Splinter of the Mind's Eye
|Author||Alan Dean Foster|
|Publisher||Del Rey Books|
April 1, 1978
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|Preceded by||From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker (1976)|
|Followed by||Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)|
Splinter of the Mind's Eye is a science fiction novel written by Alan Dean Foster as a sequel to the film Star Wars (1977). Originally published in 1978 by Del Rey, a division of Ballantine Books, the book was written with the intention of being adapted as a low-budget sequel to Star Wars in the event that the original film was not successful enough to spawn the franchise it would ultimately go on to produce.
Splinter of the Mind's Eye was the first full-length Star Wars novel with an original storyline to be published after the release of the original film, and is thus considered, alongside Marvel's initial comic series, to mark the beginning of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are on a mission for the Rebellion, but are forced to crash-land on the jungle planet of Mimban. Along with C-3PO and R2-D2, they get caught up in a local woman's take of the mystical Kaiburr crystal, a Force-enhancing element. A clash with mining colonists gets them incarcerated by Imperial forces. They escape, only to be chased into a labyrinth of tunnels by a giant worm creature and "hairy aboriginal[s]". Darth Vader is alerted to the presence of two significant Rebels, and waits for them at the temple of the crystal. Leia fights Vader with the debilitated Luke's lightsaber until he rejoins them. At the book's climax, Luke severs Vader's arm, the inverse of which (Vader cutting off Luke's hand) would occur canonically in The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Finally, Luke heals Leia's injuries with the Kaiburr crystal.
The Kaiburr concept originated in the early drafts of the original Star Wars film, where it featured as a MacGuffin the Jedi needed to retrieve from the Sith. It was also the antecedent of the Kyber crystal which was canonized as the power crystal used in both lightsabers and the Death Star.
While not featured in the book, Han Solo is alluded to by Luke as "a pirate and a smuggler" whom he knows.
In 1976, Alan Dean Foster was contracted to ghostwrite a novelization for Star Wars. Foster was given some drafts of the script, rough footage and production paintings for use as source material in fleshing out the novel.
Foster's contract also required a second novel, to be used as a basis for a low-budget sequel to Star Wars in case the film was not successful. Though Foster was granted a great deal of leeway in developing the story, a key requirement was that many of the props from the previous production could be reused when shooting the new film. Foster's decision to place his story on a misty jungle planet was also intended to reduce set and background costs for a film adaptation. Han Solo and Chewbacca were also left out as Harrison Ford had not signed a contract to film any of the sequels at the time of the novel contract. Lucas's only request upon inspecting the manuscript was the removal of a space dogfight undertaken by Luke and Leia before crash-landing on Mimban, which would have been effects-heavy and expensive to film.
By the time the novel was published, Star Wars had broken records in box office receipts, and the film adaptation of Splinter of the Mind's Eye was abandoned in favor of Lucas' vision of a big-budget sequel. Nevertheless, riding on the success of the film in its first year of release, the book became a bestseller.
The book was reprinted in 1994 as Classic Star Wars: Splinter of the Mind's Eye, and retroactively placed 2 years after the original film, or one year before The Empire Strikes Back.
The AP listed Splinter of the Mind's Eye as one of the most essential works of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Comic book adaptation
The book was later adapted as a graphic novel by Terry Austin and Chris Sprouse and published by Dark Horse Comics in 1996. It incorporated characters from The Empire Strikes Back who did not appear in the original novel.
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- Hidalgo, Pablo; Trevas, Chris (2012). Star Wars: The Essential Reader's Companion. Del Rey. p. vii. ISBN 978-0345511195.
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- Patrick Kevin Day; Geoff Boucher (2008). "Star Wars' expanded universe". Los Angeles Times. AP. p. 9 of 10. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
- Hidalgo, Pablo; Trevas, Chris (2012). Star Wars: The Essential Reader's Companion. Del Rey. p. 228. ISBN 978-0345511195.