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- Lucas originally wanted to make a movie of Flash Gordon, but wasn't able to secure the rights from producer Dino De Laurentiis who would later make the Flash Gordon movie after Star Wars took off. In retrospect, Lucas was rather fortunate he didn't get the rights, considering he would have had to deal with the problem of having a porn parody, Flesh Gordon, coming out before his film would have been released. As it was, that was on Dino De Laurentiis to deal with.
- Lucas then turned to the films of Akira Kurosawa for inspiration, and wrote a script that was pretty much a remake of The Hidden Fortress IN SPACE! He considered buying the rights to that, but decided to develop his own story further.
- The earliest story idea for the film wasn't even titled Star Wars. It was initially an idea called The Journal of the Whills, which (the journal itself) also serves as a storytelling device. (It found its way to the Legends universe, and was made canon in the novelization of the film and The Force Awakens. Additionally, a concept called 'The Guardians of the Whills' was mentioned in Rogue One.)
- The basic story of the original trilogy was intended as a single movie, beginning with The Hero's Journey to become a Jedi and ending with the defeat of the Empire with the destruction of the Death Star. Realizing how immense that project would be, Lucas opted to not tell the defeat of the Empire in a single movie but keep the destruction of the Death Star (which is why the Death Star II came into play as well as another forest planet being involved). Lucas also coalesced the backstory notes into what became the foundation for the prequel trilogy, deciding that an entire trilogy happened before the original films. In each trilogy, the story grew far beyond the original intention. Much of this is covered in Michael Kaminski's The Secret History of Star Wars, which painstakingly goes over documentation from the very earliest days of the project to show how Lucas developed and transformed his original vision, especially the idea that Luke's father and Darth Vader were two different people.
- In 1976, at the point in which Lucas planned the entire story, the saga was going to be composed of twelve films divided into four trilogies, of which the original film would be Episode IV. Two of them would have Luke learning further about the Force, one would have been a prequel series portraying the past of Vader and Obi-Wan, and the fourth, according to Mark Hamill, would feature a younger generation whom Luke had passed the torch to. In 1980, after the release of Empire Strikes Back, Lucas decided to reduce the saga to "only" three trilogies, closing it with the death of the Emperor at Episode IX (though the New Republic itself might start being rebuilt earlier, in Episode VII) and planning to make possibly a couple standalone films if he had the chance. During the production of Return of the Jedi, however, he decided to end the franchise right there, so he killed the Emperor in the same film and closed all the subplots. It was in 1990 when technical advances in CGI (mainly represented by Jurassic Park) motivated him to continue the saga, choosing to make next his planned prequel trilogy.
- Back when the films would be nine, Lucas originally wanted to serve as a mere supervisor while each new installment was helmed by a different director, who would be able to put their own style and ideas into the franchise. However, when Lucas realized how little control this approach would allow him during the filming of The Empire Strikes Back (and probably due to a particularly disastrous incident of "leaving it in someone else's hands"), he decided to take a more direct control of the franchise. This ultimately played a big role in shrinking down the saga, as he realized the effort to harness so many films would be too massive and stressful for him.
- According to Lucas, at some point the whole series was supposed to have a Framing Story with R2-D2, the last surviving member of the main cast, telling an advanced future race, the Whills, about the fall of the Republic and the rise and defeat of the Empire.
- Palpatine was originally conceived as an Anti-Climax Boss, a power-hungry dullard manipulated into the Galaxy's top spot by Vader and Tarkin, who ran things behind his back. Notably, this detail was changed so late in the universe concept that it made it into the novelization of A New Hope.
- Initially Luke and Leia were going to be the Official Couple of the series, with Han as the Romantic False Lead, and Luke's sister was going to be a totally different character named Nellith. Due to Lucas's burnout by the time of Return of the Jedi, he killed two birds by just making Leia the other Skywalker.
- Lucas considered for Vader and Boba Fett to be brothers.
- George Lucas offered the merchandising rights to Mattel, but the company president passed since he didn't believe that movies were an effective medium for selling toys. He would later come to immensely regret this decision when Star Wars became a Cash Cow Franchise overnight.
- After getting turned down by United Artists and Universal, George Lucas pitched the film to Disney which also turned him down. Yes, the same studio which would end up buying the Star Wars franchise...
- Lucas considered having Frank Darabont (known for films such as The Shawshank Redemption) write the prequels while kicking around ideas in the early 90's.
- Surprising as it might be for some, Ron Howard revealed that Lucas actually did not want to direct the prequel trilogy. He approached Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg and then Howard himself, but all of them declined because helming the uber-hyped Star Wars prequels was too daunting of a task, and eventually Ron convinced Lucas he had to do it himself. Howard would later go on to direct Solo, though.
- There were plans to re-release all six movies in 3D. However, they only got as far as The Phantom Menace in 2012. Months later, the Disney buyout occurred, and the plans for re-releasing the remaining movies were scrapped in favor of the Sequel Trilogy.
- Both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were fully converted to 3D as well prior to the Disney purchase and were eventually shown at various Star Wars conventions from 2013-2015.
- Ron Moore was going to serve as the head writer and had this happened, he would've have had the honour to have worked on three of the four major sci-fi franchises with the word "star", as he had wrote multiple episodes of and served as story editor for Star Trek series The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine as well as writing two episodes of Voyager and serving as the showrunner for the 2003 Continuity Reboot of Battlestar Galactica.
- It was planned to be a 100 episode series, though with an option of ultimately being a 400 episode series.
- Karen Traviss was going to write a novel about Boba, but she cancelled it in fears that it would conflict with Underworld, as she had previously found the same problem when writing Imperial Commando: 501st, which conflicted with The Clone Wars (and is also the reason why she didn't write the sequel to Imperial Commando: 501st. Ultimately, 501st was her last book in the Star Wars franchise).
- A. C. Crispin (The Han Solo Trilogy) proposed a book series about Leia's backstory, but Lucasfilm also turned that down in case it conflicted with Underworld.
- 1313 was originally meant to tie-in with Underworld, but after Underworld was postponed in 2010, 1313 was altered to be more standalone.
- Josh Trank was in line to helm a Boba Fett movie for the Star Wars Anthology series, of which it was going to be the second installment. After word got out about his incredibly erratic and unprofessional behavior on the set of Fantastic Four (2015), the offer was rescinded, and Solo was moved forward to become the second Anthology film while the Boba Fett movie was pushed back. While it was later announced that James Mangold would direct the Boba Fett movie instead, it was ultimately scrapped in favour of The Mandalorian and said project was ultimately evolved into The Book of Boba Fett.
- On February 6, 2018, Disney announced that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners of Game of Thrones, would write and produce a new Star Wars trilogy, with their first movie set to release in 2022, and would have been focused on the origin of the Jedi Order. This changed in October 2019, when it was announced that the duo stepped away from their Star Wars films, stating that their contract with Netflix making it so that they could not effectively work on the films. However, Kathleen Kennedy acknowledged that the studio would be open to the pair returning to work on their trilogy when their schedule allows.
The Original Trilogy
A New Hope
- William Katt was the runner-up for the role of Luke Skywalker before Mark Hamill was cast.
- Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, and Christopher Walken were the final contenders for the role of Han Solo before the casting of Harrison Ford.
- Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, James Caan, Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds, and Al Pacino were also approached for the part of Han Solo. When asked why he turned it down, Pacino responded with this.
I remember not understanding the script. I was in The Godfather
and they didnt care if I was right or wrong for the role or if I could act or not act.
- Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Robert Englund, James Woods, and Billy Dee Williams were considered for Han Solo as well before the casting of Ford. Williams would eventually go on to portray Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back.
- Jodie Foster was the original candidate for the role of Princess Leia before Carrie Fisher was cast. However, Foster turned down the offer due to scheduling commitments to Taxi Driver. Sissy Spacek auditioned, while Fisher auditioned for Carrie (1976), as Lucas and Brian De Palma were holding joint auditions and they got each other's roles (Fisher denied the rumour that she chose Star Wars because she refused to do nudity).
- Karen Allen, Nancy Allen, Christine Baranski, Kim Basinger, Linda Blair, Glenn Close, Geena Davis, Farrah Fawcett, Melanie Griffith, Catherine Hicks, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving, Margot Kidder, Christine Lahti, Jessica Lange, Bernadette Peters, Jane Seymour, Cybill Shepherd, Meryl Streep, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Dianne Wiest and Debra Winger also auditioned for the part of Princess Leia before the casting of Fisher.
- Mel Blanc and Stan Freberg were considered for the role of C-3PO before the casting of Anthony Daniels.
- The role of Obi-Wan Kenobi was originally written with Toshiro Mifune in mind. Depending on who you talk to, either 20th Century Fox wasn't keen on giving Mifune another whirl (although Mifune could speak English, all productions where he was speaking English ended up dubbing over his voice due to his thick Japanese accent) or Mifune wasn't available. Either way, the role went instead to Alec Guinness.
- Mifune was also up for the role of Darth Vader at one point. At Tokyo Comic Con, his daughter Mika clarified that her father didn't want to do the film because he felt it was disrespectful to Japan's samurai culture, as this was back when many people still considered sci-fi to be a low-budget and juvenile B-grade genre. She went on to say that were he still alive today, he likely would have jumped at the chance to appear in a Star Wars movie.
- A New Hope was originally going to be released around Christmas 1976 (much like how The Force Awakens was released in December of 2015), but was pushed to May of 1977.
- The general story of what we now know and love as A New Hope, and by extension the entire Star Wars, varied heavily from draft to draft.
- The very first treatment written in 1973, The Journal of the Whills, Part 1, centered around a "Jedi-bendu" by the name of Mace Windy (who would become the character of Mace Windu in The Phantom Menace) and his apprentice, C. 2. "Chuiee" Thorpe. Lucas brought the thing to his agent, Jeff Berg, who was quickly confused by the massive amounts of jargon used in the treatment, and recommended he start simpler.
- The next version of the story was already called (The) Star Wars, and was heavily inspired by Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. The protagonists were a princess and her protector, veteran General Luke Skywalker, who were chased by the evil Empire. On their way, they were joined by two bureaucrats and later a cadre of juvenile rebels who had revolted against the empire.
- Lucas tweaked the story in the process of creating a rough draft in 1974, and then a first draft with some naming changes. The story featured Jedi master knight Kane Starkiller and his son Annikin, who helped free planets to oppose the evil Empire and its ruler Cos Dashit (da shit, huh?). As Kane was a cyborg (with only his head and right arm remaining organic) and therefore couldn't adequately teach his son the ways of the Jedi, he arranged for Annikin to train under the tutelage of his old friend Luke Skywalker, while Kane himself joined a hulking reptilian alien named Han Solo to perform a mission. The plot then had Annikin rescuing Princess Leia and joining a tribe of Wookiees (originally envisioned as smaller, with heads like that of "giant bushbabies", and not technologically capable), captained by Chewbacca, in order to defeat the Imperial forces in their jungle homeworld of Yavin. Characters like Vader, Artoo and Threepio were already there, at least nominally.
- The second draft from 1975, Adventures of the Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars, had almost all the recognizable elements from the final product. In its backstory, the Galactic Empire had been built over a Republic toppled by trader barons, while the Jedi-bendu, who protected the galaxy with their knowledge of the Force of Others, had been exterminated by a mercenary Force sect named the Black Knights of the Sith. The protagonist was now Luke Starkiller himself, who had been taught the Jedi arts along with his three brothers by their uncle Owen Lars (husband to Beru and father to Leia) and therefore received the title of "The Skywalker". In order to save his brother Deak and the planet Ogana Major, Luke joined young space pirate Han Solo (who had stolen a ship by rigging it so it appeared to be about to explode and letting the rest of the crew evacuate themselves) and his crew, the Wookie Chewbacca (who was technologically capable) and the cyborg Montross Holdaack. After finding Ogana had been blown up by an Imperial unnamed space station, they were captured and taken to a prison complex in a floating city, but escaped and eventually reached the Rebel base in Yavin 4, from where they destroyed the station in a way similar to the Death Star. A Sequel Hook where Luke completed his training with his father, the ancient Jedi leader of the Rebellion, was also included.
- The next drafts increasingly resembled the final A New Hope, but contained some differences in naming and character traits, with one of them being Ben Kenobi revealed as a cyborg and a bit of a cumurdgeon.
- Around the time of the second draft, Lucas was concerned that there weren't any major female characters, as Leia Lars was very minor, so he considered changing Luke to a girl (presumably fusing him with Leia) and making Han her love interest. Also, the Kyber Crystal a crystal which amplifies the power of the Force in its bearer was a major part of the plot in those draft scripts, to the point that in the third, while the others are rescuing Leia, Ben Kenobi goes to take back a Kyber Crystal which had been stolen by Vader when he betrayed the Jedi. In the final version this was replaced by him deactivating a tractor beam holding the ship.
- Even with the general script finished, there were aspects of the script that were tweaked during production.
- In the script used in the audition for Luke, Alderaan was called Organa IV, Han seems a lot more knowledgeable about the Empire, Kenobi is not present as Luke and Han react to Alderaan's apparent disappearance, and Luke admits that he does not have the money to pay Han.
- Darth Vader was originally a rather minor character, and early drafts actually have him spending most of the movie without his iconic suit, as the latter was actually not a permanent life-support system, but a spacesuit that he needed to board the Tantive IV through space. He was even going to be killed off during the trench run at the end, but Lucas decided to add a shot of him escaping as a Sequel Hook, and the rest is history.
- The Emperor's original concept was a Puppet King who got into his position thanks to Vader and Tarkin. This characterization was de-emphasized from the film's script, but the novelization retained it. It was in the later films that he was changed to a Dark Side mastermind.
- In a later draft, Han and Chewbacca do not actually have a ship when they agree to fly Ben and Luke to Alderaan. They steal the Falcon just before the passengers arrive. Han's lines bragging about how great his ship is were actually meant to reflect that he was obviously scamming them.
- Jabba was originally conceived of as a Small Name, Big Ego gangster, who's nonetheless powerful enough to make Han's life difficult unless he's paid off. It's clear from the deleted scene with the human version of Jabba that Lucas still had this interpretation of Jabba in mind as late as when the movie was being shot. There were also plans to make Jabba a big furry alien, voiced by Declan Mulholland.
- The scene where Luke and Han rescue Leia was originally going to end with Luke punching Leia in the face in order to knock her out.
- Obi-Wan was originally going to survive the duel with Vader, but George Lucas changed this to a more thematically interesting Heroic Sacrifice when he considered that the character would have had little to do for the remainder of the movie. His death also fulfilled the need to give the villains more menace, as Lucas was worried that the Empire seemed very weak and was left with egg on its face as the heroes outwitted and escaped them; previous drafts did include some scenes of extreme violence and the (potential) rape of Leia by the Empire's men, but Lucas took this out because he did not want the film to do as bad as his then-rated PG (now R) THX 1138. Putting Obi-Wan's death in gave Vader and the Death Star more status and power, bringing the stakes back up.
- The Battle of Yavin was originally going to be much less exciting the final battle had Luke taking two full runs at the exhaust port, no appearance of ghost!Obi-Wan, and Han scaring Vader away from Luke much before Luke takes the shot.
- The artistic aspect was also heavily subject to changes.
- R2-D2 and C-3PO had different character designs in the beginning: the former was meant to be tripedal, and the latter bore an androgynous appearance similar to Hel from Metropolis. Artoo's design was changed after tripedal locomotion proved to be too difficult to accomplish on sand. Lucas also decided to make Threepio more distinctly male in the end.
- In early versions of the script, R2-D2 could speak standard English, and he had a rather foul vocabulary. Although all of R2's English speech was removed, many of C-3PO's reactions to it were left in.
- Chewbacca originally had a bat-like face◊. This design was reused for the Lasat species, whose most notable appearance was in Star Wars Rebels.
- According to Ben Burtt, Darth Vader's life support systems were supposed to make constant beeping and clicking sounds which, in addition to his loud, mechanical breathing, would make Vader sound like "a walking emergency room". This was deemed too irritating and the noises were cut down to just the iconic Vader Breath.
- Lucas originally envisioned Tatooine as a jungle planet. Gary Kurtz traveled to the Philippines to scout locations; however, because the idea of spending months filming in the jungle made Lucas "itchy", the director refined his vision and made Tatooine a desert planet instead.
- Luke was going to be surnamed "Starkiller" until fairly late in the process, when it was realised that the name uncomfortably reminded people of Charles Manson. The name "Luke Skywalker" was then brought back from the first draft script. However, the name Starkiller got far enough into production that, according to Mark Hamill, they had to reshoot Luke and Leia's first meeting in the detention level. (The name was eventually repurposed as the codename of Vader's secret apprentice in The Force Unleashed and then later as the name of the base housing the First Order's planet-sized superweapon in The Force Awakens.)
- The "Lost Cut" the first rough cut of the film, which has never been seen publicly and has been detailed in various articles over the years was apparently intended to be "American Graffiti In Space". It featured many extra scenes, including extra footage of the Jawas and the Sandcrawler, a midget alien confronting a creature much larger than itself (seen in a Between My Legs shot) at the Mos Eisley spaceport, and more.
- The incident in the cantina was originally filmed as much more gruesome, with Ponda Baba/Walrusman not only having his arm severed by Obi-Wans lightsaber but also getting beheaded. Unused footage exists of the severed head moving around on the floor of the cantina.
- Luke and Leia's kiss almost got axed because test audiences laughed at it. Lucas' wife Marcia convinced him that they were laughing because it was so sweet and unexpected.
- In the original filmed version, the Death Star was also not actually attacking Yavin IV. The idea of having the Death Star preparing to blow up the Rebel base was added in editing by Marcia Lucas through insert shots and recycled footage to give the scene more tension, which is why nobody on the base has dialogue in the control room.
- Darth Vader originally had no powers, and the Force was a general sixth sense and some basic mental tricks, as opposed to the final product, where it's far more powerful.
- According to Mark, Lucas "really wanted" the classic cartoon short Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century to be shown before A New Hope during the original theatrical release, as a signal to the audience that what would follow wasn't supposed to be taken seriously. Unfortunately for Lucas, he was unable to secure the rights.
The Empire Strikes Back
- George Lucas initially did not want to make a sequel, as the production of the previous had been a "four-year horrific seat-of-the-pants experience" that he refused to repeat. Moreover, the unexpected success of Star Wars was starting to burn Lucas out, and sequels weren't generally well regarded at the time anyways, so Lucas had enough reasons to write it off. However, he eventually accepted because the story of the first film would be left unfinished without any sequels. Lucas still refused to direct it, though, because he would be too busy handling the financing and rebuilding his company Industrial Light & Magic after most of its original crew had left to work in Battlestar Galactica.
- Back at the time of the first film, Alan Dean Foster, the ghostwriter of novelization, had been commissioned to write a sequel that could be adapted as a low-budget film if Star Wars was a box-office failure. The result was Splinter of the Mind's Eye, considered the first piece of the SW Expanded Universe. The plans to adapt it, however, were ignored with the huge success of the first film.
- Mark Hamill suffered a motorcycle crash in January 1977 that left him facial scars, and Lucas considered making them a Written-In Infirmity. Also, had Hamill had died in the accident, Lucas would have replaced Luke with an entirely new protagonist.
- Yaphet Kotto was offered the role of Lando Calrissian, but turned it down because he believed he would be killed off and it would be difficult for him to find work after that.
- Sci-fi author Leigh Brackett was brought in as a writer, as Lucas now lacked time and will to write the entire film himself like he did with A New Hope. Brackett and Lucas came up together with several ideas for the plot, including elements that were left in the final product: Luke's new master being a crazy old alien, Obi-Wan returning as a ghost, the Emperor being the true villain, and a battle taking place in an arctic world. Unfortunately, Brackett died of cancer shortly after, so Lucas found himself doing heavy writing again. By director Kirchner's input, he eventually brought in Lawrence Kasdan, who helped to make the film Darker and Edgier.
- In Brackett's first full draft of the story, Vader was explicitly not Luke's father, and Anakin appeared to Luke on Dagobah as a Force ghost, alongside Obi-Wan. Lucas disliked this aspect, as he had already thought a long time ago that Vader and Anakin were one and the same, but Brackett died before Lucas could discuss it with her. Therefore, he then wrote his idea into the story and created all of his background with Kenobi, the Emperor and Mustafar to explain it. It was also around this time that he decided Empire Strikes Back would be the Episode V of two trilogies, the second being a prequel saga meant to show their backstory.
- Brackett also introduced the idea of Luke had a twin sister, only that in her version she was not Leia, but an unseen character named Nellith who was intended as a Sequel Hook for later episodes. This was what Lucas had in mind when he inserted the "there is another" line, as he had conceived multiple sequels and would have a lot of room to exploit those ideas. However, after Brackett died and filming on Empire became a chaotic struggle, he decided to wrap up the saga with only one more film. This led him to make the "other" into somebody we already knew.
- Early story meetings had the wampa as a fish-like monster that could "swim" through snow, in contrast to the Yeti-like creature seen in the finished film. Also, earliest drafts had the wampas arranging a coordinated attack on Echo Base before the Empire even arrived, and a scene of a wampa bursting through one of the base's walls was filmed before being scrapped. There was also an additional sequence where Threepio would have torn a warning sign off of the room where the captured wampas were being held, leading to an unfortunate snowtrooper getting grabbed and mauled during the Imperial invasion.
- Vader would be shown to live on a planet covered with erupting volcanoes, which later inspired Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith, and ultimately be fully entered into canon in Rogue One.
- Initially, Yoda was going to be named Minch Yoda and have a duel with Obi-Wan's ghost. He also received several character designs◊ before the production team settled for his final form, with body sizes that went from diminutive to enormous. Even after his design was established, the original color they chose for his skin was blue, not green, which was retained in the novelization.
- Lucas originally wanted Jim Henson to give Yoda life (the film was being made at the Elstree Studios complex in England, as was The Muppet Show). Henson suggested his long time partner Frank Oz, as he was busy with The Great Muppet Caper at the time and couldn't commit to a major role in another film. Ironically, Lucas initially felt his puppets weren't realistic enough, so they considered having a trained monkey play Yoda; this was only abandoned because the chosen monkey resisted to wear his mask.
- One of the first ideas for Lando was Lando Kadar, a legendary veteran of the Clone Wars turned into smuggler whom even Vader of all people feared. The character then became a clone who survived the Clone Wars and ruled legions of clones on a planet they settled on, and from there he became simply a descendant of survivors of the Clone Wars, born into a family named Ashandi who reproduced solely by cloning. It was later that he was given the surname Calrissian and his final role.
- One early draft had Luke take the "Jedi Oath" before leaving Dagobah. Said oath was a lot closer to a knightly vow than the more mystical Jedi Code that would later appear:
"I, Luke Skywalker, do swear on my honor, and on the faith of the brotherhood of knights, to use the Force only for good, denying, turning always from the Dark Side; to dedicate my life to the cause of freedom, and justice. If I should fail of this vow, my life shall be forfeit, here and hereafter."
- According to Rinzler's book on the making of Empire, one sequence that was written had a scene in the finale where Luke encounters stormtroopers and massacres them all with his lightsaber. The scene was intended to build tension with the audience about Luke potentially going to the Dark Side, while also suggesting that he could potentially beat Vader in a duel, making his defeat that much more shocking. It was removed because Lucas felt that the violence would be out-of-character for Luke, especially the cold-blooded and methodical manner the scene was done. He would repurpose the concept for Attack of the Clones when Anakin massacres the Tusken Raiders.
- An earlier draft had Luke's reason for not leaving with Lando and Chewie at the end being that his Jedi training was more important. Believing that this would make Luke seem less sympathetic, Irvin Kershner had it changed to where Luke was still recovering from his injuries and that rescuing Han would be his first priority once he was fully recovered.
- Boba Fett originally wore white armor and a poncho.
Return of the Jedi
- George Lucas wanted Steven Spielberg to direct, and Spielberg was more than happy to. The problem was that Lucas had resigned from the Director's Guild of America over fines imposed by the union for his violating crediting rules on The Empire Strikes Back (i.e. not crediting Irwin Kershner in the opening at all but still crediting himself via the Lucasfilm logo). According to DGA rules, Lucas was now running an officially non-union shop, and no DGA director, such as Spielberg, would be permitted to join such a production without penalty. (The same situation caused Gary Oldman to turn down the role of General Grievous for Revenge of the Sith.)
- David Lynch turned down an offer to direct, feeling that his and Lucas' styles and visions would end up clashing. But he did eventually get to bring another science fiction epic to the screen, one which ironically helped to inspire Star Wars.
- Spielberg at one point considered suggesting to Lucas to have the then-up and coming Paul Verhoeven direct the film, but quickly decided against it after seeing the explicit content in Spetters. "I suppose he was scared," Verhoeven would later comment, "that the Jedi would immediately start fucking." He would later go on to make it big in the sci-fi industry, though certainly not in the most family-friendly ways.
- David Cronenberg was asked to direct, but he turned it down in favour of The Dead Zone and Videodrome.
- Terry Gilliam was another candidate to direct, as he wasn't in the Guild and was in England.
- John Gielgud, Ben Kingsley and Laurence Olivier were considered for the Emperor.
- A young Alan Rickman auditioned for Moff Jerjerrod.
- The original title of the film was Return of the Jedi, but Lawrence Kasdan opined it was a weak title, so Lucas changed it Revenge of the Jedi. After consulting with his producers, however, Lucas realized that Jedi were above the concept of revenge, so he went back to his first option. Still, this lasted long enough for some posters to be made with the title, which are now one of the franchises most prized collectors items.
- Prior to the making of the film, Mark Hamill speculated that it would have involved Luke turning to the dark side, with the main conflict being generated by whether or not he'll be turned back. A similar plot thread eventually re-emerged in the Dark Empire serial.
- Because Harrison Ford initially only signed on to two Star Wars movies, his character Han was carbon-frozen at the end of Empire and was going to be killed off at the beginning of Return of the Jedi. However, before production, executive Howard Kazanjian told George Lucas that he could convince Ford to come back. He made a deal with Ford's agent good enough to get Harrison to do the final movie so Han was written back into the story.
- Even after agreeing to be in the film, Harrison Ford wanted Han to make a Heroic Sacrifice to give the film "a little extra weight". Kasdan concurred, planning to make it happen during a raid on an Imperial base near the beginning of the third act, but Lucas vetoed it because he wanted the story to end on a much happier note (and because toy sales would have suffered with a dead Han).
- In Lucas' initial plans for the franchise, the Emperor wasn't supposed to appear in person until Episode IX (another version, possibly a posterior version of the script, called for the Emperor appearing yet surviving at the end). In line with those plans, Leia would become the "queen" of her people and Luke Skywalker would walk off alone into the Tatooine desert "like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns" (as remarked by Gary Kurtz) to spend a time in seclusion, ultimately creating a more bittersweet ending. It would've lead to another three movies that would have been about Luke becoming a Jedi Master, discovering his sister (who wouldn't have been Leia, as their brief kiss in the previous film shows) and finally defeating the Emperor and the Empire along with him in IX. However, after filming Empire, Lucas decided he didn't want to make six more films to finish the story (he wanted to be able to see his family and friends once in a while) and changed Episode VI to a much more simplistic retelling of A New Hope to end things once and for all.
- The script described a little more detail about Luke and Leia's mother: she was disguised as Leia's adoptive parents' handmaid and died when Leia is about 4. This was partially canon until Episode III; it was then retconned that the handmaid was actually Sabé, Padme's handmaid/decoy from The Phantom Menace played by Keira Knightley. Amusingly, Mark Hamill said in 2018 that he had an idea of revealing that Boba Fett was Luke's mother, making it a case of Samus Is a Girl, but Lucas didn't like it.
- Originally, Dagobah and Yoda were not meant to appear again, but Marquand talked Lucas into writing them in to properly confirm to Luke as to whether Vader was his father or not. Still, Lucas only became convinced to do so after a discussion with a children's psychologist, who told him young moviegoers might come to believe Vader had lied.
- The original plan for "native allies on Endor" was not Ewoks, but instead a band of escaped Wookiee slaves. However, Lucas wanted the battle to be fought "old school" with bows and arrows, and Wookiees had been already established to understand advanced technology.note He then decided to "Cut them in half and call them Ewoks."
- The Ewoks were to be accompanied by the Yuzzums. Both species went through different designs, more resembling creatures from folklore such as trolls. Some versions were gangly with elongated legs and arms; some had an elongated nose, a beak, or a pig-like snout; some designs lacked fur; and some had a more pug-like face and would not be mistaken for a teddy bear.
- Originally Moff Jerjerrod, the sort-of whiny overseer of the Death Star's construction, was written as Grand Moff Jerjerrod. He was Palpatine's personal representative, and schemed with him to turn Luke and betray Vader. When Vader finds out, he breaks Jerjerrod's neck. From this important role he was reduced to just another Imperial flunkey with a minor connection to the Emperor. The final script nonetheless included scenes of Jerjerrod being ordered to destroy Endor by the Emperor should the shield fall, but hesitating to actually go through with it, allowing Lando time to destroy the station's main reactor; said scenes were filmed, but ultimately cut.
- Instead of the Endor moon Imperial base, the final battle of the film would have been the Imperial capital, an overly polluted planet named Had Abbadon, which orbited by two Death Stars (later reduced to only one) and a paradise-like green moon named Jus-Endor. The Emperor would consult with Vader and Jerjerrod in the throne room in Had Abbadon, surrounded by a lava pit. Also, General Maximilian Veers from Empire Strikes Back would have reappeared to command the Had Abbadon garrison and personally lead the battle on the moon.
- In the final battle, Ben Kenobi and Yoda would appear alive and physical to taunt the Emperor, with Ben being struck by the Emperor's lightning instead of Vader. Despite claiming that they came back to help Luke fight Vader and the Emperor, they would just stand and watch as Luke and Vader duelled, commenting on the battle. Yoda would prevent Vader from becoming one with the Force, allowing "Annikin" to appear and describe his fall to the Dark Side, and Vader and the Emperor would fall into the lava pit. Obi-Wan would explain how they escaped being pulled into the Force in order to not lose their identity, how he blamed himself for everything that happened, and that Owen was his brother.
- Another proposed ending would have had Luke putting on Vader's helmet, vowing to destroy the Rebel fleet and rule the galaxy, then aiming the Death Star at Had Abbadon and destroying it.
- After the final story was redacted, the Millennium Falcon was originally going to be blown up along with the Death Star II, which is briefly alluded to in the finished film, with Han having a funny feeling he'll never see the Falcon again before leaving for Endor. According to a rumor, Lando was considered to die with the ship, but Lucasfilm has denied it.
- Luke's second lightsaber was originally planned to be blue, just like his first one, and it's even depicted as blue in some Jedi promotional material (such as this poster◊ as well as the theatrical trailer). It was changed to green late in production in order to make it better stand out against the blue sky during the barge fight sequence on Tatooine.
- There are several women among the Rebel pilots seen during the briefing aboard Home One (one can be seen just behind Lando's shoulder in his conversation with Han), who never actually appear in the actual battle sequence, though at least three were known to have filmed cockpit scenes for the battle. One of these actresses did survive into the final cut film: one of the A-wing pilots is actually a woman redubbed by a male actor. The most significant cut was French model and actress Vivienne Chandler, who played an unnamed female X-wing pilot (later named Dorovio Bold). What made her cut surprising was that it appeared she would have played a significant role in the battle, as she recorded over a full page of dialogue. Footage of her in the cockpit of her X-wing recently resurfaced, indicating she was among the pilots to assault the Death Star itself, and her dialogue (in which she makes a distress call about a fatally-damaged stabilizer) suggests she would have been killed after crashing much like Red Leader had in the original film. It's unclear exactly why the women were cut, but it's been speculated there were concerns that audiences would be made uncomfortable by the thought of women being killed during a battle sequence.
- The visually-distinct B-wing fighters apparently had a substantial amount of footage filmed for use in the final battle. However, it was realized that the fighter's thin profile meant that it was incredibly difficult to pick up on screen, so all shots of the B-wings in action was cut after the Rebels break off when they realize the shield is still up.
- ILM's effects technicians devised a way to show the Death Star II's outer hull disintegrating before the station exploded, but ran out of time to actually implement the effect. It would instead be used in the destruction of the USS Enterprise in the following year's Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
- Oola's actress said there was originally a longer scene of her escaping the rancor with some intended Foreshadowing but it was never filmed due to time and budgeting.
- Due to negative fan reaction to Boba Fett's anticlimactic death, Lucas contemplated adding a scene to the 1997 Special Edition where Boba escapes the Sarlacc Pit alive. He ultimately decided not to, as he believed that doing so would give viewers false hope that Boba would show up later in the film. Boba did survive the Sarlacc Pit in Legends, and the same is true in the new canon, with Boba reappearing in The Mandalorian.
- The actress for a background character named Jess stated that she would have taken part in Oola's dance sequence; but due to the problems mentioned above, this was instead relegated to a scene in a fanfilm by Warwick Davis.
The Prequel Trilogy
The Phantom Menace
- Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Kyle MacLachlan, Kurt Russell, and Vin Diesel were considered for the role of Qui-Gon Jinn before the casting of Liam Neeson.
- Hugh Jackman, Joseph Fiennes, Kenneth Branagh, and Tim Roth were considered for the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi before Ewan McGregor was cast.
- Michael Angarano, Haley Joel Osment, Cameron Finley, and Justin Berfield auditioned for the role of Anakin Skywalker before the casting of Jake Lloyd.
- Kelly Macdonald was in the running to portray Queen Amidala before Natalie Portman was cast.
- Benicio del Toro was initially cast as Darth Maul, but dropped out of the project after the director took most of his lines out of the film. Del Toro would later go on to portray DJ in The Last Jedi.
- Tupac Shakur was interested in having a part in the film, and according to a sound engineer that worked with him, actually auditioned to play Windu before the role went to Samuel L. Jackson. This account has been questioned, though, given that Shakur was murdered in September 1996 in what would have probably been a stage of production too early to host auditions.
- Early treatments of the film originally did not have Qui-Gon Jinn, and simply had Obi-Wan by himself as a Jedi Knight. Lucas later decided to show the master-padawan setup of the Jedi properly, as it would flow with the generational "Passing the Torch" theme found throughout the whole saga, and he added Qui-Gon. Interestingly, Lucas initially considered making Qui-Gon the padawan.
- A rumor back in the day stated Jar Jar was originally conceived not as a comic relief character, but as a morally ambiguous mercenary that would ultimately betray Qui-Gon, like an Evil Counterpart to Han Solo (or, in hindsight, like DJ turned out to be in The Last Jedi). This has been considered one of the several possible hints of the popular "Darth Jar Jar" theory, where Jar Jar was actually written as being secretly a Sith working for Sidious.
- In the earliest drafts without Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan had the lead role, and Jar Jar had a larger and more important role. Also, when the crew returned to Naboo, the Trade Federation blockade was still supposed to be in place, and Anakin was going to land the Queen's ship by using his Force-intuition to divine the last possible moment to bring the ship out of lightspeed, before they crashed into the planetary surface. This scene was eventually used in The Force Awakens with Han performing the maneuver without any use of the Force instead.
- According to Jake Lloyd, there was a six-hour cut of the film that was screened for several people before the film was released, with those who saw it (who supposedly included Matthew Wood, General Grievous's voice actor in Revenge of the Sith) proclaiming it to be "mindbogglingly good". This claim has caused a lot of skepticism due to the purported cut's improbable length, with many people believing Lloyd either mistook test footage for real film scenes or is just trolling the fandom, but some believe there might have really been an unreleased six hours-worthy script containing who knows what discarded scenes and subplots.
- A Blarth was to accompany Jar Jar as a sidekick.
- One of the first ideas for Darth Maul's character was a female Dark Side user, a sort of Sith witch with white skin and either loopy red dreadlocks or an elaborate ribbon headdress. This version was discarded, but its concept art was eventually recycled for the Mother Talzin in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Other versions had him with a gruesomely skinned face, African war paint, and finally something resembling his final design (although, amusingly, his design originally didn't have horns, but feathers, which an artist misinterpreted as horns and made the team Throw It In!).
- Around 200 actresses auditioned for the role of Padmé Amidala before Natalie Portman was cast. This included Vinette Robinson, with it being her first film audition; said she tried to use an RP accent to come across as a Proper Lady and struggled to hide her natural Yorkshire accent. Two decades later, Robinson was cast in the role of Wrobie Tyce, a Resistance pilot, in The Rise of Skywalker.
Attack of the Clones
- Leonardo DiCaprio was the first choice for the role of Anakin Skywalker before Hayden Christensen was cast. However, DiCaprio turned down the offer due to scheduling conflicts with Catch Me If You Can and his reluctance to take on a multi-film franchise.
- Ryan Phillippe, Charlie Hunnam, Colin Hanks, Paul Walker, Misha Collins, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Joshua Jackson, James Van Der Beek, Eric Christian Olsen, Erik von Detten, Jonathan Brandis, and Chris Klein auditioned for the part of Anakin Skywalker as well before the casting of Christensen.
- Finis Valorum was originally planned to make a cameo in the film, but he was written out when Terence Stamp refused to reprise the role due to disliking his experience working on The Phantom Menace.
- A portion of Clones was reworked and refilmed in post-production. As originally shot, Anakin and Padmé were immediately captured when they arrived on Geonosis, offered the opportunity to join the Separatists by Dooku, and sentenced to death. Obi-Wan would not have been seen after his capture until Anakin and Padmé arrived in the arena. These scenes were deleted and replaced with new scenes: the droid factory set-piece and Dooku's offer to join the Separatists instead being delivered to Obi-Wan.
- Just like Maul, the character that occupied the role of Count Dooku was initially designed as a woman, with concepts being thrown around like a killer fairy, a regal queen and a feral vampiric witch (as well as some decidedly less female ones, like an advanced, metal-plated droid warrior). They also thought on a shapeshifting creature, who became a separate character in Zam Wesell. Eventually, however, Lucas told the team that they could either make one design work, or scrap the whole thing and start fresh with Christopher Lee, who had just signed on. They did the easy thing, and so Dooku was created. Again like Maul's, one of Dooku's rejected female designs was later used to portray Asajj Ventress in the Expanded Universe and Legends stories.
- When Ahmed Best was asked about the "Darth Jar Jar" theory mentioned above, he acknowledged that Jar Jar Binks was going to play a fairly big role in the prequel trilogy before fan backlash against the character forced Lucas to bury him, and also admitted that "a lot" about the theory was true. This has fueled speculations that the character of Dooku was only created to replace Jar Jar, who would have revealed himself as evil in this film. (Indeed, the role of Dooku as Qui-Gon's former master was apparently conceived for Attack of the Clones, as the novelization of The Phantom Menace had already given that role to Yoda, who was therefore turned into Dooku's own master.)
- Even after Jar Jar was written out from the main roles, he still had a significant amount of screentime, and it was very late into filming when it was decided he would receive only a handful of lines. Notably, the character would have a more regular speaking pattern in this film, revealing he had especially learned it as part of his job as a politician, and he might have wised up as a character. Best also claimed there was a deleted scene where Jar Jar acted as a sort of sinister confident to Palpatine, implying that he was still going to play an evil character, only in a more subdued way.
- Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas was supposed to be an alias for Darth Sidious known as "Sido-Dyas" instead of an actual Jedi. Apparently, a typo in the script led to them developing Sifo-Dyas as a real Jedi and turning it into what was implied to be a Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit.
- Believe it or not, Order 66 was supposed to take place in this film, hence the subtitle. The event was ultimately saved for the next film since it would compress too many events in one film.
- R4-P17, Obi-Wan's astromech droid, was originally going to be destroyed during the execution scene at the Geonosian arena. The droid also was supposed to possess an actual body, whereas in the finished film, R4 is just a stationary head built into the ship. It would eventually meet its fate in the next film, courtesy of buzz droids.
Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars III: Fall of the Republic, by John L. Flynn, was a script that a fan offered to sell to Lucas in 1983. Nowadays it's mainly a curiosity.
- Ahmed Best has stated that Lucas, explicitly after deciding that Jar Jar Binks was "just a politician", planned to include a scene where Palpatine mockingly thanked him for granting him the emergency powers in the first place before crowning himself emperor. Best himself wanted Jar Jar to die in the film so that he'd be given a dramatic send-off, but Lucas vetoed it.
- In the original script, Dooku begged for his life after Anakin defeated him. Christopher Lee felt this would have been an Out-of-Character Moment for him, and Lucas agreed, rewriting the scene.
- There are a good amount of scenes that were not included in the final film, or even finished. These included two death scenes filmed for Shaak Ti (in the first, captured alongside Palpatine and executed by Grievous; in the second, killed by Anakin in the Temple massacre) which were both discarded,note Anakin and Obi-Wan treading through the sewers on Grievous' flagship, Wat Tambor's death by Darth Vader in Mustafar,note an entire subplot of Padmé holding meetings with Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, and other senators to plan the birth of the Rebel Alliance, and a 30-second scene of Yoda arriving on Dagobah.
- The entire film was shot with Anakin having a more complex set of motivations behind a gradual slide to the Dark Side, including a growing mistrust towards the Senate and a long-time suspicion that Padmé might be having an affair with Obi-Wan (both of them deliberately fueled by Palpatine). In post-production, however, executives complained, saying that Anakin should just have one single easy-to-understand motive behind his turn. It was decided that the desire to save Padmé would be that motive, and therefore the rest of reasons were de-emphasized or downright deleted, which required the movie to go through a lot of editing and re-shoots.
- Anakin had concept art involving having a mohawk and tattoos. George Lucas rejected that because he felt it was "Too Much". Hayden was originally going to have long hair in a ponytail, but felt uncomfortable because it made him look "Too Pretty".
- The creation of Grievous' character was entirely left by Lucas to the art deparment, which conceived a handful of versions of him. Their first idea was making him a Chiss-like Creepy Child who moved around on a floating chair, but Lucas shot it down for being hard to take seriously. They then thought about him being a floating, tentacled alien head, but this was rejected as well for being just plain weird. The character was finally designed as a cyborg alien warlord, which Lucas eventually gave the green light to.
- Speaking of Grievous, Gary Oldman was apparently intended to voice him, but Lucas' departure from the Director's Guild of America many years earlier prevented Oldman from taking part without legal action. It was also rumored that John Rhys-Davies was considered.
- The film would have solved the mystery of Sifo-Dyas, but Lucas changed his mind when he realized the subplot had become irrelevant by this point of the story, was kind of implicit already, and would have inflated even more the film's plot. He instead tasked James Luceno with revealing it in the lead-in novel Labyrinth of Evil.
- Count Dooku was originally going to survive until the midpoint of the film, with his death being the final push Anakin needed to join the Dark Side rather than Mace Windu's. His death was instead moved to the opening sequence, which had changed from its original conception (seven battles on seven different planets showcasing the fury of the Clone Wars, rather than Palpatine being kidnapped by Dooku and Grievous).
- The Chancellor's Rodian aide from Attack of the Clones and two senate guards were to make cameos with Palpatine before the Jedi Masters arrived. These were cut before filming.
- The actual of kidnapping of Palpatine was present in the early drafts of the film, but it was cut and passed over to be depicted in Labyrinth of Evil and Star Wars: Clone Wars. The opening battle was originally over 45 minutes in length even after they cut out that part, including the aforementioned first Shaak Ti death scene. Part of the extra footage ended up in the videogame of the film.
- Palpatine was going to have much more dialogue while witnessing Anakin and Dooku's duel. He would have shouted to Anakin that Dooku revealed to him he paid the Tuskens to murder Shmi Skywalker.
- As Lucas was fond of the Dark Horse Star Wars: Republic comic books, he tried to get the character of Quinlan Vos in the film as he had done with Aayla Secure in the previous installment. He wrote a scene with him in Kashyyyk during the Order 66, but it ended up cut from the script and never went beyond that. Still, Vos and his mission in Boz Pity are mentioned by Obi-Wan in the film's final cut.
- If Shaak Ti's death by Grievous had made it in, Tsui Choi from the Dark Horse comics would've been shown taking her place on the Jedi Council. The idea was dropped after the scene was cut, but unlike Vos, Choi still has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo on Kashyyyk, riding a flying can-cell beast.
- Padmé originally had a much larger role talking with other senators about opposing Palpatine's increasing accumulation of power, the "delegation of 2,000". Officially this remains canon, and was the early beginnings of the Rebel Alliance as many of the same senators became Rebel leaders like Mon Mothma and Bail Organa, but was cut because it was a subplot that couldn't go anywhere and it was just a few more political meetings. Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma ended up a Deleted Role in this film, but was brought back to play the character in Rogue One.
- Lucas considered having Han Solo appear as a young boy raised by Chewbacca, but decided against it due to the improbability of it and the plot hole that would be created by young Han knowing of and interacting with the Jedi, yet not believing in the Force as an adult (which is already kind of incoherent, given how known the Jedi were at that time nonetheless, though not as blatant). Concept art for this can be found in the Art of Revenge of the Sith book and is reproduced here.
- The original script revealed that Palpatine used the power of the Force to will the midi-chlorians to start the cell divisions that created Anakin, as part of an evil scheme to breed the perfect Sith. The conversation between them at the theater ended with Palpatine saying "You might say I'm your father." Palpatine's role at this was replaced in the Legends canon by Darth Plagueis', but the idea of him being Anakin's "creator" would be still teased by Disney in the comic book series Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith 13 years later (albeit executives clarified it was all a vision by Vader).
- There exists concept art of a teenage Boba Fett killing Mace Windu during Order 66. Windu's killer was changed to Palpatine, as Lucas felt Boba was far too young to believably pose a challenge to a Jedi Master. This plot idea was used for The Clone Wars, though Windu obviously avoided the kill.
- Two of the Jedi Masters who accompany Mace Windu and died during the unsuccessful arrest of Palpatine were originally meant to be killed during Order 66. Specifically, Saesee Tiin was supposed to accompany Ki-Adi-Mundi at Mygeeto and be killed alongside him, while Kit Fisto was to die along with two Jedi that were ultimately cut from the film on Saleucami (where Stass Allie was ultimately killed in the finished picture).
- The first version of the duel in Palpatine's office was completely different. Anakin was originally supposed to be present and just watch during the entire duel, with Palpatine even having stolen Anakin's lightsaber in order to fight, and the point of the scene would have been Anakin debating on which side he was going to choose. However, they figured that Anakin simply watching the fight could be interpreted as that he had already made his choice, so it all had to be entirely reshot, adding the moment where Anakin and Padmé "watch" each other across Coruscant to make him arrive later. Also, as mentioned by a Lucasfilm executive, the original cut made it fairly clear Palpatine was playing up being helpless to get Anakin to side with him, while the reshot version left it ambiguous whether he was playing up, really beaten or only mostly beaten yet playing it up anyway.
- Furthermore, the fight between Windu and Palpatine was supposed to be an all-over-the-place masterpiece, but due to Lucas wanting Ian McDiarmid to do as many of his own stunts as possible (odd, considering his predilection for digital effects, and the fight later on in the movie between Palpatine and Yoda) it was reduced to, largely, Windu forcing Palpatine down the hallway and then a skirmish in the office's center before Anakin showed up.
- Originally, when Yoda and Obi-Wan rush to the Jedi Temple following Order 66, they were to be confronted by clone troopers disguised as Jedi. A promotional image of such a trooper can be found as a bonus feature on the DVD release, whilst they appear as playable characters in LEGO Star Wars.
- Nute Gunray's demise was somewhat different in the original screenplay. In a desperate attempt to kill Vader, Gunray would've summoned a group of droidekas to open fire on him as he was killing the other Separatist leaders. When the smoke cleared, Vader was presumably killed... only for him to appear from the roof and destroy the droidekas before beheading Gunray. This explains why, in the finished film, Gunray flinched in shock when Vader went to him; he had thought the droids had killed him.
- A scene of Wat Tambor getting stabbed in the stomach by Vader at Mustafar was filmed, but cut for being too violent (though the final film had Tambor visibly hiding in the conference room). Two stills from the scene were used in promotional material, and one of the stills were drawn for the comic book adaptation.
- A glimpse at the original backstory as seen in the novelization of Return of the Jedi (as well as strongly implied by Leia's lines in said film) shows us that her mother, who is now known to be Padmé, was originally meant to survive Anakin's turn to the Dark Side.
- The scene on Mustafar where Padmé and Anakin meet was supposed to be different. Anakin would've been wielding what seems like his red lightsaber from the OT, Padmé would have already given birth before going to Mustafar and would've been wearing different clothes, and most of all, Padmé would've pulled a dagger on Anakin after embracing him, having come to the conclusion that Anakin was dead and that Vader needed to die, only to find herself unable to kill the man she loved. It was this act, rather than simply seeing Obi-Wan, that would convince Anakin that Padmé had "betrayed" him and prompt him force-choke her. Concept art depicting this version of the scene can be seen here◊.
- There was also a version in which Anakin was already wearing the Darth Vader armour, and it would be believed that Darth Vader had 'betrayed and murdered' Anakin Skywalker, just like Obi-Wan said in 'A New Hope'. It's probably because of the hasty retcon in 'Jedi' that this was changed, although this was another reason why Padmé was trying to kill Vader, believing he was responsible for her husband's death, while Vader himself was simply blinded by the Dark Side and his own rage and didn't know who he was fighting
- The Return of the Jedi novelization also said Anakin fell into a pool of lava. In the movie, he doesn't actually touch the lava, but the fumes are hot enough to set his clothes on fire. This may have been changed to make Anakin's survival a bit more plausible.
- The white dress and cape worn by Bail Organa's aide, Sheltay Retrac, was originally designed for Padmé; it was instead assigned to Sheltay because Padmé's outfits needed to be more voluminous to hide her pregnancy.
The Sequel Trilogy
The Force Awakens
- Jennifer Lawrence, Shailene Woodley, and Elizabeth Olsen were considered for the role of Rey before Daisy Ridley was cast. Olsen declined to audition because she already had a contract with Marvel Studios for the role of Wanda Maximoff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Jesse Plemons, Matthew James Thomas, Ed Speleers, and Ray Fisher were the final contenders for Finn before the casting of John Boyega. Michael B. Jordan auditioned for the role.
- James McAvoy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Joel Edgerton were considered for the role of Poe Dameron before Oscar Isaac was cast. Edgerton previously portrayed a young Owen Lars in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
- Michael Fassbender, Christoph Waltz, and Hugo Weaving were considered for the role of Kylo Ren before the casting of Adam Driver.
- Eddie Redmayne also auditioned for the part of Kylo Ren before the casting of Driver. However, Redmayne believed he blew it by doing a bunch of weird voices akin to his role in Jupiter Ascending when he learned the part was a villain.
- Matthew Vaughn and Brad Bird were originally approached to direct the movie before J. J. Abrams was hired. Vaughn turned down the offer due to Creative Differences over the level of violence in the film and the casting of the female lead, while Bird declined in order to helm Tomorrowland.
- Lucas' original plan was to get Episode VII released with him having a more active role in its creation, and then sell the company so somebody else could finish the new trilogy. This didn't happen due to Disney coming by at the right time to make the deal, preventing any legal trouble.
- According to a Vanity Fair cover story, Lucas' original ideas for the Sequel Trilogy had teenage/young adult main characters. Disney ultimately went with actors who were in their twenties and thirties instead.
[Abrams] said Lucas treatment had centered on very young characters teenagers, Lucasfilm told me which might have struck Disney executives as veering too close for comfort to The Phantom Menace and its 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker and 13-year-old Queen Amidala. "We've made some departures" from Lucas's ideas, Kennedy conceded, but only in "exactly the way you would in any development process."
- One of the movie's working titles was Shadow of the Empire, but this was changed to avoid confusion with the Shadows of the Empire multimedia project from the 90's.
- The movie was originally slated for a May release date, like all of the Star Wars movies that preceded it, but it was pushed back to December 2015. Ultimately, this proved to be a wiser decision, considering that Avengers: Age of Ultron was slated to be Disney's tentpole film for the summer of 2015, and that releasing both movies around the same time would have limited the amount of profit either would have received.
- Rey was originally named Kira, and was conceived as a Luke Expy who sought and followed him as an apprentice after her home was destroyed in a sort of Passing the Torch way. She later evolved into a scavenger as in the final film, though still accompanied by an elderly father figure who was a former Republic pilot. Interestingly, echoing Luke's own surname change, the name "Kira" stuck for virtually all the production time and only got changed to Rey when they had already started filming.
- Finn was named Sam at an early stage of production, where he was conceived as being the youngest member of a group of space pirates led by Maz Kanata rather than a stormtrooper. The opening shot of the film was going to be his tiny ship towing a derelict Star Destroyer, meant to mimic the opening of A New Hope as closely as possible yet with a touch of humor. However, Sam would have lost control of the Star Destroyer and let it crash on Jakku, where Kira would search it for parts as Rey does in the final film. Instead of a desert world, Jakku would have been an ocean planet where part of the Second Death Star crashed and was left partially submerged.
- After Sam became Finn, his backstory would have been rather different. Originally, what would have convinced Finn to leave the First Order would be witnessing a number of Resistance fighters being executed and thrown out of an airlock. After escaping with Poe and crash landing, he would be healed by a tribe of locals and be "reborn" into a hero. Most importantly, in this version he was a personal friend of the character that became Kylo Ren, who would be left heatbroken by Finn's defection.
- The character who occupied the role of Poe was originally supposed to die early in the film, possibly in the TIE Fighter crash (he was even nicknamed "John Doe" in the first drafts), which made Oscar Isaac hesitant to accept the role because he had played a character who suffered a similar fate in The Bourne Legacy. However, J. J. Abrams decided to spare Poe after finding a way to temporarily write him out of the story without killing him.
- While the idea of Han's and Leia's son turning to the Dark Side traced back to Lucas himself, Kylo Ren went through several iterations in his character design. He was initially going to be a former Jedi named Skyler who served Sith Lord Darth Talon, but later both characters were fused into a dark Jedi called the Jedi Killer, who was more akin to Darth Vader and would power up by directly absorbing the energy of a star. In this version, he was friends with Finn before his betrayal, which would have left him devastated enough for him to seek the counsel of his dead grandfather. At one point, he was even going to show up a straight up Vader impersonator, wearing a exact copy of his suit in order to mess with Luke.
- Several different ideas for the movie's MacGuffin were put forth initially, with ideas such as the heroes trying to find the remains of Darth Vader, or even searching the underwater wreckage of the second Death Star in order to find info about sacred Jedi sites or hidden Jedi masters (in whose case we would have even seen the Millennium Falcon going underwater). In the end, it was decided that the search for Luke himself would be the main thread tying everything together. Luke himself had a significantly larger role in the earlier drafts, but his presence was drastically reduced in order to avoid having him overshadow Rey and Finn.
- Following the last measure, the original script that Michael Ardnt worked on originally put the new cast up front while the old cast was Demoted to Extra. Abrams overrode that decision and decided to expand on the roles of the older cast, so that the original team could have (at least) one last adventure all while still giving time to introduce the new cast, with the extent to expand upon their roles in Episode VIII and Episode IX.
- Back when Luke was going to be one of the main characters, there were plans for Hayden Christensen to cameo as the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker. His appearance would have constantly shifted between that of Anakin and Darth Vader, playing on the duality of the Force.
- At one point, Snoke's character was going to be female, a "beautiful, statuesque woman" inspired by Greek sculpture. Even although they settled for a male villain, the beautiful part remained for a long time in production, as Abrams and the creatives didn't want him to be old and decrepit like Sidious. They ultimately decided to play it straight on the idea it would show better his corruption by the Dark Side.
- Conversely, Captain Phasma was originally going to be a man, and it's rumored that the creative team wanted him to be played by Benedict Cumberbatch (whom Abrams had worked with on Star Trek Into Darkness, and who actually came to visit the sets of the film). However, after the movie received some complaints about the lack of women in the cast, presumably after Snoke had been made male, the creators rewrote Phasma as female and cast Gwendoline Christie in the role.
- Denis Lawson was written in to reappear as Wedge Antilles in the film, but he turned the offer down because he didn't want to do a cameo, preferring to continue his television career instead. Reportedly Wedge's role was originally the one Max von Sydow's character ultimately received, meaning Wedge would have ultimately gone through Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome had it happened. Lawson would ultimately reprise his role as Wedge in The Rise of Skywalker.
- The skeleton of Jar Jar Binks was considered to be included somewhere as an Easter Egg, but J. J. Abrams ultimately decided against it.
- The movie was originally going to open with Luke's severed hand floating through space, still holding the lightsaber from his duel with Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. The hand would then burn up in the atmosphere of the planet Jakku, and the surviving lightsaber would land in the desert, only to be plucked up by an unseen alien.
- R2-D2 was originally going to appear much earlier in the film alongside C-3PO, but the writers thought it would be better to present his arrival as a bit of delayed gratification by not having him reactivate until the final act.
- Instead of Han and Chewbacca, space pirates would have seized the Millennium Falcon and forced Rey to literally walk the plank into space.
- Starkiller Base was conceived later in development, and would have been located on Dantooine, with the First Order converting the old Rebel base there. Starkiller would have also been called the "Doom Star", and its cannon would have fired out of a volcano.
- The Resistance was originally going to have a massive warship named Warhammer, which would use its heavily armored prow to breach planetary shields and then deploy smaller ships to exploit the hole.
- Finn and Rey were originally supposed to have a Belligerent Sexual Tension rather than the more ambiguous relationship they had in the final version.
- Rey was originally going to be accompanied to Ahch-To by BB-8 instead of R2-D2, but the droids were swapped at the request of Rian Johnson, so that R2 could use Leia's transmission to Obi-Wan to help convince Luke to train Rey in The Last Jedi.
- The screenplay had Maz Kanata going with the heroes to the Resistance base, and Lupita Nyong'o even filmed some scenes with Carrie Fisher. They were all cut after the creative team decided that Maz really didn't add anything to the final act. However, a shot of Maz giving Anakin's lightsaber to Leia did show up in the second trailer.
- The original run time (actual run time, not the assembly cut) of the movie was two hours and 40 minutes long before being cut down to two hours and 16 minutes, with some of the cut scenes remaining in the film until only a month before release. It remains to be seen how many of these deleted scenes will show up on the DVD or Blu-ray release of the film. One of these scenes, a snowspeeder chase on Starkiller Base, wound up being adapted into an episode of Star Wars: Forces of Destiny.
- A rather noticeable case was with the character of Constable Zuvio, an enforcer on Niima Outpost. Not only was he fully designed and characterized (apparently, he was to have a significant role in getting Rey off Jakku), but he received a few toys and a page in the film's official visual dictionary, generating interest in the character. All of this was for naught, however, as he was completely demoted shortly after his promotional material was released. In the film proper, he only survives as a background extra visible for a few blurry frames in the background as Rey is running through the market.
- According to a leaked call-sheet for The Force Awakens, when Rey finds the Skywalker lightsaber in Maz's castle Finn was originally present too and they both experienced visions. This suggests that Finn was intended to be explicitly Force-sensitive, whereas in the finished movie he's presented as a Badass Normal and only implicitly suggested to be Force-sensitive in The Rise of Skywalker.
The Last Jedi
- Olivia Cooke, Gina Rodriguez, Gugu Mbatha Raw, and Tatiana Maslany were considered for the role of Rose Tico before Kelly Marie Tran was cast. Maslany previously auditioned for Jyn Erso in Rogue One.
- Joaquin Phoenix was approached for the part of DJ before the casting of Benicio del Toro.
- The Last Jedi was originally supposed to have a Meaningful Release Date on May 26, 2017, forty years and one day since the release of A New Hope but it was delayed to December 15, 2017 due to rewrites expanding the parts of the lead characters introduced in The Force Awakens (and possibly due to a writer's strike in the UK that had been brewing). Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales took the original spot.
- At the start of the writing process, the crew laid out a spreadsheet of absolutely every possible answer to Rey's parentage they could think of, no matter how likely it was to actually be used. This included her being the blood relative of several old characters, an amnesiac padawan of Luke's order who survived the Ren purge, and even some kind of super advanced droid.
- Early script ideas involved Luke being blind, but this was ultimately decided against. It should be noted that this was before Donnie Yen suggested a similar concept with Chirrut in Rogue One. Funnily enough, Mark Hamill played a blind character in Season 2 of Trollhunters, which was released the very same day.
- Obi-Wan was considered to appear as a Force ghost, with Ewan McGregor being eager to play the part. This was removed as the only version of Obi-Wan Luke has interacted with is Alec Guinness', who is long dead by now, and Johnson felt that having Luke interact with Ewan's Obi-Wan would have felt too weird.
- Lando Calrissian was going to be Finn and Rose's contact at the casino (note Maz talking up the guy without giving his name like it's going to be some big reveal), and he would either screw up their quest by accident or betray them intentionally like DJ did. This was discarded when the crew considered that having Billy Dee Williams return just to fail in his mission would be an insult to the character, as well as that Lando would never betray the Rebellion a second time after his character development in The Empire Strikes Back.
- According to leaked info in Reddit, in an early draft Poe personally accompanied Finn and the character that became Rose in their mission, while the character that became DJ was a bounty hunter chasing them. Rose was apparently a refugee fleeing from the First Order, who Finn fell in love with quickly, with the big twist that she was the one who betrayed the Resistance, not DJ. By the ending, Poe was sent to a First Order prison planet, echoing Han being captured at the end of Empire Strikes Back. The rest of the plot was identical to the final version.
- Rose was initially going to be mistrustful of Finn, but Kelly Marie Tran's real life personality made Johnson realize it would be funnier with Rose being a fangirl of his.
- As told in the official book The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Luke was going to be visited by a Sith Force Ghost while meditating in his hut on Ahch-To, with the Sith being described as an "all-powerful Sith Lord who ruled over the Dark Side of the Force from the Afterlife" and was also described to be "pulling Snoke's strings" from behind the scenes. The identity of this Sith was not revealed in the book, leaving ambiguous whether it is Palpatine, Plagueis, Bane, or any other unknown Sith. However, this idea might have inspired the creators's late decision to bring Palpatine back in The Rise of Skywalker.
- Also in the art book, Finn and Rose were going to break into a store in Canto Bight and steal a tux and gown, with a She Cleans Up Nicely effect for Rose in her dress and Finn having his tux on backwards. That idea was scrapped in favor of the two sticking with their Resistance gear. In early drafts, they were also going to meet the Master Codebreaker in the cabaret room, be taken along for a quest to retrieve a MacGuffin from a warlord, and be arrested on the casino's rooftop.
- The book details a few variations of the laundry room scene where Finn, Rose, and DJ get their disguises. In one, the trio encounter a group of stormtroopers only to realize they are empty suits of armor on a clothing conveyor belt. Another would have had them follow a lint trail to the laundry room.
- The producers intended to show Phasma's fully unmasked face, even considering to portray her with horrible battle scars, but Daisy Ridley nixed that idea, instead proposing to show only her eye.
- The film's run time originally exceeded three hours before Johnson was forced to cut it down. Reportedly, he removed between 45 and 60 minutes.
- Finn would've been reintroduced as one of Paige Tico's gunners and she would've ended up dying in his arms; Rian Johnson changed this because he felt he "couldn't pay it off".
- Rian Johnson considered having Luke be visited by Anakin, bringing back Hayden Christensen, to help realize how he needs to deal with Rey, but changed it to Yoda as Luke had never known his pre-Dark Side father. Christensen would return to the role a few years later in Obi Wan Kenobi.
- Luke originally sported a man-bun at one point.
Duel of the Fates (Unfilmed Episode IX Script)
- Colin Trevorrow was originally going to direct this version of Episode IX, but he left under vaguely explained Creative Differences. The box office failure of The Book of Henry and Trevorrow's allegedly egotistical behavior may have also been a factor.
- Trevorrow has stated that Palpatine wasn't going to come Back from the Dead in his original script for the film, and so wasn't the film's Big Bad. According to the leaked script, at most he has a posthumous cameo, with Kylo Ren finding a hologram recording of Palpatine in Vader's Mustafar castle, instructing him to take Luke to the Remnicore system and find Tor Valum, Sith Master of Darth Plagueis, to learn the power to control life. Accordingly, Rey wasn't revealed to be Palpatine's granddaughter in the original script.
- Large portions of concept art for the film have been released, along with one of Trevorrow's early scripts.
- Trevorrow's original concept would've been a much darker story. Kylo Ren is the Big Bad and doesn't seek redemption as Ben Solo, revealing to Rey that he was the one who killed her parents on Snoke's orders and seeking out Tor Valum, master of Darth Plagueis, to learn Dark Side powers from him, including the ability to drain people's life force. Kylo also ends up blinding Rey during their duel.
- Finn would end up leading a team of defected Stormtroopers against the First Order in the climax.
- Leaked scripts indicate that there would be a larger timegap between it and the previous movie than the few months between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker; approximately ten years or so, enough for the First Order to be deeply entrenched in the galaxy and for Hux to become Chancellor.
- The bulk of the action would have taken place on Coruscant, where a massive First Order ship resembling the Supremacy would serve as a citadel of sorts called the Capitol. A massive revolt would have taken place on the planet, with Finn at its helm. Meanwhile, Leia and the Resistance would aim to destroy a galaxy-wide communications jammer over the planet's orbit.
- Hux would have been portrayed here as a Force wannabe, collecting lightsabers and attempting to conjure Force powers without success, much to everyone else's annoyance. When Coruscant is overrun by the Resistance in the climax and the Capitol begins to lift off, Hux would have committed seppuku in his office with a red lightsaber, with the script's narration noting how he realized that he "lost the Star Wars".
- The Eclipse-class Dreadnought from Legends would have made its first canon appearance here. Early in the plot, the heroes would hijack it thanks to Rey using a Jedi Mind Trick on the entire bridge crew, and it would end up serving as the Resistance's flagship in the climactic battle over Coruscant. Not only would it provide the Resistance with weapons and vehicles to start a riot on Coruscant's surface, but it would also have been the first time where the heroes use a superlaser against enemy ships.
- Rey and Kylo Ren's final duel would have taken place on Mortis. The Force ghosts of Luke, Obi-Wan and Yoda would also have appeared to aid Rey.
- Rose Tico had a much larger role in Trevorrow's Episode IX than The Rise of Skywalker (where she was Demoted to Extra), including accompanying Finn on a mission to Coruscant and helping steal a Star Destroyer. Rose would've had a Disney Death and been captured by the First Order. Hux attempts to use the Force on her during an interrogation, which fails miserably.
- Leaked concept art depicts Rey wielding a blue double-bladed lightsaber and wearing a dark-colored outfit similar to Luke's in Return of the Jedi. According to the script, her lightsaber would've been constructed from the two halves of Anakin's wrecked saber and Rey's staff, which was partially incorporated into The Rise of Skywalker (Rey has repaired Anakin's saber and the ending reveals she's constructed a new saber for herself using her staff). Concept art also depicts Rey with longer hair worn in a ponytail, whereas in The Rise of Skywalker she has gone back to her three-bun hairstyle (this was partly necessitated by Rey's appearance needing to match up with the unused footage of Carrie Fisher).
- Luke Skywalker would've had a larger role in the film, haunting Kylo Ren and offering advice to Rey as a Force ghost.
- Leia Organa had a much more active role in the plot; it should be noted that the leaked Duel of the Fates script was written before Carrie Fisher's passing, which required Leia's role to be drastically reduced in Episode IX. Leia also survives to the end, instead of dying in the third act.
- Poe and Rey have a romantic relationship and she never displays any affection towards Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, especially seeing as he's a lot more villainous in this version. The script included a subplot where Rey worries about having to sacrifice her relationship with Poe to become a full Jedi, due to the old Order's ban on romantic attachments, only for Leia to reassure her that love will make her a stronger person and that she doesn't have to cling to all the old Jedi traditions.
- R2-D2 would've been seriously damaged (as depicted in concept art). There were rumours that he was actually destroyed/killed off, though Trevorrow clarified that R2 actually just "took a bad hit."
- Temiri Blagg, aka 'Broom Boy', would've reappeared, as one of several Force-sensitive children Rey ends up training in the ending.
- The Knights of Ren are more active in the plot, including getting into a fight with Poe, Chewie and Rey, during which Rey kills one of them with purple Force-lightning in a moment of anger and desperation. Rey also recognizes one of the Knight's masks and eventually realizes they helped Kylo kill her parents.
- Kylo would've actually gone inside Vader's castle on Mustafar which, while worse for wear, isn't completely in ruins like it is in The Rise of Skywalker.
- Rey's original surname is revealed to be Solana, with Kylo telling her this as he's dying as a gesture of repentance. In The Rise of Skywalker, Kylo does still reveal to Rey what her surname is, though the circumstances are different and her name is not Solana but Palpatine, with Rey later adopting Skywalker as her name.
The Rise of Skywalker
- According to Todd Fisher, Leia was originally going to be the "last Jedi". Carrie Fisher's 2016 death ended all of those plans. Likewise, Leia's overall role in the movie was altered to accommodate the unused footage from The Force Awakens, so as to avoid any digital body doubles like with Tarkin in Rogue One.
- There were plans at one point to use unseen footage of Carrie Fisher from The Last Jedi as well, but it was ultimately decided to not use it because there was nothing that could contribute to the film.
- The film would have originally begun with Kylo Ren receiving Vader's wayfinder on Mustafar from a mysterious Force-sensitive being known as the Oracle. The being would have resembled a crustacean-like being sitting on or parasitizing a giant goblin-like creature (or possibly just a statue) submerged in the water below it. A drawing based on an eyewitness account was leaked on Reddit in April 2019, with another leak contextualizing its role being released in August. It was later announced that the Oracle was removed in reshoots, although a model of it briefly appeared in a BTS promo, confirming it was once intended as part of the movie. It was ultimately replaced with Kylo finding the Wayfinder in a safe in the ground at the Mustafarian village.
- This scene is included in the novelization, where the creature is known as "The Eye of Webbish Bog".
- Leaks also indicate there was once more to the scene where Kylo repairs his mask, with the Knights of Ren apparently performing some kind of weird tribal dance once Kylo put it on.
- Rose Tico and Leia were supposed to spearhead what remained of the Resistance together as co-leaders, but the unused footage of Leia from The Force Awakens gave the crew no plausible way to make the idea work, explaining why Rose ended up getting so little screen time compared to the previous film.
- Concept art depicts Rey being even more aggressive during one of her confrontations with Kylo Ren, including Force-choking him and holding his lightsaber to his throat.
- There is concept art depicting Kylo visiting an imprisoned Chewbacca, indicating they were intended to share a scene following Chewie's capture on Pasaana that didn't make it into the final product.
- Naomi Ackie stated that they tried out a few different hairstyles for Jannah, including an afro, a bob, and a long, straight style Ackie called "the Moana" (presumably in reference to the title protagonist of the animated film), before finally settling on the loose, shoulder-length curls she sports in the film, which was close to Ackie's natural hair.
- An early concept involved Kylo Ren visiting the former Jedi Temple on Coruscant, which is depicted as having been abandoned by its many inhabitants for unclear reasons, and encountering giant wolf-like creatures that now inhabit the place.
- Rey and Rose were originally intended to share some scenes together, which were at least filmed, given there are stills of them together at the Resistance base and Kelly Marie Tran stated prior to the film's release that she was "excited" they would get to interact. However, these scenes were ultimately removed from the final film.
- Hux and Pryde originally appeared much earlier in the film; they accompanied Kylo to Mustafar to locate the Wayfinder and watched the battle from a distance. Their scenes were ultimately cut from the theatrical film. The novelization includes their presence on Mustafar, with the scene even initially being told from Hux's viewpoint.
- Creative director Doug Chiang revealed unused concept art for a double-decker Star Destroyer.
- According to Daisy Ridley, it was tossed around even while the film was being made over whether Rey would not be from a lineage, is a Kenobi, or a Palpatine. Ridley suggested that one of JJ Abrams' original ideas at the start of the trilogy was that Rey would be connected to Obi-Wan Kenobi in some way, until Rian Johnson decided to make her a 'nobody' in The Last Jedi (which was subsequently undone again in the next film).
Daisy Ridley: At the beginning, there was toying with an Obi-Wan connection there were different versions then it really went to it was no one, and then it came to episode nine and JJ pitched me the film and was like 'Oh, yeah, Palpatine is granddaddy.' Then two weeks later he was like, 'Oh, we're not sure,' so it kept changing, so then even as we were filming, I wasn't sure what the answer was going to be.
- Editor Maryann Brandon stated in an interview with the Huffington Post that she debated whether or not to include the scene where Rey and Ben kiss, including trying a few different cuts, before deciding it keep it in the film:
Maryann Brandon: I always said, 'The movie will tell us whether they should kiss or not [...] We will know by the time we get to the end of our process, if it should happen. And I felt it should, and [director J.J. Abrams] agreed with me, and other people who saw the film agreed.
- Concept artist Phil Saunders revealed that an earlier version of the script featured Rey seeking out the original designer of the Millennium Falcon for help in defeating the Final Order's armada, with Dame Judi Dench being considered for the role. She wouldve been found living on "yet another desert planet of course, and her home wouldve been carved into the top of a spectacular mesa."
- Brie Larson, Tatiana Maslany, Rooney Mara, and Kate Mara screen-tested for the part of Jyn Erso before Felicity Jones was cast.
- Aaron Paul, Sam Claflin, and Édgar Ramírez auditioned for the role of Cassian Andor before the casting of Diego Luna.
- Jet Li was offered the role of Chirrut Îmwe.
- Alexandre Desplat was the film's original composer, but was replaced by Michael Giacchino after the film was extensively reshot, as Desplat was no longer available to score the new footage.
- John Knoll actually conceived the idea as a TV show back in 2003, when Lucasfilm was looking for ways to continue the franchise after Revenge of the Sith. When the show was canned over budget concerns, Knoll's concept was retooled into the movie.
- Knoll's original pitch had Darth Vader as a mere cameo with no lines, as well as the complete absence of the Force. Gareth Edwards had the explicit Force elements and Jedha added to the film because he felt that a Star Wars movie without the Force simply didn't feel right, while the studio beefed up Vader's appearance so that they could tease his involvement in the marketing.
- Lyra Erso was originally going to be a former Jedi who had survived Order 66, but this plot point was dropped, as the creative team thought it'd be better to examine what life in the Star Wars universe was like for normal people after the fall of the Jedi Order. Elements of the idea can still be seen in the final film, such as the Kyber crystal necklace she gives to Jyn in the opening scene, and the fact that her clothes resembled Jedi attire.
- In Knoll's original story draft of the film, Krennic served as an Imperial spy on the Rogue One team, a plot element that was removed entirely when Gary Whitta joined the writing process. Krennic was also going to have a boss he would report to, named Willix Cree. The name "Willix" would later reappear in the Rogue One Visual Guide as one of Cassian's spy aliases.
- The Rogue One squad was made up of Jyn, Kaytoo (who originally was a protocol droid), a Rebel pilot named Ria Talla (whose name would be used as a fake identity in Rebels), an alien duo named Senna and Lunak (the latter wouldve been reused for the now-cancelled game Star Wars: Ragtag), and two other rebels named Dray Nevis and Jerris Kastal. Jyn and Kaytoo would be carried over, Ria would presumably become Bodhi, Senna and Lunak were replaced by Baze and Chirrut, and Cassian replaced the other two rebels.
- Prominently shown in the trailers, Jyn, Cassian and Kaytoo were to take part in the ground battle on Scarif after retrieving the Death Star Plans. As originally written and filmed, the transmitter was not in the same building as the archive. Once they retrieved the plans, they had to fight their way across the beaches to the transmitter building to beam them up to the fleet. The bulk of the reshoots actually went into streamlining this sequence so that the transmitter and archive were the same building.
- 0:44 of this video shows behind-the-scenes footage of what would've been Kaytoo being shot to death and falling limp besides Cassian's corpse.
- The first draft of the script had the heroes survive the final battle, as Gareth Edwards believed that there was no way the studio would let him kill off all the main characters in a Star Wars movie. (This is why Felicity Jones was contracted for two movies despite her character dying at the end.) To his great surprise, both Disney and Kathleen Kennedy gave him permission to pull a Kill 'Em All in the final act, reasoning that there was really no other way to end a direct prequel featuring characters who had never been seen in any of the other movies. More specifically, the original ending would have had Jyn and Cassian managing to escape Scarif on a ship and rendezvous with the Tantive IV right as Darth Vader's fleet arrives. They only have enough time to transmit the plans to Leia's ship before their ship is destroyed, but an escape pod can be seen leaving the wreckage implying that they both survived.
- Gary Whitta had two ideas for the ending of the Battle of Scarif that were both scrapped. The first idea would've had Krennic survive the Death Star blast on the Imperial base despite everyone else dying there... only for Darth Vader to Force-choke him to death aboard a Star Destroyer. This was scrapped due to Lucasfilm thinking Krennic surviving the blast would've been improbable. The second ending would've had Vader himself enter Scarif's surface to slaughter the Rebels personally, only to be too late to stop the Death Star plans from being transmitted to the Rebels. This ending was reworked to Vader boarding the Profundity, slaughtering all the Rebels firing at him before the sole surviving Rebel takes the plans to Leia's ship.
- Though ILM and the production crew were confident that Tarkin could be resurrected for the film, back-up plans were made in case they were unable to portray the character. These included relegating Tarkin's lines to other characters and potentially having Tarkin only appear in a hologram.
- Phil Lord & Chris Miller almost made a cameo, and were even fitted into costumes on the set for it. It would have served as a foreshadowing to them directing the Han Solo film for the Star Wars Anthology series, which they were ultimately dropped from.
- Taron Egerton was the runner-up for the part of Han Solo before Alden Ehrenreich was cast. However, Egerton was passed over due to the fact that he was already the lead in multiple upcoming franchise pictures and the producers felt that he wouldn't be able to give the role the time and focus they wanted.
- Michael B. Jordan, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and O'Shea Jackson Jr. were considered for Lando Calrissian before the casting of Donald Glover.
- Tessa Thompson, Naomi Scott, Zoë Kravitz, Kiersey Clemons, Adria Arjona, and Jessica Henwick auditioned for the role of Qi'ra before Emilia Clarke was cast. Henwick previously portrayed Jessika Pava in The Force Awakens.
- Christian Bale had discussions for the part of Tobias Beckett before the casting of Woody Harrelson.
- Dryden Vos was originally played by Michael K. Williams, but he was unavailable for reshoots and was replaced by Paul Bettany. According to Williams, Vos was originally a "half-mountain lion"-like character (concept art would show that one of the species that Vos could've been was a Lasat), but presumably the alien beast-like aspect of Vos was dropped also for pragmatism. Some of this seems to have carried through to a few of Vos' private army (particularly note the one who discovered that the cases of coaxium were empty, who gets a fair amount of camera focus).
- The idea of a Han Solo prequel was first conceived by George Lucas himself. Prior to selling Lucasfilm to Disney, Lucas hired Lawrence Kasdan to write a screenplay for the movie. The project was put on hold after Disney acquired Lucasfilm so that Kasdan could help write for The Force Awakens.
- Beckett's gang originally had a fourth member, a big brawny dude named Korso who died in the fighting on Mimban. His role was fully filmed but mostly deleted when it was decided that there was enough going on in the scene already without introducing a new character and then immediately killing him off. Part of the logic of his character was that without him, Beckett's gang would have lost their muscle, a need which Chewbacca could then handily fulfill. He's still visible in a few brief shots (look for the guy with the massive minigun).
- There were quite a few candidates considered for the big reveal of Crimson Dawn's true leader, with Darth Maul winning out because Ron Howard's son, Reed, is a huge fan of the prequels, and of Maul especially.
- Original directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller were replaced mid-production. According to early reports, they were let go for making a screwball comedy in the vein of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, though later sources claimed their genuine inspiration was fellow Disney property Guardians of the Galaxy. Ron Howard then took over as director and reshot most of what they'd done under his own direction, keeping what they had in mind, but also making sure that the film was in-line with the Original Trilogy.
- Early concepts for Qi'ra envisioned her as a humanoid alien, before it was decided she would be human in the final product. Some of the concept art of alien Qi'ra was reused for the character of Margo, the imroosian concierge on the First Light.
- The film was planed to be the first in a trilogy, with Ehrenreich and Clarke already signed up, but any direct film follow up was shelved after the below par box office.
Live-Action TV Shows
- Based off what the proposed Boba Fett movie outline was said to be, it appears a few ideas were folded into this series. The movie would have followed Boba Fett and the other bounty hunters seen on the bridge of The Empire Strikes Back teaming up to collect a bounty, with a focus given to Boba, Bossk the Trandoshan, and the droid IG-88. Besides the show being about a Mandalorian bounty hunter, the idea of the Bounty Hunters' Guild and the various times that the Mandalorian teams up with other hunters in the show hearkens back to this. Trandoshan hunters and a droid hunter IG-11 both show up in episodes. It would also feature an appearance from Fett himself in the second season.
- Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni were hesitant about whether they could pull off the baby Yoda as a physical puppet, and planned to also film the shots without the puppet so they could do it in CGI if it didn't work out. Then Werner Herzog got wind of it and called them cowards for even thinking of using CGI over a physical effect, and they were shamed into just going with the puppet.
- Greef Karga was initially envisioned as an alien who would be killed in the third episode, with the semi-retired Carl Weathers agreeing to do it as a favor to Favreau. Upon seeing his screen test, they immediately decided they couldn't cover up his face, and he had to survive, with his death scene being altered to include a Pocket Protector.
- It was considered having the Child be a Wookiee instead of being the same species as Yoda.
- Early reports claimed that, in addition to reprising his role as Boba Fett, Temuera Morrison would also be playing Captain Rex in his live action debut. Dave Filoni even shared concept art on his Twitter profile showing an older Rex joining Ahsoka in her search for Ezra, seemingly implying this would be the case. However, Rex never appeared in the season.
- Janina Gavankar (aka Iden Verso from Star Wars Battlefront II (2017)) wasn't supposed to be in the show, but she had been brought onto the set of Chapter 10 to assist in puppeteering work, as she was an old friend of one of the producers. Even the creators were surprised to see her.
- Before Rosario Dawson was cast as Ahsoka Tano in season 2, Ashley Eckstein once expressed interest in reprising her role in live-action form. This is reflected in Ahsoka's Rebels depiction being an Ink-Suit Actor of Ashley Eckstein.
- Robert Rodriguez was asked by his close friend Jon Favreau to fill in on "The Tragedy" after the original director had to leave very shortly before filming. There's not yet word on who it was. Additionally, it was Rodriguez who wanted to add in additional scenes for Boba Fett in action, due to a love for the character and his reputation. One has to wonder if those scenes would have been filmed by the original director.
- It was originally going to be a new character who came to get Grogu at the end of Season 2, with the crew only getting the idea that it should be Luke late in production.
- Supposedly, Cara would have been the main star of a spinoff show (widely speculated to be Rangers of the New Republic) and this was supposed to be announced at Disney's Investor's Day in December 2020, but the idea was scrapped after Gina Carano's controversial political statements in November and her subsequent dismissal from The Mandalorian and all future Star Wars projects.
- A tie-in novel by Adam Christopher was slated, but later announced in March 2021 to have been cancelled due to "the ever-expanding world of The Mandalorian", in other words, story conflict.
- Originally, the series was going to be a movie, likely the next in the A Star Wars Story Anthology series. After the Box Office Bomb of Solo killed any plans for further anthology films at the time, it was retooled into a Mini Series instead for the Disney+ platform.
- The series was meant to begin filming in 2020, but the scripts were purportedly delayed due to them being too similar to The Mandalorian. Production was further halted due to the COVID-19 epidemic, leading to the show being pushed back.
Animated TV Shows
- As implied by the ending, Dave Filoni intended to make a sequel series about the search for Ezra. He wasn't able to get it off the ground, but the planned story was absorbed into Ahsoka.
- Tam was supposed to be a background mechanic, but the crew loved her character design so much that she became a member of Team Fireball.
- Synara San, one of Kragan's pirates and a recurring character, was conceptualized as both a Weequay and a green-skinned Mirialan, before they decided to keep her Mirialan but make her the first purple-skinned member of the species.
- CB-23 was originally named BB-23, but they thought that having two droids named "BB" in the same episode would be too confusing, so she was renamed as a nod to Carrie Beck from the Story Group.
- Flix's species, the Gozzo, were originally called the "Juzzums" as a nod to the Yuzzums developed for Return of the Jedi.
- Liam McIntyre originally gave Commander Pyre an English accent as with other Imperial and First Order characters, but was told to use an American accent.
- According to Sumalee Montano, Agent Tierny's name was different on the audition scripts, but that may have been to prevent spoiler leaks.
- "The Children from Tehar":
- The episode was originally listed as "The Runaways".
- After Kaz and Neeku hear about the runaway kids, there were scenes of them asking around the Colossus about any sightings of the kids, such as going to Flix and Orka's and the Admissions Office. Since this didn't add anything and slowed down the episode, it was cut.
- The Ugnaught merchant that Kel and Eila steal food from was originally supposed to be a recurring character.
- "The Platform Classic": Han Solo was originally considered as the famous racer who came to the Colossus to compete in the race, given his known involvement with racing in other canon works. They eventually decided to make the racer Yeager's brother both so that the story was more personal, and because they were concerned that Han's presence would overshadow all the other characters.
- "Dangerous Business" was originally going to have Team Fireball working on repairing Bo Keevil's Yellow Ace.
- Originally, Commander Pyre was going to question Tam.
- Tierny was an admiral in the first draft, before they turned her into a security agent for the second.
- The scene where the pirates intercept Kaz's message was originally at the end of the episode, but was moved to immediately after the message is sent out, feeling that ending the episode with Kaz's resolve instead was stronger.
- "No Escape, Part II":
- In an early cut, there was a scene with Recurring Extra Garma where Kaz ran into her during the corridor-flooding sequences, and she pinched his cheek and called him "an adventurous one".
- Originally, Aunt Z and Hype's return was unheralded, before they decided to better set it up by having Neeku receive a transmission from her.
- When Captain Doza frees the Aces, the original version of the scene had Griff working out by doing pull-ups, and Freya complaining about him, saying "Do you know what it's like to be stuck in a cell with Griff for three days?"
- "Into the Unknown":
- The episode originally started with Kaz in the marketplace weathering complaints from concerned citizens who blamed him for the situation. Later drafts started with Bucket and CB watching the hyperspace tunnel. Not until the final edit did the episode open with the First Order at Castilon, a scene that was originally placed later in the episode.
- The scene where Kaz bumps into Opeepit in zero-G was originally conceived as him colliding with Bolza Grool, who was trying to round up a bunch of free-floating gorgs.
- "A Quick Salvage Run":
- At one point, Kaz and the pirates were going to fight off First Order sentry droids in the wreckage of the dreadnought.
- In an early version of the episode, Neeku was going to say that his ideas about pirates came from him hearing stories about them robbing the rich and giving to the poor.
- An extra obstacle of the coaxium cartridge not fitting into the Colossus' fuel chamber was cut to save time in the third act, which was already very fast-paced.
- "Live Fire":
- Lieutenant Galek's name was "Jimes" in an earlier version of the script.
- Earlier versions of the story had some of Aunt Z's patrons betting on the outcome of the training missions, with Neeku involved.
- The jakoosk was known simply as the "ice creature" in early development. At one point it was a thranta, a creature based on old Ralph McQuarrie designs, before evolving into something scarier and uglier. Before it was finally named the jakoosk, it was briefly named an "ice brith".
- "Hunt on Celsor 3":
- A joke where Bolza Grool mentioned he was out of gorgs, leading to Flix and Orka hiding their pet Bitey, was cut.
- An early draft had Kaz buying the blaster cannon from Flix and Orka using Torra's money since he's always broke, before it was simplified to a project abandoned by Tam.
- One cut gag was that jakoosk meat actually tasted terrible, although Bolza Grool enjoyed it. They decided to allow the Colossus a gastronomic victory instead.
- "The Engineer":
- In an early cut of the episode, Neeku accompanied Kaz and Synara when they went out to Nena's ship, and Neeku would have been dumbstruck on first seeing her.
- Kaz was originally going to run into Gork the Gamorrean when he was sneaking around in the pirates' hangar, and Synara would come to the rescue by punching Gork out cold, but then demand to know what Kaz was up to.
- The episode originally ended with Kaz asking Neeku about bantha herding, leading to Neeku going on about it at great length.
- "From Beneath":
- The earliest outline began with the Colossus running out of fuel and getting stranded in the Tammuz sector, which prompted the mission to Drahgor III.
- In an early version, the elevator fell not because of rubble falling on it, but because of Orka sneezing.
- The earliest cut had Flix singing about his dream of becoming a cantina singer, instead of just saving the story for another time.
- "The Relic Raiders": Mika was originally going to explain that the relic was a powerful weapon that belonged to an ancient Sith Lord.
- "Rendezvous Point":
- In an early version of the episode, Tam would have been piloting the TIE fighter that was chasing Kaz in the opening battle. And later, Tam and Rucklin would have been the ones to disable Venisa's X-Wing.
- Venisa's astromech droid was named "Scorch" in the earliest outlines, before the name was eventually changed to Torch.
- "The Voxx Vortex 5000":
- Vranki was originally named "Janki". He was also originally going to wear a hat before it was changed to a Lando-style cape.
- Concepts for the sole patron at the casino included having her be a Gilliand or a Lasat (one of which looks identical to Chava).
- "Kaz's Curse":
- Originally, Hassk pirate Vusk was the one who put the curse on Kaz, before they changed it to Leoz the Nikto.
- Earlier scripts called the curse the "Curse of Mavala" or the "Curse of Aka Du". One version of the story had the curse definitely be real, but Mika found it easier to remove if she let Kaz think it was fake.
- The talisman was at one point said to be something Mika found on Mimban. Another version of the story had it be a doll that Eila was missing.
- "Station to Station":
- The Titan was originally going to have the exact same geometry and layout as the Colossus, but there was some concern that it would be too confusing during the actual episode, so it was changed to a distinct First Order version to keep the ships similar, but still unique.
- An early version of the story had Kaz having to butter up Hux and appeal to his ego to get past him during their early encounter. However, a slow, seething anger related to the Hosnian Cataclysm was deemed to be more appropriate.