MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: George Lucas added a scene to “The Empire Strikes Back” to address Mark Hamill’s facial injuries.
We previously discussed whether the wampa attack in “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” was written into the script specifically to address the facial injuries Mark Hamill suffered in a car accident a couple of years earlier. You can check that legend out for the details of the story, but the simplest answer is that no, there was going to be a wampa attack either way.
However, a couple of fans wrote to that while that was true, they believe Lucas had tried to address Hamill’s facial injuries in the film, only in a different scene. It appears as though that’s correct, and amazingly enough, in the same scene, Lucas also further explored the Luke/Leia relationship we discussed in a previous legend, namely whether Luke and Leia were intended to be brother and sister at the time of “The Empire Strikes Back.”
Read on to see how filmed (but then deleted) scenes addressed both of those notable issues from “Star Wars” history.
Perhaps the most famous deleted sequence from “The Empire Strikes Back” is one the finished film alludes to a few times: that the wampas are about to break through the Rebel base’s defenses; it’s practically an entire subplot. A wampa breaks through and nearly destroys R2-D2 before the Rebels ward it off with a bazooka, and then later, before Imperial forces take control of the base, C3PO removes a sign that warns there are wampas in a room in the hope that Stormtroopers will open the door, which they do.
However, while that was the most significant series of cuts in terms of time, there was another deleted scene that’s perhaps more significant.
After Luke recovers from his injuries in the Bacta tank, Lucas added an entire scene where he is specifically given a Bacta mask to deal with his facial injuries. That’s the scene inserted to address Hamill’s injuries. But once that ends, Leia enters for what original was this exchange (the actual dialogue in the scene is slightly different):
Luke is out of the chamber, lying on the bed previously occupied by Han. Leia is at his side. She brushes the hair out of his eyes and runs her fingers along the scar on his face.
Leia enters the recovery room, concerned for Luke.
The Bacta are growing well. The scars should be gone in a day or so. Does it still hurt?
Luke thinks about his ordeal.
I’m fine. Really. Leia … when I was out there and it looked pretty bad … well, it made me think about things.
Me too. I was afraid.
Their eyes meet. Luke touches her cheek with his hand.
I don’t really know how to say this … I never have before … Leia, you know how I feel about you …
She does and it’s confusing. Their lips are very close. About to kiss.
The door opens noisily and Threepio enters with Artoo. Leia pulls back, startled. Luke realizes the moment has been lost. His mind races for a way to regain it as Leia takes on her more formal manner. The droids are a bothersome distraction; Luke’s concentration is on Leia. Artoo beeps a cheerful greeting.
That eventually leads to the famous sequence where Leia kisses Luke to mess with Han Solo. However, that kiss would take on a whole other meaning had we seen the original flirtation and near-kiss of the original deleted scene.
This just goes to the main notion that Lucas never intended for Luke and Leia to be brother and sister until after “The Empire Strikes Back.”
The legend is …
Thanks to starwarsholidayspecial.com for the photo and the scene dialogue!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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