Novelists and comic creators used West End Games' supplements as reference material.Sequels to the novels were being published as comics and vice versa, and the scope of the Expanded Universe grew at a prodigious rate.It is derived from and includes most official Star Wars–related books, comic books, video games, spin-off films, television series, toys, and other media created before the date.This material expands and continues the stories told in the films, taking place anywhere from over 36,000 years before The Phantom Menace to 136 years after Return of the Jedi.
The films, however, do slightly contradict the Expanded Universe on occasion, and retcons were created in the Expanded Universe to fix these contradictions.But it wasn't until 1991, when Timothy Zahn wrote the novel Heir to the Empire, the first Star Wars best-seller, which was the beginning of what we call the Star Wars renaissance, that continuity became an issue." The early development of the Expanded Universe was sporadic and unrefined, in large part because, at this time, there was so little canon material for the creators to use as reference.The Expanded Universe is generally considered to have begun with Alan Dean Foster's February 1978 Star Wars spin-off novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, although technically it began in October 1977 with the story The Keeper's World, in Marvel Comics' Pizzazz magazine.The issue of which aspects are canon was one of the most hotly debated topics among fans. announced that in preparation for the upcoming sequel trilogy, the Expanded Universe would be retconned; past tales of the Expanded Universe will be printed under the Star Wars Legends banner, and a new continuity has been established that consists only of the original six films, the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series and film, and all future material from that point onward.Though past elements of the Expanded Universe have been declared non-canon as a whole, they remain a resource for future Star Wars material to reference, thus bringing these elements into the new continuity as canon.Splinter drew inspiration primarily from an early draft of the Star Wars script.(Although George Lucas's name is on the cover of the original Star Wars novelization, Alan Dean Foster ghostwrote it.Until today, the only Legends product that is still being released is the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic, along with short stories published at the Star Wars blog.The Expanded Universe had a continuity with few wrinkles.Some of these creatures have made it into film, while others, because of the way stories unravel, have not (so far). For once something is created, no matter what the context, it takes on a life of its own." A turning point was reached when West End Games began publishing the Star Wars roleplaying game in 1987.In order for players of the roleplaying game to create new adventures, West End Games needed to provide supplemental material describing the Star Wars universe in previously unknown detail and to make it self-consistent and coherent.