George Lucas" Original 12-Movie Star Wars Plan & Story Explained

George Lucas' six-episode saga forms the foundation of the Star Wars franchise, but he originally considered a 12-movie plan. This idea changed through the years, shrinking to six live-action movies, an animated feature, and later expanding to 12 total movies after Disney took charge of the franchise. Even with the number of Star Wars movies that have been released, the saga evolved considerably from Lucas' 12-movie outline since he initially pitched it in 1976.
Although this plan was never finalized, the story behind it and why it was changed is highly intriguing. It's interesting to examine the similarities and differences between Lucas' 12-movie plan and the final version of the Star Wars saga, as well as how more of Lucas' original concepts may appear in upcoming projects. Star Wars has a long history of significant changes and unused storylines, and it all began with Lucas' first outline for 12 movies.
George Lucas Originally Had A 12-Movie Plan For Star Wars While Lucas' vision for Star Wars changed over time, he originally entertained a 12-movie plan and created a barebones outline. Episode I would have been a "Prelude" and Episodes II to IV would have been a "Clone Wars trilogy" similar to what the prequels eventually became. Episode V was marked as an "Epilogue/Prologue," wrapping up storylines from the first trilogy while transitioning into the next. This is where the original trilogy was placed, then labeled as the "Star Wars trilogy" and the only part of the outline where Lucas wrote a detailed description. Episodes IX to XI were presumably the next trilogy, and Episode XII served as the conclusion.
What Would Each Star Wars Movie Have Been About? Several details have been shared about Lucas' 12-movie plan over the years, most notably in a article by J.W. Rinzler. When discussing the original Star Wars novelization with ghostwriter Alan Dean Foster, Lucas expressed his desire to someday tell the "story of Kenobi as a young man - a story of the Jedi and how the Emperor eventually takes over and turns the whole thing from a Republic into an Empire, and tricks all the Jedi and kills them." This description became the prologue of the movie novelization, and Lucas was indeed able to tell the story in detail when he came back to write and direct the prequel trilogy.
Unlike the final version of the story, Lucas mentioned a "whole battle where Luke's father gets killed," indicating that he did not always intend for Darth Vader to be Luke Skywalker's father. Along those lines, Lucas noted that he wanted "to have Luke kiss the Princess in the second book," as this was before Leia was retconned to be Luke's sister. Lucas' original sequel trilogy would have seen Luke find his long-lost sister, but many of Lucas' ideas were condensed into Return of the Jedi due to being very burnt out by the time the original trilogy was finished.
Mark Hamill recalled in 2004 that Lucas had discussed the idea of four trilogies and asked whether Hamill would like to appear in Episode IX around 2011. Lucas further elaborated that Hamill would "just be like a cameo. You'll be like Obi-Wan handing the lightsaber down to the next new hope." Lucas later noted that "what happens to Luke afterward -- is much more ethereal. I have a tiny notebook full of notes on that." According to biographer Dale Pollock, Lucas' sequel trilogy would have been the "three most exciting stories" with "propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters."
Why George Lucas' 12-Movie Star Wars Plan Didn't Happen Several factors contributed to Lucas' 12-movie plan being canceled, beginning with his ideas changing early in development. Lucas drafted a simple 12-movie outline and secured the rights on the off chance he would get to make them, and for a while, he believed that not even the prequels would come to fruition. When talking about the story of the prequels with Foster, Lucas said that it "would be impossible to do, but it's great to dream about." Following the success of Star Wars, Lucas realized that more films were possible, though he had changed his mind about how many there would be.
In a 1979 interview, Lucas stated that he originally envisioned Star Wars as six stories "in the form of two trilogies" but that he added another trilogy for a total of nine stories. However, by the time Return of the Jedi came out, Lucas was "only doing this because I started it and now I have to finish it," stating that the "next trilogy will be all someone else's vision." Although Lucas did eventually return to produce the prequel trilogy, he asserted for years that there would not be a sequel trilogy, only changing his mind when Disney offered to buy the Star Wars franchise.
Lucas' Star Wars sequel trilogy plans would have focused on Luke rebuilding the Jedi Order and Leia building the New Republic. The movies would also have delved into the microbiotic world of the Force, possibly reflecting Lucas' original desire to have Luke's follow-up story be more "ethereal." Although he developed a full outline, Disney opted not to use Lucas' treatments, preferring to capture the style of the original Star Wars films and create a "retro movie" as Lucas called it. Lucas was disappointed by this decision and criticized Star Wars: The Force Awakens for not bringing enough new elements to the franchise.
Elements Of Lucas' 12-Movie Plan That Stayed Part Of The Saga Lucas' original 12-movie plan may not have happened, but certain parts of it did end up making their way into the franchise. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace serves as a prelude to the Clone Wars seen in the other two prequels, and James Mangold's Dawn of the Jedi movie will be a prelude to the entire Star Wars saga. Disney's standalone movies ended up being the transition between Lucas' two trilogies, especially Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which serves as an epilogue to Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and a prologue to A New Hope.


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