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Community Focus Thread 2: Return of the Jedi

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 (Edited)

What’s going on here?

This is the second thread in a series of ‘Community Focus Threads’, intended to give the originaltrilogy.com community a central resource to collaboratively focus on a single Star Wars movie at roughly the same time, much like what was achieved for Hal’s Rise of Skywalker Ascendent. It does not necessarily have an output in mind, but by placing as much information as possible here from a ‘faneditor’s perspective’ it is designed to encourage:

  • The generation of ideas, new approaches, and feedback
  • Discussion of existing approaches and fixes that you particularly like, or that are particularly useful
  • Revisiting and highlighting older ideas, editors looking for support, perhaps those we can achieve with modern tools
  • The potential generation of new usable content.

RogueLeader (who I worked on this OP with) has a number of ideas he’d like to expand on, which might cohere into a new edit (no promises though!)

This is our second attempt at a community focus thread, so some of this content may not be useful, and there may be more that I can add. If you think the approach to the idea of monthly focus threads could be improved, please give feedback over at the Index and Overview thread.

Please try to keep this thread focused specifically on Return of the Jedi. For more information on the wider project and why I’m doing this, to give feedback on the approach taken in these monthly threads, and for thoughts on editing the franchise as a whole, please see the Index and Overview thread.

Want to Contribute?

Key decisions

  • What source would be the best to use, in terms of audio and video, that will make it easiest for people to slot new scenes into their own edits? This’ll help make asset sharing much easier.
  • How else can we keep sources and work produced consistent with each other?
  • What larger/structural changes could be valuable?
    • A more interesting/engaging opening?
    • Restructuring the Jabba sequence?
    • Putting Dagobah to the front?
    • Restored deleted scenes (especially Luke’s new saber)
    • Increasing the stakes in the Battle of Endor
    • Making the Ewoks more equal to the Stormtroopers
    • A new/improved ending?

Other fixes

  • Scenes
    • Luke and Leia mother conversation
    • Changes to various Ewok scenes.
    • Potentially have Leia be the one to help Luke and Han get free rather than Luke tricking the Ewoks with the Force?
  • Audio
    • Adding Yoda’s deleted line, “Obi-Wan would’ve told you long ago, had I let him.” (Could be just an audio change or audio and video)
    • Giving the female Rebel pilot her voice back.
    • Giving Han new lines. (Ex. “You tell that son of bitch that he’ll get no such pleasure from us!)
    • Remove Boba Fett’s death scream.
  • Video
    • Having Rebel ships crash into the Death Star shield. (Preferably make effects look accurate to the era and not too modern)
    • Have Boba Fett shoot Luke’s hand instead of random guard. (Would require at least 1 or 2 new shots)
    • Obi-Wan’s ghost fades into the shot rather than walking from out of the woods. Also, he could disappear and reappear sitting down rather than going over and sitting. Just to make him more ghostly rather than just a man walking around.
    • Have Vader fade out as he dies, like other characters who become force ghosts

Resources that could be helpful here if anyone can share

  • An opening crawl template/generator
  • The font, colour and size of alien subtitles

Other ways you can help

  • Brainstorming! Share any ideas you have, but keeping it focused on smaller, impactful ideas could help.

Scene Overview

I’m trying to present this from an ‘editor’s perspective’, highlighting the key plot points, structure, character development and interactions, topics of dialogue, scene linkages, references, etc. It’s in as close to original order as possible, with cut scenes placed in roughly the right place. Let me know if there’s anything relevant that I’ve missed.

Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
Released in cinemas 25th May 1983
Written by George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan
Directed by Richard Marquand

Opening Crawl

  • Luke’s returning to Tatooine to rescue Han from Jabba, and the Empire’s creating a second Death Star which’ll defeat the rebels.

Part 1: Jabba’s Palace

In space:

  • A star Destroyer launches a lambda-class shuttle to the under-construction second Death Star, bearing Vader, who tells an officer that he and the Emperor are disappointed at the slow progress, and that the Emperor plans to visit.
  • CUT SCENE: Vader continues to his meditation chamber, and tries to tell Luke through the force to join the dark side.

On Tattooine at daytime:

  • CUT SCENE: Luke creates his new green lightsaber on Tattooine, whilst ignoring Vader’s force communication from the prior cut scene. He prepares for Han’s rescue.
  • C-3PO and R2-D2 approach Jabba’s palace. They discuss the fact that Lando and Chewie haven’t returned, and that Jabba’s a bad dude. C-3PO thinks they’re just there to deliver Luke’s message, and looks for excuses to leave, but R2-D2 pushes on and they’re let in.
  • Bib Fortuna questions them and R2-D2 tells him he brings both a message and a gift, which surprises C-3PO.
  • Via R2-D2’s hologram, Luke greets Jabba as a friend of Han, seeking an audience to bargain for Solo’s life, and offers the droids as a gift. Jabba reveals Han in carbonite.
  • The droids are taken under the palace, where droids are being tortured, and given jobs. C-3PO is given a restraining bolt.
  • Above, Jabba’s slaves and performers dance and sing. Boba Fett can be seen. A slave dancer is dropped into a pit.
  • Leia (in disguise) presents Chewie and claims his bounty from Jabba. They negotiate, and Leia’s grenade brings agreement. Boba watches, and Lando (in disguise) also watches. Chewie is imprisoned.

In the palace at night:

  • Leia (in disguise) frees Han from carbonite. He’s temporarily blind, and Leia takes off her and they kiss.
  • Jabba and a load of his party reveal themselves from behind curtains, capturing Leia and Han. Han is imprisoned with Chewie, and Chewie says Luke is a Jedi and has a plan.
  • Luke enters and force chokes two guards. Leia (slave outfit) is chained to a sleeping Jabba’s throne slab. Luke mind tricks Bib Fortuna, who wakes Jabba, who’s frustrated that Bib Fortuna got tricked. Luke demands Han and Chewie, with threats of his power.
  • As they talk, Luke force pulls a blaster to himself, but Jabba triggers the trapdoor, which C-3PO had tried to warn him about. He falls into the pit of the Rancor, which eats a guard who fell in with him.
  • As Jabba’s posse cheer, Luke grabs a bone and, being grabbed by the Rancor, puts it into its mouth. Hiding in rocks, he spots an exit, and hits the Rancor’s reaching hand with a rock, which distracts it. Running to the exit, he finds it blocked. As the Rancor bears down, he spots a switch and throws a rock at it, which causes a door to fall on the Rancor, killing it. Everyone is shocked, and the Rancor trainer cries.
  • Han and Chewie are brought before Jabba, and C-3PO translates that they’ll be taken to the pit of Carkoon and digested by the Sarlacc.

On the dune sea at daytime:

  • Jabba’s Barge travels at speed, as Jabba’s posse revel and enjoy drinks served by R2, and Leia remains enslaved. On a smaller ship, cuffed Han, Chewie, and Luke follow, with Lando still in disguise with them. Han’s eyesight is improving. C-3PO and R2-D2 discuss their worries.
  • Luke walks the plank above the Sarlacc pit. C-3PO translates threats for Jabba. Han is sassy, and Luke threatens ‘free us or die’. He’s nudged along the plank. Luke nods to Lando and R2, who prepares a lightsaber. Luke jumps, grabs the plank, flips, and grabs the lightsaber launched by R2. He fucks up the guards on their small ship.
  • (Luke’s lightsaber is new, and green.)
  • They begin to free themselves as Jabba’s posse panic and prepare a laser cannon. Lando, scuffling, ends up hanging from a rope. Boba Fett flies over, but Luke cuts his blaster and knocks him over. Half-blind Han, flailing, hits Boba’s jetpack, sending him falling into the pit.
  • In the distraction, Leia gets her chain around Jabba and chokes him to death, as Han uses a staff and blaster to rescue dangling Lando from the sarlacc’s tentacles. Luke jumps over to the main barge and easily fucks up Jabba’s defenders. R2 zaps Leia’s cuffs off, and at Luke’s instruction she turns the cannon on the deck. Luke gets lightly shot in his artificial hand, revealing some mechanics. R2 guides 3PO off the barge, and Luke and Leia swing off to safety as the barge explodes. R2 and 3PO are lifted out of the sand.
  • CUT SCENE: In a sandstorm, Luke says his goodbyes to the rest of the team in person, then tends to his wounded hand.
  • The millennium falcon and Luke’s X-Wing go to orbit. Han’s grateful, and Luke and R2 are heading to Dagobah. Luke puts on a leather glove to cover his wounded hand.

Part 2: Dagobah

On the second Death Star:

  • A lambda-class shuttle disembarks the Emperor to a bowing Vader. The Emperor is pleased with Vader getting the progress back on track, and though Vader wants to search for Luke, but the Emperor cautions patience and says that Luke will seek out Vader in time. When that happens, Vader is to bring Luke before the Emperor, as Luke is strong, and only both of them can turn Luke to the dark side. Everything is as the Emperor has foreseen.

On Dagobah:

  • In some of the shots here (and onwards), Luke now appears with one bare hand and one gloved hand.
  • Luke’s ship is parked by Yoda’s hut, and Luke is inside talking to Yoda. Yoda is old, sick, and weak. Yoda’s strong with the force, but not strong enough to stave off death. He embraces death. Luke wants his training completed, but Yoda says no more is needed - though he’s not a Jedi until he confronts Vader, who Yoda confirms is Luke’s father.
  • Yoda regrets Luke facing Vader previously when he wasn’t ready, and cautions against the path of the dark side and the Emperor’s seduction. He believes Luke will be the last Jedi, and should pass on what he’s learned. “There is another Skywalker.” He dies.
  • Returning to the X-Wing, Luke expresses doubts to R2. Obi-Wan (ghost) interrupts and says Yoda will remain with him. He explains that when Anakin was seduced by the dark side, he ceased to be Anakin and became Vader. Anakin was Obi-Wan’s friend. When Obi-Wan met Anakin, he was a great pilot and strong in the force, and Obi-Wan “took it upon [himself]” to train him as a Jedi, believing he could train him as well as Yoda could, but he was wrong. Vader is evil now, and Obi-Wan thinks Luke must kill him, or the Emperor has already won.
  • Luke brings up the other, and Obi-Wan confirms its his twin sister, separated at birth to hide them from the Emperor, who knew Anakin’s children would be a threat. Luke knows it’s Leia immediately, but Obi-Wan knows those feelings could serve the Emperor.

At the rebel fleet in space:

  • Han admires Lando’s promotion to general. Mon Mothma addresses the room - Bothan spies have learned that the underprotected second Death Star has no primary weapon and that the Emperor is onboard. The Imperial fleet is spread across the galaxy, engaging the rebellion.
  • Ackbar shows them that the second Death Star is orbiting Endor’s forest moon, which is protecting it with an energy shield. The plan is to take down the shield, then move in cruisers, to cover fighters flying into the Death Star to knock out the main reactor.
  • A rebel leader explains that their stolen lambda-class shuttle can land a strike team, which Han will lead, and Chewie, Leia and Luke volunteer. They’re pleased to see Luke, and he hints at his new knowledge about Leia.
  • In the hangar, Han gives Lando the Falcon. The others launch in their shuttle.

In the Emperor’s throne room:

  • The Emperor instructs Vader to send the fleet to the other side of Endor. Rumours of rebels elsewhere are dismissed - “soon the rebellion will be crushed”. And soon, Luke will be turned to the dark side. Vader is dismissed.
  • CUT SCENE: Somewhere round this time, Vader and Jerjerrod clash, but Vader comes out looking less badass.

Part 3: Endor

In space above the forest moon of Endor, in sight of the second Death Star and super star destroyer:

  • Han negotiates with the imperials for passage to the surface. Luke senses Vader on the super star destroyer, and is worried he’s endangered the mission. Vader is suspicious of the shuttle but permits passage: “I will deal with them myself.”

On the forest moon at daytime:

  • The shuttle lands. Sneaking through the forest, the rebels spot two scouts, and Han and Chewie get seen by them but take them out. Two unseen scouts (and a couple more later) escape by bike to report their position, but Luke and Leia take a bike and take them all out. Leia falls, far from the group. Luke returns to the group, and the main characters go to find her as the other rebels continue on.
  • Leia is found by an Ewok, and despite some hesitation, they chill. They overcome a sniper and other scouts, so the Ewok leads her away.

In the Emperor’s throne room:

  • Vader returns, and reports that the rebels have landed on Endor. The Emperor already knows. Vader felt Skywalker with them, but the Emperor hasn’t. He instructs Vader to wait for Luke on the forest moon, but Vader is surprised Luke will come to him. The Emperor says Luke’s compassion for Vader will be his undoing, and that Vader must bring Luke to him.

On the forest moon at daytime:

  • Luke’s party find the remains of Leia and the Ewok’s scuffle. Chewie spots some raw food, but it’s a trap and all of them get caught in a net. R2’s sawblade cuts them down. They’re surrounded at spearpoint by Ewoks, and Luke tells them to yield, before C-3PO appears, and the Ewoks start worshipping him because they recognise the British as colonisers. Han wants C-3PO to impersonate a deity, but that’s against C-3PO’s programming.

On the forest moon at dusk:

  • They’re taken, bound, to the Ewok tree city, where the Ewoks prepare to cook and eat them, whilst venerating C-3PO. Leia (in Ewok garb, and not imprisoned) appears. Luke finds a loophole to get C-3PO to threaten the Ewoks, and uses the force to freak them out. The party are released and the Ewoks start treating them well. Han and Leia kiss.

On the forest moon at night:

  • C-3PO is playing a Star Wars double feature to an enraptured audience, with voices and SFX (even though in an earlier movie he said he’s not much of a storyteller), and the party are accepted as part of the tribe. Han and C-3PO get the Ewoks to help them out and they’ll get led to the shield generator later.
  • Luke steps outside, and Leia joins him. He asks about her mother, who he doesn’t remember, but she totally does, even though (1) her mother died in childbirth and (2) Obi-Wan even said earlier that “to protect you both from the Emperor, you [both??] were hidden from your father when you were born”.
  • Leia knows Luke’s troubled. He knows Vader’s come for him and can feel him, so he must leave and face him. “He’s my father”, and Leia’s the only hope for the alliance, because she has the force too, since she’s his sister. She says she always knew (even though they totally kissed a while back). She entreats Luke to leave, but he won’t, because he believes Vader is good enough to be saved. He leaves.
  • Han approaches Leia, and is suspicious for a while, but she’s upset and he chills out.
  • Vader’s shuttle arrives on a docking platform flanked by AT-ATs. Luke emerges from a lift, having surrendered to Imperials. The officer gives Vader Luke’s saber, and Vader tells him to search for the other rebels.
  • Vader acknowledges Luke’s skills as complete. Luke tells Vader that he knows there’s good in him, and Vader tells him that Obi-Wan once thought that, but the dark side is powerful, and he must obey his master. Luke says he won’t turn, and Vader will be forced to kill him - but he won’t be able to. Vader tells Luke it’s too late for him, and that the Emperor is Luke’s master now too. “Then my father is truly dead.” Vader takes a beat to think.

On the forest moon at daytime:

  • The rebels and Ewoks observe a shuttle taking off from the landing platform. Via 3PO, the Ewoks tell Han that there’s a secret entrance nearby.

Part 4: Strike on the Second Death Star

In space:

  • The rebel fleet and Falcon prepare for battle, and jump into hyperspace.

On the forest moon:

  • The forest rebels arrive at the secret entrance. An Ewok steals a scout bike to draw the other scouts away. The rebels (and the one who’s semi-canonically Captain Rex) sneak in.

In the Emperor’s throne room:

  • Luke is brought by Vader before the Emperor, who removes Luke’s cuffs and dismisses his guards. He’s going to be Luke’s master, but Luke won’t be converted. Vader hands him Luke’s lightsaber, “a Jedi’s weapon”. The Emperor says Vader’s fully dark side, as Luke will soon be. But Luke says that both he and the Emperor will soon be dead. The Emperor’s aware that the rebel fleet will soon attack, and is unconcerned. It’s all a trap - he leaked the information.

On the forest moon:

  • Han breaks into the shield generator and they overcome the Imperials, setting bombs.
  • CUT SCENE: During the prior scene, Han’s attack on the Imperials is longer and more herioc.
    More Imperials pile in and capture Han’s team. “Rebel Scum.”
  • CUT SCENE: Han reacts to “Rebel Scum.”

In space:

  • The Falcon and rebel fleet exit hyperspace near the forest moon and second Death Star. Callsigns and battle prep. Lando realises they’re jammed, so this must be a trap. The enemy fleet appears behind them and the rebels scramble as they’re overrun.
  • Watching this from his window, the Emperor gloats. He knows Luke wants his lightsaber, and goads him to strike him with anger, becoming his servant. “It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now mine.”

On the forest moon:

  • Rebels are rounded up outside the shield generator by a large force of Imperials including AT-STs. The droids are captured. Ewoks jump out, and a battle horn triggers their attack with bows. The rebels start fighting back, and Han and Leia get back to the shield generator door. Ewoks fight Imperials using simple tools, to some (mostly comical) success, with some goofy moments. R2 makes his way to the door.

In space:

  • Lando and the rebel fleet are dogfighting, but only the Imperial fighters are attacking. The capital ships aren’t fighting-only blocking them in.
  • Watching this from his window, the Emperor tells Luke that the primary weapon is operational. It fires, destroying a rebel capital ship.
  • Lando is surprised, but Ackbar is worried. Lando demands they give Han more time.

On the forest moon:

  • R2 makes it to the shield generator door, followed by 3PO. R2 gets shot and freaks out, so Han tries to hotwire the door. Ewok and rebel casualties are rising.

In space:

  • The death star laser fires again. Lando argues with Ackbar that they need to try to force their escape via the Imperial fleet.
  • Watching this, the Emperor tells Luke it’s all futile. The alliance will die, as will his friends. He can feel Luke’s anger and wants him to strike him down and complete his journey to the dark side. Luke grabs his lightsaber and tries to strike, but is blocked by Vader’s saber.

On the forest moon:

  • An AT-ST is chasing Ewoks, but Chewie and some Ewoks take it over. Ewoks are fleeing AT-STs, though some are still successfully fighting back. Chewie’s AT-ST starts firing on Imperials.
  • Han locks a second door and Leia gets shot, but it’s just a graze. Imperials approach them, but she’s got a hidden gun. “I love you.” “I know.” She shoots the Imperials, but an AT-ST approaches. They surrender, but it’s Chewie. Han has an idea.

In space:

  • Luke’s fighting Vader. The Emperor wants him to use anger and hate. “Obi-Wan has taught you well”, says Vader, but Luke won’t fight his father. Vader continues the fight. Luke gets acrobatic, and tells Vader he feels his goodness, and conflict.
  • The fleet and Lando are still fighting, waiting on the shield to drop.

On the forest moon:

  • Han fakes a call to the Imperials in the shield generator, so they run out into an ambush. He sets charges.

In space:

  • Luke’s hiding, and they talk. Vader feels his thoughts, and detects his twin sister. “Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me, and now his failure is complete.” He threatens turning Leia to the dark side instead, and Luke lashes out in anger, forcing Vader back and down, disarming him in both senses of the word.
  • The Emperor approaches, goading Luke to kill Vader and take his place at the Emperor’s side. Luke looks at his own gloved hand, takes a beat, and discards his lightsaber. “I’ll never turn to the darkside… I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” “So be it, Jedi.”

On the forest moon:

  • Han’s rebels flee the shield generator, and it explodes.

In space:

  • The shield drops, so the fleet attack.
  • CUT SCENE: Somewhere around this time, Jerjerrod orders turning the death star laser on the planet below.
  • In the throne room, the Emperor uses lightning on Luke, displaying the true power of the dark side, tormenting Luke. Vader stands, and Luke, in agony, begs Vader. As the Emperor attacks again, Vader takes a beat, then grabs the Emperor and drops him directly into the Pit of Somehow Return.
  • Lando and rebel fighters dive into the Death Star’s inner trenches, pursued by TIEs. It’s tight. Some get picked off. To give them more time, Ackbar has them fire on the super star destroyer. A kamikaze strike on the bridge sends it into the death star’s body.
  • In the hangar, Luke drags a weak Vader to a shuttle’s entrance. Vader takes off his mask. He tells Luke that he’s been saved, and to leave him. “You were right about me.” He dies.
  • Rebel pilots reach the reactor and destroy it, then flee. Ackbar has the fleet pull back, as Luke and the other rebels escape the exploding death star.
    CUT SCENE: Just before the explosion, we cut to Jerjerrod counting down to the death star firing on the forest moon.

On the forest moon at daytime:

  • The explosion is seen, to cheering. Leia can feel that Luke wasn’t onboard. Han’s confused, so Leia explains Luke’s her brother. The Ewoks blow celebration horns.

On the forest moon at night:

  • Luke burns Vader’s body, then pan up to fireworks.

Across the galaxy:

  • On Cloud City, Tattooine, Naboo and Coruscant, there’s celebrating in the streets and fireworks. A statue is toppled on Coruscant.

On the forest moon at night:

  • Panning down from fireworks, Ewoks are partying, and our main characters are dancing with them. Everyone hugs. Luke sees the ghosts of Anakin, Yoda, and Obi-Wan smiling over him. One last shot of the main characters, happy.

Fan Editing

Commonly Mentioned Issues and Changes

These are subjective, and not necessarily the opinion of the OP, but are collected here as a list for convenience. Please feel free to add to this list.

  • Aesthetically, there’re many versions of different qualities, and those who prefer the classic theatrical look versus those who prefer a more recent polished look.
  • The second death star is just the death star from the first movie, again. And with Starkiller, it’s the second of three very similar threats. Could this just be the remains of the first death star, being repaired? It’s even a bit muddied by the Sequel Trilogy, which almost treats DS1 and DS2 as the same.
  • The plan for Jabba’s palace is overly convoluted, a lot of the good guys make silly decisions, and some of the victory comes through luck
  • Both Jedi Rocks and Lapti Nek are unpopular to some
  • Torturing droids? Do they even have pain receptors, or can’t they turn them off?
  • The pacing within Jabba’s palace is slow, and the sail barge scene isn’t particularly exciting
  • Boba Fett “dies” too easily for his implied repute
  • The lambda-class shuttle is used for both cargo and dignitaries
  • Han has less ‘swagger’, and Leia doesn’t have as much to do as prior movies
  • The Ewoks are unthreatening and unserious as an opposing force to the Imperials
  • Luke is on the second Death Star whilst his allies are actively trying to destroy it, taking some of the tension out of those scenes
  • There’s a lot of switching between three locations in the finale, and the highs and lows of the finale could be improved with other orderings
  • Vader’s body doesn’t fade away when he dies, as Obi-Wan’s and Yoda’s do
  • The celebration endings feel a little artificial / tacked on
  • Tone and pacing feels a little different to episodes 4 and 5
  • Some moments of silly humour, including Salacious Crumb and Ewok goofiness
  • Some of the tense scenes don’t have appropriately tense musical score
  • As with all OT episodes, it has some imperfect VFX and some weaker puppetry
  • Special edition additions (see versions, below)

Notable Edits and Unique Approaches

The main purpose of this section is to highlight the unique approaches taken by some edits which you may wish to explore further. As one guy I can’t review every indexed edit, so I’ve tried to just highlight popular (on IFDB) and recent ones on these forums. I personally haven’t reviewed any three-in-one edits. Please forgive any unintentional omissions - and please suggest any other edits and unique approaches you think are worth discussing.

Edits after the in-progress ones are ordered by date of last update on IFDB or these forums at time of posting. Descriptions are based on goals highlighted in the editor’s IFDB listing.

  • ADYWAN’S RETURN OF THE JEDI (not yet released): A highly anticipated edit, part of his original trilogy series imagining “what the special editions should have been”. He meticulously creates models, digital matte paintings and props, and even films new shots with new actors. He also uses CG to improve VFX, fix errors, and add new shots, and more. One to watch, though it’s probably a long way off.
  • ILFANEDITORE’S SAGA EDIT (v1 2019, v2 coming soon): A robust edit with a lot of additions and improvements.
  • POSESSED’S EDIT (2022): Tightens up the pacing heavily during Jabba’s palace and sail barge, and makes many trims for humour and pacing throughout, plus some enhanced VFX
  • DARTHRUSH’S REMASTERED (2021): Heavily trims the Ewoks and rearranges the ordering of the finale, improves Han, removes goofy/distracting moments, and improves the score
  • HAL9000’S CUSTOM SPECIAL EDITION (2021): A hybrid original/special edition that balances both, with colour correction
  • YADS’ DAN EDIT (2021): A lot of tightening, especially to Tattooine scenes and the Ewoks
  • SPENCE’S FINAL CUT (2021): Improves the plan for Han’s rescue, and adds much more tension to the ending by cutting Han’s group’s humour and moving the Emperor’s throne room to the Super Star Destroyer
  • ZIGGYONICE’S ZIGGY EDIT (2019): A “conceptual” edit moving Dagobah earlier, incorporating some deleted scenes and making many other changes.
  • Q2’S EDIT (2018): A hybrid despecialised/special edition

Resources

Sources and Versions

  • Official Theatrical/VHS/Betamax/CED/LaserDisk
  • Official 1997 Special Edition VHS
  • Jedi Rocks replaces Lapti Nek
  • New shots in Jabba’s palace, including Oola’s scream and Boba flirting
  • Banthas on Tattooine
  • Sarlacc has a beak and extra tentacles
  • Death Star explosion ring
  • Across the galaxy celebrations
  • Shots of the force ghosts are different
  • Some fixed shots and alternate lines
  • Official 2004 Star Wars Trilogy DVD
  • Many fixed FX
  • Vader’s lightsaber looks pinkish
  • Sebastian Shaw’s eyebrows removed (due to lava)
  • Naboo added to the galaxy celebrations (“wesa free!”)
  • During Coruscant’s celebration, the Jedi Temple is clearly seen
  • Anakin’s ghost is played by Hayden instead of Sebastian Shaw
  • Official 2006 DVD
  • No changes
  • Official 2011 Blu-Ray
  • Jabba’s palace door made larger
  • Brighter beams as the carbonite heats
  • A CG Dug in Jabba’s palace
  • CG eyelids for Ewoks
  • When R2 gets shot, he reveals a lot of tools
  • White cores added to lightsabers
  • No slugs on the Emperor’s face
  • Nooooooooo
  • Official 2019 Disney+ 4K Restoration
  • No changes
  • A huge number of restorations on the Preservation subforum. (I’m quite unfamiliar with preservation so please highlight any key fan restorations, upscales, regrades, and more!)

Resources shared in this thread or on these forums

Other Resources and Options

  • Opening text can always be rewritten
  • Jabba’s subtitles can be rewritten
  • C-3PO in particular has a million lines of dialogue from a huge array of sources that could be used as alternatives
  • Shots of Dagobah could be borrowed from/lent to ROTJ and ESB
  • Shots of Tattooine could be borrowed from/lent to ROTJ and ANH
  • Boba Fett lines could be taken from the Book of Boba Fett/Mandalorian

Context and Considerations

  • This movie is part of the wider Star Wars saga and franchise. Does it feel consistent with the whole, and like it belongs in the same universe? Does each element in it add to or subtract from the whole? Does it depend on or add to elements seen in other canon media?
  • This is also the final episode within the original trilogy. Does it conclude the characters and plot for this story arc? Does it behave as act three of a wider story, paying off hooks or other elements which were set up before? Does it deliver on anticipation from the following film?
  • Chronologically, it is preceded by the prequel trilogy and followed by the sequel trilogy. Does it follow naturally from the PT’s plot, characters, and themes? Does it set up the ST’s plot, characters, and themes?
  • In release order, and some popular watching orders, this movie might be watched before the Prequel Trilogy. Does it set up interesting new interpretations when viewed this way? Do the elements of it add value and context to the viewer’s existing knowledge when watched in this order?
  • It is also followed by The Mandalorian and the current live-action TV Filoniverse. Does it lead into that nicely? Does it set up the state of the world immediately following it?
  • It is also a stand-alone movie. Does it tell a complete, coherent, end-to-end story that works in isolation from wider context? Is it too dependent on other content? Could you watch only this Star Wars movie and enjoy it?

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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A couple of thoughts to kick us off:

  • This was the original end of Luke’s journey - and therefore, at the time of OT, the most clear picture we had for how the ideal Jedi could act and behave. We know he intended for the Prequel Jedi to be less perfect, so how can Luke’s character here inform one of the major themes of a saga edit?
  • I don’t quite agree with the common criticism that Han’s character is weaker here. To me it reads that Han’s always had some anxiety and that his sass has often been a mask for that, and especially regarding Leia, he’s found someone he really loves so he’s genuinely concerned to lose her.
  • Luke does acknowledge on the second Death Star that he expects to die (with the Emperor) as the rebels destroy it, and while this is a noble act, it’s only really touched on by the one line so it’s not delivered as powerfully as it could have been. To me, the tension that’s lost by having the rebels likely to passively kill three main characters is not worth the benefit, so I’ve always preferred Spence’s approach, which places the Emperor’s throne room on the Super Star Destroyer and has the death star float outside his window to make that very clear.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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EddieDean said:

  • Luke does acknowledge on the second Death Star that he expects to die (with the Emperor) as the rebels destroy it, and while this is a noble act, it’s only really touched on by the one line so it’s not delivered as powerfully as it could have been. To me, the tension that’s lost by having the rebels likely to passively kill three main characters is not worth the benefit, so I’ve always preferred Spence’s approach, which places the Emperor’s throne room on the Super Star Destroyer and has the death star float outside his window to make that very clear.

I’ve said this in other places, but I’m a big fan of Spence’s ROTJ edit and will be incorporating a LOT of the execution there into the ROTJ section of my saga edit.

The trick with having Luke/Vader/Palpatine NOT on the Death Star in terms of the larger saga is that in TROS, Rey goes to that exact location of their fight and it’s made very clear that spot is on the Death Star. How do you reconcile that? Here are some possibilities:

  • Swap out the Death Star husk Rey looks at in its TROS establishing shot with a downed Super Star Destroyer, and trim a shot or two of the wreckage as she’s sailing towards it. Once she actually gets inside, there’s nothing we see that couldn’t be on the SSD.

Or

  • Reinstate the “2 Death Stars” concept from the ROTJ planning stages. (You can find info on it from Adywan`s ROTJ Wishlist thread here: https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Info-Ideas-ESB-and-ROTJ-Wishlist/id/8826/page/23#345416)

    • Two Death Stars = one larger, still under construction, and serving as a decoy. One smaller, also operational, and sporting Palpatine’s throne room. The rebels are attacking the bigger, shielded one while Palpatine brought Luke to the smaller one.

    • This keeps all the Spence visual ideas of showing the still-under-construction Death Star out the window behind Palpatine intact. It also kinda explains why there’s still so much Death Star left to fall on the forest moon after we see Lando barely escape it atomizing itself in the explosion - because it’s the smaller Death Star knocked into the forest moon by the force of the bigger one’s explosion.

    • You could also incorporate some of the Piett Sacrifice ideas mentioned in the above thread by having Piett slam his SSD into the smaller Death Star to stop it from firing.

“That’s not how the Force works!”

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Haha, I agree with a lot of that, but replacing one Death Star with two makes me feel like Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica: “We’re going the wrong waaaaaay!”

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Since this is the beginning of the thread, I guess it makes sense to start at the beginning. RL and I were recently discussing how to improve the first act, and these were my thoughts on it: https://originaltrilogy.com/post/id/1475964 This is similar to Spence’s cut but keeps the Dagobah scene in place.

In short, establish in the crawl that Luke is training in isolation to become a Jedi and Leia has gone ahead with a plan to rescue Han. After the arrival of Vader, cut to the musical number at Jabba’s palace and then Bounty for a Wookiee and Leia’s failed plan to rescue Han. Luke then sends the droids in using part of a deleted scene and the movie goes from there.

For that sequence to work, 3PO would need to be painted out of several shots in Jabba’s palace and/or cut around during the bounty scene, but apart from some cleanup of the deleted scene it is pretty straightforward.

Thoughts?

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Episode 9 Rewrite, The Starlight Project (Released!) and ANH Technicolor Project (Released!)

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I really like that. That way he’s left them to become a Jedi, as per their dogma, but also swung too far from the lesson in ESB that being too compassionate can be a trap, especially when you’re not ready. But here, when his training is complete, he finds a middle path- setting him up as part of the new Jedi paradigm.

With this, would you have him sense that the others have failed? I suppose it could work with or without- his arrival at Tattooine could just be a suprise without revealing him sensing it to the audience.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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These forums give me the impression that a lot of people here don’t actually like Star Wars at all. Literally every character, concept, scene, and second of screentime has been scrutinized and found wanting due to vague complaints often invented out of nothing.

If Lucas always intended the Jedi to be a certain way, and Lucas made the movies, AND Lucas went back and changed the movies many times, why are you worried about Lucas not being true to his own intent? Why should the original movies have to comply with newer, worse movies made 20-40 years later?

Luke, Vader, and the Emperor being on the death star while there’s a battle to destroy the death star is entirely the point. They are not physically relevant to what’s going on. It’s a spiritual battle for Luke’s soul and Vader’s soul. That’s why Luke says that, it’s not just expressing his character’s defiant outlook. The idea that their conflict is materially relevant to the battle belongs to the Emperor. He wants Luke to focus on the battle outside and imagine that he could end it by killing him or at least take revenge. As the audience we want Luke to survive and we want the Jedi to continue, but it’s entirely possible that he could have died with Vader on the death star even with Vader redeemed, and the story would be complete.

I’m sure you’ve seen this video already but it’s important here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvlWSsZwLn0
One idea he brings up is that this might even be a good reason that there’s two death stars, to highlight this contrast.

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I’m sure we all love Star Wars. But that doesn’t make it perfect, or the best it can be. And no movie is made by one person- George had a strong hand, but other writers re-wrote, other directors directed, and other editors edited, and each time, a variant movie than George’s original emerged. So why not faneditors?

And your interpretation is sound- there’s meaning in the original shape. But that doesn’t mean we can’t pick up that scene and scrutinise it, and see if it can be improved. Perhaps we’ll come to your conclusion, and put it back on the shelf, as we have with many ideas for many scenes before. But that shouldn’t mean we shouldn’t look at elements of the movies academically.

Your input on the idea is valuable, but I don’t think it’s sensible to dismiss the concept. This whole forum is a big bag of opinion and subjectivity, that’s been hugely productive and peaceful in spite of that. Sometimes you’ve just gotta live and let live, man.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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I definitely have some thoughts on major restructures such as these for the film, and I could go ahead and talk about them a bit, but I do have some reservations about focusing too heavily on a radical re-edit.

I do agree with Vlad that I think it makes sense for Luke, Vader and the Emperor to be on the Death Star. I have certainly had thoughts on making radical changes to the movie, but reading through Rinzler’s making of book and reading the transcripts during the story meeting between Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand and Kazanjian made me understand more some of the choices they made. On one hand, this whole idea of a community focus month was partly inspired on the collaborative nature of Hal’s TFA: Restructured, which main goal was about a major plot restructure, so this type of thread could be a solid crucible to figure out the best idea and what would need to be done to achieve it.

On the other hand, I could see people having trouble coming to an agreement on such big changes. With the Starkiller restructure, we had a pretty solid consensus. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for people in favor of some of these restructures to do very rough cuts of the suggested scene order and see how it actually feels. I do see merit in ideas like Luke being on Dagobah at first, or simplifying the rescue plan for Han. It could be cool, but another part of me would rather focus on trying to make the ideas presented in the movie clearer. For example, make changes to the Jabba sequence to add clarity and focus to Luke’s plan, but not taking the fun out of it either. That’s not to say I wouldn’t mind making some trims to improve pacing.

Speaking of pacing, one thing I noticed with the beginning is how there’s little connection between the opening scene with Vader, and then with R2 and 3PO approaching Jabba’s palace and the rest of the Tatooine sequence. With ANH and ESB, I think the audience can feel this plot baton being passed along from one scene to the next. Sure, we do cut back and forth between our heroes and our villains, but by that point their stories had already been connected in the narrative. I think something that helped this problem originally in ROTJ was the deleted scene of Vader trying to commune with Luke on Tatooine. I assume this scene was cut because they felt his introduction was better served during his entrance to Jabba’s palace, but I do think there are some benefits to restoring it. But obviously an issue with using the deleted scene is the quality not being super great. This wouldn’t be an issue as much for an edit using something like '83 Grindhouse or Puggo Grande (which I’m personally planning to do), but not might work as something that could be shared with other editors wanting to keep the material they use consistent.

I know some people have suggested putting the Emperor’s arrival at the beginning of the film and cutting the original opening, but you sort of end up with the same issue either way. Maybe this isn’t a big issue, but it is something that I was thinking about when rewatching the film recently.

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The thing with Restructured was that the idea was already fairly latent in the film, just sort of waiting to be expressed. Many people had thought of the idea around the same time so it was just a matter of making a fairly obvious improvement to the story.

With ROTJ, there are certainly some dramatic changes one could make but I haven’t yet seen one for this film that would significantly improve it, or at least it would have some substantial downsides. As well, I think there’s a bit more sanctity with the OT vs the ST where we would just throw things at the wall to see what stuck. No matter what is cut, there will be people who object on the basis of it being a favorite childhood moment or something.

I feel the pacing issue of the opening as well, and wish there was more connective tissue between Vader’s arrival and the Tatooine plot. Unfortunately, it has always felt a bit like cleanup from the previous movie. Spence’s edit puts Luke’s Dagobah scene after the Vader introduction, which makes sense, but that still doesn’t help the introduction of Jabba’s palace. The Vader deleted scene has always felt more like a quickly abandoned concept than a finished scene, unfortunately, and the dialogue is rather goofy.

It would be interesting to see a mockup of the transition from Vader’s arrival to the dance scene in the palace, since that would at least go from the interior of one villain’s lair to another.

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Episode 9 Rewrite, The Starlight Project (Released!) and ANH Technicolor Project (Released!)

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Perhaps Vader’s dialogue in the deleted scene could be changed. Maybe something like, “Luke… join me… it is the only way to save your friends”. Something like that could plant that idea early in the film that Luke might lean toward the dark side to save his friends, which we kind of see during Tatooine sequence.

Funny that you mention that transition in particular, because I’m pretty sure that’s what I did in my very first edit!

I think if you were pursue the idea that Leia tries to rescue Han on her own, then the droids and Luke come later, this could be a way to order and re-cut scenes without new effects.

*Vader’s Arrival
*Jabba dance scene
*Leia sneaks into the palace
*Alter their capture so Boba Fett catches them instead of the whole palace hiding behind curtains
*Han gets thrown in jail, where we see Chewbacca for the first time
*Leia is taken to Jabba
*The droids approach the palace
*Bib Fortuna whisks them off to the dungeons instead of seeing Jabba
*Luke Arrives

I don’t know if I would go with this approach now, but it could be fun to see how this would look in practice. It would definitely make the Jabba sequence move much more quickly, for better or worse.

One thing that would be cool to see come out of this focus month would be some smaller little edits that people could share and use for their own projects. I wanted to expand on one idea I had that I think could make for cool little addition to the film.

Rebel Ships Crash into Death Star Shields

This is something I know Ady also has planned for his edit so it might be redundant, but it could be a fun project, especially because this idea was originally planned but never made. Overall, it would take three major things to pull off.

First I guess one would start by painting out a few of the fighters once they got to a certain point in their flight path. Then, we could find some practical explosion assets that could be used for when they blow up. Any idea where to source those? Finally, some kind of effect of when they impact the shield.

I have seen a proof of concept of this idea floating around before, but I felt like the effects didn’t blend very well with the rest of the movie. I think it would be cool to replicate the shield effect we see inside the core of the Death Star. There is this quote regarding the effect in the Returning to Jedi documentary:

“To create the blue energy effects, a laser was aimed at a rapidly spinning mirror which emitted a cone of light. Some was then blown through the ray to achieve the final effect”

I’m curious if anyone has any insight into this and could further explain how it could be replicated. I would definitely be interested in trying to film something similar for the effect if some people in the community could help me understand the process better.

Also, I’m wondering if we could discuss which source would be the best option for us to use for the community project in general, or for doing effect shots like these.

I have a lot more ideas in general for ROTJ, but I’ll post a little bit at a time so I don’t just inundate the thread with too many random thoughts.

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I don’t have as many ideas for how to “improve” ROTJ, but one simple idea I have in mind is to restructure the first half hour or so. In a nutshell, I would do a bit of a sequence rearrangement like this:

Sequence 1: Vader landing on the second death star
Sequence 2: Luke on Dagobah
Sequence 3: Jabba the Hutt

This would give the film more of a beginning, middle, and end, as the basics and rules of the plot are really explained on Dagobah. Starting the film off with Jabba the Hutt was not the best decision, because that entire episode had almost no set up for the rest of the film. The Jabba episode is better as a part of the second act, not the first.

The only issue that concerns me is how to explain Luke’s talk with Han in the X-Wing after the Jabba sequence ends. This is because the scene is a prelude to the Dagobah sequence, so getting it to transition to the rebel base could be tricky. Other than that, I think it’s an improvement.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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RogueLeader said:

*Alter their capture so Boba Fett catches them instead of the whole palace hiding behind curtains

As I mentioned before, it’s a neat idea but I simply can’t visualize how that would work with the available footage. Would be interested in seeing a mockup though 😃

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Episode 9 Rewrite, The Starlight Project (Released!) and ANH Technicolor Project (Released!)

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I’m still reading through all the discussion here (ROTJ is my favourite OT film, so I’m excited to pick it apart), but a tiny note: the subtitle font for the aliens is Franklin Gothic Demi Bold.

“It’s like rhymetry. They poem.” - Leorge Gucas

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It’s a shame Jerjerrod’s role in the film wasn’t given to Piett. The deleted scenes of Jerjerrod and Vader and then Jerjerrod questioning and finally betraying the Empire would have hit a lot more if it had been Vader’s right-hand admiral.

I’d propose a perfectly simple and easy AI remaster of the deleted scenes and a extensive deepfake of Piett’s face over Jerjerrod’s and total AI generated dialogue and then to replace the chump on the Executor with Jerjerrod. Shouldn’t take more than 5 years…

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Something I would definitely like to see done with ROTJ is replacing the Anakin ghost with a better version of Hayden. With Ascendant using the Hayden ghost I would love to keep Hayden but he just looks so out of place and creepy in the version we got.

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I’d be up for Hayden ghost V2.0 as an experiment, at the very least.

I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently.

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NeverarGreat said:

As I mentioned before, it’s a neat idea but I simply can’t visualize how that would work with the available footage. Would be interested in seeing a mockup though 😃

Currently working on something else, so can’t spend too much time on audio, but here’s a gif of the idea.

As Han and Leia stand up, we hear the sound of SPURS. They stop, Leia looks up, and she sees Boba Fett aiming his gun at them. Leia is frozen in shock. HARD CUT to Han being thrown into a cell. He reunites with Chewie. Afterward, we cut back to Leia. The whole palace is now awake, and she is brought before Jabba.

Thanks for the font info, Faraday! I have a few different ideas for rewriting some of the alien dialogue, so this will be useful!

What do you mean “betrays”, Artan? In the original deleted scene, Jerjerrod does order to fire on Endor. I do think it would be cool to recut that scene so he never gives the order, though.

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Currently working on something else, so can’t spend to much time on audio, but here’s a gif of the idea.

As Han and Leia stand up, we hear the sound of SPURS. They stop, Leia looks up, and she sees Boba Fett aiming his gun at them. Leia is frozen in shock. HARD CUT to Han being thrown into a cell. He reunites with Chewie. Afterward, we cut back to Leia. The whole palace is now awake, and she is brought before Jabba.

THAT is a kickass idea that I can totally see working!

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Very promising! I’d forgotten that he raises his gun in the palace. I imagine that there would need to be some power windows to make it seem like he’s emerging from the shadows. It may be better to keep the shot of Boba unflipped though, since flipping it here breaks the 180 degree rule.

Also, maybe there could be a Temuera Morrison line that could be used during the transition between shots, like a mocking ‘Not so fast, bounty hunter!’ Maybe something from the new show?

JEDIT: Canonically, there’s a stairway in the direction he appears so I made a mockup of it. In any case, there should probably be a curtain that is pulled back offscreen since the curtain can be seen in previous shots.

Boba in the doorway

Sorry about the copious notes, I’m really just working the problem out-loud.

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Episode 9 Rewrite, The Starlight Project (Released!) and ANH Technicolor Project (Released!)

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RogueLeader said:

What do you mean “betrays”, Artan? In the original deleted scene, Jerjerrod does order to fire on Endor. I do think it would be cool to recut that scene so he never gives the order, though.

His hesitation is evident as if he’s trying to convince himself not to give the order. He spends a lot of time dithering after the gunner tells him ‘Moon Target is in range’, they get in target before the Falcon enters the superstructure and doesn’t say ‘fire’ until the Falcon is at the core.

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CaptainFaraday said:

I’m still reading through all the discussion here (ROTJ is my favourite OT film, so I’m excited to pick it apart), but a tiny note: the subtitle font for the aliens is Franklin Gothic Demi Bold.

And if that font isn’t available, try Franklin Gothic Demi Cond as an alternative! I used that font for my prequel edits, and it looks almost identical to most Star Wars subtitles! Just a heads up for any other fan editors having this problem.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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There’d 100% be a good Temeura line. I came across a bunch in for OT project so I can see about that if this idea pans out.

Also, I carefully cracked the code of making the perfect subtitles for the PT and OT and can use FCP7 to apply whatever subtitles to whatever shots may be needed in this.

I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently.

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hinventon said:

Something I would definitely like to see done with ROTJ is replacing the Anakin ghost with a better version of Hayden. With Ascendant using the Hayden ghost I would love to keep Hayden but he just looks so out of place and creepy in the version we got.

Same here! I had the idea of doing a “third unit”-style shoot with an actor (that has screen-accurate Jedi robes and an appropriate wig for ROTS Anakin) filmed in front of a green screen. Deepfake Hayden’s face on them and we’d be set. That way, one could:

  1. Not use Shaw’s body
  2. Copy Shaw’s facial expressions exactly
  3. Do the full length of the scene, for those who want to use the 1983 editing of the ending.

It’s a bit involved, but I think it has merit.

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I’ve had my own ROTJ edit sitting at like 95% for a few years now. I’ve been putting off finishing it because the last 5% is the most difficult, tedious stuff. And I’m still unsure about many of my changes anyway. So this will be a great thread to bounce around some ideas/flesh them out. Some that I’ve used, and some that I deemed too ambitious for my edit.

Anyway, love the Boba Fett clip RogueLeader, works better than I imagined. And that mockup image is sexy, Nev.

I was curious to see if Boba’s theme would work with the scene so I copied RL’s work to test it out. And I threw in some sound FX just for fun:
https://streamable.com/ypk3gt

Maybe a little too on the nose? IDK, I think it’s pretty cool 😃
There’s a dozen other good Morrison lines to use there, I just picked a couple. I would end up settling on different lines/placement; perhaps my test doesn’t have the right tone. RogueLeader, I’m certain you can perfect that. Could be cut a few different ways depending on the vibe you’re trying to achieve.

“Always in motion is the future” 🌌