The world of Star Wars was shaken when Disney purchased Lucasfilm, and one of the most drastic changes to the property was the fact that the Expanded Universe was wiped clean.
No more Thrawn. No more Yuuzhan Vong. No more moons falling on beloved characters. Those stories are still there to read, but they no longer matter in the world of Star Wars. They are now tears in the rain.
Disney wanted to start fresh, and bring every new aspect of Star Wars in pop culture under a single timeline. This Friday, that timeline takes its first breath.
Star Wars: Aftermath will be released on Sept. 4, and the book tells the story of what happens after the events of Return of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker may have broken the back of the Empire by killing the Emperor and, in that battle, indirectly causing the death of Darth Vader, but you don't destroy a military force that large just by cutting off the head. There are still many parts of the body able and willing to continue the fight.
"We all remember the last time we saw Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca together," the marketing copy states. "There were fireworks. There was celebration. The second Death Star had just been obliterated, the Emperor was dead, and Darth Vader was no more. But revolutions come with a price."
And now it's time to learn how these individuals are going to pay.
"There’s over 30 years of space between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and that’s enough time for a lot of conflict," the official page says. "And a new trilogy of books to tell us what happened."
Aftermath takes place directly after that scene of celebration, and we'll learn what's next for the Rebels and the remains of the Empire. This isn't the somewhat-official canon that used to exist in the now-defunct Extended Universe, this is the official record of what happened in this world after the film. These stories matter in the world of Star Wars, will ultimately lead directly to the events of The Force Awakens.
In other words, the story is finally going to move forward.
Aftermath author Chuck Wendig published a blog post about his place in the world of Star Wars, and why it's such a big deal. Wendig has been given an amazing opportunity with this book, but with that comes immense responsibility. This week the door to the Disney version of Star Wars will be opened, and it's his book that will be our first steps into this new part of the story. For fans like myself who have been waiting decades to get excited about Star Wars again, that is something worth celebrating.
"Star Wars informed my early understanding of storytelling. Thankfully, my understanding didn’t stop there, but it was the seed that started it all, I think," Wendig wrote. "It gave me characters I love and a simplistic, elegant view of both narrative and morality that inevitably you push back against while simultaneously reaching for it."
Like many of us, Star Wars was a major influence growing up, and continues to be a major part of his life. "It made me friends," he said. "It was a love my family shared then, and it’s a love my wife and my son share now. It is the universe that keeps on giving. It made me feel like I could do anything, because if a literal dirt-farmer from some galactic nowheresburg could somehow change the galaxy — along with a princess, a walking carpet, a scoundrel, another scoundrel, and a couple of Laurel & Hardy droids — then maybe I could change the galaxy, too. Or, at least, maybe I could someday write my own chapter in the Star Wars mythology."
"That’s what Star Wars means to me."
This Friday, we finally get to see what happens next, and I can't wait. May the Force be with you.