The upcoming "Star Wars" installments which kick off with "Star Wars Episode 7" will not tell the exact same story told in the expanded universe. The new trilogy will be original and draws only some basic elements from George Lucas' material. It means that some characters like Grand Admiral Thrawn and Jacen Solo introduced in "Star Wars" novels, comic books, video games, and TV shows will not make appearance in the upcoming installments.
"For over 35 years, the Expanded Universe has enriched the Star Wars experience for fans seeking to continue the adventure beyond what is seen on the screen," Lucasfilm said. "When he created Star Wars, George Lucas built a universe that sparked the imagination, and inspired others to create. He opened up that universe to be a creative space for other people to tell their own tales. This became the Expanded Universe, or EU, of comics, novels, videogames, and more."
"While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the EU consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU. He set the films he created as the canon. This includes the six Star Wars episodes, and the many hours of content he developed and produced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These stories are the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align."
"Now, with an exciting future filled with new cinematic installments of Star Wars, all aspects of Star Wars storytelling moving forward will be connected. Under Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy's direction, the company for the first time ever has formed a story group to oversee and coordinate all Star Wars creative development."
Kennedy said in a statement, "We have an unprecedented slate of new Star Wars entertainment on the horizon. We're set to bring Star Wars back to the big screen, and continue the adventure through games, books, comics, and new formats that are just emerging. This future of interconnected storytelling will allow fans to explore this galaxy in deeper ways than ever before."
Lucasfilm added, "In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, 'Star Wars Episodes VII-IX' will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe. While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded."
"Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in 'Star Wars Rebels'. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s."
Screenwriter Simon Kinberg who is working on "Star Wars" spin-offs also told IGN, "You know, it's not off-limits, and it's certainly inspiring - I'm working on an animated show for [Lucasfilm] as well, Star Wars: Rebels, that will take inspiration from everywhere, but - I know for the movies, the canon is the canon, and the canon is the six films that exist."
"Episode 7" is slated to hit U.S. theatres on December 18, 2015. Two sequels are set to follow for 2017 and 2019 releases respectively. The spin-offs which reportedly focus on the origin stories are expected to be released between the entries.