When the Return of the Jedi first came out, I remember reading in a magazine that Lando was supposed to be killed at the end when the second Death Star blew up. But test audiences found that too depressing so George Lucas changed the ending so that Lando and the Millenium Falcon escape unscathed (minus one satellite dish, of course.)

For a while, I thought that Lucas was being really stupid. I thought that killing Lando would give the whole Star Wars trilogy a dark and realistic edge.

But now I'm not so sure.

Now I think that it's better that Lando didn't die. Now I think that the space opera universe of Star Wars is essentially a Happy Place where the Stormtroopers are myopic and it's okay to kiss your sister and that's okay too.

Still, like most reasonable people, I wouldn't mind seeing Jar-jar Binks buggered to death by a pack of rabid Wookies.

You can still see a hint of the originally planned death of Lando in the scene when Lando is about to leave in the Milennium Falcon to go fight at Endor. Han says about the ship:

"I have this funny feeling I'm not going to see her again."

Lando then promises, "She won't get a scratch." Thus when the Falcon's radar dish gets knocked off, this was supposed to forshadow Lando not making it. And when the Falcon barely makes it out of the Death Star ahead of the fireball, you can see how they edited in the Falcon after the shot if you freeze the frame.

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