The official Star Wars web page had a couple of announcements today about the direction the larger Star Wars universe will go.
A little background. As far as Star Wars creator George Lucas sees it, the films are the main canon for the universe and can't be contradicted (well, who did shoot first?). More recently the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars has also entered the official canon fold. The other spin-offs (comics, novels, games) in the Expanded Universe (EU) are considered less-canonical and can be contradicted by future movies. Lucas Licensing went as far as having a schema for the different levels of canon.
With today's announcement, that all changes with the formation of the Lucasfilm Story Group (rumored earlier). Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy will direct this group which oversees all future Star Wars creative development. Future Star Wars novels from Disney Publishing Worldwide and Del Rey Books will be part of Star Wars canon. Games, comics and emerging formats will also be interwoven into this fabric.
So what does this mean for the current EU? Well the stories that take place after Return of the Jedi will not be the same as what was established in the Thrawn Trilogy (for instance). All is not lost though. Some elements of the EU will show up in the upcoming animated television series Star Wars Rebels and the older books will stay in print, under a new "Legends" banner.
Star Wars Heir To The Empire Legends Edition
Kicking off the new Star Wars canon will be Star Wars Rebels in Summer/Fall 2014. The first novel in this new unified universe was also revealed: Star Wars: A New Dawn. This novel by John Jackson Miller, will be set prior to the events of Star Wars Rebels, and will feature two of its main characters (Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla) and how they met.
Star Wars: A New Dawn Cover
Novels following Star Wars: A New Dawn (September 2, 2014) will be Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno (November 4, 2014), Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne (January 2015), and Star Wars: Lords of the Sith by Paul Kemp (March 2015).
So, clumsy and random or more civilized? What do you readers think?