After 42 years and eight movies, Star Wars is still in the parent trap. While Rey and the fans continue to wonder who her parents really were (surely Kylo Ren was lying?), the whole world and possibly galaxy knows that Luke’s father was Anakin slash Vader. With hindsight, it appeared to be the most masterful sleight of hand at the time, shocking audiences even more than it did poor Luke. Back when the Original Trilogy was being made, however, the rediscovered first draft of Leigh Brackett’s script for The Empire Strikes Back reveals something startlingly different. Since it was apparently based on an outline by George Lucas, was he actually making things up as he went along?
In the original script, shared by StarWarz.com and attributed to Brackett, the scene where Luke and Yoda see the ghost of Obi-Wan (Ben) on Dagobah was originally substantially different. Not only was Yoda called ‘Minch’ and Luke’s sister was called ‘Nellith’, another ghost then appeared, called only ‘Skywalker.’ Some of the dialogue, including references to ‘Nellith’ and ‘Minch’ have already been crossed through, showing changes were underway.
EMPIRE STRIKES BACK ORIGINAL SCRIPT: Another half-ghostly form emerges from the mists; a tall fine-looking man who approaches Luke slowly, looking at him.
BEN: “Your father.”
LUKE: “My father.”
Even with his new-found maturity, Luke finds this an awesome, not to say shattering, moment. They look at each other.
SKYWALKER: “You’ve grown well, Luke. I’m proud of you.” (Luke, not knowing what to say, says nothing) “Proud, and afraid for you. You’re going into battle untried. Did your uncle ever speak to you about Nellith?
LUKE: “Nellith? No. Who is she?”
SKYWALKER: “Your sister.”
LUKE: “My sister? I have a sister? But why didn’t Uncle Owen…”
SKYWALKER: “It was my request. When I saw the Empire closing in, I sent you both away for your own safety, far apart from each other.”
LUKE: “Where is she? What’s her name?”
SKYWALKER: “If I were to tell you, Darth Vader could get that information from your mind and use her as a hostage. Not yet, Luke. When it’s time…”
The most immediately striking point is that Darth Vader and Skywalker (Luke’s father) are clearly different people. One is already a Force ghost while one is living.
This lines up with Obi-Wan’s famous comment in The Force Awakens that Vader killed Luke’s father. The filmmakers retconned this plothole by explaining Obi-Wan was speaking figuratively since Vader subsumed Anakin.
This script has been widely shared, analysed and scrutinised over the years. It was never officially recognised by Lucasfilm and Brackett herself sadly died back in 1978, making it impossible to verify, but she was still credited as a writer on The Empire Strikes Back, indicating some of her work was used in the final version.
If this script had made it to the screen, the entire Original Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy would have been changed beyond recognition. In fact, without that devastating shock reveal, it might never have achieved such iconic status in cinema history.
Published at Mon, 28 Jan 2019 00:11:00 +0000