Later this month comes the release of writer J W Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the final installment in his trilogy of books taking an in-depth look at the making of George Lucas’ epic trilogy.
As a bit of a tease for the book, we though we would share just a short bit in which Rinzler reveals how Lucas mentioned his at-the-time nebulous plans for what would become the Prequel Trilogy to Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and producer Howard Kazanjian –
“Well, anyway, Luke’s father gets subverted by the Emperor. He gets a little weird at home and his wife begins to figure out that things are going wrong and she confides in Ben, who is his mentor. On his missions through the galaxies, Anakin has been going off doing his Jedi thing and a lot of Jedi have been getting killed—and it’s because they turn their back on him and he cuts them down. The president is turning into an Emperor and Luke’s mother suspects that something has happened to her husband. She is pregnant. Anakin gets worse and worse, and finally Ben has to fight him and he throws him down into a volcano and Vader is all beat up.
Now, when he falls into the pit, his other arm goes and his leg and there is hardly anything left of him by the time the Emperor’s troops fish him out of the drink. Then when Ben finds out that Vader has been fished out and is in the hands of the Empire, he is worried about it. He goes back to Vader’s wife and explains that Anakin is the bad guy, the one killing all the Jedi.
When he goes back his wife, Mrs. Skywalker has had the kids, the twins, so she has these two little babies who are six months old or so. So everybody has to go into hiding. The Skywalker line is very strong with the Force, so Ben says, ‘I think we should protect the kids, because they may be able to help us right the wrong that your husband has created in the universe.’ And so Ben takes one and gives him to a couple out there on Tatooine and he gets his little hideout in the hills and he watches him grow. Ben can’t raise Luke himself, because he’s a wanted man. Leia and Luke’s mother go to Alderaan and are taken in by the king there, who is a friend of Ben’s. She dies shortly thereafter and Leia is brought up by her foster parents. She knows that her real mother died.”
As you can see, Lucas has had the broad strokes of the story already in mind, as he would need to as it is backstory for Jedi. In the run up to the release of The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas had mentioned in many interview the bits about Vader and the volcano before, but because he obviously didn’t want to spoil Empire‘s big reveal, he didn’t mention the whole parentage angle of the story. This still doesn’t solve the mystery as to whether it was before or after Empire that Lucas decided that Luke and Leia would be twins.
And we can see that this is basically how things played out in Attack Of The Clones and Return Of The Sith, though it does have “Mrs. Skywalker” surviving past child birth which would play into Leia saying that she has vague memories of her mother in Return Of The Jedi. Interestingly, there is no mention of Anakin’s childhood and what would become the relatively unaddressed issue of his parentage, so if Lucas had any ideas about that at the time, he was keeping them to himself. And since they had no bearing on the backstories needed for Jedi, I see no reason for him to bring them up if he did have these story elements in mind.
The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi arrives in bookstores on October 22 or can be ordered from Amazon here.