The Secondary film unit for the new Star Wars Episode 7 is currently underway in the Abu Dhabi desert, The movie will be released late next year and there are 4 new eBooks under development seeking to rewrite the expanded universe.
Lucasfilm and Disney Publishing have admitted that the existing expanded universe no long happened. Any of the books or comics that transpired after Return of the Jedi are not considered canon. This was done to provide the filmmakers with a maximum amount of creative freedom in making Episode 7.
“In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers 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,” says the official announcement on Starwars.com.
Timothy Zahn was best known for his trilogy of books after Return of the Jedi. Heir to an Empire which focused on Grand Admiral Thrawn and Lukes future wide Mara Jade are no longer considered canon. It is up for debate if the entire Old Republic timeline is null and void as well.
There are currently over 17,000 characters in the Expanded Universe that will forever be purged. This might be a mixed blessing because four new titles that been announced that will abide by the official canon of Lucasfilm and Disney. Del Rey Books will be publishing the new titles that starts with Star Wars: A New Dawn, by bestselling author John Jackson Miller. Set prior to the events of the forthcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels, this novel tells the story of how two of the lead characters of the series, Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, came to cross paths. To tell this important backstory, Miller benefited from contact with series executive producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman, who together ensured this tale will be part of the Star Wars canon of storytelling going forward. It is scheduled for hardcover and eBook release on September 2, 2014.
The next book to be issued is called STAR WARS: TARKIN by James Luceno and is slatted for a November 4th release date. This will be followed by STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE JEDI in January 2015 and STAR WARS: LORDS OF THE SITH by Paul Kemp in March 2015.
Aside from Star Wars Rebels, the new books will likely focus on major characters that will take part in Episode 7 and set the stage for the movie. Given that this is official canon we can draw parallels between the books and the movies.