Star Wars creator George Lucas has revealed some fascinating new details about his vision for the franchise in the new book The Star Wars Archives 1999-2005, dropping hints about what he would have done differently with the sequel trilogy and explaining decisions he made in the earlier movies.
Arguably the biggest draw of the prequel movies – Episodes I, II and III, released in 1999, 2002 and 2005 respectively – is that they provide fans with a real insight into exactly how a gifted young Jedi named Anakin Skywalker turned to the Dark Side, became feared villain Darth Vader and fathered heroes of the original trilogy Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa.
But Lucas has revealed that when he first announced his intention to introduce Anakin as a child in The Phantom Menace, he was told that doing so would "destroy" the entire franchise.
Apparently when he told them that he was going to tell the story of how Anakin became Darth Vader, executives "were as excited as anybody else" – until he told them that Anakin would first be introduced to the audience as a 10-year-old.
He was reportedly told: "You're going to destroy the franchise; you're going to destroy everything!"
But the Star Wars creator stuck to his guns, telling Lucasfilm staff that he was "making a movie that nobody wants to see" but that he would rather do that than tell the same story over and over again.
The move paid off in the end, as the prequel movies made plenty of money at the box office and, although some Star Wars fans aren't so keen on them, they've earned a lot of love over the years from others.
Of course, introducing Anakin as an innocent child also makes the story of his descent into darkness all the more tragic, and his ultimate redemption in Return of the Jedi even more satisfying.
Lucas also spoke about his initial plans for the sequel movies in the book, before he sold the franchise to Disney in 2012.
If the sequel trilogy had been made according to Lucas' original vision, we would have had Darth Maul as the main villain, with Leia and Luke rebuilding the Republic and the Jedi Order.