Ever since The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, it has been speculated that the production of Star Wars Episode VII signaled the end of the Expanded Universe as we know it. It stands to reason that the filmmakers will want to craft their own story, unconstrained by the the canon of hundreds of books, comics, and games that the vast majority of moviegoers have never even heard of before. Now, tweets by Leland Chee, the keeper of the internal continuity database at Lucasfilm, suggest that this might be the case.
A few Twitter users were having a conversation about how EU stories, such as Timothy Zahn’s classic novel Heir to the Empire, could be rendered non-canon by the new films. Chee responded, referring to how canon is now determined by a Story Group made up of Lucasfilm employees like Chee himself and Pablo Hidalgo ("infinata"):
When asked whether the new comics produced at Marvel will be considered canon, or if they would be contradicted by the new movies and shows, Chee made it known that the Story Group covers all areas of storytelling:
Chee also said that one fo the goals of the story group is to get rid of the canon hierarchy, which current;y weighs film and George Lucas-written canon higher than books, games, comics, and so forth:
What Chee could not say was whether this means the current EU canon will become non-canon:
Obviously I can't speak for Lucasfilm's intentions, but I very strongly believe that this indicates the end of the current EU canon. I've believed that ever since Episode VII was announced. When you consider the amount of story that has happened in the post-Return of the Jedi EU, and how much baggage that is for the character's and their stories, you would almost need an entire movie just to recap all of it. It's very difficult to make a compelling and engaging movie when you tie yourself to hundreds of other stories. Not to mention how the average moviegoer doesn't know anything about the EU, and they make up the vast majority of the audience.
If I were to venture a guess, the EU in its current form will become its own, pre-Episode VII continuity, unconnected to the new films and the other new stories coming out. This gives the filmmakers and the Story Group a fresh start, an ability to write the new movies and create a whole new canon of books, comics, and games surrounding it. That doesn't mean they can't borrow from the older EU stories, or bring new versions of old characters into a new canon, but it does mean a fresh start. It's kind of like a reboot, a word we hear a lot now when it comes to movies.
It's also important to point out that, under the current system, Lucasfilm does not treat books, comics, games, and the like as equal to the films anyway. Movies and TV shows can override it, because—up until 2012—Star Wars was whatever George Lucas said it was. It's generally the fans, not the studio, that considers it as one equal continuity.
What do you think? Will Lucasfilm create a new canon, and should they? Let us know in the comments below!