The George Lucas Star Wars films were notorious for being a chaotic, Hadron Collider of creative ideas. Despite being the third release in the franchise, Return Of The Jedi continued with the tradition of disorder, and things could've worked out rather differently.
Star Wars historian J. W. Rinzler produced an overview of the creative process for his book The Making Of Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi. Within the pages lie some murky plot suggestions that would've taken things in an entirely new direction.
So strap in and prepare for some serious sentimental gravitational force when you discover the alternative version of Episode VI.
1. Han Solo's Fate Could've Been Completely Different
Harrison Ford has previously spoken of his attempts to persuade George Lucas to kill off his character during this film, yet everyone's favorite bootlegger might not have featured at all as he was only signed on for the first two movies.
After he was included in the third movie, there were a number of alternative scenarios for his character. In one, Luke would've used the Force to imprison Han within the controls of the Millennium Falcon for the duration of the film.
2. The Production Team Spend $50,000 On A Robotic Arm — That Lucas Didn't Use
The arm would've been utilized for the underground Sarlacc as part of a scene where it would've emerged from a hole and grabbed a hapless guard, pulling him to his tentacle-induced death.
However, when Lucas arrived on set, he probably drove the finance guy mental by deciding not to use the complex contraption after all.
3. Director Richard Marquand Wanted A Famous Face For Darth Vader
The Welsh director had some big names lined up for the unmasking of Vader, including esteemed stage actors Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud.
However, Lucas was concerned that having someone so recognizable in the iconic role could serve as a distraction, and the part was instead given to Sebastian Shaw.
4. Obi-Wan And Yoda Could've Been Resurrected
Although we see Anakin (portrayed by, depending on the version you see, Sebastian Shaw or Hayden Christensen), Obi-Wan and Yoda join in with the celebrations at the end, Lucas had originally considered bringing the two Jedi's back to life, fully formed.
5. There Could've Been Two Enemy Bases
Because we haven't seen enough over the seven movies, at one point Lucas was considering not one, but TWO Death Stars.
This might come as a surprise, but the rebels would've found a way to destroy the additional base by overcoming the shield protector and torpedoing it to smithereens.
6. In The End, Luke May Have Become Darth Vader 2.0
This is perhaps the most significant and most crazy plot point that would've changed the entire direction of the narrative.
In one version of the script, after Vader dies, Luke would've picked up the mask, placed it over his head and exclaimed:
"Now I am Vader. Now I will go and kill the [Rebel] fleet and I will rule the universe."
Fortunately, Lucas opted for the more jovial happily-ever-after to satisfy the glass-half-full audience, and inspire a generation.
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