With Disney in charge of Star Wars the long-running Expanded Universe is coming to an end. Ignorant people in comments sections across the internet wail, “What if your favorite show threw out years of continuity? What if Marvel or DC decided to reset their continuities? How would you all feel then?”
Having multiple universes for different adaptations of a story feels natural. Call me a nerd, but I’m used to the idea. With the Batman-Superman movie we’ll see three different film!Batmen within the last thirty years. (Btw, the DC comic universe is what, two years into its latest reboot?) Different interpretations of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (the books, the radio play, the text adventure game, the TV series and the movie) willfully contradict each other as part of the meta-plot. The TMNT have so many different universes with so much time/dimension travel that crossovers have become inevitable. Hell, the original “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” movie is its own Whedon-disavowed universe, then the Buffy/Angel TV shows are their own new canon that spun off non-canon books, games and comics before Whedon started his canon seasons 8-10 in the ongoing comics. And don’t even get me started on the differences between “A Song of Ice and Fire” and “Game of Thrones.”
TLDR: THIS IS A THING THAT HAPPENS A LOT. Besides, Star Wars already had different “levels” of canon that somewhat split the existing EU into different universes, and the EU itself was distinct from the “G-canon” of the six films.
This universe-splitting is natural in any oft-repeated set of stories; just ask Joseph Campbell of “Star Wars is important” fame. It’s why there are so many different interpretations of stories about gods, heroes, saints, fairytales and spandexed crusaders. Part of what makes the Star Wars OT resonate is the feeling of mythology and nostalgia the movies invoke. They draw on mythology, and they *feel* like mythology… in a good way. When C3P0 tells the story of the OT around a campfire in “Return of the Jedi” it works because at its heart Star Wars is the kind of story, filled with the kinds of heroic figures and age-old dilemmas, that people have been telling around the fire for thousands of years. So if the whole EU is gone in the post-Disney Star Wars universe… oh well. Those EU stories will always exist. I’m sure they’ll all be available forever on Kindle and whatever replaces it. We’ll always have Force-nullifying slugs and Chewbacca-squishing moons in some Star Wars universe, even if it’s not the one Episode VII takes place in.
If previous universe reboots or mythology in general are any indication, Disney will probably cherry pick from the EU going forward. For me it’s more important that the ongoing movies and universe capture the spirit of the OT, something I feel the PT and most of the EU failed to do for years. Maybe Disney can turn that around. Either way, now that George Lucas has set Star Wars free, let that galaxy far, far away live as the modern mythology it is. Who knows what’ll be done with it from here? Whose hands will the Skywalkers wind up in twenty years from now? How many generations until someone decides to just reboot the whole damn thing from ground zero to fit the then-current zeitgeist, and mythic figures Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader get new faces and voices? If I have kids now, will they grow up to bitch about the reboots of the prequels in their adulthood?
Luckily, just like with all mythology, everyone gets their own Star Wars universe. Mine’s pretty much the OT, KOTOR, Shadows of the Empire, the Rogue Squadron games, the gist of Timothy Zahn’s trilogy and all the stuff my action figures got into when I was a kid. Your Star Wars, just like your Batman, your Hercules or your Cinderella, can be whatever you want it to be.