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Star Wars’ First Four Novels In The New Canon — Hello, New Expanded Universe

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SWFeatYesterday one of the biggest questions surrounding the future of the Star Wars franchise was officially — and unsurprisingly — answered. We knew that a new trilogy of “Episodes” was in the works, beginning with J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII in 2015. We knew that other spin-off films were in the pipeline as well, although the details have yet to be officially confirmed. But what about the reams of so-called Expanded Universe content, stretching across damn near every medium you can think of? Disney and Lucasfilm finally made it official: while they may use material from the EU, outright or as inspiration, they won’t be beholden to it. The only thing canon at this point is the movies and the Clone Wars animated series. Well, now we’ve got our first look at some of the earliest entries in this reset Star Wars canon: four newly announced novels.

Yesterday’s press release revealed that new Star Wars novels were in the works from Del Ray Books but only name-checked one of them. Today we’ve got the full details, as well as cover art. This first batch will include four novels, set to hit shelves between September 2014 and March 2015. They’re definitely diving into this slate-cleared Star Wars universe head first, with these initial novels covering both new and well-known characters from a variety of points on the Star Wars timeline. (All of them clustered around the time of the existing films, however — no forays into the Old Republic era or post-Jedi years just yet.)

Here are the first four upcoming Star Wars novels that will, along with the Rebels animated series, help launch the new canon, and you can keep track of further developments on the Star Wars Books Facebook page:

NewDawn

Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller
September 2, 2014

The first novel to benefit from this deeper collaboration is Star Wars: A New Dawn, by bestselling author John Jackson Miller. Set prior to the events of the forthcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels, this novel tells the story of how two of the lead characters of the series, Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, came to cross paths. To tell this important backstory, Miller benefited from contact with series executive producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman, who together ensured this tale will be part of the Star Wars canon of storytelling going forward. It is scheduled for hardcover and eBook release on September 2, 2014.

StarWarsTarkin

Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno
November 4, 2014

In our second upcoming novel created in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Tarkin the Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life. Coming November 4, 2014. Jacket art by David Smit.

StarWarsHeirtotheJedi

Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne
January 2015

A thrilling new adventure set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and — for the first time ever — written entirely from Luke Skywalker’s first-person point of view. Created in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group. Coming January 2015. Jacket art by Larry Rostant.

StarWarsLordsoftheSith

Star Wars: Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp
March 2015

When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely solely on each other, the Force, and their awesome martial skills to prevail. Created in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group. Coming March 2015. Jacket art by Aaron McBride.

For those wondering, the original Expanded Universe books are going to remain in print under the banner of “Star Wars Legends.” From the sound of things, however, it looks like all currently planned and future content will be part of this new Star Wars canon.

Cannon

That’s not what I meant.

Comments

  • Glen

    Most of these sound pretty good. I’ll definitely be reading Heir to the Jedi and Lords of the Sith. But not that first one. John Jackson Miller is a terrible writer. As far as the canon goes, I’ve always picked and chosen what I would and would not consider canon, so I don’t care that a company is now trying to make some things official. I just wish they’d stop trying to tell me to be excited and saying things like “The first novel to benefit from this deeper collaboration…”

    • http://www.michaelmorning.com Michael Morning

      Yep…more corporate spin…the old books are no good, but buy the new books since they’re “canon”. Please. Disney Star Wars won’t get my money!

  • beskar

    Sounds great. If only I could hear an end to people whining about being betrayed, ripped off, etc, when the Disney announcement about what was canon and what wasn’t. It was hardly “news”, yet it seems the world’s full of people who call themselves “hardcore fans” yet they never knew about the varying levels of canon within the Star Wars IP. Makes you wonder where they’ve been the past 20 years.

    • http://www.michaelmorning.com Michael Morning

      You’re forgetting that to the public at large, Star Wars is Star Wars. How does the average casual fan know what Lucas is thinking or planning? It’s not noted in the books, of course. This just smacks of corporate hubris.

  • J S

    James Luceno is amazing, Plaugeis is one of the greatest SW reads. It’s up there with the Hier to the Empire series.

    The NJO books got ridiculous after awhile, the legacy series tried to straighten out the damage but ultimately didn’t. They should really limit the writing to 2 or 3 people.

    • Glen

      Good point. At the very least they might want to try doing more like Forgotten Realms and limit authors on which characters they can use. And which areas of the galaxy as well.

      • J S

        Legacy of the force series was a select few authors, but after spending years reading 9 books I felt like it was a rehash of another “clone wars” with Jacen being a lesser Vader. Also by the 7th book the plot was all over the place.

        There’s SOME good EU, but a lot of bad.

        • http://www.michaelmorning.com Michael Morning

          True. However, the proper way for Disney to have handled this would have been to place the films out ahead of the current EU timeline. That way, they could bring forward some main characters, but not have to trip over all the existing EU material. They could’ve dropped Easter Eggs here and there as a nod to the EU fans, but otherwise the EU would have been relatively unobtrusive. I shudder to think what kind of silly backstory they’re going to use to explain the time between Ep. VI and VII. Hopefully they won’t expect us to believe that the Empire simply crumbled after Palpatine was killed.

  • sounder

    As long as there isn’t a Jar Jar Binks or Midichlorian’s.

    • http://www.michaelmorning.com Michael Morning

      Midichlorians are canon; they were established in THE PHANTOM MENACE.

  • http://www.michaelmorning.com Michael Morning

    What a nightmare. JJ Abrams has lost my money for the films. Tossing aside the EU that tens of millions of fans have thought of as “Star Wars” is ridiculous. All they needed to do was set the films ahead of the current timeline to avoid tripping over established material. But now characters like Jana Solo, Jacen Solo, Ben Skywalker, Mara Jade, et al will never have existed. Shame on Disney for disrespecting the fans and all the artists that have been involved in the EU for decades.

    • J S

      I never expected them to honor the EU material. First there’s all,sorts of IP issues, which would require payment to the authors etc. Then there was always the rumor that Lucas had a 7-9 series drafted somewhere. His ideas and character concepts are cannon. Maybe he should have been more involved with the EU publications? IDK.

      I see no reason to stop the book EU timeline at all. Walking Dead Comic timeline has little to do with the shows timeline, why not do the same with published works?

      • http://www.michaelmorning.com Michael Morning

        Apparently they are continuing the old EU books…as “Star Wars Legends”. Hopefully they place a disclaimer in them so the casual reader isn’t completely lost. This decision is going to cause confusion and dilute the brand…leave it to suits to ruin a good thing, all in the name of “total creative freedom”.

  • Sebseb

    That’s not really how Canon works. It’s too late and too many people are invested in it. Rather than the Expanded Universe becoming un-canon, any contradiction they make in future material will be simply inaccurate. It’s too late, it’s been going on for far too long and the depth and wealth of knowledge of the universe is too settled. They can’t really do anything about it. With seven movies, nine seasons, thousands of comic issues and graphic novels, hundreds of novels, over twenty video games and people who have been involved in both their creation and experiencing the content for so long, it doesn’t matter what Disney is going to call canon anymore. They might have been able to determine canon and non-canon in the early stages around the Thrawn trilogy, but that time is long passed.

  • William Cox

    Personally, I don’t think that jettisoning the EU material is such a bad idea. I’ve never been all that impressed with most of the Expanded Universe books. Even the highly praised Thrawn Trilogy was overrated IMO. The vast majority of EU books barely qualify as filler to me, and I would place them on the same level as the endless run of Star Trek books and other tie-in novels out there.

  • kfalcon77

    the ‘legends’ allow Disney to still drink from that well monetarily speaking and then sink a whole new one, bleeding an entire new generation of fans. Its having their cake and eating yours too. In 2008 GL said the story ended at VI because he never considered another one beyond it. He said then that it was Vaders story but it was titled “from the Adventures of Luke Skywalker’ he was never gotten his own story straight. He has also said that he has never read any EU material. As long as they got his name right on the checks he probably really didn’t care. But its his universe so now I can start over with everyone else.