Pablo Hidalgo of the Star Wars Story Group at Lucasfilm was on the dais at the Star Wars Books panel at New York Comic Con Saturday afternoon, and talked openly about how the recent "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" books fit into the new canon - and where they came from.
The post-Return of the Jedi stories in the line, including some published and some still coming, took inspiration from "notes George Lucas left us, ideas from Michael Arndt's early take on Episode VII, and ideas that Rian Johnson wants to explore for Episode VIII," Hidalgo said. That allowed them to come up with a cohesive plan that used what came before, and led nicely into what comes after. It's also the first hint that some of the things in these books could be setup not for this December's movie, but in fact the next episodic adventure in Star Wars film.
Hidalgo also recommended that fans should re-read the current novels in about a year and "see what new things you notice," as some of the setup for The Force Awakens won't be apparent until we see the payoff.
In general, the stories use the "Battle of Jakku," a moment that will be in both print and in the upcoming game Star Wars: Battlefront as a touchstone. Hidalgo talked about using that inspiration to create an outline for the thirty or so years between the two films.
"The further we got out from Jedi the looser we got creatively, and then the closer we got to seven, the more concrete we got. All this produced a document I wrote leading up to an event called the Battle of Jakku, which will be told in print as well as by our friends at DICE and EA in Star Wars Battlefront," Hidalgo said.
All in all, the writers who have been working on these stories are thrilled to be tackling the new age of Star Wars stories. Greg Rucka, who is writing both novels and comics in the line, said that "The Force Awakens being announced changed all the rules," and their new entries in the canon are providing a lot of creative inspiration.