The sequel trilogy of the Skywalker Saga had its fair share of ups and downs, ultimately dividing the Star Wars fan base right in the middle. 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens got off to a pretty good start to kick off the trilogy, but comparisons with 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope and the film's mystery box of questions somewhat derailed its momentum.
In addition, Star Wars: The Last Jedi proved to be one of the most controversial entries in the Skywalker Saga, and The Rise of Skywalker 's conclusion didn't help in terms of providing a satisfying curtain call to the core characters of the franchise.
This led fans to wonder if the original plans of George Lucas were better than Disney's sequel trilogy. Now, a new piece of evidence may offer some clues on how Lucas' sequel trilogy would've played out.
Reddit user bothanspy89 unearthed evidence from the latest book, Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III The Prequel , that George Lucas originally intended to use Darth Maul as the main villain of the recently-concluded sequel trilogy. Lucas revealed that Maul "eventually becomes the godfather of crime" in his own version of the sequel trilogy:
Darth Maul trained a girl, Darth Talon, who was in the comic books as his apprentice. She was the new Darth Vader, and most of the action was with her. So these were the two main villains of the trilogy. Maul eventually becomes the godfather of crime in the universe because, as the Empire falls, he takes over.
Lucas then went into detail on how his sequel trilogy will further expand the roles of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, describing the latter's role as the one who tries to "build the Republic" from the ground up and defend it against gangsters:
The movies are about how Leia- I mean, who else is going to be the leader?- is trying to build the Republic. They still have the apparatus of the Republic but they have to get it under control from the gangsters. That was the main story. It starts out a few years after Return of the Jedi and we establish pretty quickly that there's this underworld, there are these offshoot stormtroopers who started their own planets, and that Luke is trying to restart the Jedi.
On the other hand, Lucas shared that Luke eventually "rebuilt much of the Jedi" from scratch, setting the stage for a new generation to take over.
He puts the word out, so out of 100,000 Jedi, maybe 50 or 100 are left. The Jedi have to grow again from scratch, so Luke has to find two and three-year-olds, and train them. It'll be 20 years before you have a new generation of Jedi. By the end of the trilogy, Luke would have rebuilt much of the Jedi, and we would have the renewal of the New Republic, with Leia, Senator Organa, becoming the Supreme Chancellor in charge of everything. So she ended up being the chosen one.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Based on what's been revealed, it's clear that Lucas' original plans for the sequel trilogy are entirely different from what Disney provided to fans. Placing the spotlight on Darth Maul would have effectively changed the direction of the narrative of the Skywalker Saga, and this would have eventually led to a face-off between the Sith Lord and Luke Skywalker down the line.
It will be interesting to find out Darth Maul's master plan to destroy the New Republic, but his presence alone strongly suggests that his involvement with The Clone Wars and Rebels could be changed entirely. Regardless, the villain's involvement is a breath of fresh air for the franchise, shying away from the Empire and Emperor Palpatine altogether.
On top of that, the timeline of Lucas' sequel trilogy is radically different as well. Disney's sequel trilogy starts off 34 years after the Battle of Yavin ( A New Hope ) while Lucas originally intended to start his own version of the trilogy several years after the Return of the Jedi . This means that the actors who played Luke, Leia, and Han could have been recast, and this may have proven (once again) controversial for hardcore fans of the galaxy far, far away.
Still, this is one example of how Star Wars continued to evolve as a franchise over the years, and several creative decisions gave birth to new and captivating characters such as Rey, Finn, and Poe. In conjunction with that, The Mandalorian is primed to give fans a preview of what really happened after the events of Return of the Jedi , with the Disney+ series providing hints on how the New Republic works during its early days.
Whatever the case, the sequel trilogy already concluded the Skywalker Saga, but other projects such as The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi can continue to give fans more insight on how the narrative evolved throughout the years in Star Wars canon.