As part of my desire to retain the star wars books of the expanded universe for the readers of the world, I have chosen this article to become a spotlight on the very first book that was written with the continuation of the Star Wars story in mind.
Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye was written by Alan Dean Foster and published in 1978 and was considered to be a follow on to the adventures of Luke Skywalker, and based on the characters and situations contained in George Lucas’ Star Wars story line.
Once Planned As Star Wars Sequel
Apparently, as expressed in initial conversations around the book, it was actually intended to be the sequel movie to Star Wars if the movie did not do so well in the box office and would be a low budget picture. Thankfully the movie was a huge success and went on to film two more sequels at the time.
I am thankful because the resulting storylines, while steering far away from those in this book, were so amazing they impacted my life forever. Although I will always love the direction the movies took with the story, this book is dear to my heart and will ever remain a part of an alternate Star Wars Universe for me.
So Well-Read That It’s Falling Apart
It is still one of my favourites to this day and having re-read it many times over the years since I purchased it, as recently as the past few days, my copy has now fallen apart. I will be looking to replace it and I was worried that it wouldn’t be available anymore, but much to my amazement and excitement, I have found some places that still sell it. I think 37 years of ownership and being read over and over has finally taken it’s toll but it will be very hard to let go of my original copy. I guess if these books ever go out of print, hopefully the eBooks will still be available.
My copy was apparently the Young Reader’s edition and was a special edition released for the old ‘Book Club’ at school. I can remember looking at the brochures trying to pick a book to buy and seeing Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye. I realised it was a Luke Skywalker (Ah, my hero) book and asked my parents to buy it for me. I didn’t regret this one little bit. It proved to be an exciting and rewarding read.
Luke Gets To Be A Hero A Lot In This Book – I Love That!
One of the reasons I love this book so much, is that my hero, Luke Skywalker, gets to be a hero many times throughout. In a lot of the other books, he ends up having to be rescued or helped in some way or another, but in this book, it’s just him, if he fails, they die. There is also a lot of non-Jedi action as well as Luke testing his force abilities. Basically, he’s just a young man with some skill scrambling his way through some tough situations to save the girl. Or he’s being the gallant gentleman looking after his love interest and standing up for her. Luke and Leia fight like the lovers they could have become, had the story not taken that ‘other’ direction with them being brother and sister.
Luke Faces Pain, Exhaustion, Confusion, Love, Death
Luke has to battle quite a lot in the story, whether it be stormtroopers, native champions, a lake monster, a giant worm, thugs, among many others and it seems he must be so tired and not able to catch a breath before something else is attacking them.
You feel sorry for him and exhausted for him. You feel pain for him, his love for Leia, and hers for him, you feel his desire and her attempts to brush it off. It seems like they are just about to divulge how they feel and something happens.
What Will Become Of Luke And Leia?
You find yourself hoping that Luke and Leia will fall in love and live happily ever after (remember, this book came out before the story was changed to make them brother and sister). It has all the makings of the kind of story I like. Romance, adventure, a hero, gallantry, bravery, space travel, aliens, monsters, an evil villain, a magical crystal, the force, you name it, this book seems to have it all.
Luke And Leia, Just Friends Or More?
There are scenes in the book where Luke and Leia appear to be developing strong feelings for each other, or are afraid for each other’s safety as lovers would be. There is a friendship between them, but distance as well, maintaining Luke’s peasant background and Leia’s royalty. When Alan Dean Foster wrote this book, he was not aware of George Lucas’ intentions to make Luke the son of Darth Vader, and Leia his sister. So Darth Vader’s appearance in this book is of the evil villain not the man who still has good in him. I don’t think Lucas knew yet that Luke and Leia would be siblings either.
A Smart Mouth Screaming Princess Just Doesn’t Quite Fit – I Didn’t Love That
One of the things I didn’t enjoy about the book, although there was only two flaws I can think of, is that Princess Leia acts like a spoiled child on many occasions, or a haughty royal snob.
This just doesn’t quite fit with her character from the movie Star Wars – A New Hope. I know she told Governor Tarkin that she “recognised his foul stench when she was brought on board the Death Star”, but that was when they knew who she was.
Leia Wouldn’t Do That
In this book, her identity was unknown so there was a need for her NOT to act in the way she was depicted in the movie. She was supposed to be playing a miner and a servant girl, yet spoke as if she was educated and ended up getting herself in trouble with her sharp tongue and fancy language skills. This caused suspicions to arise, instead of doing the clever thing, which would be to play dumb and inconspicuous. I don’t think Leia’s character would act like that if she was supposed to be playing a specific role, especially one more peasant-like.
These are the only occasions in the book where it didn’t sit well with me. She is smarter than that and Alan Dean Foster portrayed her as a woman used to getting her way, I guess he was trying to bring out the royalty, but I just didn’t like it. Especially when Luke had to use force to settle her down in a panic. Leia’s character as shown in the movies, would not submit to panic.
I Don’t Take Leia To Be A Girlie Screamer, Do You?
She also screamed a lot, like a girly girl, and that just didn’t seem to fit well with what her character in the movies displayed, in other words a calm, collected and soft-spoken woman, determined and feminine, but not a screamer, even when she was tortured by the Imperial droid. Certainly not one to scream at a haunted memory of Vader and his methods of extricating important information from prisoners. Perhaps Alan Dean Foster was attempting to show just how severe her torture and experience on the Death Star actually was due to it being largely imagined for the audience of the films when it wasn’t in any of the movie scenes.
The Tale Follows The Destruction of the First Death Star Above Yavin Four
The story includes four of our favourite Star Wars characters, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C3PO and R2D2, in this adventure and is set shortly after the first Death Star is blown up in what is known in the star wars expanded universe timeline as the Battle for Yavin (shortened to ABY for After the Battle for Yavin).
If you recall, Yavin Four was the name of the moon that the Rebel base was located on when Governor Moff Tarkin on the Death Star tracked the Millenium Falcon back to the base after our heroes rescued the Princess and escaped. It was the moon the Death Star was headed to destroy to quash the Rebellion once and for all before they were blown to smithereens moments before firing their planet exploding weapon.
Luke and Leia Together On A Mission To A Secret Meeting of the Underground
Since blasting the Death Star Luke has been allowed to maintain his status as a pilot rather than being promoted to a higher ranking, more notable figure in an attempt to keep his identity a secret.
He remains very raw in his Jedi skills at this point because he has not met yet Yoda to be trained as a Jedi Knight.
Leia is still considered a Princess in this story, even though her planet has been destroyed. Leia has held many roles and titles throughout the expanded universe/legends series. In this book she, along with Luke is an emissary to Circarpous IV who are considering joining the Rebel Alliance. The Rebels have been searching for a new base to move to since the Empire found out their location and they are thinking the Circarpousians may be able to help them.
Energy Storm Brings Them Down
While travelling in small fighters, Leia’s ship encounters a problem forcing them to attempt to land on the nearest planet. Upon entry into the atmosphere, they run into some energy disturbances that cause both spacecraft to crash on the world of Mimban, a largely unexplored swampy planet that has only been listed as being scouted by Imperials with not much information about the inhabitants. Luke and Leia prior to crashing, believe that there will be an emergency beacon somewhere for them to send out a distress signal and direct their craft to try and land as close to it as possible.
Luke’s fighter crashes a distance away from Leia’s and he and Artoo Detoo have to trek on foot through the swampy jungle to search for Leia’s ship.
When he finds her they pack supplies and almost immediately Leia ends up sinking into a slimy quick sand-mud and Luke has to rescue her.
They then set out for the beacon across treacherous mud that might swallow them up and risk being attacked by native animals looking for their dinner.
An Established Town Beckons Them And Their Starving Bodies
A few days hike later and they came across an establishment that appears to be a mining town. They later discover that it is an Imperial energy mining outpost run by a cruel man named Captain-Supervisor Grammel. Luke steals some mining clothes for them to disguise themselves in and they enter a tavern and order a meal. They are approached by a uniformed imperial officer after Leia starts to panic and tries to leave.
Can You Imagine Luke Ever Hurting Leia? Well He Does
To settle Leia down and maintain their cover, Luke slaps Leia across the cheek and shouts at her that he’s not finished his dinner yet. Leia reels in shock at Luke’s heavy-handedness. Luke pretends that Leia is a servant he bought when questioned about Leia’s non-miner like hands and the Imperial appears to be satisfied.
A Crystal Changes The Plans
Shortly afterwards a wizened old woman named Halla approaches them. She is a force-sensitive claiming to be a master of the force and can sense Luke has the force about him. There is also the fact that they are strangers so they must have a way off planet or need a way off planet. She enlists their aid after showing them a piece of a naturally glowing crystal she claims is a shard of the legendary Kaiburr Crystal of the Temple of Pomojema.
There Is More To This Crystal Than Meets The Eye
Luke is convinced it has extremely valuable properties after touching the tiny splinter of crystal and sensations course through his body. He explains to Leia that what he experienced means that the crystal “increases one’s perception of the force, it magnifies and clarifies …. and that anyone in possession of the entire crystal …. would have such a lock on the force that he could do almost anything, anything at all.”
He tells Leia that they have to find it because they can’t risk it falling into the wrong hands, now making locating the crystal take precedence over getting Leia to the secret meeting. He agrees to help Halla find the Temple of Pomojema and the Crystal in exchange for her help in getting a transport off the planet.
After leaving the premises, Leia gets revenge on Luke for slapping her face and making her into a servant but the action draws unwanted attention from a gang of thugs. A fight breaks out and they all get hauled off to prison to face Captain-Supervisor Grammel. Grammel is intrigued by the strangers and pushes for more information.
He injures Leia to force Luke into giving him the crystal and while he does not know its value, he realises its possible importance and summons the aid of the Governor of the planet that oversees the mining colony. Meanwhile Luke and Leia are imprisoned with two huge beasts called Yuzzem. Luke befriends the Yuzzem, Hin and Kee, and Luke uses the force with the aid of Halla from the outside of the prison, they escape but have to leave the shard of the crystal behind. They steal a crawler and head off in search of the temple.
After travelling for a short time, the crawler is attacked by a Wandrella, a giant, worm-like creature that was so long they had been driving on its back for a while before it rose up out of the swamp at them. They vacate the vehicle and end up getting separated with Luke and Leia escaping only by climbing down into a dark pit on a ladder they found.
Unfortunately they get trapped down there because the creature falls into the pit after them and takes the ladder down with it. They are stranded. Halla tells them they are in a Coway tunnel and that they are harmless natives and shouldn’t be too much trouble if they come across them. They are told to follow the tunnels and head in a specific direction and Halla, Hin, Kee, R2D2 and C3PO would find the exit and meet them there.
Underground Beauty Riddled With Danger
They travel underground for a day or so, walking through spectacular caverns and amazing phosphorescent plants or fungus that light their way. Alan Dean Foster has a magical way of writing the description of this underground wonderland, leaving you with visions of vast beauty and grandeur and wishing you could be there yourself. He gives Luke and Leia a much-needed child-like break from the constant danger as they frolic and giggle their way through the cavern striking different formations to make music. Their fun was short lived as the princess nearly falls to her death as the thin ground underfoot suddenly gives way and once again, our hero must rescue a princess.
Black Lakes And Monstere
They come across a large, seemingly endless black as night lake that they must cross. Finding a giant lake leaf that would suffice as a boat, and making oars from some of the musical formations, they camp for the night using the leaf as a bed. Nearly all the way across they are attacked yet again by a large luminous monster with a gelatinous body. Luke must fight the creature off. His lightsaber has virtually no effect against the mass of tentacles and he is swept overboard to battle the monster underwater. He eventually drives the creature away and slumps exhausted on to his back. The princess chooses to let Luke in on the secret that she can’t swim.
Dry Ground And A Fight To The Death
When they arrive on the distant shore they come across a ruined town or city of sorts and are attacked by the natives of the caverns. It turns out that the Coway are not the harmless aborigines that Halla thought they were. They are a race of tough little aliens that are primitive enough to still have fighting to show their worth or prowess. Luke and Leia are reunited with Halla, the yuzzem and the droids only to find that Luke has to fight their village champion in hand to hand combat to free them as they were captured at the entrance to the cavern while waiting for Luke and Leia to meet them. It will be decided by their Gods if the captives are to be killed or welcomed. Luke wins by the skin of his teeth and with a slight nudge from the force and they are freed.
During the celebrations, a Coway tells them of an impending attack by stormtroopers. Luke, Leia and the others stay to help the Coway fight the soldiers.
Captain-Supervisor Grammel has been joined by none other than Darth Vader who has come to Mimban after seeing the shard of the crystal and recognises what if might mean for this power and control.
An Old Enemy
Luke and Leia see Darth Vader is with them and so try to kill him. The imperials retreat when Vader sees the large number of losses and demands they withdraw.
Vader leaves a sentry at the entrance of the cave and heads off with Captain-Surpervisor Grammel, whom he kills shortly afterwards due to his annoying nature, in search of the crystal, which he can sense due to his strength in the force. Luke, Leia and the others manage to escape and set off to find the Temple of Pomojema.
Trouble Is Afoot.
Luke, Leia, Halla, the Yuzzem and the droids manage to find the temple ahead of Darth Vader. When they arrive, Luke has to once again fight for their lives when a creature from the dark shadows of the temple decides to attack them. Luke sends Hin and Kee to get their rifles when blasters prove ineffective, and his lightsaber does not damage it fast enough, Luke eventually defeats it by causing a part of the roof to cave in but in doing so, his leg is trapped under falling rocks and pins him down.
Enter The Dark Lord Of The Sith
Darth Vader enters the cavern at this point announcing he has killed Hin and Kee. Seeing Luke is unable to defend himself or Leia, he proceeds to taunt Leia. Leia attempts to fight him with Luke’s lightsaber which pleases and amuses Vader. He toys with her, causing her many injuries by lightsaber burns. As she is tiring and Vader is moving in for the kill, Hin somehow manages to crawl in to the cave and move the rock from Luke’s leg enough for him to pull free and then dies from the fatal head wound Vader gave him. Leia manages to throw the lightsaber to Luke and he continues the battle with Vader as she collapses from exhaustion and her injuries.
Luke struggles until he starts drawing on his training from Ben Kenobi. He is able to fight Vader off using the force as his guide, and somehow manages to create and throw a kind of force punch which throws Vader away and to the ground. Vader is surprised and can’t believe the strength of this ‘child’ and pushes to attack again. This time Luke severs Vader’s right arm and as Vader continues towards him, Luke loses hope that he can win this battle.
He believes it’s all over for them as the Dark Lord appears invincible and tells the unconscious Leia that he loves her, but at this moment, a severely wounded Vader topples sideways and falls into a seemingly bottomless pit. Luke has won, Vader is gone, but Luke can still sense him in the force, suggesting he is not dead.
Where Is Halla?
Halla, thus far oblivious to the battle going on around her, secures the crystal and then has to choose whether to run off with it, leaving the two fallen Rebels behind, or stay and help them. She stays and gives Luke the crystal which proceeds to envelop his whole body in its power and heals him. He then heals Leia with it and they ask Halla to come with them when they escape the planet with the crystal. They then drive off into the Mimban jungle to find a way off planet.
This ending leaves open the possibility of a sequel to be written but with the success of the movies and them going on to film the trilogy along another story thread, the book was never written. But I kind of wish Alan Dean Foster had done another few stories for us with this story line. If you enjoyed reading this article, or have read and enjoyed Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, even though it is not canon now, but legends, please let me know in my comments. I would welcome other readers of the star wars books, of any thread, to interact with me on this site. It’s always nice to get in touch with other readers.
Thank you for reading this very long article
All pictures have been taken from my own media.