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Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Divergent Edition) *COMPLETE*

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I mentioned here that I was considering going through with a re-write for ROTJ some day. I’ve decided that I’m going to get on it right away.

Yes, I know – I said that aside from finishing A Lost Hope and my Superman Trilogy, I wasn’t going to work on anymore fan-fiction. Ever since this idea came to my head, it’s been nagging at me; I just have to scratch the itch.

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

TITLE CARD: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….

A vast sea of stars serves as the main backdrop for the main title, followed by a roll up, which crawls up into infinity.

STAR WARS

RETURN OF THE JEDI

The Alliance is doomed. Hunted by the Imperial Starfleet and suffering terrible losses, the Rebels have retreated to the rim world of SULLUST hoping to strike back against the tyrannical EMPIRE.

Sensing ultimate victory, LORD VADER and his cruel EMPEROR have begun construction of a new superweapon which rivals even the dreaded DEATH STAR.

Luke Skywalker has returned to DAGOBAH to complete his training under the JEDI MASTER YODA, unaware of the sinister plots laid against him….

PAN DOWN

To reveal Imperial Centre.

Nearly its entire surface buried beneath kilometres of durasteel and permacrete, thick congregations of lights blaze, a network of interconnected concentric circles of yellow against a sea of dark bronze. Starships beyond measure land and take off from the planet; orbital weapons platforms ensure none pose a threat to the Imperial capital.

EXT. IMPERIAL CENTRE – IMPERIAL PALACE – DAY

Vaguely pyramidal in form, the Imperial Palace is taller by far than any of the surrounding buildings, its upper levels penetrating the thick layer of brown smog which hangs heavy over the artificial landscape.

INT. IMPERIAL PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

The throne room is an immense auditorium divided in two sections. The first section, through which visitors enter the room, is an antechamber with curved walls and a number of stations occupied by black-armoured shadowtroopers. The second section is an apse which contains the throne itself, perched atop a dais. Additional stations used by the emperor’s crimson-garbed Royal Guard jut from the dais to either sides of the throne. Three circular windows lined with a web-like framework are located behind the throne and on both sides of it. A fourth, much larger window occupies the upper register of the back wall.

DARTH VADER, DARK LORD OF THE SITH, kneels at the bottom of the dais steps. DANTIUS PALPATINE, EMPEROR OF THE GALACTIC EMPIRE, nestled in the contours of his spacious ebon throne, looks down upon his servant. Garbed in a simple robe of black zeyd cloth, the emperor’s face is shrouded beneath the robe’s hood.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: He grows strong.

DARTH VADER: Yes, my master. I have felt it.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Perhaps he should’ve been destroyed on Bespin. It is unlike you to fail in such matters, Lord Vader.

DARTH VADER: He will not escape again. He can still be turned. We need only one more opportunity to –

EMPEROR PALPATINE: I have other work for you, my friend. Our efforts near the moon of Endor have fallen behind schedule. Use your … particular talents to encourage the engineers to make haste. Impress upon them the importance of meeting my every expectation. You have my permission to make examples.

DARTH VADER: I shall leave at once, my master. As for Skywalker –

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (interrupts) He is not your concern. He could be a powerful tool, Lord Vader. My tool. But only if he serves my purpose.

DARTH VADER: As you wish, my master.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Those who do not serve my ends, no matter how powerful they are, will be eliminated. Are we clear on this matter, Lord Vader?

DARTH VADER: We are clear.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Excellent. Leave at once for Endor and wait for me there.

Vader rises, bows, then turns and leaves.

EXT. NAR HEKKA – ROAD TO JABBA’S PALACE – DAY

A lonely, windswept road meanders through the desolate, craggy terrain of cold Nar Hekka. We hear a familiar BEEPING and a distinctive reply before catching sight of ARTOO-DETOO and SEE-THREEPIO, making their way along the road toward the ominous palace of Jabba the Hutt.

C-3PO: (cont’d) Of course I’m worried. And you should be, too. Lando Calrissian and poor Chewbacca never returned from this awful place.

Artoo whistles timidly.

C-3PO: Don’t be so sure. If I told you half the things I’ve heard about this Jabba the Hutt, you’d probably short-circuit.

EXT. JABBA’S PALACE – GATE – DAY

The two 'droids fearfully approach the massive gate to the palace.

C-3PO: Artoo, are you sure this is the right place? (beat) I better knock, I suppose.

Threepio looks around for some kind of signaling device, then timidly knocks on the iron door.

C-3PO: There doesn’t seem to be anyone there. Let’s go back.

A small hatch in the middle of the door opens and a spidery mechanical arm, with a large electronic eyeball on the end, pops out and inspects the two droids.

GATEKEEPER 'DROID: Tee chee tad un gootah!

THREEPIO: Goodness gracious me!

GATEKEEPER 'DROID: By choo ahd bin kee?

C-3PO: (points to Artoo) Artoo Detoowha … bo Seethreepiowha … ey toota odd mischka Jabba du Hutt.

The eye looks from one robot to the other. It pokes forward toward Threepio.

GATEKEEPER 'DROID: Kuju gwankee? Mypee gaza.

There is a laugh then the eye zips back into the door. The hatch slams shut. Artoo beeps his concern.

C-3PO: I don’t think they’re going to let us in, Artoo. We’d better go.

Artoo beeps his reluctance as Threepio turns to leave. Suddenly the massive door begins rising with a horrific metallic SCREECH. The 'droids turn back and face an endless black cavity. Artoo starts forward into the gloom.

C-3PO: Artoo, wait! (beat) Oh, dear! Artoo. Artoo, I really don’t think we should rush into all this!

Threepio rushes after his stubby companion. The ‘droid jumps at the sight of a sinister spider ‘droid carrying a brain inside a jar. Artoo continues down the corridor with Threepio following.

THREEPIO: Oh! Artoo! Artoo, wait for me!

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/ENTRANCE HALL – DAY

The 'droids walk tentatively into the long, dark hallway.

The frightened robots are met by two large, green, porcine GAMORREAN GUARDS. One guard grunts an order. Artoo beeps nervously.

C-3PO: You don’t want to know what he said. Just you deliver Mistress Leia’s message and get us out of here. Oh my! Oh!

The door slams shut with a loud CRASH that echoes through the dark passageway.

C-3PO: Oh no….

BIB FORTUNA, Jabba the Hutt’s majordomo, emerges from out of the darkness and strides up to the ‘droids. A pale Twi’lek male, he looks almost Human save for the twin head-tails protruding from his skull.

BIB FORTUNA: Tay chuda! Die wanna wanga!

C-3PO: Oh, my! Die wanna waugow. (beat) We – we bring a message to your master, Jabba the Hutt.

BIB FORTUNA: Tay Jabba wanga?

Artoo lets out a series of quick beeps.

THREEPIO: (cont’d) And a gift.

BIB FORTUNA: (shakes head) Nee Jabba no badda. Ees eye oh toe?

Fortuna holds out his hand toward Artoo and the tiny droid backs up a bit, letting out a protesting array of squeaks.

BIB FORTUNA: Zee chada oh mootee. Me chaade su goodie.

Artoo beeps and whistles furiously at Fortuna. Threepio turns to the malignant-looking Twi’lek.

C-3PO: He says that our instructions are to give it only to Jabba himself. In person.

Fortuna thinks about this for a moment.

THREEPIO: I’m terribly sorry. I’m afraid he’s ever so stubborn about these sort of things.

BIB FORTUNA: (gestures for 'droids to follow) Nudd chaa!

The 'droids follow the tall majordomo into the darkness, trailed by the two guards.

C-3PO: Artoo, I have a bad feeling about this.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

The throne room is filled with the vilest, most grotesque CREATURES ever conceived in the universe. Artoo and Threepio seem very small as they pause in the doorway to the dimly lit chamber. Light shafts partially illuminate the drunken courtiers as Bib Fortuna crosses the room to the dais upon which rests the leader of this nauseating crowd: JABBA DESILIJIC TIIURE. Underlord to his aunt, the great Jiliac Desilijic Tiron of the great Desilijic clan, Jabba is a Hutt, a repulsive blob of bloated fat with a lecherous grin. At the foot of the Hutt’s dais sits an obnoxious Kowakian monkey-lizard, SALACIOUS CRUMB.

Jabba’s court is in the midst of a drunken, raucous party. BOBA FETT stands by the door, flirting with a pair of wenches. Sloppy, smelly monsters cheer and make rude noises as two beautiful, near-nude dancers – OOLA the green-skinned Twi’lek and ARICA the auburn-haired Human – perform in front of Jabba’s throne. Jabba leers at the dancers and with a lustful gleam in his eye beckons Oola to come and sit with him. She stops dancing and backs away, shaking her head. Jabba gets angry and points to a spot next to him.

JABBA: Da eitha!

The lovely Twi’lek shakes her head again and screams.

OOLA: Na chuba negatorie! Na! Na! Natoota…!

Jabba is furious and pulls her toward him, tugging on the chain which fastens her to his platform.

JABBA: Boscka!

Jabba slams his fist down on a button, and before the dancer can flee, a trap door in the floor drops open and swallows her up. As the door snaps shut, several revellers hurry over to watch her fate through the grate.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT – DAY

Oola tumbles down a chute and sprawls on the floor of a vast, dark pit. On one end of the pit is an giant iron gate which slowly begins to rise. Oola’s eyes go wide as she sees what is beyond the door.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

Below the trap door, a muffled GROWL is followed by a hideous SCREAM. Jabba and his monstrous friends laugh hysterically.

Fortuna whispers something in the slobbering degenerate’s ear. Jabba smiles horribly at the two terrified 'droids before him. Threepio bows politely.

C-3PO: Good morning. (beat) The message, Artoo, the message.

JABBA: (impatient) Bo shuda….

Artoo whistles, and a beam of light projects from his domed head, creating a hologram of LEIA on the floor. Jabba’s eyes widen as the image of the lovely brunette grows to over three metres tall, towering over the gangsters.

LEIA: Greetings, Exalted One. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Leia Organa, ambassador of the Rebel Alliance and friend to Captain Solo. I know that you are powerful, mighty Jabba, and that your anger with Solo must be equally powerful. I seek an audience with Your Greatness to bargain for Solo’s life.

Jabba and his courtiers chuckle and snicker.

LEIA: (cont’d) With your wisdom, I’m sure that we can work out an arrangement which will be mutually beneficial and enable us to avoid any unpleasant confrontation. As a token of my goodwill, I present to you a gift: these two droids. (beat) Both are hardworking and will serve you well.

Leia’s hologram disappears.

JABBA: (laughs; in Huttese, subtitled) There will be no bargain.

C-3PO: We’re doomed.

JABBA: (subtitled) I will not give up my favourite decoration.

Jabba looks toward an alcove beside the throne. Hanging high, flat against the wall, exactly as we saw him last, is a carbonized HAN SOLO.

JABBA: (cont’d; subtitled) I like Captain Solo where he is.

Salacious Crumb laughs. The diminutive little troll’s laughter is followed by that of Jabba’s minions.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/DUNGEON CORRIDOR – DAY

One of Jabba’s Gamorrean guards marches Artoo and Threepio down a dank, shadowy passageway lined with holding cells. The cries of unspeakable creatures bounce off the cold stone walls. Occasionally a repulsive appendage grabs through the bars at the hapless 'droids. Artoo beeps pitifully.

C-3PO: Our hour has come. We will never leave this dank netherworld in one piece.

A large tentacle wraps around Threepio’s neck.

C-3PO: Oh! Ohh! How horrid!

He manages to break free, and they move on to a door at the end of the corridor.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/BOILER ROOM – DAY

The door slides open, revealing a room filled with steam and noisy machinery. The guard motions them into the boiler room, where they are met by a tall, thin, bronze-plated 'droid named EV-9D9. Behind the robot can be seen a work ‘droid suspended in a rack. Artoo and Threepio cringe as the guard grunts to EV-9D9.

EV-9D9: (in Huttese, subtitled) Ah, good. New acquisitions. (to C-3PO) You are a protocol 'droid, are you not?

C-3PO: I am See-Threepio, organic-ma–

EV-9D9: (subtitled) Yes or no will do.

C-3PO: Oh. Well, yes.

EV-9D9: (subtitled) How many languages do you speak?

C-3PO: I am fluent in over six-million forms of communication, and can readily –

EV-9D9: (interrupts; subtitled) Splendid. We have been without an interpreter since our master got angry with our last protocol 'droid and disintegrated him.

C-3PO: (mortified) Disintegrated?

An automated plasma torch cuts the work 'droid in the rack to pieces.

EV-9D9: (to Gamorrean guard; subtitled) Guard! This protocol 'droid might be useful. Fit him with a restraining bolt and take him back to His Excellency’s main audience chamber.

The guard shoves Threepio toward the door.

C-3PO: (led out door) Artoo, don’t leave me! Ohhh!

Artoo lets out a plaintive cry as the door closes. Then he beeps angrily.

EV-9D9: (subtitled) You’re a feisty little one, but you’ll soon learn some respect. I have need for you on the master’s sail barge, and I think you’ll fit in nicely.

EXT. JABBA’S PALACE – SUNSET

The palace is sitting in the dim light of the distant yellow sun.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – NIGHT

Silence. The room is deserted, only the awful debris of the celebration giving mute witness to the activity here before. A few drunk individuals lie unconscious around the room, snoring loudly.

A shadowy figure moves stealthily among the columns at the perimeter of the room and is revealed to be Boba Fett. He picks his way carefully through the snoring, drunken beings.

Han Solo, the frozen smuggler, hangs spotlighted on the wall, his coffin-like slab suspended by a force field. The bounty hunter deactivates the force field by flipping a control switch to one side of the slab. The heavy case slowly lowers to the floor of the alcove.

Fett steps up to the case, studying Han, and then turns to the controls on the side of the slab. He activates a series of switches and, after one last hesitant look at Han, slides the de-carbonization lever. The slab begins to emit a SOUND as the hard shell covering the contours of Han’s face begins melting away. The bounty hunter watches as Han’s body is freed of its metallic coat and his forearms and hands, previously raised in reflexive protest, drop slackly to his side. His face muscles relax from their mask of horror. He collapses to the floor.

Fett leans close to Han’s face listening for the breath of life. Han’s eyes pop open with a start and he begins spasming. The bounty hunter steadies the unorthodox newborn.

BOBA FETT: Just relax for a moment. You’re free of the carbonite.

Han touches his own face.

BOBA FETT: Shhh. You have hibernation sickness.

HAN: I can’t see.

BOBA FETT: Your eyesight will return in time.

HAN: Where am I?

BOBA FETT: Jabba’s palace.

HAN: (feels Fett’s faceplate) Who are you?

The bounty hunter reaches up and removes the Mandalorian helmet from his head, revealing the beautiful face of LEIA ORGANA.

LEIA: Someone who loves you.

HAN: Leia!

They kiss.

LEIA: I gotta get you outta here.

As Leia helps her weakened lover to stand up, the relative quiet is pierced by an obscene HUTT CHUCKLE from the other side of the alcove.

HAN: What’s that? (beat) I know that laugh.

The curtain on the far side of the alcove opens, revealing Jabba the Hutt, surrounded by Fortuna and other courtiers. He laughs again and his gross cronies join in a cacophony of dark glee.

HAN: Hey, Jabba. Look, Jabba, I was just on my way to pay you back, but I got a little sidetracked. It’s not my fault.

JABBA: (subtitled) It’s too late for that, Solo. You may have been a good smuggler, but now you’re Bantha fodder.

HAN: Look –

JABBA (subtitled) Take him away.

The guards grab Han and start to lead him away.

HAN: Jabba, I’ll pay you triple! You’re throwing away a fortune here! Don’t be a fool!

Han is dragged off. A guard intercepts Leia and begins to lead her away.

JABBA: (subtitled) Bring her to me.

Jabba chuckles as the guard is joined by another and they drag the beautiful young Rebel toward him. Threepio peeks from behind the monster.

LEIA: We have … powerful friends. You’re gonna regret this.

JABBA: (subtitled) I’m sure.

Inexorably Leia’s lovely face moves to within a few inches of Jabba’s ugly blob of a head, and she turns away in disgust as he sticks out his slimy, fetid tongue.

LEIA: UGH….

C-3PO: Ohhh, I can’t bear to watch.

Crumb laughs.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/DUNGEON/CELL – EVENING

The heavy metal door of the dungeon whines and slowly creaks open. A guard throws the blinded captain into the dark cell and the door slams shut behind him, leaving only a thin sliver of light from a crack in the door. Han is trying to collect himself when suddenly a GROWL is heard from the far side of the cell. He jumps back against the cell door and listens.

HAN: Chewie? Chewie, is that you?

The shadowy figure lets out a crazy yell and races toward Han, lifting him off the ground with a big hug that carries them into the light, revealing CHEWBACCA.

HAN: Chew-Chewie!

The giant Wookiee barks with glee.

HAN: Wait. I can’t see, pal. What’s goin’ on?

Chewie barks an excited blue streak.

HAN: Rescue? Well, if this is your big plan, so far I’m not impressed.

Chewie holds Han to his chest and pets his head.

HAN: I’m alright, pal. I’m alright.

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/ENTRANCE HALL – DAY

Noisily, the main gate lifts to flood the blackness with blinding light and reveal the silhouetted figure of LUKE SKYWALKER. He is clad in a black uniform and hooded cloak and wears neither blaster nor lightsaber. The Jedi strides purposefully into the hallway.

Two Gamorreans move to block Luke’s path. Luke halts and raises his hand at the piggish guards, who immediately lower their weapons and fall back, CHOKING.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

Jabba is asleep on his throne, Leia dozing in front of him. She is now dressed in little more than a pair of suede boots, gold bikini, G-string, and decorative armband; a chain runs from a collar at her throat to the throne of her new Hutt master. Threepio stands behind Jabba. Crumb sits by Jabba’s tail, watching it wriggle.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/ENTRANCE HALL – DAY

Bib Fortuna appears out of the gloom. He speaks to Luke as they approach each other, but Luke doesn’t stop and Fortuna must reverse his direction and hurry alongside the young Jedi in order to carry on the conversation. Several other guards fall in behind them in the darkness.

LUKE: I must speak with Jabba.

Fortuna answers in Huttese, shaking his head in denial.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

Leia awakens, looking up in recognition of Luke’s voice.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/ENTRANCE HALL – DAY

Luke stops and stares at Fortuna; he raises his hand slightly.

LUKE: You will take me to Jabba now.

Fortuna turns in hypnotic response to Luke’s command, and Luke follows him into the gloom.

LUKE: You serve your master well.

BIB FORTUNA: (in Huttese) I serve my master well.

LUKE: And you will be rewarded.

BIB FORTUNA: (in Huttese) And I will be rewarded.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

Threepio reacts at the sight of Luke as Fortuna comes up to the gangster slug.

C-3PO: At last! Master Luke’s come to rescue me.

BIB FORTUNA: Master.

Jabba awakens with a start. His majordomo continues.

BIB FORTUNA: (cont’d) Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight.

JABBA: (subtitled) Who told you to admit him‽

LUKE: I must be allowed to speak.

BIB FORTUNA: (subtitled) He must be allowed to speak.

Jabba, furious, clobbers Fortuna and shoves him away.

JABBA: (subtitled) You weak-minded fool! He’s using an old Jedi mind trick!

LUKE: (removes hood; firm) You will bring Capt. Solo and the Wookiee to me.

JABBA: (subtitled) Your mind powers will not work on me, boy.

LUKE: (nonchalant) Nevertheless, I’m taking Capt. Solo and his friends. You can either profit by this or be destroyed. It’s your choice. But I warn you not to underestimate my powers.

Jabba’s laugh is mean and loud. Threepio attempts to warn Luke about the pit.

C-3PO: Master Luke, you’re standing on –

JABBA: (subtitled) I was killing your kind when being a Jedi meant something. I shall enjoy watching you die.

Luke reaches out; a blaster jumps out of a guard’s holster and flies into Luke’s hand. A Gamorrean grabs for it as Jabba raises his hand.

JABBA: Boscka!

The floor suddenly drops away, sending Luke and the hapless Gamorrean into the pit. The pistol goes off, blasting a hole in the ceiling. Jabba laughs and his cadre joins in. Leia starts forward but is restrained by a Human guard – Lando, recognizable behind his mask. She looks at him and he silently warns her “no”.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT – DAY

Luke and the guard have dropped eight metres from a chute into the dank oubliette. Luke gets to his feet as the guard yells hysterically for help. A crowd gathers up around the edge of the pit as the door in the side of the pit starts to RUMBLE open. The guard screams in panic. Luke looks calmly around for a means of escape.

C-3PO: Oh, no! The rancor!

At the side of the pit, an iron door rumbles upward and a giant, fanged RANCOR emerges. The Gamorrean runs to the side of the pit and tries futilely to scramble to the top. The hideous beast closes in on him.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

The spectators look on.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT – DAY

The rancor moves past Luke, and as the guard continues to scramble, the rancor picks him up and pops him into its slavering jaws. A few SCREAMS, and the Gamorrean is swallowed with a CRUNCH and a GULP.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

The audience cheers and laughs at the Gamorrean guard’s fate.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT – DAY

The monster turns and starts for Luke. The Jedi suddenly leaps eight meters straight up and grabs onto the overhead grate.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

The crowd begins to BOO and HISS.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT – DAY

Hand over hand, Luke climbs under the grating toward the corner of the cave. One hand slips on the oily grate, and he dangles precariously over the slobbering rancor.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

Two Ranats run across the top of the grate, mashing Luke’s hand with their rifle butts. The crowd roars in approval.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT – DAY

Luke finally loses his grip and drops directly into the rancor’s eye. The Jedi tumbles to the floor as the rancor screams in pain. It stumbles, batting its eye in agony, staggers in circles a few times, then spots Luke again and comes at him.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

Jabba smiles.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT – DAY

The young Jedi dashes away just ahead of the monster’s swipe at him, and picks up the long femur of an earlier victim. The monster grabs Luke and brings him up to his salivating mouth.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

The crowd cheers wildly. Leia can hardly bear to watch.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT – DAY

At the last moment, Luke wedges the bone in the monster’s mouth and is dropped to the floor. The monster bellows in rage and flails about, hitting the side of the pit, causing a tremor.

The monster crushes the bone in its jaws and sees Luke, who squeezes into a crevice in the pit wall. Luke looks past the monster to the holding cave beyond. On the far side of the holding cave is a utility door. The rancor spots Luke and reaches into the crevice for him. Luke grabs a large rock and raises it, smashing it down on the rancor’s finger.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT/HOLDING CAVE – DAY

The rancor lets out a loud HOWL as Luke makes a run for the holding cave. He reaches the door and pushes a button to open it. When he succeeds, he sees a heavy barred gate between him and safety. Beyond the gate the TWO RANCOR KEEPERS look up from their dinner. Luke turns to see the monster heading for him and pulls with all his might on the gate. One of the keepers moves to the gate and shoves the young Jedi back.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

The audience is mad with excitement.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT/HOLDING CAVE –- DAY

Luke crouches against the wall as the monster reaches for him. Suddenly he notices a main door control panel halfway up the wall. As the rancor moves in for the kill, Luke uses the Force to push the panel. The giant overhead door comes crashing down on the beast’s head, crushing its skull.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

A startled GASP is heard from the stunned court. There’s consternation at this turn of events. Heads look to Jabba, who is actually turning red with anger.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT – DAY

The beast breathes its last.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

Leia cannot suppress her joy.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT/HOLDING CAVE – DAY

The rancor keepers have come into the cave and are examining their dead beast. One of them tries to pick a fight with Luke; the other breaks down and weeps. Several guards rush into the holding cave and take Luke away.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

Jabba utters harsh commands to his guards and they hurry off.

JABBA: (enraged; subtitled) Bring me Solo and the Wookiee! They will all suffer for this outrage!

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/RANCOR PIT/HOLDING CAVE – DAY

The weeping rancor keeper is consoled by his comrade and led away.

INT. JABBA’S PALACE/THRONE ROOM – DAY

The crowd of creepy courtiers parts as Han and Chewie are brought into the throne room and other guards drag Luke up the steps.

LUKE: Are you alright?

HAN: Fine. Together again, huh?

LUKE: Wouldn’t miss it.

HAN: How are we doing?

LUKE: The same as always.

HAN: That bad, huh?

Threepio is standing behind the grotesque gangster as the Hutt strokes Leia like a pet cat. Several of the guards, including Lando, bring Luke from the other side of the room.

Threepio steps forward and translates for the captives as Jabba issues his declaration.

C-3PO: Oh, dear. (beat) His High Exaltedness, the great Jabba the Hutt, has decreed that you are to be terminated … immediately.

HAN: Good. I hate long waits.

C-3PO: You will therefore be taken to the Waste Lands and cast into the pit of Carkoon, the nesting place of the all-powerful Sarlacc.

HAN: (to Luke) Doesn’t sound so bad.

C-3PO: In his belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a … thousand years.

HAN: On second thought, let’s pass on that, huh?

Chewie barks his agreement.

LUKE: (smiles) You should have bargained, Jabba.

Jabba barks something in Huttese.

LUKE: (cont’d) That’s the last mistake you’ll ever make.

Jabba cackles evilly at this.

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

EXT. WASTE LANDS – DAY

Jabba’s huge sail barge moves above the rocky desert surface accompanied by two smaller skiffs.

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

Jabba’s entire retinue is travelling with him, drinking, eating, and having a good time.

EXT. WASTE LANDS – DAY

The sail barge and skiffs continue their journey.

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

Jabba the Hutt rides like a sultan in the massive antigravity ship. Leia is watching her friends in one of the skiffs.

EXT. WASTE LANDS – DAY

One of the skiffs glides close, revealing Luke, Han, and Chewie – all in bonds – surrounded by guards, one of whom is Lando in disguise.

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

The chain attached to Leia’s neck is pulled tight, and Jabba tugs the scantily clad brunette to him.

JABBA: (subtitled) Soon you will learn to appreciate me.

CUT TO

Threepio wandering among the sail barge guests.

The protocol 'droid bumps into a smaller 'droid serving drinks, spilling them all over the place. The stubby droid lets out an angry series of beeps and whistles.

C-3PO: Oh, I’m terribly sor-- Artoo! What are you doing here?

Artoo beeps a quick reply.

C-3PO: Well, I can see you’re serving drinks, but this place is dangerous. They’re going to execute Master Luke and, if we’re not careful, us too!

Artoo whistles a sing-song response.

C-3PO: Hmmm. I wish I had your confidence.

EXT. WASTE LANDS – PIT OF CARKOON – DAY

The convoy moves up over a huge rock pit. The sail barge stops to one side of the depression, as does the escort skiff. But the prisoners’ skiff moves out directly over the center and hovers. At the bottom of the deep cone of stone is a repulsive, mucous-lined hole, surrounded by thousands of needle-sharp teeth. This is the SARLACC. A plank is extended from the edge of the prisoners’ skiff. Guards release Luke’s bonds and shove him out onto the plank above the Sarlacc’s mouth.

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

Jabba and Leia are now by the windows, watching. Threepio leans forward and the slobbering villain mumbles something to him. As Threepio steps up to a comlink, Jabba raises his arm and the motley array of interstellar pirates fall silent.

EXT. SAIL BARGE – DAY

Threepio’s voice is amplified across loudspeakers.

C-3PO: (O.S.) Victims of the almighty Sarlacc: His Excellency hopes that you will die honourably. But should any of you wish to beg for mercy …

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

Bib Fortuna listens gleefully.

EXT. SAIL BARGE – DAY

THREEPIO: (O.S.; cont’d) The great Jabba the Hutt will now listen to your pleas.

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

Jabba waits for the prisoners’ replies, as Artoo zips unnoticed up the ramp to the upper deck.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – DAY

HAN: Threepio, you tell that slimy piece of worm-ridden … filth he’ll get no such pleasure from us. (beat) Right?

Chewie growls his agreement.

EXT. SAIL BARGE/UPPER DECK – DAY

Artoo appears on the upper deck of the sail barge.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – DAY

LUKE: Jabba! This is your last chance. Free us, or die.

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

The assembled gangsters rock with mocking laughter. Jabba’s laughter subsides as he speaks into the comlink.

JABBA: (subtitled) Move him into position.

Leia looks worried.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – PLANK – DAY

Luke is prodded by a guard to the edge of the plank over the gaping Sarlacc. He exchanges nods with Lando.

EXT. SAIL BARGE/UPPER DECK – DAY

Artoo is at the rail, facing the pit.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF –- PLANK – DAY

Han looks around for a way out of their plight.

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

Leia waits with bated breath.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – PLANK – DAY

Luke looks up at Artoo, then gives a jaunty salute: the signal the little 'droid has been waiting for.

EXT. SAIL BARGE/UPPER DECK – DAY

A panel slides open in Artoo’s domed head.

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

JABBA: (subtitled) Put him in.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – PLANK – DAY

Luke is prodded and jumps off the plank to the cheers of the bloodthirsty spectators. But, before anyone can even perceive what is happening, he spins around and grabs the end of the plank. The plank bends wildly from his weight and catapults him skyward.

EXT. BARGE/UPPER DECK – DAY

Artoo sends Luke’s lightsaber shooting out of his dome, arching toward him.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – PLANK – DAY

In midair Luke does a complete flip and drops down on the end of the plank in the same spot he just vacated, but facing the skiff. He casually extends an open palm and his lightsaber drops into his hand.

With blinding speed, Luke ignites the emerald blade and attacks the guard who prodded him off the plank, sending the hapless creature screaming overboard. The other guards swarm toward Luke. He wades into them, lightsaber flashing. Lando struggles with another guard at the back of the skiff.

EXT. WASTE LANDS – PIT OF CARKOON – DAY

A bewildered guard lands in the soft, sandy slope of the pit and begins sliding. He claws desperately as a Sarlacc tentacle grabs him and pulls him screaming into the viscous maw.

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

Jabba watches this and explodes in rage. He barks commands, and the guards around him rush off to do his bidding. The skuzzy creatures watching the action from the window are in an uproar.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – DAY

Luke knocks another guard off the skiff and into the waiting mouth of the Sarlacc. He starts to untie Chewie’s bonds.

LUKE: Easy, Chewie.

At that moment, the deck gunmen on the barge unleashes a series of white blasts from a blaster cannon on the upper deck. Lando is tossed from the deck of the rocking skiff. He manages to grab a cable, dangling desperately above the Sarlacc pit.

LANDO: Help!

Luke has freed Han and Chewie from their bonds when the skiff takes another direct hit from the barge’s deck gun. Shards of skiff deck fly. Chewie and Han are thrown against the rail.

LANDO: Han! Chewie‽

HAN: Lando!

CUT TO

Luke.

The Jedi is a little shaken but remains standing as a fusillade brackets him. The second skiff, loaded with guards firing their weapons, moves in on Luke fast. Luke leaps toward the incoming second skiff. The young Jedi leaps into the middle of the second skiff and begins decimating the guards from their midst.

CUT TO

Han.

Han grabs hold of a fallen vibroaxe. Lando, far below, can’t see any of this.

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

Leia turns from the spectacle outside, picks up a statuette and smashes it over a control panel, throwing the observation deck into darkness. She then leaps onto Jabba’s throne, then throws the chain that enslaves her over his head around his bulbous neck. Then she dives off the other side of the throne, pulling the chain violently in her grasp. Jabba’s flaccid neck contracts beneath the tightening chain. His huge eyes bulge from their sockets and his scum-coated tongue flops out. He trumpets in dismay and outrage.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – DAY

Luke continues to destroy the foes on the guards’ skiff as Han extends the vibroaxe shaft downward to Lando, who is still dangling precariously from a cable on the prisoner’s skiff.

HAN: Lando, grab it!

LANDO: Lower it!

HAN: I’m trying!

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

Leia pulls on the chain with all of her strength, bracing herself against Jabba’s back. The exalted Hutt’s huge tail spasms through its death throes and then slams down into final darkness.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – DAY

A major hit from the barge deck gun knocks the skiff on its side. Han and almost everything else on board slides overboard. The cable snaps and Lando falls to the side of the Sarlacc pit. Luckily, Han’s foot catches on the skiff railing and he dangles above Lando and the pit. The wounded Wookiee holds onto the skiff for dear life as another hit from the deck gun rocks the skiff violently.

HAN: Grab me, Chewie! I’m slipping!

Chewie grabs hold of Han’s feet, holding him upside down as Han extends the axe toward Lando, who is clutching to the side of the pit.

EXT. GUARDS’ SKIFF – DAY

Luke finishes off the last guard on the second skiff. He sees the deck gun blasting away at his helpless companions.

EXT. SAIL BARGE/UPPER DECK – DAY

The deck gunner continues to blast away.

EXT. SAIL BARGE – DAY

Luke leaps from the skiff, across a chasm of air, to the sheer metallic side of the sail barge. Barely able to get a fingerhold, he begins a painful climb up the hull, when suddenly a hand grasping a blaster pops out through a hatch millimetres from his head. With Jedi agility, Luke grasps the wrist holding the gun and yanks the helpless guard through the hatch and into the deadly pit.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – DAY

The injured Chewie is holding onto the dangling Han, who is in turn reaching down toward the desperate Lando. Lando has stopped his slippage down the sandy slope of the Sarlacc pit by lying very still. Every time he tries to reach for Han, the loose sand moves him closer to his final reward.

HAN: Grab it! Almost … you almost got it!

EXT. SAIL BARGE/UPPER DECK –- DAY

The deck gunner fires again.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – DAY

The blast hits the front of the tilted skiff, causing Lando to let go of the vibroaxe.

EXT. SAIL BARGE/UPPER DECK – DAY

The deck gunners have Chewie and the desperate dangling Human chain in their sights when something up on deck commands their attention. Luke, standing before them like a dark warrior, ignites his green lightsaber. The deck gunners have barely reached for their blaster pistols before the young Jedi has begun cutting them down.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – DAY

Again Han extends the axe shaft toward Lando.

HAN: Gently now. Al-alright. Easy, easy. Hold me, Chewie!

Lando SCREAMS. One of the Sarlacc’s tentacles has wrapped tightly around his ankle, dragging him down the side of the pit.

HAN: Chewie!

EXT. SAIL BARGE/UPPER DECK – DAY

Luke is warding off blasterfire with his lightsaber, surrounded by guards and fighting like a demon.

EXT. PRISONERS’ SKIFF – DAY

Chewie, give me the gun. (takes blaster from Chewie) Don’t move, Lando.

Han adjusts his aim as Lando lowers his head, and the smuggler fires at the tentacle. Direct hit. The tentacle releases Lando, and Chewie starts to pull them aboard the skiff.

HAN: Chewie, pull us up! Up, Chewie, up!

INT. SAIL BARGE/OBSERVATION DECK – DAY

Artoo extends a small plasma torch and blasts Leia’s chains apart.

LEIA: C’mon. We gotta get out of here quick.

Artoo and Leia race for the exit, passing Threepio, who is kicking and screaming as Salacious Crumb picks out one of the golden 'droid’s eyes.

C-3PO: Not my eyes! Artoo, help! Quickly, Artoo! Oh! Ohhh! You beast!

Artoo zips over and zaps Crumb. The noxious monkey-lizard expands and explodes.

EXT. SAIL BARGE/UPPER DECK – DAY

Leia emerges onto the deck as Luke turns to face another guard.

LUKE: (to Leia) Get the gun! Point it at the deck!

Leia turns toward the blaster cannon, climbs on the platform, and swivels the gun around.

LUKE: Point it at the deck!

A blaster bolt hits Luke’s mechanical hand and he bends over in pain, but manages to swing his lightsaber upward and take out the last of the guards.

EXT. GUARDS’ SKIFF – DAY

Han, Lando, and Chewie have jumped ship to the intact second skiff. They pick up Artoo and Threepio.

EXT. SAIL BARGE/UPPER DECK – DAY

Luke runs along the empty deck toward Leia and the barge gun, which she has pointed down at the deck.

LUKE: C’mon!

Luke has hold on one of the rigging cables from the mast. He gathers Leia in his other arm then kicks the trigger of the deck gun. The gun discharges into the deck as Luke and Leia swing out toward the skiff.

EXT. GUARDS’ SKIFF – DAY

Luke and Leia land on the skiff with flair.

LUKE: Let’s go!

LANDO: We’re on our way.

EXT. WASTE LANDS – PIT OF CARKOON – DAY

The hull of the sail barge begins to buckle as the vehicle is engulfed in conflagration. The little skiff skips around the burning sail barge. As the skiff sails off across the desert, the barge settles to the sand and disappears in one final explosion.

EXT. WASTE LANDS – LANDING AREA – DAY

A ferocious windstorm buffets the rocky landscape. Then, through the ROAR, we hear the voices of our heroes. They emerge into view, pressing on against the wind. First come Artoo and Threepio, followed by Leia and Han, then Luke and Lando, each supporting one side of the towering Chewbacca, who hobbles from his wound.

Soon, they come to two parked starships. It is the Millennium Falcon and Luke’s trusty X-Wing. Taking out a remote, Lando hits a switch and the boarding ramp of the Falcon lowers with a HUM.

As soon as the group huddles under the bulk of the Falcon, the wind dies down.

LEIA: (hugs Luke) If you hadn’t arrived when you did….

LUKE: Why didn’t you go in with a strike team?

LEIA: Alliance High Command couldn’t sanction it. (exchanges glances with Lando) We had to do it alone.

LANDO: What sent you out this way?

LUKE: Just a feeling.

Artoo beeps.

C-3PO: (nonplussed) Don’t be impudent!

LUKE: What’s the word, Threepio?

C-3PO: He says if you’d held onto your lightsaber, this ordeal could’ve been resolved at the palace.

LUKE: (grins; to Artoo) I didn’t have a choice in the matter, did I?

Artoo gives a conciliatory hoot.

LUKE: (to Han & Leia) I’ll see you back at the fleet.

HAN: Why don’t you leave that crate and come with us? We’re faster.

LUKE: (shakes head) I have someone to see … an old friend.

Luke and Leia exchange kisses, then Luke turns to leave.

HAN: Hey kid!

Luke stops and turns back to Han.

HAN: Thanks for coming after me.

LUKE: Think nothing of it.

HAN: I’m thinking … I owe you one.

The two men shake hands, then Luke leaves for his X-Wing.

HAN: (to Lando; uncomfortable) Guess I owe you some thanks, too, Lando.

LANDO: Figured if I left you frozen like that you’d just give me bad luck the rest of my life, so I might as well get you unfrozen sooner as later.

LEIA: He means “You’re welcome”. (smiles) We all mean you’re welcome. (kisses Han’s cheek)

LANDO: Come on, let’s get off this miserable dust ball.

Han, Leia, Lando, Chewie and Threepio walk up the ramp into the Falcon. Han pauses and pats the side of the ship affectionately.

HAN: You’re looking good, ol’ girl. Never thought I’d see you again.

He heads up the ramp, and it finally closes.

EXT. SPACE – NAR HEKKA

The desolate gray planet fills the screen. The Falcon appears and grows huge, to roar directly over camera, followed by Luke’s X-Wing, which peels off to the left.

INT. LUKE’S X-WING/COCKPIT

A message from Artoo appears on the small monitor screen in front of Luke. He smiles at the monitor and speaks to Artoo as he pulls a black glove on to cover his damaged mechanical hand.

LUKE: That’s right, Artoo. We’re going to the Dagobah system. (beat) Still have some unfinished business there.

EXT. SPACE

Luke’s X-Wing soars off.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

Threepio sits at one of the side consoles, with Lando at the other side.

LANDO: Threepio, what’s holding up that hyperdrive diagnostic?

C-3PO: I’m very sorry, sir. My damaged photoreceptor appears to be giving me a bit of double vision.

Leia, seated in the co-pilot’s seat, looks at Threepio, surprised at the faint tone of hurt in the golden robot’s voice. She leans over to him.

LEIA: (concerned) Threepio, are you alright?

C-3PO: Well….

Leia rests a hand on Threepio’s shoulder. Lando helps Threepio up and out of the cockpit.

LANDO: Come on back to the engineering bay, Threepio. We’ll see if we can’t get your eye back in focus.

C-3PO: That would be much appreciated, sir. Thank you.

Han and Leia are left alone in the cockpit. Leia gazes at Han, who is carefully keeping his eyes from meeting hers.

LEIA: You’re welcome, Han.

HAN: (doesn’t look at her) Huh?

LEIA: Just … making it easy for you. You are sitting there trying to figure out a way to thank me, weren’t you?

HAN: Uh … yeah, I was getting to it. I was getting to it.

LEIA: And?

HAN: Not a … bad rescue. For a princess.

LEIA: (irate) Compared to yours, you mean? How well planned the Death Star foray was, for instance.

HAN: Well, you’re not in that detention cell anymore, are you?

LEIA: (temper rising) You’re not in that carbonite slab anymore, are you?

HAN: (placating) Alright, alright….

Leia gets up and starts out the cockpit, then pauses and looks back.

LEIA: And while you’re replying in kind … what about the last thing I said to you in Cloud City? (coy) Just before Vader froze you?

A beat. Han struggles with his answer.

HAN: Whew…. A lot of that’s … kinda blurry, Leia.

Leia is slightly disappointed.

LEIA: Nevermind. It’ll come back to you.

HAN: Uh, it looks like we’re about ready for the jump to hyperspace.

LEIA: Well, I’m sure you can handle that. So, if you’ll excuse me, Captain, I’m gonna go find some clothes that don’t require a cabaret permit.

She starts to leave again.

HAN: Uh, hey – uh, Leia?

Leia turns, hopeful.

HAN: Uhh … you gonna throw those ones away?

Leia smirks mischievously.

LEIA: We’ll see.

As she steps out of the cockpit, she bumps into Lando.

LEIA: Oops! Sorry, Lando.

LANDO: A distinct pleasure, Princess.

LEIA: Uh-huh.

LANDO: Where’re you going?

LEIA: I’m gonna throw on something a little more durable.

LANDO: Ooh. A crime against art, Your Highness.

LEIA: I thought you were repairing Threepio!

HAN: (sardonic) Yeah, me too.

LANDO: Chewie’s handling it.

Leia’s gone and the cockpit door slides shut. Lando takes her place at the co-pilot’s chair.

LANDO: (smiles) So what do you think of your baby, Han? Supple and bewitching, isn’t she?

HAN: (points at Lando; irate) Don’t push your luck, Lando!

LANDO: (frowns) What’s got up your afterburner‽ I’m talking about the Falcon!

HAN: (embarrassed) Oh. That.

LANDO: Put a lot of sweat and money into her while you were in cold storage.

HAN: Well, the way I heard it, you almost wrecked her on Coruscant.

LANDO: Oh, relax, pal.

HAN: (flustered) Gimme a break, Lando! You letting Threepio fly the Falcon

LANDO: (shrugs) We made it, didn’t we?

HAN: Okay. Alright. Let’s just drop it.

EXT. SPACE

The Millennium Falcon soars away into the starry void.

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

I’ve begun listening to the ROTJ radio drama. As such, I’ve decided to make some changes to what I’ve written already to incorporate scenes and ideas from the radio drama – namely, inserting an alternate opening with Vader and Palpatine on Coruscant and a scene with Han, Leia, and Lando on the Falcon after they escape Jabba’s. I’ve also inserted a new opening crawl based on the one here.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The gas giant Endor lies suspended in the ether. In the foreground, its small moon. Turned away from their sun, these sides of both the gaseous titan and terrestrial moon are shrouded in deep night.

The Star Dreadnought Executor moves overhead toward the dark side of the moon, followed by two TIE fighters. The small, gray Lambda-class shuttle ST 321 rockets from the main bay of the ship and hustles toward the lunar disc.

As the Imperial shuttle closes in on the moon, it soon dawns that the ST 321 isn’t headed into the atmosphere; hidden in shadow, all but invisible save for the baleful red maw of its main docking bay, is the Empire’s new superweapon.

INT. ST 321/COCKPIT

The shuttle pilot makes contact with the war machine.

PILOT: Command station, this is ST 321. Code Clearance Blue. Deactivate the security shield.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/CONTROL ROOM

CONTROLLER #1: The security deflector shield will be deactivated when we have confirmation of your code transmission. Stand by.

Operators move about among the control panels. A shield operator hits switches beside a large screen, on which is a display of the superweapon, Endor and its moon, and a bright web delineating the invisible deflector shield.

INT. ST 321/COCKPIT

CONTROLLER #1: (O.S.) You are clear to proceed.

PILOT: We’re starting our approach.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/CONTROL ROOM

The control officer, LIEUTENANT ENDICOTT, moves to a viewport and watches as the ST 321 lands in the massive docking bay.

CONTROLLER #1: Lord Vader’s shuttle has entered the hangar bay field.

MOFF TIAAN JERJERROD, commander of this facility, enters the control room. A tall, confident technocrat, he currently wears an expression of displeasure upon his face.

MOFF JERJERROD: Lieutenant, what is the meaning of this?

OFFICER: Battle station commander on deck!

A tall, confident technocrat, Jerjerrod approaches the lieutenant. The moff’s brow is furrowed with unease.

MOFF JERJERROD: (cont’d) Why wasn’t I informed that Lord Vader was coming?

LT. ENDICOTT: We received no advance word, Moff Jerjerrod. Lord Vader’s shuttle simply arrived and –

MOFF JERJERROD: (interrupts) Nevermind that now! (glances out viewport) Have your men stand ready.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/MAIN DOCKING BAY

Imperial officers, non-coms, and stormtroopers assemble in two rows before the craft. Jerjerrod strides through the assembled personnel to the base of the shuttle ramp. Many of the personnel are uneasy about the new arrival, but the moff stands tall.

The exit hatch of the shuttle opens with a WHOOSH, revealing only darkness. Then, heavy FOOTSTEPS and MECHANICAL BREATHING. From this black void Darth Vader appears. The Dark Lord of the Sith looks over the assemblage as he walks down the ramp.

MOFF JERJERROD: Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We’re honoured by your presence.

DARTH VADER: You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I’m here to put you back on schedule.

MOFF JERJERROD: I assure you, Lord Vader, my men are working as fast as they can.

DARTH VADER: Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.

MOFF JERJERROD: (halts) I tell you, this construct will be operational as planned.

DARTH VADER: The emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation.

MOFF JERJERROD: But he asks the impossible. I need more men.

DARTH VADER: Then perhaps you can tell him when he arrives.

MOFF JERJERROD: (aghast) The emperor’s coming here?

DARTH VADER: That is correct, Commander. And he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.

MOFF JERJERROD: We shall double our efforts.

DARTH VADER: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The emperor is not as forgiving as I am.

Vader leaves Jerjerrod. Turning around, the moff departs in the opposite direction.

EXT. DAGOBAH – YODA’S HOUSE – EVENING

Once again, Artoo finds himself waiting around in the damp environs of this swampy region of the planet, and he’s none too happy about it. He beeps disconsolately to himself and turns to look at Yoda’s cottage. Warm yellow light escapes the oddly shaped windows to fight the gloom.

INT. YODA’S HOUSE – EVENING

We see the familiar face of YODA, THE JEDI MASTER. Sitting up under the covers of his small bed, his manner is frail, and his voice, though cheerful, seems weaker.

YODA: Hmmm. That face you make. Look I so old to young eyes?

Luke is sitting in a corner of the cramped space and, indeed, his look is woeful. Caught, he tries to hide it.

LUKE: No … of course not.

YODA: (chuckles) I do. (coughs) Yes, I do. (beat) Sick have I become. Old and weak. (points at Luke) When nine-hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not. Hmm?

Yoda chuckles at this, coughs.

YODA: Soon will I rest. Yes, forever sleep. (sighs) Earned it, I have.

LUKE: Master Yoda, you can’t die.

YODA: Strong am I with the Force … but not that strong. Twilight is upon me and soon night must fall. (beat) That is the way of things … the way of the Force.

LUKE: But I need your help. I’ve come back to complete the training.

YODA: No more training do you require. Already know you that which you need.

Yoda sighs and lies back on his bed.

LUKE: Then I am a Jedi.

YODA: (coughs) Not yet. One thing remains: Vader. You must confront Vader. Then, only then, a Jedi will you be. And confront him you will.

Luke is in agony. He is silent for a long moment, screwing up his courage. Finally he is able to ask.

LUKE: Master Yoda … is Darth Vader my father?

Yoda’s eyes are full of weariness and compassion. An odd, sad smile creases his face.

YODA: A question late in coming….

Luke watches him, each moment an eternity.

LUKE: Yoda, I must know.

YODA: (resigned) Your father he is.

Luke reacts as if cut.

YODA: Told you, did he?

LUKE: (nods) Yes.

A new look of concern crosses Yoda’s face. He closes his eyes.

YODA: Unexpected this is … and unfortunate.

LUKE: (perturbed) Unfortunate that I know the truth?

Yoda opens his eyes again and studies the youth.

YODA: No. (gathers strength) Unfortunate that you rushed to face him … that incomplete was your training. Not ready for the burden were you.

LUKE: (shakes head) I’m sorry.

Yoda beckons the young Jedi closer to him. His time is very short indeed.

YODA: Luke … Luke … do not … do not underestimate the powers of the emperor, or suffer your father’s fate, you will. (weakens) Luke, when gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be. (falters) Luke, the Force runs strong in your family. Pass on what you have learned. Luke … (with great effort) There … is … another … Sk … Sky … walk … er…

His breath catches in his throat. The ancient green creature’s form slumps, and he dies. Luke stares at his dead master as he disappears in front of his eyes, leaving behind only his homespun garments.

EXT. SWAMP – X-WING – EVENING

Luke wanders back to where his ship is sitting. Artoo beeps a greeting, but is ignored by his depressed master. Luke kneels down, begins to help Artoo with the ship, then stops and shakes his head dejectedly.

LUKE: I can’t do it, Artoo. (beat) I can’t go on alone.

BEN: (O.C.) Yoda will always be with you.

Luke looks up to see the shimmering image of BEN KENOBI.

LUKE: Obi-Wan. (approaches Ben) Why didn’t you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father.

BEN: You father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, he betrayed everything Anakin Skywalker believed in. The good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true – from a certain point of view.

LUKE: (incredulous) A certain point of view‽

BEN: Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.

LUKE: You let me think I was training to face my father’s killer, not to slay my own flesh and blood!

Ben studies Luke in silence for a moment.

BEN: I don’t blame you for being angry. If I was wrong in what I did, it certainly wouldn’t have been for the first time. You see, what happened to your father was my fault.

As Ben speaks, Luke settles on a stump, interested in hearing the ghost’s tale. Artoo comes over to offer his comforting presence.

BEN: (cont’d) When I first knew him, your father was already a great pilot. But I was amazed how strongly the Force was with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought that I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong. Palpatine sensed Anakin’s power, and lured him to the dark side. Such was my foolish pride. (beat) He is more machine, now, than man. Twisted and evil.

LUKE: I can’t do it, Ben.

BEN: To be a Jedi, Luke, you must confront and then go beyond the dark side – the side your father couldn’t get past. Impatience is the easiest door – for you, like your father. Only your father was seduced by what he found on the other side of the door, and you have held firm. You’re no longer so reckless now, Luke. You are strong and patient. And now, you must face Darth Vader again.

LUKE: I can’t kill my own father.

BEN: (discouraged) Then the emperor has already won. You were our only hope.

LUKE: Yoda spoke of another.

BEN: The other he spoke of … is your twin sister.

LUKE: (perplexed) But I have no sister.

BEN: To protect you both from the emperor, you were hidden from your father when you were born. The emperor knew, as I did, if Anakin were to have any offspring, they would be a threat to him. That is the reason why your sister remains safely anonymous.

Luke looks into the distance, trying to comprehend all this.

BEN: Bury your feelings deep down, Luke. They do you credit, but they could be made to serve the emperor.

EXT. SPACE – FOREST MOON

The Executor and several ships of the Imperial Starfleet rest in space above the forest moon. Four squads of TIE fighters escort a polished white Lambda toward the hidden superweapon.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/DOCKING BAY

Thousands of Imperial troops in tight formation fill the mammoth docking bay. Vader and Jerjerrod kneel before the royal shuttle.

The shuttle’s ramp lowered, the emperor’s Royal Guards come out and create a lethal perimetre around the opening. Then Emperor Palpatine himself appears, his small, bent frame slowly making its way down the ramp with the aid of a gnarled black cane.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (beckons to Vader) Rise, my friend.

Vader rises and falls in next to the emperor as he slowly makes his way along the rows of troops. Jerjerrod and the other officers stay kneeling until Palpatine and Vader, followed by several Imperial dignitaries, pass by; only then do they join in the procession.

DARTH VADER: This vessel will be completed on schedule.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: You have done well, Lord Vader. And now I sense you wish to continue your search for young Skywalker.

DARTH VADER: Yes, my master.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Patience, my friend. In time, he will seek you out. And when he does, you must bring him before me. He has grown strong. Only together can we turn him to the dark side of the Force.

DARTH VADER: As you wish.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (grins) Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

He laughs to himself as they pass along the vast line of Imperial troops.

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

EXT. SPACE – SULLUST

In orbit around the volcanically active world, the vast Rebel fleet stretches as far as the eye can see. Fighters and battle cruisers surround the largest of the Rebel star cruisers, the Home One.

INT. HOME ONE/MAIN BRIEFING ROOM

Hundreds of Rebel officers of all races and genders are assembled in the war room. WEDGE ANTILLES is among them. In the centre of the room is a large holographic projector, currently inactive.

MON MOTHMA, the leader of the Alliance, enters the room. She is a stern but beautiful auburn-haired woman in early middle age. Conferring with her are several military leaders, including GENERAL CRIX MADINE and the salmon-coloured Mon Calamari ADMIRAL GIAL ACKBAR. Lando moves through the crowd until he finds Han and Chewie, standing next to Leia and the two 'droids.

Han peers at Lando’s spiffy new military dress uniform and insignia and is amused.

HAN: Commander. Excuse me, I wanted to tell you –- if you ever need a double to trick the Imperials, I know this guy named Lando who looks exactly like you.

LANDO: (amusing) What are you babbling about?

HAN: Well this fella Lando’s not a commander, see. He’s a ladies’ man and a card cheat with a terrible reputation.

LANDO: Cheat? Every time you pick up an honest deck, the face cards start crying.

HAN: (mock surprise) Why Lando, it is you!

They laugh.

LEIA: Don’t pay any attention to Han. He’s just jealous. (smiles wryly) When he went into the carbonite, he was the best-looking pilot in the Rebellion.

LANDO: Ooh!

THREEPIO: Cmdr. Calrissian, you cut an extremely dashing figure in that uniform, if I may say so.

LANDO: Thanks, Threepio.

HAN: So they made you an assault wing commander, huh, Lando?

LANDO: (proud) Someone must have told them about my little maneuver at the Battle of Taanab.

HAN: Well, don’t look at me, pal. I just said you were a fair pilot. I didn’t know they were lookin’ for somebody to lead this crazy attack.

LANDO: I’m surprised they didn’t ask you to do it.

HAN: Well, who says they didn’t? But I ain’t crazy. You’re the respectable one, remember?

Lando flashes his million-credit smile.

Mon Mothma signals for attention, and the room falls silent.

MON MOTHMA: The emperor has made a critical error and the time for our attack has come.

This causes a stir. The chamber lights go dim and the projector comes to life, displaying a blue-green holographic model of the Endor moon and a red-orange model of the Empire’s new superweapon circling it in geostationary orbit. Though incomplete, enough details are present to clearly define its shape and structure. It is a DS-2 Orbital Battle Station – a Death Star II.

MON MOTHMA: The data brought to us by the Bothan spies pinpoints the exact location of the emperor’s new battle station. We also know that the weapon systems of this Death Star are not yet operational. With the Imperial fleet spread throughout the Galaxy in a vain effort to engage us, it is relatively unprotected. But most important of all, we’ve learned that the emperor himself is personally overseeing the final stages of the construction of this Death Star. (morose) Many Bothans died to bring us this information. (beat) Admiral Ackbar, please.

Admiral Ackbar steps forward.

ADM. ACKBAR: You can see here the Death Star orbiting the forest moon of Endor. Although the weapon systems on this Death Star are not yet operational, the Death Star does have a strong defense mechanism. It is protected by an energy shield, which is generated from the nearby forest moon of Endor.

A yellow field simulating the energy shield is projected from the holographic moon, surrounding the Death Star model.

ADM. ACKBAR: (cont’d) The shield must be deactivated if any attack is to be attempted. Once the shield is down, our cruisers will create a perimetre, while the fighters fly into the superstructure and attempt to knock out the main reactor.

The model of the moon is shunted out of view and the red-orange Death Star enlarged, focusing on a diagram of the internal superstructure. A dot representing an attacking vessel travels down the ductwork, strikes home, and the projector powers down with a white flash. The chamber lights come back up to full glow.

ADM. ACKBAR: (cont’d) Cmdr. Calrissian has volunteered to lead the fighter attack.

HAN: (sarcastic) Good luck.

Lando throws him a questioning look.

HAN: (cont’d) You’re gonna need it.

ADM. ACKBAR: General Madine.

Madine moves centre stage. Though he looks like a Human male with an ugly beard and bad haircut, he is in actuality a humanoid with a radically divergent internal anatomy, least of which is the secondary mouth hidden atop his head.

GEN. MADINE: We have stolen an Imperial cargo ship. Using a secret Imperial code, a strike team will land on the moon and deactivate the shield generator.

The assembly begins to mumble among themselves.

C-3PO: Sounds dangerous.

LEIA: (to Han) I wonder who they found to pull that off.

HAN: Probably some sucker who lost a coin flip.

GEN. MADINE: Capt. Solo, is your strike team assembled?

Leia, startled, looks at Han, surprise changing to admiration.

LEIA: Who did you lose the coin flip to, Han? Yourself?

HAN: You could say that. And now look at me – a volunteer. (to Madine) Uh, my team’s ready. I don’t have a command crew for the shuttle.

Chewbacca raises his hairy paw and volunteers. Han looks at him.

HAN: Well, it’s gonna be rough, pal. I didn’t want to speak for you.

Chewie waves that off with a huge GROWL.

HAN: That’s one.

LEIA: (smiles) General … count me in.

C-3PO: While I would not wish to sound presumptuous, Your Highness, I must be included as well. Master Luke would expect no less of me.

LEIA: We couldn’t get along without you, Threepio.

HAN: Welcome aboard, Goldenrod.

GEN. MADINE: Solo, by my reckoning that leaves you one officer short for your command crew.

HAN: Right, sir. I was thinking of asking –

LUKE: (O.C.) I’m with you, too.

Everyone turns in the direction of that voice and peers into the crowd. At the back stands Luke. Han and Leia are surprised and delighted.

HAN: Looks like the roster’s complete, Gen. Madine.

MON MOTHMA: (nods) Time is short. Moreover, we must adjust our own plans to make up for the losses inflicted on us by Lord Vader at the battle of the Baji shipyards. So let us now conclude the overview briefing and divide into operational groups for final preparation.

The officers nod and start to get up. Luke steps down and Leia embraces him warmly. She senses a change in him and looks into his eyes questioningly.

LEIA: (frowns) What is it?

LUKE: (hesitant) Ask me again sometime.

Han and Chewie crowd around Luke as the assembly breaks up.

HAN: Luke.

LUKE: Hi, Han … Chewie.

Artoo beeps a sing-song observation to a worried Threepio.

C-3PO: There are many ways of describing this situation, Artoo, but “exciting” is hardly the word I would choose.

INT. HOME ONE/MAIN DOCKING BAY

The Millennium Falcon rests beyond the stolen Tydirium, a Sentinel-class shuttle which looks anomalous among all the Rebel ships in the vast docking bay. Chewie barks a final farewell to Lando and leads Artoo and Threepio – who have both been repainted camo green – up the shuttle, crowded now with the Rebel strike team loading weapons and supplies. Lando turns to face Han. Luke and Leia have said their good-byes and start up the ramp.

HAN: Look. I want you to take her. I mean it. Take her. You need all the help you can get. She’s the fastest ship in the fleet.

LANDO: (placating) Alright, old buddy. You know, I know what she means to you. I’ll take good care of her. She-she won’t get a scratch. Alright?

HAN: Right.

Han starts to leave, stops, turns back to Lando.

HAN: I got your promise now. Not a scratch.

LANDO: (amused) Look, would you get going, you pirate.

Han and Lando pause, then exchange salutes.

LANDO: Good luck.

HAN: You, too.

Han goes up the ramp. Lando watches him go and then slowly turns away.

INT. TYDIRIUM/COCKPIT

Luke is working on a back control panel as Han comes in and takes the pilot’s seat. Chewie, in the seat next to him, is trying to figure out all the Imperial controls.

LUKE: Chewie, that fake clearance code’s causing static on the IFF transponder. Give me some signal clarification, would you?

Chewie makes an adjustment.

LUKE: Okay, that’s got it.

HAN: You got her warmed?

LUKE: Yeah, she’s comin’ up.

Chewie growls a complaint.

HAN: No. I don’t think the Empire had Wookiees in mind when they designed her, Chewie. (beat) How’s that hand, Luke? You took a nasty shot back there on Nar Hekka.

LUKE: It’s fine, Han. Fixing a bionic limb’s easier than healing flesh and blood, I guess. Being part machine has its advantages.

HAN: You know, we’ve got plenty of spare blasters, Luke. You don’t have to limit yourself to –

LUKE: Thanks anyway, Han, but the lightsaber is the only weapon a Jedi needs.

HAN: Huh.

Han is a bit thrown by the tremendous change in Luke since he saw him last, at Hoth. Luke smiles understandingly.

LUKE: This thing’s gonna come out right, Han. You’ll see. We’ll make it come out right.

HAN: Yeah. Well I wish I had the same confidence in the Force that you do.

LUKE: Well for what it’s worth, the Force seems to have confidence in you.

HAN: For some reason, that doesn’t make me feel any better.

INT. HOME ONE/MAIN DOCKING BAY

The Tydirium warms up.

INT. TYDIRIUM/COCKPIT

Leia comes in from the hold and takes her seat near Luke. Chewie barks and hits some switches. Artoo rolls up and beeps.

C-3PO: Pardon me, Capt. Solo. Artoo says Major Derlin reports his commandos are secured for launch.

LEIA: C’mon, Captain. Liftoff time.

HAN: Right. (beat) Chewie, let’s see what this piece of junk can do. Ready, everybody?

LUKE: All set.

Artoo warbles.

C-3PO: Yes, Artoo. Here we go again.

EXT. SPACE – SULLUST

The stolen Imperial shuttle leaves the main docking bay of Home One, lowers its wings into flight position, and zooms off into space.

INT. TYDIRIUM/COCKPIT

HAN: Alright, hang on.

EXT. SPACE – SULLUST

The Tydirium is launched into hyperspace.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/EMPEROR’S THRONE ROOM

The throne room is dimly lit except for a pool of light at the far end. There the Emperor stands by an elaborate control chair before a large window which looks out across the giant green moon of Endor.

Darth Vader, standing with Jerjerrod and two of Palpatine’s advisors, cautiously approaches his master. The ruler’s back is to Vader.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (to Vader) Send the fleet to the far side of Endor. There it will stay until called for.

DARTH VADER: What of the reports of the Rebel fleet massing near Sullust?

EMPEROR PALPATINE: It is of no concern. Soon the Rebellion will be crushed and young Skywalker will be one of us! Your work here is finished, my friend. Go out to the command ship and await my orders.

DARTH VADER: Yes, my master.

Vader bows, then turns and exits the throne room as the emperor approaches the waiting advisors.

EXT. SPACE - FOREST MOON

In orbit over Endor’s moon, visible for the first time, is the monstrous half-completed Death Star II, its massive superstructure curling away from the completed section like the arms of a giant octopus.

INT. TYDIRIUM/COCKPIT

Han looks back at Luke and Leia as Chewie flips several switches. Through the viewscreen, the Death Star II and the huge Executor can be seen.

HAN: If they don’t go for this, we’re gonna have to get outta here pretty quick, Chewie.

Chewie growls his agreement.

CONTROLLER #2: (O.S.) We have you on our screen now. Please identify.

HAN: Shuttle Tydirium requesting deactivation of the deflector shield.

EXT. SPACE –- FOREST MOON

The Imperial shuttle approaches the Executor.

INT. EXECUTOR/BRIDGE

CONTROLLER #2: (into comm) Shuttle Tydirium, transmit the clearance code for shield passage.

INT. TYDIRIUM/COCKPIT

HAN: Transmission commencing.

Leia and Chewbacca listen tensely as the sound of a high speed transmission begins.

LEIA: Now we find out if that code is worth the price we paid.

HAN: It’ll work. It’ll work.

Chewie whines nervously. Luke stares at the Star Dreadnought that looms ever larger before them.

LUKE: (nervous) Vader’s on that ship.

HAN: Now don’t get jittery, Luke. There are a lot of command ships. (beat) Keep your distance though, Chewie, but don’t look like you’re trying to keep your distance.

Chewie barks a question.

HAN: I don’t know. Fly casual.

Chewie barks his worries as the Executor grows larger out the window.

INT. EXECUTOR/BRIDGE

Lord Vader walks down the row of controllers to where ADM. FIRMUS PIETT is leaning over the tracking screen of the controller we’ve seen earlier. Piett straightens at Vader’s approach.

DARTH VADER: Where is that shuttle going?

ADM. PIETT: (into comm) Shuttle Tydirium, what is your cargo and destination?

HAN: (O.S.; filtered) Parts and technical crew for the forest moon.

The bridge commander looks to Vader for a reaction.

DARTH VADER: Do they have a code clearance?

ADM. PIETT: It’s an older code, sir, but it checks out. I was about to clear them.

Vader looks upward, as he senses Luke’s presence.

INT. TYDIRIUM/COCKPIT

LUKE: I’m endangering the mission. I shouldn’t have come.

HAN: It’s your imagination, kid. C’mon. Let’s keep a little optimism here.

EXT. SPACE –- FOREST MOON

The shuttle continues on its way, passing the bridge tower of the Star Dreadnought closely.

INT. EXECUTOR/BRIDGE

ADM. PIETT: Shall I hold them?

DARTH VADER: No. Leave them to me. I will deal with them myself.

ADM. PIETT: As you wish, my lord. (to controller) Carry on.

INT. TYDIRIUM/COCKPIT

The group waits tensely.

HAN: They’re not goin’ for it, Chewie.

CONTROLLER #2: (O.S.) Shuttle Tydirium, deactivation of the shield will commence immediately. Follow your present course.

Everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Everyone but Luke, who looks worried. Chewie barks.

HAN: (elated) Okay! I told you it was gonna work. No problem.

EXT. SPACE – FOREST MOON

The stolen Imperial shuttle moves off toward the green sanctuary moon.

INT. EXECUTOR/BRIDGE

Vader watches from the bridge. He turns and quickly strides off.

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

EXT. FOREST MOON –- FOREST – DAY

The shuttle comes in to land.

EXT. FOREST – LANDING SITE – DAY

The stolen Imperial shuttle sits in a clearing of the moon’s dark, primeval forest, dwarfed by the ancient towering trees.

On an adjacent hill, the helmeted Rebel contingent makes its way up a steep trail. Leia and Han are slightly ahead of Chewie and Luke. The troops of the strike team squad follow, with Artoo and Threepio bringing up the rear.

Up ahead, Han and Leia reach a crest in the hill and drop suddenly to the ground, signalling the rest of the group to stop. Luke and Chewie crawl up to take a look.

C-3PO: (to Artoo) Oh, I told you it was dangerous here.

Not far below them, two IMPERIAL SCOUT TROOPERS are wandering through bushes in the valley below. Their two speeder bikes are parked nearby.

LEIA: Shall we try and go around?

HAN: It’ll take time. This whole party’ll be for nothing if they see us. (beat) Chewie and I will take care of this. You stay here.

LUKE: (stern) Quietly! There might be more of them out there.

HAN: (grins) Hey, it’s me!

Han and Chewie turn and start through the bushes toward the scouts.

LEIA: How can a man go through all the things he has and not learn any humility?

LUKE: Han’s got only two modes: frozen stiff and full speed ahead.

Luke and Leia exchange smiles.

EXT. FOREST – CLEARING – DAY

Han sneaks up behind one of the scouts, steps on a twig and the scout whirls, knocking Han into a tree. The scout shouts for his companion.

SCOUT TROOPER #1: Go for help! Go!

The second scout jumps on his speeder bike and takes off, but Chewie gets off a shot on his bowcaster, demolishing the scout’s ride and sending him sprawling. Han and Scout #1 are in a rousing brawl.

LUKE: (sarcastic) Great. C’mon.

Luke starts for the scuffle, followed by Leia with her blaster pistol drawn. As they run through the bushes, Leia stops and points to where two more scouts are sitting on their speeder bikes, with an unoccupied bike parked nearby. Upon seeing the Rebels, the two scout troopers take off into the woods.

LEIA: Over there! Two more of them!

LUKE: I see them. Wait, Leia!

But Leia doesn’t hear him and races for the remaining speeder bike. She starts it up and takes off as Luke jumps on the bike behind her.

Luke and Leia speed into the dense foliage in hot pursuit, barely avoiding two huge trees.

HAN: Hey, wait!

Scout #1 lays a hand on Han’s shoulder. He flips the Imperial to the ground.

EXT. FOREST – CONTINUOUS

The two fleeing Imperial scouts have a good lead as Luke and Leia pursue through the giant trees at over 321 kilometres an hour.

LUKE: (points to controls) Quick! Jam their comlink. Centre switch!

Leia turns the switch.

LUKE: Move closer!

Leia guns it, closing the gap, as the two scouts recklessly veer through a narrow gap in the trees. One of the bikes scrapes a tree, slowing the scout.

LUKE: Get alongside that one!

Leia pulls her speeder bike up so close to the scout’s bike that their steering vanes SCRAPE noisily. Luke leaps from his bike to the back of the scout’s, grabs the trooper around the neck, SNAPS it, and throws him off the bike, into a thick tree trunk. Luke gains control of the bike and follows Leia, who has pulled ahead. They tear off after the remaining scout.

LUKE: Get him!

The speeding chase passes TWO MORE IMPERIAL SCOUTS. These two swing into pursuit, chasing Luke and Leia, firing away with their blaster cannons. The two Rebels look behind them just as Luke’s bike takes a glancing hit.

LUKE: (indicating scout trooper ahead) Keep on that one! I’ll take these two!

With Leia shooting ahead, Luke suddenly slams his steering vanes into the braking mode. Luke’s bike is a blur to the two pursuing scouts as they zip by him on either side. Luke slams his bike into forward and starts firing away, having switched places with his pursuers in a manner of seconds. Luke’s aim is good and one scout’s bike is blasted out of control. It explodes against a tree trunk.

The scout’s cohort takes one glance back at the flash and shifts into turbo drive, going even faster. Luke keeps on his tail.

CUT TO

Leia and the first scout.

They are doing a high-speed slalom through the death-dealing trunks. Now Leia aims her bike skyward and rises out of sight.

The scout turns in confusion, unable to see his pursuer. Suddenly, Leia dives down upon him from above, cannon blasting. The scout’s bike takes a glancing hit.

Leia moves in alongside him. The scout eyes her beside him, reaches down, and pulls out a blaster. Before Leia can react, the scout has blasted her bike, sending it out of control. Leia dives off as her bike explodes against a tree. The happy scout looks back at the explosion. But when he turns forward again, he is on a collision course with a giant fallen tree. He hits his brakes to no avail and disappears in a conflagration.

CUT TO

Luke and the last remaining scout.

They continue their weaving chase through the trees. Now Luke moves up close. The scout responds by slamming his bike into Luke’s. A fallen tree forms a bridge across their path. The scout zips under. Luke goes over the top and crashes his bike down on the scout’s. Both riders look ahead – a wide trunk looms directly in Luke’s path, but the scout’s bike beside him makes it almost impossible for him to avoid it. Luke banks with all his might, leaning almost horizontal over the scout’s bike, and is able to make it by, just clipping the tree. When he straightens, he and the scout discover that their two bikes have locked front vanes and are moving as one.

Another big tree looms in Luke’s path. He reacts instinctively and dives off his bike. The two bikes come apart a second before Luke’s explodes against a tree. The scout sweeps out and circles back to find Luke.

Luke rises from the undergrowth as the scout bears down on him and opens fire with his blaster cannon. Luke ignites his lightsaber and begins deflecting the bolts. The scout’s bike keeps coming and it appears that in a second it will cut Luke in half. At the last instant, Luke steps aside and chops off the bike’s control vanes with one mighty slash. The scout’s bike begins to shudder, then, pitching and rolling, it rises up to slam directly into a tree in a giant ball of fire.

EXT. FOREST – CLEARING – DAY

Han, Chewie, and the 'droids, along with the rest of the squad, wait anxiously in the clearing. Artoo BEEPS.

C-3PO: Oh, General Solo, somebody’s coming.

Han, Chewie, and the rest of the squad raise their weapons.

Luke steps out of the foliage to find the weapons trained on him. He’s too tired to care.

HAN: Luke! Where’s Leia?

LUKE: (concerned) What? She didn’t come back?

HAN: I thought she was with you.

LUKE: We got separated.

Luke and Han exchange a silent, grim look.

LUKE: Hey, we better go look for her.

Han nods, and signals to a Rebel officer.

HAN: Take the squad ahead. We’ll meet at the shield generator at 0300.

LUKE: Come on, Artoo. We’ll need your scanners.

Luke, Chewie, Han, and the 'droids move off in one direction as the squad proceeds in another.

C-3PO: Don’t worry, Master Luke. We know what to do. (to Artoo) And you said it was pretty here.

EXT. FOREST – LEIA’S CRASH SITE – DAY

Leia lies facedown in the grass, semi-conscious.

A scout trooper comes into view. Standing over Leia, the Imperial prods Leia with a boot. The woman groans and sits up, trying to figure out where she is and what has happened. Her clothes are torn; she’s bruised and disheveled.

SCOUT TROOPER #7: C’mon, get up!

She stands up, and the scout takes a couple steps back, blaster trained on her.

SCOUT TROOPER #7: No funny stuff. Raise 'em.

She raises her hands. The scout quickly pats her down, retrieves her blaster, then turns her around.

SCOUT TROOPER #7: (jabs her in back with blaster) Walk.

EXT. FOREST – SCOUT CAMPSITE – DAY

Present at this second campsite are three helmetless scout troopers. Two of them have the corpse of an EWOK – a creature which resembles a three-foot, gray bushbaby with fierce baboon-like fangs – propped up between them; the third holds a camera. As the scouts with the corpse smile for the camera, their comrade takes their snapshot.

The holograph taken, the scouts drop the body to the ground. They then stride over to a tree. Strung upside down from the tree, still alive, is another Ewok by the name of WICKET. As the Humans get near him, Wicket flails his arms at them to no avail. Laughing, the SCOUT COMMANDER and Scout #9 take turns poking and pushing the Ewok while Scout #8 takes holographs of them.

Scout #7 emerges into the clearing, Leia held at gunpoint before him.

SCOUT COMMANDER: What’s this then?

Leaving his subordinates with Wicket, the commander moves in close to Leia. Eyes hungry, examining her, he begins feeling her up. She stiffens at his touch.

SCOUT COMMANDER: (grins lasciviously) Well, if you ain’t a sweet little thing….

Leia makes eye contact with the Imperial. The ferocity behind her gaze proves strong enough to kill his libido.

SCOUT COMMANDER: (to Scout #8) Go get your ride and take her back to base.

SCOUT TROOPER #8: Yes, sir.

Scout #8 slips back into his helmet and starts toward his bike. That’s when Leia makes her move. With one hard kick to the groin, she brings the commander to his knees. She elbows Scout #7 under the chin, knocking him out. Diving for Scout #7’s blaster pistol, she shoots Scout #9 dead. Scout #8, now on his bike, takes off. Leia fires away and hits the escaping bike, causing it to crash into three others, exploding.

The forest quiet once more, Leia notices Wicket for the first time. Approaching the Ewok, Leia regards him with pity.

LEIA: Let’s see if we can’t get you down, Short Round.

Rummaging through the Imperials’ equipment, Leia soon finds a field knife. Taking the knife, she saws through the tough cord, freeing him. Landing on the ground, the Ewok quickly backs away from her, fearful and suspicious.

LEIA: I’m not gonna hurt you.

Leia looks around at the dense forest, and at the charred remains of the speeder bikes, then sits down, with a sigh, on a fallen log.

LEIA: Well, looks like I’m stuck here. Trouble is, I don’t know where here is.

She looks over at the watchful little Ewok.

LEIA: Maybe you can help me. (pats log beside her) C’mon, sit down.

Wicket picks a large stick up warily and growls at her like a puppy. Leia pats the log again.

LEIA: I promise I won’t hurt you. Now come here.

More growls and squeaks from the little primate.

LEIA: Alright. You want something to eat?

She takes a ration bar out from her utility belt and offers it to him. Wicket takes a step backward, then cocks his head and moves cautiously toward Leia, chattering in his squeaky Ewok language.

LEIA: That’s right. (takes bite) Come on. Hmmm?

Sniffing the food curiously, the Ewok comes toward Leia and sits on the log beside her, accepting the bar. As she takes her helmet off, the little creature jumps back, startled again. He runs along the log, brandishing his stick threateningly at her and chattering a blue streak. Leia holds out the helmet to him.

LEIA: Look, it’s a hat. It’s not gonna hurt you. Look.

Reassured, Wicket lowers his stick and climbs back on the log, coming to investigate the helmet. Once he has satisfied his curiosity, Wicket regards Leia with new respect, mumbling his awe. Leia stands back up, looks around, then motions the wiry little creature into the dense foliage.

LEIA: C’mon, let’s get outta here.

As they move into the foliage, Wicket takes the lead. He shrieks and tugs at Leia to follow him.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/CORRIDOR TO PRIVATE TURBOLIFT

Darth Vader walks down the corridor to the private turbolift which leads up to the emperor’s throne room. A pair of Royal Guards and Moff Jerjerrod stand in Vader’s path.

MOFF JERJERROD: (points at Vader) You may not enter.

Vader raises his gloved hand to the moff. As Jerjerrod begins to CHOKE, the two guards raise their force pikes, ready to strike the Dark Lord down.

MOFF JERJERROD: (choking) It is the emperor’s command!

Vader relaxes his grip.

DARTH VADER: The emperor will see me now!

MOFF JERJERROD: (nods) Very good.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/EMPEROR’S THRONE ROOM

Two Royal Guards stand watch at the turbolift as the door opens to reveal Vader. Vader enters the eerie, foreboding throne room. It appears to be empty. His footsteps echo as he approaches the throne. He waits, absolutely still. The emperor sits with his back to the Dark Lord.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (irate) I told you to remain on the command ship.

DARTH VADER: A small Rebel force has penetrated the shield and landed on Endor.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (swivels around to face Vader) Yes, I know.

DARTH VADER: My son is with them.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (cold) Are you sure?

DARTH VADER: I have felt him.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Strange that I have not. (beat) I wonder if your feelings on this matter are clear, Lord Vader.

Vader knows what is being asked.

DARTH VADER: They are clear.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Then you must go to the sanctuary moon and wait for him. His compassion will be his undoing. He will come to you and then you will bring him before me.

DARTH VADER: (bows) As you wish.

Palpatine turns his chair back around.

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

EXT. FOREST – SCOUT CAMPSITE – DAY

Hours have passed. The sun now hangs low in the sky, painting the firmament gold.

Han, Luke, Chewie, and the two ‘droids are spread out as they move through the campsite. Though traces of the Imperial presence and the battle here can still be found, the Imperials’ equipment – and more disconcertingly, the Imperials themselves – have vanished. Luke finds Leia’s helmet and picks it up, an expression of concern on his face.

HAN: (O.C.) Luke! Luke!

Luke runs with the helmet to where Han has found the charred wreckage of the speeder bikes in the grass.

C-3PO: Oh, Master Luke.

LUKE: I found this.

He tosses the helmet to Han.

C-3PO: I’m afraid that Artoo’s sensors can find no trace of Princess Leia.

HAN: (grave) I hope she’s alright.

Chewbacca growls, sniffing the air, then, with a bark, pushes off through the foliage.

HAN: What, Chewie? What, Chewie‽

The others rush to keep up with the giant Wookiee. As he scoots along, Artoo whistles nervously.

EXT. FOREST – DENSE FOLIAGE – DAY

The group has reached a break in the undergrowth. Chewie walks up to a tall stake planted in the ground. There, hanging from it by the neck, quite dead, is the scout commander.

The rest of the group joins the Wookiee around the stake. Chewie can’t resist. He reaches for the body.

LUKE: (alarmed) Chewie, wa-wait! Don’t!

Too late. The Wookiee has already pulled the Imperial from the stake. SPROOING! The group finds itself hanging upside down in an Ewok net, suspended high above the clearing. Artoo lets out a wild series of beeps and whistles, and Chewie howls his regret. Their bodies are a jumble in the net. Han removes a Wookiee paw from his mouth.

HAN: Nice work. Great, Chewie! Great!

LUKE: Will you take it easy‽ Let’s just figure out a way to get out of this thing! (trying to free arm) Han, can you reach my lightsaber‽

HAN: Yeah! Sure!

Artoo is at the bottommost point in the net. He extends his saw and begins cutting at the net. Han is trying to squeeze an arm past Threepio to get at Luke’s lightsaber. The net continues to spin.

C-3PO: Artoo, I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. It’s a very long drooop!

Artoo has cut through and the entire group tumbles out of the net, crashing to the ground.

As the five Rebels regain their senses and sit up, DOZENS OF COMPACT FIGURES hidden high up on the trunks and in the branches of the trees surrounding them drop to the ground. They are members of an EWOK WAR PARTY. These Ewoks – dressed in animal skins, decorated with feathers and jewellery made from teeth and small bones, some protected in pieces of captured scout and stormtrooper armour, all brandishing spears – move in upon their Human, Wookiee, and robot captives.

HAN: Hey! Point that thing someplace else!

Han pushes the spear wielded by TEEBO out of his face and a second Ewok warrior comes up to argue with Teebo. The spear returns to Han’s face.

HAN: Hey!

He grabs the shaft angrily and goes for his blaster.

LUKE: (grabs Han’s wrist) Han, don’t. It’ll be alright.

The Ewoks swarm through them and confiscate their weapons. Luke lets them take his lightsaber. Chewie growls at the furry critters.

LUKE: Chewie, give 'em your crossbow.

Artoo and Threepio are just untangling themselves. Threepio gets free of the net and sits up, rattled.

C-3PO: Oh, my head.

When the Ewoks see Threepio, they let out a gasp and chatter among themselves.

C-3PO: Oh, my goodness!

Threepio speaks to them in their native tongue.

LUKE: Do you understand anything they’re saying?

C-3PO: Oh, yes, Master Luke! Remember that I am fluent in over six-million forms of communication.

HAN: What are you telling them?

C-3PO: Hello, I think. I could be mistaken. They’re using a very primitive dialect.

EXT. FOREST – MONTAGE

A procession of Ewoks winds through the ever-darkening forest. Their prisoners are tied to long poles. Each pole is carried on the shoulders of several Ewoks.

HAN: (to C-3PO; frustrated) Why don’t you use your lingual prowess and get us out of this?

C-3PO: I beg your pardon, Capt. Solo. I have tried, but I do believe they think I am some sort of forest demon.

HAN: Forest demon‽

EXT. FOREST – TREE WALKWAY – EVENING

The procession moves along a shaky, narrow, wooden walkway high in the giant trees. It stops at the end of the walkway, which drops off into nothingness. On the other side of the abyss is a village of mud huts and rickety walkways, attached to the giant trees. The lead Ewok takes hold of a long vine and swings across to the village square; the other Ewoks follow suit.

EXT. EWOK VILLAGE – SQUARE – EVENING

The procession winds its way into the village square. Totems decorated with Human skulls and trooper helmets are set along the perimetre. Skins harvested from hapless Imperials are stretched over wooden racks to tan. The group stops before the largest hut.

Han, Luke, Chewie, and the 'droids are still bound to their poles. Han is placed on a spit above what looks like a barbecue pit and the others are leaned against a tree nearby.

HAN: I have a really bad feeling about this.

Chewie growls his concern.

Suddenly all activity stops as LOGRAY, the tribal medicine man, comes out of the big hut. He examines the captives carefully then goes to join Threepio. A larger Ewok, CHIEF CHIRPA, is examining Luke’s lightsaber with great curiosity.

Logray speaks to Threepio and the assemblage of homely Ewoks, pointing to the prisoners tied to the stakes. The Ewoks begin filling the pit under Han with firewood.

HAN: What did he say?

C-3PO: (mortified) It appears we are to be the main course at a banquet in the princess’ honour.

LUKE: Princess…?

The drums start beating, and all the furry heads turn to the large hut. Leia emerges, wearing an animal-skin dress. She sees what’s happening at the same moment the prisoners see her.

HAN & LUKE: Leia!

As she moves toward them, the Ewoks block her way.

C-3PO: Your Royal Highness.

Leia looks at the assembled Ewoks and sighs.

LEIA: But these are my friends. (beat) Threepio, tell them you must be set free.

Threepio talks to Chirpa and Logray, who listen and shake their heads negatively. The medicine man gestures toward the prisoners and barks some orders. Several Ewoks jump up and pile more wood on the barbecue with vigor.

HAN: (irate) Somehow, I got the feeling that didn’t help us very much.

Leia and Luke exchange glances. The Rebel princess gets an idea.

LEIA: Threepio, tell them if they don’t do as I wish, I’ll become angry and use my magic.

C-3PO: But Your Highness, what magic? I couldn’t possibly –

LEIA: (firm) Just tell them.

Threepio speaks to the Ewoks. The Ewoks are disturbed. Logray steps forward and challenges Threepio.

C-3PO: You see, Mistress Leia; they didn’t believe me, just as I said they wouldn’t.

Luke closes his eyes and begins to concentrate. Leia rises from the ground. The Ewoks fall back in terror from the floating princess. As she raises her arms, several Ewoks are levitated into the air, beginning to spin as though they were on a revolving stool.

Chief Chirpa yells orders to the cowering Ewoks. They rush up and release the bound prisoners. Luke slowly lowers Leia to the ground, then he and Han enfold her in a group embrace. Logray orders the little 'droid cut down. Artoo crashes to the ground. When the Ewoks set him upright, the little 'droid is fighting mad. Artoo beeps a blue streak at the nearest Ewok, and begins pursuing him, finally getting close enough to zap him with an electric charge. The Ewok jumps two feet in the air and runs away, screaming. A small group of Ewoks surround the giant Wookiee, scratching their heads and marvelling at his height.

Luke: Thanks, Leia. (winks)

LEIA: (smiles) I never knew I had it in me.

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

INT. CHIEF’S HUT – EVENING

A glowing fire dances in the centre of the spartan, low-ceilinged room, creating a kaleidoscope of shadows on the walls. Along one side, a group of ten Ewok elders flank Chief Chirpa, who sits on his throne. The Rebels sit along the walls of the hut, with Threepio between the two groups and Wicket and Teebo off to one side.

Threepio is in the midst of a long, animated speech in the Ewok’s squeaky native tongue. The Ewoks listen carefully and occasionally murmur comments to each other. Threepio points several times at the Rebel group and pantomimes a short history of the Galactic Civil War, mimicking the explosion and rocket sounds, imitating Imperial walkers. Throughout the long account, certain familiar names are distinguishable: Princess Leia, Artoo, Darth Vader, Death Star, Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Artoo begins beeping excitedly at Threepio.

C-3PO: Yes, Artoo. I was just coming to that.

Threepio continues with: Millennium Falcon, Cloud City, Vader, Han Solo, carbonite, Sarlacc, bringing the history up to the present time.

At the end of it, the chief, Logray, and the elders confer, then nod in agreement. The chief stands and makes a pronouncement.

C-3PO: (disappointed) Chief Chirpa says it’s a very moving account, but it really has nothing to do with Ewoks.

A deep silence fills the chamber. The heroes look at each other with worry. Finally, Han stands up and faces the Ewoks.

HAN: Tell them this, Goldenrod …

Han continues to speak, as Threepio translates it for the tribe.

HAN: They shouldn’t help us 'cause we’re asking ‘em to. They shouldn’t even help us ‘cause it’s in their best interests to -– even though it is, you know. Just for one example, the Empire’s tappin’ a lot of energy out of this moon to generate that deflector shield, and I mean you’re gonna be hurtin’ … but never mind that. Tell 'em, Threepio. (beat) But that’s not why they should help us. That’s why I used to do stuff, because it was in my interest. But not anymore. (beat) Well, not so much, anyway. (beat) Mostly I do things for my friends now – 'cause what else is so important? Money? Power? Jabba had that, and you know what happened to him. (beat) The point is, your friends are … your friends. You know?

Leia’s eyes fill with tears at Han’s plea. The Ewoks remain silent, impassive. Han sits down, and Luke stands up.

LUKE: I realize this concept may be hard for you to understand – may be difficult to draw these connections – but it’s terribly important for the entire known Galaxy, for our Rebel force to destroy the Imperial presence here on Endor. (looks up) Look up, there, through the smoke hole in the roof. Just through that tiny hole, you can count a hundred stars. In the whole sky there are millions, and billions more you can’t even see. And they all have planets, and moons, and people just like you. And the Empire is destroying all of that. (beat) You can … you could get dizzy just lying on your back and staring up at all the starshine. You could almost explode … explode, it’s so beautiful sometimes. And you’re part of the beauty. It’s all part of the same Force. And the Empire is trying to turn out the lights.

There is extensive squawking amongst the Ewoks; however, they don’t seem quite convinced. Leia gets to her feet.

LEIA: Do it for the trees.

The Ewoks glance at each other, stunned by that simple phrase. Suddenly Wicket leaps to his feet. He turns and faces the council, giving an impassioned speech.

THREEPIO: (translating) Honorable Elders, we have this night received a perilous, wondrous gift. The gift of freedom. These Green Ones tell us they will not be our masters, tell us we are free to choose as we will – that we must choose; as all living things must choose our own destiny. They have come, Honourable Elders, and they will go. We may never be slaves to their guidance. We are free. (beat) Yet how must we comport ourselves? Is an Ewok’s love of the wood any less because he can leave it? No -– his love is more, because he can leave it, yet he stays. So it is with the voice of the Green Ones: we can close our eyes, yet we listen. (beat) His friends tell us of a Force, a great living spirit, of which we are all a part, even as the leaves are are things separate yet part of the tree. We know this spirit, Honourable Elders, though we call it not the Force. The Green Ones tell us this Force is in great jeopardy, here and everywhere. When the fire reaches the forest, who is safe? Not even the Great Tree of which all things are part; nor its leaves, nor its roots, nor its birds. All are in peril, forever and ever. (beat) It is a brave thing to confront such a fire, Honourable Elders. Many will die, so that the forest lives on. But the Ewoks are brave. (beat) Honourable Elders, we must aid this noble party not less for the trees, but more for the sake of the leaves on the trees. These Rebels are like the Ewoks, who are like the leaves. Battered by the wind, eaten without thought by the tumult of locusts that inhabit the world – yet do we throw ourselves on smouldering fires, that another may know the warmth of light; yet do we make a soft bed of ourselves, that another may know rest; yet do we swirl in the wind that assails us, to send the fear of chaos into the hearts of our enemies; yet do we change colour, even as the season calls upon us to change. So must we help our leaf-brothers, these Rebels – for so has come a season of change upon us.

The elders are visibly moved by this. They finally nod in agreement.

HAN: What’s going on?

LEIA: (shakes head) I don’t know.

Chief Chirpa stands and gives another pronouncement.

C-3PO: Wonderful! We are now a part of the tribe.

The drums begin to sound, and all the Ewoks stand with a great cheer and screeches. Several of the short primates run up and hug the Rebels.

HAN: Just what I always wanted.

Luke has been sharing the joy with smiling visage, but now something passes like a dark cloud through his consciousness. Drifting to the back of the hut, he wanders outside into the moonlight. Leia notices and follows.

HAN: Well, short help is better than no help at all, Chewie.

C-3PO: He says the scouts are going to show us the quickest way to the shield generator.

HAN: Good. How far is it?

Threepio stands there silently.

HAN: Ask him.

Threepio begins to ask the chief.

HAN: (interrupts) We need some fresh supplies, too.

Threepio turns back to the chief.

HAN: (interrupts) And try and get our weapons back.

Threepio turns back to the chief.

HAN: (interrupts) Hurry up, will ya? I haven’t got all day.

EXT. EWOK VILLAGE – EVENING

The walkways are deserted now. The windows of the little huts glow and flicker from the fires inside. The sounds of the forest fill the soft night air. Luke has wandered away from the chief’s hut and stands staring up at the Death Star II. Leia finds him like that.

LEIA: Luke, what’s wrong?

Luke turns and looks at her a long moment.

LUKE: Leia … do you remember your mother? Your real mother?

LEIA: Just a little bit. She died when I was very young.

LUKE: What do you remember?

LEIA: Just … images, really. Feelings.

LUKE: Tell me.

LEIA: (a little surprised at his insistence) She was very beautiful. Kind, but … sad. (looks up) Why are you asking me this?

He looks away.

LUKE: (sad) I have no memory of my mother. I never knew her.

LEIA: (concerned) Luke, tell me. What’s troubling you?

LUKE: (faces her) Vader is here, now, on this moon.

LEIA: (alarmed) How do you know?

LUKE: I felt his presence. He’s come for me. He can feel when I’m near. That’s why I have to go. As long as I stay, I’m endangering the group and our mission here. (beat) I have to face him.

Leia is distraught, confused.

LEIA: Why?

Luke moves close and his manner is gentle and very calm.

LUKE: He’s my father.

LEIA: (cringes) Your father?

LUKE: There’s more. It won’t be easy for you to hear it, but you must. If I don’t make it back, you’re the only hope for the Alliance.

Leia is very disturbed by this. She moves away, as if to deny it.

LEIA: Luke, don’t talk that way. You have a power I-I don’t understand and could never have.

LUKE: You’re wrong, Leia. You have that power too. In time you’ll learn to use it as I have. (beat) The Force is strong in my family. My father has it … I have it … and … my sister has it.

Leia stares into his eyes. What she sees there frightens her, but she doesn’t draw away. She begins to understand.

LUKE: You know why I have to face him.

LEIA: No! Luke, run away – far away. If he can feel your presence, then leave this place. I wish I could go with you.

LUKE: No, you don’t. You’ve always been strong.

LEIA: But why must you confront him?

LUKE: Maybe I can save him. Maybe I can turn him back to the light side. (beat) I have to try.

They hold each other close and look at each other. Leia holds back her tears as Luke then slowly lets her go and moves away. He disappears onto the walkway that leads out of the village. Leia, bathed in moonlight, watches him go as Han comes out of the chief’s hut and comes over to her. Leia is crying, her body trembling. He realizes only now that she is crying.

HAN: Hey, what’s goin’ on?

Leia attempts to stifle her sobs and wipes her eyes.

LEIA: Nothing. I-I just want to be alone for a little while.

HAN: Nothing? C’mon, tell me. What’s goin’ on?

She looks up at him, struggling to control herself.

LEIA: I-I can’t tell you.

HAN: (exasperated) Ahhh….

He starts to walk away, then stops and walks back to her.

HAN: I’m sorry.

LEIA: Hold me.

Han gathers her tightly in his protective embrace.

EXT. FOREST – IMPERIAL LANDING PLATFORM – EVENING

The ST 321 floats down from space and lands gracefully on the huge platform. Concurrently, an AT-AT walker approaches the platform from the darkness of the forest. The whole outpost – platform, walkers, military – looks particularly offensive in the midst of this verdant beauty.

CUT TO

Darth Vader as he walks down the ramp of the shuttle onto the platform.

INT. IMPERIAL LANDING PLATFORM/LOWER DECK – EVENING

Vader takes a turbolift down to a lower level. Walking to the opposite end of the deck, he is met by an Imperial commander and three stormtroopers with Luke, in binders, at their centre. The young Jedi gazes at Vader with complete calm.

COMMANDER: This is the Rebel who surrendered to us. Although he denies it, I believe there may be more of them, and I request permission to conduct a further search of the area. He was armed only with this.

The commander extends his hand, revealing Luke’s lightsaber. Vader takes the weapon from the commander’s hand.

DARTH VADER: Good work, Commander. Leave us. Conduct your search and bring his companions to me.

COMMANDER: Yes, milord.

The officer and troops withdraw. Vader and Luke are left alone, the oddly tranquil beauty of the place surrounding them, the sounds of the forest filtering in upon them.

Together, father and son cross the deck.

DARTH VADER: The emperor has been expecting you.

LUKE: I know, Father.

DARTH VADER: So, you have accepted the truth.

LUKE: I’ve accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father.

DARTH VADER: (turns to Luke) That name no longer has any meaning for me.

LUKE: It is the name of your true self. You’ve only forgotten.

Vader looks down from Luke to the lightsaber in his own black-gloved hand. Vader ignites the lightsaber and holds it to examine its humming, brilliant verdant blade.

DARTH VADER: I see you have constructed a new lightsaber. (beat) Your skills are complete.

Vader extinguishes the lightsaber, then turns away from Luke.

DARTH VADER: Indeed, you are powerful as the emperor has foreseen.

LUKE: Is there any good in you, or has the emperor driven it from you fully?

DARTH VADER: Palpatine had promised an order for the Galaxy, a vision for the future I had believed in and fought for. That promised future is now, and the promise has been broken. (turns to Luke) The Empire has brought more chaos than it has order. Together, we will correct its course.

LUKE: I will not turn, and you’ll be forced to kill me.

DARTH VADER: That is not your destiny.

LUKE: (approaches Vader) Search your feelings, Father. You can’t do this. I feel the conflict within you! Let go of your lust!

Vader signals to a pair of hidden stormtroopers, who emerge from the turbolift.

DARTH VADER: The emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your master now.

He and Luke stand staring at one another for a long moment.

LUKE: Then my father is truly dead.

The stormtroopers escort Luke into the turbolift. They are gone, leaving the Dark Lord of the Sith alone with his thoughts.

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

EXT. RIDGE OVERLOOKING SHIELD GENERATOR – DAY

Han, Leia, Chewbacca, the ‘droids, Wicket, and another Ewok scout, PAPLOO, hide on a ridge overlooking the massive Imperial shield generator. At the base of the generator is the Imperial landing platform. As they watch, the shuttle carrying Luke and Vader takes off and flies toward space. Leia studies the installation.

LEIA: The main entrance to the control bunker’s on the far side of that landing platform. This isn’t gonna be easy.

HAN: Hey, don’t worry. Chewie and me got into a lot of places more heavily guarded than this.

Wicket and Paploo are chattering away in Ewok language. They speak to Threepio.

LEIA: What’s he saying?

C-3PO: He says there’s a secret entrance on the other side of the ridge.

EXT. SPACE – REBEL FLEET

The vast Rebel fleet hangs in deep space. The Home One is up at the front, but now the Millennium Falcon roars up to a spot ahead of it, tiny in comparison.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

Lando is in the pilot seat. His Sullustan copilot, NIEN NUNB, is seated right beside him. Lando speaks into his comlink.

LANDO: Admiral, we’re in position. All fighters accounted for.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

ADM. ACKBAR: Proceed with the countdown. All groups assume attack coordinates.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

Nunb chitters something in his native tongue. Lando turns to his copilot.

LANDO: Don’t worry, my friends are down there. They’ll have that shield down on time.

The copilot grunts a reply.

LANDO: (to himself) Or this’ll be the shortest offensive of all time.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

ADM. ACKBAR: All craft, prepare to jump to hyperspace on my mark.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

LANDO: Alright. Stand by.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

ADM. ACKBAR: Mark.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

Lando pulls a lever, and the stars outside begin to streak.

EXT. SPACE – REBEL FLEET

We are treated to an awesome sight: first the Millennium Falcon, then the fighters, then, in large segments, the huge capital ships roar into hyperspace.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

The stars streak by Ackbar on his bridge.

EXT. SPACE –- REBEL FLEET

The remainder of the Rebel fleet disappears into hyperspace.

EXT. FOREST MOON – RIDGE OVERLOOKING GENERATOR BUNKER – DAY

Han, Leia, Chewie, the 'droids, and Wicket have reunited with the Rebel strike squad. The entire group is spread through the thick undergrowth. Below them is the bunker that leads into the generator. Four Imperial scout troopers, their speeder bikes parked nearby, keep watch over the bunker entrance.

EXT. GENERATOR BUNKER – DAY

Paploo has slipped out of the undergrowth near where the Imperial scouts are lounging. He silently swings his short, sinewy body onto one of the scout’s speeder bikes and, knowing exactly how to do it, fires up the bike’s engine fires up with a tremendous ROAR. The scouts leap up in surprise.

SCOUT TROOPER #10: Look! Over there! Stop him!

The scouts race toward Paploo just as his speeder zooms away into the forest. Three of the scout troopers jump on their bikes and speed away in pursuit. The fourth watches them go from his post at the door.

EXT. RIDGE – DAY

Han, Leia, and Chewie exchange delighted looks.

HAN: Not bad for a little furball. There’s only one left. (to Threepio) You stay here. We’ll take care of this.

Han and the Wookiee nod at each other and slip down with Leia toward the bunker. Threepio moves to stand next to Wicket and Artoo.

EXT. GENERATOR BUNKER – DAY

Han sneaks up behind the remaining Imperial scout, taps him on the shoulder and lets the scout chase him behind the bunker into the arms of the waiting Rebel strike team.

INT. GENERATOR BUNKER/ENTRANCE – DAY

The group enters the bunker silently, leaving one lookout dressed in the scout trooper’s uniform behind.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/EMPEROR’S THRONE ROOM

The turbolift opens. Vader and Luke enter the room alone. They walk across the dark space to stand before the throne, father and son side-by-side beneath the gaze of Emperor Palpatine.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Welcome, young Skywalker. I have been expecting you.

Luke peers at the hooded figure defiantly. The emperor then looks down at Luke’s binders.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: You no longer need those.

The emperor motions ever so slightly with his finger and Luke’s binders fall away, clattering to the floor. Luke looks down at his own hands, free now to reach out and grab Palpatine’s neck. He does nothing.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Guards, leave us.

The red-cloaked guards turn and disappear behind the turbolift.

The emperor gets down from his throne and walks up very close to Luke. The emperor looks into his eyes and, for the first time, we can perceive the evil visage within the hood clearly. Eyes, feral yellow and sunken like tombs; the flesh decayed beneath skin weathered by virulent storms, lined by holocaust; the grin, a death’s-grin.

DARTH VADER: His lightsaber.

Vader extends a gloved hand toward the emperor, revealing Luke’s lightsaber. The emperor takes it.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Ah, yes, a Jedi’s weapon. (to Luke) Much like your father’s.

LUKE: You won’t convert me as you did my father.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: I did not turn him to the dark side. That is something he did for himself – as you will do for yourself.

LUKE: Never.

EMPEROR: (laughs) We shall see.

Palpatine returns to his throne.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Tell me, young Skywalker – who has been involved in your training until now?

Luke is silent. He will reveal nothing.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Oh, I know it was Obi-Wan Kenobi at first. Of course, we are familiar with the talent Obi-Wan Kenobi had when it came to training Jedi. (nods to Vader)

Luke tenses with fury.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (cont’d) So, in your early training you have followed your father’s path, it would seem. But alas, Obi-Wan is now dead, I believe; his elder student, here, saw to that. (gestures to Vader) So tell me, my young Jedi – who continued your training?

Luke holds silent, struggling to maintain his composure.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (cont’d) There was one called … Yoda. An aged master Jed – Ah, I see by your countenance I have hit a chord, a resonant chord indeed. Yoda, then. (beat) This Yoda, lives he still?

Luke focuses on the emptiness of space beyond the window behind Palpatine’s chair, filling his mind with this black nothing.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (cont’d) Ah. He lives not. (smiles) Very good, young Skywalker, you almost hid this from me. But you could not. And you cannot. Your deepest flickerings are to me apparent. Your nakedest soul.

The emperor leans forward ever-so-slightly.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: I look forward to completing your training. In time, you will call me master.

INT. FOREST MOON – GENERATOR BUNKER/MAIN CONTROL ROOM – DAY

Han, Leia, Chewie, and the Rebel strike team storm through a door and enter the main control room, taking all of the personnel prisoner.

HAN: Alright! Up! Move! C’mon! Quickly! Quickly! (nods to Chewie) Chewie.

Chewbacca and the other Rebel troops herd the generator controllers away from their panels. Leia glances at one of the screens on the control panel.

LEIA: Han! Hurry! The fleet will be here any moment.

HAN: Charges! C’mon! C’mon!

INT. SUPERWEAPON/EMPEROR’S THRONE ROOM

EMPEROR PALPATINE: I am old. My body is dying; my will alone sustains it. In time, it, too, will fail me. When that time arrives, there must be one to hold my Empire together against maelstrom without and within. (points at Luke) You will be my successor.

LUKE: Me?

EMPEROR PALPATINE: You are both young and your father’s son.

LUKE: I hold to the ideals of the Rebel Alliance. I will never continue your tyranny over the Galaxy.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: The Empire is but an extension of its emperor. I am a harsh master, it is true; it is a harshness borne of the fires of the Clone Wars. You have not been singed by those flames. You would be a gentle master. You but want for power.

Palpatine’s words strike a nerve in Luke. He tries to repress the sensation.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (cont’d) Have you never wanted power, my son? Power to strike back at your enemies, to avenge wrongs, to keep those you love safe from harm? Of course you have. (pats armrest) That power is seated here.

LUKE: (stressed) The dark side of the Force is evil.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Other men’s words, other men’s shackles. Would you be a child all your life?

LUKE: Soon I’ll be dead, and you with me.

The emperor laughs.

EMPEROR: Perhaps you refer to the imminent attack of your Rebel fleet?

Luke looks up sharply.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. Your friends up there on the sanctuary moon (indicates forest moon) are walking into a trap, as is your Rebel fleet. (beat) It was I who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them.

Luke’s look darts from Palpatine to Vader and, finally, to the lightsaber hilt by the emperor’s hand.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: And that is just the beginning of my surprise -– but, of course, I don’t wish to spoil it for you. (snickers)

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

INT. FOREST MOON – GENERATOR BUNKER/MAIN CONTROL ROOM – DAY

Inside the bunker, Han looks up from setting charges as an Imperial colonel enters.

COLONEL: Freeze!

In a flash of anger, Han hurtles a bag of charges at the colonel. He is knocked backwards over a rail, plummeting with a scream to his death. Han and Leia spin to find dozens of Imperial weapons trained on them and their cohorts. An Imperial lieutenant levels a blaster at them.

LIEUTENANT: You Rebel scum.

A poised force of ebon-armoured shadowtroopers surround them. Even more pour into the room, roughly disarming the Rebel contingent. Han, Leia, and Chewie exchange looks. They’re helpless.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

Lando operates the controls to come out of hyperspace.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The Death Star II, its sanctuary moon, and its parent planet hang distant in space as the Rebel fleet comes out of hyperspace with an awesome roar. The _ and several Rebel fighters are at the front as the space armada bears down on its target.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

Lando flips switches, checks his screen, and speaks into the radio.

LANDO: All wings report in.

INT. WEDGE’S X-WING/COCKPIT

WEDGE: Red Leader standing by.

INT. GRAY LEADER’S A-WING/COCKPIT

GRAY LEADER: Gray Leader standing by.

INT. GREEN LEADER’S B-WING/COCKPIT

GREEN LEADER: Green Leader standing by.

INT. WEDGE’S X-WING/COCKPIT

WEDGE: Lock S-foils in attack positions.

EXT. SPACE –- ENDOR

The fighters’ wings split into battle configuration. The Rebel fleet converges on the Death Star II.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

Adm. Ackbar watches the fighters massing outside his viewscreen.

ADM. ACKBAR: May the Force be with us.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

Lando looks worriedly at Nien Nunb, who points to the control panel and talks to Lando.

LANDO: We’ve got to be able to get some kind of a reading on that shield, up or down.

Lando shoots a concerned look out at the approaching battle station.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/EMPEROR’S THRONE ROOM

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (into comlink) Deactivate hologram, Commander.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The gray, opaque surface of the unfinished DS-2 Orbital Battle Station loses its resolution and colour as it becomes a blue-white wireframe image. Then that, too, is gone, leaving emptiness in its place. The Death Star II has been nothing more than a supersized holographic projection this entire time, broadcast from the Imperial complex on the moon’s surface below.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

A Mon Calamari sensor officer turns away from his screen and calls out to Ackbar, quite excited. The admiral rushes over to the sensor officer.

SENSOR OFFICER: Admiral, we have enemy ships in Sector 47.

ADM. ACKBAR: It’s a trap!

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The Rebel fleet flies headlong into the massive Imperial armada.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

LANDO: (into comlink) Star Destroyers coming our way.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The Executor and its large contingent of Imperator II-class Star Destroyers engages the Rebel ships. Opening fire with their turbolaser banks, they pummel the Rebel cruisers and mow down one-third of the fighters.

INT. MIDDLE-AGED FEMALE PILOT’S A-WING/COCKPIT

MIDDLE-AGED FEMALE PILOT: There’s too many of them!

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

LANDO: (into comlink) Accelerate to attack speed! Draw their fire away from the cruisers.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The battle continues.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/EMPEROR’S THRONE ROOM

Through the round window behind the emperor’s throne can be seen the distant flashes of the space battle in progress.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Come, boy. See for yourself.

The emperor is sitting in his throne, with Vader standing at his side. Luke moves to look through a small section of the window.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: From here you will witness the final destruction of the Alliance, and the end of your insignificant Rebellion.

Luke is in torment. He glances at his lightsaber sitting on the armrest of the throne.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (cont’d) Unless … you swear fealty to me. Make yourself my servant, and I will withdraw my forces; your upstart insurrection will be permitted to exist a while longer.

Vader watches Luke in his agony.

LUKE: No.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: With each passing moment, another of your friends dies. Will the next one be the lovely Princess Leia … (feigns sadness) or has she fallen already?

EXT. FOREST MOON – GENERATOR BUNKER – DAY

Han, Leia, Chewie, and the rest of the strike team are led out of the bunker by their captors. The surrounding area, deserted before, is now crowded with two-legged Imperial AT-DP walkers and hundreds of Imperial shadowtroopers, stormtroopers, and scout troopers. The situation looks hopeless.

SHADOWTROOPER: Alright, move it!

From the undergrowth beyond the clearing comes a wild series of beeps and whistles. And –

C-3PO: Hello! I say, over there! Were you looking for me?

BUNKER COMMANDER: Bring those two down here!

STORMTROOPER #1: Let’s go!

Artoo and Threepio are standing near one of the big trees. As six stormtroopers rush over to take them captive, the two 'droids duck out of sight behind the tree.

C-3PO: Well, they’re on their way. Artoo, are you sure this was a good idea?

The stormtroopers come around the tree and find the two 'droids waiting quietly to be taken.

STORMTROOPER #1: Freeze! Don’t move!

C-3PO: We surrender.

As the Imperial troops move to take the robots, however, a band of Ewoks drops down from above. Attacking with their sharp knives, claws, and teeth, they quickly overpower them.

C-3PO: Ohhh! Stand back, Artoo.

In a nearby tree, an Ewok raises a horn to his lips and sounds the EWOK ATTACK CALL. All hell breaks loose as hundreds of Ewoks throw their hairy bodies into the fray against the assembled troopers and their awesome two-legged walkers.

CUT TO

Ewok archers.

The archers let fly a volley of arrows. The stone arrowheads carom off the plasteel armour of the shadowtroopers, who mow the Ewoks down with heavy blasterfire.

CUT TO

Biker scouts darting about blasting Ewoks.

They are crushed by a volley of rocks tossed by Ewoks from the trees above.

CUT TO

An Ewok in a handmade, primitive hang glider.

He dive-bombs his deadly adversaries, dropping rocks. A blaster bolt hits him in the wing and he crashes. An AT-DP comes along and steps on him, crushing his glider and his body into the earth.

CUT TO

Han and Leia.

In the confusion of the battle, they break away and dive for the cover of the bunker door as explosions erupt around them. Leia goes to the bunker door control panel.

LEIA: The code’s changed. We need Artoo!

HAN: Here’s the terminal.

LEIA: (into comlink) Artoo, where are you? We need you at the bunker right away.

CUT TO

Artoo and Threepio hiding behind a log as the battle rages around them.

C-3PO: Going‽ What do you mean, you’re going‽

the stubby little astrodroid lets out a series of whistles.

C-3PO: But-but going where, Artoo?

Artoo shoots off across the battlefield. Threepio, panicked, runs after him.

C-3PO: No, wait! Artoo! Oh, this is no time for heroics! Come back!

CUT TO

A group of Ewoks moving primitive catapults into position.

They fire off large boulders that hit one of the walkers. The walker turns and blasts away with its gun. The catapults – and many of their attendant Ewoks – are blown to kingdom come.

CUT TO

Two speeder bikes chasing Ewoks through the underbrush.

As the scouts round a tree, they are knocked off their bikes by a vine tied between two trees.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The Rebel ships are engaged in ferocious combat with the Imperial capital ships. They are losing.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

ADM. ACKBAR: (into comlink) All craft prepare to retreat.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

Upon Ackbar’s command, the Rebels prepare to beat a hasty retreat. When they go to make their collective jump, however, their hyperdrives fail.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

NAVIGATOR: Hyperdrive will not engage!

SENSOR OFFICER: It’s not just Home One. The entire fleet is stationary.

SCIENCE OFFICER: A massive gravity well is keeping us from leaving the system!

INT. RED THREE’S A-WING/COCKPIT

RED THREE: Three Star Destroyers coming in, twenty degrees!

INT. WEDGE’S X-WING/COCKPIT

WEDGE: They’re heading for the medical frigate.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

Lando steers the Falcon through a complete flip as his crew fires at the nearest Star Destroyer attacking the frigate.

INT. SUPERWEAPON/EMPEROR’S THRONE ROOM

The emperor, Vader, and a horrified Luke watch the fireworks out the window. Another Rebel ship explodes under green turbolaser fire.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational warship! (into comlink) Engage.

Luke, in shock, looks out across the gulf of space to the Rebel fleet beyond.

EXT. SPACE – EXECUTOR

As the Executor trades blows with a number of Corvettes and B-Wings, a massive shadow passes over it, blotting it out.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

From the dark side of the gas giant, the Empire’s latest true superweapon emerges. Wedge-shaped, 17,500 metres in length, as black as the space that surrounds it and the heart of the man who dreamt it, is the Eclipse, the first of a new class of Star Dreadnought with enough firepower to sterilize a planet.

The axial superlaser powers up; then a powerful beam shoots out toward the space battle.

INT. GEN. MADINE’S STAR CRUISER/BRIDGE

Madine and his bridge crew barely have time to flinch as the green superlaser beam converges on them.

EXT SPACE – ENDOR

Madine’s cruiser is hit by the Eclipse’s beam and is blown to dust.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

The ship is buffeted by the tremendous explosion of the Rebel cruiser. Lando and his copilot are stunned by the sight of the Eclipse and its firepower.

LANDO: (stunned) We’re going to need a bigger ship.

EXT. FOREST – GENERATOR BUNKER – DAY

Artoo and Threepio make it to the door as Han and Leia provide cover fire.

C-3PO: We’re coming!

HAN: C’mon! C’mon!

C-3PO: Oh, Artoo, hurry!

The little 'droid moves to the terminal and plugs in his computer arm. A blaster bolt hits Artoo, sending him reeling back. The stubby astrodroid’s head is spinning and smoldering.

C-3PO: My goodness!

Suddenly there is a loud SPROOING and all of Artoo’s compartment doors open and all of his appendages stick out; liquids and smoke spurt out of the nozzles in his body.

C-3PO: Artoo, why did you have to be so brave?

Han turns to the terminal.

HAN: Well, I suppose I could hotwire this thing.

LEIA: I’ll cover you.

CUT TO

A walker lumbering forward, shooting red plasma blasts at frantic Ewoks running in all directions.

Two Ewoks are struck down by plasma blasts. One tries to awaken his friend, then realizes that he is dead. With a cry of grief, he buries his head in the dead Ewok’s chest.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The Rebel fleet continues to be picked off, from one side by the Eclipse’s deadly superlaser, from the other by the rampaging Star Destroyers.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

Lando steers the Falcon wildly through an obstacle course of floating giants. He’s been yelling into the comlink.

LANDO: (desperate) Yes! I said closer! Move as close as you can and engage those Star Destroyers at point-blank range!

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

ADM. ACKBAR: At that close range, we won’t last long against those Star Destroyers.

INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON/COCKPIT

LANDO: We’ll last longer then we will against that behemoth! And we might just take a few of them with us.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The Rebel cruisers move very close to the Imperial Star Destroyers and begin to blast away at point-blank range. Tiny fighters race across the giant surfaces, against a backdrop of weapons fire.

CUT TO

The control tower of a Star Destroyer under attack.

The middle-aged female pilot’s A-Wing is struck.

INT. MIDDLE-AGED FEMALE PILOT’S A-WING/COCKPIT

MIDDLE-AGED FEMALE PILOT: She’s gonna blow!

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The A-Wing disintegrates as a turbolaser beam grazes a B-Wing.

INT. MON CALAMARI PILOT’S B-WING/COCKPIT

MON CALAMARI PILOT: Fried Calamari tonight!

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The damaged B-wing plummets toward another Star Destroyer and crashes into the ship, exploding.

INT. ECLIPSE/THRONE ROOM

Out of the window, the Rebel fleet is being decimated in blinding explosions of light and debris. But in here there is no sound of battle. The Emperor turns to Luke.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Your fleet has lost. And your friends on the Endor moon will not survive.

INT. ECLIPSE/BRIDGE

The comm twitters.

MOFF JERJERROD: Yes, Your Highness.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (O.S.) Commander, should the Rebels manage to blow up the shield generator, you will turn the Eclipse onto the Endor moon and destroy it.

MOFF JERJERROD: (apprehensive) Yes, Your Highness … but we have several battalions stationed on the moon.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (O.S.) You will destroy it!

MOFF JERJERROD: (resigned) Yes, Your Highness.

INT. ECLIPSE/THRONE ROOM

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (to Luke) There is no escape, my young apprentice. (beat) The Alliance will die … as will your friends.

Luke’s eyes are full of rage. Vader watches him.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (in rapture) Good. I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon! Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

Luke can resist no longer. The lightsaber flies into his hand. He ignites it in an instant and swings at the emperor. Vader’s crimson lightsaber flashes into view, blocking Luke’s blow before it can reach the emperor. The two blades spark at contact. Palpatine cackles.

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

Author
Time

EXT. FOREST MOON – FOREST – DAY

The battle rages on.

Chewie swings on a vine to the roof of one of the walkers, an Ewok clinging to him. They land with a thud on the top of the lurching machine, then hang on for dear life. The Ewok peeks through the viewport.

INT. AT-DP/COCKPIT – DAY

DRIVER: Look!

GUNNER: Get him off of there!

The walker driver opens the hatch to see what’s going on. He is yanked out and tossed overboard before he can scream, the gunner quickly following him. Chewie slips inside the walker; the Ewok drops in beside him.

EXT. FOREST – DAY

Chewbacca’s walker moves through the forest, firing plasma blasts at unsuspecting troopers and destroying other Imperial walkers. The Ewoks shout and cheer as the giant machine helps turn the tide of the battle in their favour.

CUT TO

A scout bike racing past.

The vanes of the bike is lassoed with a heavy vine. The other end of the vine is tied to a tree, and the bike swings around in ever-tightening circles until it runs out of rope and crashes into the tree with a huge explosion.

CUT TO

An AT-DP marching through the undergrowth, blasting Ewoks as it goes.

An Ewok warrior gives the signal, and a pile of logs is cut loose. The logs tumble under the walker’s feet, causing it to slip and slide until it finally topples over with a great crash.

EXT. FOREST – GENERATOR BUNKER – DAY

Han works furiously at the control panel; wires spark as he attempts to hotwire the door. He motions to Leia, who is blasting away at some stormtroopers.

HAN: I think I got it. I got it!

The three wires spark as the connection is made. With a LOUD WHOOSH, a second blast door crashes shut in front of the first.

Han frowns and turns back to the wires again. That’s when a shadow trooper, heavy blaster in hand, appears. As the Imperial soldier strides forward toward the bunker, he opens fire. As the hail of red blasterfire peppers the ground before them, Han and Leia return fire. The blue bolts score home, but the trooper’s black armour is strong; it takes several shots to bring him down, and not before Han takes a hit.

HAN: ARGH!

C-3PO: (alarmed) Oh, Capt. Solo, are you alright?

LEIA: (concerned) Let’s see.

HAN: (pained) It’s not bad.

SHADOW TROOPER #3: (O.C.) Freeze!

They freeze.

C-3PO: Oh, dear.

SHADOW TROOPER #3: Don’t move!

Two shadow troopers move towards them. Han and Leia’s eyes lock; the moment seems suspended in time.

HAN: I love you.

Another shared look between them, as she smiles down at Han.

LEIA: I know.

SHADOW TROOPER #3: Hands up! Stand up!

Chewie’s walker appears and blasts the two troopers. The hatch on top of the walker then opens and Chewie sticks his head out, barking triumphantly.

LEIA: Chewie! Get down here! He’s wounded!

HAN: No, wait!

Leia turns to Han.

HAN: I got an idea.

INT. ECLIPSE/THRONE ROOM

Luke and Vader are engaged in a man-to-man duel of lightsabers even more vicious than the battle on Bespin. But the young Jedi has grown stronger in the interim, and now the advantage shifts to him. Vader is forced back, losing his balance, and is knocked down the stairs. Luke stands at the top of the stairs, ready to attack.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (laughs) Good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Let the rage flow through you!

Luke looks momentarily toward the emperor, then back to Vader, and realizes he is using the dark side. He steps back, shuts down his lightsaber, and relaxes, driving the anger from his being.

LUKE: I will not fight you, Father.

Vader walks back up the stairs to Luke.

DARTH VADER: You are unwise to lower your defenses.

Vader attacks, forcing Luke on the defensive. The young Jedi leaps in an amazing reverse flip up to the safety of the catwalk overhead. Vader stands below him.

LUKE: Your thoughts betray you, Father. I feel the war within you, the conflict.

DARTH VADER: There is no conflict.

LUKE: You couldn’t allow me to kill the emperor in anger. In spite of what you say, there’s a part of Anakin Skywalker still alive inside you.

DARTH VADER: You underestimate the power of the dark side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny.

Vader throws the lightsaber and it cuts through the supports holding the catwalk before returning to Vader’s hand. Luke tumbles to the ground in a shower of sparks and rolls out of sight under the emperor’s platform. Vader moves to find him.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (laughs) Good. Good.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The two armadas, like their sea-bound ancestors, blast away at each other in individual point-blank confrontations. A Star Destroyer explodes. The Rebel victor limps away, its back half alive with a series of explosions. The Rebel cruiser manages to move in next to a second Star Destroyer before it explodes completely, taking the Imperial warship with it.

INT. FOREST MOON – FOREST – GENERATOR BUNKER/MAIN CONTROL ROOM – DAY

Controllers watch the main viewscreen on which a vague image of an Imperial walker driver can be seen. There is a great deal of static and interference distorting the picture.

HAN: It’s over, Commander. The Rebels have been routed. They’re fleeing into the woods. We need reinforcements to continue the pursuit.

The controllers are jubilant.

BUNKER COMMANDER: Send three squads to help. Open the back door.

LIEUTENANT: Yes, sir.

EXT. FOREST – GENERATOR BUNKER – DAY

As the door to the bunker opens and the Imperial troops rush out, they’re surprised to find themselves surrounded by Rebels and Ewoks, weapons pointed at them.

INT. GENERATOR BUNKER/MAIN CONTROL ROOM – DAY

Leia, Chewie, and several troops plant explosive charges throughout the control room.

LEIA: Throw me another charge.

A Rebel trooper tosses Leia the charge. She plants and arms it.

INT. ECLIPSE/THRONE ROOM

Vader stalks the low-ceilinged area on the level below the throne, searching for Luke in the semi-darkness, his red lightsaber held ready.

DARTH VADER: You can’t hide forever, Luke.

LUKE: (O.C.) I will not fight you.

DARTH VADER: Give yourself to the dark side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for …

Vader stops and senses something. Luke shuts his eyes tightly, in anguish.

DARTH VADER: (cont’d) Sister! So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. (beat) If you will not turn to the dark side, then perhaps she will.

LUKE: Never!

Luke ignites his lightsaber and rushes at his father with a frenzy we have not seen before. Sparks fly as Luke and Vader fight in the cramped area. Luke’s hatred forces Vader to retreat out of the low area and across a bridge overlooking a vast shaft. Each stroke of Luke’s sword drives his father further toward defeat.

The Dark Lord is knocked to his knees, and as he raises his blade to block another onslaught, Luke slashes Vader’s right hand off at the wrist, causing it and the Sith’s lightsaber hilt to clatter uselessly away, over the edge of the platform and into the bottomless shaft below.

DARTH VADER: AHHH!

Luke moves over Vader and holds his blazing plasma blade to the Dark Lord’s throat. The emperor appears on the stairs behind them, watching with uncontrollable, pleased agitation.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (laughs) Good! (beat) Your darkness has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny and take your father’s place at my side!

Luke looks at his father’s robotic stump, then to his own black-gloved artificial hand, and realizes how much he is becoming like his father. He makes the decision for which he has spent years in preparation.

LUKE: (deactivates lightsaber) Never. (tosses hilt aside) I’ll never turn to the dark side. (beat) You’ve failed, Your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

The emperor’s glee turns to anger.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: So be it … Jedi.

EXT. FOREST MOON – FOREST – GENERATOR BUNKER – DAY

Leia and several of the fighters run out of the bunker and race across the clearing.

LEIA: Move! Move!

A shockwave knocks them flat as the bunker explodes, followed by a spectacular display as the huge projector dish explodes along with the bunker.

INT. ECLIPSE/BRIDGE

LT. ENDICOTT: Sir, the deflector shield is down and we’ve lost all contact with the generating station.

MOFF JERJERROD: (reluctant) Position the ship to blow up the moon.

Jerjerrod stands with trepidation as the Eclipse begins turning to face the forest moon.

INT. ECLIPSE/THRONE ROOM

Luke stands still as the emperor reaches the bottom of the stairs. He raises his arms toward Luke.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed.

Blinding bolts of energy shoot from the emperor’s hands at Luke. The young Jedi shrinks before them, his knees buckling. The wounded Vader struggles to his feet and moves to stand at his master’s side.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: (contemptuous) Young fool. Only now, at the end, do you understand.

Luke is almost unconscious beneath the continuing assault of Palpatine’s lightning. He clutches a canister to keep from falling into the bottomless shaft as the bolts tear through him.

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the dark side. You have paid the price for your lack of vision.

Luke writhes on the floor in unbearable pain, reaching weakly up toward where Vader stands watching.

LUKE: (agonized) Father, please! (beat) Help me!

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Now, young Skywalker … you will die. (smiles)

Although it would not have seemed possible, the outpouring of bolts from the emperor’s fingers actually increases in intensity, the sound screaming through the room. Luke’s body writhes in pain. Vader stands watching Luke. He looks at his master, the emperor, then back to Luke on the floor. He makes his choice.

Vader grabs Palpatine from behind, fighting for control of the robed figure in spite his weakened body and gravely compromised arm. The emperor struggles in his embrace, his hands now lifted high, away from Luke. Now the dark blue lightning arcs back to strike at Vader. He stumbles with his load as the sparks rain off his helmet and flow down over his black cape. He holds his evil master high over his head and walks to the edge of the abyss at the central core of the throne room. With one final burst of his once awesome strength, Darth Vader hurls Emperor Palpatine into the bottomless shaft.

DARTH VADER’S P.O.V. – SHAFT

The emperor’s body spins helplessly into the void, arcing as it falls into the abyss. Finally, when the body is far down the shaft, it explodes, creating a rush of released dark side energy through the room.

CUT TO

Vader.

Vader’s cape is whipped by the evil wind and he staggers, collapsing. Luke crawls to his father’s side and pulls him away from the edge of the abyss. The old Sith looks up at the young Jedi.

His breathing apparatus damaged, Vader draws Luke close.

DARTH VADER: (wheezing) Luke … go. Leave me.

LUKE: No. You’re coming with me. I can’t leave you here. I’ve got to save you.

DARTH VADER: It is … too late for me, son. (beat) I wish … I could’ve looked on you … with my own eyes.

LUKE: (pained) Father … I won’t leave you.

Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father, dies.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The battle between the Rebel and Imperial fleet rages on.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

ADM. ACKBAR: Concentrate all fire on that Super Star Destroyer.

EXT. SPACE – EXECUTOR

The Home One and a swarm of B-Wing fighters discharge salvoes of red turbolaser fire upon the Executor.

INT. ECLIPSE/BRIDGE

WEAPONS OFFICER: .04 to moon target.

Jerjerrod looks at the moon of Endor, large and green in the viewscreen.

WEAPONS OFFICER: .03 to moon target.

The moff is in turmoil as the countdown continues.

WEAPONS OFFICER: .02 to moon target … .01 to moon target … moon target in range.

Jerjerrod hesitates.

WEAPONS OFFICER: Sir, moon target in range, now.

MOFF JERJERROD: (tormented) Commence firing.

LUKE: (O.C.) Belay that order!

Jerjerrod turns. Luke has appeared on the bridge. The black-garbed Jedi Knight strides up to Jerjerrod and Endicott.

MOFF JERJERROD: (shocked) You –

LUKE: (interrupts) The Emperor Palpatine is dead. The Lord Darth Vader is dead.

Endicott unholsters his blaster. As the lieutenant brings the gun to bear, Luke raises his left hand and pulls the blaster straight into his own grip.

LUKE: Command of this vessel has fallen to me.

MOFF JERJERROD: (afraid) W-what is our first order of business, milord?

LUKE: Bring primary weapon to bear on the Executor.

The bridge crew is hesitant to follow Luke’s order.

LUKE: Now!

MOFF JERJERROD: Do it!

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

Turning away from the forest moon, the Eclipse begins moving towards the Executor.

INT. EXECUTOR/BRIDGE

Adm. Piett and a commander stand at the viewscreen, looking out to the battle. They look concerned.

IMPERIAL SENSOR OFFICER: Sir, we’ve losing our bridge deflector shield.

ADM. PIETT: Intensify the forward batteries. I don’t want anything to get through.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

The Eclipse superlaser fires. The green beam hits the Executor, plowing straight through its already weakened shields to the underlying metal hull.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

There is excitement on the bridge as the Executor blows up.

ADM. ACKBAR: (surprised) That shot came from the Dreadnought!

INT. ECLIPSE/BRIDGE

Luke stands at the viewscreen, arms crossed behind him, looking out upon the dying embers which once constituted his father’s flagship.

LUKE: Initiate self-destruct.

MOFF JERJERROD: (frowns) Sir?

Luke doesn’t repeat himself. Perspiring, the moff obeys.

INT. ECLIPSE – MONTAGE

Klaxons blaring, Imperial personnel run in all directions, confused and desperate to escape.

INT. ECLIPSE/BRIDGE

The bridge crew is gone, leaving Jerjerrod alone with Luke.

LUKE: (turns to Jerjerrod) I suggest you go with your men, moff. This will soon be an unpleasant place to be.

Jerjerrod turns and bolts from the bridge.

EXT. SPACE – ENDOR

All ships and escape pods having disembarked from the Eclipse, the Star Dreadnought finally supernovas into oblivion, casting a blinding white three-dimensional shockwave which obliterates all nearby vessels and sends others reeling.

INT. HOME ONE/BRIDGE

Ackbar and other Mon Calamari lean on the railing of the bridge, watching the remaining Star Destroyers abandon the battle and jump to hyperspace. They laugh and cheer in elation and relief.

EXT. FOREST MOON – FOREST – DAY

Han and Leia, Chewie, the 'droids, the Rebel troops, and the Ewoks look to the sky as the flash of the demolished Eclipse reveals itself. They all cheer.

C-3PO: They did it!

Han looks from the sky to Leia, a look of concern on his face. Leia continues to look at the sky as though listening for a silent voice.

HAN: I’m sure Luke wasn’t on that thing when it blew.

LEIA: (smiles) He wasn’t.

EXT. FOREST – EVENING

Luke sets a torch to the logs stacked under a funeral pyre where his father’s body lies. He stands, watching sadly, as the flames leap higher to consume Darth Vader.

In the sky above, fireworks explode and Rebel fighters zoom above the forest.

EXT. EWOK VILLAGE – SQUARE – EVENING

A huge bonfire is the centrepiece of a wild celebration. Rebels and Ewoks rejoice in the warm glow of firelight, drums beating, singing, dancing, and laughing in the communal language of victory and liberation.

Lando runs in and is enthusiastically hugged by Han and Chewie. Then, finally, Luke arrives and the friends rush to greet and embrace him. They stand close, this hardy group, taking comfort in each other’s touch, together to the end.

Rebels and Ewoks join together in dancing and celebration. The original group of adventurers watch from the sidelines. Only Luke seems distracted, alone in their midsts, his thoughts elsewhere.

Luke looks off to the side and sees a VISION. Appearing in the darkness before him is a vista from another world, in another time. In a panoramic shot of a grain field situated beneath a clear blue sky are THREE FIGURES. The figure in the foreground – seated upon a large, flat boulder – is a tall, beautiful woman with flowing, wavy hair – Luke’s MOTHER. Away from her stand two men, engaged in a lightsaber duel. This is no fierce battle royale fought between bitter enemies but a light sparring match between fast friends. The first man is regal, with cool blue eyes and a trim beard – a YOUNG OBI-WAN KENOBI. The second man is ANAKIN SKYWALKER.

As Anakin sends Obi-Wan sprawling to the ground, both men laugh it off. Deactivating his cyan lightsaber, Anakin helps his teacher to his feet. Anakin is striking, and grand, with a wry tilt to his brow that hints at invincibility and takes all life in with a wink. Leaving his master, he goes to his wife and takes her in his arms, kissing her on the cheek. Her lovely smile is witness to the deep feelings they share.

Luke smiles as the vision comes to an end. Leia comes up to him and leads him back into the circle of friends. The heroes gather together, united in the spirit of victory and of love.

IRIS OUT

End titles

‎19/‎10/‎2017

S. D. G.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

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I’ve made the finishing touches to this script. No significant revisions, mind you – just the requisite minor corrections/subtractions/additions to scrape away the barnacles I failed to catch during the serialization.

Here is the link to the finalized draft for those interested:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0By35MA-KRN2BYjVGRDNpNDVUS28

This post has been edited.

I believe the original, theatrical versions of SW & TESB are great films. Beyond that, I have little in common with the typical
Star Wars fan here. Just a heads-up so you aren’t too taken aback when I say I prefer Dark Empire over Return of the Jedi.

My screenplay index.

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