A long time ago, in a studio far far away,
twins were conceived.
In the mind of George Lucas that is,
Luke and Leia were born.
I know this is a bit of an ambitious post for today but I just couldn’t help but highlight both siblings since their names both beautifully begin with L. Let’s get the logistical stuff out of the way first. After Walt Disney passed away, and Disney went into a slump, a kind of a funk, you might say. Michael Eisner was made CEO in 1984. I know a lot of people dislike Eisner and that his name leaves a bad taste in mouths. But he did a lot for Disney and helped make it into the world we know and very much love today. While the animation department was setting films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast into motion. Eisner pushed for more story based rides, original ideas such as Captain EO and rides based on already existing films. Disney partnered with Lucasfilm to create the first third-party ride at Disneyland. In 1987, the motion simulator, Star Tours made its debut.
In 2012, George Lucas retired and sold Lucasfilms, along with the Star Wars franchise to Disney for $4.05 Billion. And in 2015, Disney released the first film in a new trilogy and the continuation of Luke and Leia‘s journey through the galaxy. Their journey began in Episode III, after the collapse of the Old Republic and rise of the Empire. Padme dies after childbirth and her twin children are separated. Leia is adopted by Senator Bail and Queen Breha Organa and raised as a Princess on Alderaan. While Obi-Wan brings her brother Luke to his Anakin’s home planet of Tatooine, to live with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. They meet again 19 years later during the events on the first Death Star (Episode IV : A New Hope). The two become dear friends but it’s not until four years later on Endor (Return of the Jedi) when the two discover that they are twins.
Back to the drawing board, Luke and Leia were close to being separated well before shooting ever began on Star Wars. At one point, Lucas thought of cutting Leia from the script and changing Luke into a woman. Lucas even thought about casting the major characters as dwarfes, an idea he turned into the 1988 film, Willow. Lucas even considered casting a Japanese actress for the role of Leia. Anakin Starkiller once took the place of Luke as the young hero and Luke was to be a grizzled veteran of the Jedi Order much like Obi-Wan or perhaps, much more similar to how he appears in Episode VII The Force Awakens. Even once shooting began, Luke’s last name was Starkiller, the change to Skywalker didn’t cause problems because the first time we hear it is when Luke is rescuing Leia. There were also several scenes in a New Hope that were later cut. One of these scenes is Luke watching through a pair of binoculars as Leia’s ship battles imperial cruisers. These scenes have never been added to the film, but have been included in the novelization of the movie.
When Han Solo finds Luke delusional in the harsh elements of Hoth, he uses a Native American trick to keep save his life. Using Luke’s lightsaber, he cuts open his tauntaun and stuffs Luke inside. This is like the hunter Hugh Glass, who according to legend cut open a bear he just killed in order to protect himself from a sudden blizzard. Lucas had always been fascinated by mythologies, legends and history in general.
According to the expanded universe, when Luke loses his hand, the Emperor finds his lightsaber and severed hand and keeps them as a trophy. In Leigh Brackett‘s original script, Darth Vader was not Luke’s father. Anakin Skywalker was completely separate from Darth Vader. He came to Luke as a Force ghost to train him. Anakin also revealed that he had a sister, Nellith Skywalker. Instead of Obi-Wan separating the twins, Anakin did it, to keep them safe. She was trained as a Jedi in a different part of the galaxy and the two of them would defeat the Empire together. In a 2004 documentary, George Lucas stated that he never intended Leia to be Luke’s sister. After Return of the Jedi, there was going to be a sequel trilogy where Luke searches for her. Lucas changed his mind, instead wanting to tie everything up in Return of the Jedi. A hint at this might be a certain scene in Empire…
Originally, Yoda was not going to appear in Return of the Jedi. George Lucas met with a psychologist who told him that unless it was specifically stated that Vader was Luke’s father, moviegoers under 12 would just think Darth Vader had lied. Lucas gave the task to Yoda, believing that he was the best person to deliver the news. An idea that was cut from the script, was that Luke and Leia’s mother actually died when they were 4. She had disguised herself as a handmaiden and worked under Leia’s adopted parents. (Not sure how they would have found that out)
To suspend the willing suspension of disbelief for a moment, remember the scene when the Falcon is arriving at Bespin? Han and Leia are very happy, this has nothing to do with the anticipation of seeing Lando. Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford had gone out partying the night before and were still drunk while shooting.
My husband was shocked when I told him that the first time I watched Star Wars was when the trilogy was rereleased in 1997. But my family wasn’t that in to SciFi, we were more into Universal Monster Movies, Indiana Jones, and of course Disney. I didn’t know what I was missing and once I watched it in my hometown theater for the first time, I was hooked. I used to play Star Wars with my best friend during Elementary school. She would be Leia and I would be Luke. (Luke being my favorite character at the time. He’s now tied with Rey 🙂 ) I went to each opening day of the prequels and was even fortunate to find someone who loved it just as much as I do. I’m so excited for what Disney has in store for us within our lifetime.
I hope you found my post to Luke and Leia interesting.
Thank you for reading.
May the Force be With You.
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A long time ago, in a studio far far away,