Everyone knows there's a certain amount of animosity between Star Wars and Star Trek fans. The rivalry was even touched on in 2009's Fanboys, which served as a love letter to George Lucas and his space saga. Many people on both sides of the science fiction fence were surprised when they heard J.J. Abrams was taking the reins of both franchises.
However, he's not the first person to tackle both the Star Wars and Star Trek Universes simultaneously. Author Alan Dean Foster walked that thin ice decades before Abrams did. Not only did Foster ghost write the original Star Wars novelization and help George Lucas flesh out that galaxy, but he also penned the story for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Some would argue he was instrumental in kick starting Star Wars and reviving Star Trek almost simultaneously.
A little known fact that most people except the devout enthusiasts of Star Wars might not know is Foster was originally commissioned to write a low-budget sequel to Star Wars in case the movie didn't end up being quite the huge hit everyone hoped it would be. This book was entitled Splinter of the Mind's Eye and was largely fashioned around ideas that never made it into Star Wars.
With May being the anniversaries of all three of the original trilogy films, I thought it would be interesting to get in touch with Foster and reflect on what could have been the sequel to Star Wars instead of The Empire Strikes Back.
Foster has already answered a few general questions over the years since Splinter of the Mind's Eye's release, so I wanted to ask some pointed and personal ones about the direction the Star Wars Universe went in after his follow-up vision was scrapped for the higher budget concepts of The Empire Strikes Back.
I was extremely interested in how things would be different now than what they would have been if Splinter of the Mind's Eye ended up being the "official" movie sequel. Foster gave a very candid answer.
"Most obviously, Luke and Leia wouldn't be siblings. There might be a rivalry between Luke and Han (over Leia)… or Luke might devote himself to his Jedi studies. The Kaiburr crystal or its analogues might play a role," he shared.
When asked if he favored anything in his own sequel to Star Wars more than he did what actually happened in The Empire Strikes Back, the author was very short and to the point.
"That is an awkward question to ask an author who liked Empire but also had his own take on a sequel," Foster commented.
Many authors will find themselves looking back on their own work and self-criticize themselves. I asked him how he felt about the novel in retrospect.
"I'm very proud of it, as I am of everything I write. I especially feel that it caught the spirit of the first film and continued it," shared the legendary writer.
In closing, I was curious to find out where Foster felt Splinter of the Mind's Eye fits into the Star Wars Universe? Does he feel it can exist in the present continuity of the Star Wars saga or outside of it?
"Well, it can fit between Episodes IV and V... provided one is willing to allow for the existence of certain awkward moments," he concluded.
You can get more information on Alan Dean Foster at his official website.
Splinter of the Mind's Eye is available now in paperback , hardcover , and Kindle editions.