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Expanded Universe (Star Wars)

From Academic Kids

The Expanded Universe (or EU for short) is a collection of fictional background material from the Star Wars universe that is derived from official novels, comic books, and various other media besides the movies themselves. The Expanded Universe is considered canonical by Lucasfilm Ltd., though secondary to the movie canon.

The Expanded Universe has a continuity with few wrinkles. The general rule is that nothing in the Expanded Universe is allowed to contradict any other part of the Expanded Universe nor the films. Some points, however, do slightly contradict the films on occasion, and retcons are created in the Expanded Universe to fix these contradictions. In the absence of such ad hoc solutions, the EU is considered incorrect on the particular points of contradiction.

The earliest works involving Star Wars chronologically are the Tales of the Jedi comics series, which is set millennia before the films take place. The most recent is the New Jedi Order, which is set about twenty-one to twenty-six years after Return of the Jedi.

Contents

The beginning

The Expanded Universe is actually older than the Star Wars movies themselves. It started in 1976 when the novelization of Star Wars hit book stands before the movie was released in theatres. The novelization was adapted from the screenplay by Alan Dean Foster. Since Foster was writing the book before the final cuts had been made to the film, there were several scenes that he wrote for the book that would not appear in the film, thus expanding the Star Wars Universe.

The early years

The early years of the Expanded Universe were sporadic and unrefined because there was very little for the authors to go on. The first EU novel to not be an adaptation of the films was Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster, and drew inspiration largely from one of the original drafts of Star Wars. Many of the books and comics from the '80s made many analogies to our reality, and thus seem rather detached from the rest of the EU despite the fact that they don't contradict any other sources. It wasn't until West End Games started publishing material for the Star Wars roleplaying game that the EU really began to be fleshed out.

A turning point

The EU was by large not very successful in its early years. Many readers were discouraged by the lack of stories' connections to other stories. It wasn't until Timothy Zahn wrote Heir to the Empire in the early '90s that it really began to catch on. Heir to the Empire was the first book in Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy, and sparked a revolution in Star Wars literature. Zahn's trilogy was followed by many more Star Wars novels by numerous authors. Many of these were well received; some were not.

New threats

It was decided in the late '90s that using the Empire as the villains had become repetitive and monotonous. Hence a new threat, the Yuuzhan Vong, was introduced in the New Jedi Order. The prequels also brought a range of new possibilities. Since The Phantom Menace was set in a time of peace, it was hard to invent any kind of threat for the heroes to fight against. Thus most material that built on The Phantom Menace was either set before or during the film, rather than after.

Attack of the Clones, on the other hand, introduced another fresh conflict -- one which fans had wanted to see for over twenty years. Aside from being explored in comics and novels, the Clone Wars would be given their own cartoon series to lead up to the release of Revenge of the Sith. In this series, many battles throughout the galaxy are shown, with the Force shown to seemingly its full extent in fantastic fights, such as Mace Windu destroying a whole droid army. The first (2004) season of the series concludes by introducing the newest villain, General Grievous, an important character in Episode III. Grievous was also a main player on episodes 21-25, released in 2005 and leading directly to Episode III. Following the release of Episode III, events between the two trilogies are now being elaborated, like the Great Jedi Purge.

Feedback

It seems that elements of the Expanded Universe influenced George Lucas in the writing of the Star War prequels, at least insofar as knowledge of the EU helps in understanding the prequels. For example, in Episodes IV-VI, the concept of Darth Vader being the "Dark Lord of the Sith", or the Emperor being called "Palpatine" are not really explained on screen. The EU concepts that were developed, however, seem to have been adopted by Lucas in his newer movies. In fact, in Attack of the Clones there is a Jedi character, Aayla Secura, who was made for use in a Star Wars comic book. Lucas liked the way the character looked so much that he had a costume of the character made for the movie. The Clone Wars-era EU was also used to introduce characters such as General Grievous and Commander Bly, Lucas' creations who appear in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Also, Lucas accepted Zahn's name of Coruscant for the galactic capital and he adopted it into the films.

Games

In the fictional Star Wars universe, dejarik is a chess-like game. See this Site (http://zeelay.free.fr/star-wars-artisanal/) for Rules and details on the game, created by igor.barzilai@free.fr.

There is another game in the Star Wars universe called Sabacc, a poker like game, and Paza'ak that resembles Blackjack. In both, the cards can change value at anytime.

Characters

Nom Anor | Garm Bel Iblis | Joruus C'Baoth | Kyp Durron | Borsk Fey'lya | Ghent | Talon Karrde | Exar Kun | Tsavong Lah | Gilad Pellaeon | Rukh | Mara Jade | Ben Skywalker | Luuke Skywalker | Anakin Solo | Jacen Solo | Jaina Solo | Grand Admiral Thrawn | Ulic Qel Droma | Vergere | Winter | Prince Xizor

Locations

Bakura | Carida | Corellia | Dantooine | Kessel | Korriban | Mon Calamari | Myrkr | Ord Mantell | Rhen Var | Wayland | Zonama Sekot

Is the Expanded Universe canonical?

This is a hotly debated issue among Star Wars fans. Superficially, the allure of the films is that they are organised numerically and logically, whereas the Expanded Universe is published out of chronological sequence and occasionally contains minor contradictions, despite the best efforts of Lucas Licensing to maintain continuity. Some readers accuse the EU sources of being excessively self-referential, to an extent that misrepresents the Star Wars universe (e.g. EU minimalism, the creeping reduction of technological abilities and physical scope in EU sources).

Though Lucasfilm spokesmen have stated that the Expanded Universe is part of continuity, many Star Wars fans do not agree that it is canonical. In their eyes, the films are the absolute canon and everything else official is part of the Expanded Universe that, while generally valid, cannot contradict anything in the movies.

However, it sometimes appears that this is not true in practice. For example, Prophets of the Dark Side featured the wedding of Han Solo and Princess Leia, but Dave Wolverton ignored this and featured the same event in his novel The Courtship of Princess Leia, which was released a few years later. According to the rules of the Expanded Universe, both versions are within continuity, though it is the wedding in Dave Wolverton's book that is most often referenced. Fans have tried to fix this problem by suggesting that, since the scene in Prophets of the Dark Side concludes just as Han and Leia are walking down the aisle, the event was disrupted and postponed until the time of The Courtship of Princess Leia; this was confirmed by the authors of the other series, that they had planned to write another series of novels which would begin with the wedding's disruption, but their contract was cancelled before they could do so.

What makes writing in the Expanded Universe difficult in continuality is that the process never started right after the Battle of Endor (the end of the movie Return of the Jedi). In fact, it could be better described as staking points in the future, leaving gaps to be filled in later. The Thrawn Trilogy was followed by the Jedi Academy Trilogy, but in between the two and published later was the Dark Empire and Empire's End comic series. As a result, the Jedi Academy trilogy can only make minimal reference to past events, notably that Mon Calamari was attacked by World Devestators and Coruscant was the site of a major battle which damaged many buildings. The Rogue Squadron series (inspired by the X-Wing series of PC games) leads up to the earlier published "Courtship of Princess Leia", and then picks up after the Thrawn trilogy. The Star Wars Essential Chronology attempts to reconcile some of those events, particularly with Warlords such as Harrsk and Teradoc, who allied briefly with the Emperor in Dark Empire, but broke away after the Emperor's defeat.

On top of this, there are minor disputes about what is, and what is not, part of the Expanded Universe. For example, The Ewok Adventures was written by George Lucas and is a film, but it is not one of the six films of the series, so it is usually considered to be a part of the Expanded Universe.

Current official types of canon

The Holocron is an internal database maintained by Lucas Licensing for the express purpose of trying to maintain continuity within all licensed products. The Holocron is sorted into four levels of canon, reflecting LFL's canon and continuity policies: G, C, S, and N.

G (George Lucas) canon is absolute canon. This category includes the movies, the novelizations of the movies, the radio plays based on the movies, the scripts, and any material found in any other source (published or not) that comes directly from George Lucas himself. G canon outranks all other forms of canon.

C (continuity) canon refers to the main body of EU work, and is the next most authoritative level of canon. All material published under the Star Wars label but not falling into either G, S, or N is C canon, and is considered authoritative as long as not contradicted by G canon.

S (secondary) canon refers to older, less accurate, or less coherent EU works, which would not ordinarily fit in the main continuity of G and C canon. For example, this includes the popular online roleplaying game Star Wars Galaxies, the controversial Jedi Prince series, and certain elements of a few N-canon stories.

N continuity material is also known as "non-canon" or "non-continuity" material. What-if stories (such as those published under the Infinities label) and anything else that cannot at all fit into continuity is placed into this category. "N-continuity" is not considered canon.

See also

External links

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