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George Lucas was this close to directing ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

Dodged that bullet.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw


Published Jan 13, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 6:50 pm CDT

Imagine a world where Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t being directed by J.J. Abrams, but instead was firmly in the hands of the guy who brought us The Phantom Menace. A terrifying prospect, to be sure.

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In an interview promoting his new animated film Strange Magic, George Lucas admitted that he once had very different plans for the seventh Star Wars movie. After years of thinking about the possibility of a third trilogy, his idea was to release Episode VII (at that point still untitled) in May 2015. Then he’d hand over the reins to someone else, because a full trilogy would have been too long a commitment for the aging writer/director. Lucas went as far as contacting Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill about returning for the film before deciding to sell Star Wars to Disney in 2012 instead.

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Since then, Disney has hired teams of established writers and directors to work on the new trilogy, has rebooted the Star Wars comic book universe, and announced plans for a series of spinoff movies.

“It’s better for me to get out at the beginning of a new thing and I can just remove myself,” said Lucas. “The time is more important to me than the money.” Time to spend with his young daughter, and to work on smaller, more personal projects like Strange Magic.

This was probably the best decision for everyone involved, but the idea of a George Lucas–helmed sequel will still haunt the dreams of Star Wars fans for years to come.

Photo via Joi Ito/Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 13, 2015, 6:15 pm CST