Jones. Disney executives made the difficult decision to delete the old Expanded Universe from canon, labeling it “Legends.“Obviously, the choice outraged large sections of the fan base, with most concluding that the EU was now irrelevant. To be fair to Disney, the decision is entirely understandable; the EU had woven together a complex web of continuity far too much for any new viewer, and the stories had locked into the history of the galaxy for a full century after the events of Return of the Jedi. Disney wanted to tell fresh, new stories, and the EU simply wanted to limit creators’ story options. But fortunately, it is becoming clear that the EU still matters – from a certain point of view.

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Disney continues to honor the Expanded Universe – as legends

It’s true that the Expanded Universe is no longer strictly canon. But that doesn’t mean it should be considered irrelevant; Lucasfilm chose the term “Legends” quite deliberately, as many of the old EU stories are gradually revealed to be legends in the universe. This is confirmed by Star Wars: Force & Destiny source book Nexus of Power, which explores Force vergences across the galaxy — including ancient Jedi planets like Ossus and Tython. These planets were introduced in the Expanded Universe, and the sourcebook describes many details from the comics. There are lovely references to “Qel-Droma Epics,” named after an EU Jedi Master called Ulic Qel-Droma, the protagonist of the 1993 Dark Horse Comics miniseries Tales of the Jedi by Tom Veitch and David Roach. The sourcebook describes Ossus and notes:

“Scholars debate the historicity of Ossus as a real place. Many believe that the world is merely the mythical setting of the Qel-Droma epics, using familiar tropes found in other mythological settings of the gods. Some believe, that the Jedi adopted a world and named it after the fictional planet. Others insist that Ossus exists exactly as the stories claim.”

That is striking Star wars has since settled some of the debate about Ossus; not only does the planet exist, it was rediscovered after The Empire strikes backand became the site of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Temple.

The Disney Era Star wars has consistently suggested “legends” of the galaxy’s ancient past, told in the ancient expanded universe, are still relevant. Andorfor example contained one Knights of the Old Republic Easter egg – a nice reference to an alien race called the Rakata who invaded the galaxy millennia ago. This officially confirms that Rakata is part of the galaxy’s history, thereby implying that Dawn of the Jedi comics. These were set on the planet Tython, a world that actually appeared on The Mandalorian season 2 – another major nod.

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Many modern Star Wars stories fit with both Canon and Legends

Rakata Infinite Empire in Star Wars The Old Republic

Many legends tales that Knights of the Old Republic comics take place thousands of years before the Skywalker saga. Lucasfilm’s approach with these stories therefore makes perfect sense. Subtle nods leave it up to the fans to decide if they believe something”means something” — whether they consider it part of current continuity or not. But it’s obviously much more difficult when it comes to Expanded Universe content set in the time periods of the movies. Even there, though, Lucasfilm is veering toward a much smarter approach .A surprising number of modern Star wars stories would fit perfectly with both Canon and Legends.

That Obi-Wan Kenobi The Disney+ TV show serves as an example. It was confirmed by several”new” Jedi who survived Order 66—many of whom were removed from Legends. Most viewers saw these as simple Easter eggs, but they served a dual purpose in terms of canonicity. They incorporated characters such as Djinn Altis, Roganda Ismaren, and Nichos Marr into Disney- canon. But they also meant that the show fit perfectly into the Expanded Universe. The narrative even avoided contradicting John Jackson Miller’s novel Kenobi, a particularly impressive feat since the Legends book is set within the same time period — and on Tatooine to boot. The same pattern can be seen elsewhere—for example, in the Disney-era backstory of Grand Admiral Thrawn. It’s a surprising approach because it means the stories can resonate with fans of the Expanded Universe as they do with people who have only checked it out more broadly. Star wars galaxy since Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012.

Of course, this approach can only go so far. Most modern Star wars comics are set in the original trilogy era, a period already explored by the Expanded Universe, and the two depictions contrast. The reason is pretty obvious; Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm want to tell fresh and new stories with much-loved characters, and Legends would have limited them. It’s the same reason Lucasfilm originally decided to delete the EU from canon in the first place.

All these years later, one thing is becoming clear; the relationship between Star wars canon and the old expanded universe isn’t quite as simple as many fans originally thought. The word itself”Legends” should really have served as an indication of the direction of travel; classic comics, novels, and even games shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand because they’re still relevant. The nature of their relevance depends largely on whether they constrain other stories. If they don’t does, Lucasfilm won’t go out of its way to contradict them.It’s a very healthy approach to Star wars.

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