During the early years of Star Wars, George Lucas (the creator of Star Wars) told different publications on various occasions that he had ideas for as many as nine or even twelve Star Wars films. However, recently, George has recanted those assertions and stated in the Star Wars Insider Magazine that the Star Wars saga is really composed of only six films, which are the story of Anakin Skywalker's rise, fall and redemption. When asked when he plans to produce a Sequel Trilogy (Ep. 7 through 9), George has stated that he never promised to make the sequels and has no current plans to ever make any more Star Wars films after the completion of the Prequel Trilogy.
Yet, while writing Star Wars in the mid-1970's, George sketched out a rough idea of what occurred in the Star Wars galaxy after the events of Return of the Jedi. These notes were written by hand in one of his spiral notebooks and reveals clues as to what we will see in the sequels (if those films are ever made). But as of today, George still won't let us read (or even photocopy) the contents of his spiral notebooks so the story line of the sequels remains shrouded in secrecy.
In the May 19, 1980 issue of Time Magazine, George stated that he did intend to make nine Star Wars films with the last three to "involve the rebuilding of the Republic." Subsequently, in the May 23, 1983 Time, George described that the sequel films' "main theme will be the necessity for moral choices and the wisdom needed to distinguish right from wrong." Very cryptic and vague on George's part and this is basically the theme that was explored in the Classic Trilogy and that will again be explored in the Prequel Trilogy.
After the completion of Return of the Jedi, George seemed reluctant to make any more Star Wars films. At the time, it seemed that Jedi was the last of the Star Wars saga. Eventually the fire in his belly returned and George decided it was time to begin work on the prequels. In an issue of Disney Adventures (March 1997), George was asked about the sequels and he replied: "Ask me that question after I complete Episodes 1, 2 and 3 . . . " Today, when he is asked about the sequels from ILMers, his response is "Let's complete the first three before we worry about the last three." George is 100% focused on the Prequel Trilogy and is tight lipped when asked if and when we will ever see the final episodes.
The post-Return of the Jedi novels and comics
Probably the first question that comes to mind is what role will the events of the novels play in the final three films. Although George has the final say on what can and cannot appear in the novels and comics, George readily admits that he does not read the novels. He does read the comics because they are a quick read. From George's perspective, the novels and comics serve as the preface and exposition to the events that will occur in the sequels. He has forbidden anyone from writing about events that occur between 30 to 40 years after the events of the classic trilogy. Similarly, George would not permit any stories to be written about what occurred 30 years prior to the classic trilogy because that was his private domain that would be explored in the Prequel Trilogy. George has the option of integrating the best characters and ideas created by publishing in the final three films. It is a good bet that we will see the likes of Mara Jade and others from the novels although George is silent when asked how much of this preface material he will utilize.
What role will the Empire play
In private, George has stated that it would be neat in the sequels to place what little remains of the Empire in the role of inferior and outmaned underdog, which the Rebel Alliance played in the classic trilogy. However, the difference being that just as the New Order destroyed almost all the remnants of the Old Republic from the face of the galaxy, the New Republic destroys almost all the remnants of the Emperor's New Order from the face of the galaxy in the sequels. The circle becomes complete. Perhaps in the sequels, the Empire, a mere shadow of its former glory, unites with a powerful enemy of the New Republic and makes one last attempt to destroy the New Republic and, of course, fails.
Might a clone of Darth Vader appear
George has strictly forbidden the novels from containing plot lines involving a Darth Vader clone. This could be a plot device that he is intending to utilize in the final films. A clone of Vader could be the only means by which the dieing remains of the Empire are united for the final apocalyptic assault on the New Republic. George could choose to use an imposter of Vader to inspire this Imperial unification (although it should be noted that Timothy Zahn utilized a similar plot line with an imposter Thrawn in a recent Star Wars novel). Alternatively, George could create an Imperial army dressed in Vader's legendary black armor to inspire fear in the galaxy or to raise the spirits of the Imperial regiments.
Almost certainly, we will see Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, the droids and many others from the classic trilogy who have lived long enough to appear in the sequels. Also, George will, for the first time, introduce us to Luke's wife and children. George will not permit any of the current Star Wars authors to write stories where Luke is married and has children. George may want to surprise us with the shocking revelation that Luke eventually marries Mara Jade, some other female from the novels or a completely new character that he will create for the films. Might Han and Leia's twin children (Jaina and Jacen) turn to the dark side and threaten what Luke, Han and Leia have worked for all their adult lives? Will one or more of Luke's children turn to the dark side and wear masks and black armor in honor of their deceased grandfather?
During the timeline of the prequel films and shortly thereafter, George has revealed that the Empire and Darth Vader hunted down and destroyed both the Jedi Knights and the Old Republic. Vader was the Emperor's key to destroying the Jedi and the Republic. And ironically, the final destiny of Vader's children and grandchildren may be to resurrect both the Jedi and the Republic to their former glory for another 1,000 generations. George, as always, has left his options wide open when it comes to this area of the sequels.
What else might the sequels contain
If you have read the early versions of the Star Wars screenplays, then you know that there are many characters and events that made it through various rewrites, but did not make it into the final version of the film. George is a writer that never throws out or abandons a good idea. He is ingenious at finding a way to weave unused ideas into future films. While many expect these characters and events to be used in the prequels, what if George surprises us and instead integrates them into the final three films?
Prince Valarium, the Black Knight of the Sith, (whom "General" Darth Vader answered to), Kane Starkiller (a venerable Jedi Knight who George made into Ben Kenobi), Boma (an earlier version of Chewbacca that was a half-bear, half-guinea pig creature) and Princess Ondes were present in the early versions of Star Wars, but did not make it into the final shooting script. Might they be regurgitated by George in the sequels (if not in the prequels)? Also, the Kiber Chrystal, which legend has can greatly enhance the power of the Force in its possessor, was written out of the final screenplay. All, some or none of these characters might appear in the sequels. As always, only George and his spiral notebooks know for sure. And hopefully after the completion of the prequels, George will one day return to the Star Wars galaxy for one last crusade. Then, and only then, will all our questions finally be put to rest.