Star Wars Expanded Universe

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Title: Star Wars Expanded Universe
Creator: Various
Date(s): 1977-2014
Medium: novels, comics, film, animation, video games
Fandom: Star Wars
External Links: Timeline of Canon Books on Wookieepedia

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
You may be looking for Star Wars Legends, the rebranded name of the Expanded Universe since April 2014

The Star Wars Expanded Universe or (EU) refers to professional works published or created before 2014 outside of the nine original movies and The Clone Wars television series.

The Expanded Universe covers a wide span of media types, although it was best known for its novelizations and tie-in novels, especially during the years the original trilogy was being released, covering the extended time between movies:

Star Wars fiction flourished during the time of the original series (1977–1983), but slowed to a trickle afterwards. In 1991, however, Timothy Zahn's celebrated Thrawn Trilogy debuted, sparking a new interest in the Star Wars universe. Since then, several hundred tie-in novels have been published by Bantam Spectra and Del Rey.


The EU was the most successful book series based on a film series, with over 850 novelizations, original novels, reference books, children’s books and role-playing supplements, including 80 New York Times best-sellers.[2] It also included television shows, animation, audio dramas and video games.

In 2014, it was announced that the original EU had been cancelled. No new books would be released and all previously released material (which became known as Legends) was now non-canon. In advance of the release of the sequel trilogy, it was announced that a new expanded universe of canon books would be published, and that the EU content would be rebranded Star Wars Legends. Franchise canon is now the nine movies of the prequel, original and sequel trilogies plus The Clone Wars television series, plus material released after April 2014; however elements of both Expanded Universe and Legends works appear in canon, including characters, locations and history.

(for more about fan reaction to the rebranding of the EU, see Star Wars Legends)

Canon Works


(for a full list, go to Timeline of Legends Books)


  • The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
  • Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984)
  • Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985)
  • Star Wars: Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO (1985–1986) - animated television series
  • Ewoks (1985–1987) - animated television series
  • Spaceballs (1987) - unauthorised satire released by Mel Brooks



Marvel Comics released a line of Star Wars comics from 1977 to 1987, plus an 80th anniversary special in 2019[3]. Table taken from Wikipedia[4].

Marvel (1977–1987)
Star Wars #1–107 April 1977 – May 1986
Star Wars Annual #1–3 December 1979 – December 1983
Marvel Illustrated Books Star Wars #1–2 November 1981 – October 1982
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #1–4 October 1983 – January 1984
Star Wars: Ewoks #1–14 May 1985 – July 1987
Star Wars: Droids #1–8 April 1986 – June 1987

Dark Horse (1991-2014)

For full list, see the Dark Horse Comics page on Wookieepedia. Dark Horse's Star Wars comics include:

  • Adaptations
    • Film and television adaptations
    • Legends novel adaptations
  • Original series (Dark Horse comics)
    • Dark Empire
    • Classic Star Wars
    • X-wing
    • Shadows of the Empire
    • Crimson Empire
    • Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan
    • Knights of the Old Republic and The Old Republic
    • Legacy
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars
    • Other original series (Dark Horse comics)
  • Limited series (Dark Horse comics)
  • One-shots (Dark Horse comics)
  • Alternate storylines

Radio and Audio Drama

  • NPR Star Wars Radio Series (1981, 1983, 1986)
  • Rebel Mission to Ord Mantell - NPR (1983)
  • Tales of the Jedi (1995)
  • Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina (1995)
  • Star Wars: Dark Empire (1996)
  • Star Wars: Dark Empire II (1996)
  • Star Wars: Empire's End (1997)
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces (1998)
  • Star Wars: Crimson Empire (1998)

Video Games

Since 1983, over 120 video games have been published bearing the Star Wars name, beginning with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back published for the Atari 2600. See here for a Timeline of Video Games


  • The Star Tours ride was opened at Disney Parks in 1987 to commemorate the saga's 10th anniversary.

Notable Characters


Much of the EU was meant to complement the source material, especially the novels that were published after the original trilogy. They were the only source of new Star Wars content, and many fans considered the material to be canon. This continued through the release of the prequel trilogy, with the EU providing glimpses of the larger Star Wars universe outside of the main movies.

Bantam Spectra Era

Okay, but the thing I love about Bantam era EU is that they weren’t afraid to push what you could do within the genre of space opera. Because they only had the OT to go off of, the rules of the GFFA weren’t as clear cut or restrictive; there was tons of wiggle room, ‘cause presumably we’d only seen a tiny slice of the GFFA in the OT. So, they had the freedom to explore and see just how much weirdness the genre could sustain. And yeah, sometimes this resulted in some wonky unfortunate sh*t (Luuke The Cone, I just. Why, Zahn), but sometimes it would yield fantastic ridiculous things (BLOBSTACLE COURSE! I MEAN :DDD) and other times strangely amazing things (Force ghosts in computers, WELL WHY THE HECK NOT).

...Yes, the Super Weapon Of The Week gets to be a bit much. Yes, it would have been nice if someone would have come up with more plots NOT involving kidnapping the Solo kids. Yes, Daala is ridiculous. And continuity? We don’t need no stinkin’ continuity, pshah. BUT WHERE ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO FIND BLOBSTACLE COURSES, RIDICULOUS CLONES, SITH HIDING IN THE STONEWORK, AND VEGETABLES THAT THINK THEY’RE STORMTROOPERS? :D

Yes, I love my turn of the century, Darker and Edgier Del Rey era, but Bantam EU is just so marvelously ridiculous and sometimes you need a little blob racing. :p[5]

If these stories sound shaggy and uneven and strange, it is because they are. But the Expanded Universe could be the best possible result when big corporations get excited about monetizing fan enthusiasm. It was a place where female characters thrived, where telling a genre story did not always mean following blockbuster conventions and where there was endless hunger for worlds that felt new. These things could happen in the Expanded Universe, though, because it was never really meant for mainstream consumption. It was a way to keep making money off nerds, so it could afford to be gloriously eccentric and relatively feminist. Now that Disney has decided that Star Wars is a big, mainstream business again, the company has killed off the Expanded Universe in favor of something grander and probably blander. That sound you hear? It is the Imperial March, heralding the arrival of the new age of pop culture consolidation. We all are poorer for its arrival.[6]

External Links

Wikipedia - Other Media Publication History


AO3 links

Fan Discussions