“The galaxy may need a legend.”Rey, The Last Jedi
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012 and we found out we were getting brand-new films and stories in our Galaxy far, far away, the main question on my mind (and I’m sure many other fans’ minds) was: what happens to everything already out there? Would these new stories co-exist with everything that’s been created in this universe so far? Would they be new adaptations of old stories? Would we be starting over again? Would Heir to the Empire finally become movie?!?!
We got that answer in April 2014, when all of the existing material to that point was branded Legends, and (mostly) everything after that point would become part of a new continuity of canon Star Wars stories. If you’re reading this, chances are you know all about this. And you probably have opinions, as do I. I’ll always love the Legends stories I knew before, but I’ve found the new Canon material to be very enjoyable.
I’m not here to talk about which is better. There is no real answer to that question, because it’s purely subjective. Instead, let’s talk about whether or not there’s room in Star Wars to tell new stories in the Legends timeline. Let’s hop right in!
First, the easiest argument to make here is that there are already limited examples of Star Wars Legends stories being released today. The most prominent of these is The Old Republic, the online MMO role-playing game that is still releasing campaigns and stories set in the Legends timeline. The other recent example of Legends material being released in the “Disney Era” would be Star Wars #108, the one-shot continuation of Marvel’s original line of Star Wars comics released for Marvel’s 80th anniversary. This hit shelves just last year in 2019.
Aside from these brand-new Legends stories that have come out in recent years, there are plenty of examples of Legends stories not only continuing publication but getting facelifts and new publication runs. A great example is Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy getting a brand new set of paperback covers in 2016 that when set side by side created a beautiful panoramic scene. Even more recently, the Jedi Knight video games have seen re-releases on current-generation consoles, which both feature stories featuring Legends great Kyle Katarn. And although it doesn’t tell any type of story, Episode I Racer also saw a re-release in 2020.
So we clearly have examples of Legends material co-existing alongside Canon stories. We also have to remember that one critial thing exists: the Legends banner itself. That little gold banner that’s been plastered at the top of all those Expanded Universe stories is there for a reason: to clearly differentiate stories that Lucasfilm wants to include in the official Star Wars story from those it does not. So if the goal is to not confuse what is Canon versus what is not – well, that’s why the banner exists.
Since Marvel is always the first thing to bring up when we’re talking about what Disney and Lucasfilm can accomplish with Star Wars, let’s talk about them for a minute. While the MCU is the driving initiative for Marvel in film and television, that hasn’t hampered Marvel’s ability to continue telling their stories in comics. It also hasn’t stopped them from releasing live action and animated television series using characters that also appear in the MCU. These stories are completely unrelated to the MCU, often telling totally unrelated stories even if the characters are the same, and there’s really little to no confusion about what is “official MCU” and what is not. Star Wars has the added advantage of that Legends banner to make sure there’s even less of a possibility for confusion.
So at this point, why not release Legends stories? The answer comes down to two things. First, time and manpower. Unless there would suddenly be even more Star Wars material heading to publication, releasing new Legends stories would most likely mean getting less Canon stories, simply because they would be looking at shifting resources to get it done. I’m the first to admit that while I’m basically writing an entire blog post asking for more Legends stories, I’m also the one that very much wants to fill in the gaps in the Canon timeline as well. Would I want to sacrifice Canon material to get some new Legends stories? Honestly, I don’t know. That may mean sacrificing something that I very much want in Canon.
The second thing is, of course, money. Would Legends make enough money to justify its existence right now? This is a business, as much as we might not want it to be. It has to make money, it has to be profitable. Not just because Disney is involved but because there are people at Lucasfilm, Marvel, Del Rey, and plenty others that would like to get paid for their work. It’s entirely possible that interest in Legends overall has waned to the point where dedicated Legends stories no longer make fiscal sense. A large number of Star Wars fans are very much into the new Canon, and while they may have been intrested in Legends ten years ago, they may not be as interested now.
In my perfect world, I would love to see new Legends material. Even if it’s far more limited in number than what we get in Canon, even if it’s one story each year, I would be sure that it ends up on my shelf. I’m also not so naive to be oblivious to the business side of this, and I totally understand that those are also valid reasons to not continue the Legends timeline.
But what about you? Would you be interested in reading more Legends stories? Why do you think it’s a good idea or bad idea? Let us know in the comments or on social media!