How the Extended Universe Influenced 'Solo: A Star Wars Story'

The new Star Wars spinoff movie charts an unexpected course for the smuggler known as Han Solo, but the film is filled with many homages to the former Extended Universe of stories.

With the writing team of Star Wars stalwart Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan, it makes sense that Solo: A Star Wars Story would be influenced by the Legends stories. The two recently spoke with Inside the Magic about the influences those stories had on the new movie, though Lawrence began by playing up his ignorance.

"I’m lucky because I know nothing about the Expanded Universe," Lawrence admitted. "I had never read one of those novels, so for me it was always starting from scratch. And Jon, who’s much more converse in that stuff, would sometimes say to me, ‘But here’s what happened.’ But we never felt limited by it."

"What we took as a golden rule was that if it was mentioned in any of the seven at that point existing movies, it was officially a hard and fast rule," added Jon. "But even after the decision to make certain things canon and other things not, there’s still so much material between Rebels and Clone Wars and the books and comics they do consider canon, that it’s almost impossible to think of every reference within that world as law. It’s just too big."

And because there's such a vast library of stories, the writing team revealed they were happy to lean on one of the masterminds in the Lucasfilm Story Group.

"I understand the desire in fans to feel that anything they read in that world, ‘Okay, well this is really what happened.’ But the truth is it’s such an expansive galaxy," Jon said. "And there’s a great guy at the center of this: Pablo Hidalgo, who’s job it is to sort of master all this stuff, and he helped us a lot with things that he thought were hot button. What’s great about Pablo is he’s not the guy who says ‘No, no, no. You can’t do that.’ He’s the guy who says, ‘This could be tricky, and here’s what I would do that might help.’"

"And he lets you do that," added Lawrence.

While some Star Wars diehards might be disappointed to hear Lawrence isn't well versed in the Extended Universe, that's how he's always operated. The two previously spoke about how the writer of The Empire Strikes Back wasn't as concerned with canon compared to his love of plot, character, and story.

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But his son Jon grew up with Star Wars, benefitted by his father's involvement with the Lucasfilm productions. So he served as the encyclopedic foundation for all of those ties.

Fans will get to see how the movie pays respect to those old Extended Universe stories when Solo: A Star Wars Story premieres in theaters on May 25th.