The history of Luke Skywalker's blue lightsaber Please note that this story of Luke's blue saber is the story of it in the movies.
It does not cover any other elements of the expanded universe, Legends or current canon outside of the movies.
The history of Luke Skwalker's saber is as long as the Star Wars saga itself.
This makes sense really as Jedi Knights with electric swords is what Star Wars is all about really. Well, you know what we mean.
We call it Luke's saber but it was really Anakin's.
Obi-Wan Kenobi picked it up as he left Anakin to die, having just bested him in their duel on Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith. He held it for many years until he gave it to Luke in A New Hope so hence fans often think of the blue saber as Luke’s.
But if the sword was originally Anakin’s, what is its story? You may recall in Attack of the Clones that Anakin lost his arm in the duel with Count Dooku, thus continuing (or starting!?) the tradition for characters to lose their limbs in Star Wars movies.
Given the loss, Anakin required a second saber. And it is with this saber that the real story comes into play. This is the saber that Anakin used when he became Darth Vader.
Thus it is the saber that massacred the Younglings in Revenge of the Sith. It is the saber that he executed Count Dooku with. It is the saber that killed all those he found in the Jedi Temple and it is the saber with which he lost his duel with Obi-Wan.
So the blue saber had a tough start to life – it was initially used by one of the most promising Jedi that had ever been and then it became used by a Sith Lord.
By the time it is passed to Luke, the sword has seen a lot of blood split. No wonder Kylo Ren wanted it so badly.
This weapon has been a part of some real Star Wars history and has let the blood of many innocents but in ANH, Luke doesn’t get to play swashbuckler, rather he gets to train with it on board the Millennium Falcon.
It’s not until the events of The Empire Strikes back does the sword truly became a part of Luke's legend.
In that movie, it is used by Luke to free himself from the ice trappings of the Wampa and then used by Han Solo to carve up his Taun-taun so that he could place Luke’s frozen body inside it to protect him from the cold.
The next time is a more darker moment.
Luke has undertaken training with Yoda on the swampy plant of Degobah. There comes a point where Luke comes across a cave. Effectively warned not to take his weapon in with him, Luke finds himself having a strange dream like experience where he must draw his saber to protect him from an advancing Darth Vader.
It is the first occasion we see Luke actively use the saber to protect himself. That it is a dream experience of a kind, does not diminish that Luke used the saber believing he was actually facing Vader.
Of course Luke eventually faces Vader at Bespin’s Cloud City where they have an epic fight and get the measure of each other – so much so it’s a fight Luke cannot win and loses his hand for his trouble (just like his father had years before – on two different occasions!).
At this point it is the stuff of movie legend that Vader reveals himself as Luke’s father.
But in all that excitement, Luke’s saber is actually lost down a shaft somewhere. And that, was apparently the end of that.
In Return of the Jedi, Luke fashions his own saber (while not mentioned in the film, it is a Jedi tradition to do so) and uses that saber when he destroys Jabba’s Sail barge and of course when he fought Vader aboard the Death Star, returning the favour by cutting of Darth Vader’s arm, an indignity he’s now suffered through three times!
But what of that lost blue saber?
This is where the saga of the saber begins to play out even further than any fan may have ever imagined.
30 odd years since it was lost both in movie time and real world time, it turned up again in The Force Awakens.
The sword was found to be in possession of Maz Kanata, a strange being who appears to be sensitive to the Force, or at least has a profound understanding of it. She set’s Rey up to find it as she knows the Force is calling her to it.
We do not really know but Maz knows the sword must find its way to Rey’s hands and so gives it to Finn as a place holder until Rey is ready.
Finn gets to do a dance with a Stormtrooper with the sword and then holds his own for a time against the father killing Kylo Ren at which point Rey then gets her hands on the sword and has an epic battle with Ren.
Ren of course being the grandson of Darth Vader, the man who used to own the sword that Rey fights him with. The sword has come full circle in an odd manner.
But Rey didn’t want the sword from Maz in the first place. The dream sequence spoked her totally – so much so that even though she knows she must find Luke Skywalker, she still hands him the sword when they first still meet at the top of the ‘Jedi Steps’ on the island where Luke has hidden himself away.
It’s a poignant moment – Luke’s blue saber has been returned to him after so many years.
One can only imagine the feelings that were running through Luke’s mind at that moment – the last time he saw it, his father had just cut off his arm and revealed himself.
What happens to the saber in The Last Jedi?
Rey gives it to Luke who then casually throws it behind him, down the cliff.
Rey then trains with it on the Achto Island. It's then used by Kylo to kill Snoke and the Praetorian guards. As Rey and Kylo force duel for it's possession, the saber snaps in half, ending the legacy of the saber and perhaps symbolically, the end of the Skywalker story or how fractured that family now is.
Darth Maul has ten horns on his red head. While Ray Park is famous as playing the Sith Lord, Peter Serafinowicz actually voiced the character. Benicio Del Toro was originally cast to play Darth Maul but he abandoned the role after George Lucas decided to trim Darth Maul's screen time in the film. Benicio del Toro was originally cast but dropped out due to being a pussy. Actually, we take that back as Del Toro is up for a role in Star Wars The Last Jedi.
Hayden Christiansen played Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith as opposed to David Prowse who previously did the role. Hayden apparently begged Lucas to let him play him. The suit had to be designed to accommodate his smaller stature than Prowse's.
The sound of the hovering battle tanks used by the battle droids in The Phantom Menace was created by running an electric razor around a metal salad bowl and then digitally lowering the pitch.
In Attack of the Clones, Jar Jar Binks stands in for Senator Amidala and puts forth the motion that gives Palpatine supreme powers. This means that Jar Jar, one of the most universally hated characters in the Star Wars films is unwittingly responsible for the fall of the Old Republic and the downfall of the Jedi.
Revenge of the Sith featured hands being cut off in the film. Anakin loses one to Obi Wan, Mace Windu loses one to Anakin, and Obi-Wan cuts two of General Grievous' hands off and Dooku looses two to Anakin.
The sound effect when Obi-Wan Kenobi's lightsaber is kicked down the reactor shaft in the climatic battle with Darth Maul, is the same sound effect heard when Luke Skywalker throws his lightsaber away in Return of the Jedi . You know, when he tells the Emperor that he is a Jedi, like his father before him!
When Anakin is slaughtering the Tusken Raider in Attack of the Clones, Qui-Gon's voice can be heard in the background. This is no accident as Qui-Gon Jinn's Force-Ghost was trying to stop Anakin's rage, but clearly failed.
Every clone trooper in Revenge of the Sith is a creation of CGI. No clone costumes or helmets were manufactured for filming.
Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars film to be released on DVD and despite 'fan hate' it was a massive seller.
When Jango Fett gets into his ship after his fight with Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones, he bangs his head on the open door. This was intentional, and is a reference to a famous goof from the original ANH movie where a cloned Stormtrooper accidentally bangs his head on a door (the clone being the descendant of Jango Fett and having inherited this character trait).
Things you may have missed in the Han Solo film We must admit that our personal expectations for the quality 'Solo' film at this desk were not high.
We were initially not sure any one really wanted a Han Solo prequel film, and then when Miller and Lord were fired as directors one couldn't help but feel the film was going to be a bit of a disaster in in terms of quality, even if it was written by the legendary Lawrence Kasdan and son Jon.
The addition of Academy Awarding winner Ron Howard being sent in to sort out the mess, did offer us an er... new hope.
But how wrong were we!
Ron Howard has delivered a fine film and along with it a film with a strong plot and a whole lot of subtle detail that you might have missed on first viewing.
Here's everything we could spot that you may have missed.
Did you see the dice in Han's land speeder? They are the ones that make it on to the Falcon. They become a minor plot point in The Last Jedi and can be seen a deleted scene of The Force Awakens.
When Lando and Becket talk about how Beckett killed Aurra Sing, they are making a reference to the character that can be breifly glimpsed in The Phantom Menace
The escape pod used to 'feed' the giant space Octopus was first seen in The Last Jedi when Rey uses it
When Lando muses that 'mining colonies are the worst' it's a joke to the audience about where Lando ends up as the Administrator of one in The Empire Strikes Back.
Dydren Voss' office has some Mandalorian amour but more importantly, a few artifacts that may have been seen in the Indiana Jones movies....
That guy that L337 harangues when the driods are doing a cage fight? That's Ron Howard's brother, Clint Howard doing a cameo.
This is the first Star Wars movie where R2D2 and C3PO do not show up. Anthony Daniels does however do a cameo in the Spice Mines scenes, playing Sagwa, one of the Wookies that Chewie saves.
Darth Maul turns up
Han Solo Shots Beckett first
Chewbacca rips the arms off a dude, 40 years after it's first mentioned he can do this in ANH
Well for a start, they can't go the Rogue One route where EVERYBODY dies so they have to rely on a convincing story that matches the original Han Solo movies and show plenty of 'new' Star Wars.
So colour me Correlian, Solo delivers a story and 'new' Star Wars in spades.
First up, let's simply acknowledge that this movie had a director change midway through filming and Ron Howard is the credited director. He's a quality filmmaker who has a close association with Star Wars and George Lucas and his work has probably saved the movie. Success though is the child of many parents...
A slow start featuring a chase which looks as dull on the screen as it did in the trailer serves as a nice set up for the relationship between Qi'ra and Han which sets up the whole shebang.
And from then on, it's a rockin' good time with robots, card cames, double crosses and space ships doing what spaceships do.
But first up,
What of Alden Ehrenreich's Han Solo? He's fine, he's fine. We're fine, everything's fine.
Han Solo is one of THEE archetype film heroes that comes along every so often. There's almost no way Ehrenreich can live up to any one's expectations as Han Solo. It's almost unfair and it probably is.
But once you let the movie get into its stride, you can simply forget that, and enjoy the movie for what it is, a space romp across the galaxy far away.
Alden delivers his lines superbly well and when asked to do some action, he deft plays the part of bourgeoning space rouge. There's a great bit at the end when he does a Harrison Ford hand gesture combined with the blink of an eye and it is just perfect Han Solo.
Let's talk about Lando Lando
Donald Glover's version of Lando will go down in history as one of the great character actor replacements. Sure there have been some standout replacement versions of James Bond a la PierceBrosnan, it was a masterstroke to cast Glover.
He embodies the character with the "Hello, what have we here?" charm that Billie Dee Williams. He does it as though he knows he's in on the joke that the rest of the film doesn't know it's in. That may sound unfair to the movie but if we compared directly to Alden's Han, he's playing it as close as Han Solo as he can get.
Glover is Lando and gosh, I hope we see that guy again.
If this movie has a heart, it's that walking carpet Chewbacca
This movie is Joonas Suatamo's second full outing as Chewbacca, and while he has some fun moments with Porgs in The Last Jedi and did the heavy lifting for Peter Mayhew in The Force Awakens, this film is Chewie's chance to emote like he never has before.
Sure, there's been some great Han and Chewie moments in prior movies, but for this movie, it feels different. Perhaps it's the new actors but it feels like a spark has been rekindled.
If anything, this movie is the tale of how Han and Chewie became firm friends.
Overall feelings This movie is a LOT of fun.
Where The Last Jedi strayed into teenage angst territory, Solo is argaubly one one of the closet films made in the same vein as A New Hope.
Sure, it's a bit of a caper movie and there are no Jedi but there might be the odd Sith lurking around, so much so things are kept interesting.
Beckett and Qi'ra are strong, solid characters. Indeed as a big Game of Throne fan who cannot stand the acting of Emilia Clarke (check out her turn on the last Terminator, case closed your honour), this turn should be considered a career highlight.
Lawrence and Jon have done some great fan service too. This is plenty of reference to the past films.
Indeed the movie hit it's the biggest note for this viewer when Han shot first...
If I had one gripe, it's that we didn't need the giant space octopus.
Let's chat about THAT Darth Vader scene in Rogue One and a bit about his Castle
Thirty years since we saw Darth Vader fulfill the prophecy as being the Chosen One, we have the 'return' of his character in Rogue One.
For two whole scenes.
But they are mighty scenes and one is sure to live on for years as the stuff of Star Wars legend.
Vader's first scene arises as a result of Director Krennic seeking out Vader at his fortress on the planet Mustafar. Krennic is seeking to keep control of his own little Empire.
This fortress has long been whispered about as George Lucas once made noises about it. And if I recall properly Lucas said he had pet dragons or gargoyles. No dragons in R1 however Krennic is reptile enough as he does his best to suck up to Vader. But he miscues and feels his thorax tighten as Vader gives him the good old Force Choke for being a bit too cocky. Did Krennic smile afterwards?
We also loved how the closer Vader walked towards Krennic, the larger the shadow on the wall grew.
Great stuff but more on the castle lair later.
The second scene involves Vader following Tarkin's orders to get the Rebel's copy of the Death Star plans. As an audience, we know he's not going to get them but we also know someone stopped him.
So who was it?
By my rough count it was about 17 brave Rebel soldiers who faced Vader's blade as it sliced through them as he charged towards his goal.
Given the Tantive IV goes into hyperspace, we are not sure how much time elapses before Vader catches up to it in ANH. But enough time must pass for Ponda Boba and Doctor Evazan to keave Jedha and get to Tatooine... So it's possible some one else later got in the way of Vader.
We have never seen Vader quite like this before.
He was brutal, killing everything in his path. He used the Force to smash a man into the ceiling and he cut a man in half as he cut through a metal door. The man was simply in his way.
We've seen glimpses of this fury and might before. In Attack of the Clones Anakin kills everyone in the village of the Tuskens that held his mother captive and in Revenge of the Sith, Anakin massacres the younglings in Yoda's class but it was off screen.
This scene will only add to the lord of Darth Vader as being a bad ass. Yes, we saw him duel with sabres a few times against Luke and Obi-Wan but we hardly ever saw him as the guy that almost single-handily hunted down the Jedi that survived Order 66.
So about Vader's Castle
An early scribble by Ralph McQuarrie of Vader's lair
But that name Mustafar. Does it ring a bell for you?
You should, it's the planet where Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker faced off each other in Revenge of the Sith when Anakin had become a Sith Lord himself.
Why on Earth (What? - Ed) would Vader want to have a Castle of his own on this planet? The answer lies in the Art of Rogue One book. Vader's Castle is built on an old Sith Cavern so that could be a reason why it's there.
The Rogue One script describes the lair as a monolithic, obsidian fortress of stark, brutalistic design. Lead designer Doug Chiang said that the 'turmoil of the roiling purgatory outside' is supposed to reflect the internal evils of Vader's twisted soul.
Which seems about right!
Keen fans of the television show Star Wars Rebels will also now be able to take new meaning from the line about Mustafer being the 'place where Jedi go to die' because that's where Vader probably killed a few of them.
We wonder if we have ever seen the last of Vader's Castle. Will Kylo Ren take it over? Maybe that's where he is now?
Also, what has became of Vader's servant 'Vanee' that attended to him while he was recuperating in the Bacta tank?
This interview with Lawrence Kasdan and son Johnathan about how they wrote the script to Solo is so incredible, I've borrowed the whole thing from the Star Wars site.
Dan Brooks, whom keen fans may know Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com asked a perfect set of questions.
The name “Kasdan” looms large in Star Wars and Lucasfilm history. After all, it was Lawrence Kasdan who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and 30 years later, The Force Awakens. He also scripted a movie about an adventuring archaeologist called Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Not bad bullet points to have on a résumé.) So it goes without saying that Star Wars owes a great deal to Kasdan’s innate talent for crafting smart action, witty dialogue, and developing themes with resonance.
Yet for the massive imprint he’s left on a galaxy far, far away, it’s Solo: A Star Wars Story — which follows Han, pre-original trilogy, on his journey to becoming the nerf herder we all love — that might be the Star Wars film that means the most to him personally: Kasdan conceived and wrote Solo with his son Jonathan, an accomplished filmmaker in his own right. In advance of the May 25 release of Solo, StarWars.com spoke to the father and son team about why Han was so exciting in A New Hope, how there was never any doubt that Alden Ehrenreich would play the young scoundrel, and why they wanted Solo to be unlike any previous Star Wars film. “It’s a rite of passage,” the elder Kasdan would say of their story. But that statement rings true for father and son, as well.
StarWars.com: My first question is: Did Han shoot first?
Lawrence Kasdan: Of course.
Jonathan Kasdan: We’re not allowed to say, are we? [Laughs]
StarWars.com: The world needs to hear your opinion on this.
Jonathan Kasdan: [Laughs] That’s between George [Lucas] and his god, isn’t it? You mean in Mos Eisley, right?
Lawrence Kasdan: It’s so clear to me that Han shot first and the only way you could interpret it differently is if you go back to the revised movie. In the original movie it’s very clear.
Jonathan Kasdan: And in the true galaxy I think there is no doubt that he shot first.
Lawrence Kasdan: And that is very important to us and has been important since the get-go that Han shot first. It’s no disrespect to anybody, but I’m working from the movie that made me fall in love with Star Wars, which is [the original release of] A New Hope.
Jonathan Kasdan: It’s funny that that expression sort of entered lexicon way before he made that revision. I think he did it a little in reaction to how popular an idea it became, and I think you can sort of judge the durability of one of these things in how that’s a phrase. Han shot first, man.
Lawrence Kasdan: You’re saying that George reacted badly to that.
Jonathan Kasdan: I think he was frustrated that in his re-envisioning of what he wanted everything to be, in how he wanted it to relate to children, he got uncomfortable with that notion. But I think it lands in the culture. It’s bigger than even George.
Lawrence Kasdan: But his instinct when he made the movie, A New Hope, was to have Han shoot first. And it was only after reconsideration and the explosion of the movie into the culture, it seems that he had second thoughts.
StarWars.com: So that’s going to be my headline: “Kasdans Confirm That Han Shot First.”
Jonathan Kasdan: [Laughter] No! George will call up Larry!
We’re very focused on it. It is important to us and, you know, it’s worth saying that part of the reason that the character made such an impact on Larry in wanting to make the movie, and its broader effect on the culture as the sort of the ultimate gunfighter of that era, is for exactly that reason. He’s impulsive and he’s — you know, at least on the surface, he’s unsentimental. But beneath the surface he’s extremely sentimental.
Lawrence Kasdan: He’s not living in a romantic fantasy of chivalry. And this is one of the reasons he’s such a popular character. The reason he caught my imagination from A New Hope is because he represented a kind of very practical, cynical, “I’m gonna survive this scene” attitude. And not some, “Oh, I can’t possibly draw on him until he draws.” That’s from High Noon or something.
Jonathan Kasdan: That’s the thing. What George created so brilliantly is that with that one moment, he did so much storytelling about who this guy was, why we’re gonna like him, how he’s going to be different from Luke. It was so economical and ingenious. You know?
Lawrence Kasdan: Brilliant. Brilliant. Every moment of A New Hope is brilliant in that way, because it was the most economical and effective movie ever made, practically. So we’ve already seen for the first time Luke and Han across the table; one guy sort of grizzled and cynical, and the other one is outraged by his — Han’s — cockiness, and he’s the idealist. Then they leave, they disappear, and just as Han’s about to walk off stage someone arrives. It shows us, acts out, dramatizes perfectly the difference between these two guys.
StarWars.com: Let me ask you, Larry… I consider you one of the fathers of Han Solo. And I’m curious, I feel like you’ve added depth to him with each subsequent movie. What did you see in Han that allowed you to do that?
Lawrence Kasdan: Well, at that moment in the movie where it takes a jump — and this is a hugely exciting movie, people were going crazy, they’d never seen anything like the opening shot. Yet by the time Ben and Luke get to Han, it’s ready for the new element that’s going to just blow the thing apart. And in walks Han and Chewie.
Jonathan Kasdan: It’s deep. It’s like 45 minutes into the movie or something.
Lawrence Kasdan: So we’ve had this very benevolent Zen master guiding an apprentice, an innocent, through this world. And in walks an actual denizen of the world, someone who Ben would never be, but he knows all about people like this. Someone who Luke doesn’t know if he even wants to emulate in any way. And here comes this guy and you say, “Well, who lives in this universe? Well, here’s an example.” And it’s really fun. He’s seen it all, he’s done it all, he trusts no one, he’s in it for himself, he’s not going to do anything for the cause, and everything about that is sexy and exciting at that moment in the movie.
StarWars.com: As someone who’s obviously played such a part of writing the character over the years, had you — just in your head — kicked around ideas about what his origin might have been?
Lawrence Kasdan: No. Never. What happened is, in November 2012, I was in Colorado and Kathy [Kennedy] called me. She said “Look, we’re going to do some new Star Wars movies, and would you come up and talk to me and George about it?” I said, “I don’t know. I feel like I’ve done my Star Wars movies.” I had done two by then. She said, “Just come up. We’d really appreciate it and let’s have a talk.” I said, “All right.” You know, George had been enormously important to my career, and he knew from the get-go that I wanted to be a director. When I was going to try to get Body Heat made, Alan Ladd Jr. at Fox said, “You gotta get a sponsor,” and he had sponsored the writing of the script. But he said, “If you’re going to direct it, you need a godfather of some kind.” I went to George who I had just worked with on Raiders [of the Lost Ark] and Empire [Strikes Back], and George said, “I’ll executive produce the movie, uncredited.” So that was in 1980. Now in 2012, he’s saying, “Will you come up and have a meeting.” With Kathy, who I had been friends with for 40 years, and so I went up and we talked and it was great to be back at the ranch. They said, “We want to do” — there’s no Disney in this conversation yet — and they said, “We want to revive the franchise and we’ve got some ideas.” And they had a bunch of ideas that George had written out very briefly. I said “Well, I don’t think so,” and they said Michael Arndt has been hired to write the next Star Wars. I said, “Well, that sounds great. He’s really talented.” And then they said, “You know, one of the ideas would be to do just a movie about Han,” and I suddenly perked up, because that was the only thing that interested me. I didn’t want to do a sequel. I wouldn’t have written the next one, normally. I just thought I had done it. But to do something with Han, who I found was the most interesting and fun character in the whole deal, and to be able to be free and make whatever kind of story I wanted about Han, well, that was irresistible to me. And I say, “Well, that does interest me.” And as the conversation went on, and there was some talk about what it might be, but I was not interested in what they were talking about. I was interested in how was the character I fell in love with at Mos Eisley formed, and what kind of story could you tell around that? Because really, I’m a Western freak. I’ve made two Westerns, and there’s nothing more Western than A New Hope and Mos Eisley. In walks a gunfighter. He looks like a gunfighter, he sits like a gunfighter, he shoots first like a gunfighter. And so I thought, what happened before that guy walked in the door?
And just to be clear, at the same conversation they said to me they were very pleased that I was interested in that. They said, “But we also want to make a deal with you to consult on the next Star Wars that Michael Arndt is writing.” Because that had not been solved. He was really just starting. And I said, “Okay, so I’ll make a side deal where I consult on that, you know, like once a month or something,” and it didn’t turn out that way. I went off, we made a deal for both things: 1) was for me to write Han and 2) to consult on Episode VII. And it turned out to be a much more involved thing, and for the whole year of 2013, you know, up to the fall, I was in many, many meetings about Episode VII, and Michael Arndt, and our whole group was there. Kiri [Hart], I think was there, and Kathy. We would meet in a hotel, and it wasn’t progressing very fast, and then to our great delight — I’m not even sure of the date — J.J. [Abrams] came on. He had agreed to direct the movie and this was pretty early on in 2013. And everyone… I was flipped out. I said this was the best director possible for the movie and he joined the story group with Michael.
And [Michael] sort of stepped away — you know, very friendly, everybody loves Michael — and J.J., who was very concerned about the time pressure, and Kathy, asked me if I would come on and write it with J.J., and so we took over that job. So instead of writing Han, which I had been doing in between these meetings, I just put aside Han completely and began work with J.J. on Episode VII. We wrote it very fast. We started in the fall of 2013 and delivered our first draft to Disney in January. And at that point everybody breathed a sigh of relief, because they now had something to give to all the hundreds of — probably a thousand — people waiting in England to start building and prepping. And from January until the start of production, J.J. and I just continued to write and write and write and then, much to my surprise, we continued to write right through the entire picture. And so I didn’t have much time to concentrate on [Solo].
At that point, when J.J. started production, in May or something, I could then turn back to the Han job. But something… At that point I didn’t want to do the Han job, to be frank with you. I had just now written a third Star Wars movie. Now they were telling me I should write a fourth one. I really thought I had used up my welcome and my enthusiasm. But in that same period… Jon and I had been talking for 38 years, since he was born…
Jonathan Kasdan: From day one. [Laughs]
Lawrence Kasdan: From day one we had discussed Han, when he was an infant. Jon had grown up in a household of Star Wars, Jon had enormous enthusiasm for Star Wars, and for Han, particularly. You know, a few weeks after I’d gotten involved, Disney bought Lucasfilm. Everyone was shocked. I was shocked.
No one knew it.
I’m telling you, two weeks after I went up to see them for the first time or something. So George was really out of it now, but I said to Kathy, “Look, I don’t know if I want to write another one. I’ve just spent all this time on Force Awakens.”
But Jon was with me and he had enormous enthusiasm and ideas and he reawakened in me everything that had gotten me excited when I first started, about how much I loved this character, and that the movie could be different from any other Star Wars movie ever, that it could touch on many of the genres that both he and I like. Film noir, Westerns. But more important for me, I thought it should be the most character-filled Star Wars, and Jon really encouraged that and he said, “Look, your dream is possible, and let’s talk about some of the things that would make that that way.”
And at that point I said to Kathy, “The only way I can write this is if I have this inspiration, this collaborator,” and Jon was then brought into the process. And then a very funny thing happened, which is that for Jon’s 35th birthday, my wife Meg and I took him to Rome. We all three went to Rome, where I hadn’t been in years.
We had a fantastic visit in Rome, and the idea was that we would go back through England, Meg would visit the set for The Force Awakens, Jon and I would stay for a week, just watch the thing because it was so exciting — the first new Star Wars!
Jonathan Kasdan: Also, it’s worth acknowledging that both of us, while we were excited about Han, they had several spin-offs in development and sequels and such. And ours, Han, was not the first story or even second in the order of stuff that they were planning to do. So neither of us knew how long we would be on Han as a script, or if it would ever see the light of day as a movie, and we sort of saw this as an opportunity to spend a few days on the set of a Star Wars.
You know, to get ourselves inspired, with the whole awareness that, you know, Han could very easily not happen or not happen with us.
Lawrence Kasdan: So we stopped by, this was in the fall of ’14, and yeah, we thought we’d stay for a week. But instead we stayed for a month. And we started writing. So now all of a sudden, not only am I right back writing with J.J., because we’re changing the thing all the time, Force Awakens, but Jon turns out to be this enormously valuable asset and became very involved in some critical scenes of Force Awakens, and was absolutely pivotal, and major, in the details of the scene where Han dies.
So Jon, right up ahead the road, he knew he was going to jump into the youth of Han Solo, but ironically and sort of movingly to me, he became very involved with J.J. and I in the death of Han Solo. And it was a very emotional moment for everybody on the set when that was going to happen.
There was a lot of other stuff that Jon was there for, including when Han comes back on the [Millennium] Falcon, because that was all being shot after Harrison had been hurt the first time. A lot of stuff was being reshot. Jon saw a lot of that. So right for a full month, J.J. and I are writing with the full help and support of Jon. It was crazy.
StarWars.com: I want to ask you a question about that. Both of you, as people who love Han Solo and were, at the time, working on this movie… Did you feel any trepidation about crafting his death? Were you sure you wanted to do it? What were you guys thinking at the time?
Lawrence Kasdan: Right from the get-go, J.J. and I felt that was gonna happen. I had tried to kill him off 40 years before, and it didn’t fly. So I did think that was always going to be a part of it, but what we’re talking about right now is the granular details of what would be said between Kylo and Han; how would we stage it exactly, at what point does it become clear that Kylo is seducing him into vulnerability. All those things.
Jonathan Kasdan: I mean, I will say, in answer to your question, one thing that did happen was that when you got to the set — and I wasn’t there for the very beginning of the shooting of the movie, but I was getting constant reports and then I arrived there towards the middle of the shoot, and we were there for actually a little more than a month, we were there for about six weeks. You could feel that there was a very powerful thing happening.
You know, obviously no one knew it was going to be the most profitable movie of all time. But you could feel that this was a rare and singular event. And with Harrison being back on the set, in that costume, with that gun on his hip, was a really powerful thing to see and to be a part of, and really was the support that Daisy [Ridley] and John [Boyega] needed in order to carry a new Star Wars movie.
So as we were shooting it, and even as we were writing it and watching it happen, I think there was trepidation. There was no wavering. Everyone was always ready to do it. But there were moments, certainly, where we thought, “Man, I can’t believe we’re losing Han. He may be the coolest thing about this.” And what Larry and I knew, and no one else really had internalized to the extent that we had, was that we felt there was more Han in the future, and it would take on a new, very fun incarnation. And that was part of what helped motivate us into writing the script.
Lawrence Kasdan: It couldn’t be put any better. There was this kind of yin and yang thing, which is that it’s a completion of a story, at the very moment when Jon and I are about to dive in and do the beginning of the story. So it was really serendipity that we took this birthday trip with Jon. We had no idea that he would wind up at Pinewood for six weeks as these critical scenes were shot. And then we would go home, which we did, and begin writing in earnest.
Jonathan Kasdan: The other thing that I think came out of that worth acknowledging was that, you know, Larry is one of the great — my dad , it’s always crazy to know how to refer to him — Larry is one of the great writers of Star Wars that’s ever been. He and George are really the super class of that thing. And it’s a challenging kind of thing to write, it’s something that — you know, everybody wants to write a Star Wars movie, every filmmaker who comes at it, you can see them literally throwing themselves at Kathy like, “Give me a Star Wars.”
And I’ve found that they’re surprised by just how tricky a sound it is to hit. And I found it too, myself, as a newbie. Getting to spend those six weeks in the trenches with J.J., Larry, and more importantly, getting to work on the scenes and then hear them on the set, spoken by the old guard actors like Harrison and the young guard like Daisy and John, and literally be on the ground with it, is the kind of education, trial-by-fire experience that no one really in the history of this thing has gotten but me.
And it’s put us both in a position to sort of write it with some feeling of like, “Okay, we know kind of how this works a little bit, you know,” and what will fly and what won’t fly. It was an invaluable crash course in writing something that is much more elusive than I had ever imagined it would be.
Lawrence Kasdan: What is over all of this, the overwhelming theme — both for the saga, which has lasted for 40 years, and for my involvement and then for Jon to come in — it’s a saga about generations. It’s a saga about passing the torch. It’s a saga about mentoring, and who guides people, and where do people learn how they do their thing.
There was enormous resonance for us. Jon had already directed two movies, and he had moved into the business on his own; started very young, so he wasn’t learning the first thing, but what he was entering was the world of Star Wars, and nothing can be more resonant in Star Wars than generations handing on their wisdom. It doesn’t have to be father and son, but inevitably there is a father figure and a son figure. Suddenly, we’re writing it then.
StarWars.com: I wanted to jump back into something Larry was talking about, which was the generational aspect of this. What’s interesting about the two of you writing this together, aside from being father and son, is that it strikes this generational balance. You have somebody who shaped Star Wars, collaborating with someone who grew up with it, and I’m wondering if you think that impacted the script.
Lawrence Kasdan: You simply can’t overestimate the impact of that. Just to give you a little history, I started out writing alone, and then I began having collaborators. Barbara Benedek on The Big Chill, and then my brother on Silverado, my wife on Grand Canyon, and I have had nothing but good experiences collaborating with people that I either knew already or came to know.
But when I told people I was going to write Han with Jon there was a kind of wariness people would express to me, which is, “You know, father and son, that’s really dynamite, delicate minefield area.” And I said, “We know, but I really want to do this with Jon and he has enormous energy and ideas for this.” And over the course of the next three years, which we did not anticipate, that it would be a three-year journey — I’ve never spent three years writing something — and we went through a brief moment of getting used to each other and there were brief moments of discomfort.
But when we found our rhythm, it became this enormously satisfying thing that after a lifetime of sharing not only family and love, but a love for movies, we were able to work together for three years and still be in love with each other. You know, it’s very challenging. That aspect of father and son never left the room.
Jonathan Kasdan: You know, what also invigorated, and I think was an incredibly positive part of that dynamic between my dad and I, was when Ron [Howard] came in, who we both responded to in the same way.
You can’t help but be completely in love with Ron. He just has the most welcoming, warm, creative, supportive, inclusive attitude that any filmmaker I’ve literally ever met has had, and he invited Larry and I to the conversation. I was with him through the entire shoot and we were able to have a dynamic between the three of us that really worked. It was like having two great father figures, because these are two legendary movie minds who are incredibly respectful of me and the ideas I was..
25 facts, myths and trivia about the original Star Wars trilogy There are many cool things about the original Star Wars trilogy. Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt and the Millennium Falcon are but three.
The lore and legend of Star Wars that George Lucas created goes beyond far what you see on the screen as these 25 pieces of trivia and myth show...
In A New Hope, Leia was kept captive on the Death Star in cell number 2187. This was a deliberate choice as 2187 is the year that the Lucas directed film THX 1138, was set.
Ewoks were a late addition to the Star Wars mythology in Jedi. Their part in the story was to be played by the Wookiees, but by the time Lucas and his production partners sat down to write Return of The Jedi, they realized that, because Chewbacca could fly the Millennium Falcon, repair the ship and operate pretty much any weapon or machine in the known universe, they'd made the Wookiees too technologically advanced for the plot. That's why you may have seen some Ralph McQuarrie concept art out there where the Wookie's home in the trees looked like the Ewoks!
In Jedi, listen very carefully as Darth Vader picks up the Emperor and throws him down the Death Star shaft. This is the only time the Jedi theme music plays over a shot of Vader, reflecting his return to the light side of the Force.
Myth - The Wampa was created to allow for Luke's rearranged face after a car accident. Mark Hamill was injured prior to the filming of The Empire Strikes Back. This is fact. The myth is that due to his face being rearranged, Lucas had to re-write the Hoth events to include the Wampa attacking Luke to account for his injury. The truth is that no accommodations were made for Hamill’s face.
After appearing in Jedi, Wedge becomes the only X-wing pilot character (apart from Luke) who survives all three major battles in the films.
The famous reveal of the father and son relationship between Vader and Luke in The Empire Strikes Back is often misquoted as "Luke, I am your father". The line is actually "No, I am your father".
Admiral Ackbar's "It's a trap," which is arguably the most famous line in the ROTJ, was, incredibly, not in the screenplay. The line was scripted as "It's a trick!" and was later changed post-filming after a test screening because, let's face it, "it's a trick" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
While Return of the Jedi saw Luke return the favour to Vader and cut his arm off, the idea for it actually came from the expanded universe novel, ‘Splinter of the Mind's Eye’. This book was intended to be turned into a sequel to Star Wars but when that movie became so popular, the idea was abandoned. Vader was actually the only Star Wars film character to lose an arm three times! And both his legs as well. Obi Wan Kenobi got 3 of his limbs in Revenge of the Sith!
James Earl Jones is famed for providing the voice for Vader however he didn't do the famous breathing effect. This was done by Ben Burt placing a microphone inside the mouth piece of a breathing apparatus and recording it being used.
The late and great John Wayne's voice was used in ANH - an old recording was manipulated and used for the Imperial spy Garindan - that's the guy with the big black nose that informs the Stormtroopers as to Luke and company's whereabouts. It's quite a cool bit of trivia when you understand that Wayne's The Searchers had a strong influence on the movie.
Leia's character has her own musical theme titled "Princess Leia's Theme". It is represented by the musical leitmotif method which is famously used across the films. The piece was composed by John Williams and was used several times. It first appeared in A New Hope, heard when Princess Leia is captured by the evil Sith Lord, Darth Vader. Later, it surfaces as R2-D2 plays her holographic message to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
George Lucas at one stage considered using the great Orsen Welles as the voice actor for Darth Vader.
Myth - Lucas had 12 films all mapped out before the first Star Wars was released. That’s the legend but the mythology of it has grown over the years. The nutshell is that Lucas wrote a great deal of material when he was developing his little sci-fi adventure. Based around the so called “Journal of Whills”, Lucas script eventually was cut up and Star Wars as we know it was filmed. It was not until Empire Strikes Back came out that the term Episode 5 was mentioned officially. Lucas’s grand vision was actually pieced together over several years in very broad strokes. The 12 or 9 films as most people know of were never fully scripted but were largely imaginings of Lucas that were eventually firmly realized well after 1977. The story about the novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye effectively confirms this. Well this hand written vision by George totally proves it (to the right). Indeed he had A New Hope at 6.
Princess Leia never actually gets to 'meet' Obi Wan Kenobi. She sees him from afar when she's escaping the Death Star and Obi Wan is about to let Darth Vader kill him but that's it. Unless you count Obi Wan being present for her birth in Revenge of the Sith...
Jedi was originally going to be called Revenge of the Jedi until Lucas decided that Jedi do not seek revenge. This was quite late in the production so there was a lot of promotional gear with the title already printed on it.
Rumor has it that Carrie Fisher had a massive drug problem during the filming of Return of the Jedi. Cocaine was apparently her powder of choice. Apparently. OK, there is no apparently, in Jedi you can see she wears and extra long finger nail which is just a perfect instrument to assist with the distribution of nose candy up the nose.
Fisher did however admit she had an affair with Harrison Ford during the filming of ANH. This was from her book The Princess Diarist.
Darth Vader was referenced in the film Back to the Future by Marty McFly as being from the planet Vulcan. No one was sure who was more upset - Star Wars fans or Trekkies!
If you asked the average Star Wars fan what was Leia’s home world, they would be correct in answering the planet Alderraan and they could go to the head of the class. If you asked the most hard core fan, they might also quickly add that Leia and Luke were actually born at a medical facility on Polissa Massa – if you’ve seen Revenge of the Sith you might recall that is where Obi Wan Kenobi took the injured Padme for medical assistance.
Bonus fact - Darth Vader has only 12 minutes of screen time!
At the recent Star Wars Celebration Event the CEO of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy was asked a question about the selection of auteur JJ Abrams to direct the forth coming Episode VII. Her answer was really cool!
'I’ve actually known J.J. Abrams since he was about 15,” Kennedy says. She was working for Spielberg, and someone called her office, saying he found some Super 8 films of Spielberg’s — the films he made as a kid. These were the films. Simultaneously, Kennedy read an article about high school students who won a video award, and she thought to hire them to restore the Super 8 tapes. The students were Abrams and Matt Reeves.'
From a certain point of view, yes, Wedge is Obi Wan's Kenobi - the real deal is that the actor who plays Wedge, Dennis Lawson, is actually Ewan McGregor's real life uncle!
What's the story of Wedge? Where did he come from, where did he go? Orphaned at age seventeen, he found refuge with the Rebellion after Imperial forces murderd his girlfriend, Mala Tinero. He was considered an exceptional starfighter pilot and this was proved when he was one of the few pilots to survive the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope,
Following that space adventure Wedge founded the famous Rogue Squadron with his Luke Skywalker. Antilles and Skywalker built Rogue Squadron into a renowned unit, and after the Battle of Hoth, Antilles took full command.
He famously flew as Red Leader during the Battle of Endor, striking the blow from his X-Wing craft that destroyed the second Death Star and becoming the only pilot to survive both attacks on the Death Stars.
Behind the scenes history of the character
Behind the production scenes, Wedge's character has been a bit all over the place.
In the original film, Antilles was played by two British actors: Colin Higgins and Denis Lawson, however, they vocal contributions were non-existent as they were both dubbed with the voice of American David Ankrum!
Legend has it that Higgins had not learned his lines (the original script had more than was featured in the movie) and so he was fired and replaced by Lawson.
While Wedge had a prominent role in the finale of Jedi, an early script idea featured an early scene in which Antilles was supposed to pilot a TIE after infiltrating an Imperial formation near the Executor, lose control of his craft and require a rescue by Princess Leia, who had also infiltrated the fleet. This was ultimately dropped of course.
Antilles movie quotes Return of the Jedi Lando Calrissian: All right, Wedge. Go for the power regulator on the north tower. Wedge Antilles: Copy, Gold Leader. I'm already on my way out.
Lando Calrissian: Watch yourself Wedge, Three from above! Wedge Antilles: Red Three, Red Two, pull in!
Red Two: Got it. Red Two: Three of them coming in, twenty degrees. Wedge Antilles: Cut to the left, I'll take the leader.
Empire Strikes Back
Wedge and Janson have just brought down an Imperial Walker that was attack the Hoth base. Wedge Antilles: Whoa! That got him!
A New Hope
Luke: "But it's not impossible. I used to bull's-eye womp rats in my T-16 back home, and they're not much bigger than two meters!"
Wedge: "Yeah, and were the womp rats shooting at you with turbolaser cannon?"