BTS The Sequel Trilogy That Never Was: Episodes VII-IX: The Historical Record

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Darth_Nub, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. EHT New Films Manager

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    I think that Lucas intended at one point (maybe for a long time) to make a sequel trilogy, but that ROTJ (plot-wise) and the PT (morality tale-wise) ultimately rendered it a moot point. I don't think Lucas had really thought out what the sequel trilogy would really entail, but the death of Palpatine seems to have always been a finale of sorts in his overall view of the Saga... and it ended up working well in ROTJ, in conjunction with Anakin's redemption. Then the PT addressed much of the thinking about morality, the impact of the choices people make, etc.

    Also, even if a sequel trilogy had been made, I don't think Lucas would have done things the way the EU did anyway; he doesn't seem to care much about overriding what has been previously stated in EU content. Anyway, I'm happy with the Saga as it is, and I don't want to see more movies in it because I don't think they would work well. Come to think of it though, since I dislike the EU, it would be kind of funny to see more of it overridden... :p
  2. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

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    It was steamrolled enough to have a veteran writer of all things mandalore, Karen Traviss, leave the SW world behind.
  3. TheLateAdmiralPiett Force Ghost

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    star 2
  4. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Also, one of the very few things that we do know is that the ST was going to deal with the rebuilding of the Republic:

    "The last three episodes involve the rebuilding of the Republic."

    - Time Magazine, May 1980
  5. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

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    Jul 31, 2000
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    Very interesting thread, and props to zombie for making much of this discussion possible. However, I think it's pointless to over-analyze what Lucas may or may not have thought at different points in time. None of this is ever set in stone, and with Star Wars drawing so much attention there is a constant desire on the part of fans and journalists to get him to speculate. He's a pretty decent man, and don't often refuse to answer questions. So there's obviously going to be loads of quotes out there, self-contradictory in the extreme, because they reflect Lucas' thinking at any given specific point in time.

    Added to that, there's the practical issues of working on these monstrous projects. It's one thing for him to jot down a few notes or to speculate out loud to journos and fans. It's quite another reality when he has to sit down and actually write or co-write scripts that are to be the blueprints for real movies. Unavoidably, there's going to be a great gap from what is reported through the years, to what he eventually realizes is practical or not, or even good or not. Maybe he regrets thinking out loud a little too often?

    Halfway through a script, you're pretty much bound to discover that something you figured was a given, maybe even the major point of a long-term plan, doesn't work out. And so you have to re-jig the whole thing and your earlier statements aren't valid anymore. But not because you didn't mean what you said.

    I think it was Paul Stanley of KISS who was once asked why the band did a Farewell Tour and then didn't call it quits after all. He replied that what he said was true at the time he said it. I think that's a very honest and human point.
  6. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Agree completely with all of this. That's why I'm less inclined to completely dismiss Gary Kurtz's more recent quotes regarding the ST, even though they seem to refer to the earlier, even vaguer, 12-part structure. Talk of Luke's sister on the other side of the galaxy still might have been thrown around well after it the trilogy of trilogies had been adopted by all as the 'grand plan'.

    With something as ethereal as the developing notion of three Star Wars episodes that didn't even have any roots in the backstory GL developed in the 1970s for 'The Star Wars', it's impossible to pin anything down based simply on logic & continuity. This is why Mark Hamill's quotes don't make 100% sense, why many believe the Emperor was originally slated to first appear in Episode IX, & also why some believe there were 'four trilogies'. That's even putting aside the tangential ideas tossed about for two minutes that Han was meant to die in ROTJ, & that Luke would kill both Vader & Palaptine, put Vader's mask on, & take control of the galaxy.

    However, given just how much material exists that indicates that there were, at one point, meant to be nine episodes - and quotes from relatively official sources continued into the late 1990s, past when I believe GL had actually written the final three episodes out of existence - not to mention the acknowledgment of vague themes & plotlines, I truly do believe that there's something there to be discovered. It's unlikely that there's the amount of material that could be found and deduced about the PT (such as the prologue to the Star Wars novelisation), but based on how often the nine-episode plan was mentioned, I'm convinced there's more than the few vague outlines we know about. Some probably made their way into the PT, just as certain elements of the PT can be found in the earliest drafts of The Star Wars. We don't know, but it's worth a look, isn't it? Besides, it's fun, particularly if something does turn up.

    Yep:

    "I sort of played into it, but I probably shouldn't have."
    - George Lucas, MTV Online, May 9, 2005
  7. zombie Force Ghost

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    Well, when someone speaks of the ST, you have to keep in context what they are referring to. What the ST was changed over the years, and sometimes they aren't even referring to the trilogy proper but simply post-ANH sequel ideas. In it's purest sense, the ST is the structural version which existed around 1979. However, from that base, modifications were slowly added, probably beginning around 1981. Even Lucas' "I played into it" quotes are misleading. He didn't play into it. He was the originator of it. What his mistake was was failing to tell people that what he had originally planned had been modified, and was not as detailed as he made it out to be.

    Kurtz' ideas are a hodgepodge of different "sequel concepts" as well as parts of the "sequel trilogy" itself, which is why his statements, as they relate to the ST proper aren't relevant. There is a lot of info you can extrapolate for "sequel concepts", but not the VII-IX "trilogy" that was brainstormed around 1979. You have to differentiate between post-ANH story ideas and the VII-XI trilogy that was put in place during the shooting of ESB.
  8. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    I'm well aware of all that, but I still think Kurtz's statements contain certain elements that do relate to the actual ST of the trilogy of trilogies. Luke's sister - maybe, but probably not. It's his comment about how ROTJ was meant to end on a bittersweet note with Leia crowned 'Queen of her people' & Luke left out on his own that I think is the most likely to relate to the ST proper. The fact that he also says 'Han was meant to die' & 'the Emperor was meant to be confronted in the final episode' in the same context doesn't necessarily negate the previous points, because, as I said, this was a storyline in development, & total continuity can't be maintained - nor does it have to be. Of course he might be mistaken (& probably is) in certain instances, but he also would have been privy to discussions about Episodes VII-IX during the period that one could say it 'really' existed.

    Considering the somewhat shaky continuity issues that did make it through to ROTJ & the PT - Leia's role as 'the Other', Leia's memories of her mother & so on - I think it's worth keeping an open mind about just about anything that key personnel, such as Kurtz, Kasdan, Kershner, Marquand & so on*, might have to say regarding the Sequel Trilogy, even if it contradicts something else. Eliminate it where possible, but the usual methods of logic, consistency & common sense aren't going to work the same way. Kind of like the laws of time & space inside a black hole.

    Short of stealing those legendary ring binders in GL's writing room, in the end, whatever picture any of us could ever really construct about these episodes will be incomplete & probably inconsistent with itself. Doesn't mean that it won't reflect the vision as it may have existed circa 1979-1980.


    * Excluding, sadly, recent comments by one key player, who denies the ST ever existed
  9. chreff Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2010
    I think the prospect of a new trilogy is still exciting and possible in the next few years (we all know GL changes his mind a lot). I think it would benefit from not having to explain too much. Lucas was backed into a corner with the stories in the PT, but he'd be free of that now I think.

    Certainly C-3PO and Artoo could be back and I would love to see Luke rebuild the Jedi order (Hamill is about the right age now!). Han, Leia, Chewie, etc don't really need to return because I think their purpose was fulfilled. I don't honestly see Leia becoming a senator again while being with Han. I did not get the impression at the end of ROTJ that Luke's task was completed though. I can imagine Luke traveling from planet to planet searching for young padawaans and even suffering a bit in solitude as the last Jedi. Being alone, the only communication he'd have would probably be with the ghost of his father very much like Hamlet (since Hayden replaced Shaw as Anakin's ghost in ROTJ he could play the ghost of Anakin in a new trilogy since he wouldn't age based on what GL has said). Over the course of the films Luke would likely find himself in league with a whole new batch of rogue characters.

    With the Sith destroyed who would be the villains? I never much cared for the Zahn stories (and I don't think GL cares about the EU continuity either) and never found them plausible with the films that preceded them. I think with the threat of the Empire gone and the Republic trying to rebuild it'd be a great time for some mercenaries to try and take control since there'd be little resistance. I mean, there's only one Jedi to try and stop them. Perhaps a group of Mandalorian warriors (a la Death Watch) or some new group of villains seeking revenge? It wouldn't require too much explanation/back story since the fall of the Jedi and the Old Republic that preceded these stories is the common thread for this new trilogy and its basic plot of rebuilding.

    It'd be fascinating to see how you rebuild and restore freedom in the face of all these challenges. They may have defeated the Empire but the New Republic is still in a position of weakness after ROTJ.
  10. Gundark31 Jedi Knight

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    Apr 30, 2010
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    Does anyone know what the divorce settlement between George and Marcia involved?

    Couldn't there be legal issues involved in making Star Wars movie sequels that would not have applied to making prequels?
  11. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    I'd be extremely surprised if there's any difference between a prequel & a sequel in legal terms. If Marcia Lucas was entitled to profits from any further Star Wars films, it would be for just that - further Star Wars films. The episode number or chronological setting of the story wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference. If it did, one could imagine pretty silly ways filmmakers might try to turn a sequel into something that could be interpreted as a prequel, just to avoid shelling out more money.

    As far as the divorce settlement is concerned, I'm pretty sure Marcia Lucas decided to take her half as cash, leaving all the LFL assets with George. I don't think she would have been entitled to any profits from the PT, nor would she be entitled to any from any further ones.
  12. DARTH-FURBABY Force Ghost

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    Blur wrote: "It would remind me too much of seeing those old geezers in the ST movies back in the late '80's and '90's."

    What ST movies are we talking about here? :confused:

    Something that no one has brought up is how the original actors (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford) would feel about doing another trilogy. I was under the impression that one of the main reasons why GL decided against making the sequels was because these actors didn't want to play their parts any more. No one else has heard this?
  13. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    Pretty sure Blur meant the Star Trek films.

    And I haven't heard that about Lucas and the original cast. I doubt Ford would be for it - he's said as much. Fisher, maybe the same? Hamill always seemed to see it as a possibility though.

    Since there are so many different ways the story could go, I don't see the original cast returning as a necessity. The reasons I can recall Lucas giving include: I'm too old, I ran out of story, I was never going to make them anyway.
  14. shanerjedi Jedi Master

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    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    Upping this and adding a subtitle. This is the Sequel thread that doesn't indulge individual thoughts about what could have been, but rather goes into the evidence of what Lucas planned to do. This is science while the official ST thread is the speculation surrounding individual ideas and what might happen in the future.

  15. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Thanks for that - good opportunity to finally bring up the few new details regarding the ST which Rinzler includes in The Making Of ESB. Once again, they provide yet more questions than answers.

    Most of what little there is appears in the brief appendix 'Apostles Of Cinema':

    Suck on that.

    Up until now, it was difficult enough getting one's head around the constantly shifting visions for the Star Wars saga - this new material is enough to induce a stroke.
    The large quote from Lucas appears to be an extended version of what was originally published in Once Upon A Galaxy. I still can't figure out what GL is referring to when he talks about the 'odd film' - is it one of those tangential films he eliminated from his 12-film plan (the Wookiee & droid films), or was it the genesis for Episodes VII-IX?

    Hamill's quote about the philosophical films is quite tantalising, but I've come to take his revelations with a grain of salt these days. He tends to extrapolate somewhat, based on what's already known, and what he believes people want to hear. He might have based what he said on the 1983 Denise Worrell article about the ST dealing with philosophical issues (quoted on page 1 of this thread), or possibly even on what he'd heard about GL wanting to make experimental films that weren't SW films at all.

    Unfortunately, these quotes are undated (although the large portion from GL is clearly from 1979, parts appeared in Once Upon A Galaxy), so it's difficult to tell just what was being sold to the public with them.

    What is clear, however, is that the further films were far more developed in GL's mind than he would have you believe these days. His first quote at the top, about getting carried away, is clearly recent.
  16. shanerjedi Jedi Master

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    Yeah I read and reread all of those parts of the very excellent Making of ESB book and agree with you on their raising more questions than answers.

    But that will likely always be the case with what Lucas originally planned to do.

    This might be the closest we ever get to an answer.

    But as you said, Lucas had more definitive ideas about the sequels than "oh that was a media creation".

  17. ElevationNation Jedi Knight

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    Jan 26, 2011
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    Yeah, I think the live action Star Wars movies have run their course.

    I think the only way one could be made is if there is a huge outpouring of support for the live action series, if that ever gets made.

    Maybe they could do a movie revolving around the characters and concepts from the live TV show, such as what 24 is doing and had been mentioned with Lost at one point.

  18. ezekiel22x Chosen One

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    "Now George is talking about three more films," says Hamill, "a fourth trilogy that would have hardly anything to do with space, but would be these esoteric, philosophic, inner-directed films. Can you believe it? George has all this in his head, all figured out. The guy's incredible."

    Wow, Lucas should bring back this "fourth trilogy" idea and run with it. Sounds like it would've been weirdly amazing to have Star Wars begin with the bouncy fun of ANH and end with a philosophical/experimental thing.
  19. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    It kind of seems fitting to me. Someone else on a different thread was sarcastically hypothesizing about a sequel trilogy in which Luke wanders around Tatooine talking to moisture farmers about the meaning of life.

    While that might be going overboard, the implied more mysterious, questioning air of that kind of production might fit into an ouvre that includes THX 1138. I could see it taking on the documentary filming style of SW and the atmosphere of ESB. I know Hamill might be extrapolating a bit much, but it's the direction I sorta always pictured for any sequels.
  20. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    Like I said, it's best to take anything from Mark Hamill with a grain of salt. There's this notorious interview from 2004:

    OK, first off, it was never 'four trilogies'. There was a time when a series of 12 films was being suggested, but at that time the whole trilogy structure wasn't in place across the whole saga. It was mentioned during the making of ESB that the first three films would form a trilogy of sorts, and recently discovered notes from around that time have indicated a vague notion of a 'Clone Wars trilogy' - however, there were also one-off films being discussed as part of this 12-film plan at the same time, including prequel prologue & epilogue films.
    It wasn't until the 9-film structure was put in place (with whatever one-off ideas existed being discarded or expanded) that it was decided that the saga would be broken up into three distinct trilogies.

    As for Mark Hamill questioning GL about why the first film was Episode IV in 1976 - hogwash. The Episode IV numbering wasn't introduced until 1979, with the publication of The Art Of Star Wars. Prior to that, Star Wars had no episode number, and ESB was referred to in the early stages of its development as 'Episode II'. The whole thing about the OT being 'the most commercial section of the movie' is obviously something Hamill read about GL saying much later.

    It's also ridiculous to think that GL chatted with Hamill in 1976 in the deserts of Tunisia about this 12-film plan - at that time, the most ambitious plan he had in place was for a simpler trilogy, with the next two chapters most likely being told in books, low-budget films at best.

    Finally, that line about how Luke would hand the lightsaber down to "the next new hope" - very convenient wording, especially considering that the "New Hope" subtitle wasn't being used in 1976.

    All he's done is taken a few things he's heard over the years from other sources, muddled up the dates and contexts, and conveniently put himself in the middle of an intriguing anecdote that simply couldn't have occurred as he said it did. At most, he might have chatted briefly to GL in the desert in 1982 when they were filming ROTJ, by which time there weren't 12 films, and Episode IX would have been the final episode.

    I suspect his quotes about the fourth trilogy of esoteric SW films that weren't really about space are just as misinformed and embellished.
  21. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    Maybe I wasn't very clear, but I agree that his story doesn't quite work. However, despite that, I still like the idea within it, as it's similar to what I might expect/anticipate in a sequel film/series.
  22. Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus

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    I know, you did make yourself clear, the point is that his supposed inside information comes from much the same source as your opinion - informed speculation.

    I actually think his is probably a bit further off the mark, he seems to be confusing the experimental, non-commercial films GL talked about making AFTER he was done with SW as being more SW films. Unfortunately, I'm not sure when the quote's from, could be any time between 1980 & 1999. It's after the 9-film plan was 'official' (approx 1979-1980), but before GL was publicly insisting that there were only going to be 6 (increasingly adamant between 1999 & 2005).

    That's the major flaw with Rinzler's book, there aren't footnotes or endnotes, which allows a certain amount of, er, manipulation of time, space & facts. The notes which have been uncovered regarding the 5-film plan for the prequels are a perfect example. They appear in the book before GL's first treatment & Brackett's subsequent draft of ESB are dealt with, implying that they were made before ESB was approached - but I don't buy that the notes were made before GL started working on ESB. What little there is appears to be based on ideas for the backstory he came up with while working on the treatment(s) for ESB, probably after he'd decided on the Father Vader storyline.
  23. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Another Saga & CT Manager

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    Rinzler has a blog on the official site, and some fans on a different board emailed him about a few issues with the book (the matte from ROTJ, screen caps from the SEs rather than the original versions, etc) and actually got answers (if I recall - he definitely mentioned those things in a post). Perhaps he could just be asked which time periods certain pieces of information come from? He may or may not remember but the asking part seems pretty straightforward.
  24. jedi_jra Jedi Grand Master

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    Feb 2, 2011
    star 1
    Time to talk facts and common sense. I've been away from the Star Wars Universe for some time now, but Lucas and Hamill seem to be spending a lot of time together these days, promoting the Blu-ray releases and such.

    I believe everything Mark said in the above statement. I think Lucas has intended all along to do a sequel trilogy, but it had to be done Lucas's way, not the Studious way. Of course FOX was pushing for another Star Wars movie sequel after Return of the Jedi, it was a cash cow!

    1) Everyone knows George is a marketing genious, before Star Wars, Merchandise was an afterthought, and Lucas made sure he controlled all merchandising rights when the contract for Star Wars was signed. The Star Wars name was and still is a cash cow, and he had plans to make a TON of money off of it. Had a sequel trilogy ever been announced, goodbye EU and all merchendise associated with it, goodbye Willow and other movies (possibly Indiana Jones), goodbye rereleases, and goodbye Prequal Trilogy. Everybody would be obsessed with the sequel trilogy, and goodbye to 36 years of the cash cow.

    2) Before CGI (and arguably still), the only way to shoot a sequel trilogy 36 years later as I'm convinced he's ALWAYS wanted it with the lead actor of Mark Hamill still being your lead actor was to wait 36 years for him to age. Think about it. What kind of life or career would Mark Hamill (or any of the actors for that matter) have had if the entire world was waiting 36 years for him to reprise his role as Luke Skywalker. Star Wars changed not just the film industry, but the entire world when it came out. The life of Mark Hamill would have dwarfed that of Michael Jackson.

    3) Who's to say Mark Hamill or Lucas would even be alive in 36 years? If Lucas were ever to see his dream of a sequel trilogy ever completed, a lot of factors would have to surive 36 years. Lucas is and will always be a dreamer, you have to be to be a filmmaker, and you most certainly have to be to create the Star Wars Universe. Luke watching the setting suns has always been in my mind, George Lucas, and I believe Mark Hamill has always been an extension of Lucas in some way.

    I like to think the prequel trilogies were simply George shaking off the rust and learning the new technology of the day. All to prepare for the sequel trilogy. Hopefully he learned a lot from them so when we do get the sequels, they will be the best versionj he can give us, and hopefully Spielburg will direct.

    So yes, common sense says we will get a sequel trilogy, but the way he oriniginally inteneded with Mark Hamill reprising the role of Luke now that that time has arrived, nearly 36 years later. I'm willing to give the genious Lucas some credit for doing this the only way it would have been possible.

  25. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

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    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    Well, I'd buy tickets. But to me, common sense says Lucas wouldn't want to spend another decade on a SW trilogy when he's into his 70s.