The journey of Star Wars from mad idea of a merchandisingly minded director to unstoppable mega-franchise is almost as exciting as the trials and tribulations of the Skywalker family on screen. When George Lucas originally wrote what was then called The Star Wars, he ended up with a story of unwieldily length. Splitting it into more and more pieces, he ended up with a narrative that could be told in six, nine or twelve parts (depending on who you believe).
There's a common view that this blue-print was the one he followed when making both the Original and Prequel Trilogy, and facilitated the possibility of a string of sequels. But while Lucas did indeed have some scarily particular elements planned out from the start (including Midi-chlorians), most of what ultimately followed was heavily made up on the fly (most notably the Saga-defining Vader twist). And with that approach many crazy ideas fell by the wayside; the various unmade entries in the Star Wars Saga are staggering in both number and plot.
Episode VII, a movie anticipated since Return Of The Jedi in 1983, finally arrived in the form of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, but that's not the first time a movie with that serial subtitle had almost been made.
Here are eight alternative versions that could have existed, ranging from Lucas' early fevered dreams to the original plans for the franchise after Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012.