A long time ago, George Lucas hired Alan Dean Foster to write a sequel to Star Wars, operating under the assumption that Star Wars might not make much money, that the sequel would need to be really low budget, and that Harrison Ford would refuse to reprise his role as Han Solo. On the Cultural Gutter, In An Alternate Galaxy Far, Far Away looks at what Foster came up with: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, a modest but entertaining adventure in which Leia throws a battle-axe, Luke has impure thoughts about the Princess, and Darth Vader falls in a well.
Man, George Lucas really screwed things up for other Star Wars writers when he decided Luke and Leia were siblings. Poor Alan Dean Foster, unaware that Lucas would come up with that one day and make his book full of “Luke’s face flushed as Leia’s body brushed against his” more awkward than it already was. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was written before Star Wars was subtitled “Episode IV: A New Hope”; before Star Wars was released; before Star Wars was even finished. It was the first attempt to expand the Star Wars universe beyond the movie, at a time when everyone assumed there probably wouldn’t be a second movie and before Lucas started going on about having written an entire nine-film multi-generational saga, a claim that seems from our vantage point today and with the evidence at hand, somewhat dubious, at least as things stood in 1977.