Before Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, George Lucas was kicking around some ideas for a Star Wars sequel trilogy, but those ideas were largely discarded when J.J. Abrams came on board in early 2013. However, some of Lucas’ ideas have still come to light via the new Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi book. /Film reports that Lucas envisioned Episode VII as having Luke training a new disciple named Kira (later renamed Rey) at a Jedi Temple after secluding himself for the past thirty years. Sound familiar?
Per /Film, “Apparently, the initial plan for Star Wars: Episode 7 was that Luke, over the course of that movie, would rediscover his vitality and train this new Jedi. So basically, what we got from the Rey/Luke storyline in The Last Jedi was initially supposed to be the bones for George Lucas’ Episode 7.” The story group decided to go in a different direction for Episode VII with Han taking on the mentor role for Rey and Luke coming in at the very end of the story.
The art book shows that the designs for Luke’s Jedi Temple were radically different than what we got in The Last Jedi, taking on the more lavish, highly adorned look that marked the style of the prequels:
“This was a very early take on Luke’s temple, way back when there was still no director. This artwork was shown to George Lucas in a presentation. Doug [Chiang] came back and said, “Congratulations, James. You got a George “Fabulouso” stamp.” VFX art director James Clyne recalls.
Adds Lucasfilm executive creative director Doug Chiang, “After working with George on the prequels for seven years, I knewin some ways how to anticipate what forms he would like – which is really good, because he still likes those forms. So for the Jedi temple, he loved that bell shape. It’s reminiscent of some of the imagery that [original Star Wars trilogy concept artist] Ralph McQuarrie painted way back.”
On the one hand, I can understand why Lucas liked this look and it provides continuity all the way from the prequels to the sequels. That being said, both Abrams and Rian Johnson went a more sensible direction, especially since Abrams’ story involves the destruction of Luke’s Jedi temple. To have a beautiful temple on a deserted island would clash with the hermetic lifestyle Luke leads when we meet him.
Check out more of the artwork below and pick up Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi to see more.