A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, there were three movies. Then a holiday special. Then three more movies. And animated TV shows. And video games! And books! So many wonderful books! Over the decades, the beloved Star Wars universe became just that: a universe. Okay, so it’s technically a galaxy, but that’s still pretty darn big. Much of it spread through novels. Lucasfilm deemed Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy– Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command –the official continuation of the movies. These novels, and several after, were the next generation of the Star Wars saga.
Since then, some novels were part of the canon story line, and others were side-stories. However, they were all considered to be part of the “Expanded Universe,” or “EU” for short. Like I said, the galaxy is a big place. But ever since Disney decided that all previously written Star Wars books shall be non-cannon, all those years of stories went out the airlock. This included Jacen and Jaina Solo, Han and Leia’s twin children who had epic adventures of their own. This is why fans are theorizing that Rey and Kylo from The Force Awakens might be the official cannon versions of Han and Leia’s twins.
So if we don’t have that official story line anymore to make room for the new films, what is considered canon now?
Lucasfilm and Disney created the Lucasfilm Story Group to determine what would be official canon and what would not. Their decision wasn’t as simple as “Only the movies are canon.” In fact, there’s a whole thing called the Holocron that serves as a database for what is considered of Star Wars canon and on what level. Yes, there are varying degrees of canon-dom.
Then, what happened to all the continuity from the books? Disney rebranded all the EU content as “Legends.” They were still Star Wars stories, but they no longer had any official sway on the universe. Much like an actual legend, they were stories that may or may not be true, and could be drawn from down the road. This decision didn’t just affect the novels, but also comics and games as well.
Right now, you may be wondering what counts and canon anymore. As a fellow Star Wars geek, I feel that it’s important to give back to my fellow Imperials to help clarify what is still cannon. Oh… did you think we were Alliance here at Geek & Sundry? Hahaha, foolish rebel scum. [Editor’s note: that’s what Courtney thinks.]
What is canon:
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Episode IV: A New Hope
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Episode VII: The Force Awakens
All Star Wars movie novelizations
Battlefront: Twilight Company
Heir to the Jedi
Lords of the Sith
A New Dawn
Rise of the Empire
Servants of the Empire series
Star Wars Rebel series
The Perfect Weapon
The Weapon of a Jedi
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir
Marvel’s Star Wars
Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars Journeys: Beginnings
Star Wars Rebels: Ghost Raid
Star Wars Rebels: Team Tactics
Star Wars Rebels: Strike Missions
Star Wars: Commander
General background information from video games (parts, but not all of Star Wars Battlefront, etc.) and RPG sourcebooks
Official statements from George Lucas
Elements originating from George Lucas or his production department in the following:
- Radio plays
- Reference books
- Script elements
- Unpublished production notes
Wait! But what about the *gulp* Star Wars Holiday Special? No longer canon. However, many elements of the special are. Any thing that is mentioned in another Star Wars property such as Life Day is canon.
Did we miss anything? Do you have a better way of explaining how to figure out if something is canon? Let us know in the comments!
Image credits: Disney/Lucasfilm