George Lucas’ original plan for Star Wars was much different, but it could still be executed.
In 1974, George Lucas, fresh off the release of his film American Graffiti, wrote a new original screenplay called The Star Wars. An epic space opera, The Star Wars was about a young boy named Annikin Starkiller who goes on an adventure with an old and revered Jedi-Bendu warrior named Luke Skywalker to rescue a princess named Leia. Accompanying them is a green-skinned alien named Han Solo.
If that doesn’t sound right, it’s because Lucas’ original story plans for Star Wars: A New Hope went through multiple revisions and iterations before becoming the story we all know and love. Annikin Starkiller, the bright, young protagonist desperately seeking adventure, became the young farm boy Luke Skywalker. The wise old Jedi-Bendu warrior named Luke Skywalker (who relied on the Force of Others for his power, by the way) became the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. Han Solo shed the green skin to become the human pilot of the Millennium Falcon.
Star Wars was originally a less-refined A New Hope
All the potential for A New Hope was there, but the story lacked a clear focus and the level of characterization that A New Hope would become known for. Still, for fans of Star Wars who love the mythology surrounding the film’s development, being able to see Lucas’ original vision for Star Wars is both an opportunity to see what might have been and to appreciate how the story evolved into the most ground-breaking film in history.
While there was never going to be a film made of Lucas’ original script, J.W. Rinzler, who probably knows more about the making of Star Wars than anyone else, took the script and adapted it into an eight-issue Dark Horse comic book series called The Star Wars in 2013. For the first time, diehard Star Wars fans could experience the story as George Lucas originally envisioned it, including all of the characters, names, and plot points that are echoed in A New Hope. It’s a fun story, even if it feels convoluted at times.
What if fans could still see George Lucas’ sequel trilogy story?
With recent rumors of a George Lucas cut of The Rise of Skywalker, I was reminded of the original story treatments Lucas provided to Disney of the sequel trilogy he wanted to make when he sold Lucasfilm in 2012. The same treatments that Disney decided not to use. And although I enjoyed a lot about the sequel trilogy, I can’t help but wonder what the end of the Skywalker Saga would have looked like under Lucas’ guidance rather than Disney.
Thus far, Disney has kept the details of Lucas’ original treatments for Episodes VII, VIII, and IX a secret, but given the precedent of Rinzler’s adaptation of The Star Wars, Lucasfilm could satisfy fan curiosity by doing something similar with Lucas’ original sequel trilogy story. Under the umbrella of Marvel Comics and utilizing current Star Wars comic writers such as Charles Soule and Greg Pak to work on the adaptation, the Lucas version of the final trilogy in the Skywalker Saga could be a major event.
No retcon required
And it wouldn’t require the retconning of Disney’s sequel trilogy. Fans understood that when The Star Wars was released that it wasn’t a canon story. It was just an alternate story to be enjoyed on its own, similar to Marvel Comics’ line of What If? comics. Though Lucas’ trilogy wouldn’t be the official story, it could still be enjoyed as a product of the visionary creator behind this story that generations of fans have loved and enjoyed.
And what would this comic book trilogy look like?
Lucas’ story would have focused on the next generation of Skywalkers
Lucas told Stephen Colbert at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival that, “The original saga was about the father, the children, and the grandchildren,” which hearkens back to the stories told in the Expanded Universe about Jacen and Jaina Solo and Ben Skywalker.
It seems the sequel trilogy would have focused on the grandchildren of Anakin Skywalker, which, it could be argued, the sequel trilogy actually did with Kylo Ren. However, according to The Art of The Force Awakens, details about the early production of Episode VII, which began before Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, reveal that the plot would have focused on a female Jedi named Kira, though there’s no specification if she would have been the daughter of Luke or Han and Leia.
Luke and company would face a much larger enemy
Furthermore, it seems the trilogy would have revealed a much larger enemy behind the events of the first six films of the Skywalker Saga. Director James Cameron interviewed Lucas for his 2018 book The Story of Science Fiction, and in the book, the two directors discussed what Lucas had in mind for the sequel trilogy.
With his version of the story, Lucas wanted to deepen the mythology of the Force by looking at a “microbiotic world” and introducing the Whills, which Lucas described as “the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.” Lucas’ further descriptions of the Whills make them sound like a villain of apocalyptic caliber, perhaps similar to Abeloth in the Fate of the Jedi series of Legends novels.
Luke would have survived until the final film
Mark Hamill shared his knowledge of George Lucas’ plan for the sequel trilogy in an interview with IGN in 2018, plans that included Luke Skywalker as a major player in all three movies. “I happen to know that George didn’t kill Luke until the end of [Episode] IX, after he trained Leia,” Hamill said. So we would have seen Luke and Leia as Jedi Knights, and Luke would have died in the final film, but it seems likely that it would have been at the end of a much larger in-person conflict rather than him Force-projecting himself across the galaxy.
Would fans want it?
But the question remains, would fans have liked Lucas’ approach to the sequel trilogy? In his interview with James Cameron, Lucas seemed convinced that they wouldn’t. But many fans have come around lately to appreciate what Lucas did with the prequel trilogy. At the very least, we’d get to see the story as its original creator intended it.
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