First, this. Up to speed? Excellent.

Some of you might be surprised to read that official Star Wars canon didn’t officially end with Return of the Jedi. While the past 30 years have seen no shortage of supplemental material in the form of books, games and holiday specials, not all of them were viewed as canonical in the eyes of Lucasfilm, never a company willing to shun a licensing opportunity.

But this Thrawn Trilogy, written by Timothy Zahn and debuting in 1991 with Heir to the Empire, is another matter entirely. Those books, taking place five years after the fall of the Empire in Jedi and chronicling the New Republic’s efforts to quell the remaining Imperial forces, actually were confirmed canon by Lucasfilm. Except wait, now they’re not. Via eOnline:

So is that the basis for Episode 7 or not? I’ve heard directly from LucasFilm and other sources close to the picture, and they say: Definitely not.

“It’s an original story,” a LucasFilm source tells me.

The piece goes on to reveal this much ballyhooed treatment for the newly announced Episodes VII-IX was actually written by Lucas himself, so it appears that consultant position he took at Disney involves slightly more than originally thought, at least in the early going.

I expect this news to rile a lot of nerds; the Thrawn Trilogy has some devoted fans as far as expanded universe Wars is concerned. Personally, I never put much stock into Mara Jade or Grand Admiral Thrawn, but invested fans might be upset to find out they’re not a part of continuity after all.  Some will try to make the argument that the new trilogy can still take place after Zahn’s books, but I doubt Lucas or Disney care much about pleasing this one, very segmented part of the fanbase. Not with all these Star Wars / CARS mash-up toys to sell, which I personally view as 100% canon.