Another unconfirmed yet reliable source has indicated that Episode VII will be set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. The next films are going to be about Legacy as they will focus on the children of Luke, Han & Leia.
The fact that there is a casting call out for someone to fill the Chewbacca suit leads all of the diehard fans to believe that there will be no continuity (or very little) with the Expanded Universe Novels. The novelization began in 1991 and picked up the story of Luke et al right after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi.
Since then there have been dozens of novels written that follow a timeline and ensure that every story is connected to the next, regardless of who wrote the book. The idea was that in order to preserve the characters and the events that unfold after Return of the Jedi, all novelist had to read and incorporate events from previous novels. Essentially this lead to character development that to date has followed the lives and events of the main characters (and some sub characters like Wedge Antilles) for over 45 years.
In these novels (spoiler alert), Chewbacca dies (a heroic death of course). To bring him into Episode VII means Disney is not following the character development that has endured in the novelization of the Star Wars Universe for over 20 years.
So there you have it. Expanded Universe fans are most likely going to be in for a shock and I’m sure there will be a lot of fallout because of it. Personally I will find it difficult to absorb the next storyline presented in Episode VII but I am confident that JJ Abrams will pull it off somehow. If he does, he will have done what Irvin Kershner did with Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back…still touted as the best Star Wars film of all time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!