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Star Wars creator George Lucas had his own ideas how he would wrap up a further trilogy in the galactic space opera he began in 1977 with A New Hope.
Though he went back to the beginning of Anakin Skywalker's story, and how he would become Darth Vader, in his divisive prequel movies, the director also plotted a post-Return of the Jedi saga too.
However, it would never be made, and for better or worse, J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson filled in that gap instead with the sequel series which concluded with 2019's The Rise of Skywalker.
Now, thanks to a 600-page book, The Star Wars Archives 1999-2005, featuring interviews with Lucas and covering the period of the prequel movies, he's revealed those plans for the first time.
Lucas says that a resurrected Darth Maul, introduced in the first of the sequel movies, The Phantom Menace, would have been central to the action, with Princess Leia being the 'chosen one' to rebuild and command the new Republic.
“The movies are about how Leia – I mean, who else is going to be the leader? – is trying to rebuild the Republic… Luke is trying to restart the Jedi,” says Lucas.
Maul, meanwhile, trains a protege to fill the power vacuum in the Empire, following the death of both Vader and the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.
“Darth Maul trained a girl, Darth Talon, who was in the comic books, as his apprentice. She was the new Darth Vader and most of the action was with her. So these were the two main villains of the trilogy,” Lucas said. “Maul eventually becomes the godfather of crime in the universe because, as the Empire falls, he takes over.”
Lucas also reveals that it was his family life which eventually forced him to reassess whether he would embark on three more movies.
“At that time I was starting the next trilogy; I talked to the actors and I was starting to gear up. I was also about to have a daughter… it takes 10 years to make a trilogy… I’d still be working on Episode 9! … Finally, I’d decided I’d rather raise my daughter and enjoy life for a while,” he says.
The book, published by Taschen, is a companion to the equally substantial The Star Wars Archives: 1977-1983, which was released in 2018.
The new book, penned by Paul Duncan, is available now, priced at £150.
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