“This movie had a very, very specific challenge, which was to take eight films and give an ending to three trilogies, and so we had to look at, what is the bigger story? We had conversations amongst ourselves, we met with George Lucas before writing the script,” Abrams said. “These were things that were in real, not debate, but looking at the vastness of the story and trying to figure out, what is the way to conclude this? But it has to work on its own as a movie, it has to be its own thing, it has to be surprising and funny and you have to understand it.”
While we probably won’t know how exactly Lucas helped with the story, we know that Episode IX has been on his mind for quite some time. In fact, Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz told IGN in 2002 that, while working on the Original Trilogy in the ’70s and ’80s, Lucas had “enough material for three earlier films and three later films, to make a total of nine, and there were outlined materials certainly for a later three that culminated with this big clash with the Emperor in Episode IX.”
Now that The Rise of Skywalker has premiered, we know at least ONE of the things Lucas intended for Episode IX will make it into The Rise of Skywalker: the return of the Emperor. Was this Lucas’ major contribution to the final chapter of the saga?
Lucas, who considered directing the Sequel Trilogy himself before deciding to sell Lucasfilm to Disney, had specific plans for the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga, according to Mark Hamill, who told IGN in 2018 that things would have played out differently had the creator of Star Wars completed his vision. Hamill was specifically talking about the fate of Luke Skywalker, who died in The Last Jedi.
“I happen to know that George didn’t kill Luke until the end of [Episode] IX, after he trained Leia,” Hamill told IGN. “Which is another thread that was never played upon [in The Last Jedi].”
While The Last Jedi director went in a different direction regarding Luke’s fate, he reportedly followed Lucas’ original outline for Episode VII pretty closely otherwise, especially when it came to Rey’s training with the Jedi Master. Even some of the more controversial bits of The Last Jedi might have come from Lucas before Johnson ever put pen to paper.
You can see how Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker wraps up the Skywalker saga on Dec. 20.
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