George Lucas,  Novels,  Prequel Trilogy,  The Clone Wars

J.W. Rinzler says George Lucas “couldn’t stand” Mara Jade

The Resistance Broadcast speaks with author J.W. Rinzler, who wrote The Making of Star Wars series and many other reference books. Rinzler shares many behind-the-scenes anecdotes about George Lucas, the Prequel Trilogy and The Clone Wars.

At 34:45, Rinzler reveals that Lucas “couldn’t stand” Legends character Mara Jade, who became Luke Skywalker’s wife.

At 43:30, he says that Lucas mandated him to “rehabilitate Jar Jar Binks” by writing two episodes of The Clone Wars starring the Gungan (“The Disappeared, Part I” and “The Disappeared, Part II”).

At 51:50, Rinzler says that Hayden Christensen played Darth Vader in the modified scene of The Empire Strikes Back where the Emperor appears. But it seems strange, because there’s no new shot of Vader in this modified version. Maybe Lucas filmed new Vader material for the scene but eventually renounced to use it. Or maybe Rinzler is mixing things up.

40 Comments

  • Will Reardon

    When Mara Jade was killed off in the Legacy of the Force series, I recall online theories that it was George’s way of getting back at Timothy Zahn for publicly critizing the prequel movies.

    The most Zahn said was: I think George has forgotten what the Force is about with the intro of midi-chlorians.

    A year or so later when Zahn and a few other EU authors were being interviewed, he was asked if working for George was akin to playing in his sandbox and Zahn replied:

    More akin to playing in his driveway; we can’t complain when George runs over our toys.

      • Grim 'alkun

        Lucas ideas for the sequel trilogy if he had done them, the production notes [his Episode 7,8 and 9] of which he sold to Disney show Midichlorians were a part of the overall story all along.

        From a Magazine Interview with George Lucas 2017

        [The next three Star Wars films] were going to get into a microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.

        Back in the day, I used to say ultimately what this means is we’re just cars, vehicles, for the Whills to travel around in…. We’re vessels for them. And the conduit is the midi-chlorians. The midi-chlorians are the ones that communicate with the Whills. The Whills, in a general sense, they are the Force.

        All the way back to — with the Jedi and the Force and everything — the whole concept of how things happen was laid out completely from [the beginning] to the end. But I never got to finish. I never got to tell people about it.

        If I’d held onto the company I could have done it, and then it would have been done. Of course, a lot of the fans would have hated it, just like they did Phantom Menace and everything, but at least the whole story from beginning to end would be told.”
        George Lucas’ Episode VII – https://medium.com/@Oozer3993/george-lucas-episode-vii-c272563cc3ba

        George Lucas’ Ideas for His Own Star Wars Sequel Trilogy – https://io9.gizmodo.com/george-lucas-ideas-for-his-own-star-wars-sequel-trilogy-1826798496

    • Carlos

      Wow did he really said that? is he stupid or something? Why it is so hard for this people to understand that midichlorians are not the force?

      • Grim 'alkun

        “They’re there to be enjoyed as unofficial Legends. But, as Zahn also points out, the Expanded Universe wasn’t really ever official regardless of what the fans thought.”
        ~ Timothy Zahn 2017
        https://www.inverse.com/article/16658-star-wars-author-timothy-zahn-tells-expanded-universe-fans-to-give-up
        ———————————————————————–

        “Question from Today, but I thought this was pretty well known. George Lucas never considered Jacen, Jaina, or Mara [Jade] as part of his universe.”
        ~ Pablo Hidalgo May 2016

        https://ibb.co/VDX2qvY
        —————————————————-

        Comment – “I remember George specifically saying Luke never married or had a child, I think.”

        Response [Pablo Hidalgo]
        – “That was his take, especially in reaction to Mara Jade. Jedi vows and all that.”
        ~ Pablo Hidalgo 2019 https://ibb.co/njZvQFB

        ——————————————
        “As far as I know he hasn’t read any of my novels. From what I’ve heard Lucas is a visual man, he likes the comic books for the visual aspect. Frankly I don’t think that he has time to read so I am not offended.”
        -Timothy Zahn, Author for the EU, The book report interview November, 1997

        ————————————————————————-

        That means Zahn’s books won’t be directly adapted, but the author says that was always the case: “The books were always just the books.”

        “It could be an entirely new storyline, but if he picks and chooses bits and pieces from the expanded universe, we’d all be thrilled to death.”

        ~ Timothy Zahn 2014

        ———————

        Mark Hamill replying to a tweet from a fan who referenced Mara Jade –

        Mark Hamill – “Best woman I never had.” ~ 2018

        https://ibb.co/chHX8mb

        • Joseph Bongiorno

          That’s cherry picking. You avoided the quotes that state the opposite or which clarify what was said, all of which present a far more complex picture then the one you’re trying to paint:

          George Lucas’ on the Expanded Universe:
          “After Star Wars was released, it became apparent that my story—however many films it took to tell—was only one of thousands that could be told about the characters who inhabit its galaxy. But these were not stories I was destined to tell. Instead they would spring from the imagination of other writers, inspired by the glimpse of a galaxy that Star Wars provided. Today it is an amazing, if unexpected, legacy of Star Wars that so many gifted writers are contributing new stories to the Saga.”-George Lucas introduction to the 1994 reprint of splinter of the Mind’s Eye

          George Lucas on future movies:
          “There really isn’t any story to tell. It’s been covered in the books, and video games, and comic books which are things I think are incredibly creative.”” George Lucas Interview with the LA times, George Lucas: ‘Star Wars’ won’t go beyond Darth Vader, May 7th, 2008

          From the Authors:
          (In a response to the criticism of the Sith and dark Jedi in the Tales of the Jedi) “The background came directly to us from George Lucas we’re following his guidelines and building a story within the parameters he himself laid down. It may not match with your own ideas- but this is George’s universe and he gets to establish the rules. We just try to tell the best story we can within them.” Kevin J. Anderson author for the expanded Universe, Tales of the Jedi fall of the Sith Empire 1 in the letter to the editor column June 1997.

          “We went through George Lucas and he signed off on each point. When he got done, he wrote me a little note that said, “Great job, I can’t wait to see it!” It was that easy to get through the approval process. Of course, once you write the story, they read to make sure you wrote what you said you would, and it’s up to their standards. Really, it was a painless process that was pretty much all of my creation and I just felt lucky and grateful George Lucas signed off on it!” Dave Wolverton (Courtship of Princess Leia) interview conducted by Doug McCausland on November 17. 2014, published on the Jedi Council Forums.

          “Cam Kennedy and I got the idea of sending our Marvel/Epic Comics series THE LIGHT AND DARKNESS WAR to George Lucas and proposing a new fully painted Star Wars graphic novel. George loved the idea and asked me to send him plot ideas. My first idea, believe it or not, was to do a series called ‘The Jedi Chronicles’ which would delve into the history of the Jedi Knights. He said he preferred that we take off from the ending of Return of the Jedi and tell the fate of Luke, Leia, Han, et al. So I put together the concepts that led to Dark Empire. Now, it should be noted that we had feedback from Mr. Lucas on the plotting of Dark Empire. And our editor, Archie Goodwin, also had a hand in the plotting… Another interesting fact, generally unknown by the fans, is that Tim was asked to critique the DARK EMPIRE plot and I was asked to critique his book. This led to a spirited exchange which someday may see print. Tim hated the idea of Emperor coming back (and probably wasn’t aware that George Lucas had proposed the idea to us).” Tom Veitch (Dark Empire) interviewed on Star Wars Underworld, Aug 25, 2016.

          From Lucasfilm:
          “GL is certainly not bound by the EU, though he’s certainly open to using things created in it (Aayla Secura and the Coruscant name, for example). On the other hand, the quote you provide makes it sound like the EU is separate from George’s vision of the Star Wars universe. It is not. The EU must follow certain tenets set by George through the films and other guidelines that he provides outside of the films.”-Leland Chee, Continuity Database administrator aka Keeper of the Holocron for Lucas Licensing, on starwars.com December 7, 2005 (In response to the “I don’t read those books” Starlog magazine quote)

          “According to Lucas Licensing Editor Sue, Rostoni, ‘Canon refers to an authoritative list of books that Lucas Licensing editors consider an authentic part of the official Star Wars history. Our goal is to present a continuous and unified history of the Star Wars galaxy, insofar as that history does not conflict with, or undermine the meaning of Mr. Lucas’s Star Wars saga of films and screenplays.’ Things that Lucas Licensing does not consider official parts of the continuous Star Wars history show an Infinities logo or are contained in Star Wars Tales. Everything else is considered canon.”-Sue Rostoni, Lucas Books and Lucas Licensing Managing Editor, in Star Wars gamer #6, July 1, 2001

          Continuity vs canon) “Its pretty much the same-sounds better to say that we try to maintain the continuity of the universe, rather than saying the canon of the universe”- Sue Rostoni, Lucas Books and Lucas Licensing Managing Editor, on Starwars.com September 2003

          For more quotes showing the complex canonicity of the Star Wars expanded universe, go to https://www.theexpandeduniverse.com/quotes-databank

      • maychild

        Joseph Bongiorno, you cherry pick quotes just as much as you accuse others of doing. The EUwwwwwww is not canon and never was. Mara Jade was not canon. Neither were the Solobrats. Lucas made that clear, through his words and his actions, many times. And now it’s been kicked to the curb, thankfully — one of the few things I applaud Disney for doing. The EUwwwwww is a bunch of bland, stupid, dull crap that thinks it’s deep because it’s “dark” (that is, filled with violence and misery). You think it’s brilliant….please. It’s not. Radioactive, maybe, but not brilliant. Lucas was content to let it go on for a long time (it was passive income), since he was gearing up to return to the REAL story and fans were clamoring for more on the interim.

        The EUwwwwwww is not only inconsistent with the movies, it’s inconsistent with itself. The Force is uber-powerful — then it’s useless. Leia’s a powerful Jedi — then “half-trained and uncertain in the Force.” At least 20 different EUwwwwww characters “stole the Death Star plans” and there are all kinds of different characters who single-handedly started the Rebellion — the most hilarious/offensive of these was that OTHER red-gold pest, Brie-Cheese or whatever her name was, the Mary Sue through which A.C. Crispin lived out her romantic fantasies regarding Han/Harrison in the misnamed Han Solo Trilogy. Some feathered idiot says there IS no Dark Side (funny, because characters in the EUwwwww fall to it every other book, and then turn back at the drop of a hat. Gee, and here was me thinking the only one who was able to purge the Dark Side was Anakin Skywalker, who lost his life in doing so.

        I know you’d like to think I’ve only read a couple of books. I have read a hell of a lot more than that. Enough to know how lousy the EUwwwwww is. If that puke in book form tickles your fancy, so be it. But don’t push it as canon. It isn’t.

    • Stefan

      Nothing (really) scandalous to see here IMHO, carry on…
      Sure, maybe the relationship between GL and the EU writers could have been better sometimes, but the writers knew that GL could always overwrite the EU lore, and GL did not feel obligated to respect it.
      You can of course still disagree with GL whether he should have left some EU ideas intact etc., but that’s the way SW under Lucas worked (and not too bad IMHO 🙂 )

      • Stefan

        P.s.: The writers could obviously also dislike some ideas by Lucas, but as long as they respected them (and/or “made the best out of it”) everything was fine.

      • joey pieper

        there was an article on the thrawn trilogy for the 20th anniversary and one dumba** said in the comments that zahn should have wrote for the prequels yeah get a writer no experience writng a movie screenplay(yes i know it’s happened with writers like f.scott fitzgerald and raymond chandler)

      • Star Wars Hexalogy

        Well, looking at the bright side, at least I have one more reason to not give a damn about the EU and stick only to the Lucas canon.

    • maychild

      Zahn is an arrogant ass and he thinks he owns SW and knows it better than the man who created it. Zahn didn’t even create the Exploited Universe. It existed long before he wrote his first three overrated books. I doubt Lucas cares what this insignificant author says about his story, and he had no more than rubber-stamp involvement with the Exploited Universe. He even said it wasn’t part of his story.

      So Zahn is really flattering himself if he thinks that the long-overdue and not-nearly-painful-enough death of Mara in the Exploited Universe was Lucas’s way of “getting back at him.” Lucas has been insulted and blasted and verbally abused by experts. Why would he care what the likes of Zahn, who invented crap characters like Mara and “Force-resistant” critters like ysalamiri, and actually had the nerve to “reinterpret” Luke’s vision in the Dark Side cave in ESB to mean he’d one day be forced by one of Zahn’s lame villains to duel his own clone (and lose to it), says?

      Lucas created SW. Zahn wrote a few mediocre novels that butchered Lucas’s universe and characters.

      • Keith Palmer

        I guess I don’t have to “imagine” the reaction of one particular person to this news, as I’d said before.

        It might be that one weakness of the Star Wars novels in the 1990s was that they couldn’t address the backstory (or “make it up themselves”), and by the time it was all set down for the “follow-up story” it might have been too set in its ways and influenced by bad press to really engage with it then. That the novels could “continue the story” in the first place, though, might hint that at the time that hadn’t seemed as important to George Lucas… the problem for me is that I’m still left wondering “what insights did he come to, perhaps while The Clone Wars was in production, to become interested in continuing the story himself?”

  • Will Reardon

    In recent months, Timothy Zahn has also expressed criticisms of the Sequel Trilogy with comments such as:

    It’s hard to take anyone in the First Order seriously. Since anyone can push Kylo Ren’s buttons, Grand Admiral Thrawn would have him for breakfast.

    For his recent book, Thrawn: Alliances, Zahn has said he was able to write Padme’s character by watching the deleted scenes from AOTC. The one where Anakin meets Padme’s family shows why she is attracted to him: the two are equally neurotic.

    • maychild

      Zahn thinks very highly of his overblown OCs. He even at one point had some character tell the horrid Mara-thing that Palpatine replaced “Kinman Doriana” (Zahn-created character) with Thrawn (Zahn-created character), that minor, unimportant guy in black, the one created by the insignificant guy with the beard…oh yeah, Vader, and her (Zahn-created character). He elevated three of his OCs to Vader’s level.

      What an ego! And people who bash Lucas for “being egotistical” and “not being mindful of what the EU authors established (that’s right, they think the CREATOR of “Star Wars” should defer to hired authors that he permitted to write about HIS characters and HIS story) have no trouble with Zahn’s egotism. When in a chat, someone mentioned the Original Trilogy, and Zahn actually asked, “Do you mean my original trilogy of books, or the original trilogy of movies?” Could Zahn be in any more awe of himself?

      Zahn thinks he is the god of SW, no doubt because the publishers and other authors have treated him that way.(With one exception: Zahn bragged that the horrid Mara-thing was “really doing good” for the galaxy and “was never dark” when she slit throats for Palpatine because the people/creatures she killed were all evil in their own right; the publisher obviously told him to back down from that because in a subsequent interview he backtracked and said she did do evil things for Palpatine.) It must be a real shock to his system that Lucas doesn’t treat him that way. And I’m glad Lucas decimated the crap Zahn established in his overrated books, which were fun enough for the time, but with hindsight look like the crap they are.

      Thrawn wouldn’t eat Kylo Ren for breakfast. He’d be too busy studying art and admiring his stupid blue-black hair in a mirror. Vader would cut Kylo Ren down to size. He could also Force-choke the horrid Mara creature without breaking a sweat…if she was even worth the effort.

    • archdukeofnaboo

      Ah, I didn’t know that. Now I badly want to read that Alliances book. I love those deleted AotC scenes, they add so much.

  • Alexrd

    Not surprised at all that he didn’t like Mara Jade. The EU used the character to dismantle a lot of ideas Lucas established in the movies.

    It’s also baffling the amount of people who not only don’t understand what the Jedi are about, but don’t want to understand. They want their own fan fiction materialized.

    No wonder Lucas felt that it wasn’t Star Wars. No wonder he feels the same about the Disney material.

  • Will Reardon

    Before the release of Phantom Menace, what fans knew about Jedi lore was mostly from the Expanded Universe. This perception had many predicting the Knights of the Old Republic would be akin to chivalrous and swashbuckling musketeers.

    It can’t be overlooked that the popularity of Zahn and other EU author’s books were a big factor in convincing George that Star Wars is still popular and led to him making the Prequel Trilogy.

    With the Jedi Knights being akin to celibate monks, Mark Hamill has admitted to being displeased with George’s decision to make Luke and Leia siblings and was a big fan of Mara Jade.

    • maychild

      What we knew about the Jedi was due to expository dialogue in the movies, and in the novelizations of the movies. Not due to the Exploited Universe, as I call those lousy books. Zahn’s original three books may have been the best, but that’s not saying much. Besides which, I am glad Lucas didn’t go the predictable route of making the Jedi swashbucklers. I can’t stand the Exploited Universe’s depiction of the Jedi, especially when a vicious-tempered, violent, arrogant, wrathful former Imperial assassin like Mara Jade gets made not only a Jedi, but a Jedi master, despite not qualifying for either title. Luke granted her those titles because he was sleeping with her. If that’s the Exploited Universe’s version of “great Jedi,” I’ll take the “monks” of the prequel trilogy anyday.

      I have never seen any indication whatsoever that Mark disliked the decision to make Luke and Leia siblings, nor that he was a fan of that horrid Mara thing. He said something like he thought Shannon McRandle was adorable (and she is a very sweet woman by all accounts; she isn’t Mara, she’s just posed as her for trading cards), but he wasn’t too big on Luke being hitched to Mara.

      The Exploited Unierse’s so-called popularity had nothing to do with Lucas’s decision to make the prequel trilogy. What persuaded him to do that was the release of “Jurassic Park,” made by his good buddy Spielberg (and he oversaw the production when Spielberg had to leave for Poland to start filming “Schindler’s List”). He saw that technology had progressed enough where he could fully realize Episodes I-III as he saw them in his head.

      • Alexrd

        “Exploited Universe”. I like that.

        And you are quite right. While Lucas always intended to eventually develop the prequel trilogy, as made evident by the numbered chapters in the movies since 1980, the timing was set with the making of Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park’s success in the SFX arena, along with the Special Editions which served as a test bed both for special effects but also to probe audience’s interest in the brand (which by that time was considered pretty much dead, which goes against the narrative that the Zahn trilogy, or the EU itself, had any impact at all).

  • Keith Palmer

    I’ve known a few fans over the years who I can imagine taking some positive interest in this little revelation. As for myself, I suppose I liked Mara Jade as well as anything else in “the Thrawn Trilogy” when I first read it in the early 1990s, but in the second half of that decade, when I was reading the Star Wars Usenet newsgroup, the constant complaints that Zahn’s novels “got it” better than any of the other Star Wars tie-ins got me wondering if they really felt that way to me, and the fanfics insisting Mara had first mover advantage in becoming Luke’s destined significant other could get to me too… I have the very peculiar condition of not being insistent on imagining every (important?) fictional character paired off with someone else, be it via slash or that old and perhaps never widely liked method of introducing “somebody new” via fanfic or tie-in. On the other hand, I seem more accepting than many of “official romances,” which may have helped me as a “prequel appreciator” even if it’s cut me off from bog-standard discussions.

  • Will Reardon

    After finding success with Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford did not want to be in Return of the Jedi. He did try to compromise with George by having Han killed off halfway through the story.

    In the end, George solved this dilemma by resolving the love triangle; making Luke and Leia siblings. This convinced Harrison to go along with the fairy tale ending.

    Looking at it from Mark Hamill’s perspective, it had to have been frustrating to see his co-star, Harrison, achieve the double success of ending up with the girl onscreen while becoming an A-list star offscreen.

    Following the revelations from her last book, Princess Diaries, it was also believed George made Luke and Leia siblings because of Carrie Fisher’s personal preference for Harrison.

    The reason this subject matter gets brought up is because it provides fuel to those who tell male Star Wars fans: If you want to be successful with women, be like Han not Luke.

      • maychild

        Mark gets enough credit in the circles that matter to him: SW fans adore him, and people who follow his Twitterfeed love him for his boyish sweetness and charm. He’s very happy with his life and career, and there’s no reason he wouldn’t be. I might also add that none of Ford’s co-stars in his other movies achieved Ford’s level of stardom either (not counting the co-stars who were already big stars in their own right, like Sean Connery), yet people keep trying to create a rivalry between Mark and Harrison. For pete’s sake, Harrison even showed up at and spoke at the ceremony when Mark got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They’re friends and there’s no anger or jealousy. But people will say anything by way of slamming the choices Lucas made with SW that they don’t like.

    • maychild

      “It was also believed”? By whom? And I’ve never seen any indication that Mark a) liked Mara, or wanted her to marry Luke; or b) was angry about the Luke/Leia sibling revelation. Nor was he “jealous” that Ford achieved superstardom while he didn’t. He has achieved what Ford failed to do: staying married to his first wife, for 40 years. He’s also made a nice career for himself with voiceover work. Quit making things up to support your assertions.

    • Star Wars Hexalogy

      For didn´t know that Luke Leia are siblings until the scene when Leia tells Han was shot. The brother and sister reveal was kept secret from the cast and crew. Making Luke and Leia into siblings had nothing to do with it.

  • Will Reardon

    On YouTube, there is a TV special from 2008 called Bring Back Star Wars, hosted by Justin Lee Collins. Of all the cast members from the OT he was able to interview, Collins has said the one with Carrie Fisher was the most informative about her co-stars.

    After director, Milos Forman, passed away last April, it was mentioned he would not allow Mark Hamill to audition for Amadeus. Even though Mark had played Mozart in the stage adaptation, Milos didn’t want the ‘Star Wars guy’ in his film that would’ve been too much of a distraction.

    When Disney declared the Expanded Universe no longer canon in 2014, hardcore fans were betrayed as they felt responsible for keeping Star Wars alive and strong from the mid-80s to late-90s.

    Had he been involved with the production of the sequel trilogy, George would not have respected the old EU timeline; but would have allowed the old canon to continue as an alternate timeline. In contrast while claiming originality, Disney has been pilfering ideas from the old EU for their films.

    • maychild

      The Exploited Universe never was canon. Disney didn’t “de-canonize” it; you can’t “de-canonize” what wasn’t canon in the first place. Disney kicked it to the curb and started over. That’s one of the few things re: SW that I can say, “Yay, Disney!” about. The character Rey is another, although she was actually created by Lucas, as quiet as it’s kept (because Kathleen Kennedy and JJ Abrams like to kiss their own derrieres about “making SW safe for girls to like” — excuse me? I’m a girl, and I’ve loved it from the beginning). His treatments for Episodes 7-9 featured a character very like Rey, only she was younger and called “Kira,” though that was just a placeholder name.

      The Exploited Universe did not keep SW alive during the 80s and 90s. SW never really went away, although, like all things, it went through cycles of popularity and non-popularity. By the mid-90s, there was a big wave of nostalgia for 1970s entertainment, from disco music to John Travolta to, yes, SW. SW started to become popular again. Hardcore SW fans may have liked the Exploited Universe, or not. I liked it well enough at first, but slowly got turned off by how bad it got, and how far off the real story it got. It mistook darkness, violence, death and misery for depth, and glorified the OCs like Mara, Thrawn, et al over the movie characters. Every new character the Big Three met was “better at” something than one of them (a better pilot than Han, a better Jedi than Luke, more beautiful and regal than Leia) and of course, Mara was better at everything than everybody: the best Jedi, the best smuggler/pilot, the most beautiful woman in the universe, the best mother — Leia’s kids all love her and hate their mother, etc.

      Hardcore SW fans kept SW as it really was — the movies — alive, even if it was only in their hearts, during times when SW wasn’t so popular. If fans of the Exploited Universe felt “betrayed” when Disney got rid of the old crap, well, too bad. It was made clear from the beginning that the Exploited Universe wasn’t a genuine continuation of the story; it existed “parallel” to the SW story. Those fans were most likely the really obnoxious ones who cited the Exploited Universe books to “disprove” stuff in the movies. Like the crap Zahn spewed about Vader being a bad tactician. Actually, Vader was just about the only GOOD tactician in the Empire. That was just a cheap trick to denigrate Vader and make Zahn’s precious Thrawn look better.

      • Alexrd

        Wether the new EU is worse then the old EU or not, is almost beside the point. Both show how the involvement of Lucas is crucial for Star Wars to be Star Wars. When he’s not involved, it always invariably comes out as fan fiction. Sometimes, even when the ideas are good, the execution gives it away.

      • Joe Bongiorno

        Mayfair: We get it. You’re angry at Zahn. Fair enough. But you’re also spewing a lot of un-factual misinformation. There is a wealth of quotes to show that Lucas and Lucasfilm considered the EU to be the de-facto continuation of the Star Wars saga (see here: https://www.theexpandeduniverse.com/quotes-databank) including the fact that the tiered canon levels maintained by Lucasfilm had a specific non-canon designation for stories that were… outside canon. While it’s true that Lucas was at the top of that pyramid, that doesn’t mean ONLY the top was considered the pyramid and not the rest of it. You may not like what little you’ve read, which sounds like a few books at most, but the EU is far more than Timothy Zahn. Try another author or series. Any long running series is going to have storylines and directions you don’t care for. It doesn’t mean you throw out the baby with the bathwater, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for constant misery in any art/entertainment that goes beyond a single work. Plenty of fans hated the midichlorians and Jar Jar. Plenty hated the Ewoks. Does that mean these films should be removed from canon? Some would say yes, but that would be absurd. So how about we stop condemning everything based on a few missteps and decisions you didn’t like so much?

      • maychild

        My user name is maychild, not mayfair. And no, I am not “angry” at Zahn. I can’t stand the characters he created for his EU books, but otherwise his EU books weren’t TOO bad. There were certainly EU books that were a lot worse. Zahn’s first three books were entertaining enough for the time. Hindsight, however, is 20/20 and is not kind to them.

        List all the quotes you want to, it won’t make the EU any more canon. It is not canon and never has been. Maybe Lucas was content to consider it a fanfic take on what MAY have happened after ROTJ and “between the movies,” but he said (and this is a quote) that it was a parallel universe, it went on without him.

        The EU is definitely more than Zahn’s books, but that’s hardly a good thing. And as for the “try a different author” straw man, I DID try a different author. I read a lot of EU books by a lot of different authors. Some of them weren’t bad writers, but the stories were bad. And none of them were SW.

        Oh, and once I started reading your reply, I wished I had a stopwatch so I could record the exact second you used the old, tired “Jar Jar, Ewoks and midichlorians” so-called defense by way of proving…well, I don’t know what Yes, lots of fans dislike/hate those elements. So what? I don’t feel either way about them myself, but there ARE elements of the SW movies — all of them — that I dislike. But they’re still part of SW. The EU is not.

        The EU isn’t “just a few missteps.” It’s one long giant misstep.

  • Joseph Bongiorno

    Alexrd: I would advise you read https://www.theexpandeduniverse.com/quotes-databank as well. Lucas WAS involved in the EU and from the beginning. In fact, he was the one who hired people like Carol Titleman and Lucy Wilson to oversee the EU, ensure its quality and harmony with the films, and even wrote up a story bible for them to use in that regard. Lucas is a brilliant man, but just as he’s not perfect, neither was the Expanded Universe. And just as he was amazing at times, so was the Expanded Universe. But it’s very easy to criticize something you know very little about. To call it fan-fiction is probably one of the most ignorant things a person can say on this subject. Nothing against fan-fiction (some of it is very good), but these were professional authors, many of them award-winning authors, vetted by Lucasfilm, working for a prestigious publishing company, whose stories were overseen by Lucasfilm, with certain questions going directly to Lucas for comment. These were also consistent NY Times Bestsellers. Lucas enjoyed the comic-book series Dark Empire so much he gave it out as Christmas presents to his employees. He name-dropped people, places, and things from the EU in his films. So, to say the EU had no impact on the return of Star Wars, or pretend that it was fan-fiction is to ignore all the evidence to the contrary.

    • maychild

      Nowhere, anywhere, is the EU brilliant. Lucas may have been okay with the EU at first, but as it got more and more off-base, he gave up on it. And his treatments for Episodes 7-9, plus the prequels, show that he held the EU in very low regard. Aside from borrowing a character or two (like Aayla Secura; he reportedly saw her on a comic book cover, and since he’d always liked the idea of a Twi’lek Jedi, plus she certainly wasn’t hard on the eyes, decided to put her in the background in AOTC), he disregarded it.

      I don’t care if the EU crap books were consistent bestsellers. Lots more people saw the movies than read the books, thank all applicable deities. The EU had no impact on the return of SW, and they are professional fanfic written by “burger flippers in the literature world,” many of whom had no love at all for SW (and it showed). Or worse, they loved it too much and used their lousy books to live out their fantasies, crapping all over the movies in the process. Carol Titleman and Lucy Wilson did a lousy job ensuring its quality and harmony with the films. And EU fans, when responding to criticism of their precious crapfests, ALWAYS say, “You don’t know anything about the EU, you’ve only read a few books!” Believe me, I wish I HAD read just a few books! In fact, I read a whole lot of them. I wasted substantial amounts of time and money on them. I know a lot about them. Enough so that I know they’re crap. Even the “best” ones are, and this is being generous, mediocre.

      I don’t get the EU fans who aren’t even fans of the movies, or hate more of the movies than they like, but who insist their precious EU books are part of the SW story. Isn’t that called Red Headed Stepchild Syndrome?

      • Joseph Bongiorno

        Your poor opinion of them remains your opinion, however, and is not shared by many. And while you’re entitled to feel the way you do, your excessive bitterness, negativity, and hate is troubling. If there’s anything you should take away from Star Wars, it’s to let go of the dark side. I suggest you find something you can love and focus on that.

      • maychild

        My opinion is not shared by a lot of people, and it is shared by a lot of people. I don’t care anyway. I don’t base how I feel on how many people agree with me, whereas you seem to put great stock in so-called “popular opinions.”

        And don’t try that “you’re too negative” B.S. on me. Given how negative, dark, violent, hate-filled (Mara Jade, aka the Queen of the EU, was filled with hatred from the moment she was inflicted on the story to the day she was finally whacked — she who was coddled and petted all her life and unquestioningly accepted into a family that had every right to shun her, and who never got annoyed at her no matter how vile her behavior; the hateful hag grieved terribly over the loss of her ship but couldn’t have cared less about the death of her nephew) and miserable the Exploited Universe got, your preaching is more than a little ironic. Especially the let go of the Dark Side stuff. Characters in the EU turn to the Dark Side (or “flirt with the Dark Side”) every other book, because the lazy authors want a cheap way to add drama. The only member of the Skywalker/Solo clan that DIDN’T go to the Dark Side was Leia, and she not only got no credit for it, she was degraded and insulted and shoved aside for “uber-kewl” Mara Jade as primary heroine.

        I HAVE found something I love: the SW movies, aka the real SW. I don’t need the crappy, badly written, boring, non-canonical garbage that is the EU.

    • Grim 'alkun

      Lucas was virtually not involved at all in the Expanded Universe. It wasn’t even in the same Universe as his.

      The only way he would allow people to write Star Wars stories was in a ‘parallel Star Wars Universe’ that was modeled after Star Trek.

      Lucas said of the Expanded Universe:

      *”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.*…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.”

      “There are two worlds here,” explained Lucas. “There’s 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. They don’t intrude on my world, which is a select period of time, [but] they do intrude in between the movies. I don’t get too involved in the parallel universe”

      —————————-

      “George knows more about Star Wars than we do. He doesn’t see the extended universe as ”his” Star Wars, but as ”ours.” I think this has been mentioned previously, maybe in other places, but it’s not new info, as far as I remember.”

      – Sue Rostoni, Lucas Licensing (LLP Managing Editor), Jun 2004

      ——————————

      He considered non of it canon.

      “The terminology of “Expanded Universe” was a careful one; it expanded on the world created in the core stories, but was never officially meant to be Star Wars canon, according to the Maker himself, George Lucas.”
      ~ Dave Filoni 2017

      ——————

      “They’re there to be enjoyed as unofficial Legends. But, as Zahn also points out, the Expanded Universe wasn’t really ever official regardless of what the fans thought.”
      ~ Timothy Zahn 2017

      —————-

      Furthermore, he was downright dismissive of it at times, with his comments.

      “And now there have been novels about the events after Episode VI, which isn’t at all what I would have done with it. The Star Wars story is really the tragedy of Darth Vader. That is the story. Once Vader dies, he doesn’t come back to life, the Emperor doesn’t get cloned and Luke doesn’t get married…”

      – George Lucas, Flannelled One, May 2008

      ————–

      ”The novels and comic books are other authors’ interpretations of my creation. Sometimes, I tell them what they can and cant do, but I just don’t have the time to read them all. They’re not my vision of what Star Wars is.”

      – George Lucas 2004
      ——————————————

      ”Those 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.”
      ~ George Lucas

      ——————-

      Howard Roffman [President of Lucas Licensing], He once said to me that there are two Star Trek universes: there’s the TV show and then there’s all the spin-offs. He said that these were completely different and didn’t have anything to do with each other. So I said, “OK, go ahead.”

      – George Lucas 2008

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