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The New York Times ran a story today featuring a recent interview that George did. He expressed disdain for The Force Awakens, but more interestingly, he mentions that he had been writing a seventh installment for the Star Wars series.

Is there any information from other interviews or sources about what was going to be in his (thankfully never to be finished) script?

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    Major Spoilers for Star Wars 7
    – Valorum
    Dec 31, 2015 at 19:54
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    In the Deadspin article I just read, he is quoted as saying he had treatments for 7-9, which I take to mean he had a general idea of the plot but hadn't actually written anything. Dec 31, 2015 at 20:02
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    Lucas's version of Ep. 7: m.youtube.com/watch?v=v93Jh6JNBng
    – RedCaio
    Dec 31, 2015 at 20:42
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    @TZHX - Hmm. If he'd wanted to make them himself, I'd be reasonably sure they'd gross a couple of billion dollars each. Hardly "worthless".
    – Valorum
    Dec 31, 2015 at 23:37
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    @RedCaio: I always thought it went like this. Jan 1, 2016 at 12:33

3 Answers 3

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It's astoundingly unlikely Lucas' ideas for Star Wars 7, 8 and 9 will ever see the light of day. They were written as part of the negotiation with Disney for the sale of the Star Wars franchise and were ultimately rejected in favour of a script treatment written and supervised by Disney's own writers. As with any sale of Intellectual Property, these treatments are almost certainly covered by strict non-disclosure agreements on all side.

2008 interview with TotalFilm

TotalFilm: Are you happy for new Star Wars tales to be told after you're gone?

Lucas: I've left pretty explicit instructions for there not to be any more features. There will definitely be no Episodes VII - IX. That's because there isn't any story. I mean, I never thought of anything! And now there are novels about the events after Episode IV, which isn't at all what I would have done with it.

The Star Wars story is really the tragedy of Darth Vader. That is the story. Once Vader dies, he doesn't come back to life, The Emperor doesn't get cloned and Luke doesn't get married...

Lucas' scripts rejected by Disney

“They looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans’….They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing….They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway — but if I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble, because they’re not going to do what I want them to do. And I don’t have the control to do that anymore, and all I would do is muck everything up. And so I said, ‘Okay, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.'”

“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,”

Abrams interview with Vanity Fair

He sketched out ideas for episodes VII, VIII, and IX, to be set initially several decades after Return of the Jedi, and approached Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill about re-upping. He shared his story outlines with Disney during their courtship phase. But after the deal was done, “Disney and Kathy decided they should consider other options,” as Abrams (not then involved) diplomatically put it. He said Lucas’s treatments had centered on very young characters—teenagers, Lucasfilm told me—which might have struck Disney executives as veering too close for comfort to The Phantom Menace and its 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker and 14-year-old Queen Amidala. “We’ve made some departures” from Lucas’s ideas, Kennedy conceded, but only in “exactly the way you would in any development process.”

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    Man, if that last paragraph is true, it's a depressing indictment of how film execs think - that they saw the reaction to Phantom Menace and concluded "this film contained children, therefore, Star Wars films mustn't contain children", not "Star Wars films, like all films, must have good dialogue, good dramatic pacing and no distractingly dumb unfunny slapstick aliens" Dec 31, 2015 at 20:14
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    @user568458 - Have a read of the whole article. They hadn't even started on the script but they were already building the sets for the X-Wings, Millennium Falcon and drilling stormtroopers. Although they went in with a "blank page" they clearly had a shopping list of stuff they needed to include in order to hit all the right marketing and merchandising buttons. I can see why Lucas is grumpy about how unoriginal the film is. I'm struggling to think of anything iconic and new aside from the fancy cross-guard lightsaber.
    – Valorum
    Dec 31, 2015 at 20:16
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    Female lead Jedi is pretty new though. Dec 31, 2015 at 21:00
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    @KAI - I've got to side with Lucas on this one. The new film was a retro-pastiche of the Original trilogy; Death Star, desert planet, character who doesn't know they're a jedi, etc etc etc. My guess is that his scripts were too different.
    – Valorum
    Dec 31, 2015 at 22:56
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    @Richard I don't agree. This last movie wasn't great, but it was competent. As in, not bad and good enough to restart the series. Lucas's last 3 scripts were just bad, and it wasn't because they were different. So I'm not necessarily convinced that the scripts he sent to Disney were good. When is the last time he wrote a good script on his own?
    – KAI
    Dec 31, 2015 at 23:03
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As someone who read Starlog magazine as a kid in the mid-to-late 1970s the concept that there would be movies past Return of the Jedi has always been present. And I mean always.

That said how fleshed out those concepts have been is debatable. Much like George Lucas has been endlessly tinkering with the original trilogy films he — and Lucasfilm — have also been constantly rewriting the narrative of the Star Wars development and story creation process.

So if you care about the supposedly “true blueprint” of what the Star Wars saga was planned as being prior to 1980, here is an outline that Gary Kurtz — who produced Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back — has shared in a few places over the years:

  • Episode 1: Was to focus on the origins of the Jedi Knights and how they are initiated and trained.
  • Episode 2: Introduction and development of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Episode 3: Introduction and life of Vader.
  • Episode 4: There were seven different drafts of the film. At one point, they pursued buying the rights to Hidden Fortress because of the strong similarities. At one point, Luke was a female, Han was Luke’s brother, Luke’s father was the one in prison (interesting point for some debates) and the film featured 40 Wookiees.
  • Episode 5: Once written, the screenplay of Empire is almost exactly what is seen on screen. The only cut scenes were those involving wampas in the rebel base (cut because of time and unsolved technical glitches) and about two minutes of Luke/Yoda Jedi training with no real dialog.
  • Episode 6: Leia was to be elected “Queen of her people” leaving her isolated. Han was to die. Luke confronted Vader and went on with his life alone. Leia was not to be Luke’s sister.
  • Episode 7: Third trilogy was to focus on Luke’s life as a Jedi, with very few details planned out.
  • Episode 8: Luke’s sister (not Leia) appears from another part of the galaxy.
  • Episode 9: First appearance of the Emperor.

Of course what ended up being Return of the Jedi differs from what that brief outline describes, but the general point is simply that the idea that the films would just end at Return of the Jedi is kind of a new/modern wrinkle on the “I’ve had this planned out all along…” mindset George Lucas has been presenting over the years.

Additionally, the whole concept of how the sequels/prequels would be be presented — or what their storylines would encompass or even how they would be numbered — was never set in stone, as revealed in this December 1978 interview with Gary Kurtz from issue 18 Starlog magazine shows; bold emphasis is mine:

Going along with this long-range concept, the producer refuses to taint the new production with the usual Hollywood sequel slang. The film, for instance, is never referred to in Lucas-Kurtz circles as Star Wars II. “I would never call it that,” Kurtz winces. "Our working title is The Empire Strikes Back. And as I said, it’s part of a plan that George and I had from the inception of the original film. What we wanted to do was to relate every subsequent Star Wars adventure as an episode of a continuing story, like the old movie serials used to do. We were going to call this movie Star Wars Epsiode Two: The Empire Strikes Back, but we ran into some problems. You see, although this story is a direct sequel to the first movie, we have three more stories that we eventually want to film that actually occur before the point where the first Star Wars begins.

“So we’ve been toying with the idea of ignoring the numbers completely. Instead, we’ll give each movie episode a unique title. I mean, if we had to give each film its true number in the series, this movie would be called Episode Five: The Empire Strikes Back. The first film would be called Episode Four. Can you imagine how complicated it would get? If we released a story like that publicly through a press release, thousands of people would be totally confused.

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In the book James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction (a tie-in to his TV series of the same name), Cameron has an interview with George Lucas where Lucas goes into a little more detail about what he envisioned the sequel movies would be about:

Everybody hated it in Phantom Menace [when] we started to talk about midi-chlorians. There’s a whole aspect to that movie that is about symbiotic relationships. To make you look and see that we aren’t the boss. That there’s an ecosystem here.

JC: There’s an ecosystem inside us called the microbiome that they’re just learning about now.

GL: [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.

JC: You were creating a religion, George.

GL: Back in the day, I used to say ultimately what this means is we were just cars, vehicles, for the Whills to travel around in. . . . We’re vessels for them. And the conduit is the midi-chlorians. The midi-chlorians are the ones that communicate with the Whills. The Whills, in a general sense, they are the Force.

JC: But you’re putting detail and a facade of science around an idea that’s pretty timeless, which is the spirit, the soul, heaven, causation. . . . But in your world-building, you’re going back to archetype, which is spirit, the godhead, all that sort of thing.

GL: 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.

On the concept of the "Whills", this was an idea that at least in part goes back to George Lucas' early drafts of the first movie, see the "Behind the Scenes" section of the Wookieepedia Legends article on the Journal of the Whills:

In his early drafts, George Lucas ostensibly planned to use the Journal of the Whills as a plot device to connect the Star Wars galaxy to our own. In Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, Lucas explains his original intent:

"Originally, I was trying to have the story be told by somebody else; there was somebody watching this whole story and recording it, somebody probably wiser than the mortal players in the actual events. I eventually dropped this idea, and the concept behind the Whills turned into the Force. But the Whills became part of this massive amount of notes, quotes, background information that I used for the scripts; the stories were actually taken from the 'Journal of the Whills'."

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