Does anyone know how tiring and how exhausting it can be to come up with an original story? Those of us that write for a living may or may not know, but then those of us that have written one or more novels would be able to nod our heads and agree that it can be extremely tiring. At one point it sounds as though George Lucas was close to suffering burnout and as a result decided to cap the Star Wars trilogy with the third episode and call it a day. Return of the Jedi became the ending point of the trilogy, when in truth he’d wanted things to keep going until episode IX. He also had a different twin sister in mind for Luke Skywalker, a young woman named Nellith, who was being trained by the Force ghost of their deceased father on the other side of the galaxy. This would have meant that Leia was NOT Luke’s sister, which might have allowed the rivalry for her affections to continue, and it would also have meant that Darth Vader had literally killed Anakin Skywalker and that there was no certain point of view that needed to be taken into consideration. Just imagine how the story would have changed in such a drastic way, how the prequels would have gone, and what kind of climactic battle would have taken place between Anakin and the dark lord, Darth Vader. This kind of begs the question of just who would have become Vader, and where the dark-suited individual came from, but it wasn’t to be.
George Lucas had a map of how he wanted Star Wars to go, and at some point, the story started to unravel as his family and professional lives collided too often and things started to go downhill. Poor time management skills? Not enough attention to the right people at the right moments? Or was it just the fact that Lucas forgot that when a person sees something they want that can change their life, and the lives of everyone around them, that they have to weigh what they’re seeking against the life that they’re willing to sacrifice to attain it? Like it or not, a lot of creators, be they authors, directors, filmmakers, etc., have given up a lot in order to perfect their craft and bring something to the people of the world that can change things in a huge way. Nellith was sacrificed by Lucas to end the story quickly and to wrap things up so that he could spend time with his family and bring the fans something they wanted. Spending time with your family is a noble cause, but at the same time, it altered the story in a way that might have actually done more harm than good, though this of course is a statement that could possibly be argued with simply because the story as we know it now is so iconic that a lot of people probably couldn’t imagine it being told any other way.
Once it was established that Darth Vader was Luke’s father, the ‘other’ that Yoda mentioned became Leia since it would appear that Lucas simply gave up on the original idea of Nellith, as well as the idea that Vader had actually killed her and Luke’s father. At that point, she was no longer anything other than a name to be lost and possibly mentioned later. That sounds like a sad tale, doesn’t it? Most people might not ever hear it, and many that hear it might not even believe it to start with, thinking it might be a lot of propaganda that was made up to make the franchise appear a little more interesting. The truth however is that characters are given names, form, entire backstories, and in some cases ditched when it appears that they no longer have a purpose in the grand scheme of things. Sad is it might sound, a story changes from moment to moment and unless locked down in a manner that doesn’t allow any fluidity or adaptation, it will continue to alter itself as it goes along until a state of equilibrium can be found. Having already written several books I can attest to this, that the story does not always follow the flow that a person sets out to create and that something, an idea, a bit of inspiration, or just plain exhaustion, comes along at some point in order to muck around with the idea and challenge the creator to increase the validity of said story or change it as is needed to include the new idea. Unfortunately, exhaustion can play just as big of a role in changing a story around as well, as the long haul of creating something and seeing it through to the end can test the mettle of even the greatest storytellers. In a way, it feels as though even the great George Lucas fell victim to his own exhaustion at one point and abandoned an idea that might have been of greater interest to the fanbase.