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The original ending of a Star Wars classic will leave you cold


It might have been set in a galaxy far, far away, but it undoubtedly changed the world forever. For the very first time, movies now had Lightsabers you could play with at home and the cinematic universe of a feature film was expanded well beyond merely what we see on the screen. 

As a result, the original Star Wars trilogy dominated the childhoods of millions of kids all over the world for generations to come. This expansive new universe couldn’t have been upheld if the films weren’t good enough to prop it up.

Fortunately, the original trilogy comprised a trio of masterpieces. There are many fans who will tell you that within that triumvirate of galaxy hopping adventures, that the shiniest gem in the Star Wars crown is Return of the Jedi. And boy oh boy did they nearly ruin it all. 

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As is the case with all the best fantasies, good triumphs over evil. Why wouldn’t it? It is a fantasy after all. We wouldn’t want a generation of youngsters turning towards nihilism at best and evil inter-planetary fascism at worst. However, that is almost what George Lucas had planned with Return of the Jedi

Originally, George Lucas had planned to do away with a fairytale happy ending. His first pitch to co-writer Lawrence Kasdan was as follows: “Luke takes his mask off. The mask is the very last thing—and then Luke puts it on and says, ‘Now I am Vader.’ Surprise! The ultimate twist. ‘Now I will go and kill the [Rebel] fleet and I will rule the universe,’” according to J.W. Rinzler’s encyclopaedia on the subject, The Making of Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi.

Somehow, rather than yelling about his last-ditched attempts to destroy their cash cow and seismic cinematic feat, Kasdan found himself in firm agreement. He excitedly told Lucas, “That’s what I think should happen!” Fortunately, Lucas saw the light side and saved Luke Skywalker from turning evil after he released a truth that many have happily forgotten, Star Wars “is for kids”.

Thus, lines like “Never! I’ll never turn to the dark side!” came to fruition and the happy ending left a legion of young kids battling space baddies in backyards and school playgrounds forevermore. However, it still remains shocking how close those kids came to commanding their fellows with quips like, “You may dispense with the pleasantries!”

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