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Richard Marquand's effect on Return of the Jedi

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So obviously Lucas had a much bigger presence during the making of Jedi than he did Empire, he was practically a Co-Director, but did Marquand leave any mark of his own on the film? I haven’t seen his other work so I can’t say, and I don’t know if Lucas has attempted to erase any sort of legacy Marquand had like he did so many others on the OT.

Use the Force, Jon Yowza.

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Marquand had plenty of input. Check out J.W. Rinzler’s book on the making of the film.

Perhaps the most important decisions he made were to cast Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine and to bring back Yoda. He also had his choice of Director of Photography and editor - hopefully the different look and pacing of ROTJ compared to the previous two films is apparent.

One of the highlights of Rinzler’s book is a transcript of a conversation between Lucas, Marquand and Larry Kasdan. Most of it comprises an argument between Lucas and Kasdan - you get the impression Marquand is listening patiently and then suddenly he cuts in and chides them for their behaviour. No mere servant.

It’s clear that Marquand was ‘inexperienced’ (being kind) or ‘out of his depth’ (being harsh) regarding the Star Wars shooting method, which in the early 80s was still unusual and more technically demanding than other franchises like Bond or Star Trek. But he was not inexperienced when it came to dealing with actors, as he had been one himself. He also knew how to shoot quickly and economically - that, plus his willingness to relcoate to the US - made him an easy choice for director in Lucas’ eyes.

“If it ain’t workin’, eat sugar.”

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Darth Dougal said:

Marquand had plenty of input. Check out J.W. Rinzler’s book on the making of the film.

Perhaps the most important decisions he made were to cast Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine and to bring back Yoda. He also had his choice of Director of Photography and editor - hopefully the different look and pacing of ROTJ compared to the previous two films is apparent.

One of the highlights of Rinzler’s book is a transcript of a conversation between Lucas, Marquand and Larry Kasdan. Most of it comprises an argument between Lucas and Kasdan - you get the impression Marquand is listening patiently and then suddenly he cuts in and chides them for their behaviour. No mere servant.

It’s clear that Marquand was ‘inexperienced’ (being kind) or ‘out of his depth’ (being harsh) regarding the Star Wars shooting method, which in the early 80s was still unusual and more technically demanding than other franchises like Bond or Star Trek. But he was not inexperienced when it came to dealing with actors, as he had been one himself. He also knew how to shoot quickly and economically - that, plus his willingness to relcoate to the US - made him an easy choice for director in Lucas’ eyes.

While I do believe all of this info, the Rinzler books have quite a bit of historical revisionism, especially to make Lucas look like he had all of the films planned out back in the 70s and that he was responsible for making the OT work more than he actually was. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Making of Jedi was missing some information about the production or had some revised history.

Use the Force, Jon Yowza.

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Darth Dougal said:

Marquand had plenty of input. Check out J.W. Rinzler’s book on the making of the film.

Perhaps the most important decisions he made were to cast Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine and to bring back Yoda. He also had his choice of Director of Photography and editor - hopefully the different look and pacing of ROTJ compared to the previous two films is apparent.

One of the highlights of Rinzler’s book is a transcript of a conversation between Lucas, Marquand and Larry Kasdan. Most of it comprises an argument between Lucas and Kasdan - you get the impression Marquand is listening patiently and then suddenly he cuts in and chides them for their behaviour. No mere servant.

It’s clear that Marquand was ‘inexperienced’ (being kind) or ‘out of his depth’ (being harsh) regarding the Star Wars shooting method, which in the early 80s was still unusual and more technically demanding than other franchises like Bond or Star Trek. But he was not inexperienced when it came to dealing with actors, as he had been one himself. He also knew how to shoot quickly and economically - that, plus his willingness to relcoate to the US - made him an easy choice for director in Lucas’ eyes.

Yoda wasn’t coming back originally? How on earth was that supposed to work story-wise?

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Yoda wasn’t coming back originally? How on earth was that supposed to work story-wise?

I would need to check in the book (easier said than done, it’s pretty dense) but I think Yoda’s mention of the other Skywalker would just be folded into Obi-Wan’s dialogue - and the Luke/Obi Wan discussion would not happen on Dagoba. IIRC the idea was for Obi Wan to tell Luke that Yoda was now one with the Force.

I’m not sure if this script development took place before or after talk about the Force ghosts of Yoda and Obi Wan appearing during Luke’s duel with Vader. Not to mention the two Death Stars!

Back to the OP - I found an interview with Marquand that relates to your question:

https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/richard-marquand-interview-return-of-the-jedi-star-wars/

“If it ain’t workin’, eat sugar.”

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That was definitely an interesting read! Such a shame what happened to him, I would’ve liked to see Marquand come back for a Prequel film.

Use the Force, Jon Yowza.

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Darth Dougal said:

Yoda wasn’t coming back originally? How on earth was that supposed to work story-wise?

I would need to check in the book (easier said than done, it’s pretty dense) but I think Yoda’s mention of the other Skywalker would just be folded into Obi-Wan’s dialogue - and the Luke/Obi Wan discussion would not happen on Dagoba. IIRC the idea was for Obi Wan to tell Luke that Yoda was now one with the Force.

I’m not sure if this script development took place before or after talk about the Force ghosts of Yoda and Obi Wan appearing during Luke’s duel with Vader. Not to mention the two Death Stars!

Back to the OP - I found an interview with Marquand that relates to your question:

https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/richard-marquand-interview-return-of-the-jedi-star-wars/

Yoda dying off camera and never being seen again would have been pretty lame. In the original making of ESB book, Lucas laments he couldn’t shoot a scene for Jedi during production on ESB, as there was the issue of saving and storing the Dagobah set for the next film. What he had in mind either had not been written yet, or the need to finish ESB took precedence.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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 (Edited)

Hoop28 said:

So obviously Lucas had a much bigger presence during the making of Jedi than he did Empire, he was practically a Co-Director, but did Marquand leave any mark of his own on the film? I haven’t seen his other work so I can’t say, and I don’t know if Lucas has attempted to erase any sort of legacy Marquand had like he did so many others on the OT.

I think Marquand had pretty much the same role in ROTJ as Kershner had in ESB. In both cases Lucas led the creative part (story, characters, screenplay, world-building, etc.), while Kershner and Marquand led the implementation and contributed in various ways to the creative part. If you look at it like that, then Lucas was “practically a co-director” in both cases.

Like it was pointed out, Marquand had some important contributions to the creative part, besides directing the implementation. Like Kershner, I think he was a valuable part of the trilogy.

真実

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imperialscum said:

Hoop28 said:

So obviously Lucas had a much bigger presence during the making of Jedi than he did Empire, he was practically a Co-Director, but did Marquand leave any mark of his own on the film? I haven’t seen his other work so I can’t say, and I don’t know if Lucas has attempted to erase any sort of legacy Marquand had like he did so many others on the OT.

I think Marquand had pretty much the same role in ROTJ as Kershner had in ESB. In both cases Lucas led the creative part (story, characters, screenplay, world-building, etc.), while Kershner and Marquand led the implementation and contributed in various ways to the creative part. If you look at it like that, then Lucas was “practically a co-director” in both cases.

Like it was pointed out, Marquand had some important contributions to the creative part, besides directing the implementation. Like Kershner, I think he was a valuable part of the trilogy.

Well from what I heard, Lucas was annoyed with alot of the changes and alterations that Kershner made while directing Empire, so for Jedi he was on set way more than he was during Empire and reshot quite a few scenes, apparently the whole reason Jedi was filmed in the United States was so Lucas could be on set daily.

Use the Force, Jon Yowza.

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Marquand as a director is a lot like Gareth Edwards. Good with action and special effects, lackluster on characters. Return of the Jedi has that aspect to it that I don’t think would have been there without him.

Death of the Author

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SparkySywer said:

Marquand as a director is a lot like Gareth Edwards. Good with action and special effects, lackluster on characters. Return of the Jedi has that aspect to it that I don’t think would have been there without him.

I actually believe the situation is quite the opposite. If I recall correctly, the ‘Empire of Dreams’ documentary makes a point in saying that Marquand was particularly bothered when having to shoot things that required mostly post-production work to fill in the gaps. He found it difficult to imagine the sets and locations with all the effects added. Also, I remember the actors and other crew being interviewed and saying that he liked to focus on character driven drama and dialogue, as he had a background in acting himself. I’m probably wrong, but this is what I remember taking away when I watched it. I never really knew too much about him beforehand. 😕

SOLO: A Subtler Remaster of ‘The Bold One’
(My homeworld is Australia so be wary of timezones!)

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 (Edited)

Hoop28 said:

imperialscum said:

Hoop28 said:

So obviously Lucas had a much bigger presence during the making of Jedi than he did Empire, he was practically a Co-Director, but did Marquand leave any mark of his own on the film? I haven’t seen his other work so I can’t say, and I don’t know if Lucas has attempted to erase any sort of legacy Marquand had like he did so many others on the OT.

I think Marquand had pretty much the same role in ROTJ as Kershner had in ESB. In both cases Lucas led the creative part (story, characters, screenplay, world-building, etc.), while Kershner and Marquand led the implementation and contributed in various ways to the creative part. If you look at it like that, then Lucas was “practically a co-director” in both cases.

Like it was pointed out, Marquand had some important contributions to the creative part, besides directing the implementation. Like Kershner, I think he was a valuable part of the trilogy.

Well from what I heard, Lucas was annoyed with alot of the changes and alterations that Kershner made while directing Empire, so for Jedi he was on set way more than he was during Empire and reshot quite a few scenes, apparently the whole reason Jedi was filmed in the United States was so Lucas could be on set daily.

I think that is an old myth. Even when Kershner wanted to make some minor changes to the dialogue of a few Dagobah scenes, he had a discussion with Lucas and Lucas approved it before they went shooting. The only major thing that Lucas was “annoyed” with (that I am aware of) was Ford’s “I know” line. Even with that one, they still shot a few takes of the original line too, and Lucas eventually has himself convinced in the end to use the “I know” take instead of “I love you too” take.

真実

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 (Edited)

SparkySywer said:

Marquand as a director is a lot like Gareth Edwards. Good with action and special effects, lackluster on characters. Return of the Jedi has that aspect to it that I don’t think would have been there without him.

I would say the opposite. Before ROTJ, Marquand mostly directed films based on character-driven stories/scripts. Also, people tend to forget that it is the story and script that essentially define the characters and how much focus is on them (which were basically done by Lucas and Kasdan in both films). I am pretty sure Marquand did his best to try to influence Lucas and Kasdan to put as much focus on characters as possible.

That being said, still, ROTJ has by far the most character development in the entire OT.

真実

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 (Edited)

Hoop28 said:

imperialscum said:

Hoop28 said:

So obviously Lucas had a much bigger presence during the making of Jedi than he did Empire, he was practically a Co-Director, but did Marquand leave any mark of his own on the film? I haven’t seen his other work so I can’t say, and I don’t know if Lucas has attempted to erase any sort of legacy Marquand had like he did so many others on the OT.

I think Marquand had pretty much the same role in ROTJ as Kershner had in ESB. In both cases Lucas led the creative part (story, characters, screenplay, world-building, etc.), while Kershner and Marquand led the implementation and contributed in various ways to the creative part. If you look at it like that, then Lucas was “practically a co-director” in both cases.

Like it was pointed out, Marquand had some important contributions to the creative part, besides directing the implementation. Like Kershner, I think he was a valuable part of the trilogy.

Well from what I heard, Lucas was annoyed with alot of the changes and alterations that Kershner made while directing Empire, so for Jedi he was on set way more than he was during Empire and reshot quite a few scenes, apparently the whole reason Jedi was filmed in the United States was so Lucas could be on set daily.

They still filmed at Elstree in the UK. Endor exteriors being shot in Northern California close to Lucasfilm may have been a happy accident. Tunisia might have presented too many problems, as that part of the world was a bit more dangerous by 1982.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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And the last time Lucas had made a film in Tunisia - making Raiders there in 1980 - the entire crew got severe dysentery (save Spielberg who lived on cans of Spaghetti-O’s he’d had shipped from home).

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

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Darth Dougal said:

Yoda wasn’t coming back originally? How on earth was that supposed to work story-wise?

I would need to check in the book (easier said than done, it’s pretty dense) but I think Yoda’s mention of the other Skywalker would just be folded into Obi-Wan’s dialogue - and the Luke/Obi Wan discussion would not happen on Dagoba. IIRC the idea was for Obi Wan to tell Luke that Yoda was now one with the Force.

I’m not sure if this script development took place before or after talk about the Force ghosts of Yoda and Obi Wan appearing during Luke’s duel with Vader. Not to mention the two Death Stars!

Back to the OP - I found an interview with Marquand that relates to your question:

https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/richard-marquand-interview-return-of-the-jedi-star-wars/

Wonderful! Thanks for linking this. I haven’t read the JW Rinzler book yet, but I think it’s pretty safe to say Marquand made his own contributions to Star Wars.

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Wonderful! Thanks for linking this. I haven’t read the JW Rinzler book yet, but I think it’s pretty safe to say Marquand made his own contributions to Star Wars.

I checked the book at the weekend. To my great embarrassment there is nothing in there about Marquand wanting to bring Yoda back. However I did read that somewhere, so a search is in order.

Rinzler includes a decent index and the entries regarding Yoda are in fact easy to find - more embarrassment (might as well get some while it’s cheap!).

I was struck by how much emphasis there is on the difficulties Marquand faced on set. The multiple camera set-ups were for George’s benefit, not his, and led to various problems for Marquand and the cinematographer. I get the impression that if only two cameras had been used rather than three (or more), the compositions would have been better.

The book itself has rocketed in price, only a few ‘new old stock’ copies seem to be around. I hope it will be reprinted in time for ROTJ’s 40th anniversary.

“If it ain’t workin’, eat sugar.”

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It’s on iTunes and Amazon as an eBook IIRC.

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

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 (Edited)

Hoop28 said:

imperialscum said:

Hoop28 said:

So obviously Lucas had a much bigger presence during the making of Jedi than he did Empire, he was practically a Co-Director, but did Marquand leave any mark of his own on the film? I haven’t seen his other work so I can’t say, and I don’t know if Lucas has attempted to erase any sort of legacy Marquand had like he did so many others on the OT.

I think Marquand had pretty much the same role in ROTJ as Kershner had in ESB. In both cases Lucas led the creative part (story, characters, screenplay, world-building, etc.), while Kershner and Marquand led the implementation and contributed in various ways to the creative part. If you look at it like that, then Lucas was “practically a co-director” in both cases.

Like it was pointed out, Marquand had some important contributions to the creative part, besides directing the implementation. Like Kershner, I think he was a valuable part of the trilogy.

Well from what I heard, Lucas was annoyed with alot of the changes and alterations that Kershner made while directing Empire, so for Jedi he was on set way more than he was during Empire and reshot quite a few scenes, apparently the whole reason Jedi was filmed in the United States was so Lucas could be on set daily.

Lucas wanted to be as far away from the set as possible. He wanted to, like in ESB and Raiders, have someone trustworthy at the helm of the movie whereas he could stay with ILM and Lucasfilm, and, especially around that time, with Marcia and the construction of Skywalker Ranch.

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I think Marquand was a very good director and documentary filmmaker. But he was uncomfortable behind the Vistavision camera. His working method was not like Lucas at all who wanted to assemble the film in editing.

I wish he hadn’t died i think i would have liked to see another fantasy or science fiction film directed by him.

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Indeed. I think a large part of the blame for ROTJ’s issues has been put on Marquand precisely because he died so young only a few years after the film’s release.

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

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It’s weird to me when people say RotJ has issues. I know everyone has different opinions, but it’s my second favorite Star Wars movie behind ANH.

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Nibcrom said:

It’s weird to me when people say RotJ has issues. I know everyone has different opinions, but it’s my second favorite Star Wars movie behind ANH.

I agree. I have never had any issues with it. I do like the other two OT films more, but I’d give all of them 5 stars.

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Omni said:

Hoop28 said:

imperialscum said:

Hoop28 said:

So obviously Lucas had a much bigger presence during the making of Jedi than he did Empire, he was practically a Co-Director, but did Marquand leave any mark of his own on the film? I haven’t seen his other work so I can’t say, and I don’t know if Lucas has attempted to erase any sort of legacy Marquand had like he did so many others on the OT.

I think Marquand had pretty much the same role in ROTJ as Kershner had in ESB. In both cases Lucas led the creative part (story, characters, screenplay, world-building, etc.), while Kershner and Marquand led the implementation and contributed in various ways to the creative part. If you look at it like that, then Lucas was “practically a co-director” in both cases.

Like it was pointed out, Marquand had some important contributions to the creative part, besides directing the implementation. Like Kershner, I think he was a valuable part of the trilogy.

Well from what I heard, Lucas was annoyed with alot of the changes and alterations that Kershner made while directing Empire, so for Jedi he was on set way more than he was during Empire and reshot quite a few scenes, apparently the whole reason Jedi was filmed in the United States was so Lucas could be on set daily.

Lucas wanted to be as far away from the set as possible.

Nope. Not according to the Empire of Dreams documentary…

LUCAS:

I hadn’t realized that ultimately it’s probably easier for me to do these things than to farm them out. Because [ROTJ] was even more complex than the last one, I really did have to end up being there every day on the set, and working very closely with Richard, and shooting second unit, and there was really more work than I thought it was going to be.

And MARQUAND once famously said:

[Directing ROTJ] is rather like trying to direct King Lear - with Shakespeare in the next room.

Rogue One is redundant. Just play the first mission of DARK FORCES.
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