Audiences finally have a chance to meet young Han Solo when Solo: A Star Wars Story opens later this month, but they almost got that chance many years ago. George Lucas was never shy about including original trilogy characters in the prequels. While some of these were logical and had to be there (Anakin and Obi-Wan, for instance), others drew criticism in some circles for being shoehorned in. Nearly 20 years have passed since The Phantom Menace, and fans still roll their eyes at Anakin building C-3PO or R2-D2 being there from the beginning. Odds are, child Han would have fallen into the latter category for many.
Revenge of the Sith marked the first canonical appearance of the planet Kashyyyk, known as the home world of the Wookiees (including the beloved Chewbacca). During the battle sequences in this location, we got to see Han's future co-pilot fight alongside Yoda in the Clone Wars, but there was no sight of Han. Originally, however, Lucas intended for all three members of the classic trilogy's main trio to make cameos (the film ends with the birth of Luke and Leia). That's right. Young Han was nearly in Episode III, and it would have drastically changed things.
Han Solo's Deleted Revenge of the Sith Role
The initial plan called for Han to appear in Sith as a 10-year old orphan on Kashyyyk, being raised by Chewbacca. Solo would have actually made a key contribution to the plot, seeing that he was to discover a droid transmitting signals from Utapau, pointing the Jedi in the direction of General Grievous. Things were so far along here that there exists official concept art of a child Han with messy hair and tattered clothes, but the scene was eventually cut as Lucas attempted to iron out the story. The young Han even had a single line of dialogue, informing none other than Yoda about the droid he found. The hypothetical interaction may have raised the question of how Han never saw any proof of the Force before meeting Luke, but that bullet was dodged.
Of course, since Han's Sith cameo was cut, it freed Lucasfilm up to do whatever they wanted for his backstory when it came time to make Solo. Based on what we know about the spinoff, there are significant alterations to Lucas' idea. Han spent his early youth as an orphan on Corellia, running scams on the streets from the age of 10 with his friend Qi'ra. He doesn't meet Chewie until he's an adult, presumably saving the Wookiee from Imperial captivity on Mimban. Since there was a point in time Episode III was supposed to be the last Star Wars movie, it's somewhat easy to understand Lucas' temptation, but had Han remained in the film, it would have backed Kathleen Kennedy and crew into a corner. And Han wasn't the only near-miss from Sith.
Boba Fett Was Almost In Revenge of the Sith
One original trilogy fan-favorite who did have his backstory revealed in the prequels was Boba Fett. In Attack of the Clones, Boba is the 10-year old son (in reality, an unaltered clone) of bounty hunter Jango Fett, learning the ropes of the trade from one of the galaxy's best. Tragedy struck Boba at an early age when Jango was decapitated by Mace Windu during the Battle of Geonosis. The younger Fett swore revenge, and those plans nearly played out in Episode III.
Much like the child Han, there's concept art of Boba killing Mace during the infamous Order 66 executions, but Lucas later decided it would be better if Palpatine was the one to defeat Windu. His reasoning was simply that a teenage boy (Boba is 13 in Revenge of the Sith) would not have been a realistic threat to a highly-trained Jedi Master. Instead, Boba's plot for vengeance was repurposed into an arc on the Clone Wars animated series, where Fett worked with Aurra Sing and Bossk to take the Jedi down. Their mission was unsuccessful, and Boba realized he had taken things too far.
Cutting these two cameos (which honestly wouldn't have contributed much to the story) was for the best, but certain elements connected to Han and Chewie did make their way into Revenge of the Sith, including the piece of junk the two would grow to call home one day.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019