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The seventh Star Wars movie comes out this weekend, and by Monday morning the Internet will be filled with screeds of varying literacy detailing just how The Force Awakens screwed the pooch. It's inevitable. But the one thing audiences always forget is that -- no matter how bad a movie is -- it could always be worse. (Yes, even the prequels.) Here are some of the most excruciating Star Wars plots we narrowly dodged.

7
Darth Vader And Boba Fett Were Almost Brothers

Lucasfilm

Despite the fact that the Star Wars universe is an actual goddamn universe, it's filled with a long string of familial coincidences (or co-incest-dences) that might've bothered fans of the original trilogy, but they were much too distracted by cocaine and disco music to care. And for the prequel trilogy, Lucas decided to cram in even more "tiny universe" moments so that every planet in the galaxy would house a familiar character or their family, because apparently the Star Wars galaxy has a shallower gene pool than Hill Valley. One of the dumbest twists that thankfully never happened: Darth Vader and Boba Fett were going to be brothers.

Lucasfilm
Is there anyone the Skywalker family won't bang?

According to Lucas' ex-wife, Marcia (the same woman who saved the entire franchise from being an absolute shitshow), at one point George was toying with the idea of revealing that the two beloved characters shared a parental lineage, as opposed to just a love of badass helmets.

Of course, this would have made some of the scenes in the original trilogy super weird, unless Lucas made yet another Special Edition with a voiceover of the two locking down Thanksgiving plans between evil schemes.

Lucasfilm
"I had Palpatine at Easter; it's your turn."

It also would have made Boba Fett Luke and Leia's uncle -- you know, the type of wacky uncle who lets you try a sip of his beer at dinner, then freezes your best friend in carbonite. Lucas ended up changing his mind because the whole idea was "too hokey," which still doesn't explain Jar Jar's accent, dammit.

6
Darth Maul Almost Looked Really, Really Dumb

Lucasfilm

In the fever pitch leading up to the release of Episode I, no character was more buzzed about than Darth Maul. After all, he was the badass new villain and he wielded a double lightsaber, which, frankly, seems like the kind of overcompensation a Sith going through a midlife crisis might need.

Lucasfilm
"It's a lot harder to build a Corvette."

To the astonishment of everyone who thought Darth Maul would be a major presence in the new trilogy, Obi-Wan Kenobi promptly slices Maul in half, along with the hopes and dreams of moviegoers everywhere.

However disappointing his role in the movie ultimately was, there's just no denying how badass Darth Maul looked. The villains of the original trilogy looked like a group of retired British accountants. Darth Maul, on the other hand, looked like the rabbit in Donnie Darko and the sharpener from a 64-pack of crayons had a baby, and it developed jaundice.

Lucasfilm
And the family lived paycheck-to-paycheck, leaving no money for dental coverage.

He almost looked pretty dumb, though. Since George Lucas didn't put a lot of description of the villain into the script beyond, presumably, "creepy bad man," there was a lot of room for interpretation. Lucas asked renowned concept artist Iain McCaig to draw the "scariest thing he could think of," and McCaig drew this:

Lucasfilm

McCaig took the image from an actual nightmare he had, but the girl from The Ring apparently didn't quite have what it takes to kill Liam Neeson. Another idea seemingly turned ol' Darth Maul into a pedophile who snuck onto the old Tron set, and that's a crossover we definitely don't want to be held responsible for.

Lucasfilm
The pencils used to draw this immediately contracted herpes.

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5
We Almost Saw Greedo's Childhood In The Phantom Menace

Lucasfilm

For the first Star Wars, George Lucas took inspiration from Kurosawa films such as Throne Of Blood, early sci-fi serials, and Westerns. For the prequels, we're guessing he got super drunk and watched a few episodes of Muppet Babies.

Jim Henson Productions
Which, ironically, borrowed heavily from Star Wars.

Why else would he go out of his way to reimagine the coolest characters in the series as small children? Lucas had the audacity to show us Boba Fett and Darth Vader as kiddos, as if we needed to more firmly establish our answers to "Would you kill [insert evil dictator] as a baby?" Apparently, next on his list to babyify was Greedo, a character we clearly didn't get enough of in the original films.

In a deleted scene from Episode I, Anakin is tussling with an alien kid, who accused him of cheating in the podrace -- which, come to think of it, he totally fucking did. Kids are the worst.

Lucasfilm

Lucasfilm
In the original trilogy, this would have at least ended with someone losing a hand.

The scene doesn't really have much of a point beyond a Jedi master imparting advice that amounts to "don't be a such a dick all the time." It does have a twist, though, when the alien kid turns out to be ... Greedo. Yep, the same Greedo who couldn't hit an immobile target four feet in front of his face was able to spot Anakin Skywalker cheating at a podrace.

Why the hell did George Lucas want to show us cute little Greedo knowing full well that we're all going to watch this child get gunned down in a seedy bar and cheer our asses off? Little Greedo's friends even tease him that he might come to a "bad end" one day, because the lesson here is that bullying can condemn its victims to life as incompetent mafia thugs. At least no one ever considered shoehorning a kid version of a really iconic character into the prequels, like maybe Han Solo ...

4
Han Solo Almost Showed Up As A Filthy Orphan

Lucasfilm

Except for maybe that adorable elephant who plays keyboards in Jabba's palace, Han Solo is probably the most universally beloved character in the entire Star Wars franchise. We all fell for him as a 30-something adult, and now everyone is over the moon(s of Endor) to see him as a senior citizen, presumably because the statute of limitations is up on any of his intergalactic petty crimes.

Han was almost part of the prequels' character-ruining parade of prepubescent cameos. An early version of Episode III featured a brief glimpse of child Han. So what characteristic did they choose to define this youthful version of our favorite scoundrel? He was going to be a disgusting slob.

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm
"Let's make the scrawny, filthy adolescent our leader and the 7-foot, super-strong bear will be a toadie."

Yes, Han was going to show up as a filthy urchin, an orphan living on Kashyyyk, which fans of a certain holiday special already know is the home planet of the Wookiees and probably the forest Disney imported the Animal Kingdom tree from.

Han's role was going to be a "helpful kid raised by Chewbacca," which makes about as much sense as a pigeon raised by a cat. Nevertheless, Chewie would have been Han's adoptive father. That would mean that in the original trilogy, Han isn't just tooling around space with his buddy; he's hanging out with his dad, like an intergalactic episode of Frasier.

Lucasfilm
"Why the fuck am I first mate, again?"

Of course the scene was deleted, sparing us from these questions, as well as the question as to whether or not the Wookiees were routinely abducting children.

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3
Episode II Almost Had More Characters Building C-3PO

Lucasfilm

Answering a question that literally nobody had, The Phantom Menace took significant pains to show us mini-Vader's technical prowess by revealing that 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker was responsible for building the most irritating droid this side of the HTC ThunderBolt.

Perhaps because of the backlash against this insane wrinkle in the saga, Lucas cut a scene in Episode II featuring even more characters helping to build C-3PO. First there was Luke's mom, Padme. She's approached by a half-finished Threepio who tells her he feels "naked."

Lucasfilm
(Padme bites her lip and thrusts her chest out.)

While this could have easily devolved into the erotic Droids fan fiction we're not going to bother to find for you, Padme instead helps finish building Threepio. Apparently droids are the peanut butter sandwiches of the Star Wars universe -- every random person seems to know exactly how to make them.

Lucasfilm
"You just better not have any foreign parts, because I don't have metric wrenches here."

With the scientific precision of putting an IKEA bookcase together, Padme finishes C-3PO. And since having her there alone wouldn't totally fuck over the continuity of the other movies, someone decided the scene should also feature a young Uncle Owen:

Lucasfilm
"I am fluent in over 6 million forms of senseless plot twists."

You know, the guy who later buys C-3PO.

Lucasfilm
Though it would explain why Owen is such a dick right off the bat.

Did Owen really not remember the appearance, voice, or designation of the droid that was built in his guest room, while he watched no less? Is there something in that blue milk stuff that gives everybody on Tatooine crippling brain damage?

Cutting the scene saved our brains from grappling with this insanity, and luckily there don't seem to be any drafts where R2-D2 travels back in time and builds himself.

2
Annoying Sidekick Jar Jar Binks Almost Had An Annoying Sidekick

Lucasfilm

Jar Jar Binks might be the most hated character in film history. Even those who didn't think Jar Jar was cobbled together from assorted racist stereotypes probably still found him annoying, which is a problem for a character whose sole purpose was to be comic relief. Well, that and to distract Anakin from the fact that Qui-Gon was probably sleeping with his mom.

Lucasfilm
"I'd like to be a little more suave about this, but all my pick-up lines involve 'Force,'
which, frankly, comes off a little rapey."

Originally, like Matryoshka dolls of terribleness, annoying sidekick Jar Jar was to have his own annoying sidekick: a fatass dog-like creature who rolled around, called a blarth.

Lucasfilm
Hopefully it would've farted the whole movie and drowned out all dialogue.

Yup, Jar Jar almost had a fat, slobbering best bud that was inexplicably a cause of even more Binksian klutziness. While Jar Jar's blarth was eventually omitted from the final movie, the book The Wildlife Of Star Wars: A Field Guide retains an entry for the species, describing them as having a "constant desire for attention," which sounds just as excruciating as, well, watching the prequels.

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1
Palpatine Was Almost Anakin's Father, Because Midi-Chlorians

Lucasfilm

In a reference to either the original trilogy or every episode of Maury Povich ever made, the truth about Anakin's father is shrouded in mystery. In fact, Anakin's mom pretty much comes right out and states that it was a virgin birth, the standard M.O. of every desert-dwelling mom with a super-powered kid.

Lucasfilm
"If you think they're pissed about this midi-chlorian nonsense, think about how I felt."

While this business is never really mentioned in later movies, the original script for Episode III cleared things up in a big, bold, batshit-crazy way. It all starts with midi-chlorians, the cellular disease that gives you wacky Force powers. A lot of fans hated the introduction of midi-chlorians, which made the mystical Force scientifically quantifiable, a total 180 from the previous trilogy's take on what amounted to overpowered yoga techniques.

We learn early on that Anakin is riddled with midi-chlorians like an old-timey sailor with STDs. It turns out that he was birthed by midi-chlorians like Qui-Gon suspected, but with a twist. Anakin's conception was part of an evil scheme by Palpatine (we refuse to use the word "plot" with this franchise anymore), who would effectively have been Anakin's father.

Lucasfilm
There's more genetic diversity in Game Of Thrones.

In a deleted scene, Emperor Palpatine tells Anakin: "I used the power of the Force to will the midi-chlorians to start the cell divisions that created you," adding, "You might say I'm your father."

Anakin responds: "That's impossible!"

Lucasfilm
"I don't know how much you know about poetry, but now I have to chop off your hand."

This has to be a blatant callback to Luke's cries of disbelief in The Empire Strikes Back, because the deleted scene refuses to detail how the Force begrudgingly accepted its role as George Lucas' Scriptwriting Swiss Army Knife and impregnated a woman from literally planets away. Impossible, indeed.

J.M. McNab co-hosts the pop culture nostalgia podcast Rewatchability, which can also be found on iTunes. Follow him on Twitter @Rewatchability.

Be sure to check out 6 Star Wars Characters Too Idiotic For Film and 7 Classic Star Wars Characters Who Totally Dropped The Ball.

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