Star Wars Concept Art Shows That George Lucas’s Influence Can Be Seen In The Force Awakens & The Last Jedi
We’re not even done with the Sequel Trilogy yet, with the third movie just less than two years away, and fans are already wondering about what could have been had the Maker himself decided to stick around to direct at least The Force Awakens like he had originally planned to do. Some newly-unveiled concept art released in time for The Last Jedi suggest that fans who are claiming that J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson are disrespecting his vision might be missing the point – because some of their ideas were based on his own.
Slashfilm has just released a new report that discusses some concept art that was created back when Episode VII was a pitch that Lucas came up with – before a director for the project was even selected. I should absolutely stress that Disney and Lucasfilm ultimately did not use Lucas’s original pitch for a three-movie story arc. Lucas has said so himself, J. J. Abrams backed this up, and Mark Hamill has lamented that they weren’t more in-touch with those ideas. But the influence is still there, as we can parse out some information from this concept art that ultimately suggest that some core ideas were used.
- Episode VII was always intended to be an origin story about a young girl named Kira who aspired to be a Jedi. The Force Awakens has Rey filling that role.
- Darth Vader’s grandchildren would play significantly into the plot of Episode VII. While it’s only been confirmed that he only has a single grandchild – Kylo Ren – said character is the primary antagonist of the Sequel Trilogy as of The Last Jedi, and there’s still a chance (however slim) that there may be another Skywalker.
- In Episode VII, Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, exiled himself to a faraway planet, disillusioned with the Jedi path before Kira would convince him to open his mind and save his friends. Lucasfilm opted to tell this story over the course of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi instead of in one film.
- In Episode VII or the sequels to it, Leia Organa would utilize the Force, even if she may not have become a Jedi herself. In The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, she uses the Force passively to connect with Han and her son, and in the latter movie, we actually see her use the Force in a more active way. (Source.)
With all this in mind, I feel as though two things are necessary. First, a fringe minority of the fandom need to apologize to J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson (and especially the latter), because both directors have been hit with a torrent of personal attacks from so-called “fans” that are quite frankly uncalled for. Regardless of whether or not their creative decisions were based on Lucas’s ideas, nobody deserves to get a death threat over a fictional story. (Thankfully, the vast majority of fans are better than this, and I applaud anyone else who has condemned this behavior.) Second, I think that all of the fans who have expressed disappointment in the Sequel Trilogy while claiming that Lucas’s vision has been completely disrespected need to re-evaluate the new movies knowing that they’re made with his influence in mind.
Criticism of the Sequel Trilogy is absolutely fair, but doing so on the ground that “they didn’t respect the vision that George Lucas came up with” is an argument that we can safely debunk at this point. It might not play out in the way he would have told the story had he been steering the ship, but it’s clear at this point that the creators of these new films are paying utmost respect to Lucas’s work. We won’t get a clear idea of what the George Lucas Sequel Trilogy would have looked like until at least 2019 – but for now, it appears as if many of his ideas did, in fact, make it into the Disney-produced Sequel Trilogy after all. I’m personally of the opinion that the Sequel Trilogy has largely been brilliant so far, but I also think that we need to see what his original ideas were eventually. If that takes a while, then I’m more than happy to wait.
Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.