Before Lucas did the Star Wars prequels, what was considered canon?

The title pretty much asks it all. Before the movies, what was the official story for the time period the movies covered?

There wasn’t much. A few references and explanation appeared in some novel Lucas wrote, but it was pretty vague.

Other, later Star Wars novels came up with several odd ideas, but I think Lucasfilm deliberately quashed them delving too deeply. When they did allow it, the results were often messy: Boba Fett, for instance, has 3 or 4 origin stories.

Not much. Most of the events told in the novels and comics pre-Phantom Menace either took place within the Original Trilogy or after the Rebel victory in Return of the Jedi. Hardly any books chronicled the events before A New Hope.

It was one of Lucas’ rules to the Expanded Universe writers, I think. That and “No origin story for Yoda”.

Officially it was off limits. There was one novel that explored “who was Luke and Leia’s mother?” and it meandered for three books before it was realised all the leads led nowhere concrete (lots of red herrings and false identities) and it gained nothing. This was written long before the Prequels, where I’m sure now that particular trilogy of novels would look stupid; Padme’s life would hardly be a secret kept from them.

Note that Lucas did not actually write that novel – it was written by Alan Dean Foster, but Lucas put his name on it.

I did get my hands on two trilogies that were very old - the Han Solo trilogy and the Lando Calrissian trilogy. The Lando one was the oldest, as it took place before Han won the Millennium Falcon from him. The Han one came shortly after that, when Han and Chewie were just getting used to their new ship. The stories didn’t have a lot of connection to Star Wars canon, naturally – at that time, I suppose, very little was known about the universe before A New Hope. Still, they were printed, and the movies haven’t really done anything to contradict them, so I suppose they can still be considered canon.

That doesn’t really answer the question posed in the OP, since they didn’t touch the events or time period the movies cover, but there’s so few pre-ANH books out there that weren’t set in the Old Republic that I thought I’d throw them out there.

There was also the Young Han Solo trilogy, which I think bookends the Han Solo trilogy (there’s a passage in one of the books which super-sumarizes some adventures he had somewhere, apparantly while on the run from a suddenly clingy smuggler girlfriend). They show how he became a smuggler, how he joined and was kicked out of the Imperial Navy, and how he ultimately ended up falling in with an old wizard and a fun-to-poke farmboy.

Some pre-ANH stuff was mentioned in the novels. Really kind of trivial stuff I think. Originally the droids were Mon Mothmas I remember that.

Han Solo shot first.

Bollocks. Han Solo shot only. Saying he shot “first” implies Greedo shot second, when he didn’t shoot at all.

I read that it was ‘well known’ to fans of the expanded universe that Darth Vader became Darth Vader in a volacno: as displayed in episode III. I cannot back this up however.

I think Obi Wan actually explained this in the Return of the Jedi novelization.

^^^I think that notion–“Darth scarred in a volcano”–actually predated ROTJ. I seem to remember it floating around as early as '79/‘80. I think it was probably in Lucas’ early notes/outlines and leaked out to the fans slowly in those fanzine/Starlog days.

Sir Rhosis

My memory of the “Vader in a volcano” backstory coincides with Sir Rhosis’.

I haven’t read the young Han Solo trilogy, and quit reading the EU stories after a short while (Zahn’s, IMO, being some of the few worth delving into), but Brian Daley’s Han Solo trilogy has been a staple of my book shelves for decades.

It didn’t deal much with the overall SW 'verse, concentrating on an area called the Corporate Sector and the Tion Hegemony. It did feature the Victory-class Star Destroyer in the second novel. The third novel ended with Han scheming to make a Kessel Run, and maybe getting someone like Jabba the Hutt to back them financially.

The series did deal with Han & Chewie’s background, though vaguely.

While it may or may not be canon, nothing in Daley’s novel’s have, to the best of my recollection, been contradicted by anything in any of the movies.

I distinctly remember a Time magazine SW cover article in 1980, just before “The Empire Strikes Back” hit the theaters, with a sidebar in which Lucas talked about Vader being badly injured after falling into a volcano.

The Alan Dean Foster-penned novelization of “A New Hope” (which appeared in bookstores in 1977 with Lucas’s name on it, as noted above) had a few paragraphs on how Palpatine came to power. And Foster’s novel “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” (a good read, as I recall) talked a bit about Luke’s growing awareness of the Force not long after the Battle of Yavin, and his attraction to Leia (with nary of word about incest), as well as a light-saber duel with Vader (with nary a word about the risk of patricide).

I have what purports to be a treatment for the “first three” episodes written well before they came out. There’s not a lot of resemblance to the final product, but Darth Vader did end up being burned , and I believe itv was in a volcano. Actually, the whole story kind of resembled the origin of Dr. Doom from Fantastic Four Annual #2 'way back in the 1960s, and Darth’s costume, aside from the more elaborate helmet and lack of a hood, looks like it’s just Doc Doom’s dyed black.

The Google ad for this thread is for DNA Paternity Testing. Pity Luke didn’t ask for that…could have saved himself some trauma.

I also remember the volcano story from very early in the cycle.

This is why I wanted to start this thread. I seemed to remember being told about five years before Episode I came out that Obi Wan and Anakin were fighting Palpatine together on the edge of a volcano. Palpatine made some comment to Anakin about sensing a lot of anger in him, and how powerful he would be if he would just let it go. Yadda yadda yadda, he turns into Vader.

I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense. I was hoping someone could clarify.

Well, I’d have to go back to see what the outline says, but I can clarify it to the extent that what you say doesn’t seem familiar at all.

Aliens, son, we don’t even know if they HAVE DNA. Them people on that screen ain’t human.

As an aside, one of my long-helf beliefs was that ONLY the movies were canon. Everything else was subject to destruction…