Much digital ink has been spilled over George Lucas’ vision for the current Star Wars trilogy.
In 2012, shortly before Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, the New Hope filmmaker drew up a brief story outline for Episodes VII, VIII and IX. History tells us that Lucas’ treatment was largely tossed aside by J.J. Abrams circa 2013, and though we’ll never know the full extent of George Lucas’ sequel plans – for the record, Mark Hamill recently admitted that they were vastly different to those dreamed up by Abrams et. al – The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi has unearthed some never-before-seen concept art.
Embedded below, the artwork includes an up-close look at a George Lucas-approved Jedi Temple. It’s located on a barren, rocky environment that would later be known as Ahch-To – the chosen destination of a broken Luke Skywalker.
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It should be noted that these designs were kicking around at a time when Episode VII was still in search of a director, and, well, let’s just say we don’t blame J.J. Abrams for wanting to part ways with that great, bell-shaped building.
As VFX art director James Clyne recalls, the Powers That Be over at Lucasfilm were mulling over each piece at a time when the Star Wars franchise was still in flux:
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.’
Adds Lucasfilm executive creative director, Doug Chiang:
After working with George on the prequels for seven years, I knew in 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.
We’ve also learned that George Lucas initially toyed around with the idea of exploring Leia’s Force abilities throughout this current Star Wars trilogy – she is a Skywalker, after all, but one who actually chose to reject the Force some years prior – which would have resulted in a totally different arc for Carrie Fisher’s on-screen Resistance leader.
Elsewhere, The Last Jedi continues to exert its dominance at the global box office – China notwithstanding – and is expected to clear $500 million by end of day Tuesday.