Canon; Essentially the events that unfold in any given tale that are part of the official storyline, whether that be a novel, a film, a video game, etc.
Now, many Star Wars fans rejoiced when news broke that Disney had acquired the rights to make more Star Wars films. It also crushed others. With the announcement that when Disney purchased the rights, also came the announcement that nearly everything the fans knew as the Star Wars Expanded Universe was essentially made non-canon and re-branded as Star Wars Legends. Some of you may fondly remember the novels in The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn or Drew Karpyshyn’s Darth Bane Trilogy. Maybe you played the video games like Shadows of the Empire or Knights of the Old Republic. All of those stories and maybe more importantly, the characters, that those games and books introduced into the Star Wars universe are no longer official and are only “real” from a certain point of view.
(There is a strange exception to Darth Bane, the character is canon as his spirit appears in The Clone Wars but the trilogy of books about him is not).
As unfortunate as it is, it had to happen in order to make way for all the new Star Wars movies that Disney has announced. The reason being is that there are so many Expanded Universe story lines that already exist in the same time frame that they are bringing us into with The Force Awakens, and these stories would directly conflict with one another.
Now, the flip side to all of that is that Disney has a TON of new content that is canon, and it is being handled by a dedicated committee within Lucasfilm known as the Lucasfilm Story Group (LSG). Their job is essentially to create one giant cohesive Star Wars universe, and they have been very busy releasing a lot of new books, comics and video games leading up to the release of The Force Awakens, with more still in the pipeline.
Check out this infographic by OuterPlaces that currently shows everything in the new Star Wars canon in chronological order;
What all of this means to you is that there is now a new cohesive universe to explore with new stories featuring the iconic characters we all know and love from the original trilogy; Luke, Leia and Han. To highlight some of the new canon and some of the new stories unfolding within the galaxy, here are a few of books, comics and more that you should be checking out while we wait for the next three or so months to pass.
Star Wars Rebels on Disney X.D. will be entering its second season on October 3. The first season of the show starts off with Ezra Bridger, a youth scavenger surviving on his own on the planet Lothal, running into what he finds out to be a rebel cell. Eventually Ezra falls in with the rebels led by the Hera Syndulla, a female Twi’lek and the crew’s pilot, along with Jedi in disguise Kanan Jarrus. Ezra and the bunch undertake various missions and adventures on behalf of a mysterious handler named Fulcrum and they run into a few familiar faces along the way.
The Star Wars comic which is currently 9 issues in takes place shortly after the events of Star Wars A New Hope and sees Luke and the Rebel Alliance taking the fight to the Empire. The comic is being written by Jason Aaron and drawn by John Cassaday, and is a must read for Star Wars fans as it is chronicling whole new adventures for our heroes. Also be sure to check out Shattered Empire, written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Marco Checchetto, which just released it’s first issue on September 9. The comic picks up during the final moments of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and offers us one of our first glimpse at the new post Battle of Endor galaxy being laid out by the LSG.
Also be sure to check out the novels being released in conjunction with Del Rey Books. There have already been several releases ranging from A New Dawn written by John Jackson Miller which takes place before Star Wars Rebels and tells the story of how Kanan and Hera first met, to the most recently released novel Aftermath by Chuck Wendig which follows Wedge Antilles and several new characters after the destruction of the second Death Star.
Lastly, the video games. Surprisingly these will be considered canon, or at least the set story elements in the games will be. So far we have the recently released Star Wars Uprising for mobile devices, a role playing game also set shortly after the demise of Emperor Palpatine. Additionally there is of course the hotly anticipated Star Wars Battlefront which is said to contain information about the Battle of Jakku which will presumably tell us how this Super Star Destroyer ended up here:
So get reading, watching and playing because there’s lots of content out there for you, and all of it contributes depth and insight into movies we know and the movies we are anxiously awaiting.
Want more Star Wars in your life? Be sure to see What We Know So Far About Star Wars Episode VII, check out all the Cha-Cha-Changes To The Original Star Wars Trilogy, or examine 6 Ways The Expanded Universe Ruined Star Wars: A Rebuttal.
Images: LucasFlim, Disney X.D., Del Ray Books, Marvel Comics