Hey, don’t get mad at me for what the boss did Lando. I just drive the bus, mix the drinks and shoo the girls out before Belichick comes by.
Did you know that the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back had Lando Calrissian being a clone, as well as Vader not being Luke’s father and Yoda was called Minch?
I actually discovered this was looking up information on Star Wars Episode 2. According to The Wiki That Will Bring Balance To The Internet....
In writing The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas initially decided that Lando Calrissian was a clone and came from a planet of clones which caused the “Clone Wars” mentioned by Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope; he later came up with an alternate concept of an army of clone shocktroopers from a remote planet which were used by the Republic as an army in the war that followed.
I thought that was interesting so I started looking into further. Here is what Wikipedia had on the writing process for ESB.
Lucas hired science fiction author Leigh Brackett to write Star Wars II with him. They held story conferences and, by late November 1977, Lucas had produced a handwritten treatment called The Empire Strikes Back. The treatment is similar to the final film, except that Darth Vader does not reveal he is Luke’s father. In the first draft that Brackett would write from this, Luke’s father appears as a ghost to instruct Luke.
Brackett finished her first draft in early 1978; Lucas has said he was disappointed with it, but before he could discuss it with her, she died of cancer. With no writer available, Lucas had to write his next draft himself. It was this draft in which Lucas first made use of the “Episode” numbering for the films; Empire Strikes Back was listed as Episode II. As Michael Kaminski argues in The Secret History of Star Wars, the disappointment with the first draft probably made Lucas consider different directions in which to take the story. He made use of a new plot twist: Darth Vader claims to be Luke’s father. According to Lucas, he found this draft enjoyable to write, as opposed to the yearlong struggles writing the first film, and quickly wrote two more drafts,both in April 1978. He also took the script to a darker extreme by having Han Solo imprisoned in carbonite and left in limbo.
This new story point of Darth Vader being Luke’s father had drastic effects on the series. Michael Kaminski argues in his book that it is unlikely that the plot point had ever seriously been considered or even conceived of before 1978, and that the first film was clearly operating under an alternate storyline where Vader was separate from Luke’s father; there is not a single reference to this plot point before 1978. After writing the second and third drafts of Empire Strikes Back in which the point was introduced, Lucas reviewed the new backstory he had created: Anakin Skywalker was Ben Kenobi’s brilliant student and had a child named Luke, but was swayed to the dark side by Emperor Palpatine (who became a Sith and not simply a politician). Anakin battled Ben Kenobi on the site of a volcano and was wounded, but then resurrected as Darth Vader. Meanwhile, Kenobi hid Luke on Tatooine while the Republic became the Empire and Vader systematically hunted down and killed the Jedi.
With this new backstory in place, Lucas decided that the series would be a trilogy, changing Empire Strikes Back from Episode II to Episode V in the next draft. Lawrence Kasdan, who had just completed writing Raiders of the Lost Ark, was then hired to write the next drafts, and was given additional input from director Irvin Kershner. Kasdan, Kershner, and producer Gary Kurtz saw the film as a more serious and adult film, which was helped by the new, darker storyline, and developed the series from the light adventure roots of the first film.
Leigh Brackett was a very interesting woman, and I will be doing a FOTD post on her. I found some interesting stuff during my research. But for the sake of brevity i’ll save that for another article. If you want to learn more I recommend this article from from May of 2013 Charlie Jane Anders wrote for the mainpage.
But back to Star Wars. As written above, Leigh died from cancer before Lucas could get back to her with feedback on the script. The script itself appeared online in 2010, reportadly without Lucas’s approval. The mainpage did a rundown on some of the differences, which they got from a Crave Online article.
A few interesting notes from Crave Online.
Among the concepts omitted after Brackett’s script but which appear in the ensuing films is the Imperial city planet. Known in this script as Ton Muund, in early drafts of Return of the Jedi it is Had Abbadon, and ultimately it’s featured in the prequels as Coruscant.
At another point in Brackett’s script, Lando admits to being a clone, and that his family were refugees of the Clone Wars. He further explains that his great-grandfather was cloned because he wanted sons. Again, perhaps this is only a coincidence, but it seems reminiscent of Jango Fett agreeing to be cloned so that he could have a son.
Geeks Of Doom had an article on the script as well which highlighted a few more interesting notes.
- While Luke is in sick bay, he describes the snow creatures that attacked him (what becomes the Wampas); Commander Willard asks him if he thinks these snow creatures pose a threat to the Rebel base, and as it turns out, they are attacking it at that very moment! There’s no sexual-tension exchange between Han and Leia. And Leia doesn’t plant that incestuous kiss on Luke… just then, but when she returns to visit him later on, the script says that we see them “in the midst of a tentative, and very tender love scene.” Ooh!
Dagobah is referred to as the Bog planet and Luke is comatose as he approaches it, thanks to Vader Force-choking him from afar. There he meets a “frog-like” creature named Minch (Yoda). Bog was a training center for young Jedi, and that’s where Obi-Wan trained. Later on, Minch demonstrates a Jedi duel, calling upon Obi-Wan (“By the Force, I call you!” Minch says, summoning Obi-Wan) to be his opponent.
Obi-Wan brings Luke’s father with him, who is called Skywalker in the script but dosen’t have a first name. In this version Luke’s father and Darth Vader are not the same person.
The websites i sourced have a few highlights but i recommend reading the script itself. It’s available online easily enough, and there doesn’t seem to be any issues with legalities. While Lucas may not have supported it being released, they don’t appear to have fought it legally. I recommend finding it and checking it out. It has a much different feel to what the movie became, not necessarily better but different. A simple search for Brackett and Empire Strikes Back PDF will get it. And with that, I will close out today’s article. I hope you all found it interesting, and I will see you tomorrow for another Fact Of The Day.
Fact Of The Day is the daily column where RobGronkowski’sPartyBusDriver shares some random tidbit of science fiction, fantasy or horror knowledge. If there is a show or movie you would like to see done, leave a note in the comments below. You can see the full archive of past columns here.
9. Bouzereau 1997, p. 196.
10. Kaminski 2007b, p. 158.
11. Kaminski 2007b, p. 162.
- Kaminski, Michael (2007). “The Secret History of Star Wars”.Kaminski, Michael (2007b). “The Secret History of Star Wars”. v3.0.
- Bouzereau, Laurent (1997). The Annotated Screenplays. Del Rey. ISBN 0-345-40981-7. OCLC 37691005.
The Secret History Of Star Wars goes to a Japanese website that from what I can tell has nothing to do with Star Wars. I am including the link for thoroughness. When i search I find a book with that name by Michael Kaminski.
18. Biodrowski, Steve. “Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – Then And Now”. Hollywood Gothique. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
19. Bouzereau 1997, p. 144.
20. Bouzereau 1997, p. 135.
21. Kaminski 2007, p. 161.
22. Bouzereau 1997, p. 123
24. Kaminski 2007, pp. 120–21.
25. Kaminski 2007, pp. 164–65.
26. Kaminski 2007, p. 178.