Though it was top secret back in 2012, George Lucas did have an idea for Star Wars sequels after Return of the Jedi. But when he sold Star Wars to Disney that same year, the new keepers of the Force took the franchise in a different direction than what its creator had in mind. So, what was George Lucas’s original idea for Episodes VII, VIII and IX? Turns out he was bringing it all back to one of his oldest ideas, which, honestly sounds like it could have been fatal to the entire franchise.
On Monday, one fan on Twitter noticed an interesting tidbit from the new book called James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction, which is a companion to the AMC TV miniseries of the same name. In the book, George Lucas is quoted about what his vision was for the sequel trilogy: “The next three Star Wars films were going to get into a microbiotic world,” Lucas said. “But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.”
For those who think the word “Whills” sound familiar, it’s probably because you remember it in your old paperback copy of the 1976 Star Wars movie novelization; a lot of the text was said to have come from “The Journal of the Whills.”
As far as I've seen, these are the first specifics George Lucas has shared about what his vision of Episodes 7-9 would have been. This comes from @insighteditions awesome companion book to "James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction series" on AMC: pic.twitter.com/Wtlw8zlrqv
— Livio Ramondelli (@LivioRamondelli) June 12, 2018
Notably, the idea of “microbiotic” lifeforms sounds a lot like midichlorians, which are the tiny organisms that Liam Neeson talked about in Episode I: The Phantom Menace that basically ruined the Force for a lot of viewers by virtue of the fact that it over-explained it. But for older fans, Lucas talking about the Whills is a lot more retro than The Phantom Menace. In the 1997 book Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, Lucas admitted that back in the ’70s he was going to try to frame the entire story of Star Wars from the perspective of “an immortal being known as a Whill.” Back then, Lucas said he “eventually dropped this idea…and the Whills turned into the Force.”
Weirdly, in Rogue One, there’s a reference to the “Guardians of the Whills” and some people thought one of Luke’s crusty books in The Last Jedi was a book written by these beings.
So, if George Lucas had been in charge of the sequel trilogy instead of J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson, the world may have been treated to Star Wars movies about microscopic aliens who write weird books. This could be an unfair assessment of George Lucas meant, but it feels like these movies maybe wouldn’t have packed quite the hyperspace punch we’ve gotten in recent years. Meaning, the next time anyone is complaining about the newer Star Wars movies, it might be good to remember that at least there wasn’t a movie called Star Wars Episode VII: The Exciting Adventure of the Microscopic Whills.
– Star Wars: Episode IX (which doesn’t yet have a subtitle) will be out on December 20, 2019.