We’re about to start getting a whole lot of new Star Wars, beginning with Episode VII in 2015, but the bar for a good Star Wars movie was set all the way back in 1980. The Empire Strikes Back was written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, and directed by Irwin Kershner. (It is perhaps telling that the film widely regarded as the best of the Star Wars movies was the one where George Lucas only had a “Story by” writing credit.) Now the folks over at /Film have snagged a major exclusive: a look at Kasdan’s handwritten first draft of the Empire screenplay.
Kasdan donated his Empire script to the Writers Guild Foundation Archive, so kudos to them for allowing the /Film folks to share this little snippet of history with Star Wars fans everywhere. Above, you can see Kasdan’s handwritten version of arguably one of the most unforgettable scenes in the franchise’s history: the iconic “I love you,” “I know” exchange between Princess Leia and Han Solo. It looks a little different, however, since Ford ad-libbed his line in response. It’s up there with Roy Batty’s “Tears in rain” speech from Blade Runner and Fords own “shooting the swordsman” Raiders of the Lost Ark moment as one of the greatest movie ad libs of all time.
Originally, the line read, “Just remember that, ‘cause I’ll be back.” Kasdan’s writing skills are top notch, but I imagine we’re all glad they went with Ford’s version and left the original line for Schwarzenegger in that other science fiction franchise…
You can see the rest of the pages over at /Film. And here’s the classic scene in question.