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

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


When The Empire Strikes Back first hit cinemas
in 1980, audiences didn’t yet know that Luke and Leia were twins, or that Darth Vader was
their father. So when Leia kissed Luke early in the movie
in an effort to make Han Solo jealous, it was played as a joke that introduced some
mild romantic tension between the three main characters, and upped the will-they-won’t-they
stakes of Leia and Han’s relationship. It was only three years later, in Return of
the Jedi, that Luke and Leia learned that they were actually siblings, making that kiss
appear a little incestuous in hindsight. “Yoda spoke of another.” “The other he spoke of is your twin sister.” But if you still cringe thinking about that
kiss, just know that it could have been so much worse. Thanks to a deleted scene that was released
on Disney+ in November 2019, we now know that the relationship between Luke and Leia almost
got even more inappropriate. In the version of the scene we all know, Han
and Chewbacca come to the medical bay to say goodbye to Luke, who’s recovering from his
near-death experience with the wampa. Luke looks uncomfortable when Han insists
that Leia has feelings for him, and Leia comes back with an iconic insult. “Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy looking
nerf-herder.” Finally, Leia brusquely kisses Luke in front
of Han, then exits triumphantly. But in the deleted scene, it’s made clear
that Luke wasn’t just uncomfortable because he felt like a third wheel. In that version, we learn that he was actually
jealous of Leia and Han’s obvious romantic tension, after his near-death experience awakened
Luke to his romantic feelings for Leia. “It got me thinking, you know. I might never get the chance to…” Luke tries to explain how he feels, but when
he goes in for a kiss, the ever-reliable C-3PO interrupts. The moment gone, Luke tells Leia that he plans
to leave. She accuses him of deserting her and the Resistance,
just like Han, who then arrives with Chewbacca, and the original scene plays out. Yes, the kiss is already bad once you know
that Luke and Leia are siblings. But this longer version introduces a love
triangle subplot that would have created a totally different dynamic in the movies. Luke secretly being infatuated with Leia would
have thrown a major wedge between the three main characters and potentially stalled his
Jedi training, since Jedi frown on trivial matters like love. Interestingly, series creator George Lucas
has remained quiet on whether or not he knew that Luke and Leia were siblings during the
making of Empire. If he already had that plot twist figured
out, it would explain why he decided that this would-be romance had to go. However, while Lucas has deftly avoided the
subject of this particular lost storyline, he does like to hint that he knew how the
Star Wars saga would play out all along. That would mean that he’s fine having siblings
smooch when they don’t know they’re related, but not with one declaring a full-on crush
on the other. However, there is some evidence that Luke
and Leia weren’t yet identified as siblings by this point in the franchise. The fact that they got as far as filming the
deleted version of the medical bay scene suggests that there was some question about what kind
of relationship the two characters were going to have. Plus, in earlier drafts of the Empire script,
Vader was going to play on Luke’s romantic feelings for Leia to turn him to the Dark
Side. Luke was still supposed to have a sister in
these earlier drafts, although she was meant to be a totally new character who wasn’t going
to appear until Return of the Jedi. But the theory goes that this extra character
proved to be just too much for a story already teeming with subplots. Instead, after Leia confessed her love for
Han at the end of Empire, Lucas decided to kill two Stormtroopers with one blaster shot
and just have Leia be Luke’s sister, making Star Wars easier for everyone. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about Star Wars
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52 Replies to “Why This Luke & Leia Scene Was Cut From The Empire Strikes Back”

  1. It was cut because it will be too confuaing for fans to see brother and sister kissing, while in love with other person. Just imagine to see brother and sister kissing, too much for their minds!

  2. Hey aren't they the ones who kissed each other even tho they knew they were kin?
    I don't watch Star Trek but Ive heard bout that

  3. My brother knew a guy whos cousin was in an incestuous relationship with his mothers sister. It was purley sexual though and didn't get off into any emotional turmoil.

  4. the kiss only SEEMS like incest AFTER watching return of the Jedi. Guess what, neither of them knew they were related so its not even remotely like incest. Had one or both of them knew they were twins then YES it would be. reeeeach

  5. This scene was also in the novelization and comic adaptation of the movie. People today have to be reminded that it wasn't until preproduction of ROTJ that George Lucas decided to go through with Darth Vader being Luke's father and Leia his sister.

    Luke had obvious attraction to Leia from laying his eyes on her in the hologram and the humorous exchange with Han post Death Star escape. Leia didn't know what she wanted, but was more attracted to the "scoundrel" in Han. Luke was dedicated to his duties, but unfortunately his well-deserved romance with Mara Jade now never happened.

  6. Lucas planned a third trilogy, part of which was Luke's search for his sister (NOT Leia), but midway during the filming of EMPIRE Lucas decided to cut things short. This is confirmed in an interview with Gary Kurtz.

  7. Everybody gets tied up in knots about this but it's OBVIOUS Lucas didn't decide on the "twins" angle until later. Incest in a mainstream movie TODAY would be a hard sell; in the 1970s it would have been impossible.

  8. It's proven that Sith can love and to live in peace. there is a story of a Sith that never killed anyone.
    and I would like to see a story about a Sith female in love with a Jedi male. both not caring about anything excepts eash other of who they are in life.
    and the need to travel far far away so that they can love happily forever after don't that sound nice?
    yeah well we are gonna find a way to make it happen and there is nothing Darth Sidimouse or his
    apprentice Walt Vader can do about it so ha ha ha ha.
    oh so good ideas will keep happening forever.

  9. How is a kiss incest? Lol all siblings play around I remember fingering my older sister more than once and her moaning and getting all creamy, it's not spoken off now of course my cousin who she married wouldn't understand the context ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

  10. Lucas only decided to make Leia Luke's sister after ESB was made. By that time he'd lost interest in the Star Wars films and wanted to tie up all the lose plot threads on the quick and nasty, hence why ROTJ has so many villain deaths and plot conclusions in such a short amount of time. Originally all of those plot conclusions would've stretched from ROTJ to Ep. IX.

  11. This is not new. I've seen this before Disney+. I think it was an extra in the blu-ray bonus features. A brief clip of this was actually in the first trailer for ESB back in late 1979/early 1980.

    As to whether or not Lucas knew that Luke & Leia were related, I'm going to say no. Contrary to what many people believe George Lucas did not have the entire story of Star Wars mapped out in advance. He kind of made it up as he went along. I remember reading that part of his ideas for the finale of Return of the Jedi included having Ben Kenobi becoming physical again so he and Luke could fight Darth Vader together and that there would also be not one but TWO death stars! Lucas did know that Luke had a sister but it was not Leia. Rather she was a new character that had not yet been introduced. The reason he decided to make Leia the secret sibling can be summed up in 4 words: "I am your father!". The shock value of Vader being Luke's father went over so well that Lucas wanted to do it again for Return of the Jedi. But it didn't go over quite so well the second time because it wasn't as much of a shock that his sister turned out to be the only girl in the entire trilogy! Not alot of mystery there!

  12. I think its obvious that they were not brother and sister at the time of making Empire. Even as a kid I thought the brother sister thing was a lame twist.

  13. It is simple. Romantic rivalry being a significant obstacle between Han and Luke would be a genre shift away from the fun and light space cowboy genre of Ep4. So Leia playing up the kiss to annoy Luke works perfectly, so that there may be a speedbump of tension Luke/Han that but it is easy to get past. Actual sparks between Luke and Leia sends the franchise towards a soap opera.

  14. I think you forget that the actual kiss they share has one of the longest spittle strings in movie history, it 70mm back in the day it looked like a saliva rope! I still shudder when I think of it. LOL

  15. Of course Lucas had already decided to make Luke and Leia siblings while filming Empire. If he hadn't yet decided, he wouln't have written in the scene where Luke is dangling from Cloud City and calls out to Leia for help, and she Force senses his distress and has Lando go back to rescue him. I really doubt he had anything other than a sibling relationship in mind for that scene. There's no way he would have tried to make audiences believe that bond could have come from a mere sexual infatuation with one another.

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