When Disney purchased Lucasfilm and announced their intentions to make more Star Wars movies, excitement quickly gave way to shock when fans learned the Extended Universe was being wiped away.
Obi-Wan Kenobi said it best, “as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.” But while some fans might be mad that stories they grew up with are no longer canon, such an action was necessary for the movies and TV shows.
Star Wars actor Sam Witwer, who most recently gave life to Darth Maul in Star Wars Rebels, spoke about the need for films and series to take point in the galaxy far, far away, despite how frustrating it might be for fans.
“My take on the Legends versus the canon thing is that the film and TV part of the franchise, it's doing the same thing it's always done,” Witwer said. “[If] you have to be slavishly consistent with comic books and books and stuff like that, then that puts the people who are making the movies and the TV shows at a major disadvantage because their workflow is so much slower, and there's so much more that has to be done.
"And yet, movies and TV shows need to be the driving force behind Star Wars.”
The Lucas Approach
Witwer spoke about George Lucas’ processes for incorporating stories and characters from the Extended Universe when he was the making decisions for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
“Clone Wars, with George at the helm, I mean, it would go through this Expanded Universe stuff, and it would pick out ideas that George thought were particularly cool, and Dave would think, ‘This is cool,’ so we'd throw it in there,” Witwer said. “But there was never an expectation that the film and TV stuff had to line up exactly with Karen Traviss' books, or Timothy Zahn’s stuff, or Yuuzhan Vongstuff; there was never that expectation.
"I know the fans sometimes got upset when it didn't line up, but ultimately, I think George and everyone, and Dave, had done an incredible job of using stuff that's really cool from the old EU, and in fact they're still doing that. I mean, [Grand Admiral] Thrawn being in Rebels was long after they said, ‘Oh, that old EU is the old EU.’”
Witwer added that there is a practical reason why the books and TV shows should not dictate what occurs in the movies without consideration.
“I think people are right to like what they like. All of the stuff that they like is still out there, it still exists,” he said. “If you want to read about Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade, you still can. But the example I was giving, do Marvel Comics line up exactly with the movies? No, they don't. They don't line up with the Marvel movies exactly.
"They take, the movies draw inspiration from those comics, of course, but I don't see why Star Wars should be any different. Because ultimately, the situation you're in is, people who make books, comic books, all that stuff ... they can be put out a lot faster than you can make a movie or a TV show.”