The Star Wars saga is one of the biggest brands in all of pop culture, with new films, books, and videogames solidifying it as one of the most recognizable works of fiction in the world. Prior to the first film hitting theaters in 1977, a follow-up film wasn't always a certainty, with author Alan Dean Foster penning the sequel to the original story, Splinter of the Mind's Eye.
With the fate of the saga unknown in 1976, Foster ghostwrote the novel Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, which was an adaptation of George Lucas' script. The author had actually been tapped to write two novels, with the second being a story that would have served as a setup for a much smaller-budgeted film if Star Wars was a failure.
Luckily, this wasn't the case, with The Empire Strikes Back establishing the series' official canon while Splinter of the Mind's Eye took the storyline in unexpected, non-canonical directions, helping establish the concept of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Learn more about some of the biggest differences between the official Star Wars canon and the events of Splinter of the Mind's Eye!
Luke and Leia Head to Mimban
While Star Wars featured multiple planets, spaceports, and aliens, Splinter went the opposite route and focused specifically on the adventures of Luke and Leia.
"The only restriction that George put on me was he wanted me to write something that could be filmed on a low budget, the idea being that if the first film, Star Wars, didn't make a lot of money but made enough money to justify a second film, that he could reuse a lot of the same props and costumes and backgrounds," Foster shared with SYFY. "That's why, for example, Splinter is set on a fog-shrouded planet and a lot of the action takes place underground. It really cuts down on the need for expensive backdrops."
The fog and mud-covered planet of Mimban is set to appear in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is sure to appease SWEU fans.prevnext
No Han, No Chewie
With the novel being written before the release of Star Wars, Harrison Ford hadn't signed on for a sequel, with Splinter totally downplaying Han's importance in the Death Star's destruction and friendships with Luke and Leia. If you can't have Han in the story, there was also no reason for Chewbacca, which also allowed the story to be more character-driven and feature Luke and Leia as the main characters.
Another strange discrepancy is that, in this novel, Vader thinks Luke is the one who attacked his TIE Fighter in the Death Star battle, despite this having been Han in the film. One explanation for this would be that Foster didn't know explicitly how the events of the original film played out before writing the adaptation.prevnext
Luke and Leia in Love
Another bizarre change that could potentially be chalked up to Foster not knowing the ultimate direction of the saga is that there's quite a bit of sexual tension between Luke and Leia now that Han's out of the picture.
The duo doesn't necessarily act upon their urges, but throughout the novel, their flirty interactions mirror much of the interactions shared by Han and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, minus, of course, the official declaration of their loves.
While Lucas may have claimed he knew the direction the saga was going right from the beginning, the relationship between Luke and Leia in this novel, as well as Leia kissing Luke to get Han jealous in the beginning of Empire, might help solidify the idea that he hadn't always planned to make the two characters twins.prevnext
Swiss Army Lightsaber
The lightsaber helped define the Star Was saga and set it apart from the rest of the world of science fiction, yet at the time of writing Splinter of the Mind's Eye, the properties of the weapon were far from established.
Audiences grew to learn that the saber was nothing more than a sword made of energy, yet in Splinter, the weapon was also somehow capable of picking locks, thanks to Luke. At another point in the novel, Luke connects his lightsaber to an Imperial blaster, seemingly to charge the weapon to its full strength.
Fans would eventually learn that Kyber crystals provided the weapons with their power, but in this novel, the "Kaiburr" crystal amplified one's Force abilities.prevnext
Star Wars kicked off with Leia being a prisoner, yet still managed to display her courage in the face of danger. Luke was a farm boy who was only beginning to demonstrate his abilities with the Force, while his piloting abilities were hard to dispute.
In Splinter, Leia is virtually reduced to being the typical damsel-in-distress stereotype, regularly being defeated by any foe she comes into contact with. Luke, on the other hand, is much more powerful in the ways of the Force and more skilled with a lightsaber, even managing to overpower Vader and amputate his robotic arm.
Empire Strikes Back offered many more powerful moments for Leia and showed Luke's struggle with the ways of the Jedi, whereas Splinter expedites Luke's training efforts and puts Leia's bravery on the backburner.prevnext
There's been a lot of discussions recently about the extent of Force abilities thanks to The Last Jedi, with Splinter featuring one of the more fascinating manifestations of the power: Obi-Wan's presence empowering Luke.
In many chapters in the Star Wars saga, fallen Jedi have been able to visually appear to their allies, yet with Splinter, Kenobi also lent his former physical abilities to Luke, pushing his lightsaber abilities farther than what Luke had previously demonstrated.
Luke even goes so far as to proclaim, "I am Obi-Wan," during his encounter with Vader, helping explain why Luke could overpower Vader. This is meant to be another extension of the Kaiburr crystal, which, had the films embraced, could have changed a variety of different confrontations in the saga.prevnext
There are a vast amount of differences between the events of Splinter of the Mind's Eye and Empire Strikes Back, but one of the surprising elements is how the novel touches upon familiar plot points and characters, yet features slight variations on their names, appearances, or character traits.0comments
The planet Mimban is considered to be a swampy, fog-covered planet, much like Dagobah. Halla helps Luke embrace his inner abilities and pushes him to accomplish feats he believes are outside of his skillset, much like Yoda. The story even involves a scene in which the characters unknowingly drive a speeder over the back of a massive creature, not realizing that the creature has awoken and begins to destroy their ride. This feels incredibly similar to Han parking the Millennium Falcon inside the mouth of the immense space slug.
The similarities even continued up through The Force Awakens, with Rey taking the lightsaber from Finn to finish a duel with Kylo Ren. In Splinter, Leia takes Luke's weapon to confront Vader in the middle of desolate woods, evoking visual similarities between the encounters.prev