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Six Episodes or Nine Episodes?

Two of the questions asked of us most often by our readers are 'Will there be a sequel trilogy?' and 'What will it be about?'. Between all the staff members, we can answer almost any Star Wars question you'd throw our way, but these particular queries seem to stump the even Jedi Masters in Marin County themselves.

In an interview with the Star Wars Insider (issue 35) Mr. Lucas addressed the "six films or nine films" question:

"[The whole story has] six episodes....If I ever went beyond that, it would be something that was made up. I really don't have any notion other than 'Gee, it would be interesting to do Luke Skywalker later on.' It wouldn't be part of the main story, but a sequel to this thing."

What then of all the rumors we've heard? What about that character who appears in the prequel trilogy who's supposed to be frozen in carbonite and return in the sequel trilogy? What about the rumor that Luke's new Jedi will quest for a holy grail-like artifact or that one of Han and Leia's children will fall to the dark side and wreak havoc as his/her grandfather did?

They are simply rumors, it would seem.

Okay then, Chris, what of your inside sources telling the "sequel trilogy is on the run" and "the sequel trilogy is in its most infantile stages of development"?

That's a tougher question! Could there have been some miscommunication between us and our sources regarding the sequel information? The sources were crystal clear--they said Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. Could those sources have heard wrong from their contacts? It's a possibility--that sort of thing happens--but it's unlikely in this case. I forced my most reliable source on this matter to repeat himself/herself to me a few times...he/she assures me that the person who told him/her explicitly meant Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. But what can we make of "on the record" Lucasfilm employees laughing at and denying anything to do with the sequel trilogy and the completely different tone of our "off the record" Lucasfilm contacts?

What are you implying, Chris, that there's some big conspriacy within Lucasfilm regarding the sequels and that George Lucas was telling the truth from a certain point of view? No, that's not what I mean. Let me summarize my thoughts on this matter: I DON'T KNOW.

I'm rather confused over this whole thing, because in an interview back in March with Specifiek Universitair Magazine (vol. 7, no. 3) Rick McCallum, Mr. Lucas' right hand man, had this to say about the sequel trilogy:

SUM: Are there already plans for parts 7, 8 and 9?

RM: I'll tell you. There are no plans for them now. Because this is going to take seven years to complete, these first three. So if we are both still standing by then, and we have enjoyed it, and the audience loves it, then we will think about the next three.

SUM: But Lucas already has an idea of how It's supposed to end?

RM: Oh yeah... When he wrote the original film, he wrote nine stories, all together. He just picked the Luke Skywalker one, because he knew he could make only one. But he had to do the backstory and he had to know where they were going, so he wrote the basic outline of all nine stories.

So it seems that Mr. McCallum and Mr. Lucas agree that there are no plans to make the sequels, at that point, yet their perceptions seem to differ on the development of the concepts that would appear in Epidoses 7, 8, and 9. One of McCallum's comments quoted above suggests that they would start thinking about the sequels if the prequel trilogy was a success. Since March I think it has become clearer and clearer to the Jedi Masters in Marin County that the prequels will be a success. Could that explain the reports a month ago from our sources that said the sequel trilogy is under the most infantile stages of development? Possibley, but then what of Mr. Lucas's recent comments? Same answer: I don't know.

It takes approximately seven to nine years for a trilogy of Star Wars films to be made--that's major commitment of time and energy. Perhaps George Lucas would rather spend that time and energy with his loved ones or on other projects close to his heart.

If you asked me what I think the answer behind all this is, I'd say George Lucas may have developed more about the sequel trilogy then he is letting on, but he may be unsure whether he'd actually want to commit another nine years of his life to Star Wars. George Lucas has always been considerate of his fans--his tolerance of web sites like ours is just one example--perhaps he doesn't want to raise our hopes on a project he may elect not to make.

I'm just some twenty one year-old with a web site who occassionally hears from people involved in the production of Episode I, but here's my advice to fellow Star Wars fans: nevermind the sequels, focus on the prequels or those three wonderful films that you can pop into your VCR whenever you want. Right now we have six incredible hours of that galaxy far, far away with six more on the way. Let's focus our Star Wars-related energies on those episodes rather than on questions the Jedi Master himself may not truly know the answer to.

May the Force be with you,
Chris Kivlehan

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