Did George Lucas Add a Scene to Empire Strikes Back to Address Mark Hamill’s Facial Injuries?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: George Lucas added a scene to Empire Strikes Back to address Mark Hamill’s facial injuries.

In the past, we’ve discussed the legend of whether the wampa attack in Empire Strikes Back was written into the script specifically to address the facial injuries that Mark Hamill had suffered in a car accident a couple of years earlier.

You can check that legend out for the details of the story, but the simplest answer is that no, there was going to be a wampa attack either way. However, a couple of fans wrote in saying that while that was true, they believed that Lucas had tried to address Hamill’s facial injuries in the film, it was just in a different scene. It appears as though that is correct, and amazingly enough, in the same additional scene, Lucas also further explored the Luke/Leia relationship that we had also discussed in a past legend, namely whether Luke and Leia were intended to be brothers and sisters at the time of Empire Strikes Back.

Read on to see how filmed (but then deleted) scenes addressed both of these notable issues from Star Wars history…

Perhaps the most famous deleted sequence from Empire Strikes Back is something that the finished film alludes to a few times, which is namely that the wampas are about to break through their base’s defenses. It’s practically an entire sub-plot to the film. A wampa monster breaks through and almost destroys R2-D2 before the rebels ward it off with a bazooka and then later, before the Empire take control of the base, C3PO removes a sign that warns that there are wampas in a room in the hopes that the Imperial troops open the room, which they do.

However, while that was the most significant series of cuts to the film in terms of time, there was another deleted that is perhaps more significant overall.

First off, after Luke recovers from his injuries in the Bacta tank (where Luke floats in the healing liquid), Lucas added a whole scene where Luke is specifically given a Bacta mask to deal with his facial injuries. This is the scene that Lucas added to the film to address Hamill’s injuries.

But after that scene ends, Leia enters and we originally got the following scripted sequence (the actual dialogue in the scene is slightly different):

Luke is out of the chamber, lying on the bed previously occupied by Han. Leia is at his side. She brushes the hair out of his eyes and runs her fingers along the scar on his face.

Leia enters the recovery room, concerned for Luke.

LEIA
The Bacta are growing well. The scars should be gone in a day or so. Does it still hurt?

Luke thinks about his ordeal.

LUKE
I’m fine. Really. Leia … when I was out there and it looked pretty bad … well, it made me think about things.

LEIA
Me too. I was afraid.

Their eyes meet. Luke touches her cheek with his hand.

LUKE
I don’t really know how to say this … I never have before … Leia, you know how I feel about you …

She does and it’s confusing. Their lips are very close. About to kiss.

The door opens noisily and Threepio enters with Artoo. Leia pulls back, startled. Luke realizes the moment has been lost. His mind races for a way to regain it as Leia takes on her more formal manner. The droids are a bothersome distraction; Luke’s concentration is on Leia. Artoo beeps a cheerful greeting.

This eventually leads to the famous sequence where Leia kisses Luke to mess with Han Solo. However, that kiss would take on a whole other meaning had we had the original flirtation and near-kiss of the original deleted scene.

This just goes to the main notion that George Lucas never intended for Luke and Leia to be brother and sister until after Empire Strikes Back.

The legend is…

STATUS: True

Thanks to starwarsholidayspecial.com for the photo and the scene dialogue!

Be sure to check out my archive of Movie Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of films. And click here for legends just about Star Wars!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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