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, 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.”
We once lived in a time when the original Star Wars trilogy was the only Star Wars we knew. For better or worse, we now live in a time when the franchise has more than doubled. Will Star Wars fans get a complete 12-movie Star Wars saga? It might take a while, but we just might.