The Star Wars saga has a long and detailed history. After the original trilogy shot to cult fame status, Lucasfilm continued the story through many novels, comic books, and video games. The plethora of new Star Wars authors worked with 20th Century Fox to make sure their stories tied into the original trilogy and the prequels, and a vast mythology was created. All of it was canon... until Disney announced [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158).
Because they wanted to continue the story in a way that fans couldn't predict, Disney chose to declare most of the Expanded Universe non-canon (aside from their animated shows The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels). But surprisingly, The Force Awakens leads on from the Expanded Universe in a really interesting way...
Obligatory spoiler alert: this article WILL reference The Force Awakens heavily, so continue onwards at your own risk! We've even put a handy video in to block the view.
Obviously, The Force Awakens sets up a very different story from the one we saw in the Expanded Universe. But there are still plenty of parallels and cheeky references to be found!
Leia Feels The Force
Before Star Wars 7 was released, JJ Abrams confirmed that Leia would not follow the Jedi path, explaining why Luke Skywalker never trained his sister in the ways of the Force.
"It was simply a choice that she made, that it was her decision to run the Rebellion, and ultimately this Resistance, and consider herself a General, as opposed to a Jedi."
This makes a lot of sense for The Force Awakens, but the Expanded Universe saw Leia eventually train to master her Force Sensitivity. Oh, and she got plenty of lightsaber battles.
But it wasn't all Jedi training for Leia in the EU: she was also something of a double agent in the Second Galactic Civil War, leaving her three children on safe-worlds to secretly fight with Han Solo (whom she married) and the Corellians. It all got very, very complicated, and later on her children resented her absence in their upbringing. Oops! And Han Solo wasn't exactly parent of the year either...
Han's Bad Parenting Skills
Things didn't start off so bad for Han Solo in the EU: he looked after his three kids (Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin) while Leia helped form the New Republic. But after Chewbacca was killed saving Anakin (Han's son), Han kinda... blamed Anakin for Chewie's death.
He then abandoned his children to fight in the Second Galactic Civil War, and in his absence his son Jacen Solo took his first steps towards the Dark Side. Sound familiar? It should, because...
Jacen Solo Lives Again In Kylo Ren
And here's where the spoilers come in. If you haven't already switched tabs it's kinda too late now because yes, Kylo Ren is actually Han and Leia's son. Plot twist! Except, not so much, as we already saw this happen in the Expanded Universe.
Jacen Solo's path to the Dark Side is long and complicated, and he started out with the best intentions. Ultimately though, he became a Sith apprentice and eventually adopted the title Darth Caedus, even taking on his own protege to tutor in the ways of the Dark Side.
Oh and along the way he tortured Luke's son Ben Skywalker, and killed Luke's wife Mara Jade. No family member of the year award for Jacen, either.
How does this link back to The Force Awakens? Well, Kylo Ren already seems to be paralleling Jacen's journey by betraying Luke Skywalker and joining Supreme Leader Snoke. Han Solo's death at the hands of Kylo Ren mirrors Jacen killing Mara Jade.
Oh, and there's a cheeky nod towards the Expanded Universe in Star Wars 7 when it's revealed that Kylo Ren's true name is Ben. But there are more parallels yet to come!
Rey & Jaina Solo
Ok, so it hasn't been confirmed yet whether Rey is actually a Skywalker, but she's already mirroring Jaina Solo in her role in The Force Awakens. Jaina was Jacen's twin, and although they loved each other, Jaina was eventually forced to kill Jacen when he became too powerful as Darth Caedus.
Rey already seems to be set up as Kylo Ren's nemesis: after he failed in his attempt to torture her for information, Kylo tried to turn Rey to the Dark Side. But she wasn't having any of that, especially after he killed Han Solo. In a fantastically climactic scene, Rey and Kylo Ren had a lightsaber battle as the Starkiller Base was destroyed, and Rey showed off her already impressive mastery of the Force.
As the film ends with Snoke promising to complete Kylo's training, and Rey journeys to find Luke Skywalker so that she can train, we're left with the impression that the battle between Kylo Ren and Rey has only just begun.
Of course, it's just symbolic, but to me this definitely seems like a nice riff off the Jaina vs Jacen EU plotline, and I can't wait to see how it all gets resolved!
But what do you think: should The Force Awakens have used more of the Expanded Universe's plot? Let us know in the comments, or write your own post!
Rey Is The Force Awakens' Hero, But Is She Luke Skywalker's Daughter?
Han Solo's Star Wars 7 Story Is Epic... But Will We See Him In Episode 8?
How Did Snoke Persuade Kylo Ren To Join The Dark Side Before Star Wars 7?