Chewbacca is Allegedly the Reason Lucasfilm Got Rid of the Star Wars Expanded Universe

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brian-mcgee - January 16, 2018

The bitterest pill for most Star Wars fans to swallow when Disney took over the franchise was the decision to jettison thirty years worth of Lucasfilm sanctioned Expanded Universe stories from the official canon. I was twelve when Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire was released, so I and many others grew up with that set of stories being as integral to them as the Original Trilogy films. 

Disney's Star Wars Story Group decided to get rid of the Expanded Universe before jumping into new stories, and to hear one of the members of that group tell it, the decision boiled down to one major thing... Chewbacca. You see, in the Expanded Universe, Chewie met with a rather dissatisfying end as he perished while saving Han's youngest son Anakin, being crushed to death as a moon collided with the planet they were on.

Star Wars Story Group member and keeper of the new official canon known as The Holocron, Leland Chee, stopped by's podcast "Fandom Files" recently and revealed that Chewie was the key to letting go of the EU (now referred to as "Legends"). He clarified by saying he wasn't part of the group when the decision was made, but this rationale helped him personally justify the decision.

"For me it came down to simply that we had killed Chewbacca in the Legends — a big moon had fallen on him. Part of that [original decision] was Chewbacca, because he can't speak and just speaks in growls, he was a challenging character to write for in novels. Publishing had decided they needed to kill somebody, and it was Chewbacca," Chee explains.

"But if you have the opportunity to bring back Chewbacca into a live action film, you're not gonna deprive fans that," he added. "There's no way that I'd want to do an Episode VII that didn't have Chewbacca in it and have to explain that Chewbacca had a moon fall on his head. And if we were going to overturn a monumental decision like that, everything else was really just minor in comparison."

Yeah, that's a tough point to argue against, honestly. I never knew that the reason Chewie was killed off was because he was a "challenging character to write for in novels." That sounds like a cop out to me, but I guess we can't really post-mortem decisions made over a decade ago now. Oh wait, yes we can, this is the internet. That's what we do. 

What do you EU fans out there think? Are you satisfied with this explanation or does it sound to you like a bit of after-the-fact rationalizing? Sound off in the comments section below!

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