The release of Return of the Jedi seemingly brought a close to the known Star Wars universe, with fans then having to turn to the Expanded Universe, which not only continued the adventures of familiar characters, but also introduced all new ones. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, these Expanded Universe stories were distinguished as being non-canonical with the rebranded "Legends" label. This might have disappointed some fans, but famous Legends author Timothy Zahn admitted that these stories aren't without their faults.
"The biggest problem I think with the Expanded Universe was it got so big and so complex," Zahn shared with Yahoo!. "It was hard, not only hard to keep track of everything, but hard to find someplace where you could put a story and hard to find something that hadn't been done before."
Devout fans might be disappointed with the erasure of numerous stories from novels, comic books, and video games, but a variety of different elements ultimately found their way into official canon, even if names were slightly altered. Zahn helped establish the Imperial Remnant in Heir to the Empire, for example, which marks many similarities with the First Order that debuted in The Force Awakens.
"I don't want to say that they were deliberately thinking about me when they did this, because a lot of the stuff they're doing is just logic," Zahn confessed of the sequels' similarities to his stories. "If we chase some of the Empire out into the Unknown Regions, the logical thing is for them to build up and then come back. It's not necessarily inspired; it's very easy parallel development as well."
Another prime example of Legends material becoming canon is the incorporation of Grand Admiral Thrawn, another Zahn creation, who debuted in the animated Star Wars Rebels. Additionally, Zahn created two all-new Thrawn novels to chronicle the master tactician's cunning brutality.
Earlier this year, reports emerged that Episode IX was casting an actress for a character named "Mara," which immediately sparked rumors about Mara Jade Skywalker. The character was Luke Skywalker's love interest in the Legends canon, with fans wondering if the character could make an appearance in the new film.
Fans are still waiting on confirmation that this character has been cast, if her name is actually Mara, and if there's any connection to Skywalker's love interest. We'll have to wait until December 20, 2019 to see Episode IX and all of its potential Legends connections.
Do you agree that the Expanded Universe grew too complex to keep track of? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!