I know Lucas’ own revisionism has been discussed ad nauseam here on this site, and it definitely deserves the debate because despite it feeling like most Star Wars fans know Lucas is a little guilty of this, I also believe that Lucas has sort of “won” in some regard to that. It’s hard to explain, but if you were to develop some kind of test that was able to determine how “aware” someone was of Lucas’ revisionism, I believe most fans would score lower than you might think.
And for me, I guess that leads to the question of how it affects the fanbase’s everyday perception of the franchise, overall? I don’t know if this exactly fits, but one think I have noticed is how on a lot of sites it feels like the discussion regarding the prequels has really changed in the past ten years. I am a Prequel kid myself, but I seem to recall a lot of talk about George ruining the franchise, but nowadays you often hear defenses of the Prequels as George’s “vision”, and how it was all planned out by him (fans nowadays seem to have an obsession with the idea “overarching” plans), but if you read The Secret History of Star Wars, it paints a very different picture. Usually George Lucas and his vision become weapons to use against the Sequel Trilogy.
While I am a fan of the new movies, I actually think Disney/Lucasfilm have a closet full of skeletons very similar to George’s. While George is guilty of his own revisionism, we really don’t have the same level of “behind the scenes” looks at the new films like we did under George. It’s that transparency that has partially allowed fans to discover that revisionism in the first place.
But since the Disney acquisition, there have been a lot of questions about what the development process has been like for the new films. What were George’s treatments like that he gave to Kathleen Kennedy? How much was kept/thrown away from those as Episode VII was evolving? To what extent does the new trilogy have an overall plan, and what does that mean exactly?
Some info has been gleamed from interviews, but oftentimes those interviews can appear contradictory. Ironically, one of the best sources of behind the scenes information for the new trilogy that we have gotten so far are from the Art of series of books, since story development has often gone hand-in-hand with the Art Department for Star Wars films. Fortunately, you can find some great posts on sites like Reddit and theforce.net that gather various sources, but even with collected sources, you’ll often see heated debates regarding the sequel trilogy regarding the validity of this information.
I think a major difference is obviously that now that Lucas is gone, you can really look back at his tenure in a historical sense, but the Sequel Trilogy development is still an ongoing thing. Eventually I hope that they will release a book that gives us more information about the making of process. Interestingly enough, J.W. Rinzler was still with Lucasfilm when the acquisition happened up until TFA was released, and was actually documenting it for another eventual book, but it seemed like Lucasfilm wasn’t ready for that, since they halted the development. Rinzler was even going to start a blog on his own called “The Rise and Fall of Star Wars”, but it appeared he may have been asked to not continue that.
On one hand, I sorted of don’t blame Lucasfilm for not wanting to reveal too much of the behind the scenes information before the Sequel Trilogy is complete, to avoid spoiling anything for subsequent films. On the other hand, I will be a little disappointed if we never get anything like that. And even if we did, it kind of makes you wonder how much will be “redacted”, per se. While Rinzler himself seems a little salty about the changing of the guard, we also know we was himself responsible for helping George’s revisionism. Eventually, I would like to see a spiritual sequel to The Secret History of Star Wars that covers the development of the Sequel Trilogy following the Disney acquisition, written by a third party, such as unaffiliated fans.
EDIT: I actually found an interview Star Wars News Net did with Rinzler at the end of January. They ask him a question regarding the TFA book around the 58 min mark. I have that timestamp in this link https://youtu.be/B9p6naiDwzQ?t=3469