This was actually well known at that time. Lucas made it very well known his plan was to make a prequel trilogy in the late 80/early nineties before moving on to the sequel trilogy towards the end of the nineties. But then he got divorced therefore did not have the resources or frankly will to do that and continue building up Lucasfilm while raising a family. George had custody of their adoptive children and wound adopting a third. So he decided to put the prequel trilogy on hiatus so he could focus on Lucasfilm and his family. By 1994 though, Lucasfilm was a very profitable stable company, all of his children were of school age except Jett and the special effects his company were able to do for Jurassic Park convinced him it was time to do the prequels. It was again always part of his plan, just life circumstances caused it to be sidetrack a bit.
And for what it’s worth? According to Lucas biographer David Pollack who read all of the story trees, he said that Lucas sequel trilogy was the most interesting of the bunch. Why Kathleen Kennedy threw them in the garbage and instead went with the half baked mess between what JJ and Rian did is beyond me.
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