Revealed: Why Disney Abandoned George Lucas’ Plans For ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

A new report has shed some light on what George Lucas’ version of Star Wars: Episode VII would have been, and how far the project had been developed before Disney purchased the franchise, paving the way for The Force Awakens and its unnamed sequels.

The recent issue of Vanity Fair features a number of photos of the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, revealing some of the main characters for the first time. The article also touches upon some of the stories behind the creation of the new films, among them George Lucas’ development of a seventh Star Wars film prior to Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. Though this fact has been known to fans for some time, the report reveals not only how far along in the process Lucas had gone, but also some details of what those stories would have ultimately turned out to be.

As Slashfilm notes, Lucas had not simply prepared a story for Episode VII, but had “sketched out ideas for episodes VII, VIII, and IX.” Lucas’ original plans had been to release the first of the new Star Wars films prior to the Disney sale, yet after he decided against such a move in order to focus on raising his child, Disney steered away from his ideas for the next Star Wars, as the Inquisitr has previously reported.

The Atlantic notes that Bruce Handy’s Vanity Fair cover story on The Force Awakens delves into the reasons behind Disney’s decision, explaining why they chose to avoid the direction George Lucas had set out for a new Star Wars trilogy.

“[Abrams] said Lucas’s treatment had centered on very young characters — teenagers, Lucasfilm told me — which might have struck Disney executives as veering too close for comfort to The Phantom Menace and its 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker and 13-year-old Queen Amidala. ‘We’ve made some departures’ from Lucas’ ideas, Kennedy conceded, but only in ‘exactly the way you would in any development process.'”

During the development that took place before the Disney sale, Lucas apparently went so far as to approach Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer, and Mark Hamill about reprising their iconic roles in the new film. When Disney took over the Star Wars franchise and approached director J.J. Abrams, he was initially hesitant, but was eventually drawn to The Force Awakens by its open-ended nature, in which a whole new chapter in the Star Wars universe could be written.

“This idea of what’s happened in these past 30-something years. Where is Han Solo? What happened to Leia? Is Luke alive?”

Fans will be able to judge for themselves just how far afield of George Lucas’ ideas the Star Wars franchise has gone when The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18.

[Photo by David Livingston/ Getty Images]