Enter the Story Group
The Lucasfilm Story Group was founded by Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars Development Lead Kiri Hart. It’s a group of four to six people devoted to keeping all of Star Wars unified under one canon. To do so, they had to slash and burn; effectively starting from scratch. The only prior stories still canon are tales that Lucas himself was directly involved with: Episodes I-VI and The Clone Wars. Since that initial announcement of the Expanded Universe’s demise, all new novels, comics, and television have been approved by the Story Group and are 100% canon.
The history beyond Return of the Jedi, however, is now a blank slate, waiting for The Force Awakens, Marvel’s Shattered Empire comic, DICE Studio’s Star Wars Battlefront DLC, and the Del Rey novel Aftermath to set the stage for what’s to come. All prior history is now part of “Star Wars Legends” — tall tales that may or may not have happened. As per the “One Big Story” panel at Celebration, the Story Group has admitted that Legends are a viable source for information and fan favorite characters will be reintroduced into canon. When and how this will happen is anyone’s guess.
Sound like a sticky situation? It is. But, perhaps surprisingly, most fans are welcome to the change. Lucas was no longer the visionary storyteller, but instead an impediment to the galaxy he’d birthed. The Clone Wars, for all its successes, was a sore reminder of just how disconnected the prequel-era had become. Instead of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith being compelling standalone films, most of the real drama of that time period was happening in a kid’s show with several major characters being shoehorned into existence – their fates following the films unknown. According to Filoni at the “Untold Tales of Clone Wars” panel, the show was intended to run up to Revenge of the Sith and just beyond, placing the characters in a context that would have led into the original trilogy.
To date, several unaired Clone Wars episodes have been released on Netflix, where the series is gaining a new following. At Celebration, several unfinished but canonical episodes were shown, along with clips from partially completed story arcs. Some of these stories have become Story Group-authorized releases in other mediums, including the comic Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir and the forthcoming novel, Dark Disciple. While the storylines of Clone Wars abruptly ended, it’s not destined to become an awkward footnote in the Star Wars timeline. In fact, The Clone Wars is on its way to becoming a major contributing factor in bridging the dubious gap between the much-maligned prequel era and A New Hope.