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Splinter of the Mind's Eye is the first Expanded Universe Star Wars novel, written by Alan Dean Foster and originally published in 1978 by Del Rey, a division of Ballantine Books. It is set between Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, approximately 2 ABY in-universe.
- ISBN 0-345-27566-7; February 12, 1978, Del Rey , 216-page hardcover
- ISBN 2597; April 12, 1978, (Science Fiction Book Club Edition) 182-page hardcover
- ISBN 0-345-32023-9; April, 1978, Del Rey, 297-page paperback
- ISBN 0-285-62353-2; March ?, 1978, Souvenir Press (British Edition), 216-page hardcover
- ISBN 5-699-10713-4; February 24, 2005, Eksmo Publishing, 368-page Russian hardcover
Luke Skywalker expected trouble when he volunteered to follow Princess Leia on her mission to Circarpous to enlist their Rebel underground in the battle against the Empire. But the farm boy from Tatooine hadn't counted on an unscheduled landing in the swamplands of Mimban…hadn't counted on any of the things they would find on that strange planet.
Hidden on this planet was the Kaiburr crystal, a mysterious gem that would give the one who possessed it such powers over the Force that he would be all but invincible. In the wrong hands, the crystal could be deadly. So Luke had to find this treasure and find it fast.
Accompanied by Artoo-Detoo and See-Threepio—his two faithful droids—Luke and the Princess set out for the Temple of Pomojema…and a confrontation deep beneath the surface of an alien world with the most fearsome villain in the galaxy!
Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are traveling to Circarpous IV for a Rebel underground meeting in an attempt to take the Circarpousians into the Rebel Alliance. Leia's ship experiences problems; she is forced to land on Circarpous V (Mimban) a foggy, swampy planet. Luke follows. A strange colorful energy storm caused by energy mining forces their ships down in a crash landing.
Luke exits his X-wing and, with R2-D2, begins searching for Leia's Y-wing. He finds it; Leia is there as well as C-3PO. They all begin walking in search of a beacon that could possibly be a station that would allow them to get off the planet.
Instead, they find a mining town; Leia sees that the Empire has a secret energy mine here. They enter unnoticed, steal some mining clothes, change into them, and enter a bar. An Imperial suspects, so he investigates, and to cover up Luke and Leia's true identities, Luke claims that Leia is his servant girl. The Imperials no longer suspect. An old woman named Halla comes over and quietly talks to Luke and Leia; she identifies Luke as one who is strong with the Force. Then the old woman takes out a splinter of a glowing crystal that she identifies as the Kaiburr crystal, which to Luke seems to magnify and focus the Force to a Force-sensitive. She has but a shard of the crystal; she is in search of the whole thing. She strikes a deal with Luke and Leia that if they help Halla find the Kaiburr crystal, Halla will help Luke and Leia get off the planet. They all exit together.
Upon emerging, Leia admonishes Luke for slapping her in the restaurant and calling her his servant girl; Luke falls off the walkway and into the mud. He pulls Leia down with him. They begin playfully fighting as some miners emerge from the building. They claim that fighting in public is against Imperial law here, so they all get into a brawl.
Imperial stormtroopers take everyone, except for Halla, C-3PO, and R2-D2, who all hid in the shadows, to the local jail. They are all questioned by Captain-Supervisor Grammel. The miners who confronted Luke and Leia are taken away while Grammel continues questioning with Luke and Leia. Grammel discovers and confiscates the crystal shard after having already confiscated Luke's weapons, most prominently his lightsaber. Luke and Leia are placed in the maximum security cell with two drunken, but friendly to Luke, Yuzzem named Hin and Kee, while Captain-Supervisor Grammel reports the incident and the crystal shard to the region's governor, Governor Essada.
Halla shows up in the jail cell's window. She, having claimed to be a master of the Force, uses the Force to lift up the food tray through the jail bars and over to the open/close mechanism so that the jail cell opens. The two large, hairy, and muscular Yuzzem go on a rampage killing Imperials while Luke and Leia make their way to the exit. The two Yuzzem catch up with Luke and Leia as they all exit the jail together; the Yuzzem give Luke and Leia their weapons.
The four make their way to a pre-specified meeting point. They find Halla there, who steals a vehicle. They all begin making their way to the place where Halla believes the Kaiburr crystal to be, the Temple of Pomojema. As they are driving through the swamplands with little pursuit due to Luke's quick thinking, they encounter a large, pale white worm with huge jaws. It begins chasing them; eventually they all must exit the vehicle. Luke and Leia split up with Halla, C-3PO, R2-D2, Hin, and Kee; Halla's group loses the wandrella creature, while Luke and Leia are still being chased.
Luke and Leia find a deep well into which they climb down vines and hide on a ledge. The wandrella finds them but falls down the well in an attempt to get to them. Its massive body takes the climbing vines that acted as ladders with it. Luke and Leia wait for some time until Halla's group finds them. There is no way back up, so Luke and Leia are told by Halla that there should be a passageway back up to the surface in the back of the ledge on which they are sitting. Halla's group leaves to make their way to the ground-level end of the passageway while Luke and Leia journey through it.
Luke and Leia encounter a lake, onto which they must float using a lily pad–like boat; they encounter another creature in the black waters of the underground lake, but Luke makes it go away with his father's lightsaber. They get to an abandoned underground city where they are stalked and attacked by some Coway guards/patrols. All but one Coway are dispatched; the one goes off and tells his Coway tribe about the visitors. Luke and Leia follow the single Coway to the tribe.
There, Luke and Leia see that Halla's group made it to the other side of the passageway and had already made their way into it to meet up with Luke and Leia, but here they have been tied up by the Coway. To save his friends, Luke must fight the Coway's champion fighter; Luke wins. The Coway then become friends and feast with Luke, Leia, Halla, Hin, and Kee. But Luke, in the Force, senses Darth Vader. Coway patrols race over to the tribe and confirm Luke's feeling: Imperials, led by Darth Vader and Captain-Supervisor Grammel, are attacking the underground cave.
The Coway tribe and the protagonists prepare for the attack. The Imperials arrive, but they are surprised by the Coway tribe's powerful response and the Imperials face a debacle. Darth Vader and Captain-Supervisor Grammel retreat with very few surviving stormtroopers. Darth Vader and Grammel leave in search of the Temple of Pomojema while Luke and company steal an Imperial transport left behind. They travel to the temple as well.
Upon arriving at the temple, Luke, Leia, Halla, Hin, and Kee exit to find the Kaiburr crystal and the fact that they have beaten Grammel and Vader to the temple. They encounter yet another creature with large jaws; they try to fight it off with ineffectual blasters. Luke tells Hin and Kee to go get some rifles. Luke finally decides that cutting down one of the pillars holding up the temple will crush the creature; it does. They all then make their way back to the Kaiburr crystal located in the back of the temple.
The two Yuzzem, Hin and Kee, never return. Luke wonders why, but then is crushed by rubble that fell from the cracking, ancient ceiling. Darth Vader then enters the Temple of Pomojema after having turned off the droids and killed Captain-Supervisor Grammel, Kee, and supposedly Hin. Leia takes up Luke's lightsaber and begins fighting Darth Vader, with little success; she is badly injured. Hin, badly injured, shows up and lifts the big rock off Luke's leg. Luke then fights Darth Vader, engaging Vader on a level which even surprises the Dark Lord. Here Vader conjures a ball of Force energy (possibly his own interpretation of Force lightning), which Luke manages to deflect. They continue to battle and Luke, his actions guided by the spirit of Obi-Wan and his power augmented by the Kaiburr crystal, strikes Vader's sword arm, severing it. Undaunted, Vader picks up his lightsaber with his remaining arm, and again pursues the exhausted Luke. Vader, also exhausted, is about to win, staggering as he approaches to make the killing blow, and he falls into a pit; Luke senses that this does not kill Vader. As the story ends, a healed Leia and Luke drive off with their droids and with Halla into the mists of Mimban, ready to take on further off-world adventures.
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Behind the scenesEdit
Splinter of the Mind's Eye was the first ever Expanded Universe novel to be written and published. Its author, Alan Dean Foster, had ghostwritten Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, the novelization of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, and this early involvement in the Star Wars universe gave Foster the opportunity to write Splinter.
According to an interview with Foster in Empire magazine, the novel had been written to be filmed as a low-budget sequel as a fallback plan in case Star Wars hadn't been a huge success. This accounts for the book taking place almost entirely on a fog-shrouded planet. Additionally, Harrison Ford was not signed for the sequel as of the writing of the book, which is why Han Solo does not appear in it. Though Foster was granted a great amount of leniency in developing the story, one requirement was that a lot of props from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope could be reused when filming the new story. According to Foster, Lucas' only request upon inspecting the manuscript was the removal of a dogfight in space undertaken by Luke and Leia before they crash-land on Mimban. Presumably, this sequence would have cost too much money to film.
The Kaiburr crystal was originally developed in the second draft of Lucas's The Star Wars script, where it appears as the Kyber crystal. (The script for Star Wars: A New Hope was a revised version of the fourth draft.)
There are minor inconsistencies between this novel and the one existing film. In the novel, the blade of Darth Vader's lightsaber is described as blue, like Luke's, although this may be due to the bland coloration of the lightsabers in the original theatrical release of Star Wars.[source?] R2-D2 is referred to in the novel as a "detoo" unit, despite the film clearly establishing "Artoo unit" as the standard nomenclature (in lines by Luke, Leia, Threepio, Owen Lars, and the Rebel Crew Chief). In the novel, Vader says that he had a difficult time discovering that Luke shot up his TIE fighter; in the film, the Millennium Falcon, piloted by Han Solo, had shot Vader's wingman, who spun into Vader's TIE.
At the time this book was written, story elements revealed in later films had not yet been established. For example, the sibling relationship between Luke and Leia had yet to be decided. But the characters themselves would have been unaware of their relationship at this point in their lives, which explains the presence of some sexual tension between them. (The credibility of Leia's claim on Endor that she had "always known" Luke was her brother is undermined by the decidedly unbrotherly kiss she bestows him on Hoth.) Although Lucas claimed to have had the Star Wars saga mapped out even at this early stage, the fact that he allowed this plot element to remain in Foster's novel has been cited as evidence that he hadn't yet decided on the characters' backstory. However, Lucas has stated that this tension was intentional, to show that the two had feelings for one another, but that they did not know exactly what type of feelings.[source?]
Additionally, when Luke duels Vader in the novel, the former's technique is markedly more accomplished than in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, even to the point of severing Vader's mechanical arm, and Leia too is able to defend herself against the Dark Lord. But these can both be explained by elements from the novel and the later films. During the Mimban duel, Luke tells Vader, "I am Obi-Wan," which could indicate that Luke's prowess against the far more powerful and experienced Vader was a result of Obi-Wan's Force spirit flowing through Luke during the duel. This is also supported by Obi-Wan's claim in The Empire Strikes Back that he "can no longer interfere," which implies that he once had helped Luke in battle. Leia's ability to hold off Vader without any Jedi training can be explained by the revelation in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi that she was Force-sensitive and a potential Jedi.
In this novel, released in 1978, C-3PO mentions that Darth Vader knows "all the proper code words and commands" to shut him down. This eventually received an explanation, as it was revealed in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (released in 1999) that Vader himself, as a young Anakin Skywalker, built Threepio. However, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (released in 2005) brings this explanation into question when Bail Organa orders C-3PO's mind wiped. Whether Lucas had developed any of these story elements at this early stage is not known.
This is a gallery of the different cover variations of Splinter of the Mind's Eye.
- "Star Wars Publications Timeline"—Star Wars Insider 23
- The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Notes and referencesEdit
- Splinter of the Mind's Eye on Wikipedia