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What Almost Happened In Episode VII

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is dominating pop culture, as just about everyone from your grandmother to the Pope is debating the events of Episode VII. But Grandma's Facebook rants would look very, very different if the original ideas for the film had made it into the finished product. Here's a sneak peek at what almost happened in Episode VII. But beware: spoilers ahead.

Everyone Is A Teenager!

When George Lucas sold the Star Wars rights to Disney, he also sent along his top secret plans for the new trilogy. Exactly what madness he concocted, nobody is sure, as only a handful of Disney Illuminati have seen his treatment. But we do know one thing about Lucas's original plans for Episode VII: the main characters were all going to be teenagers. Would Episode VII have the same kick if it was essentially Harry Potter in Space? For better or worse, we'll never know.

Poe Dameron Dies!

Oscar Isaac's hotshot X-Wing pilot is one of the high points of The Force Awakens, bringing energy and verve to every one of the few scenes he's in. Which is pretty good work for a dead man. Yes, in early drafts of the script, Poe Dameron was slated to die in that TIE Fighter crash on Jakku. But J.J. Abrams decided at the last minute to change things up and keep Dameron around. And thank goodness. We can't really imagine Episode VII without him.

Luke Actually Does Something!

The big mystery leading into the release of The Force Awakens was just what role Luke Skywalker would play, if he played any at all. And the answer turned out to be: pretty much none. Dude was barely in the film. But while Luke is just a MacGuffin in the finished product, he had a far bigger role during the film's planning stages. Originally, you see, Luke himself was going to discover Rey on Jakku, and the two of them were going to travel together in search of Jedi artifacts for the rest of the film. But no. Guess we just can't have nice things.

The Death Star Returns…Underwater!

Of course, some of the original plan to have our heroes searching for artifacts from the classic trilogy is still in the film, with Vader's helmet and Luke's lightsaber playing key roles. But there was originally a much bigger artifact at the center of the plot—literally much bigger. Yes, it's the Death Star. Apparently there was a whole sequence with Luke and Rey exploring the wreckage of the destroyed Death Star, which had come to rest at the bottom of an alien ocean. So much for it being fully operational.

Maz Kanata: Action Hero!

Speaking of Luke's lightsaber, one plot point that gets a convenient Jedi hand wave instead of an actual explanation is exactly how space pirate Maz Kanata ends up with it in her storage shed. Once upon a time, though, Kanata was slated to have a much larger role, with a whole action sequence devoted to her stealing the lightsaber from Kylo Ren and the First Order. That would have been sweet. But, hey, whatever. Sitting around a bar making googly eyes at strangers is really impressive, too.

General Leia Unleashes The Steamroller!

It sounds like some kind of wrestling move: "General Leia unleashes a vicious Steamroller from the top rope!" But the truth is even cooler, because in early versions of the script, Leia had a much larger role in the film: she was coordinating the Rebellion's use of their own giant super-weapon, the Steamroller, to counteract the First Order's Starkiller Base. Instead, we only get a couple way too brief scenes of Leia moping about her son being a jerkwad—and not nearly enough scenes showing her steamrolling the enemy. Next time, Disney. You owe us.

Wedge To The Rescue!

The big attack scene on Starkiller Base at the end of The Force Awakens is pretty sweet, with Poe Dameron leading the X-Wing squadron to victory. But the original plan would have made us all collectively crap our pants, because the squadron was going to be headed by Red Two himself, Wedge Antilles! Yes, actor Denis Lawson, who played Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy, was actually invited to return and reprise his role in The Force Awakens. However, Lawson passed on the chance, as he wanted Wedge to have an even bigger role in the film than that. We're with you, buddy. Wedge forever!