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Long before Disney purchased Lucasfilm and even before the Star Wars prequel movies came out, George Lucas played around with the idea of releasing a sequel trilogy to the original movies that kicked off the adventures set in a galaxy far, far away. Ultimately Lucas decided to set aside these particular plans and instead wind the clock back for the second Star Wars trilogy, but over the years, we've heard bits and pieces of what might have gone down. Cut to now, where last December's The Last Jedi saw Luke Skywalker dying; a moment that, according to Mark Hamill, would have happened at the end of Lucas' version of Episode IX. As Hamill put it:
I happen to know that George didn't kill Luke until the end of [Episode] 9, after he trained Leia. Which is another thread that was never played upon [in The Last Jedi].
Shortly after Disney acquired Lucasfilm from George Lucas to the tune of $4 billion, the company announced it would move forward with a Star Wars sequel trilogy, only as we learned from Lucas a couple years later, none of his story treatments were used for these new movies. However, as Mark Hamill noted, the idea of Luke Skywalker being killed off was an idea that carried over when the current sequel trilogy was being formed, only Rian Johnson decided implement it into The Last Jedi. Perhaps this is why Hamill originally wanted Luke to die in Episode IX; he knew that Lucas had planned on taking the Jedi protagonist out of the game at the end of the trilogy and hoped that would be retained when the new leadership too over. Hamill also noted that while Lucas may not have formed specific details about his version of the sequel trilogy, he knew the overall arc, whereas with the current movies, it's like running a "relay race" in how one writer/director team has to work with what the previous team left behind.
The other interesting thing of note in Mark Hamill's comment to IGN was that in George Lucas' version of Episode IX, Luke Skywalker trained Leia Organa in the ways of the Force. As we saw in The Last Jedi, Leia had grown powerful enough with the Force that she was able to pull herself back to the Resistance cruiser while in the vacuum of space, but it was never explicitly stated in that movie or The Force Awakens if her brother helped hone her abilities in the decades after Return of the Jedi or if she got her training from another source. Considering that Leia will not appear in Episode IX due to Carrie Fisher's passing, it's unclear if we'll ever receive an answer to this. As for Luke, he sacrificed himself in The Last Jedi so that the remaining Resistance survivors could escape Ahch-To, but even though his journey among the living has ended, don't be surprised if the Jedi Master pops back up as a Force ghost in Episode IX, allowing him to still be "around" until the end, albeit in a different way than what Lucas envisioned.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now available on Digital HD, and you can pick up a Blu-ray or DVD copy starting tomorrow, March 27. Episode IX will be released in theaters on December 20, 2019.