Surprise: Han Solo didn’t only have eyes for Princess Leia. Over the weekend, the internet re-discovered a black-and-white rough cut of the Star Wars cantina scene, a rare gem that was first officially released on the Star Wars: Behind the Magic CD-ROM in 1998 (and can now be found on the recent Complete Saga Blu-ray collection). The most jarring difference between this early edit and the final film version is that Han Solo was given a girlfriend. Though she doesn’t get any lines, Han is seen kissing the dark-haired woman in a cantina booth — when Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker approach him, Solo gives her the boot.
Who is this mystery lady, whom Han Solo refers to only as “sweetheart?” According to the Wookieepedia, this character is known to fans as “Jenny,” after the actress who played her, Jenny Cresswell. Like Luke Skywalker, her character was a human inhabitant of Tatooine. (If Luke is any indication, nobody really wanted to stay on Tatooine – so perhaps she was cozying up to Han Solo in hopes of hitching a ride to another system.) Jenny doesn’t appear in any other scenes, and is never mentioned again – or even given an official name.
Obviously, Jenny wasn’t pivotal to the plot of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. But perhaps that’s not the only reason that director George Lucas cut her out of the final picture. Lucas was extremely concerned with making sure that Han Solo didn’t seem like a bad guy, despite his questionable values and criminal past. Maybe sight of Han making out with an anonymous woman in a bar, while an alien is mutilated by Obi-Wan just a few feet away, was too distasteful a first impression. Jenny is still visible, however, in some widescreen versions of the cantina scene, chatting with an alien in the background.
Here are a few of the other notable differences between the rough cut of the cantina scene and the film version (see below):
• The exchange between Han and Greedo is somewhat different. For one thing, the alien bounty hunter is speaking English, not the subtitled Rodian language of the film. Greedo also very explicitly tells Solo that he intends to kill him, further justifying the idea that Han shot first.
• Many of the characters in Star Wars (most notably Darth Vader) had their voices dubbed over by other actors in post-production. The rough cut reveals the English accents of the actors who play the bartender, Greedo, and Ponda Baba (the obnoxious space pirate who threatens and draws his blaster on Luke).
• After Obi-Wan attacks Ponda Baba with a lightsaber, there is a grisly shot of the severed arm on the ground. In the original footage, the arm has a flipper holding a gun, rather than an actual hand.
To see behind-the-scenes sketches and photographs from the cantina scene shoot, visit Raiders of the Lost Tumblr.
Photo credit: © Wookieepedia