One deleted scene from The Empire Strikes Back involving Luke and Leia is much worse than their kiss in the movie. In the years since the original trilogy’s release in theaters, Lucasfilm has revealed a handful of deleted scenes for Star Wars, giving audiences a glimpse at short alternate versions of the stories they know and love. These sometimes extended scenes have been beneficial for fans as a way to gain insight into the mind of George Lucas and other filmmakers who helped bring a galaxy far, far away to life.
Following his nearly fatal encounter with a wampa on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is rescued by Han Solo. In a medical center shortly after, Princess Leia checks on a recovering Luke, and in an effort to make Han jealous, she kisses the bedridden hero and walks away. At the time, neither Luke nor Leia knew they were siblings, but this scene still feels a little odd given the context of their relationship as revealed in Return of the Jedi. However, another scene that almost appeared in The Empire Strikes Back would have made this moment even worse.
Why The Empire Strikes Back’s Deleted Scene Is So Much Worse
There is a deleted scene from The Empire Strikes Back that makes the kiss between twins Leia and Luke even more uncomfortable due to their now-known relationship as biological brother and sister. In an alternate version of the scene featured in the movie, Leia is remarkably more affectionate toward her brother. Her eyes have a look of true love, she strokes Luke’s face and runs her hands through his hair not once but several times. Also, the two of them continue long moments of awkward eye contact.
What’s worse is that Luke reveals his near-death experience made him recognize the feelings within him. Luke and Leia both lean forward to kiss and nearly do so before being interrupted by C-3PO. And with Han not even present in the scene until the very end of this version, there’s no way to argue that the near kiss between later-retconned siblings Leia and Luke was simply meant to make him jealous. It’s evident there’s a clear attraction between the two of them. If the studio had decided to keep this scene, the bond between the two of them would be largely different from what audiences know and love.
How George Lucas Resolved His Love Triangle
In the late 1970s during the production of The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas didn’t actually intend for Luke and Leia to be siblings. The decision to make them twins didn’t become important enough until the scripting process for Return of the Jedi when Lucas realized he needed to neatly wrap up the complicated love triangle between Luke, Han, and Leia. For Lucas, the best possible way to tie these loose ends was to have Han and Leia become a couple and reveal that Leia was Luke’s long-lost twin sister.
It really came down to giving each character a satisfying end to their arc at the end of the original Star Wars trilogy. Luke’s mission to become a Jedi was fulfilled, Leia was able to start a family, and Han finally matured and became more responsible. In the grand scheme of things, it was a smart decision by Lucasfilm to not include the alternate romantic scene between Luke and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back because it ultimately allowed the original trilogy to end on a much better note.