Details from the 1981 Revenge of the Jedi Story Conference where George Lucas outlined his original pitch for Anakin Skywalker have resurfaced.

These details come from a new book, Star Wars Archives 1999 – 2005, by Paul Duncan.

Duncan shared an excerpt from the book to his Twitter account detailing Lucas’ original ideas for Anakin Skywalker and his turn to Darth Vader, ideas that would eventually be showcased in Lucas’ prequel trilogy beginning with The Phantom Menace and ending with Revenge of the Sith.

The section of the book is titled The Tragedy of Darth Vader and sees Lucas discussing Anakin’s background with Richard Marquand, Howard Kazanjian, and Lawrence Kasdan.

It begins, “Anakin Skywalker began hanging out with the Emperor, who at that point nobody knew was that bad, because he was an elected official. He was a politician. Richard M. Nixon was his name. He subverted the senate and finally took over and he was really evil. But he pretended to be a really nice guy.”

“Luke’s father gets subverted by the Emperor. He gets a little weird at home and his wife begins to figure out that things are going wrong and she confides in Ben, who is his mentor,” it continues.

It then goes on to state, “On his missions through the galaxies, Anakin has been going off and doing his Jedi thing and a lot of Jedi have been getting killed — and it’s because they turn their back on him and he cuts them down. The President is turning into the Emperor and Luke’s mother suspects that something has happened to her husband. She is pregnant. Anakin gets worse and worse, and finally Ben has to fight him and he throws him down into a volcano and Vader is all beat up.”

The book then details how Anakin is disfigured following his duel with Kenobi, “When he falls into the pit there is hardly anything left of him by the time the Emperor’s troops fish him out of the drink. Then when Ben finds out that Vader has been fished out and is in the hands of the Empire, he is worried. He goes back to Vader’s wife and explains that Anakin is the bad guy, the one killing all the Jedi.”

It then details how and why Luke and Leia were separated, “Mrs. Skywalker has had the kids, the twins, two little babies who are six months old or so. The Skywalker line is very strong with the Force, so Ben says, ‘I think we should protect the kids, because they may be able to to help us right the wrong that your husband has created in the universe.'” 

As for why Kenobi has to give Luke to Uncle Lars and Aunt Beru, the book reads, “Ben takes one and gives him to a couple out there on Tatooine and he gets his little hideout in the hills and he watches him grow. Ben can’t raise Luke himself, because he’s a wanted man.

“Leia and Luke’s mother go to Alderaan and are taken by the king there, who is a friend of Ben’s. She dies shortly thereafter and Leia is brought up by her foster parents. She knows that her real mother died,” it continued.

The section concludes with Kenobi putting the blame on himself for Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side, “I think you can make Ben take the blame for Vader. ‘I should have given him more training. I should have sent him to Yoda, but I thought I could be as good a teacher as Yoda. I wish that I could stop the pestilence that I’ve unleashed on the galaxy.’ His burden is that he feels responsible for everything that Vader has done.”

You can see the full excerpt below.

This is not new information and was previously published in The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by J.W. Rinzler back in 2013.

In Rinzler’s book, a section titled “The Story of Anakin” includes the actual conversation between Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, and Kazanjian.

Lucas explained, “Anakin Skywalker starting out with the Emperor, who at this point nobody knew was that bad, because he was an elected official.”

When asked if he was a Jedi, Lucas responded, “No, he was a politician. Richard M. Nixon was his name. He subverted the senate and finally took over and became an imperial guy and he was really evil. But he pretended to be a really nice guy. He sucked Luke’s father into the dark side.”

After a brief discussion abou the Force, Lucas went on to detail Anakin’s backstory.

He explained, “Well, anyway, Luke’s father gets subverted by the Emperor. He gets a little weird at home and his wife begins to figure out that things are going wrong and she confides in Ben, who is his mentor.”

“On his missions through the galaxies, Anakin has been going off doing his Jedi thing and a lot of Jedi have been getting killed – and it’s because they turn their back on him and he cuts them down,” Lucas continued.

He went on, “The president is turning into an Emperor and Luke’s mother suspects that something has happened to her husband. She is pregnant. Anakin gets worse and worse, and finally Ben has to fight him and he throws him down into a volcano and Vader is all beat up.”

“Now, when he falls into this pit, his other arm goes and his leg and there is hardly anything left of him by the time the Emperor’s troops fish him out of the drink. Then when Ben finds out that Vader has been fished out and is in the hands of the Empire, he is worried about it. He goes back to Vader’s wife and explains that Anakin is the bad guy, the one killing all the Jedi,” explains Lucas.

He goes on to detail, “When he goes back his wife, Mrs. Skywalker has had the kids, the twin, so she has these two little babies who are six months old or so. So everybody has to go into hiding.”

“The Skywalker line is very strong with the Force, so Ben says, ‘I think we should protect the kids, because they may be able to help us right the wrong that your husband has created in the universe.’ And so Ben takes one and gives him to a couple out there on Tatooine and he gets his little hideout in the hills and he watches him grow,” says Lucas.

From there he explains, “Ben can’t raise Luke himself, because he’s a wanted man. Leia and Luke’s mother go to Alderaan and are taken in by the king there, who is a friend of Ben’s. She dies shortly thereafter and Leia is brought up by her foster parents. She knows that her real mother died.”

Lucas is then asked if Leia knows her mother dies to which he responds, “Yes, so we can bring that out, when Luke is talking to her, she can say that her mother died when ‘I was two years old.'”

What do you make of Lucas’ original ideas for Anakin’s backstory that have recently resurfaced in Duncan’s new Star Wars book?

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