In the first two parts of this special mini-series we took a closer look at how George Lucas used the theory of evolution within his saga. Now we take a more practical approach in looking at how the Star Wars saga evolved from ideas and concepts to realized film, specifically one “Nomi Starkiller” and how she may figure into Star Wars: Episode VII. Here’s a hint: some of our more keen readers will have recognized a pattern.
Part III: The Transformation of Nomi Starkiller
Did you know that “Luke Skywalker” was originally going to be a female character? That’s right. According to an interview George Lucas gave in 2008 for the release of The Clone Wars animated movie, he stated the following:
Recalling that the character of Luke Skywalker had originally been drafted as a girl in one of the early scripts for A New Hope, we asked Lucas if Ahsoka emerged from a latent desire to finally explore the idea of a female Jedi apprentice.
“Well, in the first film, Luke was a girl,” explains Lucas. “Then the girl got split into twins. So the girl actually stayed there, and it was Luke that was introduced. Ultimately, when you think about it, Episode IV is really about Princess Leia. It’s her story. She’s the one that’s really the issue, in terms of the plot of that movie. She’s the one that’s got the mission, that’s a leader of her people, that needs help to get all these things accomplished. It’s told from Luke’s point of view, though, because ultimately he’s the one who’s going to have to confront his father.”
The original name for the female version of Luke Skywalker was “Nomi Starkiller.” Of course, we all know that George oscillated back and forth on the plethora of ideas he had rolling around his head for what The Star Wars was supposed to be. At one point Han Solo was a green alien. Yoda was called “Minch.” At another point the Jedi were called “Jedi Bendu” and the Dark Side of the Force was called the “Bogan.” George Lucas is no doubt one of the most creative and talented filmmaker’s in history, but perhaps one of his greatest traits is knowing what to keep and what to lose — it’s debatable whether Star Wars would have been the phenomenon that it is today were any of those ideas not scrapped. They were and the rest is history!
While George made a lot of great decisions, many of them serendipitous, to scrap certain ideas whilst keeping others, he was fond of recycling unused concepts. One such recycle was the character named “Mace Windy” who obviously became the Prequel Trilogy Jedi Master “Mace Windu.” Recycling unused ideas is not a bad idea and as starwarsnewsnet.com has chronicled several times it appears that many of Ralph McQuarrie’s unused concept art will be recycled throughout the new era of Disney’s Star Wars.
So while the original idea of “Nomi” became “twins,” the idea that Luke had a sister was an idea George had for a long time; an idea that survived up to the forging of Episode VI. Books have been written, see “The Secret History of Star Wars” by Michael Kaminski, for a much more detailed history of the evolution of Star Wars. However, for the purposes of this article, Luke’s sister, “the other,” as Yoda foretold, became Princess Leia as George finally decided upon once the twelve part saga became truncated into just three movies. But just who was this “other” that George originally envisioned? To make a long story short, the other, Luke’s first sister, was supposed to be a woman named “Nellith.” Nellith Skywalker was supposed to be revealed on Dagobah in Episode V, NOT by Master Yoda but by the ghost of Anakin Skywalker according to a snippet of dialogue from the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back:
This “twin that never was” was intended to be the female compliment to Luke. As we know she turned into Leia as this Episode VI exchange reveals:
LUKE: If I don’t make it back, you’re the only hope for the Alliance.
LEIA: Luke, don’t talk that way. You have a power I don’t understand and could never have.
LUKE: You’re wrong, Leia. You have that power too. In time you’ll learn to use it as I have. The Force runs strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And… my sister has it. Yes. It’s you, Leia.
LEIA: I know. Somehow, I’ve always known.
Nellith was originally intended to be explored in Episodes VII through IX as Kaminski tells us:
During the story conferences with Empire Strikes Back writer Leigh Brackett in late 1977, she and Lucas also came up with some ideas for future episodes. Namely, that Luke has a twin sister. She is revealed to have been going through Jedi training at the same time, and was hidden on the other side of the galaxy by their father so that if one was killed, the other could survive. She was discussed in the first draft of Empire Strikes Back, and named Nellith in an early copy of that draft, and was set to appear in a future episode after this intro, perhaps with the two Skywalker siblings teaming up to battle their father’s killer, Darth Vader. Their actual father, Anakin, appears to Luke on Dagobah as a spirit and inducts him into the Jedi way.
George Lucas, sick and tired of producing Star Wars, turned “Nellith” into Leia and nixed Episodes VII – IX . . . OR so we thought. Since October 30th, 2012 the burning question has become, “What is the Sequel Trilogy about?” As I’ve carefully recounted we can confidently surmise that, since George wrote the treatments, Lucas will recycle ideas that were scrapped back in the ’80’s and that one of the main ideas he had then was a Force-attuned female, of the Skywalker bloodline named “Nellith,” training to be a Jedi. There can be no doubt that George had a strong yearning to explore the feminine side of heroism, which he has done only to a partial extent with Leia and Padme as Dr. Camille Paglia describes in the excellent documentary Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed:
“The women of Star Wars films are extremely assertive, can wield weapons with the best of them, we also see them physically and personally evolving from film to film, which is almost unique in contemporary culture. That is Lucas’ ability to speak to the emotional needs of men without in any way undermining the dignity and potential of women.”
Enter Miss Daisy Ridley, according to MakingStarWars.com:
“On a desert planet, there’s a canyon, sandy and brown. In front of the canyon is a downed AT-AT walker, laying on its side. A young girl sits atop of the mechanical beast’s head. She gazes outward towards the end of the canyon where her hopes and dreams may one day be realized, not unlike Luke Skywalker yearning for more from his mundane life. For now, this is her home, the wreckage of years of intergalactic warfare. The legs of the AT-AT are partially obscured by sand at the “ankles” but pop out at the feet. This walker has been there for some time and nature has began to take the machine into the earth. The AT-AT lays on its left side, its head leveled by the dirt from which its head smashed into during a battle some time ago. The right side of the body of the AT-AT faces upwards, battle scared, shot by many laser blasts which no doubt brought the machine down. Battle wreckage is littered all around the fallen beast. This is the dwelling of the new hero from Star Wars: Episode VII […] The underbelly has large pieces of cloth draped over it to protect the dwelling from the environment. A small ship is hidden inside the belly, like a garage. In the distance you can see TIE-Fighters which have been downed into the sane. AT-ST head sits, its body below the dirt. You can see another AT-AT body in the distance, its coverings eroded away with time.”
Since Daisy Ridley — “Nomi” or “Nellith”, “Kira” or “Fawn” – is the only actor we’ve heard being signed on for all three episodes we can safely presume, that after all these years, intentions and iterations and, yes, evolution, that the Sequel Trilogy will be her hero’s journey. The real question remains whether or not Ridley’s character is a Solo/Skywalker or a completely unrelated character altogether. This Mirror article from May suggests as much, but two caveats – First, the Mirror is a tabloid and Second, the author most likely presumed Ridley’s role based solely on the Table Read photo. Either way, Daisy’s father, Chris, let us know that she is definitely training for a rigorous role:
Her dad Chris may be biased, but he’s sure his 21-year-old daughter is the perfect personality to play a character who is half-royalty, half-action hero.
“She is an extraordinary lady, though not an easy one,” he said at the family home in Maida Vale, West London, yesterday.
“But if anyone can handle it, she can. They train from morning till night learning all the things they do. They have a huge stage down at Pinewood with thousands of people involved and budget of God knows what. She’s managing very well but she’s very tired.”
He said film-makers Disney, who have taken over the Star Wars franchise from its original creator George Lucas, are “terribly protective and everything is shrouded in dust sheets. They don’t want to let anything out”.
The proud dad says Daisy is already developing a close working relationship with her most famous co-star.
“She came home and said she’d had coffee with Harrison Ford and he said, ‘Don’t call me Mr Ford! Call me Harrison’,” said Chris. “He’s a very sweet guy, though he looks terribly grumpy. She said he looks much better than he does in films and he’s a much nicer guy.”
It would be very fitting that Ridley portray Han and Leia’s daughter, Luke’s niece. She seemingly makes a perfect offspring for the Han/Leia union. Yet, as hopeful we fans are that this is the case, it also seems like a rather pre- dictable and obvious guess, which almost surely means it isn’t so. Although NOT cast in stone, and dusted with a thick layer of salt, IF we’re to believe the MSW concept art descriptions, it seems highly unlikely that a Solo/Skywalker child would be living on a remote desert planet, near a junkyard, in the belly of a fallen AT-AT. Whatever name or bloodline Daisy Ridley turns out to portray we fans will have a blast speculating about the spectrum of rumors surely to continually inundate StarWars7News as well as The Cantina. Now that you know our thoughts on the matter, what say ye? I’m sure you’ll let us know.