Another unsung trivia nugget unearthed by greg moss.
As there really is nothing more that can be said about Star Wars, this will be my one and only post on the subject of Lucas and his saga.
I remember the first time I saw Alan Dean Foster’s novel Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye on bookshelves in 1978 – the sequel to Star Wars (!) – or so I thought.
It’s what we all thought – right?
‘From The Adventures Of Luke Skywalker’ – that’s what it said on the cover.
But no, two years later, The Empire Strikes Back was released.
So where does SOTME fit in the scheme of things? Why does it even exist? If Lucas never intended it to be the official sequel, was it nothing more than a grab for cash?
Well now finally, the truth can be told …
In 2010, a 2 disk remastered dvd edition of Dark Star (The Hyperdrive Edition) was released. It has over two hours worth of extras including a 116 min doco on the making of Carpenter and O’Bannon’s seminal movie.
There is also an informative half hour interview with Alan Dean Foster who wrote a novelization of the movie, which was originally published in 1974.
Yes, believe it or not there was indeed a novelization!!
My own copy of the Dark Star novelization is a reprint which came out after Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye was published in 1978.
If you’re seriously thinking about novelizing your scripts you might wanna check out the Dark Star 2 disk Hyperdrive Edition if only for Alan Dean Foster’s insights on writing novelizations. He talks at length about the pros and cons and his general approach to adapting screenplay format to prose. He explains it’s not just a matter of changing present tense to past tense – as there is also added scope to flesh out character’s thoughts and feelings and motivations (and back-stories).
So what’s this got to do with Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye I hear you ask?
During the interview, Foster also talks at length about his involvement in ghost-writing the Star Wars novelization (credited to George Lucas) and its literary sequel. It turns out that Foster was instructed to keep SOTME ‘low budget’ just in case SW was successful enough to warrant a sequel.
This is why only one planetary locale is featured in SOTME – the bog planet Mimban (as opposed to the three distinctly different locales featured in the original SW – Tatooine, Death Star, Yavin and in each of the sequels – Hoth, Dagobah, Bespin in TESB and Tatooine, Death Star Mk II, Endor in ROTJ).
So it appears SOTME was indeed intended to have been the basis for Star Wars 2 all along.
And it is possibly for this reason particular elements from earlier drafts of Star Wars were utilized in Foster’s novel – the bog planet, the Yuzzem (precursors to the Ewoks), Luke’s confrontation with Vader and the Kaiburr crystal (the original treatment’s McGuffin).
Of course, when the original SW became such a surprise box office hit – the idea for a low-rent sequel was nixed with the result being SOTME has been unfairly looked down upon (by some at least) as an unconnected curiosity piece ever since.
Oh yeah, and the hinted-at sexual tension between Luke and Leia in SOTME only goes to show what is now apparent – that Lucas made it up as he went along.
Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes right-brained people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies.