'Star Wars': The Coolest (and Craziest) Deleted Scenes From the Original Trilogy

Do you sense a disturbance in the Force? Maybe that’s because May 25 will be the 40th anniversary of the original release of Star Wars in theaters. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, we’ll be posting Star Wars stories all month, including choice vintage interviews, original videos, and some of our favorite pieces from years past, like this one, a version of which was originally published in 2015. Just keep coming back here all month to see what’s happening in our galaxy. 

By Gwynne Watkins and Jordan Zakarin, Yahoo Movies

What do you do after watching the original Star Wars trilogy for the millionth time? How about watching the scenes that didn’t make it into that beloved series of films?

As with most movies, George Lucas and his collaborators shot a whole lot more than what ended up on screen, eventually leaving everything from silly digressions to major characters and plot points on the cutting-room floor. For years, many of those lost scenes were just legend, while others wound up being repurposed for story books or such non-canon fodder as The Star Wars Holiday Special. But recent Blu-ray and digital box sets have collected many of these moments for your viewing pleasure. And to help you navigate this bonus content, we’ve created this guide to the best (and goofiest) scenes that never graced the big screen.

Luke and His Binoculars
Movie: A New Hope
The scene: Luke Skywalker copes with his dull life on Tatooine by keeping his eyes on the skies — even when he’s supposed to be repairing his uncle’s moisture vaporators. This scene, in which Luke watches distant spaceships through his binoculars, was originally supposed to be the audience’s introduction to A New Hope’s protagonist. It was cut to make room for C-3PO and R2-D2’s opening escapades — but alas, the pretty light-show effect of the space battle doesn’t appear elsewhere in the film.

Biggs Darklighter and Friends
Movie: A New Hope
The Scene:
When Luke Skywalker tells his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru that his friends had left for the Imperial Naval Academy, he was telling the truth: In a long sequence of scenes that were ultimately cut from the film, we see Luke palling around Tatooine with his friends Biggs Darklighter, Laze Loneozner, and Camie Loneozner. Biggs was Luke’s mentor, BFF, and frequent racing opponent. According to Lucas himself, the scenes were written and filmed after he was told by multiple people that his film wasn’t human enough, but the footage just didn’t seem to work in the final cut. Darklighter shows up later, though, as part of the Rebellion, and gives his life in the Battle of Yavin.

C-3PO Drives the Speeder
Movie: A New Hope
The Scene:
Soon after Luke buys C-3PO and R2-D2 from the Jawas, little Artoo slips out of Uncle Owen’s shed to continue his search for old Ben Kenobi. Once Luke discovers that Artoo has gone missing, he and C-3PO hop in a land speeder to search for him across the barren terrain of Tatooine. The scene, as it appears in the final version of the film, gives us our first glimpse at Luke’s piloting skills; in the cut version of the scene above, it’s C-3PO driving the speeder, taking Luke on a bumpy ride against a backdrop.

The Giant at Mos Eisley
Movie: A New Hope
The scene:
Jim Henson never formally got involved in the Star Wars films — his colleague Frank Oz created and controlled Yoda, at Henson’s recommendation — but you’d be forgiven for thinking that Big Bird made a cameo after seeing this deleted seen at the Mos Eisley Cantina. The wretched hive of scum and villainy was filled with all sorts of odd creatures, and apparently, being able to fit into the frame was a requirement for making it into the final cut.

Wampas on the Loose
Movie: The Empire Strikes Back
The scene:  Hoth’s furry people-eaters, the Wampas, invade the Rebel base in a mini-subplot that was left on the cutting room floor. In close-up, the Wampas look more like nightmarish, freezer-burned teddy bears than alien creatures, which is probably why this scene got the axe. However, the big pay-off moment — in which C-3PO removes a warning sign on a door, leading Imperial troops straight into a Wampa trap — gives the normally pragmatic protocol droid a hint of calculating menace.

The Almost-Kiss
Movie: The Empire Strikes Back
The scene: This infamous deleted scene contains a painfully prolonged moment of sexual tension between Luke and Leia. While recovering from his Wampa encounter on Hoth, a battle-scarred Luke starts to tell Leia that he loves her, and they come thisclose to kissing before C-3P0 blessedly interrupts. Of course, viewers didn’t know they were siblings at this point, and whether George Lucas himself knew has been hotly debated. But unlike the kiss that did make the cut — which is clearly for Han Solo’s benefit — this scene suggests that Leia has genuine romantic feelings for Luke. Fortunately, director Irvin Kershner made the decision to play down the Luke-Leia-Han love triangle, so fans didn’t have to retro-actively scrub this particular moment from their brains… until now. Here, watch it in GIF form, as many times as you want!

Lobot gets captured
Movie: The Empire Strikes Back
The scene:
Sad news for all of you fans of Lando Calrissian’s lobotomized administrative assistant: Turns out he did not survive Darth Vader’s take-over of Cloud City. In the scene above, Lobot is captured by Stormtroopers, and in another scene cut from Empire, he’s critically injured. But Lucas and Co. decided to remove the scene just in case they wanted to bring Lobot back…which never happened.

Luke’s New Lightsaber
Movie: Return of the Jedi
The scene: The original opening sequence of Jedi showed Luke constructing his green lightsaber in a cave with R2-D2, who then joins C-3PO for a lengthy exposition session. (Sample C-3PO dialogue: “What about Master Luke? I thought he was going to rescue Captain Solo! You mean we’re going to that horrible fortress alone?”) It’s all extremely unnecessary, and the final film benefits from Luke’s dramatic, unexplained entrance at Jabba’s palace. However, it’s cool to see the lightsaber taking shape, and the scene gives context to Darth Vader telling Luke, “I see you have constructed a new lightsaber. Your skills are complete. “

Han, Leia, and Luke Walk Through a Sandstorm
Movie: Return of the Jedi
The scene:
Han has been saved and Jabba’s massive ship has been destroyed, but our heroes still need to cross Tatooine in a horrible standstorm to get to their vehicles. The good news is that Han Solo’s sense of humor survived the deep carbonite freeze. The bad news: His quip didn’t make it into the film.

Luke explains why he’s going back to Dagobah
Movie: Return of the Jedi
The scene:
Right after our heroes find shelter from the Tatooine sandstorm in the hangar, Luke declines Han’s offer of a ride on the Millennium Falcon. Before he returns to the Rebel fleet, Luke needs to go visit an old friend on Dagobah. That friend? Yoda, of course. Even though this scene got deleted, the line was reused — Luke tells R2 instead while aboard his X-wing fighter. And we do see Luke go visit his old Jedi master for the last time.

Han leads the way through the Empire’s base
Movie: Return of the Jedi
The scene:
The Battle of Endor was a hard-won fight — and there were even more casualties than we previously knew. In this deleted scene, Han leads Chewie and some rebels through the Empire’s base, though it’s unclear how they were able to take down five Stormtroopers with just three blaster shots. Perhaps that’s why it was taken out — that or time constraints, either one.

Darth Vader vs. Jerjerrod
Movie: Return of the Jedi
The scene:
Poor Moff Jerjerrod, just couldn’t catch a break. First, he gets stuck with an understaffed Death Star construction crew, then he gets ignored by a visiting Emperor Palpatine. And when he finally decides to stand up to Darth Vader, he suffers the fate of so many other Empire officers. Side note: Maybe The Empire lost because their best leaders kept getting choked to death?

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