The Original Story Of Luke Skywalker's Sister (Before It Was Retconned To Be Leia)

Did George Lucas always plan for Luke and Leia to be brother and sister in Star Wars - and if not, what were his original plans? The idea was first teased in The Empire Strikes Back, when the ghost of Obi-Wan conversed with Yoda. "That boy is our last hope," Obi-Wan reflected dejectedly. "No," Yoda replied. "There is another."

Lucas likes to give the impression he had the entire Star Wars Saga planned out from the beginning, but the relationship between Luke and Leia has always raised eyebrows. After all, if he'd originally intended them to be brother and sister, would he really have given them that infamous kiss scene in The Empire Strikes Back? Curiously enough, this is one point where Lucas has openly admitted he hadn't thought things through in advance. In fact, as he explained on the 2004 DVD commentary, the Other was introduced as a way to increase tension. "It sets up the fact that, in this series, Luke could be expendable at this point. We don't need Luke to tell this story. We could get somebody else to do it... 'He's not the important one - there is another.' It's a cheap trick but it works."

Related: The Emperor's Prequel Scheme Was Planned 20 Years Before Phantom Menace

In truth, the idea that Leia is the mysterious Other doesn't actually make sense. In The Empire Strikes Back, a headstrong Luke abandons his Jedi training in order to rescue his friends; that's the entire context for the conversation. But if Luke fails, and his friends fall, then that means Leia will die. Yoda really shouldn't be quite so sanguine about all this. So what ideas did Lucas begin to formulate about the Other's identity, and what did he originally intend to do about it?

This Page: Yoda's "Another" Was Always Luke's Sister... But Not Leia

Page 2: Leia Became Luke's Sister When Return Of The Jedi Became "The End"

Yoda's "Another" Was Always Luke's Sister... But Not Leia

An important clue is provided by Leigh Brackett's first draft of the script for The Empire Strikes Back, drawn up from Lucas' copious notes. It's very different from the final theatrical cut, not least in the fact that Darth Vader isn't Luke's father at all; in fact, on Dagobah Luke even meets the Force Ghost of his father, and is mentored by him. There's a version of the "Other" scene in the script, though, this time in a conversation between Luke and the Force Ghost:

SKYWALKER: You’ve grown well, Luke. I’m proud of you. Did your uncle ever speak to you about 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...

Luke. Will you take, from me, the oath of a Jedi knight?

Brackett sadly passed away shortly after completing the first draft, and Lucas took over writing the next few drafts. Interestingly, the entire concept of Luke's sister, or the Other, was dropped; a weaker version swiftly found its way back into the script, though. "Now we must find another," Yoda muses. Obi-Wan disagreed; "That boy is our only hope," he insisted. In functional terms, it's a perfect inversion of what Lucas said the scene was supposed to be about. Clearly Lucas was toying with lots of different ideas; what was going on?

Related: Star Wars Confirms: Vader ALWAYS Knew Luke Would Defeat Him

Page 2: Leia Became Luke's Sister When Return Of The Jedi Became "The End"

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Key Release Dates
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
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