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For everything else going on in the movie, Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope is Luke Skywalker’s story, his journey from backwater farm boy towards becoming the one true hope of the galaxy. It’s already a rather full film, so it stands to reason there were pieces that didn’t make it into the finished product. This includes almost all of the backstory between Luke and childhood friend Biggs Darklighter, and a short new documentary digs into this excised material.
Biggs always felt more important to the story than he comes across in the film. If you’ve read the novelizations of the movie, you know why, as he originally played a much bigger role (he also shows up in something like 20 of the Expanded Universe novels). Documentarian Jamie Benning, who is behind a couple of full-length Star Wars making-of features, just released the 17-minute short Blast It Biggs! Where Are You!? that examines the character and his original part in the larger drama, including scenes cut from the movie and a lengthy interview with actor Garrick Hagon.
The name Biggs is mentioned early on in A New Hope, but he doesn’t show up onscreen until just before the Battle of Yavin, where the Rebels take on the Death Star. Luke and Biggs have a warm reunion in a hanger bay, which makes sense because they’re old friends far from home and it must be nice to see a familiar face before you head to your likely doom. There is, however, much more to the story, as this isn’t the first scene Mark Hamill and Hagon had together, as Hagon was on set in Tunisia, the stand-in for their home world of Tatooine, where they filmed a scene that laid the groundwork for their friendship.
Once you see the footage (it kicks in at around the 5:20 mark in the doc below, with more around 11:30), it’s easy to understand why it was cut. It’s goofy and tonally out of step with the rest of the picture. The first thing you see in Benning’s short is George Lucas talking about how people reading the script told him it wouldn’t work, and they were right. Check out the whole uninterrupted scene for yourself below, it kicks in at 28 seconds and really drives home how much of a nerd Luke was.
Even though it’s a good thing this footage was cut, Blast It Biggs is a must watch for any Star Wars fan. It offers a glimpse into a piece of the lore that is largely overlooked and under appreciated. Hagon presents an interesting perspective on the production, and the film as a whole. And even though it was rightly left out, the time spent on this scene is important later on as you can see the obvious camaraderie between Hamill and Hagon when Luke and Biggs meet before the Death Star run. That was something they built in Tunisia, and it illustrates another reason why Luke leaves his old life behind to join the Rebellion.