Star Wars isn’t going anywhere soon. In the time between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy the franchise maintained itself as a huge money maker through novels, video games, and comic books. Some of this material was licensed by Lucasfilm and for decades came to be known as official canon. This licensed material was dubbed “The Expanded Universe.”
With the dawn of a new Star Wars trilogy and other films in the series upon us, Disney announced that everything besides the films in addition to The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series are no longer official canon.
There is an upside to this announcement. It was also announced that some pieces of lore from the Expanded Universe may be adopted into the films with details being changed to fit the new direction. It would be excellent if these core concepts and characters from the Expanded Universe were maintained:
10. Luke Skywalker Establishing The Yavin 4 Jedi Academy
In the Expanded Universe, Luke Skywalker has a number of Jedi Academies that he established on various planets throughout the galaxy after the events of Return of the Jedi. Most notable is his academy on Yavin 4, the rebel ground-base for the infamous space battle in Episode IV. In novels it would be the very academy that the Solo twins (we’ll get to them) would attend to receive their training in the Force.
The biggest reason these academies need established is simple: Jedi. Fans expect lightsaber battles and we can’t get that if Luke is still the only one. Since the new films are to take place thirty years after the events of Return of the Jedi, this could be quickly established during the scrolling text that has proceeded every Star Wars film.
9. Mara Jade Skywalker
Mara has had a long history in the Star Wars Extended Universe and has appeared in both the Star Wars comic books and a number of the novels. It would be a shame to see her go for a number of reasons. The obvious one being she marries Luke Skywalker, but getting to that point is where all the fun lies.
Mara was known as one of Emperor Palpatine’s Hands and under him learned the powers of the Dark Side in secret. Mara went on to be a smuggler where she helped the main cast in a number of adventures before turning to the Light Side of the Force and serving on the Jedi Council.
Mara was eventually killed at the hands of her own nephew, Darth Caedus. It would be incredible to see this battle on the big screen. This can only happen if the movies include…
8. The Solo Twins
If there is anything these movies have to preserve it is the Solo twins, conceived by Leia Organa after her marriage to Han Solo. Jaina became quite the butt-kicking female heroine through the novels and it could be extremely cool and progressive of Disney to use her as the Jedi hero to focus on in the new films.
Jacen Solo was the less rugged of the twins. He was kind to animals and kept many different critters as pets in his young age. His kind nature is what made it so surprising that he turned to the Dark Side and became Darth Caedus, an adversary so ruthless he even tortured and killed some of his own family members.
7. The Death of Chewbacca
This doesn’t necessarily have to play out as it did in the books. It just needs to happen.
We’ve seen these characters constantly come out of battle without losing much. The only real death we’ve seen of a hero character on screen is Padme Amidala during child-birth. Obi-Wan’s death wasn’t permanent as he tied himself to The Force and remained a part of the series as a spirit. Killing Chewbacca would be a truly permanent death that would show that bad things also happen to the heroes during war. Plus, the original cast isn’t getting any younger and Disney seems to be looking at Star Wars in the long-term.
Some say that ending Episode V on a down-note is what made it one of the best installments. A Chewbacca funeral could be one heck of an end to Episode VII as the torch is passed to a new group of actors.
After Chewbacca dies, who better to take his place than his own nephew; a Force sensitive Wookie that would also train at Luke’s Yavin 4 academy? What Star Wars fan hasn’t imagined a Wookie with a lightsaber?
Lowbacca was a companion to the Solo twins, much like Han Solo and Chewie. He even has his own translator-droid programmed by C-3P0. The small droid clasps to Lowbacca’s belt and has a personality and voice similar to its creator. This provides fans with a lot of the same character types they loved from the original cast, but still allows the franchise to move forward into the future.
6. Boba Fett Escaping The Pit Of Carkoon
A true Star Wars sequel isn’t going to be fulfilling without Han Solo and Boba Fett having a real go-around. Boba Fett just didn’t play that big of a role in the films. It was the novels and comics that really turned him into a fan favorite and firmly established him as one of Han Solo’s greatest adversaries. Fans deserve to see these two actually have a true final showdown. Two men enter, one man leaves. Disney would be foolish to not try and include Fett in Episode VII somehow. The only way to do this within the canon of the films is maintain that Boba Fett does indeed escape the pit we saw him fall into during Luke’s daring rescue mission on Tatooine.
5. Leia’s Limited Use Of The Force
Even in the films, Obi-Wan and Yoda do establish that there is another hope besides Luke in bringing balance to The Force. This was obviously a reference to the fact that Leia is Luke’s sister before we were actually given that information. Considering these new films are to take place thirty years after Episode VI, it would be strange if Luke didn’t convey this information to her and give her some degree of training over that time.
Leia doesn’t need to be a full on Jedi Knight. In the books she doesn’t train much in The Force as she was always more of a politician. Leia did however craft her own lightsaber and learn a few useful Force abilities.
4. Admiral Thrawn
Disney just needs to give fans this one. JJ Abrams probably has a lot of his own plans but Timothy Zahn’s first Thrawn Trilogy took place after Jedi and truly felt like a sequel to the films.
Thrawn was an Admiral that helped lead the last remnants of the Empire after the deaths of Palpatine and Vader. Details would need to be changed to work him into the new canon but that’s fine. Plus, why go head-first into another Dark Side Vs. Light Side scenario? The Empire only had two Sith on their side to begin with. Why not explore all those other leaders of the Empire’s armies?
A lot of the information on clones and the Clone Wars presented in the Expanded Universe was nullified by the prequel trilogy. There were all sorts of interesting adversaries as a result of cloning in the books and then fans were just given a mass produced army of Jango Fetts.
Cloning has been used in the books to bring back old adversaries as well. Palpatine was cloned in the books and even Luke was cloned. Luke’s clone was trained in the ways of the Dark Side by a new antagonist named C’baoth. This could provide tons of ways to connect future installments with the classic trilogy.
2. Lightsaber Crafting and Crystals
The crafting of lightsabers through the use of power cells and various crystals is one of the coolest things to come out of the Expanded Universe. Each crystal type gives each saber different abilities and colors and provided hardcore fans everywhere with a cool piece of Star Wars lore to study. Even if the new films don’t go deeply into lightsaber construction, future books, video games, and comics that are a part of the new canon should maintain this concept.
1. Shadows of the Empire (everything about it)
This was the “Star Wars film that was never made.” Lucas himself has said this about the novel by Steve Perry that was the story behind this multi-media project.
This “interquel” that takes place during the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi spawned video games and even its own action figure line. The interest this concept generated is what brought Star Wars back to theaters in the first place. It introduced a great hero in Dash Rendar and a great villain in Prince Xizor.
While this can’t be a part of new movies that take place after Return of the Jedi, it could be a project as an animated television series, or even an animated film like the theatrical release that led into the popular Clone Wars television series. To completely remove Shadows of the Empire from canon would be a crime. An exception needs to be made for one of the greatest Star Wars stories ever told.
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