Secrecy around Star Wars films is nothing new, although the methods and levels of it have certainly changed, but back in the 1980s, spoilers could be easily avoided by changing dialogues in post-production. Such was the case of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, which originally had the line “Obi-Wan killed your father” spoken by Darth Vader himself. The Star Wars universe began its run in 1977 with the film now known as Star Wars: A New Hope and hasn’t stopped ever since, becoming one of the most successful and beloved media franchises, expanding to television, literature, video games, and more. However, the franchise is mostly known for its films.
The Star Wars film saga is divided in three – original, prequel, and sequel trilogy – but the original trilogy will always have a special place in the hearts of Star Wars fans all over the world. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is considered by many the best entry in the original trilogy (and to some, it still stands as the best of the whole saga), and it has one of the best plot twists with the reveal of Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker’s father.
A big reveal like this had to be kept a secret until the film premiered, and the team behind Empire Strikes Back took some special measures to ensure that the big twist wouldn’t be leaked.
Darth Vader Originally Told Luke “Obi-Wan Killed Your Father”
Social media was not a thing back in the 1980s, but that doesn’t mean that spoilers couldn’t happen. To ensure that no one revealed the secret of Darth Vader being Luke’s father, the script had a different line spoken by Vader in that scene: “Obi-Wan killed your father”, which would have certainly taken the Skywalker saga into a very different direction. As revealed by Mark Hamill while promoting Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, the scene was filmed with that line, with the rest of the scene going exactly as fans know it. Hamill was later informed by director Irvin Kershner that the line was actually going to be “I am your father”... and that if it leaked, they were going to know it had been him who revealed the secret.
The now famous line was added in post-production and Hamill managed to keep the secret for months, with his co-stars getting to experience the story’s twist as they should have. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is not the first or last film to shoot a scene one way only to have it tweaked in post-production in order to avoid spoilers, but what makes it stand out is that the line originally spoken in that scene, had it stayed, would have had really big repercussions on the rest of the saga and would have changed the way fans see Obi-Wan Kenobi.