The Star Wars Canon: 
        Condensed Overview

Quick Reference:
I.    Introduction
II.   Methods
III.  The Star Wars Canon Policy
      A. Confusion and Civil War
      B. Resolution:  A Tale of Two Canons
          1. The EU Continuity and the OCP
          2. The Lucas-LFL Canon
        - Confirmation Case:  Boba Fett
IV.  Conclusion
V.  Addenda

Note:  Quotes not linked to in the text will be followed with a » symbol.
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I.  Introduction

The Star Wars entertainment empire is composed of a huge assortment of material and merchandise featuring the Star Wars brand name and the Star Wars intellectual property.   Not only do we have the original films, but there are also television programs, novels, games, toys, reference guides, clothing, cereal boxes, toothbrushes . . . and that list barely scratches the surface.   However, only some of the material constitutes official fact, meaning that we must discover what sub-set of the Star Wars intellectual property is actually a part of the Star Wars saga.

This topic has consumed some Star Wars fans, and the battle between so-called "Movie Purists" -- those who consider only the films to be official Star Wars fact -- and "EU Completists" -- those who believe the EU is a true part of Star Wars -- have raged online for years.

What is needed in order to have a meaningful discussion on Star Wars is to have an objective standard of what Star Wars is and what it is not.   Even fan consensus (were it possible to achieve it) would merely be an aggregate subjective opinion, and while that seems to work for Holmes fans and Christendom it simply isn't an objective standard.   Thus, we're left to looking toward the makers and owners of Star Wars to learn just what the canon policy says.  Even that rationale has left certain people room to try to insert their subjective desires into an objective analysis, and indeed much quote-twisting and semantic gamesmanship has been employed by certain parties intent on achieving their desired goal.   Nonetheless, looking to the statements of the makers and owners is the only objective way to get an objective standard.

II.  Methods

Of paramount importance in logical analysis is having and maintaining a consistent, logical methodology.  This is where many in the canon debate falter, for they apply varying standards at a whim.  Extreme care must be taken.   The most logical method of employing such care is to pay careful attention to the rank of the speaker.   In the case of Star Wars, Lucas rules as both the maker and the owner, so he naturally comes first.  

After that, we have to deal with some corporate information.   Lucas's company Lucasfilm, Ltd. (LFL) is the keeper of Star Wars.  It's stated on the Lucasfilm website that "Lucasfilm manages the rights to films in the Star Wars saga", and per the US Patent and Trademark Office LFL owns the Star Wars brand name and trademark.  LFL also owns myriad subsidiary companies.   The most important for our purposes is Lucas Licensing, Ltd.   Lucas Licensing is said to be "responsible for licensing and merchandising activities" related to the Star Wars brand name, managing "all the global merchandising activities in the fields of publishing, toys, games, collectibles, apparel and home furnishings for Lucasfilm's entertainment properties" (source 1 , 2).   Lucas Licensing is correctly identified as "Lucas Licensing, a Lucasfilm Ltd. company" (1 , 2).   The term 'division' is sometimes used of these different Lucas companies (e.g. the Lucasfilm site), though this is not technically accurate in regard to separate subsidiary companies.

Licensing features a publishing department (referred to here as LLP) tasked, among other things, with the creation of new Star Wars-brand fiction products.  Through the publishing imprint (i.e. 'trade name') LucasBooks, Licensing and publisher Del Rey have expanded on earlier Star Wars-theme fiction products to create the Expanded Universe we know today.

The above having been said, we can work toward acknowledging the sub-Lucas ranks appropriately, though we'll still want to exercise caution given the frequency of people misidentifying companies, departments, et cetera.

Lucasfilm has a Publicity Department and a Fan Relations Department, and the fellow in charge of the latter is directly responsible for answering fan questions regarding Star Wars and Lucas's feelings thereon.  Meanwhile, Lucasfilm also has subsidiary companies like Lucas Licensing, Lucas Online, LucasArts, ILM, and so on.   Many fans believe that these subsidiaries are authorized to make statements on how to understand the universe of the Star Wars films.  That view makes little sense, however . . .  Lucas and Lucasfilm make the films, not Licensing. They're salesmen of the Star Wars brand name, and though they have a department that does produce some of their own goods in addition to licensing the brand name to other producers, they most certainly do not speak for Lucas or Lucasfilm in regards to the facts within the films.

Secondary to the rank issue would be considerations regarding the age of the statement.  Naturally, it makes no sense for Lucas and Lucasfilm to be unable to change their minds, so we must accept that the newer quotes supercede the old in importance.    Of course, if we had a case of, say, one of Lucasfilm's janitors saying something tomorrow that was contrary to Lucas's statement from yesterday, we obviously shouldn't consider that an override.

And so, let us begin:

III.  The Star Wars Canon Policy

In the early days the Star Wars canon policy was a nebulous thing, as often happens in the beginning of a franchise.  When there wasn't much material anyway, there was little need.   And so for years, the most definitive statement on the matter was a quote often attributed to Lucas:  "As George Lucas says, the movies are Gospel, and everything else is Gossip".  The earliest online source for that quote that I've found comes from a reprint of a 1980 Fantastic Films magazine issue, though no additional details are provided.  Even by that point, though, the quote was given in a form indicating that it was common knowledge, though it now represents a largely forgotten piece of information.   (Nevertheless, when Star Wars EU author Andy Mangels was asked about that comment in 1995 (where the questioner applied it to the entire EU), he said "Sounds like a typical George quote."»)

A.  Confusion and Civil War

Confusion only started to set in during the 1990's.   By this point, the Star Wars brand name encompassed the films, film novelizations, a handful of novels, comic books, the old National Public Radio dramatizations of the films, West End Games (WEG) materials that had kept interest so alive, and other various toys and such.   But with all the new and retold Star Wars stories, people were once again wondering what exactly constituted Star Wars fact.

The most well-known quote appeared in 1994, in the premiere issue of the licensed fan magazine Star Wars Insider (#23).  Inside the magazine was what would become the primary statement of canon policy used by many EU Completists, from the Vs. Community to Star Wars fan discussion groups.

"'Gospel', or canon as we refer to it, includes the screenplays, the films, the radio dramas and the novelisations. These works spin out of George Lucas' original stories, the rest are written by other writers. However, between us, we've read everything, and much of it is taken into account in the overall continuity. The entire catalog of published works comprises a vast history -- with many off-shoots, variations and tangents -- like any other well-developed mythology."»

Those words were written by Lucas Licensing employee Allan Kausch and LL Publishing editor Sue Rostoni (though they are often erroneously attributed to "Production and Continuity Editors at Lucasfilm").  Those words . . . the first official declarations from anyone at a Lucas company in almost 15 years . . . were taken as the gospel on the subject for a long while.  The quote established the contents of the canon (albeit in a haphazard order) and gave us a general sense of what canonicity is based on . . . an important consideration given the lack of specifics.   They also noted that, between them, they paid attention to much of the entire catalog of non-canon works of other writers.

And so the Civil War was on.   Four years later a bit of diplomacy was employed.  In 1998, Steve Sansweet . . . then of Licensing's Specialty Marketing . . . got the opportunity to write the Star Wars Encyclopedia.  In his preface, he presents a canon policy interpretation that synthesizes the views of both sides:

"Which brings us to the often-asked question: Just what is Star Wars canon, and what is not? The one sure answer: The Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition -- the three films themselves as executive-produced, and in the case of Star Wars written and directed, by George Lucas, are canon. Coming in a close second we have the authorised adaptations of the three films: the novels, radio dramas, and comics. After that, almost everything falls into a category of ”quasi-canon.”"»

While the term "quasi-canon" was diplomatically vague enough to allow both views, it actually said nothing at all . . . even Sansweet's one sure answer was just the films.   The civil war thus continued unabated, and the less nebulous (but contradictory) quotes were favored.  Many found the contradictions confusing, over and above the contrary positions . . . after all, how could Lucas say one thing and these other people manage to say something else?   Folks at Licensing would end up using the term "canon" to refer to the things they'd made internally for the EU -- which had become an offshoot, self-referencing entity -- and this spawned a great many debates and civil war battles.

The Purists generally took to ignoring these lesser statements in favor of Lucas's own words, while the EU Completists generally attempted to ignore the face-value meanings, re-imagining Lucas's words into something non-contradictory.

But what if both sides were wrong?

As noted, it makes sense to organize the myriad statements by speaker rank.   In doing so, one quickly realizes that the contradictions only exist across a certain rank boundary line.

(The situation is akin to trying to comprehend U.S. government policy by listening to senators and representatives.  It will seem like a contradictory mish-mash until you start to realize that the people with a little "D" after their name largely say one thing, whereas the people with a little "R" after their name largely say another.   Once you catch on to the difference between Democrats and Republicans, you start to realize that there are two different ideologies at work.  The rank boundary line of the Star Wars canon policy is similar in principle.)

As a result, the only self-consistent way to comprehend the myriad statements is to acknowledge that two separate canon policies exist under the Star Wars brand label.   One, known informally as the 'canon policy', is maintained by Lucas and Lucasfilm, Ltd.   The other, termed the "official continuity policy"», is maintained by Lucas Licensing.

B.  Resolution:  A Tale of Two Canons

It wasn't until circa 2002 that this pattern in the statements became apparent, but it was still years before enough of a pattern had been amassed that the extremists of the civil war could be properly ignored as such.

1.  Licensing, the Holocron, and the OCP

As Sue Rostoni of LLP made explicit in 2001: 

"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."»

This goal is achieved by vigorously protecting the continuity via the aforementioned "official continuity policy" (OCP).  Whereas before this was achieved via stacks of binders consitituting the EU "bible" or "canon", since circa 2000 this has been largely handled via a computer database known as the Holocron.   Holocron maintainer Leland Chee states:

"The Holocron is an internal database maintained by Lucas Licensing that tracks all the fictional elements created for the Star Wars universe. The database includes material from the films, books, comics, videogames, trading cards, roleplaying games, websites, toys, cartoons, and just about every officially sanctioned fictional element of the Star Wars universe."

"Understand, that the Holocron's primary purpose is to keep track of Star Wars continuity for Lucas Licensing, and to some degree Lucas Online. To my knowledge, it is only rarely used for production purposes."»

The Holocron makes use of a canon field coded with a G, C, S, or N, and as Chee described it in 2004:

"Anything in the films and from George Lucas (including unpublished internal notes that we might receive from him or from the film production department) is considered ”G” canon. Next we have what we call continuity ”C” canon which is pretty much everything else. There is secondary ”S” continuity canon which we use for some older published materials and things that may or may not fit just right. [...]  Lastly there is non-continuity ”N” which we rarely use except in the case of a blatant contradiction or for things that have been cut."

"By everything else I mean EVERYthing else. Novels, comics, junior novels, videogames, trading card games, roleplaying games, toys, websites, television."»

By definition, a self-referencing off-shoot like the EU cannot accurately represent the original source material without some conflict.  The only way to avoid it would be to avoid overlap altogether, but the EU has never avoided referencing characters or items of the same name as those in the canon.   As a result the EU must sometimes refer to itself in lieu of the canon, and Leland Chee confirms that this is sometimes knowingly done by the makers of the EU.  (See the "exceptions" here.)

However, this applies only to Licensing, and Lucas is largely uninvolved.  After all, Lucas himself stated in 1999, "I don't even read the offshoot books that come out based on Star Wars."»  He's also said that "”Star Wars” has had a lot of different lives that have been worked on by a lot of different people. It works without me."»   In 2002 he said "I don’t get too involved"» in the EU.  And in 2005 he stated that "I don't read that stuff. I haven't read any of the novels. I don't know anything about that world."»

Lucas does offer somewhat indirect guidance.  The nature of the indirect guidance of authors is explained by LLP's Sue Rostoni:

"In general, George doesn't see the overall story ideas or concepts. If there is a sensitive area, or if we are developing backstory for a character he's created or mentioned in an interview, we can query him to get more information, his approval, or whatever. And yes, we always query him if we're doing something drastic to a film character. I believe he does read the concepts for the games though."»

Steve Sansweet of LFL Fan Relations confirms this in concept, saying that "LucasBooks has always checked with the boss to make sure that none of its projects interferes in any way with anything that he is planning."»  

Timothy Zahn, renowned author of several early EU works that are among EU fan favorites, described the relationship between EU authors and Lucas this way:

"As far as I know, George Lucas himself is not involved. He has a liaison group that deals with the book people, the game people, etc. They do the day-to-day work. Occasionally, he will be asked a question and will give an answer."
"As far as I know, he has not read any of the novels.

EU author James Luceno has stated: 

"Several times at Skywalker Ranch, George was sitting almost within arm’s reach, but I never got to speak with him. [...] His objection to Anakin Solo being the main series protagonist was, I think, possible confusion with Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy of movies."

So, in general, Lucas is simply not involved in the EU in anything more than a limited, passive way.   Lucas is not bent on shaping the EU to his vision of Star Wars . . . if anything, his role is akin to a 'corporate suit' making sure that brand name quality is maintained, which takes us back to the idea that Lucas didn't want the Star Wars trademark smeared by being "on a piece of junk".   It's just good business.   Lucas has explained this reasoning elsewhere:

"I was very, very fortunate in that a spin-off of the Star Wars films was merchandising, and the merchandising has funded a lot of the companies. It's funded a lot of the development. It funded the EditDroid. It's hard to believe but the whole [ability to do] non-linear editing came out of action figures... The ability to spend the million it took to create that, and make it a real thing and prove it, and go to the trade shows and everything and show everybody and say this works, you can do this, and then everybody will go out and copy it and eventually sell it to Avid - you need the money to do it in the first place... We started with revenue from the toy companies..."

Nevertheless, it would also be unfair to say that the EU is completely dissimilar to Lucas's vision.  As Chee puts it, "The EU is bound by what is seen in the most current version of the films and by directives from George Lucas"», and he also states that "More of the EU is based on Lucas's view of the universe outside the films than you are probably aware of."   As Chee and others have pointed out, the Expanded Universe is guided by the movies, movie novelizations, unpublished early script versions, reports from author interviews with George, George's revisions to the novelization manuscript, production notes, Lucas's unpublished notes, and of course the Q&A memos.  Thus, there is definitely Lucas in the EU, if even indirectly.  

Of course, this must be heavily qualified . . . Most of the sources of Lucas's thoughts used by the EU creators are rather informal, and of course Lucas is famous for changing his mind.   So, we can definitely say that there is some of Lucas's idea of Star Wars in the EU as of the time it was written.  We can never know exactly what comes from Lucas, but there's at least a smidgen of resemblance to his Star Wars in there as of the EU work's writing.

However, the makers of the EU know that they are not creating Lucas-level Star Wars canon, even if their works are canon by the terms of LLP's official continuity policy and are influenced by their perception of Lucas's desires.  LLP Managing Editor Sue Rostoni is firm in this position.   She's noted that they're trying to create a history which "does not conflict with, or undermine the meaning of Mr. Lucas's Star Wars saga of films and screenplays."»  She's stated that Lucas "doesn't see the extended universe as ”his” Star Wars, but as ”ours."»  She's pointed out that "It's our job to manipulate the EU into fitting George's future movies, which often contradict stuff we've done"», which is no doubt caused by the fact that Lucas "doesn't give us much information about his future movies until he's making them. In general, George does not take the EU into account when he's making his movies."»  She's explained to EU-philes that "the books follow the continuity of the films as best we can taking into account that George follows his own continuity, and rightly so."»  And, she notes that "If George had continued making SW films past Return of the Jedi, I don't think they would have reflected what the SW authors have written"», even though per Lucas Licensing's OCP they are a legitimate expansion of the universe of the Star Wars films.  George Lucas evidently concurs.  In April 2005, when asked about Star Wars beyond Episode VI, he said that the "other books and everything kind of go off on their path, but I never ever really considered ever taking that particular story further."»  Indeed, in his May 2005 view:

"Han and Leia probably did get married,Lucas conceded. They settled down. She became a senator, and they got a nice little house with a white picket fence. Han Solo is out there cooking burgers on the grill. Is that a movie? I don't think so.”"»

That strongly contrasts with the EU notion that Han and Leia were part of a rather absurd number of continuing adventures, not to mention Leia becoming a Jedi.   And, while some EU authors have apparently believed they were getting a chance to make something real in George Lucas's Star Wars universe, Dark Horse Comics editor Peet James points out that "Lots of people have been working on lots of SW extrapolations for the last twenty years, in good faith. There were never any promises from George Lucas or Lucasfilm regarding the acceptance of their work into some wider canon."»   Given that Lucas actually reads the comics (which is not the case with most EU material), this comment is quite meaningful indeed.

Of course, it's worth directly reiterating that even if Lucas were personally writing the EU novels (and hence had the highest possible level of involvement), it would still take just a single statement from him to render them canonically invalid.

And indeed, Lucas has done so.

2.  Lucas

Lucas has clarified things for us over the past few years:

"TVGuide: Yet novelists have written "Star Wars" sequels using the same characters and extending their stories.

George Lucas: Oh, sure. They're done outside my little universe. "Star Wars" has had a lot of different lives that have been worked on by a lot of different people. It works without me."

- George Lucas, Flannelled One, November 2001 - TV Guide interview

And as noted earlier, it wasn't until about 2002 that things really started getting clear.   I began exploring the concept of two continuities just prior to the appearance of the quote below, which began cinching the deal:

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 Lucas, Flannelled One, July 2002 - as reported on the Cinescape site, from Cinescape Magazine

N.B.:   The two quotes below are technically hearsay regarding Lucas's statements, but they do independently confirm one another conceptually regarding Lucas's answer at the same event and are included here on that basis.

"The question selected from The Furry Conflict poll was: How much does the Expanded Universe influence the movies?

As I asked him, Lucas leaned back a moment and said to me “Very little.” When he first had agreed to let people write Expanded Universe books, he had said “I’m not gonna read ‘em” and it was a “different universe” that he wanted to keep away from the time period of his saga. He jokingly complained, however, that now when he writes a script he has to look through an encyclopedia to make sure that a name he comes up with doesn’t come too close to something in the EU.

He later commented that the future of Star Wars may lie in other venues outside of feature film."

- "Marc Xavier", November 2003, "The Furry Conflict and the Great ‘Beard‘ of the Galaxy"
  (report based on a Q&A session with George Lucas which occurred at USC on 11-19-03)

"Q: What do you think of the expanded universe of books?
A: The books are in a different universe. I've not read any of them, and I told them when they started writing I wouldn't read any of them and I blocked out certain periods [they couldn't touch where the real story happens]."

"Q: in that vein, is it possible we'll see more Star Wars TV product.
A: Because I"m retiring from this part of my creative life, I'm open to more TV Product. but not more feature films, the story is complete. [and any other story wouldn't be my philosophy and views,] the books are not the same philosophy as the movies."

- "Adam_S", November 2003, "Star Wars Original Trilogy In 2004?", message board
  (report based on the same 11-19-03 Lucas Q&A session as the FurryConflict report, thereby providing independent corroboration of the concepts, even if they were paraphrased differently.)

"I feel very satisfied that I have accomplished what I set out to do with 'Star Wars,' " he told CNN. "I was able to complete the entire saga and say this is what the whole story is about."

- George Lucas, Flannelled One, May 2005, CNN interview

"STARLOG:  The Star Wars Universe is so large and diverse.  Do you ever find yourself confused by the subsidiary material that's in the novels, comics, and other offshoots?

LUCAS:  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, Flannelled One, Aug. 2005 - "New Hopes" interview in Starlog #337
  (see it for yourself here)

It really doesn't get much simpler than the quote above.  Lucas considers the EU to be the second of "two universes", "outside [his] little universe", part of a "different", "other" world, a universe that is a "parallel universe" to his own . . . the makers of it "try to make their universe as consistent with mine as possible, but obviously they [...] go off in other directions".  His story, the saga of the Skywalker family from Anakin to Luke, is over, and while other tales inspired by the galaxy Lucas created also bear the brand name, they don't affect his Star Wars story in any way.

As of December 2006, Licensing personnel are also pretty well united in this view.  Leland "Tasty Taste" Chee, maintainer of Lucas Licensing's EU information database known as the "Holocron" and most frequent Licensing speaker on continuity issues, directly confirmed the idea in forum posts responding to these questions at StarWars.Com:

"The only relevant official continuities are the current versions of the films alone, and the combined current version of the films along with whatever else we've got in the Holocron. You're never going to know what George's view of the universe beyond the films at any given time because it is constantly evolving. It remains elastic until it gets committed to film or another official source. Even then, we know there's always room for change.

[...] Anything not in the current version of the films is irrelevant to Film only continuity.

Managing Editor Sue Rostoni of LLP knows this to be Lucas's view as well:

"Within the issue of Starlog magazine with the War of the Worlds cover is an interview article with George Lucas. He stated something which he had said before, which is that he doesn't follow the SW EU, he doesn't read the books or comics. He also said that when they started doing all this (which is allowing other storytellers to tell their own SW tales), he had decreed that the Star Wars Universe would be split into two just like Star Trek (I don't know nuts about Star Trek, so don't ask me about that), one would be his own universe (the six episode movie saga), the other would be a whole other universe (the Expanded Universe). He continued to say that the EU tries as much as possible to tie in to his own universe, but sometimes they move into a whole other line of their own. 

Yeah, this is pretty much what I've heard, except that people have said he reads the comics."

- Sue Rostoni, Lucas Licensing (LLP Managing Editor), Sept. 2005 - forum post

So there we have it, from Lucas himself to the makers of the Expanded Universe.  

Confirmation Case:   Boba Fett

One character that frequently comes up in the Canon Civil War is the ever-popular bounty hunter, Boba Fett.

We've already touched on Lucas's trampling of the various EU origin stories for Boba Fett, including whichever one LLP had decided was "canon" to them.  Beyond that, however, there's the apparent death of Boba Fett depicted in Return of the Jedi.

In the film, a love tap from a stick wielded by a blind Han Solo activates Fett's jet pack.   This causes the smooth operator's jets to fire, rocketing him away on what the script describes as his "last flight".  After some distance he slams into the metal side of Jabba's barge, at which point he falls a couple of stories into the sand near the Sarlacc monster's pit.   He then rolls without so much as a scream "directly into the mucous mouth of the Sarlacc", to which the Sarlacc responds with a belch.   If that weren't bad enough, at least two extra minions of Jabba are flung in behind him.   If that weren't bad enough, the crashed remnants of Jabba's floating barges are then piled on top, after the very large explosion which destroys them.

So, most people assume that Boba Fett is dead.  However, Boba Fett became a very popular character, and appeared repeatedly in the EU.  Lucas, in a 1997 MTV interview, said "I don't know why. [Laughs] I'm mystified by it.  He is, he's a, I mean I think he's a, he's a mysterious character, he's a provocative character. He seems like an all powerful character, except he gets killed.  Although he's gotten killed, the people who write the books, and everybody else, the comics, are all 'We cant kill him, we gotta bring him back!', you know, 'He can't die!  We refuse to let him die!'"»  (see also the 2mb DivX 4 video of the interview here.)

This idea that Boba Fett was killed in RoTJ is reinforced by the RoTJ DVD commentaries, in which Lucas refers to "Boba Fett's death" and calls it "a misstep that we wouldn't make more out of the event of his defeat"».   Lucas did not identify just which of the many bad things that happened to Fett that day actually did him in, but he's very clear in that, as far as he's concerned, Fett is dead.

In the Expanded Universe, however, Boba Fett was shown to be alive after the time these events would've occurred.  The importance of this cannot be overstated.   If Boba Fett is dead in the Canon but alive in the EU Continuity, then we have a clear example of the parallel universe idea in action.  To put it another way, Lucas simultaneously accepts two separate and unequal fates for Fett.   It is therefore an independent confirmation of the parallel universe concept Lucas has espoused in interviews and elsewhere.  Separate histories mean separate timelines, and separate timelines mean separate universes.

EU Completists have objected, rather amazingly, that Lucas's opinion on the matter is irrelevant.   They believe that since we do not technically see Boba dead in the film, then it can be assumed he is still alive.   This prevents any contradiction between the film and the EU.  

However, that argument is wrong on many, many levels.   Besides everything that happened to Fett in RoTJ, there's the simple fact that it doesn't matter.   Even if we could step into the Star Wars universe, beam Fett out of the Sarlacc, and check for a pulse . . . it simply wouldn't be of consequence whether we found one.   Why?  Because Lucas thinks he's dead in his movie.   Five years after Fett's return in the EU, Lucas was talking about how he got "killed" in the movie.   Five years after that, it was still Lucas's opinion:  "in George's view -- as far as the films go -- the baddest bounty hunter in the Galaxy met his match in the Great Pit of Carkoon where --unfortunately for Mr. Fett -- the ghastly sarlacc made its home"», as Sansweet noted in 2002.    So, despite the fact that "Lucas also approved Fett's comeback in the expanded universe", Lucas nevertheless continued to believe Boba to be dead in his film universe for at least a decade.   Even when, with the Special Editions and DVD editions, he had the opportunity to change it, he explicitly decided not to per his DVD commentary.   (And this is not a man scared to change his films . . . witness the changes to the Han and Greedo encounter in ANH.)

And so, Lucas simultaneously accepts two separate and unequal fates for Fett.   Thus, despite the objection, we find ourselves at the original conclusion.  Separate histories mean separate timelines, and separate timelines mean separate universes.   We have it straight from Lucas and confirmed by Sansweet that these separate histories exist, and have been acknowledged as such for over a decade. 

Therefore, the facts of one universe are not necessarily the facts of the other.


IV.  Conclusion

EU Completism is logically unsupportable, requiring extensive intellectual dishonesty to maintain.   Canon Purism is closer to reality, but requires that many statements be dismissed . . . this, too, is a path toward intellectual dishonesty.   The only self-consistent way to understand the myriad canon policy statements is to acknowledge the dual-canon approach wherein Lucas Licensing's Official Continuity Policy and Lucas/LFL's canon policy co-exist.

In the Lucas/LFL canon policy, Lucas's films and the associated scripts and novelizations constitute the whole of the Star Wars story.   Meanwhile, we get to see a different interpretation of that universe in the parallel reality known as the Expanded Universe.  

Accepting the dual-canon nature of Star Wars plus the above view leads us to "Dual-Canon Purism".   Dual-Canon Purism acknowledges the primacy of the films and related canon, not to mention the primacy of Lucas in regards to rank and creative vision.  For Dual-Canon Purists, the Expanded Universe is known to exist, but would exist outside the objective reality of Star Wars.

In the Official Continuity Policy created and maintained by the Lucasfilm marketing company Lucas Licensing, Lucas's films are the basis for a self-referential offshoot branch of storylines known as the Expanded Universe.  The makers of the EU attempt to create a universe that conforms to and does not excessively conflict with the films of Lucas and his responses to their queries as to what they can do, which are then taken as guidelines.   Further, the makers of the EU dictate a reality of that EU, excising other bits of EU material as EU apocrypha.   This "plug-in universe" can thus be considered real by those who wish to enjoy further Star Wars-themed and Star Wars-branded storylines 

The dual-canon idea requires us to acknowledge the choice that some may make to be "Dual-Canon Completists".  Thus, not only is acceptance of the dual-canon tradition of Star Wars the most factually accurate and intellectually honest approach, but it also has the benefit of potentially ending the Canon Civil War once and for all . . . no longer would there need to be debates as to which view was objectively correct, but instead Dual-Canon Completism could be recognized as a personal choice to accept the Lucas Licensing OCP, and thus a way to accept and enjoy the many works of Lucas Licensing alongside the works of Lucas and Lucasfilm, Ltd.

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the Canon Civil War will end anytime soon.  While Canon Purists might begrudgingly accept Dual-Canon Purism, certain militant online EU-Philes will undoubtedly reject the dual-canon approach in favor of continuing to argue, however strangely, that EU Completism alone is correct.

But, alas . . . one can always hope.

V.  Addenda

As this is the condensed version, you can imagine that a lot of extra detail is available, including an extensive list of other resources.   For those, I simply point you to the non-condensed version here.

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