Star Wars is a phenomenon that still continues to this very day, despite the fact that the original film released decades ago. When the first movie hit cinemas, no one could have expected the explosive popularity that would follow, or the endless amount of iconography that would be ingrained in pop culture for eternity.
Things like “use the Force,” lightsabers, Darth Vader’s menacing look, and more have left a cultural footprint so large that even people who have never seen any entry in the series (yes, they actually do exist) still know and understand the references. What makes this so ironic, however, is just how many beloved moments, characters, and sequences went through a truly ridiculous amount of changes before they reached movie theaters.
The original film was notorious for its extensive rewrites and nearly unreadable drafts, but this was a problem that plagued nearly every entry that followed it, as well.
Today, we’re counting down 25 Amazing Things Deleted From Star Wars (That Would Have Changed Everything), and we’re not kidding when we say that almost of these would have changed absolutely everything we know and love about the franchise. Get ready for iconic moments being tossed to the wind, troubling character developments, shattered familial links, entirely different perceptions of the force, and major plot-points being warped into something utterly unrecognizable.
We’re sticking mainly with the original trilogy for these, considering the sheer amount of story and character alterations, but we’re also going to hit on one particular scrapped element from the prequels. With all that said, let’s get started!
25 Han Was An Alien
Can you imagine Luke and Obi-Wan battering for passage in the cantina with anyone other than a smug Harrison Ford and his Wookie companion? No? Well, you better sit down, since an earlier draft called for Han Solo to be a non-human.
Part of a race known as the Ureallians, the original look for Solo was that of a big green, lizard-like thing.
While their personalities would have been similar, it’s hard to imagine not seeing Ford’s face as the iconic smuggler.
24 The "Kaiburr" Crystal
Long before the Empire sought out Kyber crystals for their superweapon, and long before Kyber crystals were merely the power source of Jedi lightsabers, there was the Kaiburr Crystal, an ancient relic that had a strong connection to the Force.
Having even a sliver of this crystal could dramatically enhance a user’s Force powers, to the point where they could achieve unheard of powers.
This version of the crystal was from George Lucas’ original vision for Star Wars, but also made an appearance in the would-be Empire, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.
23 Luke And Leia Weren't Siblings
When Luke discovers that Leia is his sister, it makes for an incredibly awkward moment considering certain kisses and a budding romance, but their status as family wasn’t always part of the plan.
The aforementioned Splinter of the Mind’s Eye is a novel that was based on an unproduced script which would have served as the sequel to Star Wars if it wasn’t the roaring success that it was. In it, Luke and Leia’s romantic inklings are at the forefront, and it makes for an extremely weird read.
22 ... But He Did Have A Sister
Despite the fact that Luke and Leia weren’t siblings in the original concepts and drafts, Yoda was still right when he said there was “another.”
Luke did have a sibling, it just wasn’t Leia.
Her name was Nellith Skywalker, and she would have been trained while Luke was with Yoda. Unfortunately, that’s about as much information that exists regarding this character or her plot, but it’s still interesting to see what the sibling concept evolved from, and how we ended up with the much better (but more awkward) relationship of the final film.
21 Darth Vader Without The Iconography
Darth Vader made a major statement when he first appeared to audiences during the initial run of Star Wars. This tall, imposing, cloaked figure, clad in black armor with an emotionless and spooky helmet became one of the most iconic villains in film history, and even beyond.
Yet, believe it or not, he was originally designed without the helmet that would be a pop culture phenomenon. Instead, the helmet was added by concept artist Ralph McQuarrie after he became concerned about how Vader would travel from ship to ship in the vacuum of space.
20 The Incredibly Bizarre And Complicated Terminology
Star Wars is no stranger to unusual terms, like the names of alien races, or titles such as Sith, Jedi, and Padawan. Those are so easy to learn because they are all short, sweet and have a nice flow.
It wasn’t always like this, though. No, the original draft was far more wordy and exponentially more terrible.
Jedi-Bendu, for one, is a pain to say, one of the original titles of the film shows just how far gone George Lucas was: “The Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as Taken From the Journal of the Whills, Saga 1: The Star Wars.”
19 Endor Was The Wookie Homeworld
One of the most despised parts in the Star Wars franchise (before the prequels, revisions and The Last Jedi made people forget all about it, of course) were the Ewoks during the Battle of Endor.
Believe it or not, we weren’t supposed to have Ewoks on Endor. Instead, we were meant to see Wookies.
Endor was intended as the homeworld of Chewie’s people, but Lucas eventually replaced them as he wanted the battle to be primitive tech versus Imperial might, and the Wookies would be far too advanced.
18 Chancellor Valorum Or Prince Valorum?
Valorum was the Prime Chancellor before Palpatine’s rise to the position and was one of the final stepping stones in his bid for unlimited power.
After that, he essentially became a mere footnote in history, if even that.
However, in one of the bonkers early drafts of Star Wars, he was known as Prince Valorum, who would have been a masked Sith Knight, with Darth Vader as his underling. It’s absolutely crazy to consider that the most iconic villain in film history was once intended to be a lackey of someone who would end up incredibly lame.
17 Boba Fett Was No Bounty Hunter
Boba Fett’s debut in The Empire Strikes Back struck a chord with countless fans and, despite him having few lines and almost no importance, he has remained a fan favorite bounty hunter for decades.
He wasn’t always a bounty hunter though. Instead, he was a “Supertrooper.”
His look was designed to be a far more advanced version of a Stormtrooper (hence why his original look was all white) and he was set to be part of a five-man squad of “supertroopers,” but that was it for the fan-favorite.
16 Luke's Last Name
It’s common knowledge by now, but “Skywalker” wasn’t the original surname for Luke. Instead, it was originally intended to be the far more sinister-sounding “Starkiller.” Of course, George Lucas changed it up (and rightfully so), but the name went on to be the name of the protagonist in the woefully overrated video game, The Force Unleashed.
That said, we can’t help but feel that a name as cool as Starkiller should’ve been reserved for someone far greater than the dweeb you played as, and definitely applied to a Death Star rip-off, either.
15 Han Solo's Original Demise
It’s no secret that Harrison Ford desperately wanted Han Solo to perish in Return of the Jedi.
Ford, along with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, had hoped that the beloved character’s sacrifice would add more drama and emotional impact to the then-final chapter of the trilogy, but this simply wasn’t meant to be.
While Solo would eventually meet his end in The Force Awakens, George refused to do it in ROTJ because there “wouldn’t be a future” in Han Solo toys if Han Solo was no more.
14 Lightsabers Needed To Be Charged
Lightsabers are the first weapon anyone thinks of when they hear the words “Star Wars.”
These iconic beams of light and the epic sword duels between their wielders are some of the franchise’s most famous sequences, but these awesome weapons used to have a battery that needed charging. In the bonkers novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, Luke was wary of his lightsaber losing its power, and also took measures to recharge it.
While this concept might still exist in canon, it’s debatable, as we’ve never really seen it happen explicitly.
13 Jabba, The Wonderful Human Being
Jabba the Hutt wasn’t always a large, mucus-covered slug. In fact, he used to be a fur-wearing, rotund human. In the original version of the 1977 film, Jabba’s human form chatted with Han outside the Millenium Falcon.
While that particular version of the scene was cut, it would later be added back in, with an awful-looking digital Jabba to replace the non-slug actor. So Han was right after all: Jabba really was a wonderful human being. Or maybe just a human being.
12 Mace Windu In A New Hope
We already mentioned one of the wordy and awkward titles George Lucas had in mind for his space opera, but they pale in comparison to the opening of one draft, which read “The Story of Mace Windu: a revered Jedi-Bendu of Ophuchi who was related to Usby CJ Thape, Padawaan learner to the famed Jedi…”
While that sentence is nonsense incarnate, it’s crazy to see that Mace Windu was the star.
Years before Samuel L. Jackson would demand a purple lightsaber in order to prematurely end parties, some prototype of this character was a revered Jedi-Bendu of Ophuchi.
11 The Empire's True Homeworld
Modern fans know that Coruscant, the city-covered planet, is the center of the galaxy, and home to the Emperor, but the original draft of Return of the Jedi had a much different vision for the capital of darkness.
The world was known as Had Abbadon, and was to be the center of much of the action.
In fact, the climactic duel between Luke and Vader was meant to take place in a throne room seemingly in the heart of a volcano.
10 Wookies During The Battle Of Yavin
Wookies may have lost out on being part of the final battle on Endor, but they also missed out on partaking in the Battle of Yavin.
The planet was designed as a jungle, since it was originally intended as the Wookie homeworld.
They would be liberated and then join the squadrons to destroy the Death Star, but, alas, we’d never get to see this epic battle play out as originally conceived, but it can be seen in “The Star Wars,” a comic adaptation of the original versions of the screenplays.
9 Lightsabers Weren't Special
Not as clumsy or random as a blaster, the lightsaber was the iconic weapon of the Jedi Knight, who would wield it with precision and guidance from the Force.
Or, we dunno, maybe if you were just some random Stormtrooper, you could use one, too.
In some early drafts, and even pictured in some of Ralph McQuarrie’s artwork, lightsabers were commonplace and could be wielded by anyone. It’s jarring to consider that these refined weapons could have been as common as a blaster, so we’re glad this changed.
8 Luke Was Once A Battle-Hardened Warrior
When we think of Luke Skywalker, we often think of the whiny farmboy who simply wanted to go to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.
Then again, Luke definitely did become a lot cooler as the series progressed, and by the time Return of the Jedi rolled around, he was an imposing figure clad in black, force-choking Gamorrean guards and doing as he pleased.
In early drafts of Star Wars, Luke never had the angsty teen phase, and instead started off even cooler than his ROTJ self, specifically as a battle-hardened warrior, and one of the final Jedi-Bendu.
7 Many More Death Stars
The Star Wars arcade game, with its flashy vector graphics, had one goal: blow up as many Death Stars as possible.
Of course, those who have seen the films know that there are really only one and a half Death Stars (not counting Starkiller Base), but it turns out the arcade game was more accurate than you might think.
In Return of the Jedi’s original draft, the Empire’s capital world, Had Abbadon, would have had two of its own Death Stars orbiting it, which is pretty darn cool.
6 Darth Vader Wasn't Luke's Father
The revelation that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father is likely the greatest (and most well-known) plot twist in the history of cinema.
But believe it or not, Vader’s being Luke’s dear old dad wasn’t always the intention.
In a very early draft of the script for The Empire Strikes Back, Luke would meet up with the proto-Yoda, Minch, who would summon the ghosts of our dearly departed Ben Kenobi and also Luke’s dad. The ghostly patriarch would go on to explain to Luke that he had a sister, and would then help him complete his “Jedi oath.”
5 The Emperor Was Far Less Menacing
Emperor Palpatine is one of the most delightfully sinister villains to ever grace the silver screen. His gleeful menace coupled with his iconic cackle have cemented the demagogue as a fan favorite, but the original incarnation of the ruler of the Empire was vastly different.
Opting for something closer to blatant satire, the initial concept of the Emperor was that of a witless politician with no strength in the Force.
Consumed with delusions of grandeur, this Emperor would have been unwittingly controlled by the Imperial bureaucracy and wasn’t exactly a political or strategic genius.
4 R2-D2 Used To Speak
The iconic bleeps and bloops of astro-droids are nearly as iconic as the hum of a lightsaber, but fan-favorite R2-D2 used to speak quite plainly. Extremely plainly, actually.
Tossing aside the whistles and beeps, R2 would speak in complete sentences and was as wordy as C-3PO.
It’s almost entirely impossible to consider the stubby R2-D2 actually engaging in discernable banter with C-3PO and the others, but apparently, that was the case originally. That said, we’re glad that his speech patterns were mystified in the final version.
3 Darth Vader Used A Kamehameha
We’ve already mentioned just how off-the-rails the almost-was-Empire novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye is, but we’ve saved the best bit of this book for last. During a fateful duel between Luke and Vader during the climax, Vader is keen on showing Luke just how weak the boy’s powers in the Force are and opts for a demonstration that wouldn’t be out of place in Dragon Ball Z.
Vader charges up what is essentially a ki blast, and lobs it at Luke, who deflects it in the nick of time.
… to be honest, this is actually really cool.
2 The Ultra-Dark Ending Of Return Of The Jedi
The conclusion to ROTJ is immensely satisfying, with all plot threads being neatly tied up, concluding with a dank Ewok celebration, but George Lucas had a different ending in mind.
Lucas had told Kasdan that after Vader sacrificed himself to destroy the Emperor, Luke should remove his father’s helmet, but instead of having a heartfelt scene of redemption, Luke would don the mask and declare himself the new Vader, and then go on to personally destroy the Rebel Fleet and rule the universe.
Lawrence Kasdan immediately agreed, but Lucas said that it was too dark for a “kid’s movie.”
1 Darth Jar Jar
There’s a theory that Jar Jar Binks wasn’t meant to just be some bumbling idiot, but rather the true force behind the formation of the Empire, with the plan being abandoned due to negative reactions towards the character.
An evil Jar Jar sounds laughable… at first.
After watching the somewhat-serious documentary that shows off the “evidence,” though, it starts to make a lot of sense, with Jar Jar being some reversed version of Yoda. Then there’s Ahmed Best, the actor who played the role. When asked directly about this question, Ahmed said “there’s a lot about it that’s true.”