Since the release of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope in 1977, millions of fans have become enthralled with the detailed story and universe that encompasses the Star Wars galaxy. Indeed, the story of Star Wars – with its noble band of rebels fighting against a tyrannical empire – has become well known throughout the world and through the generations.
Star Wars could have turned out very differently from the final product George Lucas conceived, however. The story, characters, and organizations all went through far-reaching changes when compared to the original drafts.
A sixty-year-old Luke Skywalker, a green-skinned Han Solo, and even a galactic holy grail were all original concepts that slowly developed into the galaxy far, far away millions have discovered and come to love. Below we’ll highlight some of the incredible and usually odd early concepts for three classic characters: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Darth Vader.
Luke Skywalker: The Old General
The creative origins of Luke Skywalker underwent a wide range of changes, finally culminating in the young farm boy who would one day defeat the First Galactic Empire. In the early drafts of A New Hope, Luke Skywalker was originally envisioned as a woman named Starkiller.
Fans will recognize the name Starkiller as it went on to be used in other stories, including as the name of the infamous Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens. The female Starkiller then evolved into a sixty-year-old general named Luke Skywalker in other drafts.
Before being changed to “Skywalker” Luke was named Kane Starkiller and was the father to two sons named Deak and Annikin Starkiller who lived on the Fourth Moon of Utapau. Living in seclusion, the family is attacked by a Sith who arrives on Utapau and kills Kane’s son Deak.
In a later version, the old Kane Starkiller became Luke Skywalker who protects a princess (the early version of Leia) from the forces of the evil empire and are forced to flee to a planet known as Aquilae. General Skywalker in this draft was a member of the Jedi-Bendu (the original name for the Jedi) and was its last surviving member.
Han Solo: The Green-Gilled Monster
Han Solo is known as the dashing and handsome smuggler who stole audiences’ hearts with Harrison Ford’s portrayal of the character. The dashing Corellian smuggler was not always so dashing, however.
In the earliest drafts for Star Wars, Han Solo was described as a very tall reptilian alien with a large set of gills and no nose. Solo was also a member of the Jedi-Bendu and, unlike the final version, had a long-standing friendship with General Skywalker.
The green skinned monster then evolved into a bearded and flamboyantly dressed pirate. Subsequent drafts made the character a nefarious alien until George Lucas settled on making Han Solo into a relatable human who could develop a relationship with the other leading characters.
Darth Vader: Icon Of Evil
The character of Darth Vader was always present in one form or another in the early drafts for Star Wars. Initially, Vader was a grim and tall general who was tasked with the conquest of the planet Aquilae.
Vader was one of the many Knights of the Sith led by an early antagonist named Prince Valorum. It was in the second draft that the character became Darth Vader and was described as a seven-foot tall black knight with flowing black robes and the iconic breathing mask.
This was also when Darth Vader became the right hand of the Master Of The Sith, a character who would later evolve into the evil Emperor Palpatine. The artist Ralph McQuarrie would go on to solidify the character’s visual appearance through a number of paintings designed to convince officials at Fox Studios to invest in the film.