Star Wars TV shows and books just became more essential than they’ve ever been

With no new Star Wars films releasing until 2023, fans will keep going back to the stories they love. But they might also start exploring new options.

When Disney announced its plans to postpone the next three Star Wars movies to 2023, 2025, and 2027 — one year later than previously scheduled — fans were mostly OK with the news. Was it expected? No. Does it make sense considering the current state of the world? Absolutely.

In fact, many fans agree — yes, there are still things the Star Wars fandom can mostly agree on — they would rather Lucasfilm take their time developing a high-quality film instead of rushing to get something out into the world too fast.

There’s one problem that remains though: How do fans get their “new Star Wars” fix when it will be at least three years before the studio releases a new film?

Welcome, all, to the Star Wars expanded universe.

What is the Star Wars EU — really?

Ever since canon became legends and new material became canon, there’s been a lot of confusion surrounding the term “expanded universe.” Before 2014, “legends” stories were the only ones that existed, so many fans just lumped everything under the term EU. With the addition of canon, some still call legends the EU, even though it technically also includes canon material.

The Star Wars expanded universe, or EU, includes any official Star Wars content that isn’t a film. TV shows, books, and comics are literally an expansion of the universe that started with a single movie in 1977. Both canon and legends stories are included under the EU umbrella.

Video games are also part of the EU, so whether you spend the next three years getting good enough to beat all your friends in Squadrons or take a nice long nostalgia trip with some KOTOR and Rogue Squadron — or all of the above — there’s plenty of content, old and new, to keep you occupied.

It’s unlikely any new video games beyond Squadrons will release for a while since many major projects are currently on pause. But you never know.

Star Wars: To re-watch or watch for the first time?

Re-watching movies and shows you know and love — especially Star Wars — makes for a great time. But if you’re itching for something new within the same universe, and there’s a book or show you’ve been putting off, there’s really no reason not to give it a chance.

Stories in the expanded universe do an excellent job of filling out the Star Wars universe with a variety of characters, themes, and events. But it’s all supplementary. You don’t need to know who Satine Kryze is to enjoy Revenge of the Sith. But if you do, some things in that movie do hit a little differently. It enhances the experience. But you don’t technically miss anything.

The good news? You’re allowed to watch a show or read a book and not love it, the same way you don’t have to love every Star Wars movie.

There are plenty of fans who didn’t like Rebels or The Clone Wars in their early seasons but grew to love them the longer they stuck with them. Some acknowledge that Resistance wasn’t for them, but realize it was made for younger audiences and can still appreciate its existence.

Star Wars is for everyone. That doesn’t mean everyone wants or needs to consume every movie, TV show, book, or comic to enjoy it. It’s there if you want it. You’re allowed to pick and choose based on your interests.

But we’re looking at an even bigger gap between now and the next new theatrical Star Wars release than originally expected. Which means these TV shows and books many fans choose to ignore might become the very things they’re about to start consuming more of.

Star Wars books and TV shows aren’t going anywhere

Star Wars movies may be slowing down, but there’s plenty more on the way in the months and years leading up to the next movie. You don’t need to become an expert in all things EU. But times are tough. If you need more Star Wars to help keep you going, there is plenty more still on the horizon.

In the next six months alone, there are nearly 10 new Star Wars books releasing. Not only are we getting a new video game in October — we’re also getting the second season of The Mandalorian, and a new animated series sometime in 2021.

There are also at least two additional live-action shows at various stages of production that could still make it to Disney+ before 2023.

TV shows and books are not required in order to enjoy Star Wars. But now, more than ever, you might be one of many who decides to give some of these things a try.

You might not like all of it. Or any of it — and that’s OK. But for the time being, it’s the only new content we’re getting. If you’re craving something new, now is the perfect time to explore your options.

Next: Should there be ‘required reading’ in the Star Wars expanded universe?

Which shows do you plan on re-watching – or watching for the first time – while you wait for a new movie?

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