Very few franchises can claim to have an extended universe quite as in depth as Star Wars, but the mythos surrounding the creation of the movies is arguably even more expansive.
For every one idea George Lucas came up with, it seems like a thousand others were either discarded, lost in development or left on the cutting room floor. So with the new saga almost here and having looked at the series’ contribution to CGI’s development, join us as we travel to a parallel galaxy far, far away and discuss what is, what was, and what might have been…
1. Obi-Wan Killed Your Father?
What Happens in the Movie: The immortal line, as spoken by James Earl Jones: “I am your father.”
How This Could Have Played Out: “A hugely different plot twist, because the line was originally “Obi-Wan killed your father.” This was actually in the script circulated to everyone working on the movie, and was spoken on set in the cut you see today (albeit later overdubbed with the line we all know.) Really, it wouldn’t have broken any of the plot that came before this moment if Vader had said this. After all, in Vader’s mind, Obi-Wan was (kinda) responsible for the death of Anakin Skywalker, so his line would hold up to internal logic when taken figuratively.
What would have changed is everything after this moment, particularly regarding the effect it would have had on Luke’s endgame. It’s a sliding doors moment, and could have gone one of two ways: with everything he’d been taught by Obi-Wan now burnt to ashes, Luke may well have thrown his one good hand in the air and said “Fine, that tears it. I’ll join you, then.”
Or alternatively, if that wasn’t enough to crush his commitment to the rebellion, he might have doubled-down on his commitment to topple the empire and would have had no reason to try and bring Vader back from the dark side… and the final duel in Return of the Jedi would have played out very differently indeed!
2. Jar Jar Binks: An Evil Motivation
What Happens in the Movie: In The Phantom Menace, the Jedi escape an assassination attempt and end up on Naboo. In the midst of invasion, Qui-Gon saves everyone’s favorite character, Jar Jar Binks, who takes them all to his home city to seek assistance from his people.
What Nearly Happened: In the final cut, the Gungans reluctantly offer help to the outcast Jar Jar and his new friends… but according to early storyboards, the underwater city is totally destroyed on their arrival and Jar Jar believes his race have been wiped out in the carnage. This was deemed too dark for the movie, and the idea was dropped.
How This Could Have Played Out: The slaughter of your entire race does little to improve one’s mood, and this dark twist would surely have had a massive impact on Binks’ usually jovial mental state (not to mention the character’s goals and motivations for the rest of the movie.) It isn’t clear who would have been responsible for the Otoh Gunga city’s destruction, but chances are the hapless Binks would have been hell-bent on revenge at this point… perhaps lending credence to the popular fan theory doing the rounds that he went on to become some kind of Sith Lord?
After all, his whereabouts and ultimate fate have not been accounted for in canon (so far), and there are some notable instances in which he appears to use the Force.
Could it be that Jar Jar is the behind-the-scenes instigator of much of the Star Wars plot, and the only thing left on the cutting room floor was the event giving him his motivation?
3. Brotherly Love
What Happens in the Movies: Darth Vader and Boba Fett are not brothers.
What Nearly Happened: The opposite. According to Dale Pollock’s book Skywalking, George Lucas’ ex-wife stated that the director intended to reveal at some point during the prequel trilogy that the bounty hunter and Sith Lord were, in fact, biological brothers.
How This Could Have Played Out: Anyone’s guess, really, but a bigger mystery is how Lucas could have possibly tied together both Anakin and Boba’s origin stories to make the concept plausible in the first place. If that was somehow achieved, the idea could have resulted in some spectacular scenes and interactions between the two… but it’s probably for the best that Lucas decided yet another family reveal shocker was “too hokey.”
4. A Female Darth Maul
What Happened in the Movie: Darth Maul was male.
What Nearly Happened: Darth Maul was originally conceived as being a female character, but this got switched at some point during development.
How This Could Have Played Out: Not much differently than it did in The Phantom Menace we all know and love today, though it would have been very cool to see Maul’s twirling antics being carried out by a female athlete. Regardless, it certainly would have brought balance to the Force of a different kind, with very few female Sith Lords (or Jedis for that matter) in the Star Wars universe, and none in the original six movies.
5. Padme’s Ultimate Betrayal
What Happens in the Movie: After watching Anakin’s decent towards the dark side over the course of the original trilogy, we finally come to the final act that pushes him over the edge near the end of Revenge of the Sith.
The crazed Skywalker believes—wrongly—that Padme has deceptively lead Obi-Wan directly to him, and the betrayal sends him into berserker mode. In reality, Padme had no idea Obi-Wan was hidden aboard her ship and was even against the idea of the two confronting one another.
What Nearly Happened: The betrayal on Padme’s part was almost a more dramatic and very conscious act—once again, early storyboards hint of an alternate idea in which Padme was intended to pull a concealed knife on Anakin during their final meeting with the plan of assassinating him for his crimes.
How This Could Have Played Out: If a perceived slight from his lover was enough to have Anakin dive headlong past the point of no return, imagine how much worse it could have been if that betrayal was murderous?
The interim results may have ended up the same—Padme killed, Obi-Wan and Anakin fighting, the latter becoming Vader—but the difference being that he may have been pushed so far to the dark side that he never found it in him to save Luke in the final Return of the Jedi standoff.
In short, one knife could have resulted in a dark end for the original trilogy (and with Vader not preventing Luke Skywalker’s death, assumedly a big knock-on effect to the new trilogy too.)
Got a differing opinion of how any of these scrapped scenarios would have played out? Any alternate and tantalizing theories of what could be going behind the scenes of the first six movies?
Scroll on downwards to the comments!