Last week’s Star Wars Celebration event brought with it a host of exciting news for fans of the franchise: our first real glimpse of the new Battlefront game, the announcement of a tie-in novel from a BioWare writer, and that jaw-dropping new trailer for The Force Awakens being some of the big hitters. However, last week also marked some more bittersweet news for one corner of the Star Wars franchise.
As part of a Q&A session, Pablo Hidalgo spent some time clarifying grey areas of the Star Wars canon for fans. Hidalgo has been contributing expanded universe materials in various forms for years, so when Disney bought LucasFilm, he was chosen to be part of the team that decided upon the limits of the universe.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a huge amount of content was stripped from the canon. While Disney maintained that this wasn’t intended as a criticism of the works themselves, some fans were irked that their favorite lesser-known Star Wars adventures had been de-legitimized by the move. Now, we know that the same fate has befallen BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic.
The question Hidalgo was asked by a fan, as well as his response, were transcribed by StarWars.com:
Q: Are The Old Republic expansions canon?
A: No — BioWare “has created their own universe that is so fantastic,” we’re not going to change it, says Hidalgo.
While many fans won’t be too bothered about this change, there will be some pockets of the community disappointed that BioWare’s cast of characters aren’t likely to be a bigger part of Star Wars lore. However it’s far from unexpected — many of the most adored works in the expanded universe were given a similar treatment last year.
It’s a simple matter of pruning the unwieldy size of the franchise, which had some thirty five years of content running rampant around it. Disney has even suggested that characters and events from non-canon sources might occasionally make a reappearance in new official materials.
However, it seems that the intent here is to leave the setting of The Old Republic untapped in case Disney chooses to explore that era. Spin-off movies and a host of new novels are set to flesh out the new Star Wars canon, and this fan-favorite period in the series’ fictional history would seem like a potent time to explore.
It seems all but certain that this confirmation will cause a few ripples through the Star Wars fandom, but there’s good news to be found here as well. Hidalgo’s comments certainly make it seem like BioWare is in LucasFilm’s good books — so perhaps we might see the studio and the franchise reunited before too long.