Let’s talk about how the Star Wars story has stopped moving forward.
For nearly 30 years, the Star Wars story has advanced, with books, novels, comics, games, and movies moving the story forward. (By story, I mean the overarching plot and continuing story – you might also say the timeline). Now with the end of the Sequel Trilogy and Disney seemingly abandoning the era, that has stopped. Let’s take a look at what this means.
The early days of Star Wars saw a kind of stuttering release of stories. You had the original three movies; around them, you had a few additional stories that sometimes made progress. Both the old Marvel Star Wars comics and the novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye moved the story forward after Episode IV. After Jedi came out, you got things such as the Ewok movies, but they didn’t really move the story forward. This is in part because they take place before RoTJ. This means that after Jedi, Star Wars didn’t move forward. While things fleshed out the universe and filled gaps in the “story”, as it were, ended. The Rebels were victorious, and that was it. (The one exception to this was the West End Star Wars games, which DID push the story forward with a ton of lore.) At this point, there was no guarantee that we would ever get more of the Star Wars story.
But everything change when
the Fire Nation attacked in May 1991 when Heir To The Empire by Timothy Zahn was released. This book started what would later be known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) and is now known as Legends. With the release of Heir to the Empire, and its sequel novels (which a dedicated group of fans still consider the true Sequel Trilogy) the Star Wars story was back on. Since then, book after book, game after game, and comic after comic came out continuing the story and moving it forward. Slowly advancing the overall plot and timeline.
Not every novel pushed the story forward it is true. Indeed the Glove of Darth Vader, a young adult novel that was the second EU book to be published takes place 4 years before Heir To The Empire, to which it is not related at all. Both despite this, there was always the next book that was coming to move the story on. There was a real sense that the story was moving forward and there would be major developments in the galaxy and plot, in between other books that filled in past events or side stories. This process really took off in 1999 with the start of the New Jedi Order Series. Until the Disney buy out in 2012 the EU, and the Star Wars story, was moved forward by a host of novels in several series that told one overarching story.
Disney Takes Charge
With the Disney buy out in 2012 it was clear the EU was on its last legs, and the final chronological novel in the canon was released in 2013, ending a branch of the story that had been told non-stop since 1991. This didn’t mean that the Star Wars story stopped moving forward, however. Indeed the new canon almost at once started to tell the story again, the story of what happened after Return of the Jedi, the last canon event chronologically speaking, after the reboot.
Aftermath, published in 2015 was the first book of the new canon to move the story forward, telling of the events in the, well, aftermath of Return of the Jedi. While there was a year-ish long gap between the last novel that had moved the story forward, in 2013, the announcement of new movies and books, meant that even during that period we knew the story, albeit a somewhat new version of it was moving forward. The Star Wars story would continue.
And so it did. After the reset, the story still kept moving forward for another 5 years. Which books, games, comics, and most importantly the Sequel trilogy, which continued on the “story” of Star Wars, moving forward the overall plot and the state of the galaxy. Moving forward the “end date” of Star Wars. And then with “Rey Skywalker”, it all ended.
Since the rise of Skywalker came out, about nine months ago now, there hasn’t been any attempt to move the story forward. There are no new novels, comics, games, or movies currently confirmed to be coming out that will progress the story past Rise. As of now, that movie is it. It is the endpoint of Star Wars, where all roads end. With Disney seemingly no longer interested in the Sequel Era there doesn’t seem a lot of hope that anything will be made to move the story forward, at least not any time soon. And so for the first time since Heir to the Empire in 1991, the Star Wars story isn’t progressing, there is no “what comes next for the galaxy” no overarching plot that is moving forward. It’s over for now.
That isn’t to say of course that Star Wars is over, or that there aren’t stories to tell in the setting. Disney right now seems far more interested in revisiting past events and filling in things that move the story forward. Thus we have a fair amount of attention being paid to the post RoTJ period, with series like the Mandalorian and books like the Alphabet Squadron Trilogy set in that period. We also have other stories set further in the past, such as the upcoming Kenobi Series, which is said to take place between Episodes III and IV. Then we have Disney’s new big push with the High Republic Era, a whole new period to set stories in, which will they will may be good, won’t move the story forward.
So while Star Wars will continue, likely forever, the “story” for now, and for the first time in almost 30 years, won’t.
Let us know if you want to see the Star Wars “story” continue, down in the comments!