If you want to thank someone for the fandom that is “May the Fourth Be with You,” the annual celebration of all things “Star Wars” that happens on May 4, then thank Craig Miller.
An unofficial adviser and Lucasfilm’s first official fan relations officer, Miller was in charge of getting sci-fi fans in the late 1970s to fall in love with the “Star Wars” saga, which has now bubbled into a global obsession with the franchise.
In fact, Miller was responsible for many of the rumors that floated around leading up to the release of “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980. He provided many stories to Star Log Magazine, as he recently explained to Inverse.
“What we did in the final article, it ran that piece with the rumors, and then it had a sidebar, which was a response from me as a rep of Lucasfilm,” Miller said. “In it, I said some of the above was true, some wasn’t – we wouldn’t tell them which was which – and here are some more rumors that we’ve heard, that may or may not be true. At that point the only photo we released was Luke on the Tauntaun, but you only saw the Tauntaun’s neck and top part of its head.”
You can read the Star Log piece here.
But Miller also knew a lot of truths. A big one about Boba Fett he revealed to Inverse:
“Originally Boba Fett was set up in ‘Empire’ as a character,” he said, referring to the bounty hunter who shows up briefly in the movie. “Boba was gonna be the main villain… That was set up, why he was taking Han Solo away…”
Boba Fett was primed to be a centerpiece in “Return of the Jedi,” while Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s head-to-head would extend to a future trilogy. But a major decision by George Lucas changed everything.
“When George decided not to make the third trilogy, he completely jettisoned that storyline, which is why in the first ten minutes, Boba Fett gets bumped into and falls into the mouth of a giant monster,” Miller said. “So he took what was planned for the third trilogy, which was the confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader, and the battle with the Emperor, and that got squished down from three movies to one movie. And that became the plot of ‘Jedi.'”
According to Miller, the reason why we never saw Lucas-directed episodes seven, eight, and nine is simple: The filmmaker was burnt out.
“And I remember sitting in a mixing room with George, working on ‘Empire,’ and he told me he was just going to make the third movie, which didn’t have a title at that point, and then stop,” Miller said. “He was going to retire from making big movies and make experimental movies. And that’s why the whole plot of the third movie, what became ‘Return of the Jedi,’ completely changed.”
Boba Fett made out okay, since he’s one of the most popular characters from the saga. But it would have been really cool to see a whole movie focused on him and Han Solo playing cat and mouse.