Star WarsSTAR WARS: Prequels & Sequels
christensen as anakin in episode 3 All things Lucasfilm...
The original Star Wars trilogy is episodes IV, V and VI of a nine-part series, which creator George Lucas calls The Journal of the Whills, apparently a reference to those pesky Midichlorians. Lucas took his time making the first two trilogies - working for three years on each film. As Samuel L Jackson says, "Filming Star Wars is weird s**t." So now that Lucas has sold the franchise to Disney, things are picking up speed. Episodes VII, VIII and IX will be released at two-year intervals, with stand-alone Star Wars stories in the years between.

A TRILOGY OF TRILOGIES. From the very start, Lucas claimed that episodes IV, V and VI were the central part in a grand nine-part epic. After making six films, he passed the torch to JJ Abrams for Episode VII. Rian Johnson is directing Episode VIII, and Colin Trevorrow is directing Episode IX.

STAND-ALONE FILMS. Disney has announced that it will make "A Star Wars Story" every year in between the Episodes. Rogue One is set between episodes III and IV. And the next will be a Han Solo origin story, written and directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord and starring Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover as Han and Lando.

  • Rogue One opened 16 December 2016
  • Han Solo due to open 25 May 2018
CONSTANT TINKERING. Beyond the "Special Edition" digital overhaul, Lucas has been steadily altering the first six films to make one cohesive narrative for a "definitive" version — moving bits of the music around, dropping characters in here and there, etc. He's also filling in gaps between the films using TV series and videogames, plus the anthology films. Disney may own it now, but Lucas and producer Kathleen Kennedy keep everything in line with the overall vision.

back to the topT H E    S A G A    C A S T . . .

C-3PO: Anthony Daniels
R2-D2: Kenny Baker
Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader: Jake Lloyd, Hayden Christensen, James Earl Jones, David Prowse, Sebastian Shaw
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Ewan McGregor, Alec Guiness
Yoda: Frank Oz
Palpatine: Ian McDiarmid
Padme Amidala: Natalie Portman
Mace Windu: Samuel L Jackson
Qui-Gon Jinn: Liam Neeson
Shmi Skywalker: Pernilla August
Valorum: Terence Stamp
Boss Nass: Brian Blessed
Count Dooku: Christopher Lee
Bail Organa: Jimmy Smits
Owen Lars: Joel Edgerton, Phil Brown
Beru Lars: Bonnie Piesse, Shelagh Fraser
Moff Tarkin: Peter Cushing
Chewbacca: Peter Mayhew
Han Solo: Harrison Ford
Luke Skywalker: Mark Hamill
Leia Organa: Carrie Fisher
Lando Calrissian: Billy Dee Williams
Boba Fett: Jeremy Bulloch
Rey: Daisy Ridley
Finn: John Boyega
Kylo Ren: Adam Driver
Poe Dameron: Oscar Isaac
Maz Kanata: Lupita Nyong'o
General Hux: Domhnall Gleeson
Captain Phasma: Gwendoline Christie
Snoke: Andy Serkis

back to the topP R O D U C T I O N   T R I V I A . . .

lucas on set in 1976 TIME SCALE: Episode I takes place about 30 years before the original Star Wars, when Obi-Wan is 30, Anakin 10, and Amidala 14. Episode II about 10 years later; and Episode III is about two years after Episode II. Roughly 20 years passes between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. And another 30 years passes between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

CONTINUITY: Lucas' big challenge is to preserve continuity in the series, which means that the character arcs and plot twists will be very different for audiences who experience the films in sequence I to VI for the first time. The surprises for them will be very different than for those of us who watched them in the order they were made — for example, the relationships between Vader, Luke and Leia will be no surprise. But Anakin's fall will. And Obi-Wan now has a completely different story that redefines his actions in IV. Also, Palpatine becomes the connecting point as a seriously epic villain.

LOCATIONS: While Tunisia played Tatooine in episodes I, II and IV, political instability meant that JJ Abrams had to find another stand-in while shooting Episode VII. The desert around Abu Dhabi did the trick. (Death Valley also doubled as Tatooine in IV and VI.) Other locations: Italy, Spain and England became Naboo; Thailand and China appeared as Kashyyyk; Norway played Hoth; Switzerland was Alderaan; and California's Redwood Forest was Endor.

Ewan McGregor's uncle Denis Lawson played Wedge Antilles in all three original films. Wedge is the only X-wing pilot besides Luke to survive the trilogy. After Lawson visited McGregor on the set of Episode I, McGregor said, "He came up and sat with me, and he met George Lucas and he said, 'George, you're still wearing the same shirt.' And he was, apparently!"

dynamic duo Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker are the only cast members who will appear in all nine films as Threepio and Artoo, the droids through whose eyes the entire tale is told. Two other characters appear in six films, but they're played by multiple actors: Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor I-III, Alec Guinness IV-VI) and Anakin (Jake Lloyd I, Hayden Christensen II-III, David Prowse IV-VI, Sebastian Shaw VI, voice of James Earl Jones III-VI). Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher may also end up being in six films. And then there's Palpatine...

Ian McDiarmid played the Emperor at age 100 in Empire and Jedi and stars in the prequels as the younger Palpatine, closer to McDiarmid's actual age (53 when he shot the prequels). "I am 30 years younger in the new version so I'll be more recognisable. Anyway, I think they only cast me because of my long pointed nose. I have played a lot of grotesques because I suppose I look like one." back to the top

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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall