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What was George Lucas's Star Wars Sequel trilogy really about?

And did he ever even intend to make it?

Luke Skywalker, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Image credit: Lucasfilm

In 1983, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi ended with the realization of Luke's dream to become a Jedi Knight, having conquered his greatest trial to assume his destiny. His father redeemed, an Empire vanquished, and a new mission from Yoda to "pass on what he has learned." It would be many years before we saw where the journey went from there -- and once we finally did, it was to a Luke who had already taken that journey, now at the end of his life. Was that always the way the story was meant to go? With the acquisition of the Star Wars franchise from its creator, it's tempting to speculate otherwise. After all, it's common knowledge in the Star Wars fandom that from the earliest days of the franchise, Lucas intended to make a trilogy of sequels someday. How different might those stories have been from the saga of Rey Skywalker we received?

One of the most fantastic things about Star Wars is how it seems to begin in the middle of a much larger story. A perfunctory text crawl in the first film gives the viewer the barest sketch of what’s happening in a Galaxy at war before throwing you head-first into the action, and engages your imagination with hints of Clone Wars and fallen Jedi Knights as you get deeper within. It’s for this reason that by the time Star Wars was re-released in theaters in 1981, it was with the new subtitle of ‘Episode IV: A New Hope.’

By the time that it was clear the first Star Wars movie was a hit, where the franchise would go next was all anyone could talk about. George Lucas himself had early ideas about exploring the youth of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a notion which would become the prequel trilogy. But it soon became common knowledge among Star Wars fans, which from 1977 to 1983 encompassed practically all of culture, that the Star Wars franchise was expected to follow a sequence of three trilogies: the story of Luke Skywalker, a prequel trilogy about the rise of the Empire, and then three more films which would take us to Star Wars’ future as Episodes 7-9 of the Star Wars saga. The dream of the Sequel Trilogy was one which wouldn’t be realized until 2015, when Disney had acquired Lucasfilm from George and made the long-promised films themselves… to wildly fluctuous degrees of fan approval.

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About the Author
Alex Jaffe avatar

Alex Jaffe

Contributing writer

Alex Jaffe is a columnist for DC Comics, answering reader-submitted questions about the minutiae of comic book history. He also hosts the Insert Credit podcast, where he's been asking the smartest people in video games the weirdest questions he can think of since 2012. ReedPOP is Alex's place to write about Star Wars, his "vacation universe" away from DC, but he may be persuaded to occasionally broach other topics. A powerful leg kick makes this goon the meanest guy in the gang.