Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens nearly got an animated lead-in that would have involved the scandalous revelation of Princess Leia’s paternal lineage. Ultimately, the short cartoon pitch morphed into a key element of Claudia Gray’s recently released novel, Bloodline.
That’s according to Pablo Hidalgo, creative executive at the Lucasfilm Story Group, who took to Twitter on Sunday to share behind-the-scenes facts about the story that make for some pretty hefty Star Wars revelations in the grand scheme of things. He said that an animated short called “Scandal of Blood” was proposed back in 2012. He described the short as “Star Wars House of Cards,” which gels with the political machinations behind certain parties revealing that Darth Vader was Leia’s father in Bloodline.
It’s not clear whether Scandal of Blood would have been a televised cartoon or a digital release.
This repurposing of discarded content shows the true power of the Story Group, which coordinates the new Star Wars canon since Disney bought Lucasfilm and rebranded the deep library of existing “Expanded Universe” novels, comics and games as “Legends.”
Star Wars revelations keep coming
Shades of Episode VIII?
It was previously known that Episode VIII director Rian Johnson contributed ideas used in Bloodline, but Hidalgo elaborated Sunday that those contributions included specifically “the disposition of the New Republic, its political factions and the napkin incident”; the latter refers to a terrorist bombing at a Senate gathering where Leia is warned by a single word primitively scrawled on a breakfast napkin: “Run.”
Hidalgo also revealed that a major Bloodline character, Leia’s Senate rival and sometime ally Ransolm Casterfo, “existed, in various forms, in the earliest versions of the TFA story” before Gray “gave him distinct life” in her novel.
Casterfo, a member of the Centrist faction in the Senate, often idolized elements of the old Empire but worked with Populist hero Leia to unravel a conspiracy that leads to the very foundation of the First Order seen terrorizing the New Republic in Episode VII. By the end of the novel, it’s heavily hinted that the Centrists break off from the Republic, and Leia leaves the Senate to form the Resistance and oppose them.
Episode VII and the ‘Expanded Universe’
Another meaty revelation had to do with the very nature of Episode VII itself. We’ve known that George Lucas delivered a proposal for a new trilogy when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney, and that much if not all of the infrastructure he proposed was abandoned. Hidalgo said Lucas’ treatment departed from Expanded Universe lore, just as The Force Awakens ultimately would: “George’s starting point for 7 had no Jaina, Jacen, Anakin and Chewie never died,” Hidalgo said.
In the “Legends” EU, Jaina and Jacen were the twin offspring of Leia and Han Solo, and their younger brother was named Anakin (for real); all three became Jedi Knights, and Jacen eventually became the Sith Lord Darth Caedus, setting up a fatal confrontation with Jaina. Chewbacca died in the initial salvo from an invading extragalactic force known as the Yuuzhan Vong in the sprawling “New Jedi Order” storyline.
So while we still don’t know what George’s pitch for Episode VII entailed, we have a better idea now what it did not. While the EU authors and editors had a lot of creative freedom and used it to create a truly “Expanded Universe,” Star Wars’ father never hesitated to discard parts of that lore and enforce his own vision. Just ask fans of Karen Traviss’ rich Mandalorian culture, which was overwritten by much of the Clone Wars animated series.
SPECIAL THANKS ARE IN ORDER:
Discuss Literary Adventures at the Facebook group 'For the Love of All Things Edgar Rice Burroughs.'Trademarks TARZAN®, TARZAN OF THE APES®, JOHN CARTER OF MARS®, DEJAH THORIS®, PELLUCIDAR®, A PRINCESS OF MARS® and EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS® are owned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.