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Reconstructing the end of ROTJ with Storyboards

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I have attempted to reconstruct the shooting script & various other plans for ROTJ’s final third using scanned storyboards available online as my primary source. This took some time, and also used behind the scenes videos, the Rinzler book, etc. I have done my best to document the whole thing here:

https://macrobinoculars.wordpress.com/

It may be interesting to some of you to read through the whole thing, though I find the Space Battle and Rebel Assault sequences to be the most interesting. Do not neglect the Analysis page, which has some really interesting behind-the-scenes photos of storyboards. Please note that you can download a big PDF with all of the storyboards for your own use.

I welcome any questions, suggestions, critiques, or (best of all) any scans or photos of storyboards that I’m missing.

This is my favorite storyboard that I found during the process:
B-Wings Divebombing

ROTJ Storyboard Reconstruction Project

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It does seem like the Holdo maneuver’s look was based that storyboard, but I think it’s ultimately a misinterpretation of what was intended; the ROTJ scene is showing a Starcruiser exploding alongside a Stardestroyer, due to what I’d characterize as the Star-Wars-equivalent of Star Trek’s Warp Core Breach. The ship is so damaged its reactor goes critical or whatever. So they drew that picture to convey the intensity of the explosion, and decades later its used as inspiration for a very different event on screen.

ROTJ Storyboard Reconstruction Project

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So fascinating! Great work!

“Always in motion is the future” 🌌

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Glad y’all have enjoyed. I just made a big update after being given a look at a fan-scanned revised 3rd draft of the film. Definitely changed some scene orderings & script details. I’ve also included links to relevant videos throughout, a few more storyboards that have appeared online, and a look on the Sources page into what storyboards typically look like.

The only big thing I’d like to do, other than get the missing storyboards, is do a detailed analysis of how things were rearranged in the editing process. Maybe someday!

ROTJ Storyboard Reconstruction Project

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I agree with the others, this is very well put together. I’m having a great time comparing storyboard frames to final shots and seeing the process. Some unused shots in there I would have loved to have seen realised, too. Thanks for your work on this!

“Remember, the Force will be with you. Always.”

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Just wanted to chime in and say this is really amazing! I don’t think I realized until recently how much changed from planning phase to the final film. Really insightful stuff. Also the sliding photos to see the storyboard and the final frame comparison is top notch!

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timdiggerm said:

Glad y’all have enjoyed. I just made a big update after being given a look at a fan-scanned revised 3rd draft of the film. Definitely changed some scene orderings & script details. I’ve also included links to relevant videos throughout, a few more storyboards that have appeared online, and a look on the Sources page into what storyboards typically look like.

The only big thing I’d like to do, other than get the missing storyboards, is do a detailed analysis of how things were rearranged in the editing process. Maybe someday!

Thank you so much for this. I was pointed to it be a friend and didn’t expect to see such a quality piece of work as this, it took me back to eagerly reading the old comics, manuals and compiling scrapbooks on Star Wars way back in the 80’s!

I do hope we see that detailed analysis of the editing process some day too.

“The other Sequels were the result of an over-anxious press. The original intention was to make three [films], and that was really the end of it. It was not until 10 years after the first [film] that I thought of doing a back story.” - George Lucas, speaking at the Premiere of ROTS in 2005

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This looks really awesome, man. Thanks for posting this.