We all know by now that Disney’s Star Wars Trilogy wasn’t well-received by all. In fact, it was quite divisive. However, there’s one thing that fans can’t accuse it of- not following George Lucas’ original Star Wars sequel plans.
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, they immediately went to work on a sequel. It was always going to be set after the Return of the Jedi events. Until that point, the franchise had already shown the lives of the main trilogy of heroes and their descendants through non-movie material like comics and books.
Not to mention that new enemies had also been introduced in those books and comics. So what was the solution to this? Rebranding. Lucasfilm completely rebranded everything except the original six movies and The Clone Wars. They called the pre-Disney timeline Legends and made it an alternate continuity. Disney’s subsequent Star Wars movies followed several of George Lucas’ ideas on a basic level.
But they didn’t have the same reverence or understanding of the past films as Lucas might have had. Some of the more common criticisms of the films were that they leaned way too heavily on the original movies. As in, the homage was too palpable. So much so that it felt like Disney was trying to ape the previous films. For example, characters like Finn and Rey were unique and different from what was seen in the original trilogy.
However, scenes like the throne room sequence of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and also the Battle of Crait felt similar to that of the other (and better) Star Wars movies. Also, many fans pointed out that the sequels appeared to have been inspired by the Legends continuity in some scenes. Many pointed out that Kylo Ren and Jacen Solo’s characterization seemed similar.
Although Star Wars fans who have read the books know that Jacen Solo’s characterization is far better than Kylo’s, the Final Order was not a great substitute for the Dark Empire. George Lucas created one of the biggest pop-culture franchises in the world. However, the original and prequel films were a collaborative effort. Lucas’ ideas, ultimately good or bad, were supported or passed on by other fellow writers.
By now, everyone knows that while working on Star Wars: The Clone Wars with Dave Filoni, George Lucas quite infamously chastised the practice of maintaining continuity. Not many agreed with this idea, but Filoni did ultimately accept Lucas’s suggestion. This can be seen in The Clone Wars multiple contradictions of the previously established Legends-era.
As a result of this belief of George Lucas, many of the ideas for the Star Wars sequels didn’t always fit like puzzle pieces with each other. However, despite his flippant attitude with continuity, Disney’s Star Wars sequels followed several of Lucas’ general ideas. Now, fans are divided over whether this made the films better or worse. But one thing is clear- Lucas’ influence and legacy actively hung over the franchise. So, here let us talk about some of the key narrative points that were influenced by George Lucas’ Star Wars plans:
Some of Lucas’s sequel ideas featured a Force-sensitive teenager who might have been called Taryn, Thea, or Winkie. That teen would have sought out Luke Skywalker for completing her Jedi training. Lucas also wanted Luke to rebuild the Jedi Order, partially with the Empire’s Jedi Purge survivors. But George Lucas never really specified whether or not Luke’s attempts to revive the Order would fail.
However, the aged Jedi would nevertheless be in exile when the Force-sensitive teen girl found him. And as we generally see from mentors, he would be reluctant to train her as a Jedi. Also, it wasn’t specified what her connection was to the original characters like Palpatine, Leia, or Han. As you can see, this idea surfaced in The Last Jedi. The Force-sensitive girl- Rey, did look for Luke to train her.
But in the sequels, Luke failed to rebuild the Jedi Order properly and became a shadow of his previous self in the process. Luke’s main motive for going into exile made many moviegoers furrow their brows. After all, him abandoning his family, friends, and other galaxy people and allowing evil to flourish was not like him. His abandonment didn’t match the characterization we had seen of him until then.
Most fans think that if Lucas had written the story, he would have been more creative while explaining Luke’s exile. The Star Wars creator surely would have given his exile a reason instead of making him another cynical and disillusioned version of a beloved hero.
George Lucas wanted Luke Skywalker to die in his trilogy. It was possibly going to happen in his version of Episode VIII. Even Mark Hamill suggested that Luke was sent to die in the final movie of the trilogy. The context surrounding Luke’s death isn’t known, but it isn’t totally surprising to know that Lucas wanted to kill off his original protagonist. After all, Lucas was planning on introducing a new Force-sensitive protagonist.
He wanted to focus on the next-gen of heroes who would be the children of the original trilogy of protagonists. There was possibly going to be a reimagined version of Luke’s Legends-era son, known as Ben Skywalker, in the sequels. Ultimately, no matter what Lucas was planning, he would definitely have been respectful to Luke’s characterization and given him a heartbreakingly fitting demise.
But the sequels that we got to see didn’t do that. They mishandled Luke’s characterization and made him ignore the New Republic (and then the Resistance) while actually helping create one of their biggest threats. This behavior wasn’t consistent with what we have seen of Luke till then. After all, he was among the few beings who posed a threat to Kylo Ren and Snoke.
In the Sequel Trilogy, Luke uses an image of himself to distract the First Order’s forces once the Resistance gets nearly destroyed. However, he gets exhausted, and his efforts are too little and a little too late. If George Lucas had written the sequels, he would surely have given Luke a way more respectful death.
In an interview, George Lucas said he intended to make the sequels about Vader’s grandchildren. Now, the Skywalkers weren’t the only important characters in the franchise. But Anakin’s seduction by the darkness and his fall from the light was the core story of the prequels. His children defeating the Empire was the focus of the original movies.
Lucas didn’t specify whether these kids would be Luke or Leia’s. But it’s pretty ordinary to assume that they would start families after the events of Return of the Jedi. In Legend-era, Anakin had four grandchildren, and each of them joined Luke’s New Jedi Order. But Disney gave Anakin just one grandchild, Ben Solo, who later on went on to become Kylo Ren, a Knight of Ren who was deadly obsessed with his grandfather’s Sith Lord side, Darth Vader.
As we mentioned before, Kylo Ren seems to have been quite blatantly inspired by Legends-era character Jacen Solo. Now, Jacen became a Sith Lord as an adult, and he had a tonne of characterization. In comparison, Kylo Ren is his pale shadow. He is way less complex, and he also lacks Jacen’s slow and mesmerizing fall to the dark side.
Luke Skywalker doesn’t have any children in the sequels, and this is likely a result of him following the outdated and frankly harmful practices of the old Jedi Order in his generation. If Lucas was in charge, he might have had Luke start a family in his sequels, just like he did in Legends.
Several of George Lucas’ ideas for the sequel trilogy were really questionable. But to be fair to Lucas, these were ultimately early drafts for the movies. After all, his first drafts for the Star Wars movies were way different from what we actually got to see onscreen. So it’s not unreasonable to assume that Lucas’ ideas would actually be way more refined by the time they were given the green light.
We should mention that Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy was indeed well-intentioned. But often, the movies didn’t respect or understand the storylines or characters from the original six movies. This ultimately resulted in a largely divisive series. Now, George Lucas’ ideas might not have been perfect. But we are certain that they would have been consistent with the previous movies than what we ultimately got to see from Disney.
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