Reconciling the Prequels and the Early Expanded Universe

People often seem to assume the Expanded Universe’s early works contradict the movies and use it as an excuse to say they are not canon. However, we can demonstrate how the movies themselves prove they do not contradict. The movies are a window to the galaxy.

In the prequels that window is centered at a certain point in time of the life of Anakin Skywalker and those close to him. The movies don’t show beyond that, what lies farther in the distance, or off to the sides. Suggesting nothing else may exist there is like assuming that the rest of the world vanishes when I step into my own home and shut the door and close the curtains. But just as the real world has a framework that doesn’t need my point of view to exist, so too does Star Wars have a framework that George Lucas used to build the galaxy. A framework that he carefully delegated others to expand on.

The Clone Wars Complications are Revealed in the Movies

Obi-Wan is introduced to the clone army in Attack of the Clones

When we enter Attack of the Clones, we find a mystery at hand. Obi-Wan is set to follow those clues. We can use the same methods to prove that just because Expanded Universe said something we didn’t see in the movie, doesn’t make it a contradiction.

Obi-Wan didn’t just assume all he witnessed was what there was to the attempted assassination of Amidala. He took what he saw, took the forensic evidence (the poisoned dart) and followed a trail using resources at hand (the temple archives, Dexter, Yoda.) 

A real world example is this: suppose in your crime case someone is accused of shooting the convenience store clerk. Two people outside saw the guy in the dark hoodie holding a gun, no one else in view, no one else came out. Does that mean he did it? Not necessarily. What they may not have seen was the guy in the red jacket, who was blocked from view by a shelf, who also had a weapon. 

The Expanded Universe and it’s creation

heir to the empire ad
Heir to the Empire ad

When Heir to the Empire was released it was the first new novel in years. It hadn’t been yet decided all the media would connect since no one knew if anything would still sell. But the authors were carefully chosen. Even in the days of the Star Wars Adventure Journal, you had to have a  previously published story.  You had to be a proven published author for consideration in order to be allowed to build on the framework of the movies.

Since the prequels weren’t out, that territory and details of the history limited to how deeply the universe could delve. The future and the long past were fine. For this reason things like the Noghri actually being Sith (as Vader was their ‘Lord’) were rejected. (Source: Heir to the Empire: 10th Anniversary edition.)

Here is the quote from Heir to the Empire that triggers debate, regarding the creation of Joruus C’baoth.

Early in the war , in other words,” Pellaeon said, swallowing hard. The early clones- or at least those the fleet had faced – had been highly unstable, both mentally and emotionally….”

There are those who assume that because the author wrote this one simple statement (to explain C’baoth, a protagonist) as if the Clones were the enemy of the fleet, that it contradicts the prequels. Zahn admitted to assuming the clones were the enemies. (Source: Heir to the Empire, 10th anniversary edition.)

But one or even a handful of simple statements is not itself contradicting the movies. Just because there was a clone army defending the Republic (turning into an Empire) that doesn’t mean they were the only clones.  In fact, the movies themselves say they aren’t. It doesn’t preclude their being unstable clones fighting against them either. And the movie is what tells us that it’s not only possible but reasonably likely.

Here are our movie clues that give openings for the Expanded Universe:

In Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan has to go to Dexter Jettser because the archives fail to identify the Kamino saber dart. When he asks about them, he clearly knows nothing of the Kaminoans. Dexter replies,

Obi-Wan talks to Dex about Clones and Kamino saberdarts

“They’re cloners. Damn good ones too.”

That simple sentence opens wide the possibilities. Obi-Wan may not know Kaminoans but clearly no further descriptions of what a cloner is, and what they do, is needed for Kenobi to get it. That tells us cloners, good and bad, are not uncommon.

What the Cloners Do

Republic Stifles non military cloning research, a Holonews article tying the prequel movie events to the Expanded Universe
From the ‘Holonews’ In the Star Wars Insider magazine during the prequel movies. This is a tie in referencing events in Darksaber, by Kevin J. Anderson & the clone Jedi Dorsk 81.

According to Attack of the Clones, the Kaminoans take the genes of the donor, genetically modify them (in this case for obedience) and speed up their growth. Again, we can safely assume that since they aren’t the only cloners, others do the same thing. There are all sorts of ways ‘modifying the genetic code’ could be used. 

If these are good cloners (and they certainly don’t leap out as concerned about the morality of breeding men to exist solely for war) than what are the bad cloners? And what happens to the bad clones? For that matter what becomes of those ‘mistakes’ that the Kaminoan’s created?

The War

Whereas the war between Empire and Rebellion was a guerrilla war, the clone wars are two mighty juggernauts that are dragging in many systems from the outer rim to the capital, Coruscant itself. No one is beyond getting yanked in. Therefore it’s reasonable to assume the other cloners and clones are going to be sucked in,  just as everyone else is. No one was safe.

“Their are heroes on both sides.” I

opening scrawl of Revenge of the Sith
Palpatine gives order 66
Palpatine issues Order 66 to Commander Cody

Finally neither side is right in the war. This was no simple good against evil battle.  The whole war was a sham to destroy the Jedi, grant Palpatine emergency powers, and pave the way for the Empire. The clones never had a choice of sides.

They are bred to be totally obedient, following any order without question.

The Kaminoans were hired by the Jedi Sifo-Dyas to create the army for the Republic. But Jango Fett said it was “Lord Tyrannus on one of the moons of Bogden” that hired him as the clone template. Lord Tyrannus was Dooku’s Sith name, proving he was already Sidious AKA Palpatine’s apprentice. And as Supreme Chancellor he was the ultimate commander of the clone army.

This is complicated stuff! This is one man playing a game of Dejarik (or in earth terms, a very complicated 3D chess) with himself. Massive numbers of galactic citizens were the pawns dying for this man to take power. There are plenty of hints in this alone for the Expanded Universe to unleash it’s creativity on the many events and campaigns of the war.

The Clones turn on Jedi Knight Aayla Secura on Felucia. She doesn’t see it coming in time to react.

In the end of Revenge of the Sith we see it took a mere simple command “Execute Order 66” to get the clones to turn on the Jedi they had served with.

If the war itself,  as shown briefly in the movies, is so complicated, how absurd it is to assume there isn’t room in those unshown three years of war for the expanded universe view of clones?

There is room for the many Expanded Universe stories of the various clone groups in this war. From the Morgukai Nikto clones to the unstable Force user clones and the Kaminoans secret stash of Jango clones trained to defend them rather than the Republic, the potential is massive.

Taking care to make both sides stay fairly even, was exactly what both Dooku and Palpatine would do. The more war, the more fear, pain, death to feed the Dark Side. People demand safety and security and therefore more power is transferred to Palpatine. Plus it eliminates his enemy, the Jedi, and makes them trust the Clones that will one day be ordered to kill them.

Millennia before to the Decades After

If George Lucas said don’t write in an era, don’t write a subject, the Expanded Universe wouldn’t explore it. That is why the prequels couldn’t be touched before hand. The previous stories of Jedi and Sith were set many millennia before, giving ample opportunity for them to adapt over time. Even those had to rely on questions and answers on what Jedi and Sith could and could not do from George Lucas himself.

The Movies and the Expanded Universe Jedi Academy

From the Revenge of the Sith novelization (by Stover, but that Lucas himself edited) explains why there are differences in the Jedi and Sith both of ancient eras and future ones.

“The Sith had changed. The Sith had grown, had adapted, had invested a thousand years’ intensive study into every aspect of not only the Force but Jedi lore itself, in preparation for exactly this day. The Sith had remade themselves. They had become new.” (Realization by Yoda, mid fight with Sidious.)

“Too old I was,” Yoda said. “Too rigid. Too arrogant to see that the old way is not the only way. These Jedi, I trained to become the Jedi who had trained me, long centuries ago- but those ancient Jedi, of a different time they were. Changed, has the galaxy. Changed, the Order did not-because let it change, I did not.”

Revenge of the Sith novelization when he’s talking to Qui-Gon

So clearly that passed muster or Lucas would have stricken it, leaving room to explain the differences between ancient Old Republic Jedi and Sith of the Expanded Universe and the movie era Jedi and Sith. (Lucas’s direct involvement from an interview with Matthew Stover, here.)  Yoda’s conversation with  Qui-Gon was in the original script, but they cut it (as many other things were cut, not because they weren’t accurate but simply didn’t fit right.)

Adapting to a Loss of Knowledge

As for the movies, we witness the Jedi massacred in their own temple. When Obi-Wan and Yoda came they found bodies and battle damage everywhere. Obi-Wan himself said that Vader “betrayed and hunted down the Jedi Knights,” in A New Hope.  The goal  of the Emperor is to eradicate the Jedi, and to do that he must not only destroy the Jedi themselves but their teachings and ideals.

In the prequels the Jedi were trained from birth, Anakin being the exception. Obi-Wan in his mid twenties in the Phantom Menace will still only an Apprentice! Yet Luke was trained as an adult and had mere months (at most) with Yoda.  There is no way that he got all the same training in the brief time with Kenobi and the months with Yoda. They gave him the essentials so he could build a new Jedi order, not recreate one that failed at a critical moment.

It’s a safe bet that with only one Jedi left, waiting and training new Jedi from birth and one at a time would be asking for disaster. All someone would have to do is take out Luke Skywalker. That means every surviving Imperial, criminal, or other anti Jedi being would come after him or hire a bounty hunter. So the Expanded Universe stories logically deduce that this is the time for another exception to the rule. He was trained as an adult himself so there is no reason to think another exception cannot be made. No, he needed new trainees, old enough to defend themselves and soon. Hence the Jedi Praxeum where they could learn from each other. Even before the prequels were released, the Expanded Universe showed this Academy gradually transition from adult trainees to kids once there were enough trained Jedi to handle the burden.

Both the Jedi and the Republic must be born anew, adapted for the times, so that they don’t repeat the same mistakes.

A Different Point of View

The events of the movies are shown from a very specific point of view: Anakin Skywalker and those close to him at a particular point in time. But there are three years of war. Three years of events not shown on the big screen. These years are where George Lucas unleashed the Expanded Universe author’s to tell the story after those movies began. He still forbade certain things (no telling Yoda’s species!) But everything written in this time frame was based on what was seen in the movies.

When George Lucas told the Expanded Universe team it was time for the Clone Wars he knew what they would do.

republic-clone-wars-morgukai clones-issue

From the time Jedi Academy trilogy was released, incorporating both the events of Thrawn and the events of Dark Empire, the authors of the Expanded Universe, continuity editors and the editors, all worked very hard to keep it consistent.

They found untapped areas of potential in the war and expanded on them. Lucas incorporated them into his movie’s story in small ways. He didn’t have to keep the name Coruscant, bring in Aayla Secura, or mention Quinlan Vos and his mission to Boz Pity, all of which came from the novels and comics.

Lucas didn’t alter any of who they were, their personalities, or their history (as someone else I could mention.) He kept them incidental and didn’t overwrite their established personalities or roles.  The creator had the right to overwrite them. He chose not too. It shows far more respect for them (and the authors) than those who automatically dismiss the Expanded Universe.


The expanded universe does not contradict the prequels or the original trilogy. From the time Heir to the Empire, Dark Empire and Jedi Academy paved the new expanding galaxy, they have complimented it. They haven’t needed to explain the movies, for the movies explain themselves. But they have expanded on them, taking advantage of hints of information and building on the framework that Lucas created, with his blessing.


  • Star Wars:
    • The Phantom Menace
    • Attack of the Clones
    • Revenge of the Sith
    • A New Hope
    • The Empire Strikes Back
    • Return of the Jedi
  • Star Wars Insider 86: Galactic Soldiers, Inside Palpatine’s Grand Army
  • Heir to the Empire (10th anniversary with annotations)
  • Matthew Stover interview on the Revenge of the Sith Novelization
  • Tom Veitch interview (“Telling Tales” interview with Dan Wallace for Star Wars Galaxy Magazine. Issue 13, November 1997)

SWRepublicCommando Further Expanded Universe stories involving Clones and Cloning:

  • Republic Comic 50: The Battle for Kamino (introduces Arc Commanders)
  • The Cestus Deception (meet a clone who starts to wonder about his individuality)
  • Republic comic 68 (featuring Bly and his thoughts on Aayla Secura, Quinlan Vos and the Force)
  • Republic comics, approximately issue 72-77 (starring Quinlan Vos, Aayla Secura and Morgukai clones)
  • Republic Commando (game) (Meet Omega Squad.)
  • Republic Commando: Hard Contact
  • Republic Commando: Triple Zero
  • Republic Commando: True Colors
  • Republic Commando: Order 66
  • Imperial Commando: 501st
  • Classic Battlefront 2 (Find out what the clones were thinking as they fought alongside the Jedi. You are one.)
  • Republic Commando (Play as the leader of Delta Squad from Geonosis to Kashyyyk)
  • Galaxy of Fear: Clones (starring Zak and Tash Arranda, OT era)
  • Heir to the Empire
  • Dark Force Rising
  • The Last Command
  • Dark Empire 1
  • Dark Empire 2
  • Empire’s End
  • Darksaber
  • Hero of Cartao (Star Wars Insider short story, this story involves cloning technology)
  • Specter of the Past
  • Vision of the Future
  • Riptide