Luke In Exile
There were some Lucas concepts that did find their way in the official sequels. Chief among them was the state of Luke Skywalker. The films reveal that after the fall of the Galactic Empire, Luke started to train a new generation of Jedi, only to go in self-imposed exile after one apprentice (Ben Solo) turned to the dark side and destroyed it all. Making refuge on the remote planet Ahch-To (home to the first Jedi Temple), Skywalker hoped to live out the rest of his days in isolation, taking the last reminders of the Jedi religion down with him in death. That is, of course, until Rey finds him and tries to spark a change-of-heart in the old hero.
This idea was one of the first discussed at the initial Episode VII meeting in January 2013. Lucas himself showcased art of where the first Temple (and Luke) was located. His plan was for Luke to slowly regain his faith by training a new pupil, Kira (who would later become Rey), meaning Skywalker factored in Lucas' sequel trilogy much earlier than in actuality. For Episode VII, Abrams made the tough call to sideline Luke until the very end, allowing the spotlight to shine on the new characters before Luke had more to do in the followup. It would have been interesting to see Skywalker with a more substantial part from the get-go, but his presence arguably would have overshadowed the youngsters.
Leia Uses the Force
One of Last Jedi's most shocking moments came when Leia demonstrated her Force powers to survive being blasted into space following a First Order attack. Dubbed "Leia Poppins" by the Internet, the scene proved to be highly-controversial, even though it's widely known Leia is Force sensitive. Return of the Jedi revealed Leia is Luke's twin sister, and many fans had long hoped she would overtly use the Force onscreen. The previous films provided more subtle instances of her abilities, but this was the first time Leia's full-fledged potential was on display. It may not have worked for everyone, but it was great to see.
Shortly after Episode VIII premiered, Hamill shared that Leia's Force sensitivity was a plot point in Lucas' outlines for the sequels. He did not state specifics of how exactly that would manifest, but said it would be a "waste of innate talent" if Leia never tapped into that side of her. Apparently, Johnson agreed with him and made sure to include one sequence where Leia used the Force when she was pushed to the brink.
So far, these are the biggest revelations that have been revealed about Lucas' sequel trilogy in interviews and publications. If anything new comes to light, we'll be sure to update this post with the latest information!
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019