The Empire Strikes Back is considered by many Star Wars fans to be the best film in the franchise. What many people don’t know is that The Empire Strikes Back wasn’t the first Star Wars spin-off planned. It was in fact, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which was written by Alan Dean Foster. It was published as a novel in 1978 yet never got to be filmed. So why did George Lucas commission a sequel and later on chose not to make it? Here’s a look at the lost Star Wars film that may have existed.
1. Lucas Fences His Bets
Fans can wrangle about George Lucas’ merits as a director. However, one thing no one can deny is that the guy is an expert businessman. Before Star Wars was even recorded, Lucas built up an all-inclusive strategy for the franchise. So, when he procured Foster to review the novelization of Star Wars, Lucas chose to sign him up for a second book too. The plan was: if Star Wars was a hit, the novel would hold over fans until a sequel was prepared. In the event that it wasn’t a hit, they could utilize the book as a plan for a shabby subsequent film. In this manner, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was conceived.
2. Foster Wrote The Novel Without Seeing ‘Star Wars’
One of the greatest difficulties Foster faced was that he needed to write the novel without ever really seeing Star Wars. When he sat down to begin the novel, Lucas hadn’t even completed the process of writing Star Wars. Foster stated that he had a few adaptations of the screenplay and they gave him a 16mm reel of rough footage to take around science fiction conventions to broadcast the film. Supported by only some idea drawings and a snappy visit to ILM to see the models, Foster started planning Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. There was only one more issue: he wasn’t permitted to use most of the characters.