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Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread — Page 6

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Addendum to the Prowse bits above: I went back and checked, and Prowse actually claims that, when told (by a reporter!) about Sebastian Shaw's casting as Anakin, he asked Howard Kazanjian about it. Whereupon Kazanjian lied to his face and told him no one else had been cast as Anakin. Kazanjian denies that he lied outright but admits he probably avoided the question.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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One bit in the Making of ROTJ that's pretty enlightening as to Lucas' overall priorities is the story of Dermot Crowley, who played General Madine.

Crowley showed up to wardrobe fittings and was repeatedly urged to wear a fake beard. Essentially, he was told he must wear this beard. So he agreed, but he wondered why the costumers were so insistent. Later he found out that a "General Madine" action figure had already been molded by Kenner--and the figure sculpt was bearded.

(I'm sure this anecdote has been told before, but I would hardly have expected it to make it into an official LFL book!)

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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SilverWook said:

imperialscum said:

ATMachine said:

Kasdan on the other hand challenges Lucas all the time

Well these conversations prove that the notion that prequels failed because no one challenged Lucas is wrong. It is pretty clear to me now that he always had it his way. Luckily in OT he had relatively great ideas as opposed to the prequels.

Except he didn't always get his way on Empire. Which might be why he sought out someone like Marquand for the next film. And notice Gary Kurtz didn't stick around for Jedi.

Well even in Jedi I don't think everything went his way, but most did (like in ESB).

According to rumours, Kurtz was effectively replaced by Kazanjian already at some point during the production of ESB. When confronted with the question about this matter everyone seem to be reluctant to talk about it so I believe it may actually be true.

Unlike ANH, ESB was an independent film production. According to Secret History of Star Wars, Lucas didn't even want to take Kurtz on board for ESB but eventually Kurtz convinced Lucas to take him. So I don't think he had any power to overrule anything Lucas wanted.

真実

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Making of ROTJ reveals that Kurtz was indeed replaced during post-production on ESB (in late 1979). According to Howard Kazanjian's recollection, Kurtz showed up one day and Kazanjian had to tell him that he was no longer allowed to work on George's movie.

Which came as a total surprise to Kurtz, apparently. Kazanjian had expected that Lucas would have told Kurtz he was being let go, but apparently Lucas preferred to let Kazanjian do his dirty work for him. (Later, when asked by Kazanjian, Lucas would deny that he had failed to inform Kurtz of his impending dismissal.)

Kurtz accordingly sent in his letter of resignation to Lucasfilm on December 11, 1979.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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 (Edited)

One thing I failed to note earlier is the matter of the Emperor's makeup. As originally designed, it was meant to suggest extreme age, of such a span that it could only have been achieved through some unknown dark sorcery. The Emperor is described as "a Methuselah figure" who is "ancient, not old." In fact he's so old that he is beginning to evolve into something else--the ridge on his forehead is a point where his cranium is beginning to split in two. (And, unlike in ROTS, Ian McDiarmid was made bald up to the crown of his head, where the prosthetics stopped abruptly.)

The idea of the Emperor being so ancient and evil that he was becoming something beyond human was first suggested for ESB, where in the Leigh Brackett story conferences Lucas actually proposed that the Emperor should be immersed in a giant steel box, like the spice tank used by the mutant Guild Navigators in Dune. Still, it seems rather inconsistent with the idea of Palpatine as a Nixonian politician who came to power a scant few decades back--a point that would become obvious in the prequels.

The matter of "the Emperor's slugs"--the matte-black blob that in post-production was placed over one side of Palpatine's face during his closeups--is also addressed. Apparently this was due to another of the (myriad) failures of camerawork on-set--the lighting used caught the angles of the Emperor's prosthetic makeup in a rather distracting way and had to be adjusted by hand in post.

Another interesting anecdote about lighting involves the first day shooting on the Star Destroyer bridge: apparently Marquand wanted to use a rather dramatic lighting setup, with "red lights flashing and hitting the walls" as Kazanjian later put it. Lucas and Kazanjian both objected to this. Marquand said "It's atmosphere!" but Kazanjian said that it didn't match the look of the previous films. (Maybe it brought up bad memories of Irvin Kershner's style--and his meticulous concern for lighting that often set back the filming schedule?) In the end Kazanjian and Lucas got their way.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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ATMachine said:

Making of ROTJ reveals that Kurtz was indeed replaced during post-production on ESB (in late 1979). According to Howard Kazanjian's recollection, Kurtz showed up one day and Kazanjian had to tell him that he was no longer allowed to work on George's movie.

Which came as a total surprise to Kurtz, apparently. Kazanjian had expected that Lucas would have told Kurtz he was being let go, but apparently Lucas preferred to let Kazanjian do his dirty work for him. (Later, when asked by Kazanjian, Lucas would deny that he had failed to inform Kurtz of his impending dismissal.)

Kurtz accordingly sent in his letter of resignation to Lucasfilm on December 11, 1979.

Thanks. So it was finally cleared up in this book.

真実

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ATMachine said:

One bit in the Making of ROTJ that's pretty enlightening as to Lucas' overall priorities is the story of Dermot Crowley, who played General Madine.

Crowley showed up to wardrobe fittings and was repeatedly urged to wear a fake beard. Essentially, he was told he must wear this beard. So he agreed, but he wondered why the costumers were so insistent. Later he found out that a "General Madine" action figure had already been molded by Kenner--and the figure sculpt was bearded.

(I'm sure this anecdote has been told before, but I would hardly have expected it to make it into an official LFL book!)

Guess that finally explains the hairdo! ;)

Scary that the beard still exists...

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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ATMachine said:

Making of ROTJ reveals that Kurtz was indeed replaced during post-production on ESB (in late 1979). According to Howard Kazanjian's recollection, Kurtz showed up one day and Kazanjian had to tell him that he was no longer allowed to work on George's movie.

Which came as a total surprise to Kurtz, apparently. Kazanjian had expected that Lucas would have told Kurtz he was being let go, but apparently Lucas preferred to let Kazanjian do his dirty work for him. (Later, when asked by Kazanjian, Lucas would deny that he had failed to inform Kurtz of his impending dismissal.)

Kurtz accordingly sent in his letter of resignation to Lucasfilm on December 11, 1979.

The purge started a lot earlier than I thought. Lucas' loss, but Jim Henson's gain.

I'm amazed we're getting such an unvarnished look at what must have been a more tumultuous production than even ESB was.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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ATMachine said:


One thing I failed to note earlier is the matter of the Emperor's makeup. As originally designed, it was meant to suggest extreme age, of such a span that it could only have been achieved through some unknown dark sorcery. The Emperor is described as "a Methuselah figure" who is "ancient, not old." In fact he's so old that he is beginning to evolve into something else--the ridge on his forehead is a point where his cranium is beginning to split in two. (And, unlike in ROTS, Ian McDiarmid was made bald up to the crown of his head, where the prosthetics stopped abruptly.)


I prefer the idea the EU originally proposed - that Palpatine was actually a lot younger than he looked, but that his immersion into the dark side had caused his body to wear out and age at an accelerated rate.

Still, it's a good idea in its own right, and far, far better than the moronic "scarred-by-my-own-lightning" approach of ROTS.

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SilverWook said:

ATMachine said:

Making of ROTJ reveals that Kurtz was indeed replaced during post-production on ESB (in late 1979). According to Howard Kazanjian's recollection, Kurtz showed up one day and Kazanjian had to tell him that he was no longer allowed to work on George's movie.

Which came as a total surprise to Kurtz, apparently. Kazanjian had expected that Lucas would have told Kurtz he was being let go, but apparently Lucas preferred to let Kazanjian do his dirty work for him. (Later, when asked by Kazanjian, Lucas would deny that he had failed to inform Kurtz of his impending dismissal.)

Kurtz accordingly sent in his letter of resignation to Lucasfilm on December 11, 1979.

The purge started a lot earlier than I thought. Lucas' loss, but Jim Henson's gain.

I'm amazed we're getting such an unvarnished look at what must have been a more tumultuous production than even ESB was.

Rinzler's previous book on ESB did state that he was effectively replaced as producer by George Lucas & Howard Kazanjian before the shoot was even finished but it has always been a bit unclear on exactly when it happened.

starwarsaficionado made a great interview with Howard Kazanjian a few years ago where it gets mentioned as well.

http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/6337672/howard-kazanjian-interview-2009-pdf-1-7-meg?da=y

You were involved behind the scenes on THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (trailing Gary Kurtz?) and then went in to the producer seat for REVENGE (later RETURN) OF THE JEDI. Was it just a case of going straight from GRAFFITI into EMPIRE? When exactly did you start? Were you previously involved in any of the principal photography/critical filming decisions on EMPIRE?

KAZANJIAN: Yes, no, yes. I was very much involved in Empire as it was being developed out of the Universal Studio offices we had. Gary Kurtz and I shared those offices while George would fly down and meet with the conceptual artists – Joe Johnston and Ralph McQuarrie. Kurtz was mostly in London where he had a beautiful home and was working on The Dark Crystal. The company and ILM had not relocated to Marin County as of yet. I was in every meeting with Ralph, Joe and George. We were also waiting for the script of More American Graffiti from writer/director Bill Norton. And we were waiting for a rewrite and developing Radioland Murders that eventually we cancelled.

George had told me to get very involved because I would be producing the third Star Wars film, not Gary Kurtz. Gary, of course did not know this. Problems arose on The Empire Strikes Back that I will not discuss here. George sent me to London to finish the last two weeks of shooting. I worked at ILM that now was located in San Rafael and watched most of the editorial and postproduction progress. I was also at the mix at the then Goldwyn Studios. Gary came back in to Los Angeles for the mix, timing of the picture and release.

 

The situation also gets mentioned in Empire Building, based on interviews with Kurtz and Alsup (Kurtz's secretary): There was never any official dismissal by Lucas, it was really bitter and messy, and Kurtz felt it was time to move on, as he was sidelined by Lucas and would have no role in ROTJ's production.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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Looking at the thing from a practical (realistic) perspective, Kurtz definitely earned his replacement. This was a self-financed film by Lucas. The shooting time and the budget doubled. This is something even a major studio would be extremely worried about. Well one could argue to Kurtz's defence that Kershner worked extremely slowly, but it is producer's job to ensure things progress as intended (either in a nice or rough manner).

真実

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I thought it was one hell of an allergic reaction. Mace was wearing pretty strong aftershave that dark day. ;)

Seriously though, when I first saw Palpy in '83, I thought that was what being on the dark side does to you. It's like a cancer of evil. (His advisers look kind of pale and ghastly too.) The Empire being so human centric, I felt he couldn't be some sort of humanoid alien.

Lucas had to go and muck that up in ROTS, of course.

Palpy claims he's scarred, but is that the official explanation? It seemed more like an illusion melting away he couldn't maintain any longer. He certainly doesn't seem too upset about being stuck with that mug. Does Force lightning really cause instant tooth decay?

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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imperialscum said:

Looking at the thing from a practical (realistic) perspective, Kurtz definitely earned his replacement. This was a self-financed film by Lucas. The shooting time and the budget doubled. This is something even a major studio would be extremely worried about. Well one could argue to Kurtz's defence that Kershner worked extremely slowly, but it is producer's job to ensure things progress as intended (either in a nice or rough manner).

The massive box office receipts, because the movie turned out to be really good, and the tons of toys sold, because the movie turned out to be really good, apparently don't mean much to George. Isn't the end result what really matters?

If Empire had tanked, there would have been no saga. Star Wars would have likely been forever written off as an unrepeatable box office fluke. We'd probably have a nicely restored Criterion Blu Ray of it now though.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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I only find the whole timeframe and the messy way Lucas handled the "replacement" interesting due to the fact we're seeing Kurtz still heavily involved during the entire post production, promotion and release. Interesting stuff.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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SilverWook said:

Guess that finally explains the hairdo! ;)

Scary that the beard still exists...

Maybe the same beard Ewan McGregor wore in the prequels. ;) F****** horrible.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

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msycamore said:

I only find the whole timeframe and the messy way Lucas handled the "replacement" interesting due to the fact we're seeing Kurtz still heavily involved during the entire post production, promotion and release. Interesting stuff.

Skimming through my yellowed copy of Once Upon a Galaxy, the only mention of Kurtz in the post production phase is in the November 2nd 1979 entry.

Author Alan Arnold went to Kurtz's Sausalito home with Irvin Kershner to pilfer records to use as a temp track for the ESB score. Kurtz was out of town at the time.

Post production is the most brief part of the book though.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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I haven't read the whole thing but it's interesting how ultimately dumb the union thing was and how lucas should have just let it go, tolerated the DGA bullshit for one more movie. I really don't think Marquand, (a good guy but still a complete rookie) was hired to be a puppet, Lucas would not have been seeking out people like Lynch and Cronenberg if that's all he was after, but rather Marquand really was the best choice from an absurdly limited pool. The union dispute was just not worth hobbling yourself like that, but with GL it was like calling Marty Mcfly chicken. 

Having said that, these 3 books do make me want to just stop Monday-morning quarterbacking Lucas, including I-III, so trying to taper off, starting...now.

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SilverWook said:

imperialscum said:

Looking at the thing from a practical (realistic) perspective, Kurtz definitely earned his replacement. This was a self-financed film by Lucas. The shooting time and the budget doubled. This is something even a major studio would be extremely worried about. Well one could argue to Kurtz's defence that Kershner worked extremely slowly, but it is producer's job to ensure things progress as intended (either in a nice or rough manner).

The massive box office receipts, because the movie turned out to be really good, and the tons of toys sold, because the movie turned out to be really good, apparently don't mean much to George. Isn't the end result what really matters?

If Empire had tanked, there would have been no saga. Star Wars would have likely been forever written off as an unrepeatable box office fluke. We'd probably have a nicely restored Criterion Blu Ray of it now though.

I was speaking purely from a practical perspective. At that moment, the bank didn't care about "how successful the film WILL be" because obviously they couldn't know/predict (the main question was probably "would it even get finished?"). They were pulling the loan.  At that point Lucas and his film would go bankrupt (and we wouldn't even get the film). He had to go beg Fox to guarantee the loan. Miraculously they didn't get any of his sequel and merchandising rights.

The extra time was mostly spent on group discussions with actors and countless of retakes. So even if the acting wasn't as good as it is, the film would still turn out great and it (plus toys etc.) would sell just as good.

Now personally I think the extra time/money was worth it. But as I said, I was just speaking from a realistic perspective.

真実

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SilverWook said:

Skimming through my yellowed copy of Once Upon a Galaxy, the only mention of Kurtz in the post production phase is in the November 2nd 1979 entry.

Author Alan Arnold went to Kurtz's Sausalito home with Irvin Kershner to pilfer records to use as a temp track for the ESB score. Kurtz was out of town at the time.

Post production is the most brief part of the book though.

Yeah, Rinzler's book cover much more of the post production than Alan Arnold's journal but I don't recall the details. But like Kazanjian mentioned he was still very much involved - present for the mixing and timing etc. He's also present on the spotting sessions with Williams as seen in the BBC documentary on John Williams, and there's this interview: http://www.ign.com/articles/2002/11/11/an-interview-with-gary-kurtz?page=4

IGNFF: Do you think that he felt he'd outgrown the need for a set of controls... A "no-man"?

KURTZ: I don't know. I don't think we ever talked about it in those terms, but I think that he did chafe a bit under the idea of someone saying "that's not a good idea," some of the time. At the very end of Empire ... we decided at the very last minute – we pretty much locked the picture in the mix and just getting ready to make 70mm prints – and we decided that there had to be an extra shot at the very end, to identify this rebel fleet.

If you remember how the end works, it's before you go into the medical department, who are working on Mark's hand. It's the establishing shot of the fleet, and we had a shot already of going into the window and showing Mark inside, and we just decided that it was confusing We didn't know exactly how that was sorted out, so we wanted a long shot at the beginning, and then one at the end that shows the whole fleet when the Falcon flies off. They weren't very difficult to do, and all the ships were there ... just pile up the composites, and they were rushed through, just to get it done. Very last minute. One of them wasn't particularly good, and George said, "Oh well, maybe we should just let it go."

I said, "It's worth at least one more go through. One bad shot can ruin the whole movie, basically." Which I really believe is true, and it just wasn't very good. It was just a compositing problem, had nothing to do with the individual shot elements – I can't even remember what shot it was, now. I think making a movie wears everybody down. You have to be really careful of the decisions you make at the very end, because you can kind of throw a monkey wrench in, very easily.

 

Going by this, he doesn't seem to be someone that's been seriously cut off from the production. He is also the one doing all the promotion and interviews at the time of release, not Kazanjian. See the Japan release for just one example.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

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One thing that struck me as I made my way through the first fifty pages last night, is how the economic outcome of Empire must have shaped Lucas's approach to Jedi. Not only did its cost put him in an extremely poor position re. negotiating with Fox, something that runs through that first section as Lucasfilm vie for position with a very small stick. But it's probably also the reason Lucas decided to amp the third films 'fun' up and do away with as much of the darkness as he could. After all Empire fell short of Star Wars's grosses, even if it did good business; people just weren't coming back for seconds and thirds, and the rationalization was that it was because it left them with less closure and satisfaction than Star Wars had.

I'm also continually struck by the honesty of these books. There's a sizable passage dedicated to talking about McQuarrie burning out and walking away from the production because he just couldn't do anymore spaceships and aliens; of him feeling old among all the young ILMers at the time and of course how he hated ewoks.

Kitbashed
Essays, videos and thoughts on the inspiration behind Star Wars.

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msycamore said:

imperialscum said:

ATMachine said:

Kasdan on the other hand challenges Lucas all the time

Well these conversations prove that the notion that prequels failed because no one challenged Lucas is wrong. It is pretty clear to me now that he always had it his way. Luckily in OT he had relatively great ideas as opposed to the prequels.

No, it reaffirms what we already knew, which is that Lucas got to have it all his way on ROTJ and the prequels.

Even though RotJ ended up the way George is proposing here doesn't mean that the end product isn't better for the disagreement. 

Having a really bad idea, and getting called out for it, has the potential of being turned into a mostly bad idea.  Not getting called out- less chance of that happening.

I think no-men like Kasdan helped make RotJ as good as it is- and his/their presence was sorely missed in the PT.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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Going back to my earliest post in the thread, about how Kasdan treated the scene of Leia's capture by Jabba:

JABBA

(to Leia, in Huttese)

I have seen you like to kiss. I like the way you kiss.

(he grins)

And I like to kiss, also!

Leia looks at Threepio, questioningly.

THREEPIO

You're not going to like it, Your Highness.

LEIA

Death?

THREEPIO

Worse.

Jabba speaks to the Guards holding Leia and they bring her toward him. Inexorably, her tiny face crosses the distance to his immense blob of a head. Jabba puckers up. Leia looks sick.

Given what went on in the story conferences, I'm now much more inclined to blame Kasdan for this scene, which implies the proverbial "fate worse than death" (i.e. rape) happening to Leia offscreen.

Worth remembering here is that in the Raiders script Kasdan gave Marion a line about her life at the Raven Bar in Nepal: "I worked here. And I wasn't the bartender!" implying that she was forced to prostitute herself to survive.

Later in the third draft script of Raiders, when Marion is wearing that sheer nightgown aboard the Bantu Wind, there was another reference to this idea:

MARION

I feel like a virgin bride in this.

INDY

That's what you look like.

MARION

(takes a drink)

There are some things you can recapture in this life, but that isn't one of them.

This idea was cut from the final film.

Notably, in a later draft of ROTJ by Kasdan (glimpsed later in the Making) the above dialogue apparently disappears, and the scene between Jabba and Leia approaches the final film much more closely. Presumably Lucas--given his insistence that "this is a fairytale" and "nothing bad happens to anybody"--urged Kasdan to drop this disturbing implication. (To which I can only say: Good on him.)

In fact Lucas wanted to further edit Kasdan's revised scene, so that Leia herself was cognizant of the fact that she was never in any real danger:

Lando quickly moves in, and attempts to lead Leia away.

JABBA

Wait! Bring her to me.

Lando and Leia stop dead in their tracks. Lando gives her a worried look.

LEIA

I'll be all right.

LANDO

I'm not so sure.

I'm reminded of the apparent debate in ESB over whether Luke should lose a hand. Lucas's second draft script (the first to feature the Father Vader revelation) doesn't include that element; it only appears in Kasdan's first crack at the screenplay. (In that version Luke loses his left arm at the elbow, and gets a nakedly mechanical replacement much like Anakin's in the prequels.) I now wonder if it wasn't Kasdan who suggested this violent means of having Vader defeat Luke.

But in Kasdan's next draft the calls for the secret pages in which Luke loses a hand are entirely absent, although those for the Father Vader dialogue remain. Perhaps Lucas got cold feet about "castrating" his hero? In any event, the maiming (now transferred to the right hand) was reinserted by the time of the final shooting script.

PS: Just noticed one unusual thing in Kasdan's second draft script of ROTJ: in the Throne Room scene Vader doesn't throw the Emperor down a convenient bottomless pit but rather out the window and into space. Luke and Vader somehow avoid being sucked out themselves.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Well, given Body Heat, it's not surprising Kasdan would be the one pushing these slightly more seedy ideas.

On a related note, I know the bikini is a thing, but it's always, especially the older I get, seemed out of place for Star Wars, which is by and large asexual. In spite of the fact that its inspiration heritage, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Frazetta, had bikinis like it in spades.

Kitbashed
Essays, videos and thoughts on the inspiration behind Star Wars.

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About the Leia/Jabba stuff.. Isn't it still heavily implied that what happened to her off screen would make for X-Rated material?

Jabba: Bring her to me!
Leia: (Struggling as she is forced toward Jabba) We have powerful friends. You're going to regret this.
Jabba: I'm sure. (Suggestively licks his lips as leia is forced closer to his face)
C3PO: Oh, I can't bare to watch. (Turns away in horror)
Salacious Crumb: (wicked laughter)

Next time we see her, she's in the "slave girl" gear and chained to Jabba.

Are we supposed to assume that the off screen scene played out like this:

Bib Fortuna: (holding up the slave outfit and opening the door to a private dressing room) Would you mind changing into this?
Leia: (taking the outfit) Oh, cute! Yeah, no problem!
Bib Fortuna: Great! I'm glad you like it! I'll just wait out here. (closes the dressing room door behind Leia and continues the conversation from outside) Also, you won't mind if we put a chain around your neck and give the other end to Jabba will you? You'll be free to take it off whenever you like, of course. It's not like you'll be his SLAVE or anything.
Leia: (from inside the dressing room) Sure, sounds fine. Normal.
Bib Fortuna: Ya know, I'm really glad you decided to stop by. I'm sure I speak for Jabba himself when I say that making sure your stay here is as comfortable as possible is our number one priority.
Leia: (stepping out of the dressing room) You guys are so nice! And so fun to hang around with! All the things I've heard about this place seem to be true!
Bib Fortuna: Well, we work hard making sure we live up to the outstanding reputation Hotel Jabba has gained.

Well, that got out of hand, but my point is that with or without the on-screen mention of "a fate worse than death" the scene still gets the same message across and still seems wildly out of place in an adventure film for the whole family.

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