(Warning - the following contains mild SPOILERS for a movie you've almost certainly already seen - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith - along with the possibly horrifying revelation that everything you thought you knew about Han Solo was wrong. Proceed with whatever level of caution that suggests is prudent...)
Now, considering that a sizable chunk of Star Wars fandom has spent much of the past decade and a half analyzing just what the saga's prequel trilogy should have excluded (Jar Jar, adolescent Anakin and baby Boba Fett are all popular options), it's perhaps a little surprising that not all that much time has been spent on the question of what should have been included, but wasn't.
Would the films have benefited from more Chewbacca, perhaps, or more Qui Gon and Darth Maul than we had the chance to see? Should some of the original trilogy's classic characters have appeared in youthful form, or fan-favorites from the expanded universe made their big-screen debut? We'll never know for sure - but one thing is for certain:
We Almost Saw a Young Han Solo in 'Episode III: Revenge of the Sith'
Yup, that's right. Han Solo. Was almost in the prequel trilogy.
As a kid.
Now, Han's near-appearance in the prequels isn't exactly new information - word of it arrived a decade ago - but with Den of Geek recently examining just how junior Solo would have been presented, it seems as good a time as any to take a closer look at what might have been.
For one thing:
Han Was Supposed to Appear on Kashyyyk
As concept artist Iain McCaig explained in the The Art of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith:
"It’s not in the script anymore...but we were told that Han Solo was on Kashyyyk and that he was being raised by Chewbacca."
Which, while not exactly shocking on the surface - the pair had to become best buds at some point, after all - was both a direct contradiction of their expanded universe relationship (where they met much later, and in very different circumstances) and problematic in terms of the original trilogy's portrayal of their relationship. After all, Han treating his first mate the way he does is one thing, but being that much of an asshole to his foster-father-figure? That's a whole other brand of biscuit.
Han Was Supposed to Be a Scruffy-Looking Nerf-Herder
As McCaig put it:
"He’s such a persnickety guy later on – he always has to have the best of everything – so I thought it’d be great if when he was a kid, he was an absolute slob."
Which, to be honest, would have made sense. There's none more pious than the convert, after all.
Perhaps the most geek-tastically intriguing detail, though?
Han Was Supposed to Meet Yoda
Indeed, at one point the youthful Solo was due to turn to the venerable Jedi master and inform him that:
"I found part of a transmitter droid near the east bay. I think it’s still sending and receiving signals,"
At which point Yoda was to reply:
"Good, good. Track this we can back to the source. Find General Grievous, we might…"
All of which, obviously, didn't make it into the final movie. Lucas' attention was apparently drawn elsewhere - and young Han didn't make it past the concept art stage. Whether that was a good thing or not, though, is very much up to you.
The big question now, then?
What do you reckon?