As an addendum to our original post about the “Vader is Luke’s father” spoiler appearing in the April 1978 issue of Little Shoppe of Horrors, Star Wars author Ryder Windham recently sent us a heads-up on another instance of this spoiler showing up in early 1978:
“Earlier today, I found myself perusing the first issue of Future magazine, cover date April 1978,” says Windham. “The issue has a ‘Databank’ feature for ‘News Items from the World of the Present’ on pages 6-7, and includes this entry for Star Wars…”
“In the realm of the Wars, George Lucas has approached all of the original film’s principals, including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Dave Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker. Noted SF author Leigh Brackett has been approached with the task of writing the screenplay for the big-budgeted sequel. One of the key elements in the second script may be the origin of the Dark Lord, Darth Vader. One version of his life being considered for the forthcoming production will reveal a young, handsome Darth turning rogue Jedi, killing Luke Skywalker’s father and being pushed into a pool of molten lava by avenging angel Ben Kenobi. Darth is so badly scarred that he dons his black armor forever. It serves as a combination exoskeleton and walking iron lung. The second version portrays Darth as being, in reality, Luke Skywalker’s father. After a psychological trauma, Luke’s father succumbs to the darker nature of The Force and allows all that is good within him to die. And rising from the ashes of his soul is Darth, the arch-foe of all that is righteous. Whatever Vader’s fate in the as-yet-embryonic script, the film began pre-production in London in January.”
The first scenario mentioned – the one where Vader is pushed into molten lava by Kenobi – was likely lifted from a Rolling Stone interview with George Lucas in 1977. The source for the second scenario – the father one – is uncertain, unless the reporter was within earshot of Prowse’s comments recorded at the October 1977 Horror Elite Convention (and referenced in our original post).
In any case, that cat was out of the bag by April ’78, although it fortunately didn’t get picked up by the mainstream media, allowing the Dark Lord’s identity — as Kenobi says — to remain safely anonymous until 1980.