George Lucas Secretly Hated The Star Wars Expanded Universe

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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For longtime Star Wars fans, there is a great fondness for the Expanded Universe, and for a good reason: back before the Star Wars prequels came out, this interconnected world of books, comics, and games helped flesh out a galaxy far, far away that hadn’t had a proper film since 1983.

Most exciting was the idea that the Expanded Universe had an interconnected canon of events blessed by Lucasfilm, which fans enjoyed because it meant these stories “really happened.” There was great sadness when Disney de-canonized all of this in 2014, but even before that, George Lucas secretly hated the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

Fans Assumed George Lucas Signed Off On Everything

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Back at the height of this interconnected storytelling, most fans implicitly assumed that George Lucas supported the Expanded Universe because all of the stories were approved by his company, Lucasfilm. Writers couldn’t exactly go rogue, so when bonkers things happened (including everything from Luke Skywalker getting married to a moon fatally landing on Chewbacca), it all had to get official approval ahead of time. It turns out, though, that the one person who never truly approved of most of these events was Lucas himself.

Lucas Disavowed Wild EU Storylines

As recently as 2008, George Lucas summed up his thoughts on the Expanded Universe (which notably wouldn’t be removed from canon until 2014) in an interview with Total Film. He didn’t mince words in this interview, saying that “now there have been novels about the events after Episode IV, which isn’t at all what I would have done with it.”

After that, he began implicitly calling out some of the wilder storylines from the comics and books, claiming that “Once Vader dies, he doesn’t come back to life, the Emperor doesn’t get cloned and Luke doesn’t get married.”

Every EU Creation Dismissed By Lucas

At the time, the idea that George Lucas actually hated much of what was going on with the Expanded Universe came as a major shock. However, this is perfectly in line with what the franchise creator had been saying for years before that. In an earlier interview that appears on the Special Edition DVDs of the Original Trilogy, Lucas claimed that the EU stories “are another author’s interpretation of what I’ve created, and not to be taken seriously, as far as what is really going on in the Star Wars world.”

Claims Seperate Canon Exists For Each Licensed Project

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In a 2003 interview, George Lucas clarified that “I’ve not read any” Expanded Universe stories and that “I told them when they started writing I wouldn’t read any of them.” In fact, his most intimate involvement with these fan-favorite tales is telling the assorted writers what not to do. “I blocked out certain periods [they couldn’t touch where the real story happens].”

Across various interviews with George Lucas, his most consistent claim about the Expanded Universe was that it simply took place in a different world than his own. He told Cinescape in 2002, “There are two worlds here…my world, which is the movies, and there’s this other world that has been created, which I say is the parallel universe — the licensing world of the books, games and comic books.”

That same year, he was asked whether he supervised the various EU stories and replied ”You know, I try not to think about that” and “I have my own world in movies and I follow it.”

The EU Wasn’t The Real Star Wars

Aside from his general dislike of these other stories, one of the wildest things George Lucas revealed about the Expanded Universe is that it owes its existence to rival franchise, Star Trek. In order to convince Lucas to authorize the EU, the president of Lucas Licensing explained how Star Trek had its TV shows and spinoff books and that “these were completely different and didn’t have anything to do with each other.” With that clarification, Lucas gave his blessing to create countless new stories that, in his mind, had nothing to do with the real Star Wars story.

Star Wars Outgrew George Lucas

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For hardcore fans of these stories (including ourselves), it can be heartbreaking to hear that George Lucas oscillated between indifference and hatred when it came to the Expanded Universe.

We can hardly imagine this extended galaxy far, far away without EU characters like Mara Jade, someone that Lucas himself disliked from the beginning. However, Star Wars grew beyond Lucas long before he sold everything to Disney, and it’s important for the fandom to collectively realize some Jedi-like wisdom: canon has always been personal, and the only thing that matters is which stories matter to you