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What was the point of hiring Richard Marquand in the first place?

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Based on everything I’ve read and seen about how ROTJ was made, Lucas was for all intents and purposes the de facto director and Marquand basically did nothing of any note at all. I don’t get why Lucas just didn’t officially direct again if he was going to be on set all the time calling all the shots anyway. I know he was originally going to go with Spielberg but couldn’t for legal reasons with the DGA. I know Kershner turned it down after being burned out by ESB. And I know he even offered it to David Lynch, which would have been something different altogether to say the least. But then when all of those options fell through, why did Lucas even bother to hire some no name foreign yes man to basically just put his name on the movie? OK, so that gets around the union part but it doesn’t really do much in the actual directing department if you’re going to basically direct it yourself anyway. You’d think it would have saved Lucas some money to just make himself the official director. Unless Marquand really did bring something significant to the table I am unaware of?

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Marquand was actually a very competent director. Lucas ended up being on set a lot because of Marquand’s inexperience with special effects. So George had to be there to make sure everything would mesh with ILM. But being on set, he clearly had opinions on what was going on with his movie, so he ended up basically being backseat director to Marquand in the process, which I’m sure Richard was just thrilled about.

So in short, I don’t think George planned on being on set so much, but it ended up that way anyways and I guess he just figured “while I’m here anyways…”

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Eye Of The Needle, the movie Marquand made that led to his being chosen to direct Jedi, is a well made thriller, but it wasn’t as technically complex as a Star Wars film is.

It’s very sad he was gone by 1987, and probably never really talked about the film without having to be diplomatic about it.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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CHEWBAKAspelledwrong said:

Imagine if Spielberg had directed. Sitting here wondering what if.

Steven could still make a Star Wars film yet. 😉

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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He’s said before he never will because it’s George’s baby. And honestly, I wouldn’t want him to. If he wasnt such close friends with George I would say yes all the way. But because he’s so close to George I feel like we’d have another kingdom of the crystal skull on our hands. Spielberg is arguably the greatest director of all time, but I feel like he’d feel obligated to listen to his friends wishes if he were to direct a Star Wars movie. I’m sure he’d do his best, but it would probably be a George Lucas story.

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I get the feeling that Lucas is that kinda guy. We’ve all heard the stories about him wandering through LucasArts and throwing out suggestions that ended up totally rewriting or even scrapping games. He also worked on The Clone Wars and would throw out ideas and suggestions that ended up becoming holy canon, good or bad, which is why Korriban is now Moriband. From all I’ve heard, his “handlers” would bustle through before his visits and tell everyone he might come in contact with to just nod and smile whenever Lucas gave a suggestion, and then make it happen, no matter what.

So it’s not a stretch to believe that he was a similar guy on the set of Jedi.

Not wanting to lose your job, and wanting to impress a very influential and successful man are very powerful motivators.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

END OF LINE

(It hasn’t happened yet)

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CHEWBAKAspelledwrong said:

Imagine if Spielberg had directed. Sitting here wondering what if.

Honestly, of the three I think his would have been the least different from what we got. He and George were so close at the time, and Star Wars was George’s whole thing, so I just don’t see him standing in his way much. He didn’t even with Crystal Skull apparently. He might have challenged George on a few things and brought a few keys elements to the table, but ultimately I still think we get Ewoks and the movie isn’t unrecognizable from the one we have today by any means.

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I think he wanted to be the main creative director and have someone else to do the actor directing (like in ESB) but simply didn’t want things to go as slow as during ESB principal photography. So he was there to make sure things ran on schedule. However, if you come up with the story, characters and ideas and being on the set while someone else is directing the scenes you wrote, you most likely won’t be able to resist interfering.

真実

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I think you nailed it. I think Marquand was there to direct the actors. I don’t think he was useless or completely overridden. I bet they worked out an arrangement of responsibility with Marquand taking over what Lucas has admitted that he isn’t the best at. But having a producer on set is not unusual. The producers of the Bond films were on the set constantly. Sean Connery disliked one of them so much he promised to stop working if he came on the set and one day he came on the set and Connery stopped mid scene. Producers are ultimately in charge of the film. Usually the director has to cave to their directives and above them is the studio. In the case of Eps 5, 6, 1, 2, and 3, Lucas was not only the producer, but the studio as well.

That is not to say he wasn’t as annoying as hell, just that many directors have to deal with that kind of person all the time. I’ve been thinking that other than Disney not using Lucas’s ST story treatments (which I am dying to get my hands on) it is probably a good thing that he is no longer in charge of Star Wars. It gives hope for an official restoration of the OUT someday.

(ah… an actual interview. seems I was close but off on a few points. Interesting that he calls himself an actor’s director. Also interesting that he says he asked Lucas for help in the areas he lacked experience in. So was Lucas a meddling producer or was he advising a newcomer to effects movie production? It would be interesting to know.)

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And let’s not forget that Lucas - beyond his main alibi “I-helped-Richard-with-the-special-effects-stuff” - was there on a daily basis to make sure that the production does not went over schedule like ESB. As ESB, ROTJ was supposed to secure the funding for Skywalker Ranch.

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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In a documentary (or maybe a commentary I can’t even remember) George said that Marquand was good at tense/dark shots because of his experience with horror. This is why parts like when Leia saves Han from carbonite and the throne room scenes are such great scenes. As for the rest of the movie I’m not sure why George would hire a horror director to film Ewoks and Admiral Ackbar but whatever.

Prequel Fan-Edit thread: http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Yet-another-series-of-prequel-edits/id/17329

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There is a brief bit of footage (sorry, I can’t remember precisely where) in “From Star Wars to Jedi - The Making of a Saga” that is what I consider to be a pretty clear illustration of the dynamic between Marquand and Lucas. Judging by that, Richard had to bite his tongue a lot.

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AFAIK, Marquand only did one movie before Jedi that could be considered a horror movie.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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There is some behind the scenes footage (I think in the new eBook?) where Marquand and Lucas argue quite unprofessionally in front of the cast and crew and Marquand looks like he is controlling his temper otherwise he would smash George’s head. It had to be fun working on the movie

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I think Richard Marquand did more than you think in ROTJ. I haven’t seen his other work, but based on what I read of him he sounds like he was very engaged and enthusiastic about the project. It would be interesting though to see how the movie would have turned out with Speilberg directing it.