When Disney first bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas and a batch of new Star Wars movies were announced, diehard fans were skeptical. Lucas had always planned to make Star Wars a nine-movie saga, starting with the original trilogy, continuing through the prequel trilogy, and concluding with the sequel trilogy.
The Star Wars creator had written story outlines for each installment in the sequel trilogy, but Disney scrapped them in favor of starting from scratch. As it turned out, “starting from scratch” just meant rehashing the original trilogy. So, here are 10 Main Differences Between Disney’s Star Wars Sequel Trilogy And George Lucas’ Treatments.
10 Younger heroes
The heroes in Disney’s trilogy are more or less the same age that Luke, Han, and Leia were in the original trilogy. However, in Lucas’ treatments, the heroes were teenagers.
You might be wondering why Lucas wanted to dive back into that area when he already tried making kids the heroes in The Phantom Menace with an 8-year-old Anakin and a 14-year-old Padme, and it didn’t really work out. But then again, Lucas is the brilliant mind that created Star Wars in the first place, so we also have to trust that he knew what he was doing with his own saga.
9 Luke would’ve been younger, too
Whenever George Lucas talks about Disney’s Star Wars sequels, he seems pretty miffed that they didn’t stick to his vision for the story: “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.”
As we saw from the fan response to the prequels, Lucas-helmed Star Wars movies can prove to be just as divisive as ones directed by J.J. Abrams or Rian Johnson. According to George Lucas biographer Dale Pollock, the sequels would’ve involved “Luke Skywalker in his 30s and 40s.” Disney couldn’t really help this, since Mark Hamill is an aging human being and they didn’t buy Star Wars until 2012.
8 Luke had a love interest
In Lucas’ version of the sequel trilogy, Luke Skywalker had fallen in love and had a female romantic partner. However, since the prequel trilogy established that the Jedi are celibate, this was dropped. Still, Mark Hamill did confirm recently that in The Last Jedi, Luke didn’t die a virgin.
Maybe because the Jedi Order hasn’t officially existed since Palpatine executed Order 66 in Episode III, the surviving Jedi Knights – i.e. Luke, Obi-Wan, possibly Rey, and maybe a couple of others – could pick and choose which rules they followed. The judicial body keeping them celibate doesn’t exist anymore, so why bother?
7 Luke’s Jedi Temple was shaped like a bell
George Lucas has criticized Disney’s decision to make The Force Awakens more “retro” than forward-thinking like his original trilogy and even the prequels did: “They wanted to do a retro movie. I don’t like that. Every movie, I work very hard to make them completely different, with different planets, with different spaceships, make it new.”
He was loosely involved in Disney’s earliest development of the sequel trilogy, approving some concept art. He approved a design for Luke’s temple that was later changed when Rian Johnson was brought on board. VFX art director James Clyne explained, “This artwork was shown to George Lucas in a presentation. Doug [Chiang, Lucasfilm executive creative director] came back and said, ‘Congratulations, James. You got a George “Fabulouso” stamp.’”
6 R2-D2 and C-3PO were the only characters to appear in every single movie
While The Rise of Skywalker will probably complete Lucas’ vision of a nine-movie saga in which R2-D2 and C-3PO are the only characters to appear in every installment. That was one of Lucas’ stipulations with the rules of Star Wars.
Disney didn’t honor the obligatory appearance of R2-D2 and C-3PO with Solo, although they did with Rogue One, and it looks as though they’ve at least made sure that the two droids appear in every film in the Skywalker saga. It’s not clear if C-3PO having a red arm was one of Lucas’ ideas or a ploy by Disney to sell twice as many C-3PO toys (the one with the red arm and the one without the red arm).
5 Leia’s Force sensitivity
It’s widely known that Lucas wanted to show Leia using the Force in the sequel trilogy, since Return of the Jedi had revealed her to be a Skywalker and he wanted to confirm her Force sensitivity. Lucas felt it would be a “waste of innate talent” if there wasn’t a scene in which Leia used the Force, so he specified it in the treatments.
However, it’s unknown if his version of events had Leia flying around the deep emptiness of space like she’d suddenly become Mary Poppins. The problem with that scene was that it made the established mythology of the Force immediately inconsistent.
4 Luke trained Leia and died one movie later
In The Last Jedi, the middle chapter of Disney’s trilogy, we see Leia discover her Force abilities shortly before Luke bites the dust. According to Mark Hamill, Lucas’ story treatments for the sequel trilogy didn’t kill off Luke until the very end of Episode IX – the very end of the Skywalker saga, which makes sense – and while he stuck around for longer, he used the extra time to train Leia to control her Force sensitivity and eventually master it.
Hamill explained, “I happen to know that George didn’t kill Luke until the end of [Episode] IX, after he trained Leia.”
3 Palpatine didn’t appear until Episode IX
George Lucas was working on storylines for the sequel trilogy before he even finished the original trilogy. Before making Return of the Jedi, Lucas planned to include the first appearance of Emperor Palpatine, as well as Luke’s confrontation with him, in Episode IX.
The moments were ultimately both included in Jedi, but Disney might still follow this plan with the surprise reappearance of the Emperor in The Rise of Skywalker. Perhaps Rey will take Luke’s place in the original version of the Episode IX plot. J.J. Abrams reportedly met with George Lucas to get his approval on the script, so it’s entirely possible.
2 Luke was introduced earlier
The sequel trilogy kept the fact that Luke Skywalker had exiled himself to Ahch-To, home of the first Jedi Temple, after trying to train the next generation of Jedi and being betrayed by his evil apprentice/nephew Ben Solo. So, all of that Luke storyline, which has been criticized as uncharacteristic, was actually in Lucas’ early treatments.
The difference is that instead of waiting until the very end of Episode VII to reveal him, Lucas would’ve brought in Luke much earlier. A young stalwart named Kira (who was later renamed Rey) would find him and become the beacon of hope that keeps him going as he trained her in the ways of the Force. It was in the portrayal of this crucial character development that The Last Jedi stumbled.
1 Explaining the universe
According to George Lucas, his sequel trilogy would’ve gotten really trippy in explaining the universe: “[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.”
As many fans know, Star Wars was originally titled Journal of the Whills, so this was clearly Lucas’ vision from the beginning. However, despite the fact it was written years before, it’s a little close to what the MCU is doing with the Quantum Realm.