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Punching Up ROTJ

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The briefest possible outline of my take on ROTJ would go like this…

Episode VI
RETURN OF THE JEDI

OPENING CRAWL…

Princess Leia leads a mission to rescue her one true love Han Solo from the clutches of the evil gangster Jabba the Hutt.

Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker returns to Dagobah for further training with Yoda, a wise elder in the ways of the Force.

Little do our heroes know that the Empire’s new DEATH STAR nears completion, which may spell certain doom for the Rebels who seek to restore freedom to the galaxy…

END CRAWL

The film starts with Vader landing aboard the new and improved Second Death Star, which is under construction above the forested world of Kashyyyk. This part proceeds similarly to the one we see in the released film, save for one detail. The scene ends with Vader looking upon a larger, more intimidating suit of armor, which will replace the one we have seen him wear up to this point.

Cut to Leia, Lando, Chewie, and 3PO on the rescue mission. They locate Han Solo (already unfrozen) as a slave in Jabba’s spice mine on Kessel. The spice mine uses a noise field generator to keep away the rancors, which in this version of the film are a carnivorous lifeform native to Kessel and noticeably smaller than the one we saw Luke fight in the released film (only slightly taller than the Wampa ice monster in ESB).

Leia disables the generator. When one of the beasts breaks open the door to Jabba’s lair, our heroes rush in to get Han out of there amidst the chaos. Leia narrowly avoids a hungry rancor by channeling her latent Force abilities to turn the beast the other way. Boba Fett destroys 3PO and then tries to kill the rest of our heroes but is blocked by a rancor, which forces him to flee via jetpack to his ship, the Slave II. Jabba shouts curses in Huttese as he watches the Falcon leave the planet with the surviving characters aboard, just before he is devoured by a pack of rancors.

While the Kessel rancor scene is happening we periodically cut back to Luke’s training on Dagobah. He climbs a mountain with Yoda strapped to his back (like in ESB). Luke seeks a crystal at the top of the mountain with which to complete his new lightsaber. At the top of the mountain, Luke puts the crystal in the lightsaber and is told by Yoda that he must face his destiny by defeating Darth Vader. Luke reacts with, “I will not kill my father!”. He and R2 depart the planet.

While flying his X-Wing away from Dagobah, Luke talks to Obi-Wan’s spirit-voice. Kenobi tells Luke of how the Emperor’s influence was what corrupted the good man who was Anakin. There is no mention of Luke and Leia being siblings. The “other” that Yoda spoke of in ESB was this good man Anakin. However after Vader’s actions at Cloud City, Yoda and Obi-Wan now believe Luke to be the final hope. But Luke stubbornly continues to believe that there is still a good man in that dark armor.

Luke, Han, and Leia reunite aboard a Nebulon frigate at the head of the Rebel fleet, which is cruising through deep space. After working through his trust issues with Lando, Han Solo decides he will join the final assault against the Empire. Mon Mothma reveals that the intelligence of the Second Death Star’s position in the Kashyyyk system has been purchased from Boba Fett’s gang. Han Solo shows mixed feelings about this.

Then Mothma tells the gang that the Death Star is protected by a shield which is generated by a bunker on Kashyyyk’s surface. Our heroes decide to split up to accomplish their mission. Luke, Leia, Chewie, and R2 will lead the Wookiees in a ground assault against the bunker while Han and Lando will pilot the Falcon and spearhead the Rebel fleet’s assault on the superweapon.

Cut to the Second Death Star. The Emperor arrives aboard and finds Vader in his new armor holding the traitorous Boba Fett captive. The Emperor unleashes a torrent of lightning at Boba Fett. Vader takes off Fett’s helmet and exposes a charred, screaming skull.

The stolen Imperial shuttle Tydirium separates from the Rebel fleet and flies towards Kashyyyk. Inside are Luke, Leia, Chewie, and R2.

On Kashyyyk, Chewie convinces the chieftain of the Wookiees to aid his party in defeating the Empire. I would keep the speeder bike chase pretty much as is, because it is just a really cool scene.

So then Vader senses Luke’s presence on Kashyyyk, causing Luke to surrender himself to the Imperials just as he does in the released film. This time we see Vader walk towards in his new eight-foot-tall Vader 2.0 armor instead of the original suit as seen in the previous films.

The rest of the movie proceeds similarly. Vader takes Luke up to see the Emperor and they fight. You know the rest. I envision Vader’s saber as being directly integrated into his new armor. It comes out of his wrist, leading to a more animalistic fighting style.

When the Falcon flies inside the DSII, it gets critically damaged. Han gets mortally wounded and is unable to make it to the escape pod, leaving Lando to go it alone. Han heroically goes down with his ship, just as the dreaded superweapon explodes.

One more thing I would change is that when Anakin dies, he disappears just like Obi-Wan did in ANH. And then at the very end of the film, Luke sees only Anakin and Obi-Wan’s spirits, as Yoda stays alive in my version of the story. I think it would also be cool if the film ended with Leia going to Dagobah to begin her own training as a Jedi Knight. Or perhaps, Jedi Dame?

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