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That time George Lucas refused to save Seth Rogen in the event of the apocalypse

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May 7, 2021, 11:51 AM EDT

A lot of people dream of meeting George Lucas. It's a bucket list item for a lot of nerds to be able to sit down one day and just talk about Star Wars, the universe, and everything else with one of the most important pop culture minds of the 20th century, and as a result there are a lot of celebrities out there who cherish their stories of Lucas encounters.

Then there's Seth Rogen's version of what it was like to meet George Lucas, which is...well, it's different.

Rogen stopped by Conan O'Brien's podcast Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend this week to promote his new collection of essays, Yearbook, and O'Brien brought up a particularly intriguing encounter from the book itself. Back in 2012, when Rogen was just beginning to make the transition to directing and producing after finding success as a writer and actor, he and creative partner Evan Goldberg booked a meeting with the legendary Steven Spielberg. That would've been momentous enough, but when Spielberg walked in Rogen and Goldberg realized he was accompanied by his Indiana Jones co-creator, George Lucas.

"Which was mindblowing! They're there together," Rogen said. "For like a nerdy kid, one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my entire life."

While Spielberg excused himself to take care of a quick bit of business, Lucas sat down with Rogen and Goldberg to make small talk. Now, if you were around in 2012, you might remember that a lot of the small talk of the time revolved around the theory that the world was going to end because the ancient Mayan calendar ended that year. George Lucas definitely remembered, and according to Rogen he seemed to be taking it fairly seriously. 

"Very quickly, the conversation turns to like 'How's it going?' 'Not great, we're nearing the end of 2012 and the world is gonna end,' essentially," Rogen said. "To which me and Evan are like 'Is he joking?' A question that still haunts me to this day, and again, I think I know the answer. Was he joking? It did not appear he was joking."

In the video below, Rogen explains how he and Goldberg kept trying to dig deeper into Lucas' mindset, only to find the conversation got even stranger the more they tried to figure out if the legendary creator was kidding or not.

"We [made] a joke like, if you've got a spaceship to escape Earth, can we get a seat on that thing?" Rogen recalled. "And he was like, 'No.' It makes me think he wasn't joking because, if you were joking, you would just say 'Yes'... But, no, he said, 'No.' To this day, I am confounded and plagued by that story."

So, was this a serious encounter with an apocalypse-haunted George Lucas, or did Lucas' famously dry sense of humor and inscrutable demeanor get the better of the two comedians? We might never know, but it definitely makes for one of the weirder stories in the long history of random George Lucas encounters. Also... does this mean Lucas does have a spaceship handy?