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 '15 at 19:54
  • 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 '15 at 20:02
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    Lucas's version of Ep. 7: m.youtube.com/watch?v=v93Jh6JNBng
    – RedCaio
    Dec 31 '15 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 '15 at 23:37
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    @RedCaio: I always thought it went like this. Jan 1 '16 at 12:33

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 '15 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 '15 at 20:16
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    Female lead Jedi is pretty new though. Dec 31 '15 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 '15 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 '15 at 23:03

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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