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The Star Wars sequel trilogy was a reportedly planned trilogy of films (Episodes VII, VIII and IX) by Lucasfilm as a sequel to the original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV, V and VI) released between 1977 and 1983.[1] While the similarly discussed Star Wars prequel trilogy (Episodes I, II and III) was ultimately released between 1999 and 2005, Lucasfilm and George Lucas have for many years denied plans of making a sequel trilogy, insisting that Star Wars is meant to be a six-part series.[2][3]

Overview

The original Star Wars film drew inspiration from early Hollywood serials like Flash Gordon, in which each individual film was part of a larger series.[4] Nicholas Wapshott, film reviewer for The Times, wrote "George Lucas's conception of Star Wars was of a single episode in an unmade serial".[4] The framing of Star Wars, opening with scrolled writing, and the immediate insertion of the audience into the action are seen by Wapshott as references to a broader storyline which doesn't ultimately need to exist.[4] Wapshott writes that Lucas hadn't planned to make any more of the movies, but he had adopted the serial structure as "part of a larger conceit in which Lucas filled his feature with cinematic allusions".[4] But given the initial success of Star Wars, the pressure on Lucas to produce a sequel grew.[4] The extension of the initial film into a franchise, originally an homage, became a reality. Over time, conflicting reports concerning the number of sequels have been published.[4][5]

In 1978, a Time magazine article reported that the newly formed Star Wars Corp. would be producing "Star Wars II, and then, count them, ten other planned sequels."[6] By the release of The Empire Strikes Back Nicholas Wapshott was writing that "at least a further six films are planned". Wapshott noted that the stories, in continuing a storyline, were different from the original Hollywood serials: "Star Wars may be the first feature film serial made up of consecutive stories."[4] In 1983 the nine-film saga was reported by a Time article[7] and The Times review of Return of the Jedi,[8], in The Washington Post[9] and the "9-film epic saga" plan continued to be repeated into the late 20th century and early 2000s.[10][11][12] The authors of the 1983 Time article briefly described the prequel trilogy, which they said would portray the "political intrigue and Machiavellian plotting that led to the downfall of the once noble Republic". Of the sequel trilogy, they wrote, "Their main theme will be the necessity for moral choices and the wisdom needed to distinguish right from wrong. There was never any doubt in the films already made; in those the lines were sharply drawn, comic-book-style. Luke Skywalker, who will then be the age Obi-Wan Kenobi is now, some place in his 60s, will reappear, and so will his friends, assuming that the creator decides to carry the epic further."[7]

In the book Icons: Intimate Portraits by Denise Worrell, Lucas is reported to have only a vague notion of what will happen in the three films of a sequel trilogy. He is quoted as saying, "If the first trilogy is social and political and talks about how society evolves, Star Wars is more about personal growth and self realization, and the third deals with moral and philosophical problems. The sequel is about Jedi Knighthood, justice, confrontation, and passing on what you have learned." [13] In the foreword of the special edition of Splinter of the Mind's Eye George Lucas stated, "As the saga of the Skywalkers and Jedi Knights unfolded, I began to see it as a tale that could take at least nine films to tell - three trilogies." [14]

In an interview with TheForce.net, producer Gary Kurtz described an early outline for a nine film series. He stated that the original plan for Return of the Jedi was for Han Solo to die and Leia to become "Queen" of her people. Leia was not originally planned to be Luke's sister. "Episode VII" was to focus on Luke Skywalker's life as a Jedi, while "Episode VIII" marked the appearance of Luke's sister (which was not Leia), and "Episode IX" was to be the first appearance of the Emperor.[15] In a later Film Threat interview, he stated that the idea for a third Star Wars trilogy "was very vague. It was Luke's journey really up to becoming sort of the premiere Jedi knight in the Obi-Wan Kenobi mold and his ultimate confrontation with the emperor. That was the outline of it and all that happens." [16]

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Status

There are currently no plans to produce such films. Lucasfilm's stance is that the six Star Wars films comprise the entire story Lucas intended to tell, despite mentions to the contrary in the press and official publications over time. In a 1997 issue of the 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.[17]

In a 1999 interview with Vanity Fair, Lucas denied ever having any plans to make nine Star Wars movies. "When you see it in six parts, you'll understand", Lucas said at the time. "It really ends at part six." When asked about the possibility of someone else taking over the film franchise, Lucas said "Probably not, it's my thing." [18]

In March 2007, Lucas stated that the idea of a sequel trilogy was "amusing" but didn't seem realistic at the time.[19] In May 2008, speaking about the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Lucas maintained his status on the sequel trilogy, stating that there was no story to tell, and that no sequel will be made. He said:

I get asked all the time, 'What happens after Return of the Jedi?,' and there really is no answer for that. 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.[20]

References

  1. ^ "Mark Hamill talks Star Wars 7, 8 and 9!". Movieweb. September 10, 2004. http://www.movieweb.com/news/NEDgFKFJPSFEID. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  2. ^ "George Lucas talks on Star Wars sequels 7, 8 & 9". Killer Movies. September 13, 2004. http://www.killermovies.com/s/starwarsepisodeiii/articles/4415.html. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  3. ^ "George Lucas (Star Wars: Episode I)". Industry Central. http://www.industrycentral.net/director_interviews/GL01.HTM. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Wapshott, Nicholas (May 23 1980). "The Recipe Is Not Quite As Before". The Times. p. 11. 
  5. ^ Clarke, Frederick S. (1999). Cinefantastique (F. S. Clarke) 31 (1-6): 62. 
  6. ^ "George Lucas' Galactic Empire". TIME. March 6, 1978. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,915986,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  7. ^ a b Clarke, Gerald; Worrell, Denise (May 23, 1983). "I've Got to Get My life Back Again". TIME. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,953916-3,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  8. ^ Brown, Geoff (May 28, 1983). "Hitching a Ride on 'Star Wars 3'". The Times. 
  9. ^ Kempley, Rita (May 27, 1983). "A Triumphal 'Return of the Jedi'". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/08/AR2005040801452_pf.html#. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  10. ^ Pohl, Frederik (1981). Science Fiction, Studies in Film. Ace Books. pp. 254. ISBN 0441754376. 
  11. ^ "A novice's guide to Star Wars". BBC News. May 17, 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/342351.stm. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  12. ^ Lancashire, Anne (2000). "The Phantom Menace: Repetition, Variation, Integration". Film Criticism 24 (3): p. 23. ISSN 01635069. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1247631701&sid=2&Fmt=4&clientId=20886&RQT=309&VName=PQD. Retrieved 2009-04-18.  (Registration required)
  13. ^ Denise Worrell. (1989). Icons: Intimate Portraits. Atlantic Monthly. ISBN 0871133067. 
  14. ^ Foster, Alan Dean (1994). Splinter of the Mind's Eye. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0345320239. 
  15. ^ "Gary Kurtz Reveals Original Plans for Episodes 1-9". TheForce.Net. May 26, 1999. http://www.theforce.net/latestnews/story/gary_kurtz_reveals_original_plans_for_episodes_19_80270.asp. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  16. ^ Gore, Chris (March 5, 2000). "Gary Kurtz Interview: The Original Star Wars Producer Speaks". Film Threat. http://www.filmthreat.com/index.php?section=interviews&Id=8. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  17. ^ Star Wars Insider. Star Wars Fan Club. 1994. 
  18. ^ "No Star Wars sequels, says Lucas". BBC. January 6, 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/249825.stm. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  19. ^ Goldman, Eric (March 5, 2007). "George Lucas On the Future of Star Wars". IGN. http://uk.movies.ign.com/articles/770/770273p1.html. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  20. ^ Davis, Erik (May 7, 2008). "Will Lucas Extend His Star Wars Story Beyond Return of the Jedi?". Cinematical. http://www.cinematical.com/2008/05/07/will-lucas-extend-his-star-wars-story-past-return-of-the-je/. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 

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