The Star Wars Sequel trilogy is over, and just like the Prequel trilogy that came before it, there is no end of debate over whether the movies were any good, if they were “really” Star Wars or if they even should be – blech – canon. Whether you loved them, liked some of them or just hate them because they’re not Episodes IV-V-VI (who hurt you, anyway?), it has to be noted that, for the first time in seven years, I’m really excited at the prospect of what the future of Star Wars holds.
And I don’t mean for more movies.
Warning: Spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker ahead…
Sure, Rian Johnson is supposedly working on a new trilogy (or is he?), but Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss are no longer helming their other Star Wars trilogy Right now, the hotness is The Mandalorian and the upcoming Obi-Wan series on the current Rookie of the Year streaming service, Disney+. Elsewhere, Marvel has been pumping out various comic book series within the Star Wars canon, and likewise is being done on the novels front. There’s no shortage of Star Wars content, even if you did not care for the Sequel trilogy.
But one thing about the state of the Expanded Universe is that now, for the first time since it was cohesively rebooted several years ago, we have the potential for ongoing stories that won’t step on the movies.
We’re right where we were back in 1991 (ancient history to some of you, otherwise referred to as “The Time Before Time”) when Bantam Books published the first novel in what would be an ongoing series of novels that took place after Return of the Jedi. These novels, recounting adventures of a younger Luke, Lei and Han in a post-Empire galaxy and attempting to form a New Republic, pushed the Star Wars narrative forward in a way that hadn’t been attempted until then. These books ran from 1991 to 2013, forming what is now the Legends line of books and comics (what used to be the Expanded Universe). When Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas, the admittedly niche fanbase that read these books knew the inevitable was at hand: the corner of the Star Wars universe that we had grown to love (and sometimes hate) for over twenty years would be jettisoned.
But now, we’re at an interesting crossroads. The Sequel trilogy has wrapped up. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver are moving on to other projects and trying to escape any Star Wars typecasting. Sure, there’s always a chance they (well, most of them) could return in the future, but judging from what we currently know, it’s not likely.
So what now?
Though not in the immediate future, I would suspect the various publishing arms for Star Wars fiction are chomping at the bit to explore the tantalizing characters and mysteries that remain (did Palpatine take an Uber to Exegol?). This is what I’m most excited about. No, not the Uber part, though I am curious…
In the past, I would have expected the novels to pick up the baton and be the primary mover of the narrative going forward, but now I’m not so sure. Marvel has made a big push with the Star Wars comics, and a post-Skywalker ongoing comic series seems inevitable. Would such a series be the flagship for ongoing tales of Rey, Finn and Poe, in galaxy with the Resistance in full uprising against the
First Final Whichever Order? And what would come next?
I would be surprised if it didn’t happen. Last I checked, Disney & Marvel like money.
And I’ll be here ready to smash that Subscribe button on Comixology. At least until, 25 years from now, Ridley and company decide to reunite for a Sequel Sequel trilogy, and they have to reboot the Expanded Universe. Again.