Star Wars is the first of the great movie franchises and, arguably, the greatest of them all. It’s spanned decades and generations with a storyline that’s become part of the contemporary zeitgeist. But… what if that famous storyline was at least partly the result of rushed decisions about what footage and ideas to leave on the proverbial cutting room floor at the last minute?
Luckily, what with DVD releases, special directors cuts, and interviews with actors and directors who are willing to indulge fan curiosity, we can see at least some of the material that got left behind. In most cases, you can see why a few seconds would be trimmed here or there. In other cases, it was obviously a judgment call. Now, we can only guess what kind of pressure filmmakers are under to cut costs or live up to agreements in these cases, but all the same, we’ll take a stand and second guess. Some of that deleted footage would’ve been great to see on screen.
There are cases where it makes a character more believable or understandable and other cases where a deleted scene would’ve filled up holes in the plot. Here’s a look at 15 Star Wars deleted scenes and why they should’ve been left in place.
15. Yoda Forbids Obi-Wan From Telling Luke About Vader (Episode VI: The Return Of The Jedi)
A promotional laserdisc version of The Return of the Jedi offers some cut and behind-the-scenes footage and a reason for one of the Star Wars mysteries that has plagued fans for decades. Why, oh why, didn’t Obi-Wan say anything to Luke about Vader and the whole dad issue? Like, even when he’s telling him that he has to fight Vader?? The scene wasn’t filmed in its entirety, but actor Frank Oz is seen voicing a number of Yoda’s lines. Among them is an explanation, finally. Yoda actually forbade Obi-Wan from telling Luke the truth. They both felt he was the Force’s last great hope against the Sith and the Dark Side, and Yoda believed that Luke’s feelings would be too conflicted if he knew the great Sith lord was, in fact, his father. “Obi-Wan would have told you long ago had I let him…” Yoda tells Luke in the scene that wasn’t to be. It’s still a pretty unforgivable deception, but at least, there’s some kind of an explanation.
14. Kylo Ren In The Millennium Falcon (The Force Awakens)
Adam Driver is a talented actor, and he does a great job of letting us see the tormented mess that is Ben Solo/Kylo Ren. But when it comes to portraying a character who rejects his family to the point of murder, showing more depth can’t hurt. In the deleted scene, Ren and a gang of snow troopers inspect the Falcon as it sits trapped in the Starkiller Base. He doesn’t take it lightly; he steps into the cockpit with respect, and it shows his still-conflicted feelings for his family. Offing the old man is pretty extreme – showing that he still has a part of him that leans to the light side of The Force makes it the act of an unbalanced mind. The scene would’ve connected neatly into the action of the plot. As Ren is exiting the Falcon, he sees Poe Dameron’s X-wing fighters swooping into battle.
13. Biggs (Episode IV – A New Hope)
In the first part of the movie, Luke says he’s envious of his childhood friend Biggs, who is at the Imperial Academy, training to be a space pilot. Later, the two old buds run into each other as fellow fighter pilots for the Rebel Alliance. They reconnect briefly – very briefly – and then Biggs is shot down over one of the Death Star’s trenches during the Battle of Yavin. It seems like a lot of trouble to go to, in order to establish the connection, only to literally shoot it down before it has a chance to register as anything but a coincidence. It turns out there was supposed to be more to the friendship. Early on, Biggs shows up in a scene with Luke on Tatooine, where he confesses that he’s deserting the Imperial Army and joining the Rebel Alliance. The “special edition” of the movie includes a scene where the two talk a little, just before the Rebel Alliance pilots set out on their fateful run. It wasn’t long, and it would’ve added more weight to his death. Otherwise, why mention him at all?
12. Rey’s Vision – The Little Boy (The Force Awakens)
When Rey first lays hands on the lightsaber, it pulls her into a series of visions, including Luke, as he discovers the murdered Jedi students left in Ben Solo’s wake and the encouraging voice of Obi Wan. The original intention for the visions, however, was to make them even more complex and include other elements. The Force Awakens, the novel by Alan Dean Foster, is essentially the original version of the script. It helps to flesh out some of the deleted footage, as well as scenes that were abbreviated, as in this case. In one part of her vision, she’s in a hallway in Bespin and encounters a little boy who calls her by name. Who is he? Is it a younger version of Luke or even Anakin? Maybe Obi-Wan? We’ll have to see if this thread is played out in Star Wars IX.
11. Daddy Issues: Kylo Ren, Han Solo, And Vader (The Force Awakens)
There’s an extended version of a scene between Snoke and Kylo Ren that was cut from the movie but probably shouldn’t have been. It answers a lot of the criticisms that were rightfully leveled at The Force Awakens when it comes to plot holes and convenient revelations. The cut scene includes dialog that actually appears in the novelized version of the story, and it goes a long way toward explaining why Ren kills Han Solo. In the deleted scene, Snoke explains to Kylo Ren that it was Darth Vader’s sentimental weakness that destroyed not just him but the Empire itself. He tells Ren that if Vader, as a father, had been willing to kill his own son when Luke refused the Dark Side, then the Empire would’ve won out and defeated the Jedi order forever. Snoke also tells Ren how much he despises Vader for having his change of heart at the very last moments of his life. The deleted scene would’ve brought Ren’s murder of his father into perspective. It also would’ve explained his idolization of Vader, despite his weakness. He’s following granddad’s footsteps but doing it right this time by finally finishing what he started.
10. Luke And His New Lightsaber (Episode VI – Return of the Jedi)
This deleted scene is a legend among Star Wars fans. Just after Darth Vader arrives on the second Death Star, Luke is seen in the last stages of building a new lightsaber. He’s in a cave, and the lighting creates a dramatic scenario. As he puts the lightsaber together, Darth Vader reaches out to him telepathically. It’s important because it would’ve re-established the link between the two earlier in the movie. It would also have filled in the gaps as to where Luke’s replacement lightsaber came from. We’re not sure why the scene was cut, but it may have had to do with pacing. It would’ve been our first look at Luke in the movie and the brilliant green lightsaber he crafted himself.
9. Anakin’s Mom (Episode I – The Phantom Menace)
The treatment of Shmi, Anakin’s mom, has always been one of those elements of the Star Wars saga that makes fans squirm. We kinda get that Watto doesn’t want to give up his slave, but is it really that easy for them all to accept? Literal slavery? In an expanded scene released on the DVD, during the scene where Qui-Gon and Watto decide on the scope of the bet over the pod race, we see Qui-Gon make at least a little more effort to include Shmi in the wager. He still doesn’t succeed, of course, but more of an effort, and maybe a little sense of anguish or something along those lines would make the whole scenario at least a little more palatable. After all, the first six Star Wars movies are really just the story of all the bad things that happen as a result of separating Anakin and Shmi. Adding more weight to that part of the story certainly wouldn’t have hurt the often criticized prequel trilogy.
8. Shaak Ti’s Death (Episode III – Revenge of the Sith)
There seems to have been a lot of deleted footage from Revenge of the Sith, for whatever reason. Most fans agree that it’s the best of the three prequels, so maybe it was just a matter of trying to get things right, and they largely succeeded. Togruta Jedi Master Shaak Ti actually dies twice, in two different versions of the script for Episode III. First, she’s killed by General Grievous. Near the beginning of the movie, Anakin and Obi-Wan come upon her as she’s being held hostage by Grievous. The evil cyborg pretends, at first, to let her go but then kills her. In another version that was shot, she’s stabbed in the neck by Anakin/Vader as she meditates in the Jedi Temple. Her adventures are fleshed out in The Clone Wars TV series and the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game, where she dies again at the hands of Darth Vader’s Secret Apprentice. So, which one of these is canon? Apparently, the version where Anakin stabs her while meditating. It’s referred to by Yoda in a vision during an episode of The Clone Wars. At least one of the death scenes should’ve appeared in the movie.
7. Chewie Lets Loose (The Force Awakens)
Chewie is one of the Star Wars characters that we just can’t get enough of, which makes it frustrating when movie makers cut his scenes short. The sequence at Maz Kanata’s castle was originally longer. Unkar Plutt is a hulking Crolutes, and he was the stingy junk boss ripping Rey and other salvagers off at Jakku. In the deleted scene, he confronts Rey at the castle with some smack about the mess of trouble she’s in. Chewie helps Rey out by stepping into the conflict, but Unkar just makes fun of him. Wrong move! Chewbacca steps on Unkar’s foot to steady him and then proceeds to rip his arm off and throw it on the table. Not only would the scene have let us see Chewie at his finest, but it would’ve also added a nod back to Episode IV: A New Hope, where Han Solo tells Luke that Chewie is apt to rip out arms when he’s angry. We needed to see this!
6. Yoda Arrives On Dagobah (Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith)
Give us more Yoda! In the original, uncut ending of Revenge of the Sith, after the scene of Padmé’s funeral procession, we see a brief shot of Yoda’s spaceship landing on swampy Dagobah, just before the sequence of Vader on the commanding the ship with the Emperor. For some inexplicable reason, of all the shots, that short bit of Yoda is what they chose to cut. Sure, we can see how the decision was made to focus solely on the immediate family, so to speak – Padmé, Anakin/Vader, and the fate of the two children – but Yoda is a fan favorite and deserved a little closure of his own. It would’ve beautifully set up the first meeting of Yoda and Luke later down the line, (or earlier, if we’re talking about the actual chronology of the film making… which is what can drive you crazy about Star Wars).
5. Dooku And The Lost Twenty (Episode II: Attack Of The Clones)
Christopher Lee’s dark portrayal of Count Dooku would’ve been fleshed out a little more in a scene that was deleted from the final version of Attack of the Clones. In the movie, Obi-Wan visits the Jedi Archive to find out about Kamino, the scene with Jedi Librarian Jocasta Nu was supposed to be longer. The original version included a conversation where Jocasta fills Obi-Wan in on Count Dooku’s history and possibly his motives for turning to the Dark Side. As she talks about him, Jocasta refers to Dooku as one of the “Lost Twenty” — a legendary group that supposedly includes the only Jedi ever to have renounced the Order. The expanded version of the scene wouldn’t only have given Count Dooku more depth; it would’ve also added to the Jedi lore.
4. Lightsaber Battle (Episode II: Attack Of The Clones)
One of the most exciting scenes in what is admittedly one of the weaker outings in the Star Wars series has to be the lightsaber battle between Anakin and Dooku. It’s unfortunate, but the version we’ve seen is a heavily edited one – meaning the original was probably even more exciting. Some of the details are noticeable; at one point, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Dooku are all at the back of the hangar, (just after Anakin saves Obi-Wan,) but in the next scene where Obi-Wan throws his lightsaber to Anakin, they’re suddenly at opposite ends. In this case, the deletion of parts of the scene actually results in a continuity issue. As Anakin catches Obi-Wan’s blue lightsaber, he does so with his left hand, and his right hand holds his own green lightsaber. In the very next shot, after the edit, of course, the lightsabers are reversed, with the green in his left hand and the blue in his right. In some shots later in the battle with Dooku, where he wields only the blue blade, it also seems to be shorter than it was as the fight started.
3. Dantooine (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
Gareth Edwards, director of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has said in interviews that there are no full deleted scenes from the movie, in contrast with other Star Wars flicks, because any cut footage only amounts to trimming longer scenes, often single shots. Rather than deleted scenes, we get an idea that was written out of the script – the planet Dantooine. It was mentioned as early as Episode IV: A New Hope (or the original Star Wars, if you’re very old school,) when Leia tells Vader to blow up Dantooine as the Sith lord threatens her home planet of Alderaan with the Death Star. She said it knowing the Rebels had already left Dantooine, which the Imperial Troopers confirm later in the movie. That’s the tie in to Rogue One – the first half of the movie would’ve shown the Rebel base there before it was evacuated to Yavin. The decision was made to simplify matters — and cut costs, of course — and build only one Rebel base on Yavin. The only time we’ve actually seen Dantooine was in the animated series Star Wars Rebels when Mon Mothma is being flown to the green, rural planet. Incorporating Dantooine would’ve solidified the links to the rest of the saga, along with adding another flavor to the planetary mix of the Star Wars universe. They can’t all be deserts, can they?
2. Jar Jar Binks, Politician (Episode II: Revenge of the Sith)
Lots of people love to hate Jar Jar Binks, and we get it – he can be super annoying. But, once he’s in the story, shouldn’t his character get nicely tied off and resolved? We think so. A deleted scene from Revenge of the Sith would’ve added closure. Where the movie cuts off now, Binks has been made a senator. He was instrumental in persuading the Senate to grant Palpatine – a Sith lord – emergency powers in Attack of the Clones. Actor Ahmed Best, who portrayed the Gungan, has talked about the deleted scene in interviews, and he describes it as “really dark.” All the comedy, (if you ever found it funny, that is) is gone from the Gungan. Palpatine is more or less thanking Jar Jar for putting him in power, and Binks has clearly devolved into a weak politician, manipulated by the evil Sith lord. We think the scene may actually have made Binks a little more likable in that it would show him as a pawn who’s paying for his weakness. It also would’ve added to the story in showing how Emperor Palpatine corrupted the dying Republic from the inside out.
1. Padmé Sets Up The Rebel Alliance (Episode II: Revenge Of The Sith)
We love how Padmé and her badass take charge of regaining her planet and, in general, keeping up with the Jedi knights in her midst. That’s why any footage that further develops that side of her is a welcome addition and shouldn’t have been scrubbed. In Revenge of the Sith, there’s a cut scene where Padmé and other Senators, including Bail Organa – who would become Leia’s foster father – discuss their concerns about Palpatine and his running of the Senate. The encounter adds a real sense of political drama to the story and foreshadows the importance of Mon Mothma in The Rebel Alliance, which ties in directly to Rogue One. (Of course, at the time Episode III was made in 2006, Rogue One may not yet have been on the table). The scene also sets Padmé up in opposition to Anakin and his support of Chancellor Palpatine, which adds to the tension in the last scenes of the prequel trilogy where he turns on her violently.
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