A lot of fans have been wondering what Geroge Lucas‘ vision for Star Wars: Episode VII, VIII, and IX would have been. Well, thanks to a new book, Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we have our first and only look at some of the designs that were created for him and his vision for the films.
Before Disney bought Lucasfilm, George Lucas had a story treatment for how he wanted this new trilogy to play out. Lucasfilm ended up throwing out that treatment and Lucasfilm and their creative team pretty much started from scratch.
The concept art you see here features the design of the Jedi Temple, which was approved by Lucas along with art that shows an older Luke Skywalker with his new disciple named Kira, who was later named Rey. We also see a piece of Skywalker standing next to some ruins on the planet where the Jedi Temple is located, which later became known as Ahch-to, then there’s a piece that shows Skywalker meditating.
According to the book, one of the first meetings in the development of Episode VII took place at Skywalker Ranch in 2013 with George Lucas in attendance and that’s where this concept art was presented. According to /Film:
The idea was that, 30 years after the fall of the Empire, Luke had gone to a dark place and secluded himself in a Jedi temple on a new planet.
Apparently, the initial plan for Star Wars: Episode 7 was that Luke, over the course of that movie, would rediscover his vitality and train this new Jedi. So basically, what we got from the Rey/Luke storyline in The Last Jedi was initially supposed to be the bones for George Lucas’ Episode 7. Imagine an alternate universe where Episode 7 was Luke reluctantly training a new Jedi – it would be completely different.
You know what? I would have actually liked to see how that storyline would have played out. The reason that they didn’t take the new trilogy in this direction was because the creative team felt that “Luke Skywalker would better serve the needs of the story as the person that everyone seeks but does not find until the final scene of The Force Awakens.”
This is what made it possible for Han Solo to serve as a mentor of the first part of the story, and they pushed the whole Luke training Rey dynamic to Episode VII.
Here are are some additional details on the art:
“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.” VFX art director James Clyne recalls.
Adds Lucasfilm executive creative director Doug Chiang, “After working with George on the prequels for seven years, I knewin 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.”
The designs are interesting and they do seem to have more a prequel visual vibe to them. If you want to see more of the images you’ll have to check out the book! What do you think of these designs, though, and the direction that Lucas originally wanted the story to go?