The Star Wars franchise is changing. Yesterday, Leland Chee, the curator of the Star Wars canon, started tweeting that the existing canon hierarchy would be leveled off, giving the Expanded Universe of novels, video games, comic books, and characters the same standing as the original movies going forward. This single move is a boon for longtime Star Wars fans, but it may also mean many stories simply won't ever get adapted.
Since Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars, the Expanded Universe has been left relatively unaffected — save for Disney ensuring that Marvel would tell all Star Wars comic stories by 2015. This new streamlined hierarchy, however, means that the upcoming Star Wars sequels may now draw concepts and content from classic EU stories and video games. In the past, Lucasfilm has relied on the Holocron, a ranked catalogue of the Star Wars stories and facts to manage contradictions. Now, everything is on equal footing going forward.
Official Mara Jade toys? Maybe
The idea of going forward is key here. The potential for rich, fan-pleasing storytelling is incredible here (to say nothing about how much money Disney could make creating Mara Jade toys). But that's far from a guarantee. Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan had previously commented that he was "trying to start fresh" with his work on the upcoming Star Wars sequels and spin-offs. This news effectively creates a whole new canon. So if by Episode VIII fans meet Grand Admiral Thrawn, all the better. But no one should hold their breath.