‘The Last Jedi’ Art Book Reveals George Lucas’ Original Idea for the New Trilogy
George Lucas had plans for a new Star Wars trilogy long before Lucasfilm decided to make one, but those were largely scrapped in favor of J.J. Abrams’ plans to revitalize the saga with The Force Awakens. But some little things from Lucas’ blueprints sorta kinda made it into the new movies — including one idea he had for Episode VII that ended up in The Last Jedi.
George Lucas had the idea for Luke Skywalker to train the protagonist of the new trilogy in a jedi temple on an abandoned island — the plan was that Luke would take up the mantle of jedi master again in the new trilogy and train his successor on sacred ground. Well, there’s no temple, per se, in The Force Awakens or in The Last Jedi, but bits and pieces of it made it into the new movie. The behind-the-scenes art book The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi details specific visuals Lucas had in mind, echoes of which are present in the movie. The description, via /Film:
In the book, we learn that one of the first meetings to visualize The Force Awakens happened on January 16, 2013 at Skywalker Ranch with George Lucas himself. Among the pieces presented at the meeting were portraits of an older Luke Skywalker training a new disciple named Kira (who was later renamed Rey). The idea was that, 30 years after the fall of the Empire, Luke had gone to a dark place and secluded himself in a Jedi temple on a new planet. The paintings show Luke meditating, reassessing his whole life.
Plans for a temple were in place even in the early talks for The Force Awakens, but ultimately they decided to wait until the second movie to have Luke's story in the series, and to do away with a temple (at least above the ground) entirely. Here are some more descriptions of what those early designs looked like, images of which you can see over at /Film:
“This was a very early take on Luke’s temple, way back when there was still no director. This artwork was shown to George Lucas in a presentation. Doug [Chiang] came back and said, “Congratulations, James. You got a George “Fabulouso” stamp.” VFX art director James Clyne recalls.
Adds Lucasfilm executive creative director Doug Chiang, “After working with George on the prequels for seven years, I knew in some ways how to anticipate what forms he would like – which is really good, because he still likes those forms. So for the Jedi temple, he loved that bell shape. It’s reminiscent of some of the imagery that [original Star Wars trilogy concept artist] Ralph McQuarrie painted way back.”
Gallery – Every Star Wars Connection in Star Wars Rebels: