What Did George Lucas Think of the Old Star Wars EU?

Over the last few weeks those who want Lucasfilm to restore the old Expanded Universe have resulted to a really puzzling reality in their minds. They are now trying to convince people that the old Expanded Universe, specifically the Thrawn trilogy, was George Lucas’ original plan for the Sequel Trilogy and by that logic Lucasfilm must restore it to canon status.

Star Wars fans who followed the EU and its development would be well aware that that theory is completely insane, but there are actual quotes out there where Lucas spoke about the Expanded Universe. This one from Starlog probably explains it the best:

“I don’t read that stuff. I haven’t read any of the novels. I don’t know anything about that world. That’s a different world than my world. But I do try to keep it consistent. The way I do it now is they have a Star Wars Encyclopedia. So if I come up with a name or something else, I look it up and see if it has already been used. When I said [other people] could make their own Star Wars stories, we decided that, like Star Trek, we would have two universes: My universe and then this other one. They try to make their universe as consistent with mine as possible, but obviously they get enthusiastic and want to go off in other directions.” – George Lucas, from an interview in Starlog #337

He also expressed distain for elements of the EU in a 2008 interview with Total film. As part of a larger quote where he says there would never be a Sequel Trilogy (at the time the Star Wars movies were firmly the Anakin story), Lucas mocked some of the bigger stories from the Expanded Universe:

“Once Vader dies, he doesn’t come back to life, the Emperor doesn’t get cloned and Luke doesn’t get married…”

Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo once addressed this on Twitter saying that he believed Lucas looked at some of the comics, but never read any of the novels:

At the same time these people are claiming that the Expanded Universe was Lucas’ plan for the real Sequel Trilogy, they’re also claiming that the outlines he turned over to Disney and the “Arndt draft” of Episode VII contained Jaina and Jacen and other characters created by Zahn for the EU. These theories are also false, as there’s a book out that shows much of the “Arndt draft” stuff from The Force Awakens:

The Art of The Force Awakens contains a lot of art and developmental material from the stuff Arndt worked on, which was derived from George Lucas’ original outlines he handed over to Disney. Absolutely none of it comes from any Expanded Universe novel or comic book. If you want to see the evidence for yourself, the book is in stores now and is readily available online at places such as Amazon.

In truth the old Expanded Universe really served two purposes. Firstly, it was a way for Lucasfilm to make money that would then be eventually used to help finance the Special Editions, Prequels, and other projects. Secondly, it was to give fans some kind of Star Wars content during dry spells when there wasn’t much Star Wars to consume. It wasn’t some secret back-door way for Lucas to reveal his true Sequel Trilogy to people. It was licensed fan fiction that he really never read.

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