How do you review the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy and bring something new to the table? I thought instead of trying to add what my opinion of the films is; I would take a look at what could have been. The moments we all know vaguely of, but that were deleted from scripts before filming began. Here’s the next entry in my ‘Star Wars Recall’ series. Get ready for alternate ‘Star Wars.’
A New Hope
‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,’ or ‘Star Wars’ as it was initially known, has probably the most interesting alternate history. From an entirely different cut of the movie to entire sequences removed from the final film, there supposedly exists a treasure trove of material from this movie we have yet to see. ‘Star Wars Insider’ #41 talks of the rough cut of the film, which not meant for audiences. We can see part of what this cut may have looked like in the deleted scenes included on the Blu-ray release of the film. ‘The Search For R2’ deleted scene shows the live-projected backgrounds, versus the blue screen effects we’d get in the final film.
Luke would have benefitted most from the cut scenes. The Tosche Station sequence would have fleshed out more of the reason Luke feels so abandoned on Tatooine. The earlier introduction of Biggs also helps to shine a light on Luke’s path. That is the most significant change to the movie from the final version we’d see. The drafts of the script feature wild changes, though. Imagine Obi-Wan surviving, or Han Solo as a green-skinned creature with tentacles. Sometimes it’s best not to dwell.
The Empire Strikes Back
Imagine Darth Vader not being Luke’s father? How about Yoda getting named Minch instead. All of these things would have been possible had Leigh Bracket survived. Sadly, Bracket passed away in 1978 but not before handing in a first draft of the script for ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ Many of the familiar elements are there, albeit in a somewhat different format. In her version or at least the first draft, we’d spend a lot longer on what eventually became Hoth. The rebels would ultimately flee the planet because of the Wampa and not because of the Imperial invasion.
The rather unfortunate love triangle between Han, Luke, and Leia would also get a lot more screen time. Luke would also get a twin sister, as revealed to him by the force ghost of his father, Anakin. That’s right; the film’s most significant scene would not exist in this version. Luke’s sister would remain an unseen character, though. Cloud City still exists as well, with Lando now a clone who feels lonely in a world of unique people.
Return of the Jedi
‘Return of the Jedi’ isn’t immune to an alternate universe version of itself either. The most significant potential change to the movie? The death of Han Solo! Harrison Ford himself campaigned that it would give more emotional impact if Han died in the third act. You might argue we eventually got a much more impactful exit in ‘The Force Awakens’, but imagine your shock seeing this death in ‘RotJ.’ The Ewoks wouldn’t take down the Empire either. That job in the original script belonged to the Wookies. Finally, a change I’d like to see!
From the sounds of things, we ended up with the best versions of the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy. It’s fun to speculate about what might have been, but you always run the chance that you’d end up with a forgotten movie that no one saw. Perhaps with the advent of Disney+, maybe some of the material that was filmed but not yet released will see the light of day. Until then, all we can do is dream about the scenes we’ve never seen.
A quick thanks to my sources for this article: