Ever since Timothy Zahn‘s Heir to the Empire was published in 1991, Star Wars fans have had the chance to read up on the further adventures of their favorite characters in that galaxy far, far away… however, when the Walt Disney Co. purchased Lucasfilm in October of 2012, they effectively ended the storyline that had been established by dozens of talented writers in what fans would refer to as the Expanded Universe. The EU included hundreds of books which told the stories of thousands of characters in the Star Wars galaxy, including the continuing drama surrounding Luke Skywalker and his family.
The existing world of novels would be rebranded as Legends, and therefore be declared non canonical. This would allow filmmakers such as J.J. Abrams complete freedom in creating new stories based on the characters from Star Wars: Episode VI. Longtime fans of the EU were understandably concerned with this news, since the stories that they believed to be official lore would now no longer technically exist.
From the official Lucasfilmpress release:
"For over 35 years, the Expanded Universe has enriched the Star Wars experience for fans seeking to continue the adventure beyond what is seen on the screen. When he created Star Wars, George Lucas built a universe that sparked the imagination, and inspired others to create. He opened up that universe to be a creative space for other people to tell their own tales. This became the Expanded Universe, or EU, of comics, novels, videogames, and more.While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the EU consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU. He set the films he created as the canon. This includes the six Star Wars episodes, and the many hours of content he developed and produced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These stories are the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align."
Thankfully, Disney and Lucasfilm wasted no time in giving fans a new hope for the future of Star Wars fiction. With the founding of the Lucasfilm Story Group, fans are now assured a reboot of the Star Wars timeline. From this point forward, all films, comic books, novels, video games and television series will fit together into one, continuous story.
More from the official Lucasfilmpress release:
"Now, with an exciting future filled with new cinematic installments of Star Wars, all aspects of Star Wars storytelling moving forward will be connected. Under Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy’s direction, the company for the first time ever has formed a story group to oversee and coordinate all Star Wars creative development.“We have an unprecedented slate of new Star Wars entertainment on the horizon,” said Kennedy. “We’re set to bring Star Wars back to the big screen, and continue the adventure through games, books, comics, and new formats that are just emerging. This future of interconnected storytelling will allow fans to explore this galaxy in deeper ways than ever before.”"
The first novel in this new era of Star Wars arrived this Tuesday, September 2nd and is written by Star Wars author John Jackson Miller. Titled A New Dawn, it’s story focuses on former Jedi Padawan Kanan Jarrus, a heroic character featured in the upcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels. In the book, readers will learn more about Kanan‘s past and how he becomes involved with the Twi’lek pilot Hera Syndulla.
The latest issue of Star Wars Insider features illustrations inspired by A New Dawn, by artist Doug Wheatley.
This new foray into Star Wars fiction is sure to draw a large number of readers, both young and old. Whatever the age, this new direction in storytelling is sure to please all fans. Though there will certainly be many who would have preferred that the EU continue, it’s no less exciting to know that every bit of new Star Wars content will now tell tales that are heretofore untold. To that point, the foreword of A New Dawn addresses this and other questions raised by fans. Written by Star Wars Rebels Executive Producer Dave Filoni, the foreword is quite encouraging to read.
An excerpt from Dave Filoni‘s A New Dawn foreword:
"“A New Dawn is a result of this method of story collaboration here at Lucasfilm. As executive producers of Star Wars Rebels, Greg Weisman, Simon Kinberg, and I had input on the story and characters, working with author John Jackson Miller. I even got to make comments on the look of Kanan and Hera for the cover-maybe a small detail to some, but it was exciting to be a part of that process, and to know the characters would remain true to their intended design. I really hope you enjoy this story, and that it enriches your experience and knowledge of the characters in Star Wars Rebels. There are still countless worlds to visit, countless aliens to meet, and with the incredible talent we have coming to work at Lucasfilm the way forward looks clear.”"
You can read the entire foreword to A New Dawn by visiting the official Random House release page, here.
Kanan Jarrus struggles with Imperial forces in an illustration from artist Doug Wheatley.
If you’d like to find out more about A New Dawn, we suggest first listening to a fantastic interview with author John Jackson Miller, that took place during a recent episode of the Coffee With Kenobipodcast. You can find the interview by visiting the official Coffee With Kenobi podcast episode page, here.
If you’d like to know a little bit more about the characters from Star Wars Rebels, you can watch the videos below.Meet Kanan
Meet Hera at YouTube:
John Jackson Miller‘s A New Dawn is available in hardcover, audiobook and digital release today! Visit your local retailer or order it at Amazon.Com, here.
DSOTF is super excited for this new direction in Star Wars storytelling! Tell us what you think, Dork Siders! Are you angry that the Expanded Universe is no more? Will you be picking up A New Dawn this week? Leave us a comment below!