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Hey, remember when Kristen Stewart cheated on Rob Pattinson with her Snow White And The Huntsman director and she found herself the subject of at least one crazy rumor every few days for about six months? Well, Star Wars has been dealing with that same level of outlandish since A New Hope was released all the way back in 1977. From the constant, more than decade-long drum of unsubstantiated new film noise to outlandish chatter about Stewart and Pattinson themselves joining the universe, the conversation hasn't stopped for more than thirty-five years, and it sure as Greedo isn't going to stop now.
Earlier this week, Jennifer Lawrence was asked while doing promotion for The Hunger Games about Internet chatter that she would make a good young Han Solo. She was very amused by the whole thing, of course, but in the world of Star Wars, the notion is nothing more than a strange and funny blip on the radar. Over the years, whispers have gotten a whole lot louder about supposed scoops that later proved inaccurate and a whole lot weirder with whispers that had no factual basis whatsoever.
So, without further ado, here is a roundup of some of the crazier Star Wars related rumors of all-time.
Natalie Portman Will Get Naked For The Phantom Menace
Back in 1998, scores of Star Wars fans became convinced young actress Natalie Portman would take off her clothes for at least one scene in The Phantom Menace. Why exactly they thought this is unclear. Star Wars had always rolled as pretty family friendly entertainment, and even if Lucas and company decided to take a detour to R-Rated town for the prequels, Portman wasn't even eighteen-years-old when she shot her scenes. Still, the rumor persisted and spun out of control on the Internet.
Obviously, the eventual release of the film in 1999 proved the theory false, but it was officially debunked prior to that in a Parade Magazine article that has since been republished on TheForce.net. Beautiful as Portman is, taking her clothes off at the time would have been all kinds of weird and creepy, and a boob shot would have been super out of place amidst the larger tone of the movie/ franchise. If she were to strip down for the right movie now, I'm not sure anyone in the world would complain, but for that time and place, it would have been wrong on a lot of levels.
Han Solo Will Die In The Empire Strikes Back
Prior to the release of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, especially after the trailer dropped, there was a measurable percentage of Star Wars fans who were convinced Han Solo would die in the upcoming film. At one point, the rumor got so large it was addressed in a story by People Magazine, and thousands of fans sent in letters to various publications promising they would abandon the franchise if their beloved Han was killed off.
I can't think of a single reason why Lucas would have wanted to kill off the single most popular character in his franchise. He already had future films planned out, and doing so would have wasted all of the effort put into building sexual chemistry between Han and the Princess. Scuttlebutt, however, doesn't need logic to thrive. It only needs subject matter strange and scandalous enough that it inspires people to pass it along. In other news, Han is still not dead, and he'll wind up outliving all of us.
Unlike most rumors, this one has a very clear origin point. The writers over at ThatChickenSite sent out an email claiming Lord Of The Rings actor John Rhys-Davies was at a convention and said the working conditions on his upcoming voicework project were grievous. At the time, Gary Oldman had just bailed on his voicework obligation over some union issues, and the speculation as to who would take over was at a fever pitch. That email was quickly published by AICN and later picked up by a host of other outlets, many of which made the probability sound a little more legitimate than the email indicated.
Obviously, the quote never happened, but it took months before everyone calmed down on the Internet enough to realize it. The originators probably thought they taught everyone a serviceable lesson about not jumping the gun, but more than that, they really just gave the world more disinformation about Star Wars to wrestle with. In the end, Grievous was voiced by sound engineer Matthew Wood, who no one would have ever guessed. Ever.
Mick Jagger Will Do The Score For Empire Strikes Back
Composer John Williams won an Academy Award for his original score for Star Wars, which marked his third win and twelfth nomination overall. You would have thought all that collective love would have earned him a little job security, but a year after Star Wars broke all kinds of box office records, the talk of the town was that he might be replaced by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger when it came time to do the music for Empire Strikes Back.
Content with the free press and eager to encourage fan speculation, Lucas Film hasn't always been quick to correct false information, but in this case, a spokesman was. He went on record to Starlog denying Williams would be replaced or that Jagger would be involved in any way. Considering the composer was nominated again for his work on Empire Strikes Back, it's definitely a good thing he returned, but I think I speak for most people when I say I'd love to hear what Jagger's take on the film would have sounded like.
Jet Li Will Play Boba Fett
Jet Li is an asskicking machine. On paper, he's the exact type of guy you'd want to play a bounty hunter. So, when word spread that Boba Fett would be used in some capacity in Episode II, Cinescape Magazine put together a list of ideal candidates, one of which was Li. That was later misinterpreted as definite casting news by fan sites, and long story short, Li had to answer questions about the rumor even though he was never even contacted by anyone at any point from Lucas Film.
More recently, rumors have raged that Boba Fett may be the recipient of his own film, which would make a lot of sense given his continued popularity. If that project does move forward, it's highly unlikely he'll be played by Jet Li, but it certainly is possible the same rumor will spring up again because if there's one thing the Internet loves, it's circling back around.
Han Solo And Darth Vader Will Become One Life Force
This is my favorite Star Wars rumor of all-time. In fact, it's really not even close. Prior to the release of Empire Strikes Back, a ton of fans grasped onto a rumor about an epic lightsaber battle that would occur between Han Solo and Darth Vader. Apparently, the two men would be pretty evenly matched (which makes no sense) and at the climax, their light beams would fuse together to intermingle their life forces, turning the pair into one super organism that, I guess, would spend the rest of its days having internal arguments concerning pressing issues like having sex with the love interest/ daughter.
No doubt that nonsensical storyline would have created a uniquely touching climax in which Luke must decide whether or not to kill the two, but luckily, Lucas and company decided to go in a different direction that didn't involve fusing people together. It's actually kind of funny how so many of these bits of crazy prior to Empire Strikes Back involved Han getting up to some shenanigans. I guess most people just assumed Luke would continue to be his mediocre self.
Christopher Walken Will Play Darth Bane
Darth Bane is a very real character in the books. He's a Dark Lord of the Sith that sets in motion some events that have very serious consequences down the road. In the literary canon, he's a pretty badass dude, and for awhile, people thought he was going to be a part of the Episode II. Christopher Walken was even supposedly attached to star. Exactly how that might have worked since Darth Bane predates the movies by about a thousand years isn't clear, but regardless, a fair amount of people bought into this whisper.
Obviously, it turned out to be completely wrong on almost all imaginable levels. The closest Walken ever got to Star Wars was probably in this Kevin Spacey SNL sketch that delivered a few laughs and in no way had anything to do with Darth Bane. With a flock of new movies coming out moving forward, however, it's entirely possible he ends up getting involved in some capacity.
Orson Welles Will Play The Emperor
There are few things more exciting than speculating about who will play a long-referenced character ready to make his or her first appearance in the flesh. Recently, Parks And Recreation has had a lot of fun with that thanks to the much-referenced Tammys, and back in the day, the same sort of speculation ran wild as to who would step in as the mysterious Emperor we heard about in A New Hope. Many were under the assumption Lucas would cast a giant name, and one of the most fixated upon potential choices was Orson Welles. So persistent was the rumor that it was even published by Starlog.
When The Empire Strikes Back came out, however, fans didn't see nearly as much of the Emperor as they expected. In fact, they were forced to wait until Return Of The Jedi when relative unknown Ian McDiarmid stepped in to portray the leader in more than just holographic form. Considering the actor was young enough to return for prequels, it's probably a good thing Welles wasn't cast, though the thought of him commanding the Empire is certainly intriguing.
Colin Trevorrow Will Direct Episode VII
More than a year ago, Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow gave an interview in which he openly discussed plans to take over a beloved property. He predicted an Internet firestorm and said he would do his best to make it not suck, but he refused to release any specific details as to what the franchise might be. As the Internet is apt to do, everyone immediately assumed Star Wars was said franchise, and all sorts of columns sprung up speculating on what type of installment the relative unknown would make.