Electronic Arts said late last year that Star Wars Battlefront is set in the original movie trilogy, and thus would not be getting material from the The Force Awakens. Taking a pass on the hottest movie of the year (and the best thing to happen to Star Wars since the early 80s) was mystifying, given the obvious tie-in potential, but it turns out that EA really didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.
“On Star Wars, the one thing that we are adhering to, and I think this is part of our arrangement with Lucas and Disney, is you can’t make a game in Star Wars that violates the canon of Star Wars,” EA Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen said during the company’s most recent earnings call, reported by Videogamer.com. “Meaning you can’t take something from the future and bring it back into the past unless it’s a reference. Not knowing yet exactly what the storyline in [Star Wars:] Rogue One is going to be, I can’t comment on how that could come in. But to the extent that it’s in the future… Our current Battlefront game is all based on the historical Star Wars canon, which is 30 years before the most recent movie, that will limit our ability to bring some new content into that.”
The restriction might be disappointing, but it’s not surprising. The Star War Expanded Universe was a sprawling mess, and Disney made a point of pulling the plug on all of it in 2014, not long after its acquisition of Lucasfilm. It even established a Lucasfilm Story Group division in 2013, to ensure a coherent canon. After all that effort to get the house in order, it only makes sense that Disney would want to keep a tight leash on the future of the franchise.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean that new content won’t ever make it to videogames. As new movies are released, the previous flicks move into the historical canon and become fair game for games. And since Disney isn’t horsing around with the Star Wars release schedule—the plan is for one film a year until at least 2020—that means plenty of fresh material to come, and hopefully better Star Wars games than we’ve grown used to, too.