The late 1990s were a dark time for Star Wars fans. The release of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace had audiences realizing that George Lucas’ outer space saga was far from perfect, but what you may not have known is that things could have been far grimmer in a galaxy far, far away. Bye Bye Birdie creative masterminds Charles Strouse and Lee Adams were tasked by George Lucas to help write a proposed musical that would bring the first Star Wars film off of the silver screen and onto the Great White Way. Broadway.com has all the details:
A series of demos—featuring orchestrations by none other than Mr. Jason Robert Brown—were recorded in 1999. As you can gather by subsequent trilogies of prequels, sequels and then some, Lucas decided to take the property in another direction.
In a 2008 interview, Strouse explained the forced hiatus: “We were given a 90-page contract with [Lucas’s] company, and my lawyer discovered a phrase in there which gave Lucas the right to say, ‘I don’t want to go on,’ so we pulled out.” After a $10,000 signing bonus, the pair decided to write a few songs before Lucas indeed put the project on hold.
Two of the songs created for the musical leaked to YouTube, the most egregious of which is featured above. “Han’s Your Man,” reduces cinematic’s most beloved smuggler to a goofy crooner that feels like something out of the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special more than anything else. (Be warned, this song is a complete earworm, for better or worse). So yeah, we really dodged some blaster fire on this one.
Suddenly, “Jedi Rocks” doesn’t seem so bad, does it? No wait, it totally still does.
Related: In 1996, a high school spoof musical was made that rewrote iconic Broadway songs to fit the Star Wars universe, which brings us to this inventive take on Grease‘s “Greased Lightning.” Enjoy:
Here’s another clip from that show:
You can see more of this epic here. And you really should.
Finally, 1999 saw the creation of another would-be Star Wars musical, this one from Infauxmedia. The showstopper being “One Season More,” a Les Miserables-esque song of yearning that comes complete with its own CGI musical video:
This piece originally ran last year. We are reprinting it today as part of our May the Fourth be with you celebrations.