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The Crazy Low-Budget STAR WARS Sequel That Almost Happened

Imagine a world where the people who went to one of the 32 theaters across the country showing Star Wars on May 25, 1977 decided that it was complete and utter garbage rather than a rollicking space fantasy that captured their hearts, minds, and imaginations. In this dystopian alternate reality, there is no The Empire Strikes Backno “I love you”/”I know” moment, and no Lando Calrissian.

In this reality, audiences were instead treated to a low-budget sequel to A New Hope starring Luke and Leia stranded on a swampy backwater planet, searching for a mysterious crystal that amplifies the power of the Force. Plus Darth Vader gets his arm cut off, there’s a weird mud wrestling sequence, and there’s sexual tension so thick that not even a vibroblade could slice through it. It’s totally cool though because, in this reality, Luke and Leia aren’t siblings, so it’s not too emotionally scarring.

Thankfully, though, we don’t live in this nightmare universe, but that story still lives on in our world. Published as a novel in 1978, Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye is not only the very first Expanded Universe Star Wars story, but it’s also the Star Wars sequel that almost happened, but then didn’t happen, but then kind of happened, but not how you expected it to happen. And it’s precisely what we’re talking about on today’s episode of The Dan Cave. So, before you go see The Force Awakens next week, find out how George Lucas’ Star Wars contingency plan came to life.

Splinter-of-the-Minds-Eye

Image via The Cultural Gutter

For more weird Star Wars trivia, lore, and history, pick up a copy of my exhaustively researched new book 100 Things Star Wars Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. And yes, there’s a chapter about Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, so don’t you worry.

Can you imagine a world in which Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was our Empire Strikes Back? What other Expanded Universe stories do you wish made it to the big screen? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Dan Casey is the senior editor of The Nerdist, and the author of books about Avengers and Star Wars. You can follow him on Twitter (@Osteoferocious).

Featured Image: Dark Horse Comics

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