J.J. Abrams talks Expanded Universe and The Force Awakens


Director J.J. Abrams discusses the Star Wars Expanded Universe, when writing the script for The Force Awakens.

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What is the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and why should you care? This is a burning question, and hotly debated topic among the most diehard of Star Wars fans. When Disney acquired Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas, the company restructured what was considered Star Wars canon, and what was then considered Expand Universe. The canon now consisted of:

  • The Prequel Trilogy
  • The Clone Wars Animated series
  • The Original Trilogy
  • Star Wars Rebels
  • Some of the new video games

The old Expanded Universe was relegated to a new category called Star Wars Legends. The Legends now consisted of many of the Star Wars novels, as well as the old Dark Horse comics, and videogames like The Old Republic. In a recent interview with i09, J.J. Abrams describes the writing process for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and how he and Larry Kasdan decided not to strictly adhere to the old EU.

"“It became very clear that if we were adhere to the Expanded Universe, it would have been a very tricky thing to navigate. It wasn’t even clear what is canon in the Expanded Universe. And I don’t think the vast majority of Star Wars fans have ever read a [Star Wars] novel. We can’t try and please every fan of that universe first. We have to try and tell the best version of a Star Wars movie.”"

Without a doubt, Abrams has a solid point. Trying to make a new Star Wars film with all the Expand Universe material floating around — unregulated — would be quite a difficult task. However, throwing out all that amazing story, regardless of whether or not Disney considers it canon or not, would be an atrocious mistake. Abrams did expound further:

"“I thought ‘If ideas that come up feel like they overlap and feel like they work? Great. But we can’t adhere to something that is as vast [as the EU], and frankly [is] lesser known than the films.”"

It’s good to know that Abrams and Kasdan didn’t go into the writing process completely ignoring the EU. So, now the question is, will The Force Awakens have some parts of the Expanded Universe? Many fans have been speculating as to the real identity of Supreme Leader Snoke — played by Andy Serkis in a mo-cap role. The purveying theory is that Snoke is actually Darth Plagueis, who was Emperor Palpatine’s Sith Master, and according to the EU, the one who manipulated the Force and midichlorians to create life that resulted in Anakin Skywalker.

Next: People Goes Behind the Scenes With Supreme Leader Snoke

I guess we’ll just have to wait seven more days, when Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters worldwide on December 17 and 18. Oh and while you’re here, check out the full cast list for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And, you can read the entire J.J. Abrams interview with i09 by clicking the link provided.