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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Captain Kelsten

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I'm curious as to how this is going to go. It sounds like they will want to do more things after episode 9, so, does that mean they're going to keep going with episodes 10 through to 25, or could it end up being a kind of James Bond type series, with different actors playing the same roles from film to film with it's own unique story that is still loosely connected in places?

The can redo the prequels too. They were shit films but there's no reason why they had to be.

i'd imagine they'd introduce new characters to carry on the saga or start to tell individual stories, closer to to what (some of)the games have done

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Have Ep 7 being almost like a catch up/transition movie, with perhaps 2 or 3 old series characters having bigger roles than a cameo, with perhaps cameos from a few more. But introduce a character or group of, that would then go on to lead in Ep 8, but still retain some of the older characters. By the time Ep 9 comes around, you've established your new team while keep roots back to the original.

You could go anywhere from there, providing you've done the job right.

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Oh, God - it's just hit me. Imagine if money is no object and they could get all the original cast back together. There is probably zero chance of it happening - Harrison Ford is a miserable git and they may have problems getting Alec Guinness motivated - but imagine if they did....


Why are people asking for this as well?

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It worries me that they will be working on treatments already devised by Lucasfilm and consulted upon by the Great Satan himself, Lucas.

God, wipe the slate clean! If you're going to shove more SW down our throats, please get all new and talented people in to do it.

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Have Ep 7 being almost like a catch up/transition movie, with perhaps 2 or 3 old series characters having bigger roles than a cameo, with perhaps cameos from a few more. But introduce a character or group of, that would then go on to lead in Ep 8, but still retain some of the older characters. By the time Ep 9 comes around, you've established your new team while keep roots back to the original.

You could go anywhere from there, providing you've done the job right.

That's kinda what happens with the main characters in the later books.

Mild spoilers, if you're adverse to that sort of thing:

Luke becomes a Jedi Master and spends a lot of his time in the Jedi Temple. Leia is heavily involved in politics and Han flies around in the Falcon basically moping for his past glories. While they do do other stuff than this, the Expanded Universe is basically handed over to the Solo and Skywalker kids to get into trouble with, now.

I stopped reading the Expanded Universe a few years ago when I lost all interest in Star Wars because Lucas kept tampering with my childhood. I'm quite excited again. :D

Not enough to start reading the books again, mind. A lot of them were terrible.

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I'm surprised by the news, but not as surprised as finding out I didn't start the topic for it.

Haha. ;) Yep you've certainly got done there!

LIke everyone else it seems, I agree about Thrawn, a brilliant brilliant villian. Basically a great role for a British actor! I'd kinda like to see someone like Clive Owen but he's a good few years too young. Obvious choice would be Ralph Fiennes but with Bond duties would he/could he do it?

Knowning Disney and Lucas though they won't use the old novels and will come up with some other bollocks instead! :(

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I agree, but also a big part of me feels like Star Wars is so tainted by the prequels and the ridiculous over-exposure of Stars Wars everywhere in everything all the time 24/7 365 days a year that it might be best not to have another one.

But yeah, one of the many thoughts I had sitting through the prequels (aside from 'we don't need any more Star Wars film, it's a perfect trilogy'') was that Star Wars had such a great, beautiful universe full of possibilities and that someone who wasn't a hack could tell a great story within it.


Hmmm but i'm still worried that this just means even more Star Wars cultural spamming way past the point of saturation, more insane fanboys, more crushing disappointments etc.

Of course, if I had my real wish they'd do movies based on KOTOR and have some real bastard Sith lords in the mix. The original Bioware game has pretty much the best Star Wars story ever as far as I'm concerned.

Also see: killer robot companion.

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Why are people asking for this as well?

Because I grew up with the Star Wars films. My earliest memory is going to the cinema at the age of 3 to watch Return of the Jedi. My dad loved them and we watched them regularly. It's exciting to think the characters from your childhood could be coming back again.

Plus, if the studio did pull it off, it will go a long way to reassure those folks who felt burned by the prequels. A new cast may not tempt them to the cinema, but the original cast probably would.

EDIT: God, I'm posting in this thread far too much. Excited!

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they won't use the novels directly. These will be BRAND NEW stories.

They may be nods to the novels but Lucas will want to be seen as above them - as he never took them very seriously outside of selling well to the fans.

Original cast and a Twist on the Villian. Literally anything could happen. Clones, carbon freezes - you name it.

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The Expanded Universe stuff is 99.99999999999% awful to the point where the prequels start looking good in comparison. They should just scrap the whole fucking lot and reboot.

Eddie Palpatine is a hot dog stand owner who's running for Mayor of Space. Hijinks ensue, trillions die horribly. A camp robot whines about the unfairness of it all a lot. Brought to you by Michael Bay.

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Is this all for real then ? Just seems a little hard to believe.

Anyway I would love to see an Mark Hamill return as an ageing Luke Skywalker slowly turning to the Dark Side.

I think Lucas said he planned the nine films this way once, but then he was always saying different stuff.

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This news trumps everything that has happened in entertainment since 1983. Incredible, sensational, brilliant, superb, amazing, horrendous-prequel-memory-banishing, actually-getting-it-right-this-time-with-Epidodes VII, VIII & IX-anticipating news.

Jesus Christ, literally a few hours since the announcement and the hype is already at insane levels.

You people never learn.

It's exciting to think the characters from your childhood could be coming back again.

Warning: steep learning curve ahead.

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This a very well researched piece on the evidence for the sequel trilogy by the secret Stars Wars Guy.

The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

The so-called Sequel Trilogy to Star Wars—that is, Episodes VII, VIII and IX—is one of those urban legends of the series that has as much as myth about it as it does truth. Fans for years remember Lucas talking about making a third trilogy which took place years after Return of the Jedi, and Gary Kurtz has recently revealed the supposed plots for these films, as they existed during their initial conception in the late 1970’s. Mark Hamill has even discussed how he was at one time supposed to return, playing an older version of Luke Skywalker. Further shrouding these three films in mystery, George Lucas himself now insists it was all a fabrication of the media and that there was never any story planned out. The appearance of a trilogy of novels in the early 1990’s led many fans to believe that these stories by Timothy Zahn—Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command—were the novel adaptations of the Sequel Trilogy that never was.

But what was the Sequel Trilogy? And did it even exist at all?

The answer to the first question is pretty complicated but the answer to the second is an easy one: a resounding “Yes!” If you have read through the main body of this book you will undoubtedly already know that a nine-film, three-trilogy version of the Saga was in the works at one time, and you will already have been given a rough timeline and synopsis of the evolving plans for these three sequel films. The bizarre accusation of Lucas that the very basis for these films was a media invention is quite perplexing, simply due to the sheer volume of information Lucas has divulged on the subject. Even Steven Spielberg in 1999 remarked, “George always wanted to make nine. He wanted to the first three, then he wanted to make the prequels to that, then he wanted to make the last three. And that was something that was part of his concept.” 1 Rick McCallum, producer of the prequels, even in 1999 still talks about the nine-episode plan: “Whether George only completes six of the nine-part series or he actually ever really ultimately completes the nine, it’s really nine parts of one film. Its one big saga, a saga about a family that happens to live in a galaxy far, far away.” 2

The surfacing of Gary Kurtz in 1999 led to him revealing in interviews and at conventions the supposed plans that Lucas first drew up around 1978 or so. These plans revealed that the original plot for the series was not to be ended in Return of the Jedi but stretched out for another three films, forming a “hexology” for Luke’s story, that is, a six-film continuous story. In Episode VI Darth Vader would be killed, in Episode VII Luke would continue his fight, now as a full Jedi, in Episode VIII Luke’s twin Jedi sister would appear and in Episode IX the Emperor would finally be revealed and defeated, and the series finished. This led to the obvious conclusion that after the hardships of making Empire Strikes Back, Lucas basically compressed all of


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

these story ideas into one film, ending the series with Return of the Jedi. However, this hypothesis is not correct. Its refutation has its own dedicated appendix and I have briefly been over the main tenants of its inaccuracy in the main body of this book but to put things simply, the storyline which Kurtz describes as being planned never existed at any given time, and his statements are a confused conflation of the ever- changing storylines from 1977-1980.

So, what were the real plans for these sequels? Well, that depends on what sequels you are talking about and at what date.

Let’s go back to the beginning.

When Star Wars was first written it was meant to be a stand-alone film. The second draft ended with a teaser for a sequel which include a “search for the Princess of Ondos,” but, like the open-ended finale of the final film itself, this was probably not seriously expected to be made, and it is likely that Lucas only vaguely developed this story, if he had developed it at all. But Lucas began to realise that a number of spin-off stories could be made following the continuing adventures in this galaxy— the film was, after all, fashioned after the serial films. As early as 19743 Lucas expressed desire to retain sequel rights, and by the time Lucas actually got to negotiating contracts he had Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill contracted to two sequels, just in case he felt like pursuing them.

Alan Dean Foster was then commissioned to not only write the Star Wars novelisation, but two sequel novels to the film which could be adapted into scripts and made on low budgets, as per Lucas’ three-film FOX contract. 4 So whether the film was a failure or success, Lucas was planning on expanding the adventure in novels. As a film, Star Wars was designed to be self-contained since it was most likely that this would be the only cinematic entry in the series—Lucas added many embellishments to the final draft screenplay which reinforced its function as a stand- alone film, showing that he was leaning towards the notion that there would never be any sequels, such as the development that the destruction of the Death Star would lead to the fall of the Empire, as expressed through many elements not present in the third draft such as the information conveyed in the opening scroll and a Death Star conference scene (thus making the film’s ending more satisfying, giving Luke a more complete journey, and providing a sense of closure—Empire and Splinter both ignore this, however, side-stepping the complicated political set-up of the first film in favour of character dramas). But whether the film was successful or not, Lucas still had planned with Foster to at least do two follow-ups as novels. Before the first sequel novel was released, however, Star Wars became a hit; this initial story was then scrapped for the movie sequel and released in 1978 as the novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

With the film unexpectedly proving to be the most popular and successful motion picture in history, Lucas excitedly found himself with virtually unlimited funds and freedom, and was now allowed the ability to pursue the more epic and ambitious ideas he originally had wanted for Star Wars. Rather than merely a trilogy, Lucas decided that he would make the series into a franchise in the vein of James Bond; interviews from 1977 reveal that the series is to be a loosely-connected serial, with each chapter following different characters and time periods and containing different themes, as well as being made by different directors. The films apparently don’t follow chronological sequence, as Lucas speculates that a possible sequel could be the early days of Obi Wan Kenobi, and Gary Kurtz has even indicated that a sequel was pondered which traced the formation of the ancient Jedi order. Mark Hamill compares the series to James Bond and states that he had been approached about doing more than his contracted three films, saying somewhat sarcastically that by the end he would be Kenobi’s age. INSERT DO WE NEED ALL THIS?

Later that year, Lucas begins working on the actual story material for Star Wars II, hiring Leigh Brackett as the screenwriter. The film is titled Empire Strikes Back and is designated as Chapter II. After many story conferences a first draft is finally completed by February of 1978. The script itself is not wildly different from the actual film in terms of plot except Han is alive and well at the end and leaves to search for his Stepfather/mentor, Darth Vader is not Luke’s father, and the ghost of Father Skywalker reveals Luke has a twin sister who is also undergoing Jedi training—in a future episode she would be seen.

Lucas reveals to the public around this very same time that the series is to be twelve films long, and the projected date of completion is 2001. There are no apparent story ideas for future episodes other than what is set up in the first draft of Empire Strikes Back, although it is probable that Lucas had privately developed a few broad concepts.

Then of course Brackett dies, Lucas writes the second draft himself and makes the historic story change where he fuses Father Skywalker and Darth Vader into the same character. The script was still known as Episode II but this was soon revised to Episode V. The sister character was not reprised for obvious reasons. Likely the series was changed to the nine-film, three-trilogy version at this point.

On the set of Empire Strikes Back, Lucas reveals to Alan Arnold that the Star Wars series is divided into three trilogies which total nine films. Trilogy one is the prequel films which details Obi Wan and Father Skywalker’s early days and the fall of the Republic, whereupon Father Skywalker turns to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader. Trilogy two is Luke’s story, chronicling the Rebels versus Empire plot; the final film in this trilogy would have Luke and the Rebels finally defeating Vader and the Empire. The third trilogy he is much tighter-lipped about, but he says that there will be twenty years between each trilogy, making the whole series span over fifty years, and that each trilogy would feature different actors. Says Lucas in 1979:


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

“The first script was one of six original stories I had written in the form of two trilogies. After the success of Star Wars I added another trilogy. So now there are nine stories. The original two trilogies were conceived of as six films of which the first film was number four.”5

“There are essentially nine films in a series of three trilogies. The first trilogy is about the young Ben Kenobi and the early life of Luke’s father when Luke was a little boy. This trilogy takes place some twenty years before the second trilogy which includes Star Wars and Empire. About a year or two passes between each story of the trilogy and about twenty years pass between the trilogies. The entire saga spans about fifty-five years... After the success of Star Wars I added another trilogy but stopped there, primarily because reality took over. After all, it takes three years to prepare and make a Star Wars picture. How many years are left? So I’m still left with three trilogies of nine films... The next chapter is called ‘Revenge of the Jedi.’ It’s the end of this particular trilogy, the conclusion of the conflict begun in Star Wars between Luke and Darth Vader. It resolves the situation once and for all. I won’t say who survives and who doesn’t, but if we are ever able to link together all three you’d find the story progresses in a very logical fashion.” 6

Here is where the detective work begins.

Much of the information regarding the Sequel Trilogy can be gathered from the reference to an “Other” by Yoda in Empire Strikes Back. Lucas claimed recently that he had no idea who Yoda was speaking of—it wasn’t Leia and it wasn’t a sister character; it was put in there to place Luke in more danger by making the audience think he could die and that the series could continue beyond him (which in fact was Lucas’ plan at that time). But an examination of this infamous line reveals that Lucas did indeed have some plan for sequels— his silence on this aspect of is undoubtedly due to the fact that he now contends these sequels to be media fabrications. The original line in the initial drafts achieves what Lucas claims of it, and it first appears in the revised second draft. Yoda says “Now we must find another.” In the third draft it is similar: “No...we must search for another.” But in the fourth draft it undergoes a subtle yet highly significant change—“No, there is another.” Implying that somebody is already out there, ready to step in and replace Luke.

Lucas was setting up the protagonist for the third trilogy. Who was this character? Lucas himself may not have known exactly and had many avenues to take, but Yoda seems to imply that this character is some kind of Force-user, hidden from the Emperor. Could it be another Jedi who escaped the purge like Obi Wan and Yoda and was in seclusion like them? If this is the case, he would be at least seventy years old by the time of the Sequel Trilogy, making this highly unlikely. The obvious answer then is that he was a Force-sensitive youngster, hidden at birth similar to the way Luke was, perhaps only being a child at the time of the middle trilogy. In the third trilogy he (or she) could become the protagonist. As Lucas said in


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

1981 to Starlog, no character would go through the entire series except perhaps the droids. He also mentions that the actors would all be different in the films, not surprising given that the actors of his current trilogy were only under contract for those three films, and Harrison Ford resisted doing more than two, as well as the fact that the timeline of the saga covers over five decades. Thus, any characters from this trilogy that appeared in the third trilogy would be played by older actors. From 1981:

“Kerri O’ Quinn: Is there going to be character continuity among all three trilogies?

George Lucas: No—possibly the robots, but there weren’t originally designed to go through the whole...nobody was designed to go through all three. I’d like to see the robots go through them, but I don’t know whether they will.

KOQ: What will provide the continuity then?

GL: Well, the next trilogy—the first one—since it’s about Ben Kenobi as a young man, is the same character, just a different actor. And it’s the same thing with all the characters. Luke ends up in the third film of the first trilogy just three-and-a-half years old. There is continuity with the characters in other words, but not with the actors—and the look of the films will be different.” 7

The series at this point was no longer about Luke, as evident by the fact that the first and last thirds of the saga would not center on him—which may be one reason why Lucas stopped referring to the series as The Adventures of Luke Skywalker in 1979, when this three-trilogy plan was revealed. It was three separate trilogies which told a chronological story when viewed together but followed different characters and had different styles and tones, although connected in various ways. The first trilogy was about Obi Wan. The second trilogy was about Luke. The third trilogy, then, may have followed this “Other.” Contrary to popular belief, there is no indication that an elderly Luke and company would be the protagonists of the sequels— that story point would be created much later. However, audiences would probably be wondering what happened to them and so Luke would likely appear in a role as a mentor character (and played by someone other than Mark Hamill), similar to Obi Wan in the middle trilogy—the protagonist of the previous trilogy would step aside for the next one and make a cameo appearance; this is what connects the trilogies. Obi Wan is the protagonist of trilogy one; Obi Wan’s student Luke is the protagonist of trilogy two, with Obi Wan as a cameo character as Luke’s mentor; Luke’s student the Other is the protagonist of trilogy three, with Luke as a cameo character as the Other’s mentor. Just as Obi Wan passes on the Jedi legacy to Luke, Luke could pass on the Jedi legacy to this Other. “The sequel is about Jedi knighthood, justice, confrontation, and passing on what you have learned,” Lucas says. 8


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

Although Lucas would change some of these plans by the time he wrote Return of the Jedi, this natural arc of Luke taking an apprentice to continue the Jedi way after he is gone is still alluded to in that film when a dying Yoda intones “Pass on what you have learned...”

Would the rest of the middle trilogy characters be seen? Han, Leia, Chewie, Lando? Probably, though perhaps in smaller roles—similar to the way that the main players of the prequels have bit parts in the middle trilogy, such as Obi Wan, Yoda and Palpatine, but certainly audiences would want to find out what happened to them. To be honest, there simply is not enough information to make anything more than assessments of probability; perhaps Lucas would make the films revolve around them, or perhaps Lucas would relegate them to background characters and instead prefer to introduce new ones. It’s simply a matter of opinion.

So what about plot? There’s not much known, and probably Lucas knew little more than we do. Denise Worrell writes in 1983 that Lucas has specific plots for the prequels, “but he has only a vague notion of what will happen in the three films of the sequel,” also stating that he has only some notes on the films and not specific outlines.9 In 1980 he revealed to Time magazine that the sequels would revolve around “the rebuilding of the Republic,” and in 1983 stated that thematically it would be about “the necessity for moral choices and the wisdom needed to distinguish right from wrong,” implying perhaps a more introspective tone, which is consistent with Lucas’ implications that the three sets of films would all be stylistically different. The first trilogy is to be more Machiavellian and melodramatic, like a costume drama, as Lucas revealed in 1981, while the second is more action-packed and light-hearted, perhaps leaving the third to be more philosophical, addressing issues of ethical responsibility and moral ambiguity. “The third [trilogy will] deal with moral and philosophical problems,” Lucas once said. “In Star Wars, there is a very clear line drawn between good and evil. Eventually you have to face the fact that good and evil aren’t that clear-cut and the real issue is trying to understand the difference.” 10 *

So here we have a reconstruction of the saga circa 1979. There are three trilogies. The first is about Obi Wan, and how his apprentice turns to the darkside and the Republic gets turned into an Empire. The second is about Luke, and the fighting back against the Empire to restore freedom. The third is apparently about the Other, likely a Jedi-in-training, and likely student of Luke’s, with Luke now an elderly Jedi master, set against the rebuilding of the Republic into its former glory.

So there is the Sequel Trilogy as best as can be unearthed. Lucas may have had more ideas that he never revealed but they will regrettably be forever lost as he now denies the very existence of these films, let alone the original configuration of them.

* These comments about moral ambiguity and responsibility were made in relation to the post-1980 revised “reunion” sequel but, although the character and story focus may have changed, I believe that the thematic and tonal qualities remained more or less the same


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

The actual plot—beyond the premise of re-building the Republic and following the Jedi-in-training Other character—is anyone’s guess, though a number of viable speculations can be made. The hardest accomplishment of the Sequel Trilogy is the introduction of a new threat and the creation of a central villain. Nothing could possibly match the effectiveness of Darth Vader and the Emperor, and creating any kind of central threat would inevitably lead to a re-tread of either the prequels or the middle trilogy, and with Vader and the Emperor both dead, anyone newly introduced may seem superfluous and unimpressive.

Perhaps a new menace would rise up in place of the Empire, threatening to consume or topple the struggling New Republic. Perhaps insidious evildoers would appear from within the New Republic itself, similar to the prequels, threatening to take over the democracy once again. Perhaps the remnants from the Galactic Empire itself have been taken over by a new leader and now are striking back as intergalactic terrorists in the ravaged post-war galaxy, similar to what Timothy Zahn would present in his own sequel trilogy. It could even be possible to bring back the Emperor himself—perhaps he somehow escaped the Death Star and his fate has been unknown but now resurfaces twenty years later to exact his revenge, as either a spirit or a corporeal being. Lucas himself okayed the use of returning the Emperor as a clone for Dark Empire.11

Moral ambiguity and the necessity for choices in the name of good, Jedi knighthood, and the passing on of knowledge will play key roles in the sequels, according to Lucas, and so perhaps Luke would wrestle with the darkside, exploring what it is, why his father fell and how he himself should avoid it—after all, he himself tasted it at the end of Jedi. This type of plot is similar to the Dark Empire comic, with Luke trying to destroy the darkside from within, which Lucas had some involvement with and apparently is quite fond of. With him taking on an apprentice, these issues would be all the more relevant. Those rebuilding the Republic would be faced with a legacy of failure and the task of not repeating the mistakes of the past, which indeed would give the trilogy a reflective and philosophical tone.

But these are all just wild speculations on my part. The truth is that short of Lucas coming out and telling us, we will never know the details, other than the backdrop of the story was the rebuilding of the Republic, that it would thematically center around choices of morality, and, through deduction, that it would follow Luke’s young prodigy, likely with Luke and the middle trilogy characters briefly seen.

All of this story development is occurring in 1979, however. So, what happened to this trilogy?

Well, Lucas never had a huge emotional investment in it. He reveals in the May 1980 issue of Bantha Tracks that his original story gave him the material for the first six films but that the third trilogy was only added after the success of Star Wars. “Originally, when I wrote Star Wars,” he says, “ had material for six movies. After


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

the success of Star Wars I added another trilogy.” 12 The prequels were also more interesting and developed. Perhaps this is why by 1980 the plan is to film the prequels first and then the sequels—it gave him the option of backing out if he felt like it. He may have also been beginning to change his mind by 1980.

So, with the 1979 three-trilogy sequel plan in place, Empire Strikes Back goes into production. The complicated production does not go smoothly and is very stressful on everyone involved, and Lucas contemplates throwing away all the remaining episodes other than the third film in his original trilogy. His marriage was also falling apart, and his wife Marcia was pressuring him into settling down and starting a family—they had refused to do so thus far because Lucas knew his work on the Star Wars films would prevent him from properly raising a family. But now even he was beginning to tire of the films, as were the actors.

In any case by 1981 he had decided to cancel the Star Wars saga, including his Sequel Trilogy. It was the most unnecessary and uninteresting of the films—Revenge of the Jedi stood poised to tie everything up nicely. With Vader and the Emperor dead, Luke and the Rebels victorious and the galaxy safe once again, what need was there to extend the story beyond this?

However, one point remained lingering—his set up of the Other. With no sequel trilogy to introduce the character with, it now needed to be resolved. He couldn’t arbitrarily introduce a new character into the already-crowded plot, especially not another Jedi, and so Leia was written in as this Other, and her importance was justified by turning her into Luke’s sister, bringing back the sister subplot that had been attached to draft one of Empire Strikes Back. With the “Other” forced to be addressed in Return of the Jedi and made into Princess Leia, the Sequel Trilogy lost its key character and story link, and hence became even more unnecessary, which is what led to the shifting to a “reunion” type of story, set when the characters are in their sixties, which is what the majority of Lucas’ comments pertaining to the “third trilogy” refer to. Lucas still spoke publicly of the Sequel trilogy and did not reveal that he had cancelled it, and with the Other now written out of the future stories he now began claiming that the sequels would follow a grey- haired Luke and company, perhaps with the original cast now returning as their elder selves—this newly created plot point was first mentioned in Time Magazine in May, 1983. Time magazine writes:

“Luke, who will then be the age Obi-Wan Kenobi is now, some place in his 60s, will reappear, and so will his friends, assuming that the creator decides to carry the epic further. Hamill and the others will get first crack at the roles—if they look old enough.” 13

Denise Worrell also reports in greater detail that same month:

“In the sequel Luke would be a sixty-year-old Jedi knight. Han Solo and Leia would be together, although Lucas says, ‘They might be married, or not. We have never actually


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

discussed marriage in this galaxy. I don’t even know if it exists yet. Who knows what relationship they will have? I mean, they’re together, let’s put it that way.’ The sequel focuses mainly on Luke, and Lucas says Mark Hamill will have first crack at the part if he is old enough. ‘If the first trilogy is social and political and talks about how society evolves,’ Lucas says, ‘Star Wars is more about personal growth and self-realisation, and the third deal with moral and philosophical problems. In Star Wars, there is a very clear line drawn between good and evil. Eventually you have to face the fact that good and evil aren’t that clear-cut and the real issue is trying to understand the difference. The sequel is about Jedi knighthood, justice, confrontation, and passing on what you have learned.’ ” 14

It appears that Lucas developed an alternate version of the Sequel Trilogy by this point, likely just in case he still felt like making it one day. This version also takes place much farther into the future, roughly forty years after Return of the Jedi as opposed to twenty (as evident by the fact that Luke is said to be in his 60’s), and is thusly more centered around the gimmick of re-uniting the aged original cast. However, I believe that much of the thematic content of the original plan remained intact.

A June 1980 interview with Rolling Stone has him spouting more nonsense about the amount of material he has—in this case claiming he has twelve-page outlines for all seven remaining films. He also addresses the “Other” but his comments are so vague and ambiguous that it is impossible to precisely gather if it is indicating he had decided to write in Leia as the Other by this point, and instead is most likely gobbledygook intended to avoid answering the question.

“What is your deal with Fox?

The have first refusal on every Star Wars film I want to make.

How many is that? Seven left.

Let’s get back to The Empire Strikes Back for a moment. In the movie, Ben says Luke is the last hope and Yoda says no, there is another.

Yes. [smiling] There is another, and has been for a long time. You have to remember, we’re starting in the middle of this whole story. There are six hours’ worth of events before Star Wars, and in those six hours, the ‘Other’ becomes apparent, and after the third film, the ‘Other’ becomes apparent quite a bit.

What will happen to Luke?

I can’t say. In the next film everything gets resolved one way or the other...


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

Do you have story lines for the seven Star Wars movies left to be done? Yes, twelve-page outlines.” 15

Richard Marquand also has made some interesting statements, one particular quote from 1983 where he says that Lucas told him ideas for the Sequels, apparently involving some kind of mastermind villain—however, the character he describes is clearly the Emperor, revealing that he may simply be confused on the complicated issue:

“Did George tell you the complete SW saga?

Yes, all nine parts ... if you follow the direction and project into the final trilogy, you realise you're going to meet the supreme intellect, and you think, how is it possible to create a man who has such profound cunning that he can not only control Darth Vader, but the fate of Luke Skywalker? Control the destiny of the whole galaxy? You'll be amazed!” 16

It is also worthy to note that whatever he is referring to is not the original plan but the post-1980 “cover version.”

In any case, by 1983 Lucas is speaking of following the aged cast of the original trilogy in a Sequel Trilogy. But they are mostly empty promises—Lucas never had a strong desire to film these, perhaps explaining his comments that the Sequel Trilogy was never a serious consideration, and that it was more of a gimmicky reunion suggestion. It was merely left as an option for himself, one that was most likely going to be passed by. As infamous as it was, the Sequel Trilogy only existed in 1979 and early 1980, and possibly 1978.

To complicate matters, Lucas got divorced in 1983, plunging him into an emotional depression and robbing him of much of his riches—Marcia was rightfully entitled to her share of the company (she owned half of Lucasfilm), being such a pivotal player in Lucas’ life, and reportedly got up to $50 million in the settlement. In the 1990’s the Star Wars renaissance gave Lucas enough wealth to make more films, conveniently coinciding with the digital revolution and the maturation of his kids. If he were to do any Star Wars films at all, they would be the prequels, which he had developed in fairly elaborate detail by that point and which held a strong personal interest to him; the sequels, on the other hand, remained vague and uninteresting— perhaps he might have had more conviction in his original 1979-era plan, but the notion of gathering the elderly cast of the originals for new films was more of a half- hearted “reunion” type of concept, similar to what Lucas would develop for his controversial Indiana Jones IV, and was never proposed with much enthusiasm.

In the mid-80’s, Lucas told Starlog, “No, no books. If I do [more Star Wars stories], I will do them as movies.”17 Yet by the 90’s it became obvious to him that he would probably not get around to making these sequel films, and so it was allowed


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

that authors could do ancillary material that took place after Jedi when such an idea was brought to Lucasfilm. The development of additional Star Wars novels was proposed in 1989 by publisher Bantam Spectra, and Lucas agreed—his first criteria for the books were that they take place a few years after Return of the Jedi. They were, in effect, replacements for the Sequel trilogy. Says Lucas:

“The sequels were never really going to get made anyway, unlike 1, 2, and 3, where the stories have existed for 20 years. The idea of 7, 8, and 9 actually came from people asking me about sequels, and I said, ‘I don't know. Maybe someday.’ Then when the licensing people came and asked, ‘Can we do novels?’ I said do sequels, because I'll probably never do sequels.” 18

Timothy Zahn’s trilogy was finished in 1993, and each book was a New York Times best-seller, kick-starting the Star Wars renaissance of the early and mid 90’s. It was here that Lucas finally decided that the prequels would be made, but with a significant shift, as the trilogies were not meant to be one narrative—they were stylistically and tonally different, but chronologically connected. When Lucas made Anakin the main character of the prequels and not Obi Wan the series thus shifted to being one which told Anakin’s life story and thus became one large tale. With the overall series now charting Anakin’s rise, fall and death, the third trilogy was rendered obsolete, the final nail in its coffin.

Interestingly, the themes of issues of morality and the ambiguity of good and evil that Lucas once said would be the focus of his sequel trilogy found their way quite prominently into the prequels (which again may indicate that these were in fact holdovers from the original 1979 plan, since they held such personal interest to him).

It is also interesting that Lucas did initially leave himself a window to still make the sequel films—his plans had the films set many decades after Jedi, while he mandated that the new sequel novels take place only a few years. This may be while one of his closests friends, Steven Spielberg, and his closest collaborator, Rick McCallum, continue to acknowledge the existence or possibility of sequels as late as 1999. However, at that same time, Lucas finally made a definitive decision on the matter of not doing them (perhaps explaining why it wasn’t until this much later period that novels began to take place more than just a few years after Jedi).

Interviewers would still question Lucas about the Sequel Trilogy, but he was more hesitant and ambiguous than ever. Nevertheless, he did not definitively state that they would not be made, and would continue to make numerous references to having a nine-film series, finally stating in 1999 that the series would end with the prequels and making these plans very clear once Revenge of the Sith was released.

A plethora of examples follows. This is by no means a complete list—the Sequels were talked about more frequently than even the prequels.


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

Time Magazine, May 19th, 1980:

“The second trilogy, which opened with Star Wars: Episode IV, centers on Luke Skywalker, who, will be seen as a child in Episode III. Empire continues the Skywalker story, and Episode VI, the next film to be made, which will be called Revenge of the Jedi, will end it, with either Luke or Darth Vader walking away from their final bout. The last three episodes involve the rebuilding of the republic.

Only two of the main characters will appear in all nine films, and they are the robots, Artoo Detoo and Threepio. Says Lucas: ‘In effect, the story will be told through their eyes.’ ” 19

Bantha Tracks, issue 8, spring 1980:

“Revenge of the Jedi will complete the middle trilogy of the nine-part Star Wars epic. Following its completion, the first trilogy will be filmed, and then finally, the last trilogy. Should production on the nine films continue at the same rate, we can expect to see the ninth film released in the spring of 2001.”

George Lucas, Starlog, July 1981

“Starlog: Is there going to be character continuity among all three trilogies?

Lucas: No—possibly the robots, but they weren’t originally designed to go through the whole...nobody was designed to go through all three. I’d like to see the robots go through them, but I don’t whether they will.”

George Lucas, 1982, as quoted in John Baxter’s Mythmaker, p. 387:

“I’m only doing [Revenge of the Jedi] because I started it and now I have to finish it. The next trilogy will be someone else’s vision.”

Time Magazine, May 23rd, 1983:

“The sequels, the three movies that would follow Jedi, are considerably vaguer. Their main theme will be the necessity for moral choices and the wisdom needed to distinguish right from wrong. There was never any doubt in the films already made; in those the lines were sharply drawn, comic-book-style. Luke, who will then be the age Obi-Wan Kenobi is now, some place in his 60s, will reappear, and so will his friends, assuming that the creator decides to carry the epic further. Hamill and the others will get first crack at the roles—if they look old enough.” 20

Dale Pollock, Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, First Edition, 1983, p. 146, 1983:

“He started anew with the middle story. It had the most action and starred Luke, the character with whom he felt the most secure. The first trilogy told the story of young Ben Kenobi and Luke’s father and was set twenty years before Star Wars. The final three movies


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

feature an adult Luke and the final confrontation between the rebels and the Empire. The entire saga spans more than fifty-five years; C-3P0 and R2-D2 are the only common element to all the films.”

George Lucas, Press-Telegram, May 18, 1983:

“Now I've finished one book. And there may be two other books in my mind, but whether I start another book is not crucially important. The next book doesn't have anything to do with this book. Different sets, different actors. So it's not like I have to rush out and do another.”

George Lucas, Starlog, issue 127, February 1988: “Starlog: Will you return to the Star Wars universe?

Lucas: Hopefully, I will someday be doing the next three Star Wars, but I’m not sure when. The next three would take place 20 or 30 years before the films they’re celebrating here today. I’ll do the first trilogy first. There are nine [films] floating around there somewhere. I’ll guarantee that the first three are pretty much organized in my head, but the other three are kind of out there somewhere.

Starlog: Why didn’t you give Luke a girl? Lucas: You haven’t seen the last three yet.” George Lucas, Premiere, September 1990:

“Star Wars is a story, divided in three trilogies. It's a long movie of 18 hours, divided in nine parts. The next trilogy will be prequels, with events taking place some years before the current trilogy. The main characters will be, besides A Young Vader and a Young Ben Kenobi, completely new. The look will be different too.”

George Lucas, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye second edition introduction, 1994:

“It wasn't long after I began writing Star Wars that I realized the story was more than a single film could hold. As the saga of Skywalkers and Jedi Knights unfolded, I began to see it as a tale that would take at least nine films to tell -- three trilogies -- and I realized, in making my way through the back story and after story, that I was really setting out to write the middle story.”

George Lucas, The Unauthorized Star Wars Compendium, p. 13-14, January 1999:

Lucas: “The first film came out and was a giant hit, and the sequels became possible. Then people suggested we could do more than three, so I thought, ‘Gee, I can do these back stories, too.’ That's where the ‘Chapter IV’ came in. Then everyone said, ‘Well, are you


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

going to do sequels to the first three?’ But that was an afterthought. I don't have scripts on those stories. The only notion on that was, wouldn't it be fun to get all the actors to come back when they're sixty or seventy years old and make three more about them as old people. That's how far that has gone, but the first six will definitely get finished.”

George Lucas, Juice magazine, May 1999:

Lucas: “No, no. [After Star Wars came out] somebody asked me if I was going to do a sequel. And I said, ‘I'm doing the other two parts to this one.’ And they said, ‘You're doing this trilogy-do you have any more?’ And I said, ‘I've got a backstory, which I've got laid out. I could probably do that.’ And they said, ‘But are you going to do a sequel?’ And I said, ‘I guess maybe I could do a sequel at some point.’ And that got turned into doing nine films. It's six films. It's really not nine films. It's extremely unlikely that I will go on and do any more.”

George Lucas, TV Guide, November 19, 2001:

“What would it take for you to do a third trilogy, with episodes VII, VIII, and IX?

Lucas: “Each time I do a trilogy it's 10 years out of my life. I'll finish ‘Episode III’ and I'll be 60. And the next 20 years after that I want to spend doing something other than ‘Star Wars’. If at 80 I'm still lively and having a good time and think I can work hard for another 10 years between 80 and 90, I might consider it. But don't count on it. There's nothing written, and it's not like I'm completing something. I'd have to start from scratch. [The idea of episodes VII, VIII, and IX] was more of a media thing than it was me.”

Mark Hamill also makes some interesting comments in 2004:

“You know when I first did this, it was four trilogies. 12 movies! And out on the desert, any time between setups... lots of free time. And George was talking about this whole thing. I said, ‘Why are you starting with IV, V and VI? It’s crazy.’ [imitating Lucas grumble,] ‘It’s the most commercial section of the movie.’ He said the first trilogy’s darker, more serious. And the impression I got, he said, ‘Um, how’d you like to be in Episode IX?’ This is 1976. ‘When is that going to be?’ ‘2011.’ I defy anyone to add 36 years to their lives and not be stunned. Even an eight year old is like, ‘No, I’ll never be 47.’ So I did the math and figured out how old I’d be. 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.’ ” 21

There have been many misconceptions about this Sequel Trilogy in the years since. One rumour states that the protagonist of the trilogy would be a character who returns after being cryogenically frozen in Episode III. This stems from comments George Lucas made in a May 1980 issue of Bantha Tracks, where he answers the question “What is the third trilogy about?” with “It deals with the character who survives Star Wars III and his adventures.” What is not realised is that “Star Wars III”


Appendix D: The Legend of the Sequel Trilogy

does not refer to Episode III—it refers to Revenge of the Jedi, which was initially referred to as Star Wars III before its title was revealed (in that very same issue of Bantha Tracks, in fact). So, with that in mind, Lucas was saying that the third trilogy would follow Luke—whether this is in reference to the original Other-centric plot or the revised Old-Luke plot is unknown.

Another misconception is that Timothy Zahn’s famous trilogy from 1991- 1993 is meant to replace the Sequel Trilogy. There is some truth to this: the novels were not meant to be a third trilogy to the Star Wars story but they were indeed commissioned in place of the Sequel Trilogy once Lucas decided that he was not going to be making them.

The fact that Lucas now asserts that the very basis for these three sequel films were invented by the media, preposterous a deflection as it may be, is perhaps a reflection of the fact that after Lucas revised the sequel plans in 1980 he never seriously intended to make them, and mainly gave such statements to satisfy fan and media demand. He also likely believed that he could indeed one day make the revised “reunion” type trilogy some years down the road—if he felt up to it, that is, and so he left himself the option open. A quote from 2005 reveals the rather simple explanation for the post-1983 talk as merely boiling down to not anticipating the work involved:

“Somebody once asked me in an interview if I would be making sequels to the original trilogy... I said that it might be fun to come back and do sequels with all the characters in their eighties, and to ask Mark [Hamill] to come back when he’s eighty. What I forgot, or didn’t realise at the time, was that I’d be eighty too! So, no, I’m not going to make another Star Wars film at eighty.” 22

Rather than correcting the public that his original plans had been rendered obsolete, he continued to feed the press reports when they continued to ask, simply because he felt that maybe he truly could make such a film one day. “I sort of played into it,” he admits today, “but I probably shouldn’t have.” 23 As you can see, there is still much unknown regarding the original plot for the Sequel Trilogy, but this summation is as best as anyone can give.

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What do you think they'll do with the books? Allow them to continue?

I think SWG emu is fucked, the Disney lawyers will be all over that.

Edit- what happens to the TV series?

Excited about this, now the shock has worn off. I imagine 7 has been in the works for a while.

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What, people seriously think it's sensible to be windmilling about this?

'banishing the memory of the sequels' - we currently know FUCK ALL about these films and people are already talking of 'them' 'finally getting it right'?

It's ridiculous.

Star Wars fanboys, you too crazy.

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