How The Expanded Universe Influenced Solo: A Star Wars Story


Though the modern run of Star Wars movies has marked a hugely successful rebirth for the franchise, they’ve also rubbed some fans up the wrong way as these new films have resulted in the Expanded Universe, made up of books, comics and video games which had filled in the blanks of that galaxy far, far away for years, being decreed as non-canon. Nowadays, the EU is officially referred to as the Legends universe, an alternate Star Wars timeline.

That said, the films have drawn a certain amount of inspiration from what was established in the EU. For instance, Kylo Ren owes a lot to Jacen Solo, Leia and Han’s son who also turns to the Dark Side in the novels. But how about Solo: A Star Wars Storythe upcoming prequel starring Alden Ehrenreich as the scruffy-looking smuggler? How much will that be influenced by the Legends universe?

Screenwriting father and son duo Lawrence and Jon Kasdan were asked this during an interview with Inside The Magic and the former revealed that he’s an EU virgin and has never dipped into the wider universe materials that were inspired by the Original Trilogy he helped create.

“I’m lucky because I know nothing about the Expanded Universe. I had never read one of those novels, so for me it was always starting from scratch. And Jon, who’s much more converse in that stuff, would sometimes say to me, ‘But here’s what happened.’ But we never felt limited by it.”

Jon Kasdan then talked about how it’s difficult to consider the incredible breadth of the Star Wars universe when writing a script as it’s “just too big.” He did say, though, that they made sure not to conflict with something already established in the other movies themselves.

“What we took as a golden rule was that if it was mentioned in any of the seven at that point existing movies, it was officially a hard and fast rule. But even after the decision to make certain things canon and other things not, there’s still so much material between Rebels and Clone Wars and the books and comics they do consider canon, that it’s almost impossible to think of every reference within that world as law. It’s just too big.”

Jon further explained that the Kasdans had Pablo Hidalgo, the head of the Lucasfilm Story Group, to go to for pointers on their script, as his team are in charge of overseeing the franchise and making sure that it all fits together. It seems the duo had a pleasant working relationship with him, too.

“I understand the desire in fans to feel that anything they read in that world, ‘Okay, well this is really what happened.’ But the truth is it’s such an expansive galaxy. And there’s a great guy at the center of this: Pablo Hidalgo, who’s job it is to sort of master all this stuff, and he helped us a lot with things that he thought were hot button. What’s great about Pablo is he’s not the guy who says ‘No, no, no. You can’t do that.’ He’s the guy who says, ‘This could be tricky, and here’s what I would do that might help.’”

Despite what the Kasdans have said, Solo does look to have borrowed certain parts of its narrative from the EU. For instance, the basic framework that Han started out as a pilot for the Empire, before later freeing Chewbacca from slavery and going rogue. That said, much like the Sequel Trilogy, it’s taken some of those ideas and run with them in a different direction, which we’ll get to see for ourselves when Solo: A Star Wars Story flies into theaters on May 25th.