Disney's Star Wars sequel trilogy has been met with its fair share of controversy, but it's certainly possible that George Lucas' plan for a new trilogy wouldn't have been any less controversial. Though Lucas hasn't been at the helm for years, he's the architect of the Star Wars universe, a multi-billion dollar franchise that has spawned a long list of films, video games, cartoons, toys, and most recently, live-action TV shows like The Mandalorian.
Disney famously acquired the rights to Star Wars when it purchased Lucas' company, Lucasfilm, in 2012. Ever since, Disney has been in control of one of the biggest movie franchises in history. Prior to Disney's takeover, the Star Wars universe was in a very different place. The Star Wars prequel trilogy was still fresh on everyone's minds; Clone Wars was currently on the air; and the franchise was also continuing in the form of books that took place in Star Wars' Expanded Universe. The movies were over, but the EU was able to dig a bit deeper into the universe by introducing new planets and characters, while simultaneously revisiting old ones.
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For the most part, the EU wasn't wide-reaching and was rather niche, as opposed to the films, which have always been highly publicized and major topics of discussion. Things changed dramatically when Disney took the reins and released the seventh movie in the series, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now the Star Wars universe is back to being massive. But despite the amount of success experienced by three of Disney's four Star Wars movies, fan reactions to their creative decisions haven't been overwhelmingly positive by any means. That being said, controversy would still be an issue if the creator of Star Wars was still calling the shots.
Disney Star Wars Has Changed Opinion On George Lucas
Fans soured on what Lucas was doing with Star Wars in the early 2000s. A great number of fans highly disapproved of the prequels, and it all began with Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. The movie gave the franchise its most hated character with Jar Jar Binks. Also, expectations were high, since there hadn't been a Star Wars movie in 16 years. For this reason, a lot of fans saw the prequels as letdowns that couldn't match the originals in terms of characters and storytelling. After the prequels, audiences were leery about the notion of more Star Wars films.
Feelings toward George Lucas and how he handled the Star Wars movies have changed in recent years. The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi have brought in billions of dollars worldwide, but they've brought in controversy as well. The original trio (Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo) didn't get the spotlight in the new films that fans were expecting, and the screen-time they shared - or lack thereof - was considered a disappointment. Luke Skywalker's arc in The Last Jedi was a controversy all on its own.
The fanbase has expressed dissatisfaction with the current direction of the franchise and its disregard of Lucas' vision, and this has brought about a new appreciation for the prequels and a change in opinion of Lucas himself. Regardless of how the prequels were received by fans, many people - though not all - have agreed on the fact that Lucas at least tried to do something different; he experimented with the story and expanded upon the franchise in numerous ways, not simply retreading past successes.
George Lucas' Star Wars Sequel Trilogy Would Have Been More Experimental
Like the current plan for the Skywalker saga, George Lucas envisioned a nine-movie plan for his story. He wanted to tell the seventh, eighth, and ninth parts of the story after the prequels were finished but it never came to fruition. Exactly what he had in mind hasn't been thoroughly discussed, but some details on what Lucas' sequel trilogy would have offered have been revealed. Apparently, Lucas wanted to explore the scientific side of the Force by getting into the "microbiotic world". The three films would have introduced creatures called the Whills who feed off the Force and control the universe. According to Lucas, the Whills use humans as vessels in order to move through the world. This is a concept that Lucas says he developed at the very beginning but never had a chance to explore in the way that he intended. This already is in stark contrast to the use of the Force in Disney's sequel trilogy. While new Force powers have certainly been introduced, the concept of the Force hasn't been dissected in the same way that Lucas intended.
Star Wars Hype Would Awaken Under Lucas - But Still Divide Fans
What would have happened if Lucas had brought his vision for the next three Star Wars film to life? All things considered, the hype for the new trilogy would have been huge. One of the things that made fans so excited for Disney's trilogy was the return of the original cast. Having Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO back in the mix was something that Star Wars fans definitely looked forward to, and something that fans would have, of course, enjoyed about Lucas' planned sequels as well. It seems highly likely that Lucas would have continued the stories of the characters he created. Also, Lucas' trilogy could have put much more emphasis on the existing characters than what Disney has done with their own Star Wars movies. If so, the anticipation for the sequels would have hit the roof.
The problem is that fans would still have had problems with the movies. George Lucas himself has admitted (via Collider) that fans "would have hated it, just like they did Phantom Menace". The Star Wars fanbase has never really been sold on the idea behind the Whills, and what they mean for the series. The groundwork for this concept was laid out in The Phantom Menace with the introduction of the midichlorians, microscopic lifeforms that live inside human beings and grant access to the Force. The midichlorians are one of the most hated aspects of Star Wars, so diving even deeper into the idea wouldn't have been a welcome direction for the franchise. People have complained that exploring the science behind the Force downplays the mystique of it all. Lucas' bold creative decisions would have undoubtedly divided the fanbase even more.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019