Yesterday saw the release of Lucasfilm Creative Executive Pablo Hidalgo’s book Star Wars: Fascinating Facts. This lighthearted stocking stuffer gives us a bunch of insight into what’s been going on behind the scenes on Star Wars. Most interesting is information on the period in the early 2010s when George Lucas was working on his version of the Sequel Trilogy.
This resulted in a treatment and concept art, though after Disney purchased Lucasfilm, most assumed they had ignored it and done their own thing. That turns out not to be the case, however, as gossip over the years has shown that J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy used many of Lucas’ ideas in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. For example, we just got confirmation that George intended for Luke Skywalker to be a regretful and sad hermit living in a cave that would die in the finale of Episode VIII.
Now, we know a little more about the origins of Rey as well. Here’s how the Hidalgo tells it:
“The Force Awakens’ long journey from idea to finished film was filled with evolution, but one idea that remained constant from the start was that of a young woman’s quest to become a Jedi Knight. In George Lucas’ original outline, she was a 14-year-old girl named Taryn. In his subsequent iterations, she would briefly be named Thea and—believe it or not—Winkie. When writer/director J.J. Abrams came aboard, he simplified the names to placeholders… Thea became Sally… as the film neared production, Sally became Kira (which stuck as the production code name), then Echo, and finally Rey.”
Rey briefly being called Winkie puts a smile on my face and it’s fun to imagine frustrated marketing executives trying to get audiences excited about Winkie Skywalker. While saner hands prevailed and Winkie was ultimately named Rey, this is just another in a long line of very odd names that Lucas came up with.
My favorite example is him saying to confused game developers that the hero of the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed titles either had to be called Darth Icky or Darth Insanius. Oh well, at least Elan Sleazebaggano made it to our screens intact.
This also goes to show that Disney didn’t completely trash Lucas’ Sequel Trilogy plans. There are still those who hold out the futile hope that one day he’ll return to Star Wars and make ‘his’ Sequel Trilogy, no doubt eager for him to ‘defeminize’ it and stop the ‘soyification’ of the brand. Well, if you’re dumb enough to want that, then don’t look to George “Winkie Skywalker” Lucas as your savior.