The Empire Strikes Back is considered by many Star Wars fans to be the best film in the franchise. However, a vast majority don’t have the foggiest idea that The Empire Strikes Back wasn’t the initial Star Wars spin-off planned. It was, in fact, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which was written by science fiction creator Alan Dean Foster and distributed as a novel in 1978. However, it was never shot. So why did George Lucas choose not to really make it? Here’s a look at the lost Star Wars motion picture that might have existed.
1. Lucas Is An Expert Businessman
Fans can banter about the merits of George Lucas as a director and writer. However, one thing no one can deny is that the person is an expert businessman. Before Star Wars was even filmed, Lucas built up a ground breaking strategy for the franchise. So when he employed Foster to review the novelization of Star Wars, Lucas chose to sign him up for a second book also. The plan was that if Star Wars was a hit, the novel would hold over fans until a film sequel was prepared. Furthermore, if it wasn’t a hit, they could use the book as an outline for a shabby subsequent film. In this manner, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was conceived.
2. Absence Of Han Solo
It’s difficult to envision Star Wars without Han Solo. To be perfectly honest, we would prefer not to envision it. As it is, Han is the best thing about Star Wars. In any case, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye includes zero Han Solo. Why? Well, when Foster was getting prepared to write the novel, Harrison Ford hadn’t signed on to film any Star Wars sequels. What’s more, since the entire plan was to film Splinter of the Mind’s Eye that implied Foster couldn’t use Solo at all in the book.
3. Novel Was Written By Foster Without Seeing Star Wars
One of the greatest difficulties that Foster faced was the way that he needed to write it without 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 a 16mm reel of rough footage to take around to a few science fiction conventions to advertise the film. Helped just by some concept drawings and a brisk visit to ILM to see the models, Foster started planning Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. However, he wasn’t permitted to use almost half the characters.
4. Luke and Leia: Mystery Lovers
We know that Foster wrote Splinter of the Mind’s Eye before the last draft of the Star Wars screenplay was finished. Therefore, it’s nothing unexpected if there are a few disparities. A large portion of them are minor points of interest, like the shade of Darth Vader’s lightsaber. However, one greater thing stands out: the relationship between Luke and Leia. Two years before the scandalous scene in Empire where the two kiss, Foster worked out a storyline where the pair are teamed up on a mission for the Rebellion and wind up with some really clear, yet unexplored, sexual pressure. What is Foster’s vision for a sequel had been taken into account? Well, in that case, Foster stated that Luke and Leia wouldn’t be kin. In fact, there may be a competition between Luke and Han over Leia. Wow!
5. ‘Splinter of the Mind’s Eye’ Was Meant To Have A Super Low Budget
Apart from losing two of the primary characters before he even began, Foster had to write according to a particular set of rules. Since Lucas’ plans to film Splinter assumed they would have a modest spending plan for the sequel, Foster was told to just write scenes that would be very cheap to film. This led to Splinter being set almost entirely in caves, inside buildings, or on the surface of the haze covered marsh planet of Mimban. In fact, Lucas even made Foster cut a thrilling fight between Tie Fighters and X-Wings.
6. I am Obi-Wan!
The plot of Splinter of the Mind’s Eye rotates around Luke and Leia looking for an artifact called the Kaiburr Crystal. This increases the powers of the individuals who are Force sensitive. What’s more, this prompts the book’s coolest minute, which is the arrival of Obi-Wan Kenobi. How? Well, in the event that you were thinking about how an untrained Luke could crush Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel, the book infers that this is because the Kaiburr precious stone permits Obi-Wan’s soul to possess Luke’s body. This further allows Obi-Wan to take some revenge on his previous apprentice from past the grave. In fact, amid the battle, Luke yells out “I am Obi-Wan.” Cool.
7. Did Rey Take Her Moves From Leia?
If Splinter happens on a bog planet interminably shrouded in haze, then it sounds a considerable measure like Dagobah from Empire Strikes Back. Well, that is not the only piece from Splinter that wound up in the movies. A valid example: the climactic fight between Luke and Vader winds up with one of them having an arm cut off. This is unlike what happened in Empire. However, it’s Vader rather than Luke who loses a limb. All the more curiously, the battle starts with Leia getting Luke’s lightsaber and going toe-to-toe in a saber duel with Vader. If that sounds shockingly like a mirror picture of the battle between Rey and KyloRen in The Force Awakens, it’s not a coincidence. As it is, Foster was hired to write the novelization of The Force Awakens. Gee…
8. The Legacy
Splinter of the Mind’s Eye holds an odd one of a kind spot in Star Wars history. Although it never was made into a film, some of its thoughts trickled down into the trilogy. It’s no more thought to be canon. However, it has stayed in print for about 40 years. For some fans who read it in the 1970s and 1980s, it’s as much a part of the Star Wars story as Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi. It gives an intriguing look at what may have been had it been filmed. Furthermore, it’s still a pretty good read which Foster is truly proud of. Well, he should be.