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What Could Have Been / Star Wars

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Original concept art for A New Hope


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The Franchise

George Lucas envisioned a grand universe for the Star Wars franchise, but not all of his ideas made it to the big screen:
  • 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.
  • The first two drafts of the screenplay apparently ripped off Flash Gordon and Frank Herbert's Dune, respectively. Lucas had to rework the draft several times when the rights holders (King Features and Herbert) balked. Even then, Herbert tried to sue because (if you read the book) they're still similar, but he relented when the film became a hit in its own right.
  • Lucas then turned to the films of Akira Kurosawa for inspiration, and wrote a script that was pretty much a remake of The Hidden FortressIN 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. Due to Lucas's burnout by the time of Return of the Jedi, he killed two birds by just making Leia the other Skywalker.
  • 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.
  • Lucas originally planned for Vader and Boba Fett to be brothers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Lucasfilm considered making an Obi-Wan Kenobi solo movie set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. However, Lucasfilm instead decided to turn the movie into a mini-series for Disney+ with Ewan McGregor reprising his role.
  • 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. Ford actually started out as just reading Han’s lines for the Luke auditions, still considering himself primarily a carpenter who only dabbled in acting, but Lucas ended up liking him so much in the role that he got it for real.
    Pacino: I remember not understanding the script. I was in The Godfather and they didn’t care if I was right or wrong for the role or if I could act or not act.
  • Jodie Foster was originally offered to portray Princess Leia, but she turned it down due to scheduling commitments to Taxi Driver. Sissy Spacek auditioned, as Lucas and Brian De Palma were holding joint auditions for Star Wars and Carrie (1976).
  • Mel Blanc and Stan Freberg were considered for the role of C-3PO before the casting of Anthony Daniels.
  • Richard Kiel and Pat Roach were considered for Darth Vader.
  • 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 very first treatment of what we now know and love as A New Hope, The Journal of the Whills, 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. 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 earlier version of the script was called Episode IV: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker as taken from the Journal of the Whills (from this interview).
  • 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 brought back from the first draft script, where it had actually belonged to the Obi-Wan-like mentor character (the young hero, meanwhile, had been called "Annikin Starkiller"). 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 first three drafts all featured an elderly character who was a cyborg, with only their head and right arm remaining organic — they would dramatically reveal this by smashing their left arm open in anger. In the first draft it was Kane Starkiller, father of the young hero Annikin. In the second draft it was Montross. In the third draft it was Ben Kenobi. The premise of a cyborg main character would later be recycled in a slightly different form, with Darth Vader.
  • The first draft was about twice as long as the finished film, and contained a lot of elements that would be recycled in later movies — for example, the last act would take place on the jungle planet Yavin, which would be the home planet of the Wookiees (originally envisioned as smaller, with heads like that of "giant bushbabies", and not technologically capable), who would end up fighting the Empire alongside our heroes. The second draft was a substantial rewrite which cut all this out, but Lucas still wanted a Wookiee in the movie, so he created Chewbacca, a Wookiee co-pilot who was familiar with technology. For Jedi, Lucas brought back his idea of a low technology race fighting the Empire — but in place of the Wookiees, he invented the Ewoks. (A giant battle with Wookiees on their home planet Kashyyyk finally made it to screen in Revenge of the Sith.)
  • While the first draft of the script had a wildly different plot from the finished film, the second draft was recognizably similar but still had significant differences. Luke was the third-youngest son of "the Starkiller", the ancient Jedi leader of the Rebellion; he left his (happy) home with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru to rescue his elder brother Deak from the Empire, and to bring the Kiber Crystal to his ailing father. Han was younger, and was actually the cabin boy on a pirate starship: he stole the ship by rigging it so it appeared to be about to explode and letting the rest of the crew evacuate themselves. He and Chewbacca were also accompanied by an older science officer named Montross. Threepio would've joined Luke and Artoo in the attack run on the Death Star.
  • In the second draft, Lucas was concerned that there weren't any major female characters, as Leia's place in the final film was filled by Luke's older brother Deak, and a character named "Leia" had only made a small appearance as Owen and Beru's daughter. He considered changing Luke to a girl (presumably named Leia) and making Han her love interest.
  • We could have seen Cloud City one movie early: it featured prominently in the first three drafts of the script. In the first draft, it was the capital city of the Empire. In the second and third drafts, it was a giant prison complex which essentially took the place of the whole sequence on the Death Star in the middle of the final film — except that rather than being captured with a tractor beam, Han would have willingly agreed to go there on a rescue mission purely to get the reward money. In fact, we wouldn't have even seen the Death Star on-screen until the Rebels' attack run. (Incidentally, the name of the gas giant on which Cloud City was located was actually "Alderaan"; the world destroyed by the Death Star was called "Ogana Major", then "Organa Major".)
  • The Kyber Crystal — a crystal which amplifies the power of the Force in its bearer — was a major part of the plot in the second and third draft scripts. In the third draft, 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 film this was replaced by him deactivating a tractor beam holding the ship.
  • In the draft of 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.
  • A version featured a cast made entirely of robots.
  • 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.
  • 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 drafts 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.
  • Early drafts had Han Solo as a "hulking green alien" before he was turned into a lovable rogue and Harrison Ford came along. And Chewbacca was his wife!
  • 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.
  • The incident in the cantina was originally going to be much more gruesome, with Ponda Baba/Walrusman not only having his arm severed by Obi-Wan’s lightsaber but also getting beheaded. Unused footage exists of the severed head moving around on the floor of the cantina.
  • 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.
  • 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 45 minutes before Luke takes the shot.
    • In the original version of the film, 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.
  • In a later draft, Han and Chewbacca don't actually have a ship when they agree to fly Ben and Luke to Alderaan. They steal the Falcon just before the passengers arrive. Much of Han's dialogue bragging about how great his ship is actually comes from this draft where he's much more obviously scamming them.
  • Obi-Wan was originally going to survive the duel with Vader on the Death Star. George Lucas changed this when he considered that the character would have had little to do for the remainder of the movie, so he decided that a Heroic Sacrifice would be a more meaningful and interesting way to progress the story. Yoda was created as a result, in order to have someone train Luke.
  • The addition of Obi-Wan's death in the movie was to give the Empire more menace. After previous drafts which included some scenes of extreme violence against the Rebels and the (potential) rape of Leia by the Empire's men — Darth Vader was not always intended to be the scarred, half-man/half-machine being who was also Luke and Leia's father — Lucas did not want the film to do as bad as his then-rated PG (now R) THX 1138. Having taken out the sexual violence and more brutal war violence in subsequent drafts, the Empire seemed very weak and was left with egg on its face as the heroes outwitted and escaped them. Putting Obi-Wan's death in gave Vader and the Death Star more status and power — bringing the stakes back up.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    The Empire Strikes Back 
  • 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.
  • In Leigh Brackett's initial script draft, Vader is explicitly not Luke's father; Anakin appears to Luke on Dagobah as a Force Ghost, alongside Obi-Wan. As well, it's revealed that Luke has a twin sister: not Leia, but someone else called Nellith. She's mentioned but never seen, in what was intended as a Sequel Hook for later episodes (note the plural). This was probably what Lucas had in mind when he inserted the "there is another" line. Then Brackett died, and the filming on Empire was so chaotic that Lucas decided to wrap up the saga with only one more film, which led him to make the "other" into somebody we already knew and turn Vader into Anakin (while also developing backstory that would later inspire the prequels).
  • If you want to see what a second film would have been without Han Solo, Alan Dean Foster was commissioned to write a novel that the second film could have been: Splinter of the Mind's Eye [1].
  • 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.
  • The 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.
  • In one draft, there was no trip to Dagobah, and no Yoda. The Force would have been something anyone could tap into.
  • Yoda was initially conceived as a large alien before the production team settled for making him the small, elf-like creature everyone knows and loves; some of the original concept art for him were like original this. (Rumoredly, he was going to be played by a trained monkey at some point.) He was also originally named Minch, who dueled Obi-Wan's ghost.
  • One of the first ideas for Lando Calrissian was to have him as a clone who survived the Clone Wars who leads legions of clones on a planet they settled on. Another idea had Lando as the descendant of survivors of the Clone Wars, born into a family who reproduced solely by cloning. Originally, his name was "Lando Kadar".
  • 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.
  • Emperor Palpatine's original concept was a ruler named Cos Dashit (Da shit, huh?), which would be a Puppet King who got into his position thanks to Vader and Tarkin. It was changed so late into the game that the novelization of A New Hope used this characteristic. Eventually, by Jedi, or at the very least Empire, it was made very clear that Palpatine was not a Puppet King, and certainly not an Anti-Climax Boss.
  • Lucas originally wanted Jim Henson to play Yoda (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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Return of the Jedi 
  • Richard Marquand suggested having a well-known British stage actor play the unmasked Anakin Skywalker, such as Laurence Olivier or John Gielgud.
  • Alan Rickman auditioned for the role of Moff Jerjerrod.
  • Sir Ben Kingsley was considered for the role of Emperor Palpatine.
  • 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 having credits in the opening at all — the DGA let the infraction slide on A New Hope as they, as most of Hollywood, thought the film would tank). 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.
    • 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. note  Verhoeven would later go on to make it big in the sci-fi industry, though 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.
  • The original title of the film would have been "Revenge of the Jedi", but this was changed when Lucas (after consulting with his producers) realized that Jedi were above the concept of revenge. This lasted long enough for some posters to be made with the title, which are now one of the franchise’s 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 die at the end to give the ending "a little extra weight", but Lucas vetoed the idea because he wanted the story to end on a much happier note.
  • In Lucas' initial plans, 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, apparently between Empire and Jedi, 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 the story 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. She 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.
  • In the original script, Owen Lars was Obi-Wan's brother. This was cut, and Attack of the Clones would reveal that Owen was Anakin's (step)brother.
  • Mark Hamill said in 2018 that he had an idea of Boba Fett being Luke's mother, making it a case of Samus Is a Girl, but Lucas didn't like it.
  • Originally, Yoda was not in the script. He was added when Lucas determined him best to properly confirm to Luke as to whether Vader was his father or not.
  • The original plan for "native allies on Endor" was not Ewoks, but instead a band of escaped Wookiee slaves. But Lucas wanted the battle to be fought "old school" with bows and arrows and Wookiees had advanced technology.note  So he 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. Some had a more pug-like face and would not be mistaken for a teddy bear.
  • In another draft, Admiral Ackbar was described as being pale blue.
  • 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.
  • An early draft featured General Maximilian Veers, returning from Empire Strikes Back, commanding the Had Abbadon garrison and personally leading the battle on the moon.
  • In the final battle, Ben Kenobi and Yoda would appear alive and physical, and would taunt the Emperor, with Ben being struck by the Emperor's lightning instead of Vader. 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.
  • 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. Lando might have died with the ship.
  • 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). 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.


The Prequel Trilogy

    The Phantom Menace 
  • Vin Diesel, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Kyle MacLachlan, Kurt Russell, and Denzel Washington were considered for the role of Qui-Gon Jinn before the casting of Liam Neeson.
  • Kenneth Branagh, Hugh Jackman, and Tim Roth were considered for the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi before Ewan McGregor was cast.
  • Haley Joel Osment 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.
  • Tupac Shakur was interested in having a part in the film, and according to a sound engineer that worked with him, he 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.
  • Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Zemeckis were approached to direct the film before George Lucas was hired. Howard would eventually go on to direct Solo.
  • 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. This has been considered one of the several possible hints of the popular Darth Jar Jar theory.
  • 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!).

    Attack of the Clones 
  • Leonardo DiCaprio was originally selected to portray Anakin Skywalker, but he turned down the offer due to scheduling conflicts with Catch Me If You Can and his fears of committing to a large, multi-movie franchise. Christian Bale, Misha Collins, Charlie Hunnam, Heath Ledger, Ryan Phillippe, Paul Walker and James Van Der Beek were also considered.
  • Terence Stamp was wanted to reprise his role as (Ex-)Chancellor Valorum in a cameo, but it was dropped when Stamp declined due to his poor 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.
  • According to Ahmed Best, Jar Jar Binks was going to play a fairly big role in the film before fan backlash against the character forced Lucas to bury him. Even after this was done, Jar Jar 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, Jar Jar 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, with Best claiming there was a deleted scene where Jar Jar acted as a sort of confident to Palpatine (fueling again speculations about the mentioned Darth Jar Jar).
  • 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 proposed script from 1983.
  • Ahmed Best has stated that Palpatine was going to mockingly thank Jar Jar Binks for granting him the emergency powers in the first place before crowning himself emperor. Best also wanted Jar Jar to die in the film so that he'd be given a dramatic send-off, but Lucas vetoed it.
  • 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. The end result, unfortunately, left Anakin's turn to the Dark Side feeling jarringly rushed when it actually happened.
  • 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 plan 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 rumoured 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 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.
  • If Shaak Ti's death by Grievous had made it in, Tsui Choi from Dark Horse's Star Wars comics would've been shown taking her place on the Jedi Council. The idea was dropped after the scene was cut, but 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 bit of a scrap in the office 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, Billie Lourd, Elizabeth Olsen, Saoirse Ronan, Evan Rachel Wood and Shailene Woodley, were considered to portray Rey before Daisy Ridley was cast. Olsen declined to audition because she already had a contract with Marvel Studios as Wanda Maximoff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Ray Fisher, Jesse Plemons, Ed Speleers and Matthew James Thomas were the final contenders to play Finn before the casting of John Boyega.
  • Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James McAvoy were considered for the part 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 and Hugo Weaving were considered for the part of Kylo Ren before the casting of Adam Driver.
    • Eddie Redmayne auditioned for the role of Kylo Ren as well. However, Redmayne believed he blew it by doing a bunch of weird voices akin to his part in Jupiter Ascending when he learned the role was a villain.
  • Jon Stewart was offered a cameo as a stormtrooper, but turned it down because he didn't want to play a villain.
  • Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Nolan, Joss Whedon, Peter Jackson, Ben Affleck, Matthew Vaughn and Brad Bird were reportedly approached to direct the movie before J. J. Abrams was hired after a recommendation from Steven Spielberg to the producers. Vaughn initially accepted and vacated his place in X-Men: Days of Future Past for it, but he eventually left the project due to Creative Differences over the level of violence in the film and the casting of the female lead. For his part, 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.

    The Last Jedi 
  • Olivia Cooke, Tatiana Maslany, Gugu Mbatha Raw, Gina Rodriguez, were considered for Rose Tico before Kelly Marie Tran was cast. Maslany previously auditioned for the role of Jyn Erso in Rogue One.
  • Joaquin Phoenix was approached to play 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 Hopebut 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".

    Duel of the Fates 
  • Colin Trevorrow was originally going to direct Episode IX, which would have been titled Star Wars: Duel of the Fates, but he left under vaguely explained Creative Differences (some sources indicate that he needed The Last Jedi to kill off Leia but Rian Johnson refused), and possibly due to the Box Office Bomb of The Book of Henry.
  • 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.
  • In addition to the above, Trevorrow's original script concept would've been darker. Kylo is the Big Bad and doesn't seek redemption as Ben, 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 and uprising would also 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
    • 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.

Spin-Off Films

    Rogue One 
  • Tatiana Maslany and the Mara sisters (Rooney and Kate) screen-tested for the part of Jyn Erso before Felicity Jones was cast.
  • Sam Claflin, Aaron Paul and Édgar Ramírez were considered to portray Cassian Andor before Diego Luna was cast.
  • 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 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 would’ve 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.
  • 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.

  • Scott Eastwood, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Blake Jenner, Logan Lerman and Miles Teller auditioned to portray Han Solo. Although Taron Egerton was eventually selected to play the title role, he was passed over for Alden Ehrenreich due to the fact that Egerton was already the lead in multiple franchise pictures and the Star Wars producers felt that he wouldn't be able to give the role the time and focus they wanted.
    • Charlie Cox also lobbied to play Han, but was turned down as the producers feared that his tendency of not keeping eye contact, which was a trait that was required for his portrayal of a blind man in Daredevil (2015) would weaken the character portrayal.
  • Michael B. Jordan and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II were considered for Lando Calrissian before Donald Glover was cast.
  • Adria Arjona, Kiersey Clemons, Jessica Henwick, Zoë Kravitz, Naomi Scott and Tessa Thompson screen-tested to play Qi'ra before Emilia Clarke was cast.
  • Christian Bale was the second choice to portray Tobias Beckett before Woody Harrelson was selected.
  • 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 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.

Live-Action TV Shows

  • Ron Moore was going to serve as the head writer.
  • 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, as it 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.

    The Mandalorian 
  • 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.
  • The show runners considered doing Baby Yoda with CGI, until Werner Herzog got wind of it and chastised them as cowards for not using a puppet.

    Untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries 
  • 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 killing the franchise, it was retooled into a Mini Series instead for the Disney+ platform.


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