Former Lucasfilm Director of Publishing Lucy Autrey Wilson recently revealed that Star Wars creator George Lucas informed her that “the Emperor would never have been cloned.”

Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine in as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker via Disney+

In a new interview with Star Wars Interviews, Wilson spoke about how she joined Lucasfilm, her creation of the Star Wars publishing program, and whether or not the Expanded Universe was ever intended to be canon or not.

First, in a series of questions about the Expanded Universe, Wilson shared her opinion that Expanded Universe was never meant to be canon.

She explained, “Our expanded universe books and comics were never intended to be canon. Only what George wrote was canon.”

“We tried to keep an internal consistency so our writers did not contradict anything George had created or anything any of our others writers had added,” she relayed.

Source: Star Wars: Dark Empire

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When asked how involved Lucas was with the publishing program that originally involved comics and books, Wilson revealed, “In the beginning, George was not very involved. He had given me and my group the freedom to develop stories in the future so as not to compete with what he planned to do in the past.”

She continued, “He was getting copies of all the comics and books only after they were published. After he read the Dark Horse trilogy Dark Empire, he mentioned to me that the Emperor would never have been cloned.”

“I realized then I needed to pre clear major plot points with him. So, for each new storyline, I sent him memos with Yes/No questions to get his input before we went too far astray,” he concluded.

Star Wars: Dark Empire #2 (Dark Horse Comics)

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Ironically, after Lucas sold Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company, the company’s President Kathleen Kennedy claimed there was no source material for Star Wars in 2019.

She told Rolling Stone, “Every one of these movies is a particularly hard nut to crack. There’s no source material. We don’t have comic books. We don’t have 800-page novels. We don’t have anything other than passionate storytellers who get together and talk about what the next iteration might be.”

A month later, The Rise of Skywalker was released and Disney revealed they took the cloned Emperor idea from Dark Empire and included it in the movie in order to have the Emperor survive and be an antagonist for Rey and Kylo Ren.

Source: Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019), Disney

Wilson also commented on how The Walt Disney Company turned her Expanded Universe publishing initiative into Legends back in 2014. 

If you recall, the official Star Wars website announced back in 2014, “In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, Star Wars Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe.”

“While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded,” they attempted to reassure Star Wars fans. “Creators of new Star Wars entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in Star Wars Rebels. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s.”

“Demand for past tales of the Expanded Universe will keep them in print, presented under the new Legends banner,” they announced.

Source: Star Wars: Heir to the Empire

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Wilson shared her thoughts on this announcement and the Expanded Universe being declared out of continuity, “I knew they would do that way before they did it. It’s not that it was no longer canon, it was that they were no longer going to try to coordinate new storylines to be consistent with what we had published. The continuity we had worked so hard on was being put aside.”

“They didn’t have much choice,” she asserted. “We had developed so much of the universe, it would have been very difficult to hire new talent and tell them their hands were tied as to what they could do. There were lots more people getting into the action besides the novel and comic writers including multiple film directors, TV developers, computer gamers, etc., which made things much more complicated.”

“I think we were the luckiest, being first, because we were developing stories with little competition from others internally at Lucasfilm when there were very few limits on what could be done,” she concluded.

Star Wars #1 (1977), Marvel Comics

What do you make of Wilson’s comments?

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