Splinter of the Mind's Eye - a look at what could have been

28 September 2023
"Splinter of the Mind's Eye" holds a unique position in the Star Wars expanded universe. Written by Alan Dean Foster, it was one of the first full-length novels to expand upon the Star Wars universe, published shortly after the release of "A New Hope." It serves as a bridge between "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back," making it an early cornerstone of what would later become a sprawling expanded universe.

The story is a focused narrative featuring Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader. They find themselves on the planet Mimban, searching for the Kaiburr crystal—a mystical artifact that amplifies one's Force abilities. The limited character roster was likely a practical choice, given that the book was initially conceived as a basis for a low-budget film sequel if "Star Wars" was not successful enough to warrant a big-budget follow-up.

splinter of the mind's eye star wars book

George Lucas commissioned the book as a potential storyline for a sequel to the original Star Wars film. Alan Dean Foster was already involved in writing the novelization of "A New Hope" and was given the task of crafting this second book. Lucas provided Foster with some initial ideas and film treatments, but largely left the author to his own creative devices.

Foster chose a misty jungle planet as the setting for the story, a decision influenced by budgetary considerations for a potential film adaptation. The misty, jungle-like environment would have been easier and less expensive to recreate on set, making it a pragmatic choice for a lower-budget film.

According to Foster, Lucas's only significant request was to remove a space dogfight featuring Luke and Leia. This sequence would have been expensive to translate to film due to the special effects required. This shows Lucas's hands-on approach to ensuring the story could be adapted to film without excessive costs.

However, the success of "Star Wars" on a global scale led Lucas to change directions. The sequel script was initially drafted by Leigh Brackett and, following her death, was further refined by Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan. This shift rendered "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" less relevant to the mainline Star Wars narrative.

In terms of the old Star Wars canon, "The Empire Strikes Back" made no references to the events of this book. While it could technically fit within the canon, the story features Luke severing Vader's arm, an event that is echoed in "The Empire Strikes Back." Given the inconsistencies and the evolving nature of Star Wars lore, the book is best enjoyed as an independent tale within the Star Wars universe.
New Canon and Legacy

With the reboot of the Star Wars canon following "The Force Awakens," the planet Mimban was reintroduced in the "Solo: A Star Wars Story" film. However, the book itself is no longer considered canon under the new guidelines. Despite this, "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" remains a beloved piece of Star Wars literature, cherished by fans for its storytelling and its place in Star Wars history.

For those interested in exploring this classic tale, "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" is available for purchase on Amazon.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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