Lucasfilm Expanded Universe

Update: Leland Chee has responded to this story via Twitter, and we’ve embedded his tweets at the bottom of this article. Our original article follows.

It’s been over a month since the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, so you’re all probably very familiar with the complaints about the movie by now. One of the most popular sounds something like this: “The Luke Skywalker I know would never act like that.” Basic translation: “I read a ton of novels featuring that character in which he behaves totally differently than he does in this movie.” Those novels were part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, a collection of Lucasfilm-approved stories that was stricken from the official canon when Disney bought Lucasfilm and rebranded into what’s now called Star Wars Legends.

We heard an official explanation about why the company decided to set the EU aside when that decision was made back in 2014, but now one of the Lucasfilm Story Group members has given a much more specific justification for their reasoning in a new interview. Check out the latest Lucasfilm Expanded Universe explanation below.

Speaking with SyFy.com, Story Group member Leland Chee, who also oversees The Holocron (which is essentially Lucasfilm’s official version of Wookieepedia), relayed his reasoning for separating the Expanded Universe stories for the new movies, games, and projects moving forward, and it has to do with the death of a major character:

“For me it came down to simply that we had killed Chewbacca in the Legends — a big moon had fallen on him. Part of that [original decision] was Chewbacca, because he can’t speak and just speaks in growls, he was a challenging character to write for in novels. Publishing had decided they needed to kill somebody, and it was Chewbacca.

But if you have the opportunity to bring back Chewbacca into a live action film, you’re not gonna deprive fans that. There’s no way that I’d want to do an Episode VII that didn’t have Chewbacca in it and have to explain that Chewbacca had a moon fall on his head. And if we were going to overturn a monumental decision like that, everything else was really just minor in comparison.”

The Chewbacca scenario certainly isn’t the sole reason this decision was made, but it’s a perfect example of the types of problems Lucasfilm would be dealing with if they had decided to incorporate everything from the EU into their future properties. Filmmakers would be totally boxed in – not only with what characters can and can’t do, but also with having to bring their movies to a screeching halt in order to explain things that happened off-screen to general audiences who didn’t immerse themselves in the world of novels and comics over the previous 30 years.

As much as fans were upset that the Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi didn’t align with his portrayal in the books, I’d like to think that if everyone took a step back and looked at the Star Wars universe with a macro view, we’d all know deep down that Lucasfilm made the right decision. And if this is still a bitter pill to swallow, remember: just because the EU has been set apart doesn’t mean it’s been completely wiped clean. Some characters and story elements in Star Wars Rebels were originally created in Expanded Universe content, and there’s always the chance that future filmmakers could use the EU in a similar way to pull aspects back into the official Star Wars canon.

Update: As I mentioned, the comments from Chee are simply his reasoning for why the EU decision was made. Chee reached out to us on Twitter to clarify that that decision was made before he became a part of the Lucasfilm Story Group. We apologize for any confusion.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: