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Mark Hamill’s return as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was one of the most hotly debated cinematic topics of 2015. Why? Well, because Mark Hamill has been in cahoots when the Star Wars universe since its infancy. In fact, Lucas felt close enough to the actor to reveal his gargantuan plans for the franchise from the very start. Just check out the below interview with Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford on the TODAY show back in 1980 where he reveals Lucas’ plans for the prequels, which wouldn’t be released until 1999.
Obviously, George Lucas didn’t reveal too many details of his plans for the films that would ultimately become The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, and Revenge Of The Sith to Mark Hamill; I’m sure if he had the actor would have told Lucas to think things through just a little more.
Even before the release of Star Wars: A New Hope, George Lucas planned to explore the back story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in greater detail with prequels. While writing the original film, Lucas quickly realized that all his ambition and story couldn’t be squeezed into one film.
If 1977’s Star Wars was as successful as he hoped, Lucas planned to make sequels to Luke, Leia and Han’s adventures. Of course that proved to be the case, and The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi soon followed. But it was while writing Empire Strikes Back that he began to explore the origin of Darth Vader, deciding that he had previously been Anakin Skywalker – a powerful Jedi Knight who was the father to Luke Skywalker but ultimately became seduced by the dark side of the force.
In order to do the backstory for Anakin Skywalker justice, George Lucas decided that another set of prequels would be needed, especially since Return Of The Jedi redeems the character of Darth Vader/Anakin by having him sacrifice himself for Luke during the fight with Emperor Palpatine.
Unfortunately, after completing work on Return Of The Jedi, and having been working on the Star Wars universe for six straight years, George Lucas realised that he was completely “burned out.” And rather than immediately getting back to work on further instalments to the universe, George Lucas decided to take a break from the saga all together. In fact, by the time that Return Of The Jedi had been released he had officially cancelled his sequel trilogy.
But the ideas surrounding the backstory and idea of these films still fascinated him. And, by 1993 the films had been announced and he was writing the new Star Wars trilogy; a decision that considering their critical mauling he probably now regrets.