Luke in the Desert

About this scene:

This particular scene happens right after the Imperial Star Destroyer has overtaken the Rebel Blockade Runner and the Imperial troops begin boarding the ship, and right before Darth Vader first makes his appearance on the rebel ship. Luke, out in the desert working on a vaporator with the help of a Treadwell droid, looks up and happens to notice the two ships firing on each other in the sky. He then jumps in his landspeeder and races off to tell his friends.

Why it was cut:

George Lucas used this scene originally to introduce Luke Skywalker earlier in the film than he eventually appeared. However, the scene ended up being removed along with the scenes with Luke's friends that followed it, since it went off on a tangent of sorts and tended to slow down the pace of the film.

Where it shows up:

Though this scene was never shown publicly, it still showed up in the novel, the comic book, and still photos published in various places. The scene was finally made available in 1998 on the Behind The Magic CD ROM, much to the delight of fans. The version included was from the legendary Lost Cut of Star Wars, which is in black and white with no sound or special effects. After all the years in storage the film became very scratchy, washed-out and faded, but it is still a treat to watch. The color stills shown below may be some of the only clear shots left of this footage.

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(DivX AVI movie file, 7.7 MB, B&W, no dialogue - courtesy ofGuruKenn & Garrett)



A vast expanse of desert populated by moisture vaporators. From the Star Wars Chronicles.

A death-white wasteland stretches from horizon to horizon.

A wide shot of the open desert, showing a lone figure, a vaporator, a droid, and a landspeeder. From the 'Behind The Magic' CD ROM.

The tremendous heat of two huge twin suns settle on a lone figure, Luke Skywalker, a farm boy with heroic aspirations who looks much younger than his eighteen years.

Luke Skywalker in the wind-swept desert. Image from Greg Rossiter, origin unknown.

His shaggy hair and baggy tunic give him the air of a simple but lovable lad with a prize-winning smile.

Luke tinkers with a moisture vaporator. This is an alternate take - note the missing hat. From the Star Wars Insider.

A light wind whips at him as he adjusts several valves on a large battered moisture vaporator which sticks out of the desert floor much like an oil pipe with valves.

Storyboard for this scene.

He is aided by a beatup tread-robot with six claw arms.

Treadwell droid, model WED-15-77. From The Star Wars Visual Dictionary.

The little robot appears to be barely functioning and moves with jerky motions.

Luke spots a sparkle in the sky. Luke pulls out his macrobinoculars.

A bright sparkle in the morning sky catches Luke's eye and he instinctively grabs a pair of electrobinoculars from his utility belt.

Luke scans the sky. Image courtesy of T-Bone Fender. Using his macrobinoculars, Luke spies the battle high overhead.

He stands transfixed for a few moments studying the heavens, then dashed toward his dented, crudely repaired Landspeeder (an auto-like transport that travels a few feet above the ground on a magnetic-field). He motions for the tiny robot to follow him.

Luke urges his Treadwell droid to come with him. Image courtesy of T-Bone Fender.

Hurry up! Come with me! What are you waiting for?! Get in gear!

The robot scoots around in a tight circle, stops short, and smoke begins to pour out of every joint.

The Treadwell droid explodes and stops dead in its tracks. From the 'Behind The Magic' CD ROM.

Luke throws his arms up in disgust.

Luke gives up on the droid and prepares to jump into his speeder. Standing ready to take off. Image courtesy of T-Bone Fender. Another pose with the landspeeder. Image courtesy of T-Bone Fender.

Exasperated, the young farm boy jumps into his Landspeeder leaving the smoldering robot to hum madly.