Mark Hamill reveals some details about George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode IX, including the plan to have Luke Skywalker die at the end of the saga. A sequel trilogy in the Star Wars franchise has been talked about for decades now, with Lucas himself saying he envisioned the series to be a nine-part epic while developing the original trilogy. Of course, his vision changed down the line, and Lucas instead opted to end the story with the conclusion of the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith, in 2005. Ten years later, Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion, and the sequel trilogy was back in order.
Prior to the acquisition, Lucas actually spent time working on an outline for the new films, but the studio ultimately discarded his ideas to go in a different direction. While there are some similarities between Lucas' sequels and Lucasfilm's movies, the two trilogies have some key differences. Most notably, the death of Luke Skywalker happened in the grand finale, not the middle chapter.
In an interview with IGN, Hamill shared the ending for Lucas' Episode IX, saying that Luke training his twin sister in the ways of the Force was also part of the plan. It's unsure if this is from Lucas' most recent draft, or one of his earlier ones.
"I happen to know that George didn't kill Luke until the end of [Episode] 9, after he trained Leia. Which is another thread that was never played upon [in The Last Jedi]."
Though Hamill was scarce on specifics, he makes it sound like the original trilogy trio had larger roles to play in Lucas' version of the sequels, with Leia being Luke's apprentice. In the Episode VII J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan wrote, Luke, Han, and Leia were relegated to supporting characters so more attention could be given to newcomers like Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren. This allowed the saga to become a generational tale, with each trilogy focusing on the story of a different era. As beloved as Luke and his friends are, they had their time in the classic films, and now they had to pass the torch. This isn't much different from when Lucas was in charge. Obi-Wan Kenobi was a main player in the prequels and was very much supporting in A New Hope. It would have been fun to see Luke, Han, and Leia have more to do, but based on the reviews and box office numbers, it's hard to argue with the results.
Hamill went on to say Lucas had an "overall arc" for the sequel trilogy, which contrasts from the way Kathleen Kennedy handled it. Rian Johnson made headlines last year when he said there was no pre-planned story in place when he signed onto The Last Jedi. J.J. Abrams had sketched out treatments, but Johnson ultimately went down his own path. The ball is now back in Abrams' court, who will get to finish the sequels as he sees fit before Lucasfilm moves on to other endeavors like Rian Johnson's new trilogy and the series developed by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Due to a number of circumstances, the Episode IX we'll get will be very different from the initial plans, but hopefully it'll end the saga on a high note.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019