Star Wars is one of the most iconic and well-known film franchises of all time, and decades after the original film’s release, golden nuggets of lore and production information are still being discovered by historians and fans alike. A little while ago, actor Peter Mayhew — the original, iconic Chewbacca from Star Wars — had begun sharing pages from his original script and revealing story changes, behind the scenes additions, and much more.
This week, Mayhew’s post practically broke the internet while standing to show just how long the developmental process on films can be, and how quickly things can change. Mayhew has been sharing these pages in a lead-up to a major announcement, which remains a mystery. In his latest post, the “#chewscript” shows that Obi-Wan (“Ben”) Kenobi, portrayed by Sir Alec Guinness, was not meant to die during his battle with Darth Vader in an earlier cut of the script. Instead, the battle was supposed to end abruptly, with Luke Skywalker coming to his master’s aide just in time to escape the hangar.
The confrontation between the former Master and Padawan duo was actually supposed to last much longer, with particular athletics from Ben that may not have worked within the film’s limits. Ben was supposed to turn around at the last second and shut Vader into the access tunnel where they fought, seperating the two with amassive automatic door, before turning to face legions of stormtroopers. Luke, Han and Leia arrive just in time to get Ben onto the Falcon, and the group blasts away from Vader, who is now tracking their every move. What makes this particular bit of information both interesting and ironic is how it seems to parallel the idea that in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Poe Dameron was meant to die during the crash on Jakku. Actor Oscar Isaac asked if that could change, and Poe went on to become a wildly popular character.
On the flip side, Obi-Wan was meant to live and continue training Luke after their first confrontation with Vader. Other interesting bits of info include the fact that the word ‘Sith’ had been in play so early in scripting, and that this confrontation would have been the first time Luke wielded his lightsaber in front of the Imperials. Mayhew’s scripts have been an interesting look at Star Wars in development; ideas that were scrapped and insight on why are there for the hungry film nerd to collect, along with a great look at the original images (though script description) that Lucas had in mind for what would eventually be known as Star Wars: A New Hope.
As for the script reveal itself, this might serve as another lesson to those among us who are hunting for movie spoilers: no matter what you find early on, things that were solid in early cuts in the script can — and will — change. Just as concept art can go through hundreds of phases, scripts can be changed right on set, and this memory from the development of Star Wars is a reminder that films that we as fans can recite word-for-word could have been radically different at one time.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will see theatrical release in the U.S. on December 16th, 2016, followed byStar Wars: Episode VIII on December 15th, 2017; the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018; Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019; and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Peter Mayhew