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Do the Star Wars movies contain evidence that Lucas makes it up as he goes?

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 (Edited)

This has been touched on a couple times in some other threads, so I figured we could give it it's own separate discussion here.

1. Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father

But in Star Wars (1977), Obi Wan Kenobi and Uncle Owen both explicitly tell Luke that his father is dead, and Obi Wan explicitly tells Luke that his father was betrayed and murdered by Obi Wan's former pupil Darth Vader. When those lines were written by George Lucas in the mid-70's, was he already committed to the idea that Obi Wan is lying, with the rationalization that Obi Wan has a "certain point of view"?

In fact further research shows even more reason to doubt that Vader was Luke's father before Empire Strikes Back was released. Not only does Star Wars make Vader and Luke's father seem like two distinct characters, but the first draft of Empire Strikes Back's screenplay, which Leigh Brackett wrote based on George Lucas's story treatment, has the ghost of Luke's father appearing to Luke to instruct Luke. Then Lucas wrote the second draft and it was in this second draft that Vader is first said to be Luke's father. Michael Kaminski argues in his book that the twist didn't exist before then; if someone wants to say that it did, they bear the burden of proof.

2. Leia is Luke's sister

But in Star Wars (1977) Luke very clearly has an attraction for her, which causes tension between him and Han in a scene on the Millennium Falcon. Then in Empire Strikes Back, Leia kisses Luke pretty hard in front of Han, and Luke's reaction clearly shows he was digging it in a non-brotherly way. And the Blu-Ray shows deleted footage from that scene where Luke and Leia share an intensely romantic exchange (this time not to spite Han but actually from the heart). All of this makes sense if you believe Gary Kurtz, the producer who left the series after Empire Strikes Back, when he admitted in an interview that Luke's sister, the "other skywalker" was originally not going to be Leia but was going to be a new character to be introduced in the sequel trilogy (episodes vii-ix). Kurtz opposed Lucas's last minute decision to resolve the love triangle in Return of the Jedi by switching the sister to Leia. Supposedly Lucas wasn't sure at that point if episodes vii-ix would ever get made so he decided to rush the resolution of the "other skywalker" subplot. You have to admit, Return of the Jedi's "reveal" of Luke and Leia's relationship feels a bit shoehorned in....

3. Darth is Vader's first name?

In Star Wars (1977) Obi Wan refers to Vader before he turned to the dark side as "a young Jedi 'NAMED' Darth Vader...." Then when he fights Vader on the Death Star, he says "Only a master of evil, Darth...." and "You can't win Darth..." For those who try to argue that this evidence is weak and inconclusive, how do you explain the following:

This way of speaking is never repeated in a subsequent Star Wars movie. Never again is someone said to be "named" Darth so-and-so. And never again is someone referred to merely as "Darth".

In fact, in the first draft of The Star Wars, Darth Vader is General Darth Vader, so "general" is his title, yet he still had the name "Darth."

4. Did Anakin's wife die in childbirth?

Even though Luke says he has no memory of his mother because he never knew her, Leia contrasts with this by saying she has a little bit of memory of her mother because she died when Leia was very young. This conversation clearly contrasts Luke and Leia where there mother is concerned; they did not know their mother for the same length of time.

Further research also corroborates this. In the story conferences between Lucas, Kasdan, Marquand, etc. for Return of the Jedi, Lucas elaborates on the backstory as it was in his mind at that time, and explicitly states that Anakin did not know his wife was pregnant, she kept it a secret from him because of the changes that have been taking place in him as he's drawn more and more to the dark side and becomes less and less the Anakin she's familiar with. She confides about the pregnancy to Obi Wan and gives birth in secret, and survives the birth. She takes Leia to Alderaan, where she dies while Leia is two or three years old.

Based on that story conference, dialogue was written for the scene on Dagobah in Jedi after Yoda's death when Obi Wan appears and discusses backstory with Luke. The scene as scripted goes longer than in the movie; Obi Wan explains some of the details outlined above, and even says that Luke's Uncle Owen was Obi Wan's brother. This full conversation between Luke and Obi Wan appears in the novelization of Jedi, even though it was cut from the movie.

When Luke decides to reveal to Leia that he is her brother on Endor, there are multiple ways he could choose to start the conversation. On the basis of the information that Obi Wan revealed to him earlier (that Luke was taken from his mother at birth while Leia went with their mother to Alderaan), he decides to ask about her memories of their common mother, memories that he wouldn't have, but that she would have because she wasn't separated at birth the way he was.

Explanations by fans on the internet, that Leia "uses the force" to have image memories of her mother, are just feeble attempts to reconcile something that in reality is just George Lucas changing his mind when it came time to write Revenge of the Sith.

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There are many other examples of Lucas making it up as he goes besides the four listed above, but they should be more than enough to get this discussion going. Eventually this thread can touch on them all.

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I think Return of the Jedi is pretty much where the overall story begins to derail (for the OT, anyway). I still like it, but damn, that movie has problems.

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There was never meant to be three movies anyways. So clearly George made up the other films and claimed his first draft was split into three movies for time constraints. He got lucky only once.

Everyone knows SW was never meant to be episode IV until after Empire came out, so the PT was never meant to exist until George decided to make them in the 90s. When he made them it was clear to everyone that he haven't seen the originals in years, hence the obvious contradictions.

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One version of the ROTJ screenplay has Luke say "I am a Jedi, like my father before me and his father before him." This means that Anakin wasn't intended to be virgin-born in 1983.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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Not to mention that it demonstrates that George didn't intend for there to be mandatory Jedi celibacy and rules against loving.

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RicOlie_2 said:

Not to mention that it demonstrates that George didn't intend for there to be mandatory Jedi celibacy and rules against loving.

Good point. This makes me very happy.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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The same here. That rule seems to come out of nowhere just to fill out AOTC. They should have stuck with fear.

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generalfrevious said:

That rule seems to come out of nowhere just to fill out AOTC.

I'd bet that Lucas wanted a forbidden romance story and created the rule for that reason.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

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I don't know why Lucas didn't just make it so that Jedi could marry, just not outside the Order. It would have accomplished the goal without nearly as much fuss.

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

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darklordoftech said:

One version of the ROTJ screenplay has Luke say "I am a Jedi, like my father before me and his father before him." This means that Anakin wasn't intended to be virgin-born in 1983.

“These men have taken a supreme vow of celibacy, like their fathers, and their fathers before them.”

— Topper Harley
Hot Shots: Part Deux

“That’s impossible, even for a computer!”

“You don't do ‘Star Wars’ in Dobly.”

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DuracellEnergizer said:

I don't know why Lucas didn't just make it so that Jedi could marry, just not outside the Order. It would have accomplished the goal without nearly as much fuss.

 

Or that Anakin was too young to get married and not ready emotionally, it would have tied into him taking the quick and easy path.

It seems like people are really embracing the new characters. In fact, the big question people ask me now about Star Wars is, “Are Finn and Poe gay lovers?” And really how the f*ck would I know? My second husband left me for a man, so my gaydar isn’t exactly what you’d call Death Star level quality. ----Carrie Fisher

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The one about Leia knowing her mother really bothered me when the prequels came around and he changed that concept to her dying during childbirth.  It makes watching all the films 1-6 together pointless because of the glaring errors in continuity.

I'm sure if Lucas was ever asked about it he would come up with some explanation about Leia using the force etc.  But to be honest, I think his "its all one movie" thing is a sham.  Ep. 1-3 are the Star Wars films he always wanted to make but couldn't until he had the technology.  For him they stand on their own and so if they don't have continuity with 4-6 he's fine with it since he doesn't care for those movies anyway.  That's just a guess though.

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The fact that Lucas decided at the last minute to kill off Obi-Wan Kenobi when he was making Star Wars gives you a window into the way he writes.

Kenobi was supposed to be the one who trains Luke to be a Jedi in the Star Wars sequels. But all Lucas cares about is the movie he's currently making. In every interview he's ever given on the subject, Lucas consistently gives the same two reasons for the decision to kill Obi Wan off in Star Wars:

1. Obi Wan doesn't have anything terribly significant to do except stand around for the last 20-30 minutes of the first movie

2. Killing him is more dramatic or interesting than him just standing around

So even though Obi Wan served a very necessary function in the Star Wars sequels, Lucas killed him off just to make things more interesting in the movie he was currently making at the time. Now we get to have Kenobi speak to Luke as a disembodied spirit during the final battle, instead of standing around nervously with everyone else down on the rebel base. Of course that created an issue he would now need to solve when it came time to write the sequel, but he figured that's a problem for later, and he'd just cross that bridge when he came to it.

Mind you, this is the story behind how Yoda came into existence, to solve the dilemma Lucas made for himself by killing off Kenobi. And of course everyone loves Yoda. So I'm not necessarily complaining. But this is an illustration of the subject of this thread, which is that Lucas has a very "make it up as I go" style of writing. There have been good results (Yoda). But the results aren't always good (Padme dies in childbirth??? No thanks).

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deepanddark20 said:

The fact that Lucas decided at the last minute to kill off Obi-Wan Kenobi when he was making Star Wars gives you a window into the way he writes.

 Wasn't that actually Marcia's idea to kill off Ben?

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I seriously believe that there was only one movie at the beginning: Star Wars ANH. There were no sequels in mind when it was made in 1976, hence why the first film feels self-contained compared with the others. It was never meant to be a trilogy until the money started rolling in.

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ratpack1961 said:

The one about Leia knowing her mother really bothered me when the prequels came around and he changed that concept to her dying during childbirth.  It makes watching all the films 1-6 together pointless because of the glaring errors in continuity.

I'm sure if Lucas was ever asked about it he would come up with some explanation about Leia using the force etc.  But to be honest, I think his "its all one movie" thing is a sham.  Ep. 1-3 are the Star Wars films he always wanted to make but couldn't until he had the technology.  For him they stand on their own and so if they don't have continuity with 4-6 he's fine with it since he doesn't care for those movies anyway.  That's just a guess though.

Leia's use of the word "young" points to her being a toddler and possibly older - not her as a newborn baby.  I guess she could have been talking about her adoptive mother, but if so, then the whole scene is pointless because Leia's adoptive mother has nothing to do with Luke.  Also, if Leia was able to use the force to see her mother, then why wasn't Luke able to  as well?  He said he has no memory of his mother.  I think having Padme die turning childbirth was a big mistake and could have easily been avoided.  She didn't need to die in ROTS since Leia mentions that she died when she was very young - we don't necessarily need to know how she died.

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I don't have a problem with the Jedi being monastic. The only thing it seems to be inconsistent with is the EU. 

Sure, it may not have been the plan all along, but it's one of the few things from the prequels that fits the portrayals of Obi-Wan and Yoda in the OT as these hermits that forgo all materialism. It's very Christ and Buddha like, which were obvious influences on Lucas.

"A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind."

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unamochilla2 said:

deepanddark20 said:

The fact that Lucas decided at the last minute to kill off Obi-Wan Kenobi when he was making Star Wars gives you a window into the way he writes.

 Wasn't that actually Marcia's idea to kill off Ben?

Yes, that was her idea to kill Obi-Wan in order to raise the stakes.

She influenced Lucas in many positive ways. Here's a quote from Hamill:

You can see a huge difference in the films that he [Lucas] does now and the films that he did when he was married. I know for a fact that Marcia Lucas was responsible for convincing him to keep that little 'kiss for luck' before Carrie [Fisher] and I swing across the chasm in the first film: 'Oh, I don't like it, people laugh in the previews,' and she said, 'George, they're laughing because it's so sweet and unexpected'-- and her influence was such that if she wanted to keep it, it was in. When the little mouse robot comes up when Harrison and I are delivering Chewbacca to the prison and he roars at it and it screams, sort of, and runs away, George wanted to cut that and Marcia insisted that he keep it.

Rogue One is redundant. Just play the first mission of DARK FORCES.
‘Star Wars is a buffet, enjoy the stuff you want, and leave the rest.’ - SilverWook

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Haarspalter said:

unamochilla2 said:

deepanddark20 said:

The fact that Lucas decided at the last minute to kill off Obi-Wan Kenobi when he was making Star Wars gives you a window into the way he writes.

 Wasn't that actually Marcia's idea to kill off Ben?

Yes, that was her idea to kill Obi-Wan in order to raise the stakes.

She influenced Lucas in many positive ways. Here's a quote from Hamill:

You can see a huge difference in the films that he [Lucas] does now and the films that he did when he was married. I know for a fact that Marcia Lucas was responsible for convincing him to keep that little 'kiss for luck' before Carrie [Fisher] and I swing across the chasm in the first film: 'Oh, I don't like it, people laugh in the previews,' and she said, 'George, they're laughing because it's so sweet and unexpected'-- and her influence was such that if she wanted to keep it, it was in. When the little mouse robot comes up when Harrison and I are delivering Chewbacca to the prison and he roars at it and it screams, sort of, and runs away, George wanted to cut that and Marcia insisted that he keep it.

 That does not sound like the same man who invented Jar Jar stepping in poop.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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 (Edited)

One day we'll find out that Marcia disguised herself as George after theirdivorce and has taken his place while George is who knows where--perhapsdisguised as Marcia....

^What is up with that!? Here it is again in clearer form:

One day we'll find out that Marcia disguised herself as George

after their divorce and has taken his place while George is who

knows where--perhaps disguised as Marcia....

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Haarspalter said:

unamochilla2 said:

deepanddark20 said:

The fact that Lucas decided at the last minute to kill off Obi-Wan Kenobi when he was making Star Wars gives you a window into the way he writes.

 Wasn't that actually Marcia's idea to kill off Ben?

Yes, that was her idea to kill Obi-Wan in order to raise the stakes.

She influenced Lucas in many positive ways. Here's a quote from Hamill:

You can see a huge difference in the films that he [Lucas] does now and the films that he did when he was married. I know for a fact that Marcia Lucas was responsible for convincing him to keep that little 'kiss for luck' before Carrie [Fisher] and I swing across the chasm in the first film: 'Oh, I don't like it, people laugh in the previews,' and she said, 'George, they're laughing because it's so sweet and unexpected'-- and her influence was such that if she wanted to keep it, it was in. When the little mouse robot comes up when Harrison and I are delivering Chewbacca to the prison and he roars at it and it screams, sort of, and runs away, George wanted to cut that and Marcia insisted that he keep it.

Marcia was definitely one of many saving graces of Star Wars.  I wonder what kind film we would have gotten if she wasn't around to influence George.

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generalfrevious said:

I seriously believe that there was only one movie at the beginning: Star Wars ..... There were no sequels in mind when it was made in 1976, hence why the first film feels self-contained compared with the others. It was never meant to be a trilogy until the money started rolling in.

Bingo. (edit, mine)

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Regarding his worrying about the story or the next film only after it starts; The whole issue of "There is another" is a perfect example. 

There are interviews with him stating that he had no idea who "...another" might be - while they were actually filming the scene - or - that he added the line to increase tension, never giving any thought to it at all. Lucas has told so many versions of the truth through the decades, he can't keep them all straight.  

Either way, it's the very antithesis of his Original Vision BS he regularly trots out.  Once writer's block reared it's ugly head - again, "another" became the princess.  A lazy, hackneyed way out. 

If he had anything even resembling an Original Vision, he wouldn't have hired Alan Dean Foster to write a sequel. 

What's always struck me as extremely weird are the legions of people (not here really) who want to gift Lucas with some sort of title; Awesome Writer, Master Film Maker, etc.  He had two major hits (American Graffiti, Star Wars) and switched to formula and marketing.  

I'm not a fan of Empire, but I'll concede that it's on par with the first (just not for me).   He has a hand in a hand in a few other blockbusters e.g. Indiana Jones series, but like Star Wars and American Graffiti before them, there were other people involved in the writing and film making.   The rest of his films are mediocre on their best day.

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unamochilla2 said:

Haarspalter said:

unamochilla2 said:

deepanddark20 said:

The fact that Lucas decided at the last minute to kill off Obi-Wan Kenobi when he was making Star Wars gives you a window into the way he writes.

 Wasn't that actually Marcia's idea to kill off Ben?

Yes, that was her idea to kill Obi-Wan in order to raise the stakes.

She influenced Lucas in many positive ways. Here's a quote from Hamill:

You can see a huge difference in the films that he [Lucas] does now and the films that he did when he was married. I know for a fact that Marcia Lucas was responsible for convincing him to keep that little 'kiss for luck' before Carrie [Fisher] and I swing across the chasm in the first film: 'Oh, I don't like it, people laugh in the previews,' and she said, 'George, they're laughing because it's so sweet and unexpected'-- and her influence was such that if she wanted to keep it, it was in. When the little mouse robot comes up when Harrison and I are delivering Chewbacca to the prison and he roars at it and it screams, sort of, and runs away, George wanted to cut that and Marcia insisted that he keep it.

Marcia was definitely one of many saving graces of Star Wars.  I wonder what kind film we would have gotten if she wasn't around to influence George.

 One not worth talking about nearly 40 years later.

“After a time, you may find that having, is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” - Spock

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 (Edited)

Without Marcia, there would be no franchise in the first place (she saved the film in editing). Shame she was purged out of the official history by that fraud, George Lucas.

Marcia and Gary are the real mother and father of Star Wars.