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George Lucas Once Envisioned Four 'Star Wars' Trilogies

The Playlist By Edward Davis | The Playlist December 19, 2012 at 4:42PM

Ok, this is an odd one that no one seems to have noticed nor made much fuss about. In the latest issue of Empire magazine detailing the history leading up to "Star Wars: Episode VII," the publication says George Lucas originally envisioned four "Star Wars" trilogies and then dropped one in the late 1970s.
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Star Wars, A New Hope

Ok, this is an odd one that no one seems to have noticed nor made much fuss about. In the latest issue of Empire magazine detailing the history leading up to "Star Wars: Episode VII," the publication says George Lucas originally envisioned four "Star Wars" trilogies and then dropped one in the late 1970s.

This may be old news to die hard fans, but evidently Lucas asked Mark Hamill to appear in 'Episode IX.' "You'll just be like a cameo," Hamill recalled Lucas telling him. "You'll be like Obi Wan handing the lightsaber down to the next hope." Perhaps, as teased by Mark Hamill in a 1983 interview, the mooted third trilogy was supposed to be more ephemeral with Luke Skywalker appearing on "another plane of existence" he said (and/or potentially as another character).

"The other one — what happens to Luke afterward — is much more ethereal," Lucas said in a 1978 Time magazine article that does outline 12 episodes in total. "I have a tiny notebook full of notes on that. If I’m really ambitious, I could proceed to figure out what would have happened to Luke.”

And that's all there is. To us, that's pretty new and an interesting what-if tease, but we assume 'Episode VII' will be nothing like that. Let's face it, Disney didn't buy a multi-billion dollar franchise so they could make an "ethereal" "Star Wars" film. 'Ep 7' is going to be very much in the action-adventure sci-fi world that we know.

Meanwhile, producer and LucasFilm chair Kathleen Kennedy, the woman with the keys to the "Star Wars" franchise, has said that some kind of announcement will be made in January which many presume will be the unveiling of who's going to direct the highly anticipated sequel. But one of those contenders you can likely count out is David Fincher. We've been hearing a lot of chatter about this series through various sources and it sounds like even though Kennedy and Lucas reached out to Fincher early on before the new trilogy was announced (Fincher worked at ILM and Kennedy produced 'Benjamin Button' -- so he was a good fit), he's not going to take the plunge.

And from the sound of it, don't expect any kind of mini or major auteur to take the helm. We've heard that while folks like J.J. Abrams and John Favreau have been approached, apparently George Lucas has been galvanized by all the buzz and is looking to become more involved again. This means the general thinking is probably less of a top-shelf director and likely one -- like Irvin Kirschner and Richard Marquand before them – who can simply execute a vision rather than bring a bold new idea to the table.

"It's like doing King Lear with Shakespeare in the room," Marquand said at the time of directing 'Return Of The Jedi.' Lucas was involved at every turn on that film, and was not willing to cede control. Here's the aforementioned Empire excerpt below, but all of the info seems to come from Lucasfilm executive editor J. W. Rinzler, the author of "The Making of Star Wars and The Complete Making of Indiana Jones."

Empire, Star Wars excerpt

This article is related to: Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, Star Wars, George Lucas


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