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The unmasking of Vader and Richard Marquand

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 (Edited)

I remember a time before TPM when the "unmasking" of Darth Vader was kind of an unpopular decision made by George Lucas in ROTJ. But after TPM came out, Jar Jar Binks wiped the memories of everybody who had a problem with that it seems. Today I think it was handled perfectly, but as a child I remember being kind of disappointed about who was behind the mask. I know there is no logic to it, but as a child I was thinking that it would be a scary monster. When I was young I thought he didn't need the mask, but just used it to hide his scary face. I expected him to look like Darth Maul or a man with Grey skin, yellow eyes, etc. For awhile I wished Luke would have never removed the mask and it would remain a mystery.

One thing I wish could have been changed about the movie is who directed it. Steven Spielberg would have done a better job than this Richard Marquand. I heard that he didn't even do much directing on the movie. Somebody took his place early on when they found out he wasn't a good fit for the job. When I watched video of Richard Marquand on the set of ROTJ directing from "Returning to Jedi", he looked stiff as a rock and scared out of his mind. The guy didn't even look like he knew anything about star wars, liked it or knew what he was doing. He looked baffled by the whole thing. Does anybody know what the story with Richard Marquand directing ROTJ was all about?

I really wish Steven Spielberg could have directed it. He was George's first choice for ROTJ. I don't know why George couldn't use him just because he was in a film union? What is the story on why Steven Spielberg couldn't direct ROTJ? Having Irvin Kershner come back would have been even better. But it sounds like Irvin didn't come back because he couldn't take all of George's controlling ways during ESB. Am I correct?

Here are two reviews from 1999 of ROTJ from imdb.com.

Has anyone else noticed a certain trend ..., 9 September 1999
8/10
Author: Spleen from Canberra, Australia

`Star Wars' ended with Luke Skywalker's assault on the Death Star. We followed Luke and Luke alone. `The Empire Strikes Back' split the action at the end into two streams: we saw Leia and Han fighting for their freedom, and Luke Skywalker confronting Vader. `Return of the Jedi' split things three ways: Endor, Death Star, rebel fleet. And what do you know, `The Phantom Menace' divides the final action into FOUR streams. If this trend continues things will start to get silly. They already have.

It's tempting to view `Return of the Jedi' as a sour omen of things to come. Lucas hired Richard `"whatever you say, George"' Marquand to direct his third Star Wars movie, which accounts for the general sluggishness. He threw in pointlessly cuddly Ewoks. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher abandon the more adult romance of the previous film in order to play unconvincing second fiddles to all these furry things. While John Williams's score retains its power, his source music is pretty weak. Compared to the first two movies the dialogue is bland. (It would get much blander come 1999.) The story is an unimaginative re-hash of earlier work, except for Lucas's idea that bigger is better. If the rebels have to do THREE things at once to travel INSIDE the EVEN BIGGER, DEADLIER Death Star with MORE SHIPS THAN EVER BEFORE in order to achieve an EVEN GREATER victory, it will surely make things more exciting - right? Whatever you say, George.

Special effects are particularly disappointing. They're actually weaker than in the first two movies, with unbelievable - and I mean, literally unbelievable - muppets strewn all over the landscape. (The blue vinyl elephant thing in Jabba's court gets my vote for most ridiculous alien.) Oddly enough the digital adjustments of 1997 only made matters worse. The computer-generated pop singer Lucas created looks every bit as fake as that stupid animal with the big lips it replaced - it merely looks fake in a different way; and, furthermore, the presence of the computer creatures makes the puppets look more fake than they would otherwise look, and vice versa. Perhaps it doesn't matter very much. The special effects, creature effects, costumes AND art direction, had all deteriorated, with or without digital vandalism.

Yet despite all this the release of `The Phantom Menace' makes `Return of the Jedi' look better than ever. The chief difference between the two is that the latter, unlike the former, has a reason for being made in the first place. The story begun in the first two movies needed a conclusion. It DIDN'T need a prologue. If the conclusion stumbles a bit, well, we must take the rough with the smooth: obviously the story had to end SOME way. In any event, `Return of the Jedi' isn't a bad movie. It coasts on the energy of the early movies, but it gets where it's going. If you've just watched the earlier films this one still brings a lump to the throat. Yes, it could have been much better. Be thankful it wasn't worse.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086190/usercomments?filter=chrono;start=420

A touching end, 11 May 1999
9/10
Author: ladysolo

I'm sick of people whining about Ewoks! True, they're not the best thing that ever happened to Star Wars, but they DID happen, so deal with it! Besides, they ARE cute, and I don't care if they're marketable. Yubb Nubb!

This movie always leaves me in tears. It's perfect. The end could not be better. I'm excited for The Phantom Menace because it will suddenly throw the focus of the whole story from Luke to Anakin. I love how he is revealed at the end - it would be too unresolved any other way. So those of you who are complaining that Vader's helmet was removed, take a moment to think about it. It's very effective. Vader, the man who hid behind a mask for 20 years, is finally revealed as a sick-looking man. He is not entirely machine - he's vulnerable.

I don't know how the casting director happened to pick such good actors in A New Hope. They all do so well. They are believable characters. Hamill does an excellent job with his dramatic character development. Fisher does a fine job being a female role model (I mean, come on! She killed Jabba even when so many others had failed!). Harrison Ford - need I say more?

The music is once again brilliant. It's so very touching and significant when you can pick out character themes at different parts of the movie. The best climax is when Luke shouts "NOOO!" and jumps out to fight his father in the Final Battle. John Williams is nothing short of a genius! What an amazing man!

Already, the movie has so much more meaning for me because of Episode I. I can't wait to finally see it in the theatres (CAN I WAIT???) and then watch the original trilogy yet again.

Bravo!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086190/usercomments?filter=chrono;start=450

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I'm with you on the Vader unmasking. After seeing the back of his head in Empire and reading he'd fallen into a molten lava pit after his duel with Kenobi, I was expecting an horrific burns victim. Instead we got a kindly old man. I guess this shows that Lucas thought we could identify with someone not disfigured and more easily "forgive" them in the few minutes before the end of the flick.

From what I know, Marquand was back-seat directed by Lucas.

 

I don't know that Spielberg was up for Jedi ... I do know that Lucas' spat with the unions came (in part) from not crediting anyone at the start of Star Wars. The argument was that he gave himself credit "A Lucasfilm Ltd Production" but no one else until the end-crawl. Utter bunk for an audience, but for people relying on residuals and such, key to getting union rates.(?)

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The "Empire of Dreams" documentary from the '04 dvd claims Spielberg was Lucas' first choice to direct Jedi.

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I originally expected a big headed alien. When I first saw him he looked like Ray Milland to me.

In an 83 SW documentary Lucas mentioned that people wouldnt or didnt like the "funny old man" but he claimed that that was what was always planned.

I do think the unmasking robbed Darth Vader of his mystique but if he is doing that redemption story it was pretty much necessary.

I think was a little too old though.

 I read somewhere  that David Lynch was asked to direct ROTJ and he turned it down?

 

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Spielberg seems like p.r. baloney that was never seriously going to happen. Howard Kazanjian didn't work on Temple of Doom because it overlapped with Jedi. So how was Spielberg ever going to do it? (never mind E.T. ,Poltergeist and Twilight Zone also overlapped with Jedi)

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Lucas has repeated time and time again that Star Wars was his baby, and that is why he never asked Spielberg to direct one of the movies.  I always always thought that 'Spielberg to direct Jedi' stuff in Empire of Dreams documentary was a bunch of B.S.

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CO said:

Lucas has repeated time and time again that Star Wars was his baby, and that is why he never asked Spielberg to direct one of the movies.  I always always thought that 'Spielberg to direct Jedi' stuff in Empire of Dreams documentary was a bunch of B.S.

Lucas has repeated a lot of B.S. time and time again. It means nothing. And what does SW being his "baby" have anything to do with Spielberg directing or not? Georgy didn't direct Empire, nor was he even on set for most of it's filming. I don't see how him asking Spielberg to direct Jedi is even remotely far fetched.

 

As for the un-masking of Vader, I thought it was brilliant when I was a small child and I still do today. It was a total shocker to find out that Vader was a redeemable human being.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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ray_afraid said:

 

Lucas has repeated a lot of B.S. time and time again. It means nothing. And what does SW being his "baby" have anything to do with Spielberg directing or not? Georgy didn't direct Empire, nor was he even on set for most of it's filming. I don't see how him asking Spielberg to direct Jedi is even remotely far fetched.

 

 I will have to find the quote, but Lucas was asked when they were filming TPM if Spielberg would direct Episode II & III.  Now I am paraphrasing but he said, "Spielberg has alot of great movies:  Jaws, Jurassic Park, ET, etc, but Star Wars is my baby."

Pretty much Lucas is saying that HE is known for Star Wars, and Spielberg has enough great movies to be a part of  ANOTHER great movie series.

Thats why I found the revelation that Spielberg was going to direct Jedi in the 2004 documentary seemed out of nowhere. 

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I think Spielberg is the one who has said "star wars is george's baby etc." a few times over the years. It was his polite way of saying he wouldn't have directed one when an interviewer asks about it.

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CO said:

 I will have to find the quote, but Lucas was asked when they were filming TPM if Spielberg would direct Episode II & III.  Now I am paraphrasing but he said, "Spielberg has alot of great movies:  Jaws, Jurassic Park, ET, etc, but Star Wars is my baby."

Pretty much Lucas is saying that HE is known for Star Wars, and Spielberg has enough great movies to be a part of  ANOTHER great movie series.

Thats why I found the revelation that Spielberg was going to direct Jedi in the 2004 documentary seemed out of nowhere. 

Ok, maybe George didn't ask Steve to direct one of the prequels, Geoge was in complete control of those atrocities. No outside opinions or steering at all. And we all know how that ended up... But we're talking Jedi.

And why would George want this information in the documentary (and don't fool yourself into thinking he wasn't in control of it's content) if he was running around saying that he never asked Spielberg to do it?

Spielberg saying "Star Wars is Georges baby" makes a lot more sense. It's polite way of saying no.

Then again, George has been caught in so many lies that finding out that the Spielberg to direct Jedi story is false would hardly faze me.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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Wanting someone and actually asking them to direct are two different things. With Lucas' tussle with the DGA it wasn't about to happen, unless Speilberg left the guild, which would have likely caused problems down the line for Steven and several other projects.

Between directing Raiders, E.T., and Temple of Doom in that time frame, not to mention being executive producer on Gremlins and Poltergeist, (which some people believe he ghost directed to this day) I don't see how he could have ever slotted Jedi in.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I did find this on IMDb trivia-

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086190/trivia?tr0745453

When Steven Spielberg saw Paul Verhoeven's Soldier of Orange (1977) he was deeply impressed. He called Verhoeven to tell him he wanted to get him an American project. Years later Verhoeven heard that Spielberg wanted to bring him up to direct Return of the Jedi. To be sure of his talent, Spielberg organized a viewing of his latest feature film Spetters (1980). Spielberg was shocked by the extremely sexual content and never called him again. Verhoeven later said that he thought Spielberg was afraid the Jedis would break their celibacy under his direction. 

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Sounds a bit fishy. Richard Marquand's film "Eye of the Needle" has some quite graphic sex and nudity, (not to mention violence) and it was the film Lucas screened before choosing him for Jedi. Plus the whole idea of Jedi being celibate priests didn't really exist at the time.

Of course, George did invent the whole Slave Leia/metal bikini business, so maybe he's less prudish than Steven! ;)

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I am glad Marquand directed Jedi.  I now no longer have an faith in Spielberg since the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ruined Indiana Jones, and he made a bad remake of war of the worlds, and produced those horrible bayformers films.

This tintin thing he did also has really bad plastic looking cgi animation.

 

Maybe Spielberg in his early days.  But Temple of Doom sucked.  Last Crusade was great.  And so was raiders.  So even in the eighties he had bad bombs like 1941.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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robbottin said:

Didn't Spielberg effectively directed some scene in EPISODE III?

The pre viz of the mustafar duel.  Where they are jumping on droids over the lava.  Horrible crap.  That and nuking the fridge are awful.  Spielberg's tastes really have not matured for the better.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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I saw a revival screening of TOD a few years ago, and nobody asked for their money back. ;)

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Hey, I *like* Temple. Its occasional camp is actually FUNNY, unlike in the other later Indiana Jones movies. Plus, it's like a movie serial in that it's fundamentally unrelated to the previous movie aside from the characters.

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em

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skyjedi2005 said:

robbottin said:

Didn't Spielberg effectively directed some scene in EPISODE III?

The pre viz of the mustafar duel.  Where they are jumping on droids over the lava.  Horrible crap.  That and nuking the fridge are awful.  Spielberg's tastes really have not matured for the better.

I hate for this thread to become an Indy fight, but why is everyone complaining about the fridge? Remember when the giant tank falls off the cliff in Crusade, yet Indy manages to survive? Indiana Jones films aren't about logic. Now I will admit, I did not care for the CGI monkeys, but I did enjoy the rest of the film.

But everyone has different opinions...

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Neither are the old cliffhanger serials Indy was inspired by, but few younger people today even know about those.

Mythbusters could settle the whole fridge thing, but I doubt even they could get the amount of TNT needed to simulate a hydrogen bomb detonation! ;)

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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I hate the tank vs fridge argument. IMO I could swallow the tank scene in the last crusade easier than the nuked fridge in KOTCS. That was just lazy writing.

Anyways, if Spielberg directed Jedi, it wouldn't have made the film any better than it already was, because Spielberg isn't that great of a director to begin with. He's just a popular director.

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TML said:

skyjedi2005 said:

robbottin said:

Didn't Spielberg effectively directed some scene in EPISODE III?

The pre viz of the mustafar duel.  Where they are jumping on droids over the lava.  Horrible crap.  That and nuking the fridge are awful.  Spielberg's tastes really have not matured for the better.

I hate for this thread to become an Indy fight, but why is everyone complaining about the fridge? Remember when the giant tank falls off the cliff in Crusade, yet Indy manages to survive? Indiana Jones films aren't about logic. Now I will admit, I did not care for the CGI monkeys, but I did enjoy the rest of the film.

But everyone has different opinions...

He was on top of the tank and rolled off it at the last second and clung to the side of the cliff offscreen. In KOTCS he's thrown out of the center of a NUCLEAR BLAST inside a fridge and flung violently across the desert and then hazily just wanders out. For your example to work he would have to have been inside the tank the entire time and crawled out of it after it crashed to the bottom.

Help finish ROTJ: Revisited!

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generalfrevious said:

Anyways, if Spielberg directed Jedi, it wouldn't have made the film any better than it already was, because Spielberg isn't that great of a director to begin with. He's just a popular director.

He wasn't that popular in the wake of 1941. Raiders and E.T. proved he was no one trick pony in Hollywood.

Jedi would have benefited from having Steven direct. Lucas would not have been able to backseat drive him. And Harrison Ford might not have phoned it in.

A fellow named Kubrick apparently thought Steven was a pretty good director. ;)

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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I thought Harrison Ford did a good job performing in Jedi. I don't know why people think he "phoned it in" or lost his touch in ROTJ, he was just fine in my opinion. He seemed just like he always did in the OT. I never found Harrison to be that great of an actor in the OT to begin with. He's pretty good, but he never came off a believable as Mark Hamil did as "Luke Skywalker" or Alec Guinness did as "Obi Wan" (Old Ben) or Carrie Fisher as "Leia". In fact, I would say he was one of the least of the actors in the OT. Not to say he was bad, but I thought the OT was a well acted movie series to begin with. Or maybe I've been desensitized by the PT too much?

Spielberg back in that day was still a good director. Sure his recent works are nothing spectacular specifically "Worlds" and "Skull". I haven't seen that one movie that he shot on film recently, what movie was that? ROTJ's script was lacking specifically between Luke and Darth Vader. Lucas is into too much repetitive dialog. Many of the lines spoken by Darth Vader in ESB were repeated in ROTJ and the Emperor dialog was repeated in similar ways too many times too. I think Speilberg could have ironed that out and given the movie up until the end battle a faster pace and more going on. The first few times I watched ROTJ I was bored in some areas. I never got that feeling with ANH or ESB.