The bizarre story that killed the Star Wars Expanded Universe

Ben Arnold

The Star Wars Expanded Universe has been around since the very first movie in 1977, providing exhaustive and expansive material to fill out the galaxy far, far away both with new characters, and new adventures for the existing ones.

But when Disney bought up Lucasfilm in 2012, it spelled the end for the Expanded Universe.

And now it’s emerged which story sealed its fate, ensuring that it was scrapped from the Star Wars canon as it forged ahead with the new movies.

And it’s a shocking tale of Wookiecide.

Speaking to Syfy’s Fandom Files podcast, Leland Chee, who officially presided over the Expanded Universe for Lucasfilm, chronicling all its stories and spin-offs, revealed that it was down to a plot in the 1999 novel Vector Prime, by R.A. Salvatore.

In the book, Chewbacca sacrificed his life in order to save that of Han Solo and Princess Leia’s youngest son, Anakin Solo.

Oddly, however, his death wasn’t at the hands of a blaster or a lightsaber… he was crushed by a moon.

On why much of the EU got scrapped from the ‘canon’, Chee said: “For me it came down to simply that we had killed Chewbacca in the Legends – a big moon had fallen on him.

(Credit: Del Rey)

“Part of that [original decision] was Chewbacca, because he can’t speak and just speaks in growls, he was a challenging character to write for in novels. Publishing had decided they needed to kill somebody, and it was Chewbacca.

“But if you have the opportunity to bring back Chewbacca into a live action film, you’re not gonna deprive fans that. There’s no way that I’d want to do an Episode VII that didn’t have Chewbacca in it and have to explain that Chewbacca had a moon fall on his head.

“And if we were going to overturn a monumental decision like that, everything else was really just minor in comparison.”

Indeed, Star Wars without Chewie would be a grim place indeed.

That said, director and Star Wars nerd Kevin Smith has just posed an intriguing concept of a ‘character death’ in the next instalment, Star Wars IX.

On his Fatman on Batman podcast, he said: “I think it’s the Falcon.That would really rip all of our hearts out.

“And, at the same time, legacy cast is gone, maybe they don’t necessarily – if it’s a big enough story beat, I bet you that’s what goes.”

We’ll find out on December 20, 2019.

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