Whilst George Lucas gave us six Star Wars films to enjoy, many talented artists from all forms of media such as books and comics expanded on that source material to enable us to enjoy further adventures in a galaxy far far away…
This was known as the “expanded universe”, events, situations and characters that coexisted in the Star Wars universe but were not seen on the big screen, much of which is set post Return Of The Jedi. Lucasfilm has hired staff in the past to keep all of these stories in line and to make sure nothing clashes.
Now Lucasfilm has essentially created a clean slate but not totally discarded the expanded universe. The EU still exists for fans to enjoy but it will no longer be part of the official Star Wars mythos.
With the release of the new Star Wars films, episode 7 through 9, and the new television series Star Wars: Rebels, these will be the only events that occur after Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi. Adding to this list will be a growing list of new games, books, comics and other media that can tell more new stories and not have to worry overlapping into the expanded universe.
Think of it as the expanded universe being shunted into an alternate dimension. It still exists but it no longer plays a part in the new Disney Star Wars universe although certain events may still be referenced in new material.
Lucasfilm also released a short film to promote this new change.
You can find the full press release at StarWars.com [Link]
Star Wars book publishers, DelRey, tweeted after the Lucasfilm announcement detailing the release of the first novel set in this new official universe.
— StarWarsBooks (@DelReyStarWars) April 25, 2014