Had things panned out differently, Luke Skywalker would have lived to see Star Wars: Episode IX.
And we’re not talking about J.J. Abrams’ trilogy-capper, but rather the original arc mapped out by George Lucas, Star Wars‘ founding father who wound up selling Lucasfilm and its precious assets to Disney back in 2012.
Because while Luke gave his life in order to save the Resistance during The Last Jedi‘s finale, Lucas initially wanted to spare Mark Hamill’s Skywalker until Episode IX so that he could train Leia on the finer details of the Force. Remember, Carrie Fisher’s screen icon was also in tune with the Force. But unlike her sibling, she chose to intentionally cut herself off during Return of the Jedi.
Suffice it to say, things could have been very, very different for the star-crossed Skywalker twins, even if George Lucas always intended to kill Luke before the credits rolled.
I happen to know that George didn’t kill Luke until the end of [Episode] 9, after he trained Leia. Which is another thread that was never played upon [in The Last Jedi].
This bittersweet finale formed part of Lucas’ “overall arc” for the Star Wars franchise, though as The Last Jedi attests, Lucasfilm’s billion-dollar juggernaut is currently in the process of passing down the torch to the next generation – namely John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac.
George had an overall arc. If he didn’t have all the details, he had sort of an overall feel for where the [sequel trilogy was] going. But this one’s more like a relay race. You run and hand the torch off to the next guy, he picks it up and goes. Rian didn’t write what happens in 9 – he was going to hand it off to, originally, Colin Trevorrow and now J.J.. It’s an ever-evolving, living, breathing thing. Whoever’s onboard gets to play with the life-size action figures that we all are.
And the next adventure for Lucasfilm has been booked in for May 25th, when Solo: A Star Wars Story will help cast light on the galaxy’s greatest smuggler. Expect Star Wars: Episode IX to follow on December 20th, 2019.