When Star Wars creator George Lucas sold his Lucasfilm empire to Disney, Star Wars’ new corporate overlords decided to forgo Lucas’ original story outline for a new trilogy in favor of one originated by J.J. Abrams (which has also since been tweaked by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, who wrote his own script for Episode VIII). And although only bits and pieces of what Lucas’ original storyline for Episodes VII to IX are known, Mark Hamill — who originated the iconic role of farmboy-turned-Jedi knight-turned embittered cynic Luke Skywalker — gave IGN some insight into how Lucas’ original plan for Luke diverged from the current films.
Hamill tells IGN that, rather than vanish into thin air (and presumably to his death) in The Last Jedi like his mentors Obi-Wan and Yoda before him, Luke lives to fight another day for another episode. “I happen to know that George didn't kill Luke until the end of [Episode] IX, after he trained Leia. Which is another thread that was never played upon [in The Last Jedi],” the actor said.
Hamill went on to explain the fundamental differences between Lucas’ plans for the trilogy versus Disney’s. “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,” he said. But for the Disney films, they seem to be created “more like a relay race” where one filmmaker will “run and hand the torch off to the next guy,” who “picks it up and goes.”
For example, Hamill explained that Johnson “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 on board gets to play with the life-size action figures that we all are.”
Hamill has been far from shy in discussing his opinions on the new Star Wars films and his involvement in them. He famously confessed that he originally had difficulties accepting and embracing Johnson’s interpretation of Luke Skywalker becoming a defeatist hermit in The Last Jedi, but has since walked back his comments.
Lucas admitted in 2015 he was bothered that Disney jettisoned his original ideas — which apparently centered on very young characters — and decided it would be better if he just wasn't involved. (You remember that interview; the one in which he referred to Disney as “the white slavers," then immediately regretted his choice of words? Yeah, that one.)
Abrams will direct the as-yet-untitled final chapter in this new Star Wars trilogy, which is set to come out late next year.