The Original Story Of Luke Skywalker's Sister (Before It Was Retconned To Be Leia) (2023)

By Thomas Bacon

One of the greatest twists in the Star Wars Saga is the revelation that Luke and Leia are brother and sister. What was George Lucas' original plan?

The Original Story Of Luke Skywalker's Sister (Before It Was Retconned To Be Leia) (1)

Did George Lucas always plan for Luke and Leia to be brother and sister inStar Wars- and if not, what were his original plans?The idea was first teased inThe Empire Strikes Back, when the ghost of Obi-Wan conversed with Yoda. "That boy is our last hope," Obi-Wan reflected dejectedly. "No," Yoda replied. "There is another."

Lucaslikes togive the impression he had the entireStar WarsSaga planned out from the beginning, but the relationship between Luke and Leia has always raised eyebrows. After all, if he'd originally intended them to be brother and sister, would he really have given them that infamous kiss scene inThe Empire Strikes Back? Curiously enough, this is one point where Lucas has openly admitted he hadn't thought things through in advance. In fact, as he explained on the 2004 DVD commentary, the Other was introduced as a way to increase tension."It sets up the fact that, in this series, Luke could be expendable at this point. We don't need Luke to tell this story. We could get somebody else to do it... 'He's not the important one - there is another.' It's a cheap trick but it works."

Related:The Emperor's Prequel Scheme Was Planned 20 Years Before Phantom Menace

In truth, the idea that Leia is the mysterious Other doesn't actually make sense. InThe Empire Strikes Back, a headstrong Luke abandons his Jedi training in order to rescue his friends; that's the entire context for the conversation. But if Luke fails, and his friends fall, then that means Leia will die. Yoda really shouldn't be quite so sanguine about all this. So what ideas did Lucas begin to formulate about the Other's identity, and what did he originally intend to do about it?

This Page:Yoda's "Another" Was Always Luke's Sister... But Not Leia

Page 2:Leia Became Luke's Sister When Return Of The Jedi Became "The End"

Yoda's "Another" Was Always Luke's Sister... But Not Leia

The Original Story Of Luke Skywalker's Sister (Before It Was Retconned To Be Leia) (2)

An important clue is provided by Leigh Brackett's first draft of the script forThe Empire Strikes Back, drawn up from Lucas' copious notes. It's very different from the final theatrical cut, not least in the fact that Darth Vader isn't Luke's father at all; in fact, on Dagobah Luke even meets the Force Ghost of his father, and is mentored by him. There's a version of the "Other" scene in the script, though, this time in a conversation between Luke and the Force Ghost:

(Video) Why This Luke & Leia Scene Was Cut From The Empire Strikes Back

SKYWALKER:You’ve grown well, Luke. I’m proud of you. Did your uncle ever speak to you about your sister?

LUKE:My sister? I have a sister? But why didn’t Uncle Owen....

SKYWALKER:It was my request. When I saw the Empire closing in, I sent you both away for your own safety, far apart from each other.

LUKE:Where is she? What’s her name?

SKYWALKER:If I were to tell you, Darth Vader could get that information from your mind and use her as a hostage. Not yet, Luke. When it’s time...

Luke. Will you take, from me, the oath of a Jedi knight?

Brackett sadly passed away shortly after completing the first draft, and Lucas took over writing the next few drafts. Interestingly, the entire concept of Luke's sister, or the Other, was dropped; a weaker version swiftly found its way back into the script, though. "Now we must find another," Yoda muses. Obi-Wan disagreed; "That boy is our only hope," he insisted. In functional terms, it's a perfect inversion of what Lucas said the scene was supposed to be about. Clearly Lucas was toying with lots of different ideas; what was going on?

Related:Star Wars Confirms: Vader ALWAYS Knew Luke Would Defeat Him

Page 2:Leia Became Luke's Sister When Return Of The Jedi Became "The End"

The Original Story Of Luke Skywalker's Sister (Before It Was Retconned To Be Leia) (3)
(Video) The Life of Luke Skywalker • Entire Timeline Explained (Star Wars)

Return of the Jedi Ended With Luke Looking For His Sister

George Lucas' plans seem to have been in a remarkable amount of flux around this time. As Michael Kaminsky notes inThe Secret History of Star Wars, "Publicly, Lucas was assuring audiences that all was proceeding according to his long-laid plans, but behind closed doors the story was undergoing fundamental changes with a rapid pace." Lucas was gradually settling on a nine-episode "trilogy of trilogies," with twenty-year gaps between each, and different characters in the starring roles. According to Gary Kurtz, producer ofThe Empire Strikes Back, the Other - Luke's sister - was intended to be a major character in the original Sequel Trilogy. "His sister was someone else way over on the other side of the galaxy," he explained in an interview withFilm Threat, "and she wasn’t going to show up until the next episode." Back in 1999, speaking at Plano's Sci-Fi Expo, Kurtz outlined what he believed the trilogy of trilogies would have looked like:

  • Episode Iwas to focus on the origins of the Jedi Knights and how they are initiated and trained.
  • Episode IIwould introduce and develop Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Episode IIIwas the introduction and life of Darth Vader.
  • Episode IVwasStar Wars: A New Hope.
  • Episode VwasThe Empire Strikes Back, largely the final theatrical cut.
  • Episode VIwould end with Luke confronting Vader and leaving to live a solitary life. Leia would be elected Queen of her people, leaving her isolated and alone, while Han would die.
  • Episode VIIwas to focus on Luke's life as a Jedi, with very little detail planned out.
  • Episode VIIIwould see Luke's sister appear from another part of the galaxy.
  • Episode IXwould be the defeat of the Emperor, with Kurtz implying that Luke would have been a major part of this final battle.

It seems reasonable to assume that Luke would have been a major figure in the Sequel Trilogy, maturing into an Obi-Wan-style mentor figure for his sister after she appeared on the scene. That arc would see Luke fulfill Yoda's charge to pass on what he has learned, and would also allow him to be part of the climactic final confrontation inEpisode IX. Lucas seems to have intended each trilogy to have its own tone and style, and the Sequels seem to have been rather more introspective in his mind.In an interview withTime Magazinein 1983, Lucas stated that the Sequels would be about "the necessity for moral choices and the wisdom needed to distinguish right from wrong." Given the Emperor was ultimately presented as a powerful source of temptation, he would presumably have been goading the Other to fall to the Dark Side, with Luke acting as his opposite.

(Video) Skywalker's Family tree STAR WARS

Leia Became Luke's Sister When Return Of The Jedi Became "The End"

The Original Story Of Luke Skywalker's Sister (Before It Was Retconned To Be Leia) (4)

There were probably two reasons why Lucas pivoted away from this idea. The first was that theStar Warsfilms weren't following the episodic model Lucas had envisioned, where each movie stood on its own, independent from the others;The Empire Strikes Backended with a cliffhanger that demanded resolution inReturn of the Jedi. Tied to that, Lucas had only ever gotten his actors signed up for three films, and it was clear he couldn't simply recast characters like Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. AsKaminsky observes, "Lucas probably realized that if he left the immediate story incomplete at the end of the third film - and so incomplete that the story was only one quarter of the way finished - and he suddenly lost all his actors, he would be faced with a monumental disaster that would be impossible to write around." Although Lucas still dreamed of extending his story, neither the Prequels nor the Sequels were guaranteed, and so he simply had to wrap the story up inReturn of the Jedi. Others have suggested Lucas' split with his wife, who'd been heavily involved in the franchise previously, along with other facts, left him disenfranchised with the series and wasn't interested in committing to another trilogy at the time.


That meant tying together all the loose plot threads - including the Other, which had been introduced inThe Empire Strikes Back. Leia was the one noteworthy female character, and the film's plot already had to do too much heavy lifting to introduce any major new characters. The simplest and most elegant solution was to reveal that Leia was the Other Yoda had been speaking of, a twin sister Luke had never known about. This also neatly resolved the loose "love triangle" story Lucas had never seemed heavily invested in; with Luke out of the picture as a rival, it made sense for Han and Leia to wind up together. And so one of the greatest twistsin movie history was decided.

(Video) Luke Skywalker in the Millenium Falcon and reunites with R2 D2

More:Here's What George Lucas' Star Wars Sequel Trilogy Was About

Key Release Dates

  • Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker Release Date:2019-12-20


1. How did Luke Skywalker Learn how Padme Died? Star Wars #Shorts
(Vader's Fortress)
2. Star Wars: How Much Incest?
3. What If Darth Vader Knew Leia Was His Daughter? #shorts
(Star Wars Insider)
4. What If Luke Skywalker SAVED Anakin Skywalker From Becoming Darth Vader (PART 1)
(Pente Patrol Star Wars)
5. The Shadow's Journey Part 8 (Star Wars History)
6. What If Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa Were Switched At Birth
(Pente Patrol Star Wars)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Zonia Mosciski DO

Last Updated: 03/23/2023

Views: 5407

Rating: 4 / 5 (51 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Zonia Mosciski DO

Birthday: 1996-05-16

Address: Suite 228 919 Deana Ford, Lake Meridithberg, NE 60017-4257

Phone: +2613987384138

Job: Chief Retail Officer

Hobby: Tai chi, Dowsing, Poi, Letterboxing, Watching movies, Video gaming, Singing

Introduction: My name is Zonia Mosciski DO, I am a enchanting, joyous, lovely, successful, hilarious, tender, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.