Given that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is being billed as the conclusion of the Skywalker saga, it’s only fair that those making the film consulted the guy who started it all. George Lucas famously first conceived of, wrote, produced, and directed Star Wars: A New Hope, changing the faces of cinema and fandom forever. And while Lucas oversaw the original trilogy and then returned to the well in the late 90s to bring his prequel trilogy to fruition (to somewhat mixed results…), the third and final trilogy in his Star Wars franchise moved ahead without his direct involvement.
To recap, Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, setting Kathleen Kennedy as the new head of Lucasfilm and handing over his treatments for Episode VII, Episode VIII, and Episode IX—the final three films in his Skywalker saga. Kennedy and J.J. Abrams reportedly threw out much of what Lucas handed over (much to the Star Wars director’s chagrin) in favor of charting their own path, and Lucas has been pretty mum on the new direction of Star Wars under Disney thus far—save for high praise heaped on Rogue One and a visit to the set of Solo after Ron Howard took over the director’s chair.
But it appears everything has come full circle, as Abrams revealed at Star Wars Celebration in an interview with IGN that when he signed on to direct Star Wars 9, he consulted Lucas before beginning work on the script:
“This movie had a very, very specific challenge, which was to take eight films and give an ending to three trilogies, and so we had to look at, what is the bigger story? We had conversations amongst ourselves, we met with George Lucas before writing the script,” Abrams revealed. “These were things that were in real, not debate, but looking at the vastness of the story and trying to figure out, what is the way to conclude this? But it has to work on its own as a movie, it has to be its own thing, it has to be surprising and funny and you have to understand it.”
When Abrams signed on to direct Star Wars 9, the film had an existing script by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, which Trevorrow intended to direct before departing the film over creative differences. But we’ve since learned that Abrams started from scratch when he came aboard, co-writing a new screenplay with Chris Terrio (Argo) and it appears one of his first orders of business was speaking with Lucas himself.
Having seen the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer, this makes sense. The film looks to be leaning heavily on the original trilogy given the inclusion of that medal, the Death Star, and of course the return of Emperor Palpatine. And given Abrams’ comments here, it sounds like he was very strongly thinking about Star Wars 9 as a conclusion to the entire Star Wars saga.
What exactly that means, we won’t know until the film hits theaters in December, but I would be mighty curious to find out what Lucas had to say during that meeting. What were his initial plans for ending the series? How did he feel about The Last Jedi? We’ll probably never find out, but a guy can dream.