So over the weekend I was addicted to the Star Wars information hub website wookipedia right...
at some point I stopped and just took a mental step back and said "who comes up with all this stuff?"
There's just so much in Star Wars history...it's almost enough to match the amount of content in some of our own history books. It's not all random crap either...someone actually sat down and figured all this stuff out and came up with it (obviously not one person).
Yeah - it's had time to grow since the late 1970s but does Lucas really endorse all this stuff? Do he have to write off on everything new and different in the Expanded Universe and Star Wars history that comes his way for comic books, video games, and novels?
I get the impression (from the entire 4th bonus content DVD of the trilogy set) that Lucas was just looking to create an epic fairy tale with good guys, bad guys, a war, and some cool special effects...and thats what he wrote that turned into A New Hope.
But what about all this extra really complex and deep stuff? There's just soo much it's almost like it all really exists. The thing is that Lucas didnt come up with all this stuff when he first made New Hope this was all tacked on later (unlike Tolkien who actually went through, made up the history, then wrote the LOTR books).
I'm partly confused, stunned, and impressed of all this content...who comes up with this stuff?
I'd have to look at the back of Unifying Force to be sure, but I think that they have a think tank at Skywalker Ranch, where several people work to keep everything that authors come up with is kept in the "Holocron," basically a huge database of everything in Star Wars. I think George Lucas then signs off on it if he likes it. I haven't looked at it in awhile, however, so I may be wrong.
I don't think Lucas has much of a hand in it, but as I recall he does sometimes set boundaries for what can and can't happen (like which characters couldn't be killed off in the New Jedi Order book series). The backstory is mostly just the result of decades of Star Wars novels, games, comics etc, the vast majority of which Lucas has very little role in creating...occasionally they will produce a book that explains how it all fits together, which is why Wookieepedia's timeline is so exact.
17th June 2002
These days the company maintains a continuity database of all Star Wars 'events' for their own personal reference, called the Holocron I believe, which isn't available to the general public partly because it also contains information on projects in development too. The Lucas licensing team keep a list of all the books, video games, etc, that they consider to be canon, and I think they're pretty painstaking about it too. For example, if you wrote a novel about Anakin Skywalker being killed in the Clone Wars, it's pretty unlikely that Lucas licensing would accept it as canon. That's not to say that they wouldn't let you publish it, or anything, it just wouldn't be considered part of the Expanded Universe and thus canon.
Occasionally, the movies will incorporate something from the Expanded Universe (Coruscant, for example, not to mention various characters, technologies and concepts).
Other times, the movies will say something which contradicts the EU. For example, in the EU the Galactic Republic is stated to be over 25,000 years old and has endured numerous wars throughout that time. In the prequels, however, Palpatine once said that the Republic had stood for a thousand years. It was also said that there had never been a full-scale war since the formation of the Republic. In such an instance, EU writers have to find a workaround to maintain continuity, for the movies are absolute canon. In that particular instance, authors introduced the idea that the Galactic Republic underwent a reformation a thousand years prior to the films, and that since that time there had been no full-scale wars (which also explained why the Republic no longer had a federal army by the time of the movies, as it once did).
So yeah, it's not George himself who deals with all the multitudes of books and other media that get put out there, but his licensing team. I am sure that Lucas has some level of managerial involvement just to make sure that all the lore keeps to his particular vision, but for the most part it's monkey work.
Any fanon stuff is created by anybody but any canon stuff has to go through George Lucas.