Before The Internet: Crazy STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Rumours

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Apparently there was a time before the internet? Geek Dave says so anyway...

From the moment the new Star Wars movie was announced, the rumours began to fly around the internet. Articles were published with possible story-lines and what characters were or weren't returning. To be fair, some of them have turned out to be true, but the majority have been very wide of the mark.

Here's the thing - it's nothing new. Before the internet there were crazy rumours and articles going around regarding just about anything you could be 'geeky' over. For instance, I remember when I was a kid reading a magazine which pretty much stated as fact that Luke & Leia were going to get married in 'Star Wars II'!

Before the internet if you were looking for the scoop on Star Wars or any of your favourite science-fiction movies/shows/books then one of the best magazines of its time was Starlog. Packed full of exclusives, it was an essential read for any fan of the genre, but that's not to say the information was always spot on...

In February 1980 Starlog ran a 'Report on The Empire Strikes Back', as part of the feature they gathered up all the rumours that had been doing the rounds on the upcoming Star Wars sequel. Here are just a selection of the best ones...
While on the ice planet, Hoth, our intrepid Rebels are attacked by Stormtroopers. Although the Rebels defeat the troopers, the representatives of the Empire knock Chewbacca unconscious and take him as their prisoner. Although Leia insists that Chewie's rescue must wait, that other Rebel business must take precedence over an attempt, Han defies the orders and takes off in the Falcon to rescue is friend and co-pilot.

It is said that Han Solo and Chewie land on a desert planet where they meet time travelers from Earth's 13th century who are trying to fight off Stormtroopers with catapults and crossbows.

Luke and C-3PO are captured by a horrendous alien (stop-motion animated, the story goes) who dumps them into a tank-like prison filled with a breathable liquid. The only way the alien can be killed (shades of Dracula) is to drive a metal stake through his heart. The only metal around, unfortunately, is C-3PO; and Luke melts the 'driod down to fabricate the weapon.

On a jungle planet, where Luke and Han are seeking allies against the Empire, the two enlist a race of winged aliens called the Quarrels.

Word has gotten around that the Emperor will make an appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. Equally persistent are the rumors that he will be played by Orson Welles ... and by Christopher Lee.

Near the climax, Han Solo crosses lightsabers with Darth Vader. Although Han doesn't really know how to use the weapon, he's doing fairly well when suddenly the light beams are "fused" together and Han's and Vader's "life forces" are intermingled. Luke has a chance to come to the rescue -- but if he kills Vader, might he not kill his friend too?
A couple of them I kinda wish were true. And also this, from the same issue...
The special-effects team at Industrial Light and Magic, near San Francisco, have been working on an experimental process that uses holography and makes it possible for an image of the Millennium Falcon to fly off the screen and up the projection beam.
How cool would that be?

Not so cool was this comment published in the October 1979 issue...
A Hollywood trade newspaper recently reported that music for the new "Star Wars" film, "The Empire Strikes Back," might introduce a newcomer to epic scoring: Mick Jagger, The item stated that Jagger had been asked to compose the score.
Who would think that was a good idea???

Finally, an exert from a brilliant interview with producer Gary Kurtz taken from December 1978 issue. A bit of a scoop here as it was the first time 'Star Wars II' was referred to as The Empire Strikes Back, and Kurtz wanted to clear up some confusion regarding that...
"Our working title is 'The Empire Strikes Back.' And as I said, it's part of a plan that George and I had from the inception of the original film. What we wanted to do was relate every subsequent 'Star Wars' adventure as an episode of a continuing story, like the old serials used to do. We were going to call this movie 'Star Wars Episode Two: The Empire Strikes Back,' but we ran into some problems. You see, although this story is a direct sequel to the first movie, we have three more stories that we eventually want to film that actually occur before the point where the first 'Star Wars' begins.

So, we've been toying with the idea of ignoring the numbers completely. Instead, we'll give each movie episode a unique title. I mean, if we had to give each film its true number in the series, this movie would be called 'Episode Five: The Empire Strikes Back.' The first film would be called 'Episode Four'! Can you imagine how complicated it would get? If we released a story like that publicly through a press release, thousands of people would be totally confused. Everyone would want to know what happened to the other three movies"
Perhaps George never got that memo!

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