Deleted ‘Return of the Jedi’ scene reveals a dark truth about Star Wars

40 years ago today, on January 11, 1982, filming began on what was to be called Star Wars: Episode IV – Revenge of the Jedi. The first scene, set in the middle of a deadly Tatooine sandstorm, was never released. But four decades later, we get a look at this forgotten Star Wars moment that reveals a dark truth about Han Solo’s journey.

Shared on Twitter by documentary filmmaker Jamie Benning, the scene in question takes place shortly after the Return of the Jedi’s opening scene at Jabba the Hutt’s Palace and outside the Sarlacc tomb. As Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia escape from the desert planet, a sandstorm rages. You can barely hear them speak as the characters reconnect to say goodbye again. (Luke is on his way back to Dagobah to see Yoda, while the others join the rest of the Rebel Alliance).

It’s impossible to hear any of the dialogue in what should have been a gripping exchange, but fortunately Benning has reconstructed the scene in his full documentary Returning to the Jedi. You can see it for yourself in about 48 minutes in the video below:

Given that not much is being said, it makes sense for George Lucas to cut this scene to keep the plot going fast. However, a line from Harrison Ford’s Han Solo feels particularly important. After thanking Luke (Mark Hamill) for rescuing him, He describes the feeling of being frozen in carbonite in surprising detail.

“That coal freeze was the closest thing to death there is,” he says. “And it was not just sleeping. It was a big wakeful nothing!”

In other words, when Solo was frozen in carbonite, he was not just knocked out cold. He was apparently conscious all the time. His brain was awake, but because he was trapped in carbonite, he could not move or use any of his senses.

Han Solo frozen in carbonite in The return of the Jedi.Lucasfilm

It’s pretty dark, but it’s even worse when you think about what it means for Star Wars in general. Han Solo is not the only person who has been frozen in carbonite over the long history of the franchise. If Han Solo’s words can be considered canon, then every single person who received the same treatment suffered the same way.

IN The Mandalorian Season 2, we also learned that after Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) was caught in carbonite in the series premiere, it permanently damaged one of his eyes. So not only is it awful to get caught up in things, but there are also long term consequences. Maybe it explains some of His behavior in The power is aroused.

The entire Star Wars saga is streamed on Disney +.

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