Comic Legends: Did Lucasfilm Split From Marvel Over an Ewok Dispute?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and eighty-first week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week's Star Wars-themed legends. Click here for Part 2.

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Lucasfilm pulled the Star Wars license from Marvel over a dispute over some Marvel characters looking too much like the Ewoks.



It's funny, over the however many years I've been doing this column (it's something like 13 years, right?), something that I have seen pop up a number of times over the years is theories as to why Marvel stopped doing Star Wars comics. Lots of these urban legends involve reasons why George Lucas dropped the license.

Now, I don't like doing stuff like this because it sort of cancels out a lot of future columns, but I can save a lot of time just by noting here, once and for all, George Lucas and Lucasfilm did not drop the license. Marvel decided not to make Star Wars comics any more. Now, why THEY made that decision might be something I could still address in future legends, but let's just get it out there that Lucasfilm never dropped the Marvel comic book license for Star Wars.

So when reader Danny J. wrote in about a legend he had heard about Marvel and Lucasfilm splitting because of a bunch of arguments, culminating in a dispute over, of all things, the Ewoks, then that's not the case.

HOWEVER, there is another aspect of Danny's question that is accurate, which is that Lucasfilm DID have a problem with some Marvel characters in the Star Wars comic book and it did, in fact, have to do with those lovable Ewoks from Return of the Jedi...

In Glenn Greenberg's excellent article about Marvel's original Star Wars series in Back Issue #9, Ron Frenz and Jo Duffy explain how Lucasfilm forced them to change some new characters named the Lahsbee because they were too close to some characters that Lucasfilm didn't want to elaborate on...

They even had to make sure that they did not use hang-gliders later in the story...

Frenz later recalled, "In the initial design of the Lahsbees, they were sort of gremlin-like, with really wide eyes. They ended up being very feline-like in the printed book. It was funny -- Lucasfilm had to tell us how to fix them without giving too much away, because they didn't want information to get out about the Ewoks. And they freaked about the hang-gliders, because the Ewoks were going to use them in Jedi."

Hilariously enough, in Star Wars #94 (with Cynthia Martin now the artist), the Lahsbees and the Ewoks actually went to "war" with each other!!

But yeah, anyhow, a dispute Lucasfilm had in 1983 that Marvel quickly corrected had nothing to do with the license ending three years later.

Thanks for the question, Danny!

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Did Darth Maul originally have feathers on his head instead of horns?

OK, that's it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week's covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don't even actually use on the CBR editions of this column, but I do use them when I collect them all on legendsrevealed.com!

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