Here’s your guide to everything from the old Star Wars Expanded Universe that Lucasfilm has gradually made canon again. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, they swiftly realized that they had a difficult choice to make. The sheer scale and complexity of Star Wars‘ Expanded Universe made it almost impossible to do anything with the franchise without introducing contradictions. As a result, Lucasfilm made the decision to render all the EU non-canon, branding it “Legends.”
But it’s important not to overstate the scale of the change. The stories may have been erased from canon, but the cosmology and technology seem to have remained the same, and there have even been subtle hints that the grand sweep of galactic history has been lifted from the EU as well. Meanwhile, Lucasfilm has mined Legends for ideas, and countless characters and concepts have been absorbed back into the Disney canon.
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Given this is the case, it’s difficult to present an exhaustive list of everything that has been re-canonized – but that hasn’t stopped us putting together the most comprehensive collection to date. Note that this list ignores elements from the EU that had been integrated into the Prequels or The Clone Wars, such as the city-planet of Coruscant or the Nightsisters of Dathomir, simply because these predate the Disney purchase. This will also set aside specific concepts that were first done by the EU – such as Palpatine’s resurrection, or Han and Leia’s son falling to the dark side – and instead will focus only on specific and explicit references.
Knights of the Old Republic and Ancient History
The popular Knights of the Old Republic game, generally considered one of the best video games ever made, is set 4,000 years before the formation of the Galactic Republic, and it’s not officially been canonized, given Disney has yet to publish any content set during this time-period. There have, however, been a number of important references to the events of the KotOR game and to specific plot elements. Here are some of them:
- Star Wars Rebels has heavily referenced the Mandalorian Wars, which were a core element of KotOR. Mandalorian Rally Master armor is glimpsed in Solo: A Star Wars Story, as part of Dryden Vos’ collection.
- Legends introduced the Sith homeworld of Korriban, but for The Clone Wars, George Lucas decided to rename it “Moraband.” George Mann’s Star Wars: Myths & Fables officially confirms that it used to be called Korriban, making that old name canon once again.
- Ancient Sith masks from KotOR have been re-canonized, playing a minor role in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy, where he revealed that they can become conduits of the dark side and affect even non-Force-users who wear them. This idea was further developed by Charles Soule in his Darth Vader series, where the Sith heretic Darth Momin managed to transfer his essence into the masks.
- KotOR featured Czerka Corporation as an ancient arms company that had played a prominent role in the Old Republic. Claudia Gray’s novel Master & Apprentice confirmed that Czerka exists in the canon, and is still both active and treacherous in the Prequel Era.
- The KotOR games exploited the idea of Sithspawn, savage creatures altered by Sith alchemy. One of these appeared in Cavan Scott’s audiobook Dooku: Jedi Lost.
- Kath Hounds were low-level enemies in KotOR, and they were mentioned in Delilah S. Dawson’s novel Phasma.
- Meanwhile, other Sith from ancient history have been mentioned in Disney canon, including Darth Andeddu and Exar Kun. Both are important characters in the old EU, and have so far only been subtly referenced in Disney canon. The obsidian stone of Dryden Vos’ desk in Solo: A Star Wars Story was supposedly plundered from the Temple of Exar Kun, which may well mean his canon backstory is the same as in Legends, where he was responsible for constructing the Massassi Temples of Yavin 4.
- Jason Aaron’s Star Wars comics mentioned “the Hundred Years’ Darkness,” a key event in galactic history in Legends, where the Sith ruled.
- The Hellish, dark side world of Malachor was introduced in KotOR II: The Sith Lords, and it played a prominent role in Star Wars Rebels; it was home to a Sith weapon known as the Mass Shadow Generator, which was name-dropped in Disney canon in The Rebel Files. Another KotOR world, Taris, briefly appeared in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath novel.
- The Hammerhead Cruisers seen in Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story were clearly based on KotOR designs, although advanced substantially.
- Cavan Scott’s audiobook Dooku: Jedi Lost included a throwaway reference to “Bogan,” an ancient name for the dark side of the Force in Legends.
- Amusingly, even dialogue from KotOR has made its way into Disney canon – for example, in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy the slang term “meatbag” is used by ill-tempered battle droids to describe humans. That was a favorite term of Darth Revan’s Hunter-Killer droid in KotOR.
The Skywalker Saga
Of course, the bulk of the Star Wars action is set during the Skywalker Saga itself. This section will explore elements that have been incorporated into the canon in this main era, usually in secondary material but sometimes in the films too. Solo: A Star Wars Story, for example, was particularly rich in Legends references.
- By the time of the Prequel Era, the Jedi were using both long and short forms of the Jedi Code. Both of these actually originated in the EU, in WEG handbooks.
- James Luceno’s novel Tarkin linked Grand Moff Tarkin to an organization called the Republic Outlands Region Security Force, which notably appeared in the EU novel Rogue Planet – and was actually connected to Tarkin’s family.
- The Imperial Inquisitors were originally conceived by West End Games in the ’90s, and they’ve become a major part of Disney canon, even appearing in the Jedi: Fallen Order game. They have, however, been radically redesigned.
- Another key organization in Legends was the Imperial Security Bureau, the Empire’s clandestine internal affairs branch. It was restored to canon in Star Wars Rebels, and played a major role in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy as well.
- According to the Rogue One Visual Guide, one of the Rebellion’s top spies was an Imperial officer named Grendreef. He’s lifted straight from Legends, where he was originally a sadistic but loyal Imperial officer.
- Star Wars Rebels also canonized the rank of “Emperor’s Hand,” although it was never defined. In Legends, this was the position held by Mara Jade and several other prominent Palpatine loyalists.
- The design of Corellia in Solo: A Star Wars Story is lifted straight from the EU, notably the capital Coronet City.
- In Solo: A Star Wars Story, Han goes to the Imperial Academy of Carida. This location was featured prominently in Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy, where it was destroyed in a supernova.
- Han Solo’s Imperial career ended on the mist-shrouded planet of Mimban, which was created by Alan Dean Foster in Splinter of the Mind’s Eye – the very first Star Wars tie-in, published in 1978.
- Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy saw Han Solo return to the Maw, the black hole cluster around Kessel, and Solo: A Star Wars Story heavily adapted this idea as the Maelstrom.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story saw Han go up against a group of swoop pilots called the Cloud-Riders. They were actually created by comic book writer Roy Thomas in his 1970s Star Wars run, but they’ve been switched up significantly for the Disney era.
- Lando Calrissian’s voice-recordings reference a series of EU books, The Lando Calrissian Adventures.
- Star Wars Rebels featured a number of key locations from the old EU, including Agamar, Shantipole, and Malachor.
- Concord Dawn was first mentioned as the homeworld of Boba Fett in the old EU, but of course George Lucas ultimately had other ideas. The planet kept its Mandalorian roots in Star Wars Rebels, as the homeworld of Fenn Rau and his journeyman protectors.
- Precious few elements of Karen Traviss’ Mandalorian-focused books made their way into canon – Lucas himself explicitly rejected them, and that ultimately pushed Traviss out of Star Wars for good. However, some minor elements of Mandalorian culture have indeed been referenced in canon, including the holographic game Cubikahd, which appeared in Star Wars Rebels.
- Imperial technology appears to have developed along the same lines as in the old EU, with Star Wars Rebels and James Luceno’s novel Tarkin canonizing the development of TIE Defenders and Interdictors that pull ships out of hyperspace. These were both classic Legends concepts, created in Timothy Zahn’s novels.
- The Vader Immortal VR game includes Easter eggs to three EU planets: Nar Shadda, Bakura, and Wayland. The last of these is particularly important, because it hails from Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, and sets the precedent for the Emperor’s Observatories, which have become an important part of Disney lore.
- The infamous “Smuggler’s Moon,” Nar Shadda, was introduced in 1992’s Dark Empire comic and became a key location in the EU. Writer Jason Aaron wasted little time incorporating it into the Disney era as part of his Star Wars run.
- In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey finds a helmet on Jakku with an insignia lifted straight from the EU; it’s the emblem of the Tierfon Yellow Aces, a prominent X-Wing squadron.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi saw Luke Skywalker use a powerful form of Force Projection. This was lifted straight from Legends, first seen in 1992’s Dark Empire comic book. It was described in detail in The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force, and its new-canon portrayal corresponds perfectly.
Characters & Vessels Lifted From Legends (& Everything Else)
Surprisingly, the Disney canon has absorbed a lot of actual EU individuals back into the canon. Sometimes they’ve even been placed in a position of prominence, as with Grand Admiral Thrawn, but at other times it’s all been done rather more subtly. Novelist James Luceno has played a particularly important role in bringing Legends back into canon; he’s always had a reputation for loving working with continuity, and the Disney era has afforded him several opportunities to demonstrate his mastery.
- Padme’s predecessor on the throne of Naboo, King Veruna, has made the jump from Legends to Disney canon thanks to the Star Wars: Complete Locations book.
- The Chiss Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of the most famous Expanded Universe characters, the main antagonist in Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. He returned to the Disney era as a prominent villain in Star Wars Rebels, complete with a Legends creature named an Ysalamiri adorning his wall. Timothy Zahn wrote his new canon backstory in the novel Thrawn, lightly adapting the “Mist Encounter” short story he’d written for Legends. Grand Admiral Thrawn has starred in three novels to date, with a new trilogy set to begin in 2020.
- Gilad Pellaeon was name-dropped in Star Wars Rebels, and he was later used in Timothy Zahn’s canon novel Thrawn: Treason. He was another of Zahn’s most influential characters in Legends, where he went on to command the Imperial Remnant.
- Thrawn’s Noghri bodyguard Rukh is likewise lifted from the Thrawn trilogy, and appears in Star Wars Rebels too.
- All the Chiss seem to have been lifted straight from old canon to new, most notably Admiral Ar’alani. In fact, the similarities are so notable that some readers have speculated Timothy Zahn is simply continuing his plans for Grand Admiral Thrawn and his race irrespective of the change in continuity. Even secondary elements of the Thrawn Trilogy – such as the trading language of Sy Bisti, known by the Chiss and used on the galactic rim – have been carried through.
- The Han Solo – Imperial Cadet series saw Han interact with fellow trainee Beilert Valance, who would go on to become a bounty hunter in another miniseries. This cyborg character was created by Archie Goodwin back in 1978, and is generally considered one of the most memorable in the EU.
- One of Legends’ most off-the-wall characters was a sentient, giant green rabbit named Jaxxon. He’s actually back in the canon, courtesy of the child-friendly Star Wars Adventures.
- Author James Luceno’s new canon Star Wars books have woven a number of familiar Imperials back into canon. They include Armand Isard, Admiral Yularen, Sate Pestage, Ars Dangor, Moff Therbon, and Terrinald Screed.
- Luceno also canonized 11-4D, a droid servant of Palpatine from his own previous Star Wars books. The droid retained a similar backstory to the one seen in the EU, prompting some readers to suggest that Luceno was implying his Darth Plageuis book should still be considered canon as well.
- Hindane Darcc has been reinvented as the captain of Tarkin’s flagship in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – a rather lesser role, given he was a prominent warlord in Legends.
- A number of secondary Rebels have also made their way into the Disney era, notably Sian Tevv (a Sullustan politician who appeared in Alexander Freed’s Battlefront: Twilight Company) and starfighter commander Arhul Narra (killed off in Jason Fry’s The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure so Luke could take over as squadron leader).
- There have been numerous references to Chewbacca’s wife Malla and son Lumpawaroo, who originated in the much-criticized Star Wars Holiday Special.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story featured the martial art Teräs Käsi, which Qi’ra had been taught by Dryden Vos. Introduced in the EU Legends title Shadows of the Empire, Teräs Käsi was actually designed for use against Force-wielders.
- One of the more famous EU vessels is the Outrider, a YT-2400 that was flown by smuggler and scoundrel Dash Rendar. It’s been seen in Star Wars Rebels, and in trailers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as part of the Resistance fleet. Rendar himself was name-dropped in Jason Fry’s Solo: A Star Wars Story: Tales From Vandor.
- James Luceno canonized the Carrack-Class Cruiser in his novel Tarkin, another vehicle originally created by Timothy Zahn in his Thrawn Trilogy. Marvel’s Star Wars comics have frequently used EU designs in the background, incorporating elements such as the HWK-290 Light Freighter.
- Daniel Wallace’s The Rebel Files contained countless minor references to the EU, including: a substance called Durksteel, the news agency Trinebulon News, the Delegation of 2,000 Senators who opposed Palpatine’s ascension to Emperor, and a group of Imperial codenames.
Key Release Dates
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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