George Lucas cut female X-wing pilots out of Return of the Jedi at the last minute

Illustration for article titled George Lucas cut female X-wing pilots out of emReturn of the Jedi/em at the last minute

The original Star Wars trilogy isn't really known for having a lot of roles for women — but it turns out that the third film, Return of the Jedi, featured some female pilots in the Battle of Endor. Two of these fighter pilots are featured among the deleted scenes and extras on the recent Blu-ray release, but not the two female X-Wing pilots.

Illustration for article titled George Lucas cut female X-wing pilots out of emReturn of the Jedi/em at the last minute

And curiously, we still haven't seen the deleted scene featuring Vivienne Chandler (left) as a X-Wing pilot, who had a full page and a half of dialogue in a cockpit set. Apparently, Chandler actually went to a screening of the film that included her scenes, and then when it was actually released, they were gone.


You can glimpse the female pilots in the briefing scene before the battle. One of them was actually included for a split second, but her one line of dialogue, "Got it," was replaced by a male voice in post-production.

Did George Lucas decide that showing female pilots getting blown up was too intense? Or was there some other reason why he wanted an all-male fighter squad? We'll probably never know — but it's weird that Chandler's footage has never turned up, in any form, after being in an early cut of the film. More details at the link. [Star Wars Afficionado and Star Wars Afficionado via BuzzFeed]

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As much crap as people may hurl at Disney for buying Lucasfilm, I honestly think it could be the best thing to happen to the Star Wars franchise. To paraphrase Max Payne: "Say what you want about Disney, but they understand capitalism." They know they can make money by releasing the original non-special edition movies, and I have no doubt they will do it, whereas George Lucas wouldn't do it out of stubborn pride.

They may release a half-dozen new Star Wars films and they all may be critically panned, but at least they will be more professionally written than the prequels ever were. When they release the original films on Bluray (finally), they can make Episode VII through XXI and use animatronic marmosets in all the roles, for all I care, as all will once again be right with the Star Wars world.

Sure, Disney has the potential to water down the series, but this has already happened behind the scenes for YEARS with novels, video games, TV shows, etc., so it's not like it can get that much worse under Disney than it already was under Lucas. I also think Disney will choose to include women in leading roles as well, simply because they understand the reality of modern sci-fi audiences being composed of just as many women as men.

In the end, I think the franchise is in decent (if far from perfect) hands.