FOUND! 1980 Empire interviews reveal Star Wars prequels that almost were

The love/hate relationship we Star Wars fans have with George Lucas' universe after the often trying prequels is a complicated one, and it's made more complicated when you factor in all the backstory we thought we knew, only to find that when the prequels made it to screen ... it had changed.

Well, it's about to get more complicated, kids. According to these rare 1980 interviews, the prequels weren't what we thought even then.

There are all sorts of amusing tidbits in this 13-minute promotional clip put together ahead of the release of The Empire Strikes Back, from the slight changes to Darth Vader's costume in Episode V to whether Harrison Ford thought he'd be called back for more Han Solo after the original trilogy concluded (he didn't, by the way).

The interviewees include Ford, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), David Prowse (Darth Vader's body) and director Irvin Kershner. But the most interesting interview by far is Hamill, only because he lets slip an interesting detail of the Star Wars backstory that would have major implications for the prequels had Lucas followed through with it.

See, at the time of this interview, Hamill had an infant son, Nathan, back at home. This prompted him to mention that, based on what he knew, the prequels would take place 20 years before the original trilogy and would feature "an 8-year-old Luke playing in the background."

That raises all sorts of interesting questions. First of all, it seems like Luke is supposed to be younger than 28 when the original trilogy kicks off, so what does that say about how Lucas thought of him? Second, what does that say about the prequel story? Part of the whole Darth Vader/Luke arc is that Luke was being hidden while Vader kicked the galaxy's ass into submission, so how do you tell the story of how Vader came to be Vader and also work in his grade-school-aged kid running around somewhere? Yes, it could have just been Luke hanging out with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on Tatooine, but how would that have been interesting?

Check out the full clip for more (including the original plan for nine flicks instead of six) and decide for yourself what this could have meant for the Star Wars universe.

(Vimeo via the Official Star Wars Blog)

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