The success of Star Wars was never assured. Indeed, while George Lucas was shooting the original Star Wars film back in 1976 he was under the gun the whole time, under budget and under pressure from the studio to wrap his stupid space movie that they had absolutely no faith in. They even let the director keep the franchise and merchandise rights, which goes to show you, as the song says, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. So imagine if the studio was right. Imagine what a sequel to Star Wars might look like if it had to be made cheap and less ambitiously than The Empire Strikes Back.

Well, Lucas did. In 1976, he commissioned Alan Dean Foster to write a story called Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which was meant to function as the basis for a low budget sequel to Star Wars should the 1977 space opera tank or under perform at the box office. The story eliminated the space battles, Han Solo and Chewbacca, and was set on a single planet, a jungle world with lots of fog, which could easily be created on a sound stage thus eliminating the need for costly location shooting. The story found Luke and Leia crash landing on a planet where the Empire has a secret mine set up. In order to escape, the dynamic duo strike a deal with a woman who will get them on a ship out of town if they help her recover the Kaiburr crystal, a Force amplifying artifact.

Obviously, Lucas needn’t have worried about the success of his film. Star Wars ended up being the biggest movie of all time, and he was able to execute a bolder, more expensive vision for the sequel in Empire. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye instead became the first piece of the expanded universe, a novel published in 1978 to feed those hungry Star Wars fans eager for more, although kyber crystals would still become a part of Star Wars lore as the thing that gives a lightsaber its power.

Long story short, Mr. Sunday Movies recently decided to revisit Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which was also turned into a Dark Horse comic book by Terry Austin and Chris Sprouse in 1996. This 20-minute video goes into a lot of detail about the story and background of Splinter, and if you’re one of those fans that likes to image “What if…?” than it is absolutely worth checking out. It once again reminds us how ahead of his time Lucas was, as 40 years ago he was already thinking about ways to make sequels nobody wanted to see…

Source: Geek Tyrant

Category: Film

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