Neil Calloway is glad we never got the Star Wars sequels George Lucas wanted…
Han smuggling monsters in The Force Awakens, the over egged Iraq War overtones of Rogue One, the jokes in The Last Jedi, that shower scene in Solo. What’s your least favourite part of the new Star Wars films?
It doesn’t matter. I know that it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things – it’s a series of movies that don’t really matter, and we’re all just trying our best to get through life on this tiny insignificant rock on an arm of a not especially large galaxy – but it doesn’t matter in the context of Star Wars now, because nothing that Disney has thrown at us, or will ever throw at us is as bad as George Lucas’s idea for the sequels.
Lucas himself says fans would have hated it, and by the sound of it, he’d be right, and they’d be right to hate it. Apparently dealing with a “microbiotic world” involving creatures who operate differently to the way we do, it would feature the Whills, who feed off the force and control the Universe.
While this may be good for Lucas, who has never been the best director when it comes to people, and when you’re making a film about bacteria you probably don’t have to hire many actors, it basically means a series of films about Midi-chlorians, by far and away the worst aspect of the prequels. Yes, worse than Jar Jar.
Avid Star Wars fans, and people like me who have too much time on their hands and have spent far too many lost afternoons on Wookieepedia binges will be aware that Whills – whatever they are – have long been around the Star Wars Galaxy. Originally an immortal being, the “Journal of the Whills” became the original source for the stories in the films. Last year, with the release of the trailer for The Last Jedi, a shot of books – actually ancient Jedi texts – led to fan speculation that they would be the Journal of the Whills. They first made a long-delayed appearance in Star Wars in the novelization of The Force Awakens.
None of what Lucas has said contradicts this – Whills can be immortal, tiny creatures that write journals and control the universe. It just means the films wouldn’t be very good. Movies set in Petri dishes rarely are.
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Lucas would suggest a film that would be, frankly, weird. He’s been connected to some pretty left field things through the years – he was an executive producer on the 1988 experimental documentary Powaqqatsi, and even his hiring of Rick McCallum to work on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and the Star Wars prequels is slightly odd – before his collaborations with Lucas, McCallum had a close working relationship with the English writer Dennis Potter – not someone you’d associate with mega-budget space movies. However, experimental doesn’t mean good.
Like so many films that never got made, it’s probably best we never saw Lucas’s Star Wars sequels about cells.
A version of this article was originally published in June 2018.
Neil Calloway is a pub quiz extraordinaire and Top Gun obsessive.