The EU Would Remain (But Be Broken)
One of the more controversial decisions Lucasfilm made shortly after the Disney acquisition was to relabel the Expanded Universe as "Legends" and wipe the slate clean. While the studio's creatives haven't been shy about cherrypicking elements from Legends, this granted them the opportunity of a fresh start freed from decades of previously published materials. There was also a concentrated effort to have all corners of the franchise (movies, books, TV shows, etc.) unite under one cohesive canon. This initiative isn't just lip service, Lucasfilm actually committed to the idea, with novels that work as prequels to movies and characters from the animated shows popping up in films. The Lucasfilm story group works to maintain continuity between all mediums, serving as a sounding board for filmmakers and writers.
Fans were upset by this apparently blatant disregard for Star Wars history, but Lucas had a pretty nonchalant outlook on the whole thing himself. In an interview, he flat out states there are two separate Star Wars universe: his and the EU. They operate independently of another, with the effort to make it somewhat consistent. So odds are, Lucas would have neglected the events of the old books and comics if he was still producing movies. Any version of Episode VII would almost have to essentially be a hard reboot of the post-Return of the Jedi continuity in order to keep the films accessible to mainstream audiences. Even EU fanatics would have a hard time keeping up with everything. It's likely Lucas opts against unifying all of Star Wars as one canon, but the EU is essentially broken.
A Han Solo Movie Still Gets Made
Solo, despite being a rather entertaining heist film in the Star Wars universe, will forever be a black mark on the franchise's Disney era. It's the first series installment to lose money at the box office, after enduring one of the most tumultuous productions in recent memory. Lucasfilm and Disney deserve equal parts of the blame for how it all turned out, and some viewers wondered if all the trouble was worth it. Proposed sequels are unlikely to happen given Solo's poor commercial performance, and even the spinoff's biggest fans will admit it doesn't rank among the series' best. However, audiences were destined to get a Han Solo origin story one way or another.
The Star Wars anthologies stemmed from Lucas, who was interested in expanding the franchise beyond the confines of the episodic saga. In particular, he discussed "origin type stories" with Kennedy and was developing a Han film with veteran screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan months before the Lucasfilm sale. It's clear Lucas was interested in delving into Solo's past, fleshing out elements like his fateful meeting with Chewbacca and winning the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian. Of course, there might have been some changes, but considering Kasdan remained involved with the project from its inception, the Solo we got is probably close to what it might have been had Lucas stayed attached throughout as well. Of all Disney's Star Wars films, it's arguably the one he's had the most influence on - even directing part of a scene when he visited Ron Howard on set.
Star Wars TV Would Have (Still) Expanded
Star Wars, by virtue of A New Hope becoming a phenomenon in 1977, will predominantly be known as a film series to most people. However, the property has left its mark on the small screen as well. Lucas spearheaded the Clone Wars animated series, mentoring a young Dave Filoni as they worked to expand the lore and mythology. Lucasfilm's animation department became a key component of the studio in the following years, with Rebels launching post-Disney and now Resistance on the air. Lucas even contemplated making a younglings spinoff movie and series towards the end of Clone Wars' original run, but ultimately decided against it.
Lucas was also very interested in getting a live-action Star Wars TV show off the ground. Right after Revenge of the Sith premiered, there was talk of Star Wars: Underworld, which would be a deep-dive exploration of Coruscant's seedy underbelly during the earliest days of the Empire's reign. Despite there being no less than 50 scripts completed, Underworld never came to fruition primarily due to concerns about digital characters. With technology continuing to evolve, Lucas surely would have the needed resources today if he was still calling the shots. Underworld probably happens as Lucas revives his pet project. Frankly, this isn't too different from what's happening now, with Jon Favreau's The Mandalorian taking place in a presumably lawless corner of the universe, with our protagonist far from the eye of the New Republic. Perhaps Disney, after scrapping Underworld entirely after the sale, will look to borrow some concepts for the series, which debuts in 2019.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019