With the recent news that Lucasfilm is resetting the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and taking a more curated approach from this point forward, there is a lot of talk online about what this will mean for certain parts of the story that have become "fact" over the years. While some things will clearly change (most notably, the futures of Han/Leia and Luke), there are some things that just won't be worth putting the effort into such as small facts, and other things that won't be a factor, so they may as well stand.
Lucasfilm did say that the upcoming Star Wars Rebels animated series is one of the first new entries in canon and it draws on several things from the "Legends" Expanded Universe as it is now known. So there are concepts and story points that will make a transition to the reset universe, but it's going to become a guessing game as to what will survive and what won't.
Here is a list of seven things that I consider "safe" for the time being from the Lucasfilm axe, but they could always change down the road.
Han Solo WillStill be a Corellian
Han Solo, everyone's favorite dashing rogue, has had a lot of back story filled in via the Expanded Universe. If you look at his time on screen, very little of his life prior to Episode IV – A New Hope is filled in via the films other than he is a smuggler when we meet him and he owes Jabba the Hutt a debt. Through the EU we learned that he was from the planet Corellia, that he saved Chewie from enslavement by the Empire causing the Wookie to owe him a "life debt," that his blaster is a Blastech DL-44 and the red stripes on his pants signify a military honor known as the Corellian Blood Stripe.
Nothing from this list of facts, plus many more out there, will probably ever be touched. Why? Because they simply aren't worth taking up valuable screen time in the films to address. The involvement of the original trio in the upcoming trilogy has vacillated from not being involved at all to being major players, but somehow I doubt that J.J. Abrams will want to take up time on screen with throw away lines with blaster model numbers and what the red stripe on Han's pants means. And changing his home planet will just mean more work for everyone involved, so why not just leave it alone?
The Millennium Falcon Has Still Got it Where it Counts
The Millennium Falcon is still going to be a heavily modified Corellian YT-1300 light freighter. (A freighter mind you without a whole lot of cargo space when you look at it.)
As with things like Han's blaster, this is information that was added in ancillary sources and there is just no real reason to change it. The powers that be could task someone with coming up a new backstory for the ship along with a new model number, where it was built and so on, but why reinvent the wheel? That work is done and the time spent on rebuilding the story would be spent far better on other matters.
The New Jedi Order
A new version of the Jedi Order is a given. There is absolutely no way that the Jedi will not have been rebuilt post-Return of the Jedi, but I would suggest you realize it is going to be totally unlike what you have read in the books and comics.
Any stories that have been written up to this point will be tossed out, but this is how I think Luke will be brought in to the new film. He will more than likely be the head of the Jedi Council and that can give the story an easy out for him appearing in further films while also introducing us to a new generation of Jedi Knights.
So the basic concept will more than likely remain, but anything past that we'll probably be entering uncharted territory.
Oh… and lightsabers. Lots and lots of lightsabers on screen makes people happy.
Where there are Jedi, there are Sith. And where there are Jedi lightsabers, there will need to be red Sith ones for them to clash against.
This is another case of where I don't think Lucasfilm is going to have to touch too much of the existing back story prior to The Phantom Menace. The only Dark Lord mentioned outside of the films (and never seen) was Darth Plagueis, so the history of the Dark Jedi is wide open for interpretation. As Yoda said, "Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice," so the "Rule of Two" – supposedly established ages ago by Darth Bane – is somewhat canon and can be left to stand.
The Expanded Universe prior to the reset had established a lengthy history of previous Dark Lords, and it seems somewhat silly to recreate that from square one.
As for Episodes VII – IX, expect the Sith to play a role, but definitely toss out any ideas you had about Darth Caedus showing up. (I won't spoil who he was for those that may still want to read the books)
Boba Fett: Alive or Dead?
Of anything in the Expanded Universe, this is going to be the biggest question mark for a lot of fans.
For those of you that have only seen the movies you're saying, "Um, yeah… dead. The toothy thing ate him in Return of the Jedi." Well, remember Boba is wearing a suit of armor covered in weapons, he got out and went on to run around the Star Wars Expanded Universe for decades. I personally never cared for the idea, but it is what it is.
I don't think we would see him show up in Episodes VII – IX, but with rumors he will feature in one of the stand-alone films, it will need to be addressed at some point. It could be a matter of doing a story of his life from before Return of the Jedi, but if Lucasfilm wanted to, they could easily find an excuse for him to have escaped the Sarlacc.
I actually think this will be one of the biggest debates until some sort of new source material addresses it. But my guess he is alive as he's too popular and still sells a ton of merchandise.
This one is a bit of a question mark as to whether or not its canon or Expanded Universe.
Biggs does indeed appear on Yavin IV and at the Battle of the Death Star in A New Hope. You can tell he knows Luke, but you have no clue if it's just, "Hey, we're going to war together!" or something more. Fans know there is actually a lot more to it and they were friends on Tatooine.
His appearance at the end of the film means he is indeed canon, but is the previous friendship included in that since the filmed scenes were cut? The chance of Biggs coming up in the films from here on out is about 0.0001 percent, but in future, curated, Expanded Universe material? Yeah, I think that's safe. It's only a question of if he will take a new turn and just be some Rebel pilot or remain Luke's boyhood friend?
My thinking is this is another case of why change it? The scenes were filmed, it has very little chance of impacting anything in the future episodes, so you might as well let it stand.
The Empire Didn't Just Disappear
I never understood why everyone thought the Empire would just disappear after the Battle of Endor. Yes, the second Death Star was destroyed and the Emperor was dead, but there were Imperial garrisons all over the galaxy, a sizable fleet and sure to be many people attempting to take the throne.
Many of the novels explored the idea that the war did go one for a while, and that there was even an enclave of Imperials that existed in a sector of the galaxy for many years after, but Return of the Jedi – at least the special edition – ended showing celebrations on planets we knew. I've always found the immediate dissolution of the Empire a bit hard to swallow, and while the new films will be set 30 years later, I have a feeling we'll learn that it didn't just up and disappear. It probably won't be in full control of the galaxy, but there may be some lingering issues.
Bonus #1: Chewbacca
While I said this list was about things that probably won't change, I would be silly to not mention the one thing I am almost positive that will change.
The death of Chewbacca.
He was killed saving Anakin Solo in a book called Vector Prime published in 1999, which was the first book in the lengthy Yuuzhan Vong storyline. The story was set in 26 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin), and that means with the new films taking place 30 years later, this is almost assured to be off the table. Add in rumors that Peter Mayhew – the actor to play Chewie – is rumored to be filming next month on Episode VII, this is one change that I am pretty sure we will indeed see.
Bonus #2: Sadly, Life Day is Probably Still a Thing
If you've never seen the Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978, count yourself lucky. This television special aired only once, and for good reason… it was horrific. Even at the age of seven I wondered what in the world I was watching as the two hour special included guest appearances by Bea Arthur and Earth, Wind and Fire.
For those unfamiliar with the plot – such as it was – it dealt with Chewie trying to get home to celebrate the Wookie holiday of Life Day with his family. (Yes, he had a wife, an aging father and a son nicknamed "Lumpy." I'm not kidding.) My gut feeling is we'll never see a calendar of galactic holidays and wonder, "Hey, why isn't Life Day on here?!? Did they cancel it out with the EU reset?"
No, this torture will live on for some of us.
At the end of the day, the Expanded Universe from here on out is going to be what we make of it. Just because certain stories are no longer "canon" doesn't mean we can't still enjoy them. Fans of the Star Wars Universe have always picky about what parts of the EU they follow, and that won't change because of some statement from Lucasfilm. Star Wars is whatever you want it to be really, and you can continue to decide which stories and facts best suit you and where you want to go with your imagination.
… just don't accept the Holiday Special into your life.