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JJ Abrams’ Star Wars Episode VII will not draw upon ‘expanded universe’ stories, says Disney

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Disney has signalled a fresh start for its Star Wars trilogy by officially ruling out storylines borrowed from the scores of “expanded universe” (EU) novels in book shops.

Fans of the books, written to sate the appetite for more stories about Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and company following the release of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, had hoped the tales would inform JJ Abrams‘ forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VII and successive films. But a statement by Disney-owned Lucasfilm has ruled out that possibility by declaring that only the six Star Wars feature films and animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars series are considered part of the saga’s official canon.

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“These stories are the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align,” said the statement. “In order to give maximum creative freedom to the film-makers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi expanded universe.”

The status of the expanded universe books, games and comics within the Star Wars canon has long been something of a grey area. “While Lucasfilm always strived to keep the stories created for the EU consistent with our film and television content as well as internally consistent, George Lucas always made it clear that he was not beholden to the EU,” the statement added.

However, Lucasfilm said it was not ruling out borrowing from the novels in future, offering at least a sliver of hope to fans of Mara Jade, Jacen Solo and Cade Skywalker. It also issued a new video celebrating the legacy of the expanded universe as fans prepare for the release of Episode VII in December 2015.

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Abrams’ film, which is shooting at Pinewood Studios and in the deserts of Abu Dhabi, is tipped to centre on the key trio of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo, played by original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. Disney is planning a new trilogy of films after purchasing all rights to the space saga in October 2012 for $4.05bn (£2.4bn).

Later movies in the series will move the focus to younger characters, while there are also proposals for spinoff “origins” films featuring characters such as Yoda, Boba Fett and Solo.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2014

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‘Thrones’ seeks final Emmys glory — but ‘Fleabag’ springs surprise

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"Fleabag" star Phoebe Waller-Bridge sprang a major surprise at the Emmys Sunday, besting eight-time acting winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a major upset, on a night when "Game of Thrones" takes its final tilt at television glory.

The dark British comedy -- which has grown into a phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic after being acquired by Amazon -- also scooped the awards for best comedy writing and directing at television's answer to the Oscars.

"It's just really wonderful to know and reassuring that a dirty, pervy, angry, messed-up woman can make it to the Emmys," said Waller-Bridge, referring to her character.

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‘There is no defense for the president to sacrifice national security’: Ex-White House counsel on Ukraine-gate

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President Barack Obama's White House counsel, Bob Bauer, explained during a Sunday MSNBC appearance that one of the worst things President Donald Trump has done in Ukraine-gate is to put American national security in jeopardy.

"Some would like to argue the law didn’t discuss bribery. Let me go beyond that," Bauer began. "There’s not a commentator on the facts that, for example, Carol laid out, and there are more facts to be found out. I think that's the responsibility of the Congress. There's not a scholar or commentator in the know that would believe for a minute it’s not an impeach offense for the president of the United States to sacrifice national security interest of the American people to his political personal gain. I mean, there's not a question about that."

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FIFA chief urges action after racist abuse halts Serie A game

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Sunday the problem of racism in Italian football has "not improved" after a Serie A match between Atalanta and Fiorentina was halted for several minutes because of racist abuse of Brazilian Dalbert.

Fiorentina defender Dalbert, 26, asked the referee to halt play after half an hour at the Stadio Ennio Tardini until a warning statement was read out by the stadium speaker to jeers and whistles from the Atalanta fans.

Play resumed after three minutes with visitors Fiorentina leading 1-0 after a goal from Federico Chiesa.

"In Italy the situation has not improved and this is serious," Infantino, in Italy ahead of the FIFA Best Awards on Monday, told the Italian Rai2 channel.

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