Star Wars sequel trilogy
The Star Wars title card/logo, as seen in all films
The Star Wars sequel trilogy is the upcoming third film trilogy in the American space opera franchise Star Wars created by George Lucas. It is being produced by Lucasfilm Ltd. and is to be the first films in the saga not to be distributed by 20th Century Fox. The trilogy will consist of episodes VII through IX and will follow after Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) in the saga's chronology. Lucas originally planned a sequel trilogy in 1975 during development of Star Wars (1977). However, by the 1990s, Lucas said this trilogy would not be made. In 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm and scheduled production for a third trilogy.
The first installment, Star Wars Episode VII, began pre-production on October 30, 2012. It is set to go into production in early 2014 and is scheduled to be released on December 18, 2015. The film will be directed by J. J. Abrams with Lucas as creative consultant. Lucas has talked with cast members Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher from the original trilogy about appearing in the upcoming feature.
- 1 Sequel trilogy story and themes
- 2 Future non-trilogy Star Wars films
- 3 Development: the initial vision of nine or twelve Star Wars films
- 4 Plan to abandon sequel trilogy after six films
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Sequel trilogy story and themes
Lucas had story treatments for episodes VII, VIII and IX which he turned over to Disney chairman Bob Iger around the time Lucasfilm was sold to Disney. No information about these has been released; however, during the previous 35 years Lucas had given many hints about the content of the sequel trilogy, including the following (sometimes contradictory) possibilities:
- Episode VII would begin roughly 20 (or perhaps 30-40) years after the end of Return of the Jedi (according to Lucas in 1980 and 1982).
- R2-D2 and C-3PO would be the only characters who might continue through all nine films (Lucas in 1980, 1981 and 1983).
- The trilogy would deal with the rebuilding of the Republic (Lucas in 1980).
- "It's like a saga, the story of a group of people, a family" (Lucas in 1980).
- The focus would be on Luke Skywalker's journey to becoming the premier Jedi knight, with Luke's sister (who was not Leia) appearing in Episode VIII, and the first appearance of the Emperor, and Luke's ultimate confrontation with him, in Episode IX (a storyline as planned pre-1980, according to A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz).
- Luke would have a romantic relationship with a female love interest (Lucas in 1988).
- The main theme of the trilogy would be moral and philosophical problems, such as the necessity for moral choices and the wisdom needed to distinguish right from wrong, justice, confrontation, and passing on what you have learned (Lucas in 1983 and 1989).
- The key actors, Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Ford as Han Solo, and Fisher as Princess Leia, would appear, in their 60s or 70s (Lucas in 1983).
- In Episode IX, Hamill would cameo, "like Obi-Wan handing the lightsaber down to the next new hope" (according to Hamill, in 2004).
- "The other one — what happens to Luke afterward — is much more ethereal. 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" (Lucas in 1980).
Interviewed in 2012 after the announcement of the new trilogy, Lucas biographer Dale Pollock said that he had, in the 1980s, read the outlines to 12 Star Wars episodes planned by Lucas, but had been required to sign a confidentiality agreement. Pollock said:
- "The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, 'I want to see these 3 movies.'"
- The next film in the series would involve Luke Skywalker in his 30s and 40s.
- That he had little doubt Disney would use Lucas's outlines as the basis for the sequel trilogy. "That’s in part what Disney bought."
Author Timothy Zahn, whose Star Wars novel series, the Thrawn Trilogy, is set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, was also interviewed in 2012. Zahn confirmed the sequel trilogy would not be based on the Thrawn novels, but said he had been briefed years before on Lucas's plans for the sequels (Zahn had discussions with Lucas before the first Thrawn novel was published in 1991). Zahn said,
"The original idea as I understood it - and Lucas changes his mind off and on, so it may not be what he’s thinking right now - but it was going to be three generations. You’d have the original trilogy, then go back to Luke’s father and find out what happened to him, and if there was another seventh, eighth, or ninth film, it would be Luke’s children."
Future non-trilogy Star Wars films
In February 2013, Iger confirmed in an interview with CNBC that Disney-Lucasfilm were working on a "few stand-alone" films. He said Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg were both working on films derived from Star Wars characters. The dates of the films' releases have not been announced, though some commentators have interpreted a speech by Disney chairman Alan Horn (at the annual CinemaCon convention of cinema chain owners) in April 2013 to mean that Disney is planning to release the first two spin-off movies in 2016 and 2018, in the gap years between the new trilogy films.
Kasdan was reported in the Los Angeles Times to have said that he was focusing neither on his previous scripts or the extended Star Wars universe in his approach to writing a new Star Wars film. "I’m trying to start fresh," he said. "There are certain pleasures that we think the saga can bring to people that they’ve been missing, and we’re hoping to bring them that, and at the same time, have them feel that it’s all new."
Development: the initial vision of nine or twelve Star Wars films
Mark Hamill has stated that Lucas told him in 1976, while filming A New Hope in Tunisia, that four Star Wars trilogies were planned. Lucas suggested Hamill could have a cameo role in Episode IX, which might be filmed in 2011. A Time magazine story in March 1978, quoting Lucas, also contained the assertion there would be 10 further Star Wars films after The Empire Strikes Back. Gary Kurtz was also aware of proposed story elements for Episode VII to IX before 1980.
In 1980, at the time of the release of The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas was saying there were seven further Star Wars films he wanted to make. He said he had "twelve-page outlines" for those films. In an interview with Steranko in Prevue magazine published in late 1980, Lucas described how the expansive scope of Star Wars had started with an overlong screenplay:
"So, I took the screenplay and divided it into three stories, and rewrote the first one. As I was writing, I came up with some ideas for a film about robots, with no humans in it. When I got to working on the Wookiee, I thought of a film just about Wookiees, nothing else. So, for a time, I had a couple of odd movies with just those characters. Then, I had the other two films, which were essentially split into three parts each, two trilogies. When the smoke cleared, I said, 'This is really great. I'll do another trilogy that takes place after this.' I had three trilogies of nine films, and then another couple of odd films. Essentially, there were twelve films."
He then added that he had
"eliminated the odd movies, because they really don't have anything to do with the Star Wars saga. ... I'm just going to keep it pure. It's a nine-part saga that has a beginning, a middle and an end. It progresses over a period of about fifty or sixty years with about twenty years between trilogies, each trilogy taking about six or seven years."
In this interview, Lucas also stated that he had "titles and ten-page story outlines for each of" the nine episodes. In an interview with Gary Kurtz in the same magazine, Kurtz said,
"[w]hether or not all nine or twelve films actually get made depends on how George feels as time goes along. The series may happen the way he originally planned or may completely change. As the films are made, each of the stories develops. As each is finished, I think the direction of the saga may change a bit."
In an interview with Starlog magazine published in September 1981, Lucas confirmed that he had the nine film series plotted, cautioning
"but it's a long way from the plot to the script. I've just gone through that with Return of the Jedi, and what seems like a great idea when it's described in three sentences doesn't hold together when you try to make five or six scenes out of it. So plots change a lot when they start getting into script form."
Plan to abandon sequel trilogy after six films
From 1997 to mid-2012, Lucas frequently stated that he had no plans to make the sequel trilogy, and at times indicated that he would not allow others to do so either. He gave various explanations for the apparent abandonment of plans to film the sequel trilogy:
Nine year commitment
In August 1999, at a press conference in New York City to discuss The Phantom Menace, Lucas noted the "nine year commitment" required to make a Star Wars trilogy. This theme, of the commitment required, and his age, were the subject of his remarks in following years about why his position had changed about the sequel trilogy. In 2002, he described his past answers about the sequels in this way:
"Basically what I said as a joke was, 'Maybe when Harrison and Carrie are in their 70s, we'll come back and do another version.' The thing I didn't realize then, and that I do realize now very clearly, is that not only would they be in their 70s, but I would be in my 70s too."
In 2007, Lucas described making the films at that age as "An idea that seemed amusing at the time, but doesn't seem realistic now.", and suggested that 'off-the-cuff' comments he had made in earlier years about the sequel trilogy had been misconstrued as absolute statements. In relation to his decision to begin work on the prequel trilogy when he did, he also said: "To start Star Wars when you're 65, the chances of finishing it are diminished." (a remark that could equally refer to the sequel trilogy).
"It really ends at part six"
At a 1997 "Special Edition" press conference Lucas remarked,
"Everyone said, 'Well, are you going to do sequels to the first three?' But that was an afterthought; I don't have scripts on those stories. The only notion on that was, wouldn't it be fun to get all the actors to come back when they're 60 or 70 years old and make three more about them as old people."
In a 1997 issue of Star Wars Insider, Lucas said,
"The whole story has six episodes.... If I ever went beyond that, it would be something that was made up. I really don't have any notion other than, 'Gee, it would be interesting to do Luke Skywalker later on.' It wouldn't be part of the main story, but a sequel to this thing."
This was confirmed in an interview Lucas gave to Vanity Fair, published in its February 1999 issue. "When you see it in six parts, you'll understand," he said. "It really ends at part six." He added, "I never had a story for the sequels, for the later ones." In 2008, after all six films had been released, Lucas clarified that it was the resolution of the Anakin Skywalker-Luke Skywalker storyline that represented the saga's end: "The movies were the story of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and when Luke saves the galaxy and redeems his father, that's where that story ends."
Under others' direction
In 1999, when asked about the possibility of someone else making Star Wars films, Lucas said, "Probably not, it's my thing." In a 2008 interview in Total Film, Lucas more categorically ruled out anybody else ever making the sequel trilogy - or other future Star Wars features. Asked if he was happy for new Star Wars tales to be told after he was gone, Lucas replied:
"I've left pretty explicit instructions for there not to be any more features. There will definitely be no Episodes VII–IX. That's because there isn't any story. I mean, I never thought of anything. And now there have been novels about the events after Episode VI, which isn't at all what I would have done with it. The Star Wars story is really the tragedy of Darth Vader. That is the story. Once Vader dies, he doesn't come back to life, the Emperor doesn't get cloned and Luke doesn't get married..."
Later change of heart
Speaking after Disney's 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm, Lucas (sitting alongside new Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy), said, "I always said I wasn't going to do any more, and that's true, because I'm not going to do any more. But that doesn't mean I'm unwilling to turn it over to Kathy to do more."
- McNary, Dave (April 17, 2013). "Star Wars Movies Coming in 2015, 2017 and 2019". Variety. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- Leonard, Devin (March 7, 2013). "How Disney Bought Lucasfilm—and Its Plans for 'Star Wars'". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- Steranko, "George Lucas", Prevue #42, September–October 1980.
- "Visionary filmmaker Lucas invents fantasy phenomenon". The Yuma Daily Sun, May 2, 1982.
- Kerry O'Quinn. "The George Lucas Saga Chapter 1: 'A New View'", Starlog #48, July 1981.
- Kempley, Rita (May 27, 1983). "A Triumphal 'Return of the Jedi'". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Gerald Clarke. "The Empire Strikes Back!". Time, May 19, 1980. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
- "Gary Kurtz Reveals Original Plans for Episodes 1–9". TheForce.Net. May 26, 1999. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Gore, Chris (March 5, 2000). "Gary Kurtz Interview: The Original Star Wars Producer Speaks". Film Threat. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Ken P., "An Interview with Gary Kurtz", ign.com, November 11, 2002. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Bill Warren. "George Lucas: Father of the Force". Starlog #127, February 1988.
- Clarke, Gerald; Worrell, Denise (May 23, 1983). "I've Got to Get My Life Back Again". TIME. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Denise Worrell. (1989). Icons: Intimate Portraits. Atlantic Monthly. ISBN 0-87113-306-7.
- Bill Warren. "Maker of Myths", Starlog #237, April 1997.
- "Mark Hamill talks Star Wars 7, 8 and 9!". Movieweb. September 13, 2004. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Rinzler, J.W. (October 30, 2012). "The Long, Winding, and Shapeshifting Trail to Episodes VII, VIII & IX". StarWars.com. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
- Waxman, Sharon (October 30, 2012). "'Star Wars' 7, 8 and 9 Are 'The Most Exciting,' Says George Lucas Biographer (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- Breznican, Anthony (November 2, 2012). "'Star Wars' sequel author Timothy Zahn weighs in on new movie plans – EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- "Disney Plans Stand-Alone 'Star Wars' Films", CNBC, 5 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
- Child, Ben (April 18, 2013). "New Star Wars trilogy to arrive in 2015, 2017 and 2019". The Guardian. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- Noelene Clark, "Star Wars' writer Lawrence Kasdan wants spinoff film to 'start fresh' | Hero Complex - movies, comics, pop culture", Los Angeles Times, 9 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
- Scott Chitwood, "Mark Hamill Talks Star Wars Epis. 7, 8, & 9", comingsoon.net, September 10, 2004. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- "George Lucas' Galactic Empire". TIME. March 6, 1978. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Jean Vallely, "The Empire Strikes Back", Rolling Stone, June 12, 1980.
- Steranko, "Gary Kurtz", Prevue #42 September–October 1980.
- Kerry O'Quinn. "The George Lucas Saga Chapter 3: 'The Revenge of the Box Office'". Starlog #50, September 1981.
- Star Wars Insider #35, Winter 1997.
- "Leonard Maltin On-Line Interview with George Lucas", December 1997. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Roger Ebert (January 20, 2012). "Adventure bails out on history". Chicago Sun Times. p. 1. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- Curtis, Bryan (January 17, 2012). "George Lucas Is Ready to Roll the Credits". New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- Ian Spelling, "The Man Behind Menace'", Starlog #265, August 1999.
- Goldman, Eric (March 5, 2007). "George Lucas On the Future of Star Wars". IGN. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- Ian Spelling, "Building A Better Empire", Starlog #300, July 2002.
- "Lucas To End Star Wars Series", Associated Press, January 5, 1999. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- "No Star Wars sequels, says Lucas". BBC. January 6, 1999. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Boucher, Geoff (May 7, 2008). "George Lucas: 'Star Wars' won't go beyond Darth Vader". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- Matthew Leyland, "George Lucas", Total Film, May 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- "New Video Series: A Discussion About the Future of Star Wars", StarWars.com, 30 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-25.