How Will J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII Use The Expanded Universe?

"I know, for the [Star Wars] movies, the canon is the canon. And the canon is the six films that exist."

That’s screenwriter and producer Simon Kinberg discussing the approach he expects J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan to take when shaping Star Wars: Episode VII. He’s referring to the three original movies -- Episodes IV, V and VI -- as well as the Prequel Trilogies George Lucas created from 1999 to 2005.

Kinberg was speaking with IGN at WonderCon, and was addressing the question as to whether or not the new Star Wars trilogy – or the spinoff movies that have been announced – could, or would, pull from the Expanded Universe – as several fans have suspected. The initial thought, when it came to Disney’s plan to build on the Star Wars universe, was that producers, screenwriters and directors had all of the content they could possibly need in the E.U., and that popular storylines from those sagas would fuel Abrams, Kasdan, Kinberg and other filmmakers who are tapped to play in this sandbox. And while Kinberg says that he certainly is inspired by the Expanded Universe, canon is canon. He said:

For me – and I know that this was true for J.J. [Abrams] and Larry Kasdan, obviously, and Kathy Kennedy, and Michael Arndt, it was all about honoring the original movies and yet wanting to take a step forward, too, and tell a new story. … [The Expanded Universe] is not off limits. It’s certainly inspiring, and I’m working on a new animated show for them as well – Star Wars: Rebels -- that will take inspiration from everywhere."

Listen to his words, in context:

That’s interesting because we’ve never heard anyone with direct access to the Star Wars brain trust clarify if Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII will pull from the Expanded Universe. And for Kinberg to state that "canon" for the movies will be the six existing Star Wars films, that throws a few curves into theories concocted by fans as to where Abrams’ story might go.

It sounds like where storytellers and filmmakers will get a lot more freedom lies in the standalone films that will co-exist alongside Star Wars: Episode VII. And while Kinberg wouldn’t elaborate on plans to use Boba Fett in a movie, that name – as well as Han Solo – continue to be the two names that surface most often. Whether that amounts to anything remains to be seen.

The plan, last we heard, involved having standalone Star Wars films in theaters every other year, alternating with the chapters of the saga Abrams is building. I wonder if Kinberg’s comments come on the heels of work done by that panel chosen to solidify what is "canon" in the Lucasfilm universe? His words put the theories in some sort of context… while also opening up 50 additional cans of worms. So goes Star Wars: Episode VII news!

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.