For the uninitiated, being “non-canonical” means that none of the stories or character development in any Star Wars product outside of the movies and the Clone Wars show are to be considered part of the “official” Star Wars story. This would include popular products like the Knights of the Old Republic RPGs, the Jedi Knights games, and dozens of well-written novels that have helped expand the Star Wars universe over the years.
Now, Lucasfilm aren’t saying you can’t enjoy these products and the stories they tell—just that they will have no bearing on the Star Wars stories that are to come in the future. These products are being labelled part of the “Expanded Universe” of Star Wars, whereas all Star Wars products developed from here on out will be connected and part of the official story. Presumably, that includes the new Star Wars games being developed by EA with the help of Amy Hennig.
“We have an unprecedented slate of new Star Wars entertainment on the horizon,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “We’re set to bring Star Wars back to the big screen, and continue the adventure through games, books, comics, and new formats that are just emerging. This future of interconnected storytelling will allow fans to explore this galaxy in deeper ways than ever before.”
Lucasfilm’s reasons for trimming the fat, so to speak, aren’t unreasonable. There’s been so much Star Wars media developed over the years that trying to keep track of it all and remain consistent would only hinder the creativity of future products. In the company’s defense, even Blizzard Entertainment have had to retcon certain aspects of the Diablo lore in order to accommodate Diablo III’s story, and that franchise hasn’t been around nearly as long as Star Wars has.
Also, Lucasfilm have pointed out that the Expanded Universe isn’t being discarded. While Star Wars Episodes VII-IX—the new trilogy—will not tell the same stories that the Expanded Universe tells after Return of the Jedi’s events, the creators of new Star Wars products will have “full access” to the Expanded Universe content. That means character like Jedi Knights’ Kyle Katarn may return yet, albeit in a different way.