Some of these are just bizarre, and many of the original sites reporting on these things are no longer in action, but some of you life-long fans, like me, will likely remembering hearing about these. I’ve purposefully stayed away from Super Shadow reports (though some of these may have been influenced by him), because he was a known fraud and I wanted to stick with theories we actually thought were plausible! Let the hilarity begin.
Who’s Liam Neeson Playing?
When word first hit that Liam Neeson had an undisclosed role in Episode I, people went nuts trying to figure out what he’d be doing in the film. This led to some interesting and off the wall rumors, including these two gems:
Liam Neeson is Actually Yoda
Liam Neeson’s Character Will Become the Emperor/Palpatine by Episode II
Liam Neeson is Anakin’s Father
Wow! Talk about some off the wall theories, both of which managed to still gain traction with media outlets of the time. The Yoda theory comes from the idea that Obi-Wan tells Luke in Empire Strikes Back that he was trained by Yoda. When rumors hit that Neeson’s character would be a younger Obi-Wan’s Master, I guess this was the logical conclusion.
The idea here was that Yoda was a prominent bad ass Jedi and by the end of Episode I, through a magical curse (I shit you not), is transformed into the tiny green creature we all know and love. With the information available at the time (we KNEW Yoda trained Kenobi), it’s easy to see why some would latch onto this…but still, it’s a little out there.
There were a slew of rumors abounding about Palpatine, the Emperor we see in Return of the Jedi, which I’ll go into more in a bit, but one of the earliest was the Neeson would play a different version of the Emperor who would end up ruling the galaxy by the end of Episode II. This talk all came about before Ian McDiarmid was confirmed to join the cast.
Then of course you have the “he’s Anakin’s father” rumor, which somehow managed to continue even AFTER the film was released. Before we knew about him being a Jedi, there were claims he would be a farmer (or something similar) on Tatooine with Anakin being his child. Then after the film released, the sexual tension in Phantom Menace between Shmi and Qui-Gon sparked rumors that they had met up previously and had a love-child. Due to his Jedi ties, he had to keep up the act that he never knew Shmi…
Natalie Portman’s Character Name is Karone
This one isn’t so much weird as it is relevant. Back then, just as we are now with Episode VII, there was a long period of time when we didn’t know anything about the characters these newcomers were playing, including their names. Thus, we had reports like this of potential names.
Obviously the names used in certain documents, or even on actors’ trailers, may not be the names they end up with. It’s a tactic to keep information hidden. We’ve been hearing names for some of the cast in Episode VII, and while they may indeed be 100% accurate to what people are seeing, they might not be what we see on screen.
Tatooine is a Slave Planet ruled by the Sith or Mandalorian
This is a prime example of how little tidbits of accurate information can turn into bigger, and crazier rumors. While Tatooine isn’t an entire ‘slave’ planet, it is a planet that actively practices within a slave trade. So perhaps someone heard, accurately, that slaves would play a big part on Tatooine, and then it spiraled out from there.
Anakin Returns to Free the Slaves and Learns the Origins of his Creation
Speaking of Tatooine, this feels like a good time to transition into some of the Episode II rumors. This was a prominent rumor, that continued to persist and stemmed from a couple of things. In Phantom Menace, Anakin references a dream he had in which he returns to Tatooine to free all the slaves. Within the official novelization of TPM, that dream is shown. Based off of this, many assumed this would be an event that would be a major point in Episode II.
While he did return to Tatooine is was only to try and save his mother, without a single glance back at any other slaves. Even so, this rumor isn’t all that crazy…until you throw in this next little tidbit that started coming around:
“While there, he will discover the secret of his birth: He was created by the Sith in a series of cloning experiments in order to create a powerful race of Dark Jedi (hence his previously unseen midichlorian counts). This revelation will spark both The Clone Wars, and Anakin’s descent to the dark side.”
Yeah…this is getting into ridiculous territory. Considering we knew the Clone Wars would be factor, but had no idea what it was about, it’s not surprising to hear about all of the various clone related rumors (another thing I’ll touch on in a bit). Dark Jedi rumors also flew about in regards to Darth Sidious trying to find a new apprentice to replace Maul. So perhaps this came about as an amalgamation of rumors to make everything fit together.
A Love Triangle Helps Turn Anakin to Dark Side
For a while, this was a very prevalent rumor for Episode II which stemmed from the fact that George Lucas claim it would be a “love story”. While it turned out to be the story about Anakin and Padme getting together, many reports claimed that the film would feature a love triangle.
Supposedly both Anakin and Obi-Wan had the hots for Padme and an ensuing battle for her affection started. This would cause a rift between them and their friendship, which would give Palpatine more leverage to turn Anakin to the dark side…But it gets better. Consider this the baseline rumor, with more things sparking out from it.
Other reports claimed that Padme would fall in love with Kenobi, but, despite his own feelings for her, Kenobi refuses to break his Jedi vows and turns her away. On the rebound she seeks comfort from Anakin, and-BAM!-Luke and Leia happen. While she’s carrying Anakin’s children, Kenobi still has her heart and this continues to cause problems between the master and apprentice.
Seeing Anakin’s darker tendencies, Padme ends up leaving Anakin (still preggo) to try and once again be with Obi-Wan. This pushes Anakin over the edge, sending him careening to the dark side and is the ultimate cause of the final showdown between him and Kenobi. There are so many things wrong with this (Padme sleeping around because she doesn’t get the man she wants is kind of horrible), I’m happy this isn’t how things worked out.
Christopher Walken was “Confirmed” to be Darth Bane in Episode II
Oh man, I actually still have a link for this one! Ain’t It Cool News was the source for this one, in which they “confirmed” unequivocally that Christopher Walken had landed a role in Episode II. They even went so far as to say the official announcement wasn’t too far away. Better still, they even knew which part he’d be playing…Darth Bane.
Fans of the Expanded Universe know this character very well, as he’s the Sith Lord from ancient days who started the entire “Rule of Two” that’s mentioned in Episode I. There was no backup report that explained how Darth Bane would even fit into the Prequel timeline (though I’m sure somewhere flashbacks were brought up).
But, of course, Darth Bane never showed up in the film, and neither did Christopher Walken. In fact, Bane remained an EU character until the final season of The Clone Wars canonized him as he appeared in a vision to Yoda. I’m not bringing this up to laugh at the scoopers. The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of times where what seems to be credible information comes out…and nothing happens with it. It’s the nature of this beast, and allows us to look back at things in hindsight and laugh.
Palpatine and Sidious Aren’t the Same Person
By the time production was getting underway for Revenge of the Sith, rumors about the Palpatine and Sidious connection were already old. Fans had been debating about these characters since Phantom Menace, and with only one more Prequel left, it was time to kick these rumors into high gear! The most insistent, though ridiculous, claim was that Palpatine and Sidious were NOT the same person.
I remember this one quite well, actually, having participated in MANY forum debates as to why this made no sense. The main rumor that stemmed from this is that Chancellor Palpatine does in fact take over the Senate and has ambitions to become Emperor over the galaxy…but he’s just a greedy politician. Sidious is still waiting in the shadows, and once Palpatine claims ultimate power, he kills the politician and takes over his identity (blaming his appearance on a Jedi attack). This is why he’s still referred to as Emperor Palpatine, but is strong in the Force.
Other theories claimed that Palpatine was a mere clone of Sidious, being used as a puppet so Sidious could do things without the Jedi detecting his presence directly. I guess it was too much for some people to believe that Palpatine (or Sheev now!) was strong enough in the Force to hide his evil nature from the Jedi council.
Darth Maul is General Grievous
This is one of the many rumors I was crossing my fingers to be true. There wasn’t much we knew about General Grievous when he was first announced, other than the fact that he was a cyborg with only a handful of organic parts left to him. He would act as something of a precursor/foreshadowing of Darth Vader’s eventual transformation. Other than that we knew NOTHING of the man behind the machine, his background, or what cause him to need all the robot parts.
As such, one of the early rumors about the droid general claimed that he was, in fact, Darth maul. Since his heart-breaking demise in Phantom Menace, many rumors persisted that he would return in one of the other prequel films, supposedly as a cyborg. While this eventually happened in The Clone Wars, that wasn’t the case back then.
We knew Grievous used Lightsabers, we knew something tragic happened that meant he needed the cyborg parts to live, all of which would have easily fit in with what we knew about Maul. Turns out, Grievous had nothing to do with Maul and was an entirely separate character, but for a while it gave Maul fans like us hope to see him on the big screen again.
EVERYONE is a Clone
No lies here, according to rumors that spanned the entire Prequel trilogy, everyone and their dog is a damn clone. Kenobi is actually killed by Anakin and his clone is the person we see in the Original trilogy (accounting for why he seemed to be wrong about certain facts, and the age difference). We already talked about Palpatine being a clone of Sidious, but there’s more! Sidious himself was rumored to be a clone of another Sith Lord who has managed to keep himself alive for a millenia. This would tie into other crazy rumors about Exar Kun (a Sith Lord who mastered time and what not in the EU).
Other clone rumors suggested that Palpatine cloned a bunch of old dead Sith Lords to basically form an evil council in Revenge of the Sith. Don’t forget the Anakin one, where he’s a clone resulting from the experiments of Dark Jedi. Darth Maul was going to be brought back as a clone….
Basically everyone you know in the Original films were actually clones. That’s just about how crazy the clone rumors became. While some characters, like Boba Fett, turned out to be clones, it wasn’t a widespread epidemic all of these rumors would have us believe. Clone stories in general never excite me (whether they’re Star Wars or Spider-Man), in that they take away some of the impact of the story. If someone dies who cares, we can just clone them and bring them back! Takes out some of the fun and emotional elements, and that’s why I’ve been turning blind eyes to any clone rumors regarding Star Wars: Episode VII.
Random Rumors: I won’t go into these very much, as I have with the others, because I feel like they stand on their own pretty well.
* Thrawn and Xizor Would Both Have Cameos in Revenge of the Sith
* Boba Fett was Revealed to be a Woman in The Phantom Menace
* Jet Li Would Play Boba Fett
* Attack of the Clones Would Feature a Lightsaber Axe, Machetes and a Fencing Sword (technically this last one was kind of true with Dooku’s saber)
* And perhaps the most notorious of rumors that everyone seemed to be talking about dealt with Yoda hiding out. I’ll let the original description speak for itself:
“Here’s how the scene was described to me. The setting- Kashyyyk,. Yoda and Chewbacca are together when the Clone troopers are ordered to kill the Jedi. What does Yoda do? He grabs some mud, smears it on his face, jumps on Chewbacca’s back, acts all stupid like his first appearance in Empire Strikes Back, and pretends to be Chewie’s pet.
To further the deception, he farts. Yes, you read that right: Yoda farts. “
It’s so easy to look back at these rumors and laugh about them, and more than likely we’ll be doing the same thing with some regarding Star Wars VII next year. My point here isn’t to say that all rumors are stupid and shouldn’t be considered, it’s to remind us that the Star Wars franchise is no stranger to ridiculous theories.
So if you see a rumor now that comes across as crazy, harassing the person who brings that information isn’t necessary. Chances are some of you were duped by these rumors mentioned above, and thus have no room for casting stones. Just enjoy them for what they are. I think all the Episode VII rumors are fun right now, because it engages the fan community and gets us talking. We’ve still got a long wait ahead of us, so why not enjoy it!
What were some of the rumors that you remember from the Prequel days? Any I forgot? Which of these above did you fall for at the time?