The plot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a tightly guarded secret. But what we now know is that the story it tells, as well as the overarching narrative for the new trilogy, is not what franchise creator George Lucas originally had in mind.
Speaking with GameSpot sister site CBS News, Lucas explained that the Star Wars saga, as he envisioned it, is basically a soap opera. Disney listened to Lucas' ideas, but wanted to go another direction.
"The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, 'We want to make something for the fans,'" Lucas said. "I said, 'All I wanted to do was tell a story of what happened--it started here and it went there. It's all about generations and the issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers.' (KF: What? I thought it was about the Trade Federation wars and taxes.)
The Force Awakens is the first core Star Wars movie that Lucas will have no direct hand in producing. He says Disney wasn't very thrilled about working with Lucas on the movie and the visionary admits that he wouldn't have been of much help, considering his ideas clashed with Disney's. (KF: Does mean that Disney rejected a plot that had a third death star?)
"But basically, they weren't that keen to have me involved anyway," he said. "But at the same time, I said, 'If I get in there I'm just going to cause trouble, because they're not going to do what I wanted them to do.' And I don't have the control to do that anymore and all I would do is muck everything up. (KF: You mean you didn't muck everything up with VI, I, II, III?) Rest of interview.
The real brains behind the Star Wars franchise was Gary Kurtz. He co-produced Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back with Lucas. However, Lucas wanted to make Return of the Jedi more about selling toys and being cute so Kurtz left the movie. Lucas had total control over the prequels.... and it showed. Kurtz told the L.A. Times in 2010:
But 1980 was also the year that Kurtz and Lucas realized the Jedi universe wasn’t big enough for the both of them.
“I could see where things were headed,” Kurtz said. “The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.”
He added: “The first film and ‘Empire’ were about story and character, but I could see that George’s priorities were changing.”.....
After the release of “Empire” (which was shaped by material left over from that first Lucas treatment), talk turned to a third film and after a decade and a half the partners could no longer find a middle ground.Dear George: Good riddance.
“We had an outline and George changed everything in it,” Kurtz said. “Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason.”
The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone “like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns,” as Kurtz put it.
Kurtz said that ending would have been a more emotionally nuanced finale to an epic adventure than the forest celebration of the Ewoks that essentially ended the trilogy with a teddy bear luau.
He was especially disdainful of the Lucas idea of a second Death Star, which he felt would be too derivative of the 1977 film. “So we agreed that I should probably leave.”