“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine…but preferably you won’t and I’ll just be on my way. I’ve been training this Luke kid for like, two days, and we have so much more work ahead of us. Also, I’m starting to get some weird vibes between him and Leia and I really need to put a stop to that now before they do something unfortunate.”
Well, well, well, this is certainly an interesting tidbit. Chewbacca himself, Peter Mayhew, has spent that last couple of months tweeting out pages from his original Star Wars script, and yesterday he showed the pages that revealed Obi-Wan Kenobi was actually meant to survive his “laser sword” duel with Darth Vader, instead of allowing himself to be killed so he could “become more powerful” as he did in the movie.
On page 88 of the script, old Ben manages to make it back to the “pirate starship,” with some help from Luke, who comes to his side carrying his own lightsaber.
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) April 13, 2016
Here’s the main page we are concerned with.
That’s a pretty dramatic change to make on set, partly for all of the obvious reasons deciding to kill the only real movie star in your space opera is a big deal, but also because of all the implications it had for Luke’s hero journey moving forward. I mean, think about what that change meant for the story, from A New Hope itself and Obi-Wan’s ghost voice telling Luke to use the Force to destroy the Death Star, to the inclusion of Yoda in the next movie and Luke’s need to go away from the rest of his friends for training.
Was George Lucas always considering the option of killing off Ben? Was it the plan from the start, and he hid it to guarantee Alec Guinness would play the part? Or did he make an unexpected change on set?
If it’s the latter, that means one of the coolest ideas in the franchise, Force ghosts, something Vader didn’t know about, was a late addition (possibly out of necessity to get Guinness back for the next two movies, who knows). Also, this would mean the great, memorable “If you strike me down” line was also potentially conceived on set. That whole scene is so important I’m hesitant to think it was purely concocted in the moment though, even if the plan really was to have Obi-Wan survive.
(Oh, and Chewie casually throwing a dead stormtrooper out of the ship looks awesome in text.)
This “Kenobi doesn’t die” revelation wasn’t the only great tidbit here. As i09 noted, on page 88 of the script the word “Sith” was used to describe Darth Vader, even though that word wasn’t used on screen until the prequels. You can see it in the big paragraph near the bottom.
Mayhew already helped prove that Han shot first, and now we can see that a seminal moment in the franchise almost never happened. This look at the original script has already been incredible, and we still have a Death Star to blow up (but not the last) so who knows what else we might learn.
What do you make of this information? How do you think the franchise would have been different had Obi-Wan lived? Tell us in the comments below.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm
Images: Peter Mayhew/Twitter