The number of Star Wars movies George Lucas originally intended to make has shifted over the years, depending on when he was asked. At one point, he was planning not three, but four separate Star Wars trilogies. This would have added up to be 12 movies in total to complete the Star Wars saga. But now that Disney has finished a new trilogy featuring Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, as well as spin-off movies and now TV shows, it’s a good time to revisit what George Lucas originally intended.
Looking back at the production of the original Star Wars trilogy, on the blog of The Making of Star Wars author J.W. Rinzler noted an interview with Mark Hamill in 2004. In the interview, Hamill recalled conversations with George Lucas between setups during the filming of the original Star Wars in 1976.
Hamill recounted: “You know, when I first did this, it was four trilogies. 12 movies! Out on the desert, any time between setups… lots of free time. And George was talking about this whole thing…’Um, how’d you like to be in Episode IX?’ ‘When is that going to be?’ ‘2011’…I said, ‘Well, what do you want me to do?’ He said, ‘You’ll just be like a cameo. You’ll be like Obi-Wan handing the lightsaber down to the next new hope.'”
Adding to this is an article in Time Magazine from 1978, in which George Lucas disclosed that his newly formed subsidiary film company — The Star Wars Corporation — would start shooting Star Wars II (The Empire Strikes Back) and “10 other planned sequels.” In 1978, Lucas said: “The prequel stories exist—where Darth Vader came from, the whole story about Darth and Ben Kenobi—and it all takes place before Luke was born. The other one—what happens to Luke afterward—is much more ethereal. I have a tiny notebook full of notes on that. If I’m really ambitious, I could proceed to figure out what would have happened to Luke.”
What George Lucas’s Star Wars: Episode VII Would Have Been About
In Lucas’ version of the sequel trilogy, the original cast was set to return. But as mentioned in the book The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the story was going to focus on the two grandchildren of Anakin Skywalker.
One is a Jedi named Kira and is described as being a “loner, hothead, gear-headed, badass.” Sounds like Rey? The other character was called Sam and he was mainly seen carrying a blaster. There doesn’t seem to be an awakening Force within him. Finn, perhaps?
Lucas had been developing the stories with screenwriter Michael Arndt, who has a writing credit on the first sequel The Force Awakens, so you can understand the similarities. But it was clear that Lucas was keeping it in the family as he told a Tribeca Film Festival group in 2015, “The original saga was about the father, the children, and the grandchildren.”
Here’s George Lucas explaining his plan…
The one main character who seems to have kept a similar character arc that Lucas envisioned is Luke Skywalker. Phil Szostak, the author behind The Art of Star Wars, tweeted out this confirmation…
So maybe the powers that be did follow more of Lucas’ storyline than we initially thought.
A Deep Dive Into Midichlorians
Where The Skywalker Trilogy really diverges from George Lucas’s Star Wars plans is in its application of The Force. Lucas wanted to delve much deeper into The Force and its scientific explanations.
In a companion book, James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction, Lucas says, “[The next three Star Wars films] were going to get into a microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force… If I’d held onto the company I could have done it, and then it would have been done. Of course, a lot of the fans would have hated it, just like they did Phantom Menace and everything, but at least the whole story from beginning to end would be told.”
Lucas went on to talk a bit more of the midichlorians as they were key to what he saw in the Force, “Back in the day, I used to say ultimately what this means is we were just cars, vehicles for the Whills to travel around in…. We’re vessels for them. And the conduit is the midichlorians. The midichlorians are the ones that communicate with the Whills. The Whills, in a general sense, they are the Force… All the way back to—with the Force and the Jedi and everything—the whole concept of how things happen was laid out completely from [the beginning] to the end. But I never got to finish. I never got to tell people about it.”
Sadly, we will never know this outcome. The idea definitely has some merit, getting a deeper dive into the Force but not knowing how Luke, Leia, Han, Chewy and the rest of the group played into his idea will forever keep fans grumbling and debating.