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Summary

  • New Star Wars canon draws heavily from Legends, creating fresh spins on familiar stories and characters.
  • Legends remains a key aspect of the brand, defining upcoming Star Wars content like The Acolyte and Rey’s New Jedi Order.
  • Disney’s choice to create a new timeline for Star Wars movies allowed for creative freedom, with Legends serving as a valuable source of ideas.
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In order to make new Star Wars movies and TV shows, Disney made the difficult choice to remove the old Expanded Universe from canon – but the wisdom it holds pertaining to the galaxy far, far away is now more important than ever. In April 2014, Lucasfilm made an official announcement that everything published prior to that date would be re-branded as Star Wars Legends, and would no longer be treated as the default Star Wars timeline. This was a shock to many viewers, but has had a lot of lasting impact on the new canon’s stories as well.

Since 2014, there have been 5 Star Wars movies in theaters, several animated series, and even live-action TV shows under this new canon, adding on to the already existing 6 movies and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. With several more upcoming Star Wars movies and new Star Wars TV shows in the near future, Star Wars Legends has been succeeded in terms of the amount of on-screen storytelling in the new canon. As canon expands further, however, Star Wars Legends has proven to be more important than ever, not only as a source of ideas, but also as a reference.

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Legends Is A Fantastic Source Of Ideas

It’s not a surprise to anyone familiar with Legends that canon has taken a lot of ideas from the older timeline and adapted them into new stories. The most significant thing about these is that they’re never really 1-to-1 adaptations of Legends, though, as they always have some sort of spin on the events. For example, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story details the theft of the Death Star plans, which has been told several times in Legends in various similar ways. Star Wars: The Bad Batch has also taken Mount Tantiss straight from the Legends Thrawn trilogy.

Legends Character Arcs Have Been Loosely Repeated In Canon

Star wars kylo ren jacen solo

Some other significant translations into canon have happened too. Boba Fett escaped the sarlacc in Legends, eventually becoming Mand’alor himself, similar to how Boba survived and became a Daimyo in canon. Grand Admiral Thrawn has also been making waves in Star Wars canon, returning from outside known space during the New Republic Era. Even the sequel trilogy itself is built on Legends ideas – the fall to the dark side of Han and Leia’s son, the resurgence of the Imperial Remnant, and Emperor Palpatine’s resurrection from the dead.

Star Wars’ Future TV Shows Will Continue To Build On Legends

The Acolyte Showrunner Is A Big Legends Fan

Despite how much of an influence Legends has been in canon so far, it seems to only be looking to escalate in the coming months and years, particularly in Star Wars: The Acolyte. In an interview with StarWars.com, Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland was rather up-front about her Legends EU influences.

There were certain things that I really wanted to do. You’ll see a half Theelin, half human Jedi, Jecki, played by Dafne Keen, which was always a dream of mine. There’s also some EU lore that I decided to put in because I thought it was so cool and no one told me I couldn’t.
There are a couple of really big EU ideas that are utilized
both early on in the series and later in the series.

This not only confirms that some of Headland’s own favorite aliens and bits of Legends lore will appear in The Acolyte, but that there are some “really big EU ideas” that are going to be part of the series as a whole going forward. So much speculation has already come out of this quote, and it makes sense considering how exciting it is for someone behind a new Star Wars series to be such an earnest fan of older stories. Interestingly, this also reflects the direction that several upcoming Star Wars stories seem to be going in general.

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Legends Concepts Will Largely Define Several Upcoming Stories

Rey’s New Jedi Order movie seems absolutely primed to pull elements of Legends’ New Jedi Order book series into canon, but not as much as the upcoming The Mandalorian-era culmination movie, which will feature Thrawn as its main villain. Thrawn’s campaign and Luke’s New Jedi Order were both very prominent aspects of Legends that could definitely inspire these canon stories. Some other examples of this are Andor season 2‘s formation of the Rebel Alliance, and Ahsoka‘s continual development of Thrawn’s efforts before he’s featured in a movie.

Legends Books, Comics, And Games Are Still Going Strong

Mara Jade, Yuuzhan Vong, Star Wars Legends

Besides their obvious influences on canon stories, Legends stories themselves are also still going strong in republishing efforts in the modern day. The ongoing Essential Legends Collection of novels, being printed with new covers and a larger format than ever with unabridged audiobooks, has been a massive success. This has put the most essential books of the Legends timeline in the hands of new readers with every release, allowing for those stories to live on.

Along with the books, the proliferation of every Legends comic, sorted by era, via Marvel’s very in-demand Star Wars Epic Collections, has been a hit, too – especially judging by the aftermarket prices on some out-of-print paperbacks. With books and comics being so readily available, and the remastering of old games like the recent Dark Forces remaster, Star WarsLegends is absolutely alive for new viewers. Hopefully this will continue, while being even more accessible.

Disney Was Right To Make The EU Non-Canon – But It Still Matters So Much

A New Timeline Allowed For New Possibilities

Left: Quinlan Vos in Star Wars Legends; Center: Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars Rebels; Right: Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Custom Image by Nathaniel Roark

While the decision to make a new timeline rather than build on the old one for new movies and TV shows was a difficult one, looking back, it appears to be the right decision. Creative freedom is so important when it comes to new movies, and Legends acting as a “sounding board” for new canon concepts and ideas is a superb model and ideal, and one that Lucasfilm should strive to use and meet more and more. Star Wars Legends shows what kind of stories work and don’t work, and what kind of ideas can be great or bad for Star Wars as a whole.

Legends acting as a “sounding board” for new canon concepts and ideas is a superb model and ideal.

Overall, Star Wars Legends is not a dead timeline. It is a rich source of mythology that Lucasfilm needs to utilize the immense value of. Many fans hold Legends stories near and dear to themselves, and respecting those stories, being inspired by them, but not copying them, is the way to move forward. Star Wars Legends still matters so much, and very much needs to continue to be a part of Star Wars canon going forward, for everyone’s sake.

All Star Wars movies and TV shows are available to stream on Disney+



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