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May the Fourth Be With You!

May 3, 2019

May 4th is Star Wars Day. Why? Because “may the fourth be with you” sounds a lot like “may the force be with you,” a famous line from the franchise. While the many Star Wars movie have delighted millions and earned billions, there are a few that never got made at all.

The Star Wars

The 1977 movie Star Wars was the first movie in the space saga to hit theaters, but sequentially it’s the fourth (it was retroactively retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope). But it’s not even the first iteration of Star Wars conceived by writer-director George Lucas. In 1975, shortly after the release of his nostalgic blockbuster comedy American Graffiti, he finished the screenplay for a sci-fi epic called Adventures of Starkiller, Episode One: The Star Wars. It boasts some aspects that would later be developed in the actually made Star Wars, but it’s still wildly different. It centers on Luke Starkiller, a Jedi in training under the guidance of his Jedi uncle, alongside his cousin (not sister) Leia. “The Force” is part of the story but it’s called “The Force of Others” and Chewbacca isn’t yet a cuddly, tall Muppet, because he’s gray, has massive teeth, and wears a pair of shorts.

Sequels and prequels (that never happened)

George Lucas once aimed for Star Wars to be a 12-part film series. He started with the fourth, fifth, and sixth “episodes” (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) because he thought those were the most commercial. After he made those, then he’d go back and back the first three (which he did, from 1999 to 2005), and an additional six sequels. Back in 1976, while filming Star Wars: A New Hope, he asked Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) if he’d want to be in the ninth film…which he said he’d start shooting in the far-off, futuristic year of 2011.

The robot movie

While writing the scripts for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, George Lucas came up with the idea for a Star Wars movie separate from the main story, but set in the same “universe” and focusing on robots. In fact, he didn’t want any human or humanoid characters in the movie at all: just robots. In all likelihood, prominent Star Wars automatons (and fan favorites) R2-D2 and C3-PO would have factored in, but the movie never got made. There was, however, a 1985 Star Wars Saturday morning cartoon on ABC with a very similar premise called Droids.

Spinoffs and standalones

After the lackluster box office of Solo, the 2018 Star Wars spinoff movie about the adventures of young Han Solo, Star Wars corporate parent Disney pumped the brakes on a ton of spinoff movies that had been in the works. Among the movies that won’t get made now — or at least not anytime soon — include another solo Solo movie, filling in the blanks between the action of the first movie and A New  Hope; and a film about outer-space bounty hunter Boba Fett.

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