If anyone should be given credit for the obsession with the phenomenon we now call the "Cinematic Universe," it's not Marvel you should be thanking... it's Star Wars. Before anyone thought of creating a series of films that interconnect with print and comic media, the Star Wars Expanded Universe gave us past, present and future tales from that galaxy far, far away in all of its glory. It fleshed out characters we barely saw, gave us the repercussions for the actions we couldn't forget and even created memorable characters of their own.
But in a flash, with millions of words crying out for help, it was all gone. Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm and all of its empire meant that Star Wars' universe was about to get much smaller. While we see some pieces of the EU canon alluded to or even worked into the current Star Wars franchise, there are elements that look to have been banished forever, and the people of Reddit have some favorites that speak to us all. So come aboard as we jump past hyperspace and tear a hole in the fabric of the Star Wars universe to revisit the parts that we wish were still around.
Once an assassin that served the whims of Emperor Palpatine's clones, Mara Jade eventually became wife to Luke Skywalker and the mother to his child. While there's a chance that this could be one of those special cases that gets adapted into the Star Wars canon, seeing as Rey may or may not be a Skywalker, that doesn't excuse losing out on the original canon written for the character. Still, a Mara Jade working for the First Order and Supreme Leader Snoke would make more sense than bringing back Palpatine via a clone.
Shadows of the Empire
Admit it, you knew this was coming. If Steve Perry's book alone didn't ensure the place of Shadows of the Empire on this list, the Nintendo 64 game and Joel McNeely-scored soundtrack surely did helped it the rest of the way. A side story set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Shadows introduced us to the villainous Prince Xizor, heroic scoundrel Dash Rendar and a battle between the Empire, the Rebellion and Xizor's forces that still hasn't been topped in the history of Star Wars. Ok, maybe the Battle of Scarif has come pretty damned close.
The Solo Kids
We can pretty much say, without question, Jacen, Jaina and Anakin Solo are probably not going to be seen in the Star Wars revised canon. Though, to a certain degree, the story of Jacen Solo has been adopted into the canon, as Kylo Ren/Ben Solo's trajectory from Jedi to new order of Sith is what Jacen went through in later books, turning into Darth Caedus. With Anakin becoming a war hero during the Yuuzhan Vong War, and Jaina becoming an ace starfighter pilot, there's a lot of good canon going to waste.
First mentioned in Revenge of the Sith, Darth Plagueis was later revealed to be Sheev Palpatine's Sith mentor and master. In a standalone book by Star Wars friendly author James Luceno, the history of Plageueis' rise through the ranks is told in a decades-long story, which begins and ends, as all Sith masters stories do, with his death. Adding in the rise of the Emperor in the ways of the Sith is not only an added bonus, but a huge feather in the cap of the backstory that makes the prequels not as useless as one would think. Plus, there are never enough Sith stories.
The X-Wing Series
While Star Wars: Rogue Squadron never had an official tie-in novel, it did have a series that could very well have served as such. From the pens of Michael A. Stackpole, and later Aaron Allston, Star Wars: X-Wing was a series of 10 novels that not only continued the adventures of Wedge Antilles and the famed Rogue Squadron, but also saw them form a new unit that incorporated commando tactics into their operating mandate: Wraith Squadron. Before the Aftermath trilogy came into being, this was how the Star Wars galaxy dealt with the intrigue of mopping up the remnants of the Empire, combining political intrigue with starfighting action.
The Republic Commando Series
Not all of the good video games-turned-books took place in the eras surrounding or surpassing the Original Trilogy. Just ask anyone who's played the video game Star Wars: Republic Commando or read any of the books authored by sci-fi genius Karen Traviss. Recounting the exploits of Omega Squadron, a band of Clone Troopers who served together and would later fracture into opposing sides after the Jedi Purge, both the game and novels were well received. We already wanted to see some great opportunities for adaptation through the TV/movie medium happen with the Republic Commando books for years, but now with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story showing us the darker, more war-flavored corner of the universe, we can't help but wonder what this would have looked like on a bigger screen.
The Yuuzhan Vong
Before Han Solo's untimely death in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the novel Star Wars: Vector Prime dropped a bombshell of a casualty from the Original Trilogy cast. Thanks to the burgeoning conflict with the Yuuzhan Vong, Chewbacca ended up sacrificing his life to save Anakin Solo, throwing Han and his family into chaos. With 365 trillion deaths on their hands, and their inability to be sensed through the Force, this enemy was the deadliest addition to the Expanded Universe canon. At least, before it was wiped out.
In the early days of the Star Wars video game canon, the Dark Forces series introduced us to Kyle Katarn, a stormtrooper who would eventually become a Jedi. Through his travels, he'd train under Luke Skywalker, and was eventually a Jedi Master/military figure during the Yuuzhan Vong conflict in the New Jedi Order era. While he started as an old school video game character, his legacy stretched into the books and comics of the Expanded Universe and gave us someone to root for, despite his constant temptation by the Dark Side.
The Han Solo Trilogy
When Woody Harrelson was erroneously announced as playing a character by the name of Garris Shrike, some scratched their heads at that name. But if you were one of the fans of Anne C. Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy, you were probably pumping your fist in the air, as this mentor was written into the new backstory Crispin provided to the Corellian scoundrel's younger days, during the beginnings of the Empire. Also filling in the gaps of Solo's relationship with the Hutts and his betrayal of Lando Calrisian, the three book series was the answer to fan's prayers to learn more about Han Solo.
The Thrawn Trilogy
As a brilliant strategist who would basically run the Empire's operations in the wake of the Emperor's death, Grand Admiral Thrawn is a legend in his own right. Using tactics and skill that Imperial forces had never employed before, Thrawn actually lead to Admiral Ackbar being arrested at one point, and he even surrounded the capital planet of Coruscant with asteroids in a move to cut off and conquer the world. Though he may have died in the Expanded Universe, he's been resurrected through Star Wars: Rebels and a forthcoming novel written by his creator, Timothy Zahn. Still, it's a good bet his post-Return of the Jedi antics will be stricken from the record, though let's hope his intelligence isn't.
Tales Of The Bounty Hunters
While we may have complained that Boba Fett was a seriously overrated character in the Star Wars canon proper, he has one of the most kick-assed stories in Tales of the Bounty Hunters. Not only does Fett get out of the Sarlacc, but he faces off with Han Solo almost 20 years after A New Hope takes place. On top of that, the little known robot bounty hunter IG-88 has a rather chilling tale about his potential conquest of the galaxy, which serves as the ultimate indicator of this novel's purpose: to give the bounty hunters Darth Vader hired in Empire Strikes Back more fleshed out backstories.