Rare 1980 'Empire Strikes Back' News Report Reveals Early Prequel/Sequel Details

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"Star Wars" George Lucas Collage.
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"Star Wars" George Lucas Collage.

A news report that Bobbie Wygant of NBC 5 did with the actors of "The Empire Strikes Back" in 1980 has surfaced and been officially linked to on the Official Star Wars Blog. The news report, which is compiled from interviews with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Dave Prowse, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, had the actors talking about some very interesting subjects when looking at them in hindsight.

It was obviously common knowledge that prequels were being discussed to the first "Star Wars" trilogy when these interviews were done for a press junket at 20th Century Fox Studios in May 1980. It has Hamill talking about the concept of the prequels. He addresses the issue of his 10-month-old son possibly playing his character Luke as a child in the future.

"I must say everyone was eying him [Hamill's son Nathan] very conspicuously because when they go back and do the stories that were 20 years earlier in the third one … which immediately precedes 'Star Wars,' there's like an 8-year-old Luke running around and playing in the background," Hamill said. "I said, 'Wait a minute. One actor in the family is enough for me."

Another subject that has been the object of many arguments over the years is the idea that George Lucas originally planned for there to be nine films in the "Star Wars" saga instead of six. Lucas talked about the alleged sequel trilogy in an interview with "Star Wars Insider" in 1997.

He said, "The whole story has six episodes ... If I ever went beyond that, it would be something that was made up." In another interview for Vanity Fair, he stated, "I never had a story for the sequels, for the later ones."

However, that's not what Harrison Ford was led to believe back in 1980. He mentions the idea of sequels to Wygant.

"The story we're engaged in now really concludes itself in the next film," the Han Solo actor said. "Then George moves on with the same milieu but different characters into the three that follow this or [there] may be three that precede it. I don't know exactly what the plan is, but our characters more or less conclude their story in the next one."

"Star Wars" producer Gary Kurtz told the website FilmThreat.com that there were indeed plans discussed for a sequel trilogy to the first three movies.

"Yes, it was very vague," he said. "It was Luke's journey really up to becoming sort of the premiere Jedi knight in the Obi-Wan Kenobi mold and his ultimate confrontation with the emperor. That was the outline of it and all that happens."

Kurtz also told TheForce.net that there were basic outlines for Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. These were the plans prior to 1980:

"EPISODE 7: Third trilogy was to focus on Luke's life as a Jedi, with very few details planned out. EPISODE 8: Luke's sister (not Leia) appears from another part of the galaxy. EPISODE 9: First appearance of the Emperor."

Honestly, I don't really care either way. It just makes for interesting subject matter to discuss and debate with other fans. Whether or not Lucas ever planned on there being actual sequels to the first "Star Wars" trilogy really is irrelevant now. He'll do what he wants to do and I'm fine with that -- unlike some fanatics.

For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:

Voice Actor Dee Bradley Baker Talks About Being the Clones of 'Star Wars'

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Cast Talk Favorite Characters and Plans for the Series Finale

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Cast Talk About What Their Characters Know

Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.

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