The Expanded Universe
In the early 1990's, I saw a book titled Heir to The Empire by Timothy Zahn in a book store. The rest, as they say, is history. I had always been a Star Wars fan, but this trilogy, titled The Thrawn Trilogy, set 5 years after Return of The Jedi, brought Star Wars back from the dead and introduced this world to millions of fans who never knew about it, while keeping it relevant to those who did know about it.
Every time we would go to Costco, I would see a new Expanded Universe novel. Soon my room looked something like this:
With news of a new trilogy being made, many fans, myself included, were hoping to have some of the new characters and stories we've come to love over the past 20 years used in these movies, or at least make an appearance.
The Star Wars Expanded Universe - or EU for short - is getting cut from Star Wars canon like hands get cut from the Skywalker family.
This means, for one thing, that beloved storylines like Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy that many theorized could be the basis of the upcoming Star Wars sequels — are now pretty much glorified fan fiction. But it’s not all bad news for Expanded Universe fans. The press release also stipulates that just because Expanded Universe content is not considered canonical does not mean that it’s going to be whitewashed.
I'm very conflicted here. The story I hold dear is Han and Leia getting married, and having children. Luke meets Mara Jade, they get married and have their own child. I'm thrilled to hear that these fabulous stories won't simply vanish, but I do understand why they can't be considered cannon anymore.
Here's another look at why this is such a big deal. This article focuses on how the new movies could work using some of the Expanded Universe characters/story lines. You can read that article here