George Lucas revealed the inspiration behind hate-him-or-love-him character Jar Jar Binks at the D23 Expo Friday

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One great thing about being declared a Disney legend? Never having to say you’re sorry – even about Jar Jar Binks.

Director and Star Wars creator George Lucas told fans at the D23 Expo in Anaheim on Friday that Disney’s Goofy factored into the making of the love-him-or-hate-him Gungan character from the 1999 prequel Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much of an influence Disney has had on me,” Lucas said. “I will say one secret that nobody knows; not many people realize that Goofy was the inspiration for Jar Jar Binks.”

After the audience laughed, Lucas added, “I know that you will look at him differently now. It’s pretty obvious, actually, but, um, I love Goofy and I love Jar Jar.”

Earlier, a video clip showed highlights from Lucas’ career, including his work producing the Michael Jackson-Francis Ford Coppola film Captain E/O, and shaping Disney attractions based on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.

The clip also included words of praise from directors James Cameron and Steven Spielberg, with Spielberg saying that Lucas “is kind of a dweeby Indiana Jones and that’s what we love about him.”

Disney chairman Bob Iger welcomed Lucas, flanked by C3PO and R2D2, to the stage, where he received a wild standing ovation.

“I tried to remember back what it was like when I was young and what I got from Disney,” Lucas said, “and I am very happy to be here with two of my daughters. One of them’s older and sitting here and trying to get into the movie business just like me, and the other one is two years old and we’re re-going through the park. To watch it through her eyes is an amazing experience.”