Star Wars is coming back to the movies, but in other forms of storytelling, it never left.
Many fans were disappointed back in April when Disney and Lucasfilm made it official that the Star Wars Expanded Universe -- a vast series of novels, comic books, videogames and more that expanded the Star Wars saga to both well before the events of The Phantom Menace and well after the events of Return of the Jedi -- would no longer be considered canonical, allowing J.J. Abrams and his fellow filmmakers (along with animators, comic-book writers and novelists who are also working within the Star Wars brand) to create an enitirely new story for Star Wars: Episode VII and beyond. For more than three decades, the EU gave Star Wars fans hundreds of epic stories that went beyond the original six films, and enriched the characters we came to know and love on the big screen.
Disney has already begun developing new novels, games and TV series that will encompass the new Expanded Universe, but the old Expanded Universe isn't going away. Expanded Universe novels will continue to be reprinted under the Star Wars: Legends imprint, they just won't exist as part of the official canon. In its press release announcing the establishment of a new expanded canon, Lucasfilm also noted that Star Wars creators would still have "full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe," leaving the door open for elements of all those stories we know and love to carry on in new ways, perhaps even on the big screen.
So, in the hope that Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan and producer Kathleen Kennedy are indeed open to mining the Expanded Universe for potential stories, characters and concepts, we've listed a dozen of our favorites and tried to explain why they deserve a place in the official Star Wars canon. They range from individual characters to story developments to broad thematic concepts, but they all represent some of the very best storytelling the Expanded Universe ever produced.
Check out our choices in the gallery below, and let us know what Expanded Universe ideas you'd like to see in the new Star Wars films.