Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye

In 1976, Alan Dean Foster was contracted to ghostwrite a novelization for Star Wars, as well as a second novel which would have been used as a basis for a low-budget sequel to A New Hope in case the film was not successful. Of course, Geroge Lucas’ film opened to great acclaim and massive box office so that Star Wars sequel was never produced.

The novel was instead released in 1978 under the title Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, taking place between A New Hope and its sequel The Empire Strikes Back, making it one of the first pieces of what would become the Star Wars expanded universe. That universe is no longer canonized, but a new video essay takes us back in time for a look at the lot Star Wars sequel. Hit the jump to find out the story behind Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and discover what could have been.

Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye Video Essay

Mr. Sunday Movies has produced an excellent video essay that takes a look at the Star Wars sequel that could have been if A New Hope wasn’t the smashing success that it was:

I’m a big Star Wars fan, but much of the earlier expanded universe stories are part of a hole in my fandom. So it was good to see this video essay and dive into Splinter of the Mind’s Eye as I have not really looked too deeply into the story behind it. Here is a bit more information on the novel from Wikipedia:

Though Foster was granted a great deal of leeway in developing the story, a key requirement was that many of the props from the previous production could be reused when shooting the new film. Foster’s decision to place his story on a misty jungle planet was also intended to reduce set and background costs for a film adaptation. According to Foster, Lucas’s only request upon inspecting the manuscript was the removal of a space dogfight undertaken by Luke and Leia before crash-landing on Mimban, which would have been effects-heavy and expensive to film.

It’s worth noting that Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Darth Vader are the central characters in this story with Han Solo and Chewbacca not making an appearance. The book was later adapted as a graphic novel published by Dark Horse Comics in 1996, created by Terry Austin and Chris Spouse, which are where many of the images from this essay come from. That comic also incorporated characters from The Empire Strikes Back who naturally did not appear in the original novel.

The story has a MacGuffin referred to as the “Mind’s Eye” in the title. In the book, it is called the Kaiburr crystal, which was based on an unused idea by George Lucas for the original Star Wars screenplay. The ancient force relic could be used to increase a Force-sensitive’s power one thousand times over. Shards of the Kaiburr crystal also worked as a lightsaber crystal. This idea might sound familiar as the name and concept were later employed as “kyber crystals” in Star Wars canon. They first featured in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series and remain part of current Star Wars canon, used as the energy source inside a lightsaber. There is even a rumor that Kyber Crystals will be a big part of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, potentially retroactively becoming a much larger part of Star Wars history.

For those of you interested in reading Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, the book is still available on Amazon for around $8. The graphic novel adaptation is available digitally for about the same price.

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