In the lead-up to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we look back at the first Jedi (narratively speaking) with a series of stories about the much-beloved and never-disparaged prequel trilogy.
Aside from the Star Wars Holiday Special, the prequels are easily the wildest installments in the Star Wars franchise. But they were almost even wilder: As is probably unsurprising, given just how sprawling the far, far away galaxy is, there were a lot of ideas that (for better or worse) didn’t make it into the final cut. Compiled here for your perusing pleasure are 11 of those scrapped plans:
1. “I am your father,” is now an indelible part of pop culture, and the prequels almost had their own equivalent. As per How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise, though Anakin was a virgin birth, it was supposed to have been revealed that Emperor Palpatine manipulated his birth by using the Force. “I used the power of the Force to will the midi-chlorians to start the cell divisions that created you,” the book quotes him saying. “You might say I’m your father.”
2. Speaking of familial relations, George Lucas had ambitions of revealing Anakin and Boba Fett as biological brothers. Eventually, however, he abandoned the idea on the grounds that it felt a little too contrived.
3. Still, Boba Fett appears as a young boy in Attack of the Clones, and was originally also slated to appear in Revenge of the Sith. Though Lucas promised publicly that we’d see Fett again, if you’ve seen the movies, you know that didn’t happen. Early concept art for the third prequel includes the teenage Boba Fett, but he was ultimately cut in order to narrow down the scope of the film. If he had remained in the movie, he was intended to have joined with the Separatists under Count Dooku, and tracked down Mace Windu to avenge the death of his father.
4. A young Lando Calrissian was also considered to appear in prequels as an expansion of Lucas’s original vision that Lando had been alive during the Clone Wars. This idea was scrapped as the timelines ultimately didn’t really match up in a way that would allow this to make sense.
5. The same goes for the young Han Solo (now getting his own movie), who was almost to be glimpsed in Revenge of the Sith. Han was going to show up as an orphan living on Kashyyyk, being raised by Chewbacca. The cameo was eventually cut, leaving the relationship between Chewie and Han as one of friends instead of a father-son bond.
6. Another possible entry in the cavalcade of prequel cameos was Greedo, who picks a fight with the young Anakin in a deleted scene in The Phantom Menace. The scuffle occurs when Greedo accuses Anakin of cheating in the podrace. Greedo comes off worse in the fight, as his friends tease him by saying he might come to a “bad end” one day, which is probably the kindest way of describing becoming a meme.
7. Qui-Gon Jinn’s role in the prequels was also somewhat curtailed. The Jedi was originally supposed to play a much larger part in the films, returning as a Force Ghost to try to prevent Anakin’s eventual embrace of the Sith. An iteration of this idea still appears in The Clone Wars animated series, where Qui-Gon appears to Obi-Wan to speak about Anakin’s path. Qui-Gon was also notably closer in age to Obi-Wan in the original plans for The Phantom Menace, with Anakin a teenager instead of a child.
8. Of course, there’s no mentioning the Star Wars prequels without mentioning Jar Jar Binks. Despite being such an outsize personality on his own, Jar Jar was at one point meant to have a sidekick as well, in the form of a doglike creature called a blarth. Though the creature obviously didn’t make it into the series, The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide still has a record of it, describing it as having a “constant desire for attention.”
9. Jar Jar was also meant to be even more comical (if you can believe it). His bones were to be made of elastic, which would alter his body shape in different levels of gravity and under different levels of pressure to maximize his potential for expression. Luckily, his final design wasn’t quite so extreme.
10. On the other end of the tragicomedy spectrum, the Gungans almost met with a much darker fate. Instead of winning their battle in The Phantom Menace, early storyboards had the entire underwater city wiped out before Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon could ever seek the Gungans’ help. Unsurprisingly, genocide was judged to be too dark for the movie, and the story was adjusted accordingly.
11. All that said, the coolest scrapped idea by far is that Darth Maul could have been a female character. Lucas had apparently considered the idea, with a photo of actress Maggie Cheung hung on the casting wall for inspiration. In the Mood for Sith, anyone?