Before the new Star Wars trilogy came around, the prequels were the most divisive installments of the sci-fi saga. While older Star Wars fans love the original trilogy more, those who grew up with The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith hold the movies in high esteem. So there’s plenty of interest in learning anything and everything about the making of those films with the benefit of hindsight. And a new Star Wars book has finally provided that.
The Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005 is a new book from author Paul Duncan and specialty book publishers Taschen that pulls the curtain back on the making of the prequel trilogy more than any other piece of media. With 600 pages of material, this follow-up to the previously released The Star Wars Archives: 1977-1983 digs deep into the Star Wars prequels, with some particularly fascinating insights from George Lucas himself, including a couple details on his plans for an eventual sequel trilogy that we never got to see.
First up, Polygon says the return of The Phantom Menace villain Darth Maul would have been a key part of George Lucas’ next round of Star Wars movies that he planned to make at one time. Though the villain has returned in Star Wars canon by way of The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, Lucas wouldn’t have brought Maul back until after the events of Return of the Jedi.
In the Star Wars sequel trilogy that never got made, Darth Maul would have been the primary antagonist, and much like his animated revival, he would have come back with mechanical legs. But Maul wouldn’t have been alone. Lucas planned to pull in the character Darth Talon, a Sith lord from the Dark Horse Comics title Star Wars: Legacy. As Lucas explains it, “Maul eventually becomes the godfather of crime in the universe because, as the Empire falls, he takes over.” Meanwhile, Talon would have held the same position as Darth Vader in the sequels.
Even though Disney and Lucasfilm scrapped George Lucas’ plans for a new sequel trilogy, it’s clear that they didn’t throw out all of his ideas. After all, as Solo: A Star Wars Story revealed, he did become the leader of the criminal organization known as Crimson Dawn. Much in the same way that Lucasfilm has been using Ralph McQuarrie’s old Star Wars concept art to inform new additions to canon, clearly they’ve read through all of Lucas’ other ideas and are using them as they see fit.
Interestingly enough, Lucas also had another idea for the sequel trilogy that somewhat came to fruition in the Star Wars sequels that did get made. Lucas would have given Princess Leia the lead role, with Luke Skywalker and a new generation of Jedi along her side.
Lucas’ angle found the Rebel Alliance trying to rebuild after the fall of the Empire, which he described as “harder than starting a rebellion or fighting a war.” The Star Wars creator saw the situation as being akin to the Iraq War, where the United States failed to help the country recover from their tyrannical leader Saddam Hussein, and allowed for the creation of ISIS. In the Star Wars universe, the Stormtroopers would have formed their own militant organization after being left behind by the Republic. Princess Leia would have become Supreme Chancellor of the Republic.
In addition to Leia’s role as leader, she eventually would have been revealed as the chosen one. Though Leia wasn’t the chosen one in the sequel trilogy, her place in the story is what led Rey to taking her place as the chosen one. She succeeded where Luke could not when it came to bringing Ben Solo back from the dark side, and she pushed Rey to fulfill her destiny. Luke Skywalker had a hand in this too obviously, but it was Leia who never gave up.
This just goes to show you that Lucasfilm is willing to use anything and everything if it makes sense in any of their plans. In addition to repurposing unused material from the history of Star Wars, they’ve also brought back some key pieces of Star Wars Legends and made them canon again. But when it comes to the new era of Star Wars, I think we’ll start veering away from the familiar and finally expanding the universe beyond the Skywalker saga and into exciting, uncharted territory. At least that’s our hope.
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