The Star Wars universe has triggered the imaginations of professional and amateur storytellers for more than 30 years, but now much of the material they've created has lost its place within Star Wars canon.
In order to wipe the slate clean for the new Star Wars films and TV series coming in the near future, all expanded universe (EU) content set after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi has lost its quasi-official status and will henceforth be referred to as "Legends" material.
“While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the EU consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, [George] Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU. He set the films he created as the canon. This includes the six Star Wars episodes, and the many hours of content he developed and produced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These stories are the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align,” said Lucasfilm in a statement on starwars.com.
“Now, with an exciting future filled with new cinematic installments of Star Wars, all aspects of Star Wars storytelling moving forward will be connected. Under Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy’s direction, the company for the first time ever has formed a story group to oversee and coordinate all Star Wars creative development.”
“In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe. While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe.”
It is not yet clear if any games will be affected by these changes. The upcoming Star Wars Rebels TV series will be set between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope, the same time The Force Unleashed game series takes place. The Knights of the Old Republic fiction, which includes the active MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, does not currently appear to be affected.
Lucasfilm has released a new video that goes into some more detail on the changes.