Early Rumors For The Empire Strikes Back From 1980

By Rudie Obias | 7 years ago

In the days before the Internet, movie rumors were a valuable commodity genre fans were itching to get their grubby little hands on. But without the Internet, we had to go out of our way to pick up magazines like “Starlog” or “Wizard World” to find such information. Today, we can simply log in from our comfy chair and find ourselves deluged by rumors and interviews from our favorite directors, actors, or writers.

The Huffington Post’s Mike Ryan wrote up an exciting piece about movie rumors from old issues of “Starlog” magazine. He was primarily looking for rumors pertaining to his favorite movie of all-time, The Empire Strikes Back, but he also procured rumors from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Superman: The Movie. Take a look at some of the scut he unearthed from back in the day:

March 1978: I blissfully remember the Darth Vader-is-a-robot debate, too. After this reader question, “Starlog” was nice enough to put that rumor to rest.

There’s been an argument in our house about Darth Vader. My dad thinks he’s a robot but I don’t.

Darth Vader, the malevolent Dark Lord of the Sith, is not a robot. Vader’s stiff robotic looks arise from an incident during his Jedi youth. In a recent issue of a rock fanzine, George Lucas explained that, after killing Luke’s father, Darth fought Ben Kenobi. During the duel he fell into a volcano. His horribly mutilated body is now housed in his metallic suit: a working iron lung.

June 1979: The man who was in the Darth Vader suit once said there would be 12 “Star Wars” movies.

I have just read an article on David Prowse. He said that not only will there be a “Star Wars” 3 and 4, but that it will go all the way up to 12. He says that George Lucas’ dream is to turn out 24 hours of “Star Wars” so people can go into a theater and stay for the whole day. He said it would take 22 years for it to happen. Could this be really true?

A dozen sequels may be Lucas’ dream, but Prowse speaks about Lucasfilms’ plans in more realistic terms in this issue, starting on page 52.

February 1980: More “Han Solo dies” backlash.

It was in a magazine called “Star Wars” and it is strongly suggested that Darth Vader would capture Han Solo and expose him to the dark side of the Force. This would put Luke Skywalker in the position of having to face Han Solo and it asked the question, “Would Luke Skywalker be able to to face and kill his friend?” This, to me, is the same thing as saying this is exactly what’s going to happen — that Luke is going to be put in the position and maybe at the very last minute Han won’t be able to kill Luke and Luke kills him instead. Then, in the trailer of “Empire,” there’s one scene of Han Solo being knocked out and another with him in a chair obviously against his will, so I don’t figure I need any more proof of this … if this character is killed off, I, too, am completely through with anything having to do with “Star Wars.”

There are a lot more where that came from, and it is highly recommended that you read Ryan’s whole piece over at the Huffington Post.

It’s been a good couple of weeks for Empire Strikes Back relics. Last week, a lost Dutch TV documentary was unearthed featuring never-before-seen material including cast and crew interviews from the sequel to Star Wars.

Movie rumors aren’t a new thing. They’ve been around long before the Internet was readily available in everyone’s home, office, or pockets. It’s just that today these rumors are more accelerated and debunked sooner. Publications like “Starlog” and “Wizard World” magazine should be archived on the Internet so they can live on and give people a special sort of hindsight after their favorite films are released.

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