When the new "Star Wars" cast list was announced, people started to speculate about which characters the new actors would play.
But they didn't stop there. “Star Wars” is so much more than a movie series: After the release of the original trilogy in the late 70s and early 80s, fans spawned an entire expanded universe (EU). In officially licensed material, the events before and after the films were fleshed out into their own comic books, video games, and novels. And fans are wondering which of these elements will (or won't) be included in the next series of movies.
George Lucas has famously admitted that he hasn’t read any of the EU stuff. However, the Star Wars franchise considered everything that happened in the licensed material covering the expanded universe to be “canon” - an official part of its mythos and history. The films cover 36 years of time in the “Star Wars” universe. The EU content spans more than 35,000 years of history.
So fans were pretty shocked when Lucas announced that the entire expanded universe was getting canned (or at least de-canonized). All of the material that was previously canon would now be from an alternate universe, or AU. The licensed material would continue to exist and will be republished under a “Legends” banner.
Lucas said that for the new movie, Episode VII, and future films, he and the other writers may very well mine the expanded universe for characters and story ideas. So some of the expanded universe might re-join the actual universe.
Here are some of the key events from the expanded universe that might - or might not! - be permanently scrubbed from Star Wars history, in order from “likely to be in the movie” to “never gonna happen":
9. The Solo Twins
In the expanded universe, Princess Leia and Han Solo tied the knot and popped out twins: Jacen and Jaida Solo. Maybe the new movie is all about them, or maybe they’ll be erased entirely. Probably the former — especially considering the scriptwriters have a 14-part book series about them to peruse.
8. Anakin Solo
Han and Leia also had a kid they named Anakin, after his grandfather. You know, the one who became Darth Vader and cut off Uncle Luke’s hand. A curious decision. Then again, the Harry Potter movies left in the part where he named his kids after Snape, so who knows.
7. Chewie’s death
In the EU, Chewbacca died after getting crushed by a falling moon. Since Peter Mayhew is schedule to be in this film, we imagine that event is going to be pushed aside — or at least shelved for a later movie.
6. Darth Maul’s resurrection … with robot legs!
In the movies, Obi-Wan Kenobi cut Darth Maul in half with a lightsaber. At some point in the expanded universe, the bounty hunter crawled away and got robot legs and hunted the Solo kids.
5. Wookie Life Day
Wookie Life Day (the Wookie holiday equivalent of Christmas, obviously) was first mentioned in Star Wars Galaxies, an old MMO video game.
4. Evil Jedi clone of Luke Skywalker
At some point, somehow, someone got a hold of the hand Luke lost in his big fight with his dad, and they made an evil clone of him.
3. Skippy the psychic droid
Remember in the very first movie when Luke is buying a droid, and the one he picks out breaks down so he takes R2-D2 instead? Yeah, it got a name, and that name was Skippy. Skippy can use the Force to tell the future and broke down on purpose to save the universe. SKIPPY.
2. The Ewok movie with Wilford Brimley in it
They made the rough equivalent of a Care Bear movie starring the Ewoks with Wilford Brimley as … we don’t know what he was, because we didn’t see that movie and neither did anyone else.
1. The Star Wars Holiday Special
George Lucas has been pretending for years that the made-for-TV celebration of “Wookie Life Day” never ever happened. Now it really, officially didn’t happen as far as the franchise is concerned, and we doubt it’s coming back. Thankfully, it lives on through YouTube.