As film fans, we often forget that among all the beautiful cinematography, rich dialogue, and timeless performances we see up on the big screen, countless hours of footage inevitably end up on the cold and unforgiving cutting room floor in many an editor’s studio. Yes, the movies are shot on elaborate sets and locations, perfectly conditioned to become the environments the filmmakers envision, but the film itself is actually made in the editing room. It is there that the story takes shape, where random shots become scenes and scenes become stories. It is also in these editing rooms that many shots and scenes that had aspirations of their own to make it into the movies end up discarded.
For most of the Hollywood age, these discarded reels of footage became forgotten or, like Sauron’s ring of power, passed into myth. However, in today’s modern world with Blu-Ray extras, social media and the power of YouTube, many of these lost and forgotten scenes are being rediscovered. Relinquished fragments resurface to give us amusing alternative visions of what a particular movie might have been, and can even give us insight into the mind of the filmmakers on how they thought of and executed their films.
As we close in on the long-promised release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and our enthusiasm and excitement becomes all consuming, we pause to remember that even arguably the greatest film franchise of all time was not exempt from the harsh realities of the editor’s surgical scalpel. Yes, even the original trilogy filled with iconic and classic scenes, imbued with near perfection had its own share of scenes that were shot, considered, and ultimately thrown away for a myriad of reasons.
And so for your consideration, we now present to you what we consider to be the top 10 deleted scenes from those classic original Star Wars trilogy films. From near kisses and Imperials with a conscience all the way to wandering monsters in snowy fortress hallways, Star Wars could have ended up looking like a very different set of films if just a few key editing decisions went in a different direction.