Details or plot points that were known about prequel trilogy before it was released

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I was just thinking about this and the only detail about the prequel trilogy that I recall hearing prior to the release of any of the films was that Vader and Obi-Wan had battled over lava and Obi-Wan defeated Vader by knocking him in (this is how I understood it at 15 or so when I first heard the detail in 1995 or so). This is the only detail depicted in the prequel trilogy that I can say with certainty I had heard about prior. Were there any other details we knew about this era beforehand? And also, while I'm on the subject, where and when did the information on the duel between Vader and Obi-Wan first surface?
 
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I had never heard of any 'lava' rumors concerning the Obi-Vader duel. the whole "lava" thing originally came from the concept art from the emperor's throne room in RoTJ. the emperor was supposed to live in a castle on a "lava planet". this idea evolved into vader's castle (as seen in Rogue One). the first concept art which depicted this "lava planet" was from RotJ in 1983 -- we finally saw this infamous 'lava planet' in ROTS in 2005 (aka:Mustafar).

the rumored "lightsaber duel on the lava planet" was supposed to be "Luke v Vader", not Obi v Vader. this rumor had been floating around since 1983 when the concept art was published. I'm not sure when (or why) this was applied to the untold-backstory of the Vader-Obi duel -- but as a lifelong fan, I did not start hearing this 'rumor', until AFTER ROTS was released. it seemed to be a case of revisionist history, based on concept art from ROTJ.




(perhaps there is a comic book from 1978 or something I'm not aware of ... but AFAIK, this was the first reference to any "lava planet", and this was GL's intention for how it would be used in the story: it was the setting for the emperor's throne room).
 
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I remember getting a huge load of printed script-ish pages, with the story of how Vader came to be. I never read the whole thing, but I remember reading something with lava. I'm quite sure this was before the prequels, but I could be wrong.
 
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I bought the book A Guide to the Star Wars Universe by Bill Slavicsek in 1995 or so and I feel like this information might have been included in there. I don't have a copy handy anymore but if someone does perhaps they could look up the entries on Anakin, Vader, and/or Obi-Wan to verify. Thanks in advance.
 
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The Vader/Obi-Wan lava duel is from the RotJ novel. If I remember right, Obi-Wan mentions it to Luke when talking to him after Yoda dies.
 
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Palpatine using political manipulation to become Emperor was pretty well known as well. It was mentioned in the original novelization of either ANH or ROTJ. The actual specifics were what was unknown until the movies came out. Although I still laugh at how, in spite of all that, there was a group of fans who believed that the Emperor was actually a clone of Senator Palpatine (or vice-versa), even though the proof that that wasn't true was there all along, most notably Darth Sidious on Palpatine's balcony in TPM, and later how camera stops right on him during Qui-Gon's funeral when Mace Windu questions which Sith was destroyed.
 
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The Vader/Obi-Wan lava duel is from the RotJ novel. If I remember right, Obi-Wan mentions it to Luke when talking to him after Yoda dies.
Yup. Here's the quote from the book:

"When I saw what had become of him, I tried to dissuade him, to draw him back from the dark side. We fought…your father fell into a molten pit. When your father clawed his way out of that fiery pool, the change had been burned into him forever—he was Darth Vader, without a trace of Anakin Skywalker. Irredeemably dark. Scarred. Kept alive only by machinery and his own black will."
 
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^^^ “Molten pit” could easily be interpreted, and have been (re)imagined as a part of an industrial set design— maybe even in the abandoned, long-forgotten scrapyards of Coruscant… (There's a very awesome action set in one of the TCW's episodes where Mace and his Jedi fight Aura and her bounty hunters in a shipyard of crashed battleships. The visuals there-- and narrative as well, outperform anything of The Prequel and this Sequel). The very idea of a “lava planet” is just so… dumb. AOTC may be pure camp at its best, but ROTS is just so dumb-looking.

Palpatine using political manipulation to become Emperor was pretty well known as well. It was mentioned in the original novelization of either ANH or ROTJ. The actual specifics were what was unknown until the movies came out. Although I still laugh at how, in spite of all that, there was a group of fans who believed that the Emperor was actually a clone of Senator Palpatine (or vice-versa), even though the proof that that wasn't true was there all along, most notably Darth Sidious on Palpatine's balcony in TPM, and later how camera stops right on him during Qui-Gon's funeral when Mace Windu questions which Sith was destroyed.
In a precise, one-page treatment, The Journal Of The Whill provided such a tantalizing glimpse into the origins of Palpatine— and for TPM. Too bad what we got from George’s actual story for Episode l was the equivalent of some freshman stoner scrambling to write his term paper while cluelessly cribbing off copy-and-paste references the night before LOL

Always loved the insinuation that Palpatine wasn’t always the monster he turned out to be in SW. The idea of his ferocious, overarching Machiavellian mechanization, which lead to a somewhat tragic Faustian pact wit the Devil— or Sith in AGGFA’s case, is the stuff of great and epic tomes. And when coupled with his manipulation of a young Amidala as his vehicle to his rise to power, the context of literary figures such as Brutus and Lady Macbeth poisoning their tragic heroes, would have sent The Prequel to such catastrophic heights of greatness. But a SW Roger Rabbit/Goofy was what George was most excited about instead LOOL And despite it’s shortcomings, TPM is the only worthy prequel tale to tell.

(LOL@ that concept art image has got to be the dumbest-looking one Ralph has ever conjured up: He must have been doing some good drugs to troll of such magnitude: It’s on the silly-meter comparable to that camp He-Man sh*t: They’re in a cave surrounded by flowing lava… and there’s noting there but… a throne LOOL SW— at least until the laziness/thoughtlessness/carelessness of this Sequel, had mostly shown restraint despite its fantasy/magical components, where the laws of logic and reason still accounted for something in AGFFA. And looks like Rian ripped off this rejected concept art design for his Snoke throne. When will these lessors just stop going through the trash of the greater talents, and make an effort on their own????)
 
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Wow, thank you Neal for posting the exact quote. And SnTrooper. I knew that I had heard about something similar to what we ended up seeing in RotS. It sounds like there were other elements mentioned during this same conversation in RotJ that were retconned in the prequels such as Owen being Obi-Wan's brother and Padme having died when Luke and Leia were 4.
 
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The lava battle was first shown in Marvel comics Star Wars run. It was based on info provided by LucasFilm

This & Solo’s empire days are 2 things I am glad survived this long forgotten era
 
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EDIT: comment removed by moderator
 
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I think Palpitine was a pedoflile Only took me 15 years to figure that out.
Well that took a dark spin. More like Senator Pedotine, amirit?! =P "We'll be watching your career with much interest," dude he's like 9! This just in on the Galactic News, Senator Palpatine cannot go within 100 yards of the Jedi temple and is officially on a Republic Watch List. =P

I remember a few things, but it seems most have already been mentioned. I def. remember hearing of the "epic duel" between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi and it involving fire of some sort. No clue where I first heard that, but I was familiar far before Revenge of the Sith. I still cannot remember where I first heard the Emperors name was indeed Palpatine. I was also familiar with the term Sith before it's ever said on screen. I was familiar with "Imperial city," renamed Coruscant, again somehow. I also oddly seem to remember hearing the whole "Lucas wrote 9 books" myth sometime in high school, if anyone else ever heard that. I ALSO seem to remember hearing that Mandalorians had some part to play in the clone wars, which in a manner of speaking ended up true as in essence the Clone army is Jango Fett. In truth, I'm not really sure where I got some of this stuff, but I think it's likely from where everyone else did. I was big into concept art and making of books, I liked reading origins and tossed away drafts and ideas, I'd read some of the novelizations, and I also think some of it may have just been word of mouth.
 
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the first time we see the name 'Palpatine' is in the prologue for the ANH novel, which describes Palpatine as a sort of "King Theoden" figure -- a well-meaning ruler who was being controlled by his 'boot lickers' (Tarkin and Vader). The Regional Governors were using the name of the Emperor to further their own selfish ambitions. The Emperor himself was basically just a puppet ruler, locked in an ivory tower, the 'cries for justice did not reach his ears'.
 
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The battle over a volcano as it was described (or lava), is in the ROTJ novel. Obi Wan describes his final battle with Anakin:

"When I saw what had become of him, I tried to dissuade him, to draw him back from the dark side. We fought…your father fell into a molten pit. When your father clawed his way out of that fiery pool, the change had been burned into him forever—he was Darth Vader, without a trace of Anakin Skywalker. Irredeemably dark. Scarred. Kept alive only by machinery and his own black will."

The prologue from the '76 SW novel (below) speaks about the Journal of the Whills, Jedi Knights being the protectors of the Republic and how the Emperor got into power. It also eludes to Order 66 and the Separatists. Somewhere in the novel is the name Mace Windu (I could not find it). I know that is why I was so excited to see the Anakin/Vader vs Obi Wan fight in ROTS, because I had literally read about it most of my life since the original novels.

PROLOGUE:

ANOTHER galaxy, another time.
The Old Republic was the Republic of legend, greater than distance or time. No need to note where it was or whence it came, only to know that… it was the Republic.
Once, under the wise rule of the Senate and the protection of the Jedi Knights, the Republic throve and grew. But as often happens when wealth and power pass beyond the admirable and attain the awesome, there appear those evil ones who have greed to match.
So it was with the Republic at its height. Like the greatest of trees, able to withstand any external attack, the Republic rotted from within though the danger was not visible from outside.
Aided and abetted by restless, power-hungry individuals within the government, and the massive organs of commerce, the ambitious Senator Palpatine caused himself to be elected President of the Republic. He promised to reunite the disaffected among the people and to restore the remembered glory of the Republic.
Once secure in office he declared himself Emperor, shutting himself away from the populace.
Soon he was controlled by the very assistants and boot-lickers he had appointed to high office, and the cries of the people for justice did not reach his ears.
Having exterminated through treachery and deception the Jedi Knights, guardians of justice in the galaxy, the Imperial governors and bureaucrats prepared to institute a reign of terror among the disheartened worlds of the galaxy. Many used the imperial forces and the name of the increasingly isolated Emperor to further their own personal ambitions.
But a small number of systems rebelled at these new outrages. Declaring themselves opposed to the New Order they began the great battle to restore the Old Republic.
From the beginning they were vastly outnumbered by the systems held in thrall by the Emperor. In those first dark days it seemed certain the bright flame of resistance would be extinguished before it could cast the light of new truth across a galaxy of oppressed and beaten peoples…
From the First Saga
Journal of the Whills
 
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the first time we see the name 'Palpatine' is in the prologue for the ANH novel, which describes Palpatine as a sort of "King Theoden" figure -- a well-meaning ruler who was being controlled by his 'boot lickers' (Tarkin and Vader). The Regional Governors were using the name of the Emperor to further their own selfish ambitions. The Emperor himself was basically just a puppet ruler, locked in an ivory tower, the 'cries for justice did not reach his ears'.
It might have actually been us two, a few months back, trying to dig up the first appearance of Palpatine in lore. The name, I mean. I know I was discussing it with someone. But it's really interesting when you look back and realize, the original version of the Emperor wasn't even supposed to be Sith or force-powered. He was really altered over time. He was basically just a chump politician, probably almost intended to be used as a metaphor for how things like monarchies became less relevant and more just institutional tradition and antiquated habit. It really has little to no actual power. But over time, the concept of the Emperor clearly evolved into something much larger than intended.

I do remember being rather surprised back when Darth Maul was announced. Wait? Darth...is a title? I don't believe that was ever a thing until TPM, was it?
 
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Something I am curious about, what were...originally...the traditional garbs of the Jedi? Because, in retrospect, Obi-Wan in hiding and pretending to be someone else...by literally wearing the exact outfit of a Jedi...doesn't make a lick of sense. If you're pretending to not be a Jedi, might not want to dress exactly like one. Hah! So I mean, what was the reasoning behind giving the PT Jedi the hermit robes Obi-Wan wears in Star Wars? Was it just the iconography of Obi-Wan, people just associating Jedi with what Obi-Wan wears in A New Hope, so they didn't want to stray far from that? It just being instantly recognizable in pop culture that that outfit is a Jedi? But again, then it retroactively makes Obi-Wan look pretty stupid for continuing to wear them after the purge.
 
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Trisha Biggar was given a lot of freedom to create whatever she wanted. She looked at stills from the OT and went from there. I don't think she was paying too much attention to the "plot" of IV.. she based her PT-Jedi-Uniform on photos of Alec Guiness and just extrapolated backwards.

this is what she said about it at the time:

"We obviously had to have some continuity from the first films, and we had, among others, the Jedi costumes,"
Biggar says. "Since we see them again in Episode I, we tried to link through and bring parts of their costumes from the first film back into this one. We used virtually the same Jedi cloak, but we experimented with different types of fabric. And we modified the undergarments to make them more suitable for younger men, men who have to fight."

^^ from her comments, she seems to be under the mistaken impression that Obi-Wan was wearing "Jedi Robes" in IV... rather than "Moisture Farmer Robes Made From Roadkill-Jawas" (which is infinitely more likely).
 
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In her defense long before the prequels the Jedi robes were absorbed into many Star Wars books art & visuals. So I’d wouldn’t credit this as her mistake.

one thing that always bothered me about Star Wars (and yes I understand the real life reasons they did this) but many people just don’t ever to change their cloths

Back on topic: prequel movies not just Star Wars are always limiting. We know Darth, Obi & Yoda survives so there is never a point where those characters feel they are in real danger. It’s one of the reasons I wish the clone wars series had focused on era characters & not OT characters. Ashoka love her or hate her we didn’t know her eventually fate & we were really just waiting for her to get killed off.
 
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The entire outline for the Prequels was printed as the prologue in the 1976 novelization of Star Wars. It's pretty vague and only mentions Senator Palpatine by name, but it's the basic plot for the entire Prequel trilogy.
 
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