The Star Wars franchise has had a lot of ups and downs in its entire 40-year existence. There have been low points in the series like Jar Jar Binks in Episode I, and there have been high points like Luke and Vader’s confrontation in The Empire Strikes Back. The original trilogy ended on a high note even if Return of the Jedi was the weakest of the three original Star Wars movies. Even the prequel trilogy got better as the films went on, and Anakin Skywalker’s downfall and transformation into Darth Vader was fairly captivating and appealing.
However, things could have turned out very differently in any one of these Star Wars movies, or even all of them. The way the Star Wars movies ended weren’t always set in stone. In fact, it’s far from it. There were many script revisions, especially when it comes to the original trilogy. Alternate versions of the franchise are plentiful. The movies could have been very, very different.
Some characters that live could have died, and even some heroes could have become villains. Entire plot points and story arcs could have been removed or changed and replaced with weaker ones. Overall, fans are happy with the Star Wars franchise, and we are thankful for the movies we have received. Sometimes, things are bad, but they could have been a lot worse if any of these alternate endings happened. Here’s a look at the 15 worst Star Wars alternate endings. Do you like any of these? Are you glad we never got to see any of these scenarios play out on the big screen?
16. Luke Turns To The Dark side
Granted, none of us have seen The Last Jedi yet, so this alternate ending may very well still happen. In fact, it’s a fairly prevalent fan theory. However, Luke was going to go down the dark side path much, much earlier. Return of the Jedi could have been very different if Luke became the new Darth Vader. We know that the Emperor was always on the lookout for newer and stronger apprentices. We saw this play out in the recent Darth Vader comic, and an early draft of ROTJ showcased this as well. George Lucas wanted Luke to become the new Darth Vader.
The ending of the film would have been the same right up until Vader died. And after Vader died in Luke’s arms, Luke was going to put on the Vader helmet and say, “Now I am Vader.” While there were glimpses of Luke’s struggle with the dark side in the original trilogy, we are glad things didn’t turn out that way. It would have been shocking, but not very satisfying. However, with the way things turned out between Luke and Kylo Ren, this may be a very interesting storyline for the new Star Wars trilogy. In the original trilogy, it would just seem out of place.
15. Jar Jar Binks Could Have Become A Sith Lord
There has been plenty of speculation that Jar Jar simply wasn’t an idiot who got caught up in the galactic war between the Empire and the Republic by happenstance. Some Star Wars fans actually theorized that Jar Jar was really a Sith Lord pulling strings behind the scenes and acting as a spy.
While there is no evidence that anyone involved with Star Wars wanted to insert this bizarre alternate take on Jar Jar into Star Wars canon, it is one of the most prevalent theories on the web. As terrible as Jar Jar is, this idea would have been even worse. You can hate Jar Jar as much as you want, but at least this crazy plot point never happened. Thankfully, the creative geniuses that give us new Star Wars tales realized that having this as an alternate ending would have been absolutely silly.
14. Not Everyone In Rogue One Was Going To Die
At the end of Rogue One, everyone kicked the bucket. The movie has been out for over half a year, so don’t blame us about spoilers because everyone should have seen it by now. Did you know that this isn’t how things were supposed to end originally? There were actually multiple alternate endings for this Star Wars spin-off movie. One such ending saw Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor escape Scarif with the Death Star plans.
After transferring the plans to Princess Leia via a ship-to-ship transfer, they are jettisoned out of their ship in an escape pod just before Darth Vader blows it up. The writers never really wanted to use this ending, but it was in the first draft of the script because they assumed Disney wouldn’t allow the movie to end with everyone dying. Thankfully, Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, read the script and instantly asked: “Shouldn’t everyone die?” We are glad we didn’t see an ending where anybody, let alone the two main leads, survived. That just wouldn’t seem right.
13. Han Solo Was Going To Die In Return Of The Jedi
Harrison Ford was never really keen on the Star Wars films, and his original wish was to have him die on the battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. Thankfully, Lucas nixed that idea and Han Solo survived few more decades before being killed by his own son, Kylo Ren, in The Force Awakens.
Having a major protagonist die in the original Star Wars trilogy wouldn’t fit because we already saw the deaths of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Darth Vader. Having Han Solo die would not work and would just deprive us of the character’s much more meaningful death in The Force Awakens.
12. Luke Wasn’t Going To Be At The End Of The Force Awakens
The way The Force Awakens turned out was absolutely perfect. The final shot of Rey giving Luke back his lightsaber was poignant and it gave a nice tease to what would happen in The Last Jedi. However, this isn’t the way things were going to be originally. In fact, Luke Skywalker wasn’t going to be in the film at all.
The ending would have been nearly identical, but Rey would reach out and hand over her lightsaber. But then, the movie would just end. An ending like that would seem far too abrupt, and we are glad this isn’t the version of the movie that ended up being released.
11. The Final Battle In Return Of The Jedi Was Going To Be With Wookies Instead Of Ewoks
Even hardcore fans have to admit that the Ewoks are a little silly. These tiny warrior-like Teddy bears have their fans, but not everyone loves them. They may not be as ridiculous as the Gungans from The Phantom Menace, but they are definitely laughable. Lucas originally planned to have the Wookies take on the Empire in Return of the Jedi, but he decided against it and instead came up with the ideas for the Ewoks instead.
This is actually a good idea, and an alternate ending featuring a battle with Wookies instead of Ewoks simply wouldn’t have the same type of ‘little guy vs. big guy’ feeling. As silly as they Ewoks are, this was a very smart move by Lucas.
10. C-3PO Was Going To Destroy A Force Powered Death Star
An early draft of Star Wars was called Adventures of the Star Killer: Episode I: The Star Wars. In this version of the script, things were very different from the final product we received. For starters, C-3PO and R2-D2 are on a mission on Tattoine in search of Luke Starkiller. Luke’s brother sent them to deliver a Kyber crystal.
Starkiller and Kyber crystals would later show up in Star Wars mythos, but this is where they got their start. There was a Death Star, but it was actually powered by the force, and it was C-3PO who ended up destroying it, not Luke Skywalker in his x-wing. Some of this sounds interesting, but would Star Wars be so iconic if this is the way the first movie turned out? Probably not.
9. Darth Vader Was Not Going To Be Luke’s Father
The Empire Strikes Back could have been a lot different if the script wasn’t changed. A very early draft of Empire Strikes Back, which was written by legendary science fiction writers and husband and wife, Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett, featured a story where Anakin Skywalker wasn’t Darth Vader.
Not only was Darth Vader not Anakin Skywalker, but Luke actually got to meet his father, Anakin, when training on Dagobah with Yoda. Can you imagine a version of The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader wasn’t Luke’s father? That sounds terrible.
8. Padme Was Going To Be The Great Pilot In The Phantom Menace, Not Anakin
If any entry of this list would actually improve Star Wars mythos, then this one might be it. On the surface, making Padme the protagonist and true hero of The Phantom Menace seems like a smart choice. But doing that would mean that the whole point of the prequel trilogy would be meaningless.
The prequel trilogy sets out to show the downfall of Anakin Skywalker and making young Annie the daring hero of Episode I is essential. The original script for The Phantom Menace saw Padme take control of a fleet and pilot her own starfighter during the film’s climax. This is actually even less believable that the happenstance scenario that leads Anakin to pilot a Naboo starfighter himself. Why would a Queen get her hands dirty like that? On top of that, her background as a pilot wasn’t explained at all.
7. Ahsoka And Her Clone Army Were Going To Fight Darth Maul
Clone wars got cut short when Disney purchased Lucasfilm, and while Star Wars Rebels certainly wrapped up a lot of storylines (including Darth Maul’s storyline), there was still of a lot of things we didn’t get to see.
Ahsoka was going to have a face-off against Darth Maul with the help of a clone army after he had become the leader of Mandalore. What we ended up getting in Rebels was actually a lot more interesting. Darth Maul finally facing off against Obi Wan on Tatooine and Ahsoka having a showdown with her old master, Anakin, were top-notch storylines featured on Star Wars Rebels. The alternate endings we could have had if Clone Wars continued don’t sound nearly as exciting.
6. Revenge Of The Sith Almost Featured A Bizarre Love Triangle
In the book called Skywalking, George Lucas biographer, Dave Pollack, wrote about an early version of the Revenge of the Sith script that featured a steamy love triangle between Obi Wan, Anakin, and Padme. Some dialogue that remained in the film seems to suggest that this could have made it into the film.
Could you possibly imagine an alternate plot point where Obi Wan was actually Luke’s father instead of Darth Vader? That sounds pretty stupid. Thankfully, this idea was scrapped and nothing came of it in the end. Obi Wan was like Anakin’s brother and he had his own love interest in Duchess Satine, so why would there be a need for him to be with Padme?
5. Obi Wan Wasn’t Going To Die In A New Hope
As we all know, Obi Wan’s death is an essential part of the Star Wars mythos. He sacrifices himself to push Luke to become a Jedi. It’s an absolute pivotal plot point that pushed the story forward, so can you imagine an alternate Star Wars ending where Obi Wan didn’t actually die in A New Hope at the hands of Darth Vader? We can all agree that having Obi Wan survive would just slow the story down to a haul.
4. Han Wasn’t Going To Be Frozen In Carbonite At The End Of Empire Strikes Back
Han Solo being frozen in carbonite on Cloud City and then being handed off to Boba Fett so he can take his prisoner to Jabba the Hutt is one of the most iconic scenes in the entire Star Wars franchise. Could you imagine a scenario where this amazing scene never happened? Empire Strikes Back would have ended very differently, and Return of the Jedi would have had a completely different beginning.
At the end of Empire, Han and Chewie were going to go off and meet a character named Ovan Marekal, who was Han’s stepfather. Han and Chewie were going to try and get Marekal to join the rebellion. All this was in an early version of The Empire Strikes Back script, but that was changed because Harrison Ford was seriously considering not coming back for Return of the Jedi. Freezing Han in carbonite meant that the writers could have an easy out if Harrison Ford didn’t want to return.
3. Luke Was Going To Be Featured Heavily In The Force Awakens
Could you possibly imagine a better ending for The Force Awakens? Having Luke show up at just the end and have him have no dialogue was the perfect ending to the film. However, this wasn’t the way things were always supposed to be. Very early versions of the Episode VII script featured Luke much more heavily.
It was a wise choice for J.J. Abrams to scrap this and save Luke for The Last Jedi. If Luke had a larger role in The Force Awakens, the movie would simply be too crowded. There were already enough new and returning characters to introduce.
2. Rogue One Had A Battle With All The Main Characters On The Beach
Remember all the stuff you saw in the Rogue One trailers that didn’t end up in the movie? It was quite a lot, wasn’t it? There were shots of Jyn Erso facing off against a TIE fighter atop a large platform, and there were scenes of all the characters running from Stormtroopers and AT-ATs on the beach of Scarif.
While these looked like exciting visuals, it’s a good thing we got the ending that we did. Having a massive battle like that at the end would just slow down the film’s pacing. It was essential to the story to have all the characters split up at the end, instead of being gathered altogether in one big battle.
1. Padme Was Going To Lead The Rebellion Against Anakin In Revenge Of The Sith
Revenge of the Sith could have been a very different movie in a number of ways. On top of the love triangle that was in the original version of the script, there was also a version of the film where Padme was aware of Anakin’s decent to the dark side of the force very early on in the film. She was going to try and stop him and form a rebellion to stop Anakin and Emperor Palpatine.
This seems like a bit too much and making her character like this would undermine the central theme of the movie. Anakin betraying Padme and the heartache she has for what he has become is a much more interesting dynamic than her starting a rebellion against Anakin. Thankfully, we got the ended we did. However, the movie still wasn’t very good. It could have been much worse, though.