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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.At the same time as Dark Empire's release in the early 1990s, Bantam Spectra published Timothy Zahn's The Thrawn Trilogy.Widely publicized as the "sequels which were never made," Zahn's novels reignited Star Wars fandom and sparked a revolution in Star Wars literature.In in-universe chronology, the earliest works are the Dawn of the Jedi comics, which are set millennia before the films, while the latest are the Legacy comics, which are set about one hundred and thirty years after Return of the Jedi."The premise of all the comic books, novels, games, and other spin-off works is that they all work chronologically, that the continuity forms one unbroken story.Until today, the only Legends product that is still being released is the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic, along short stories published at the Star Wars blog.
Today, it is an amazing, if unexpected, legacy of Star Wars that so many gifted writers are contributing new stories to the Saga." Star Wars Legends, formerly known as the Expanded Universe (abbreviated EU), encompasses every one of the officially licensed, fictional background stories of the Star Wars universe, outside of the original six Star Wars films produced by George Lucas and certain other material such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars, created before April 25, 2014.
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.
As an example, the Aurebesh alphabet was originally a random piece of set dressing used in Return of the Jedi.
Stephen Crane copied those symbols and turned them into a complete and workable alphabet which would later be used in the prequel trilogy.