George Lucas was heavily criticized for his work on the Star Wars prequel trilogy. And rightly so. Had Lucas not sold Lucasfilm to Disney, he may very well have made his version of The Force Awakens. However, there have been interviews that have surfaced which provide some insight as to what a George Lucas helmed Episode VII would have looked like. When Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney, he also provided some written treatments of what the next Star Wars movie would look like. Disney ended up putting these treatments in the circular file (see also: trash can), much to Lucas’ dismay.
Rewind to a 1999 interview with Producer Gary Kurtz, who said that the original ending to Return of the Jedi did not have Luke and Leia being revealed as siblings. This alternate version was never confirmed by Lucas. However, Kurtz also provided precious few details about what episodes VII, VIII, and IX might look like. According to Kurtz, episode VII would chronicle the life of Luke as a Jedi Knight. Episode VIII would introduce Luke’s sister from another part of the galaxy and episode IX would reveal the Emperor.
Wasn’t the Emperor already revealed in ROTJ? So, one could take this to mean that Lucas’ plan was to have Palpatine survive the events of Return of the Jedi and make a return in the sequel trilogy. Has Snoke been confirmed to be Palpatine?!?! Of course he hasn’t. The real question is if the plan was to have Leia and Luke not be siblings, would their kiss in The Empire Strikes Back have still been awkward? Probably.
If there is any truth to these musings, The Force Awakens would have focused on the adventures of Luke as a Jedi Knight. Potentially, audiences could have seen Skywalker establish a new Jedi academy, instead of just seeing it destroyed in a Force fever dream.
Here’s a video that tries to cobble together the details of what George Lucas’ episode VII would have looked like.