Luke Skywalker Died in George Lucas' Original Treatment For 'Star Wars: Episode 8'

Details about George Lucas‘s original unused treatments for the Star Wars sequel trilogy have been somewhat hard to come by over the years. But thanks to a new book written by Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo, we know Lucas’ plans for the new trilogy share at least two major things in common with the versions that ultimately hit screens: Luke Skywalker died in Lucas’s treatment for Episode 8, and the idea for the character of Rey was there from the start (although she had a different name when Lucas was envisioning her). Read on to get the details.

In Hidalgo’s new book Star Wars: Fascinating Facts: Story, Lore & History From The Greatest Galaxy, the author reveals that “years before The Last Jedi began development, the treatment left behind by George Lucas in 2012 also had Episode 8 be the one wherein Luke Skywalker would die.”

That is fascinating for multiple reasons. Though Luke Skywalker died in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the iconic character’s death wasn’t the main sticking point for the vocal contingent of fans who didn’t like that film – many of them didn’t appreciate the fundamental type of character that Luke evolved into in that film. However, the book notes that Lucas’ plans for Luke were very similar to what Johnson ultimately delivered. In his treatments, Luke has become “a recluse, withdrawn into a very dark space and needs to be drawn back from despair.” So while The Last Jedi remains controversial, it seems like Lucas and Johnson were very much on the same page.

Ultimately, it’s an interesting coincidence that if George Lucas had his way, he would have also killed Luke in that same movie instead of waiting until the final installment in the nine-movie Skywalker saga. It’s especially interesting because it presents a conflicting narrative to one that actor Mark Hamill has previously put forth in the press. Hamill has gone on record saying that Lucas’s original plan did not, in fact, feature Luke dying in Episode 8, but instead held his death until Episode 9.

“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],” Hamill said in 2018. So…who is correct here?

Also, we previously knew that before landing on the character name of “Rey,” J.J. Abrams referred to Daisy Ridley’s character as “Kira,” a name which lasted through much of The Force Awakens‘ pre-production. But this book claims that “one idea that remained constant from the start was that of a young woman’s quest to become a Jedi Knight. In George Lucas’s original outline, she was a 14-year-old girl named Taryn. In his subsequent iterations, she would briefly be named Thea and – believe it or not – Winkie.”

Winkie, huh? If that sounds unbelievable…well, we thought so too. And that’s why we ordered a copy of this new book and independently confirmed all of this after this news started circulating around the internet earlier this week. Yep, it’s all in there and it’s real.

Ultimately, all of this leaves us wondering just how much of Lucas’s original treatments made their way into the final versions of the sequel trilogy. We know that his plans included the Whills and the return of midi-chlorians, but perhaps there wasn’t quite as much thrown out as we once assumed.

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