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George Lucas' third Star Wars trilogy would have made Darth Maul the big bad along with a 'new Darth Vader'

By Josh Weiss
Darth Maul The Phantom Menace

If you believe in the many-worlds theory, then there's a reality, somewhere in the multiverse, where George Lucas never sold Lucasfilm to Disney and closed out his Star Wars saga with a third and final trilogy. While that's not how things panned out in this dimension, it's always a fun exercise to wonder what might have been. Speaking with author Paul Duncan for The Star Wars Archives. 1999–2005 (a massive, 600-page tome that chronicles the Special Editions and Episodes I - III), Lucas detailed his blueprint for a third Star Wars trilogy set after Return of the Jedi.

"I had planned the first trilogy to be about the father, the second trilogy to be about the son, and the third trilogy to be about the daughter and the grandchildren," he explained. "Episodes VII, VIII, and IX would take ideas from what happened after the Iraq War. 'Okay, you fought the war, you killed everybody, now what are you going to do?'"

The writer-director admitted that he was interested in exploring the turbulent reconstruction period after the Empire's defeat. "Rebuilding afterwards is harder than starting a rebellion or fighting the war," he continued. "When you win the war and disband the opposing army, what do they do?"

The Star Wars Archives

A band of leftover stormtroopers would have refused to concede to the budding New Republic and formed their own group of insurgents, which Lucas compared to "Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist fighters that joined ISIS and kept on fighting."

It's basically a storyline we're now seeing play out in The Mandalorian as Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) still clings to the old Imperial ways in a galaxy struggling to bring a stable democracy to all of its systems. In Lucas' unmade trilogy, the renegade stormtroopers were going to relocate to a remote corner of the galaxy and found "their own country," itself an act of blatant rebellion against the Republic.

"There's a power vacuum so gangsters, like the Hutts, are taking advantage of the situation, and there is chaos," Lucas added. "They key person is Darth Maul who had been resurrected in The Clone Wars cartoons — he brings all the gangsters together." Maul, the leader of Crimson Dawn is now "very old" at this point, was going to serve as the third trilogy's main antagonist, alongside his apprentice: a girl named Darth Talon (a character originally seen in the comics). "She was the new Darth Vader and most of the action was with her," Lucas said.

Darth Maul The Phantom Menace

As a leader of the New Republic, Leia would wage war against Maul's criminal conglomerate, while Luke began to reform the Jedi from scratch, putting out the call and raising an entirely new generation of Force-sensitive warriors.

"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," Lucas revealed.

Of course, Lucas never got to realize any of this, but his protégée, Dave Filoni (creator of Clone Wars and Rebels), could bring back a lot of these concepts for The Mandalorian, which takes place in the recent aftermath of the Empire's downfall. And if a Solo sequel is ever made (don't hold your breath, though), fans will probably get to see more of Maul's shady underworld dealings in the space of live-action. The most tragic part, however, is that Lucas' idea for one more trilogy does sound like a logical continuation of the story.

"I thought I was going to have a little bit more to say about the next three because I'd already started them, but they decided they wanted to do something else," Lucas said of Disney's sequel trilogy. "Things don't always work out the way you want it. Life is like that."

The Star Wars Archives. 1999–2005 is now available from Taschen Books. It'll cost you more than a few galactic credits with a price tag of $200 retail.