Although Disney's sequel trilogy continued the story of characters we have grown up with and loved over the last few decades, many fans were left disappointed, and this created a divide amongst the fan base. However, with tie-in books such as Star Wars: Fascinating Facts by Pablo Hidalgo and The Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005 by Paul Duncan, salt seems to have been added to the wounds as we learned more about George Lucas' plans for his own sequel trilogy, had he not sold it all to Disney. Today, we are going to look at what he originally had planned.
It's well known now that Lucas had a ton of ideas for continuing the story. Even back in the day making the original trilogy, George seemed to have a plethora of stories mapped out, some of which ended up making it into his prequel trilogy, released in the late 1990's and early 2000's. There are some elements which would have been the same as Disney's, but he seemed to have an overall story for the three films to cover, which may have given it a bit more cohesion, something the trilogy we got is severely lacking.
Disney took the approach of having each new film focus on one of the original trio. The Force Awakens focused on Han Solo, The Last Jedi on Luke Skywalker, and The Rise of Skywalker on Leia (that is, as much as possible following the tragic passing of the much loved Carrie Fisher). But in George's eyes, Leia was to be front and center.
In Star Wars Archives, Lucas is quoted as saying Leia would have been the focal point of his trilogy. We would have followed her attempts to rebuild the Republic, doing everything in her power to avoid the corruption and bureaucracy which gave way to Palpatine's dictatorship. Lucas said:
"I had planned for the first trilogy to be about the father, the second trilogy to be about the son, and the third trilogy to be about the daughter and the grandchildren."
If you look at the overall story across the first two trilogies, this seems like the most logical and sensible approach, it would also have given some nice cohesion throughout the entire saga, tying everything together.
Although we don't have any definitive time period in which this trilogy would have taken place in overall, Lucas did state it would have begun just a few years after Return of the Jedi and focused on the rebuilding of the galaxy, as well as Luke trying to rebuild a new Jedi Order. This setting would also have allowed him to cover what effects the defeat of the Empire had. As much as they were the bad guys, the galaxy still had order and some stability so with it now gone, Lucas would have shown the aftermath of chaos as numerous people and factions scramble for power. On this, he says:
"It starts a few years after Return of the Jedi and we establish pretty quickly that there's this underworld, there are these offshoot stormtroopers who started their own planets, and that Luke is trying to restart the Jedi. He [Luke] put's the word out, so out of 100,000 Jedi, maybe 50 or 100 are left. The Jedi have to grow again from scratch, so Luke has to find two-and-three-year-olds, and train them. It'll be 20 years before you have a new generation Jedi."
This quote seems to suggest his trilogy would have spanned a couple of decades, to allow us to see Luke and Leia fulfill their goals.
The original trilogy was inspired by George's opposition to the Vietnam War. However, his sequel ideas were inspired by the fallout of the Iraq War. As we mentioned earlier, he wanted to focus on the rebuilding and reconstruction of society after the war had ended, exploring the new challenges this would bring with it. With the prequel trilogy covering the lead up to the Clone War and the original covering the Rebellion fighting against the Empire, it would have been nice to focus on something different. This also meant there would be no First Order style alternative trying to reboot the defeated Empire. Lucas said:
"Okay, you fought the war, you killed everybody, now what are you going to do? Rebuilding afterwards is harder than starting a rebellion or fighting the war. When you win the war and you diisband the opposing army, what do they do? The stormtroopers would be like Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist fighters that joined ISIS and kept on fighting. The stormtroopers refuse to give up when the Republic win."
This suggests he was aiming to do something a little more realistic in terms of "What happens next?" instead of it just being another good vs evil fight and potentially made the sequels a bit more grounded.
In terms of the villain for his sequel trilogy, Lucas would actually have brought back a fan favorite to live action - Darth Maul. The TV show The Clone Wars showed us that Maul survived his seemingly fatal duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of The Phantom Menace, and harbored a major grudge against him, but Lucas would expand on the character's story more.
Like the TV show, Maul would have united the criminal underworld and remnants of the Empire but against the New Republic and would also have taken on a new apprentice. This would have served as the introduction of a Legends character many fans want to see brought into canon - Darth Talon. With Maul now a lot older, she would have served as this trilogy's Darth Vader, doing most of the fighting whilst Maul adopted a similar approach to his former master, Sidious, and playing the part of puppet master. About this, George says:
"There's a power vacuum so gangsters, like the Hutts, are taking advantage of the situation, and there is chaos. The key person is Darth Maul, who had been resurrected in the Clone Wars cartoons - he brings all the gangs together. Maul's very old, and we have two version of him. One is with a set of cybernetic legs like a spider, and then later on he has metal legs and he was a little bit bigger, more of a superhero."
Some of the above ideas did make their way into canon, with Maul becoming head of the Crimson Dawn criminal syndicate. However, this was during the Clone Wars. His cameo in Solo: A Star Wars Story could hint at further development of this storyline and potentially still bring Talon into canon.
With regards to the similarities between Lucas' and Disney's trilogy, it appears plan was always to have Luke Skywalker die in Episode VIII. Details of how exactly are unknown, but it would obviously be quite a big blow to his new Jedi Order and could have been how Han and Leia's children are properly introduced. Someone would have to step in to take his place, so it seems logical it would be family, although it is unknown if any would fall to dark side like Ben Solo or as they did in Legends. Whist Luke's death in The Last Jedi was a blow for fans, it didn't really have any major consequences other than he just wasn't alive anymore. To have him die right in the middle of trying to create a new Jedi Order would have allowed for some greater storytelling and created a major obstacle for his young learners to get over. It could also serve as a catalyst for some to fall to the dark side without him there to guide them.
According to Hidlago's Fascinating Facts, there were also plans to introduce a Rey-like character in the form of a 14 year-old Force-sensitive girl originally named Taryn. He even hints at a storyline involving her seeking out a missing Luke Skywalker, much like Rey does in The Force Awakens. However, given that this doesn't marry up with what George said he had planned for Luke, it's likely this was one of many ideas which got changed through the years.
Now that Disney does own Star Wars, and George has gone on record stating Disney doesn't really involve him in the stories anymore, it's sadly very unlikely we will ever see his vision come to fruition. No doubt, with the plethora of new Star Wars content continuing to be made, some of these ideas may yet be included, but not in the same way as originally planned.
Perhaps if Lucas didn't sell it, we may have gotten to see this very interesting take on the story. But for now, at least, it unfortunately remains squarely within the "What if?" category.
What do you think? Should George try to get his vision made? Would it be better than what we got? Be sure to let us know.
Until next time!
Written By Jordan McGlinchey
Source(s): IGN, Pablo Hidalgo: Star Wars: Fascinating Facts, Paul Duncan: The Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005
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