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Lucas’ EU in 1977 (midi-chlorians, space gypsies & crystal currency)

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So I borrowed the book “The Making of Star wars” from the library some time ago, and before I had to return it I took some photos of one of the last chapters that I didn’t have time to read. I found these photos again recently (I’d completely forgotten about them), and it’s a pretty interesting read.

It’s called “George Lucas Explains his Universe” and is from an “interview” with Carol Titelman where they recorded his thoughts on the expanded Star Wars universe in mid to late 1977. It was done in a method similar to role-playing where he’d answer her questions as Leia, or Threepio, etc. and thereby explain the universe of the film.
However I don’t think these role-playing sessions were ever used for anything official, even though the book implies he did it to help the fans, and possibly even the novelists and comic book writers, understand his “vision” for Star Wars.”

I’ve posted my photos of the four pages below, but I’ve also given a quick summary of the most interesting details.


Han’s background is pretty weird in this version. No saving Chewie from slavers or the Empire here. In this version he was raised by “space-gypsies”, then Wookiees, then he got kicked out of the “Space Academy” for selling exam-answers and for racing one of the professors. And for a while he was apparently a farmer on the planet “Coronee” where he herded “Coldppedas” which were large scaly giraffes with fifteen feet. And before he became a smuggler he was a mechanic on “Saberhing”. The rest is pretty much what we’re used to.

The Millennium Falcon is in this version was made on the planet “Crell” which is a gas-giant inhabited by a a species that are like “porpoises with wings”, as well as having “claw-like hands”.

It’s interesting how C-3PO’s background is both so vastly different from his retconned origin in TPM, yet at the same time, there’s some similarities.
The obvious difference being that here he’s described as 112 years old and having been manufactured in a factory on the planet “Affa”. However at some point it’s mentioned that he was “totally reassembled by a young boy working for a junk dealer”, which is very similar to Anakin working for Watto. Also, as a funny side-note, this is pretty much what Threepio’s background was in the Legends canon/EU, were he existed pre-Anakin, but was destroyed in Mos Espa, the pieces gathered by Watto and eventually re-built by Anakin.

Leia’s background really isn’t that different, nor particularly interesting.

The “History of the Empire” is of course very different from the PT, but not too different from the pre-PT descriptions of the rise of the Empire that has been discussed on this forum before.

This is also the earliest version of Lucas’ original idea that when “Vader” was corrupted to the dark side he continued to pretend to be a Jedi for a while, assassinating Jedi from within to prevent them from protesting Palpatine’s rise to power.

In this version however, the only survivors among the Jedi were Ben and “Annikin”.
It’s interesting how he describes Luke’s father as one of the survivors, implying that his death happened some time after the rise of the Empire.

The backstory of the Rebellion is pretty much the same as it has always been, except for it having started before Leia was born (then again you could argue that this is the case in the PT as well).

Lucas does however state that Threepio was “programmed not to mention having knowledge of the Princess” which I guess he did to clear up some confusion by fans as to why Threepio acted as if he didn’t know who Leia was in the film, despite that being nearly impossible.

Artoo is described as a “plumber”, but is also described as having a function similar to what we saw in TPM where he fixes parts of the spaceship (specifically the Tantive IV) on the outside. In this version Threepio and Artoo met very recently (as opposed to having known each other for decades), and it’s even suggested that Artoo has had several memory wipes, whereas Threepio has had none (which is a funny reversal of what ended up in the PT).

Lucas describes a “coin of the Galactic Realm” which is apparently a “fool proof […] coin made of a crystal-like mineral.”

Not anything particularly interesting is said about Tatooine, apart from an oddly specific little detail that “there are only a few women”.

Lucas might have been setting up potential sequel or EU stories when describing the destruction of Alderaan, because it says that it is unknown if Leia’s family were actually killed.

Lucas talking about the Force is the most interesting part to me;
At first he just talks about how lightsabers are just regular weapons, but that they are preferred by the Jedi and he gives a pretty standard description of the Force. However when he talks about how “certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans”, he mentions that they have “more midi-chlorians I their cells.” So yes, Lucas did in fact make up midi-chlorians long before the PT, however here it’s a bit vaguer. And it’s interesting that it originates from this “improvisation” session.*
He also talks about how Luke needs “another twenty years before he actually begins to cope with [the Force] on a real level.” He also states that the Force can be learned by “anyone”.

(*EDIT: Seems like Lucas has been tampering with this particular part in Rinzler’s book.)

There are apparently quite a lot of female Stormtroopers, but few of them were on the Death Star. That’s pretty much all he had to say on Stormtroopers in general.

Lucas finally explains why Chewie didn’t get a medal at the end of the movie, because apparently; “medals don’t really mean much to Wookiees. They don’t really put too much credence in them. They have different kinds of ceremonies.” He was also “given a great prize and honor during a ceremony with his own people. The whole contingent from the Rebel Alliance went to Chewbacca’s people and participated in a very large celebration. It was on honor for the entire Wookiee race”. So the whole idea of Wookiee slaves was not a thing yet. (I’m also getting a Holiday Special vibe from that second to last quote.)

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EDIT: Here’s the original statement from Lucas about the Force according to the author of the book;

“The Force is really a way of seeing; it’s a way of being with life. It really has nothing to do with weapons. The Force gives you the power to have extra-sensory perception and to be able to see things and hear things, read minds and levitate things. It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans. Their brains are different. The Force is a perception of the reality that exists around us. You have to come to learn it. It’s not something you just get. It takes many, many years…Anyone who studied and worked hard could learn it. But you would have to do it on your own.”

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Wow… He really did have some good ideas here. I’m shocked how many of these backstories I actually really love! Like, pretty much all of them except for the way the force works…

I’m just here because I’m driving tonight.

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lol, ouch. He thought up midiclorians around the same time as the first movie was made. Now it’s canon for sure.

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Tack said:

Wow… He really did have some good ideas here. I’m shocked how many of these backstories I actually really love! Like, pretty much all of them except for the way the force works…

Yeah, there’s a lot of really cool ideas here, I especially like Threepio’s backstory as I think it adds more to his personality/character than the whole Anakin-made-him-thing that we’re now stuck with.

I’m not too sure about “space gypsies” though. But I’m sure that idea could have worked provided they got a better name.


I also think that the people who insist that Lucas had the whole saga planned from the beginning should read this.

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Tobar’s “The Academy Luke and Biggs talk about is not an Imperial Academy” theory = confirmed.

It’s also interesting that I remember credits being crystalline from somewhere, too. Like space rupees perhaps? I also remember you mined “nova crystals” as currency in the game Galactic Battlegrounds, too.

This is very cool stuff, man. Thanks for posting!

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

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Tyrphanax said:

It’s also interesting that I remember credits being crystalline from somewhere, too. Like space rupees perhaps? I also remember you mined “nova crystals” as currency in the game Galactic Battlegrounds, too.

Oh yeah, that’s right. If the developers of that game never read any of this, then that would be quite the coincidence.
Regardless, Nova crystals works fine for my head-canon for now.
(Also I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who played Galactic Battlegrounds. Such an underrated game.)

Tyrphanax said:

Tobar’s “The Academy Luke and Biggs talk about is not an Imperial Academy” theory = confirmed.

Well, what was it called in the novelization? I’ve read the other two books, but never got around to read that one.
I remember it being the Imperial Academy in the radio play however, but of course that was made a few years later.

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ZkinandBonez said:

Tyrphanax said:

It’s also interesting that I remember credits being crystalline from somewhere, too. Like space rupees perhaps? I also remember you mined “nova crystals” as currency in the game Galactic Battlegrounds, too.

Oh yeah, that’s right. If the developers of that game never read any of this, then that would be quite the coincidence.
Regardless, Nova crystals works fine for my head-canon for now.
(Also I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who played Galactic Battlegrounds. Such an underrated game.)

Haha yeah, it was fun to play a Star Wars version of Age of Empires II.

Tyrphanax said:

Tobar’s “The Academy Luke and Biggs talk about is not an Imperial Academy” theory = confirmed.

Well, what was it called in the novelization? I’ve read the other two books, but never got around to read that one.
I remember it being the Imperial Academy in the radio play however, but of course that was made a few years later.

It’s just referred to as “the Academy” throughout, same as the deleted scenes. No allegiance.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

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The line about the midi-chlorians was actually added by Lucas during the making of the book in 2007. The original EU guidelines had no mention of them.

Source: http://www.starwars.com/news/so-what-the-heck-are-midi-chlorians
(scroll about half-way down to the note by Rinzler. He says, “Please note: While we were preparing the text for The Making of Star Wars, Lucas added a note to this passage about midi-chlorians, bringing his original words in line with his later thoughts and the events of the prequel trilogy.”)

This is the original, historically accurate EU guideline about the Force:
“The Force is really a way of seeing; it’s a way of being with life. It really has nothing to do with weapons. The Force gives you the power to have extra-sensory perception and to be able to see things and hear things, read minds and levitate things. It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans. Their brains are different. The Force is a perception of the reality that exists around us. You have to come to learn it. It’s not something you just get. It takes many, many years…Anyone who studied and worked hard could learn it. But you would have to do it on your own.”

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theMaestro said:

The line about the midi-chlorians was actually added by Lucas during the making of the book in 2007. The original EU guidelines had no mention of them.

Source: http://www.starwars.com/news/so-what-the-heck-are-midi-chlorians
(scroll about half-way down to the note by Rinzler. He says, “Please note: While we were preparing the text for The Making of Star Wars, Lucas added a note to this passage about midi-chlorians, bringing his original words in line with his later thoughts and the events of the prequel trilogy.”)

This is the original, historically accurate EU guideline about the Force:
“The Force is really a way of seeing; it’s a way of being with life. It really has nothing to do with weapons. The Force gives you the power to have extra-sensory perception and to be able to see things and hear things, read minds and levitate things. It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans. Their brains are different. The Force is a perception of the reality that exists around us. You have to come to learn it. It’s not something you just get. It takes many, many years…Anyone who studied and worked hard could learn it. But you would have to do it on your own.”

Strange, considering how Rinzler points out at the beginning of the chapter that none of the things he’s quoting is part of an “official continuity” and merely represents Lucas’ thoughts on the matte in 1977. So why let him alter it?
Now I’m starting to wonder what else may have been altered, like f.ex. Threepio’s backstory of being “totally reassembled by a young boy working for a junk dealer”.

Anyway, I’ve fixed the original post to mention this.

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theMaestro said:

The line about the midi-chlorians was actually added by Lucas during the making of the book in 2007. The original EU guidelines had no mention of them.

Source: http://www.starwars.com/news/so-what-the-heck-are-midi-chlorians
(scroll about half-way down to the note by Rinzler. He says, “Please note: While we were preparing the text for The Making of Star Wars, Lucas added a note to this passage about midi-chlorians, bringing his original words in line with his later thoughts and the events of the prequel trilogy.”)

This is the original, historically accurate EU guideline about the Force:
“The Force is really a way of seeing; it’s a way of being with life. It really has nothing to do with weapons. The Force gives you the power to have extra-sensory perception and to be able to see things and hear things, read minds and levitate things. It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans. Their brains are different. The Force is a perception of the reality that exists around us. You have to come to learn it. It’s not something you just get. It takes many, many years…Anyone who studied and worked hard could learn it. But you would have to do it on your own.”

Whoa, that’s even more interesting. Man, his revisionism knows no bounds.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

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ZkinandBonez said:
Strange, considering how Rinzler points out at the beginning of the chapter that none of the things he’s quoting is part of an “official continuity” and merely represents Lucas’ thoughts on the matte in 1977. So why let him alter it?

In my opinion, it’s an attempt to push the narrative that Lucas had things more planned out than he actually did. And, you know, he’ll probably get away with it because most people won’t see that note by Rinzler and will just marvel at how much of a genius Lucas is…just like he wants them to. It’s so weird though because it’s not like there should be any shame in admitting that your ideas evolved over time. Not having a master plan from the get-go shouldn’t exclude you from a membership to the genius club (although mediocre writing & directing might do that).

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ZkinandBonez said:

Lucas talking about the Force is the most interesting part to me;
At first he just talks about how lightsabers are just regular weapons, but that they are preferred by the Jedi and he gives a pretty standard description of the Force. However when he talks about how “certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans”, he mentions that they have “more midi-chlorians I their cells.” So yes, Lucas did in fact make up midi-chlorians long before the PT, however here it’s a bit vaguer. And it’s interesting that it originates from this “improvisation” session.*
He also talks about how Luke needs “another twenty years before he actually begins to cope with [the Force] on a real level.” He also states that the Force can be learned by “anyone”.

(*EDIT: Seems like Lucas has been tampering with this particular part in Rinzler’s book.)

I wonder if that last bit of info will ever make its way here. I’m doubtful, but it may happen.

I can no longer call myself a Star Wars fan. I’m sick of the same played-out aesthetics/tropes being remixed/regurgitated time-&-time again; I’m sick of the deteriorating characterization/worldbuilding which have been in play since 1983; I’m sick of the toxic fanboys from all ideological camps; I’m sick of the capitalist pigs who refuse to allow this IP into the public domain where it rightly belongs. So while I may still admire the first two films for their technical achievements and characters, I’m no longer capable of enjoying Star Wars in any capacity due to the reasons delineated above.

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Revisionism or not, midi-chlorians are a bad idea. And the fact this is never mentioned by Ben or Yoda in the OT shows it was a useless idea to explain what the Force was. That being said, it’s not even clear what midi-bullshit really are : biological side effect of being strong with the Force or cells that give one’s Force sensitivity ?

“I have to say that I felt George’s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before, and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters.” - James Cameron about Episode VII.

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MalàStrana said:

Revisionism or not, midi-chlorians are a bad idea. And the fact this is never mentioned by Ben or Yoda in the OT shows it was a useless idea to explain what the Force was. That being said, it’s not even clear what midi-bullshit really are : biological side effect of being strong with the Force or cells that give one’s Force sensitivity ?

According to the article by Rinzler (that was mentioned earlier) they are energy sensitive organism that connect your cells to the Force. So it has more to do with how a Jedi connects to the Force. So it has to do with Force sensitivity.

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If there’s something I never want to see, it’s George Lucas role-playing as Princess Leia.

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Quick – somebody Photoshop a picture of Lucas with Leia’s cinnamon buns.

I can no longer call myself a Star Wars fan. I’m sick of the same played-out aesthetics/tropes being remixed/regurgitated time-&-time again; I’m sick of the deteriorating characterization/worldbuilding which have been in play since 1983; I’m sick of the toxic fanboys from all ideological camps; I’m sick of the capitalist pigs who refuse to allow this IP into the public domain where it rightly belongs. So while I may still admire the first two films for their technical achievements and characters, I’m no longer capable of enjoying Star Wars in any capacity due to the reasons delineated above.

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The book quotes Lucas as saying, “One of the Chancellors began subverting the Senate.” I wonder if Lucas actually said, “One of the Presidents began subverting the Senate.”

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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Holy hell, I own that book and I had no idea that was in there! I was trying to read it front to back for a while, but I only ever got about a third of the way through before getting frustrated with how unwieldy and non-portable the thing is and I’ve just been using it as a coffee table book ever since. Looks like I’m going to have to read that chapter in the morning.

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some confusion by fans as to why Threepio acted as if he didn’t know who Leia was in the film, despite that being nearly impossible.

What’s this bit all about? I just remember Threepy saying ‘There will be no escape for the princess this time,’ clearly indicating he’s well aware of her and her exploits. When does he ever act unfamiliar with her?

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Darth Id said:

some confusion by fans as to why Threepio acted as if he didn’t know who Leia was in the film, despite that being nearly impossible.

What’s this bit all about? I just remember Threepy saying ‘There will be no escape for the princess this time,’ clearly indicating he’s well aware of her and her exploits. When does he ever act unfamiliar with her?

“Who is she? She’s beautiful!”
“I’m afraid I’m not quite sure sir. I think she was a passenger on our last voyage, a person of some importance, I believe.”

EDIT: ugh, while I was checking to make sure I had the quotation right it looks like I was beaten to the punch.

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Darth Id said:

some confusion by fans as to why Threepio acted as if he didn’t know who Leia was in the film, despite that being nearly impossible.

What’s this bit all about? I just remember Threepy saying ‘There will be no escape for the princess this time,’ clearly indicating he’s well aware of her and her exploits. When does he ever act unfamiliar with her?

I was referring to the scene when Luke discovers Leia’s message for Ben. Luke asks Threepio who Leia is, and he answers; “I’m afraid I’m not quite sure, sir. I think she was a passenger on our last voyage, a person of some importance I believe.”

Sure, if you stop to think about it it makes sense that Threepio was lying to Luke at this point in the story, but I guess that most people found it confusing. I don’t think most people stopped to analyse these scenes. (This is also before VHS was common.)

EDIT: I have to learn to type faster.

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In Revisited, Andywan changed 3PO’s line to “There will be no escape this time.”. I think that’s a neat “fix”, but like I said, I’ve never had a problem with it. Like Zkin said, 3PO has no reason to trust Luke and spill all of his secrets then and there. He does mention something about the Rebellion though… I can’t quite remember how all of that goes right now…

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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I’m of the opinion that C-3PO knows there’s a Princess on the ship, as well as some level of familiarity with her exploits, but never met her personally so he wouldn’t recognize her by face.