Splinter of the Mind’s Eye
Sci-fi movies weren’t all the rage when A New Hope premiered. It was for that reason that Lucas had two game plans: If it was a success, he would roll with Empire Strikes Back. If it flopped, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was going in its place.
This plot involves Luke and Leia looking around a swamp planet for a talisman that would make the Force more powerful. Darth Vader closes the story out with a lightsaber battle, and Han Solo doesn’t even make an appearance. Lucas’s logic for the film was that the budget would be so low that the studio wouldn’t have a problem letting him make it, no matter how poorly Star Wars did.
Side note: the script was turned into a novel by Star Wars novelization author Alan Dean Foster.