When George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, his theoretical plans for a follow-up trilogy were largely abandoned, with only various hints emerging about loose concepts for the adventures. In the book James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction, which accompanied the AMC TV special, Lucas offered hints at what he had hoped to explore with the series of films, which would have tied more directly into The Phantom Menace than the original trilogy.
In the book, Lucas described, "[The next three Star Wars films] were going to get into a microbiotic world. But there's this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force."
Fans will immediately recognize Lucas' terminology and the significance of the Whills, though the filmmaker ultimately abandoned early concepts and converted the ideas into the Force. Rogue One featured references to the Whills, as Chirrut Îmwe was described as being a former Guardian of the Whills who protected the Temple of the Kyber. Original versions of the first Star Wars even used the title "Journal of the Whills" before the more action-oriented title was chosen.
Lucas continued, "If I'd held onto the company I could have done it, and then it would have been done. Of course, a lot of fans would have hated it, just like they did Phantom Menace and everything, but at least the whole story from beginning to end would be told."
This isn't the first time a book has shed light on the filmmaker's original plans, as The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi also featured references to his initial plans. The overall trajectory hadn't entirely been fleshed out, though Lucas originally conceived Episode VII as a story featuring an older Luke serving as a mentor for a character named Kira in a location that resembled Ahch-To.
When J.J. Abrams came on board to direct The Force Awakens, he didn't completely abandon those narrative beats,but rather pushed that arc to the second film in the trilogy while his film focused on the absence and ultimate pursuit of Luke.
Many elements of Lucas' original plans are still unknown and we are likely never to learn them all in detail, as he likely wouldn't want fans to compare the path of the new trilogy to his prior ideas.
The final chapter in the sequel trilogy, Episode IX, hits theaters on December 20, 2019.
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