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Return of the Jedi: The "Lightman" Mystery

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In Return of the Jedi, there was supposed to be some sort of luminescent alien creature that guides Threepio deep into the darkness of Jabba the Hutt’s palace. This scene was eventually cut due to not fitting the pace of the edited movie, but what was the scene actually supposed to be? I’ve never been able to find more than 2 photos of the on-set suit and the information I mentioned above. My question is how did they intend to make this scene look real? The photos of Lightman show a man in a race suit covered in lightbulbs, were they planning on replacing him with a stop-motion creature? Was this some early form of motion capture? Also, what was this scene even intended for? Leading Threepio into the depths of Jabba’s Palace? For what? When was this scene even supposed to take place within the movie? So many questions, so few answers. If any of you know anything about this scene, I’d love to know, because this is certainly an oddity to me. I even looked through Rinzler’s Making of ROTJ and there was no mention of it.

Use the Force, Joh Yowza.

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I assume this is the source of the info?

https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2016/10/deleted-scene-enter-lightman.html

Some more sources:

Lightman

Lightman 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyjuHeVJcI4

From this site, there’s some more discussion.

I wonder where aficionado got his info, since his is the only source I can find that suggests this creature had an entire scene devoted to him. Maybe you could email him?

JEDIT: Also interesting to note, these two images show very different costumes. The first one appears to be intended to be placed on the actor’s back, and the second one appears to be on his front, and there are different patterns of lights on each costume.

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My guess is the suit’s purpose was to have interactive light effects on set.

ILM probably would have done glowing animation over this footage, similar to what they did for the aliens in Cocoon a few years later.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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 (Edited)

Such a tiny amount of detail about this guy. It seems everything that’s public knowledge about the Lightman has been shared on this thread already 2 posts in. A true oddity that such an advanced alien creature has a total of 2 photos and 4 seconds of test footage released. Hell, the deleted scene that Lightman is from sounds incredibly interesting itself, leading Threepio through the dark areas of Jabba’s Palace? I’d love to see that!

Use the Force, Joh Yowza.

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This is truly fascinating, I had never heard or seen anything about this guy before! Thanks Hoop!

One question for the experts out there, is there any reference to such a creature in any of the early drafts of ROTJ’s scripts?

George Lucas was the first Star Wars fan-editor.

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There’s absolutly no mention of any lightman in the 1981 script that I could find, or the revised '82 script either. If it were to occur anywhere, it’d be somewhere in this small section. Although not written anywhere, I’d imagine the Lightman would be a guide through the darker areas of the Palace.

9 INT DUNGEON CORRIDOR
One of Jabba’s Gamorrean guards marches Artoo and Threepio down a dank, shadowy passageway lined with holding cells. The cries of unspeakable creatures bounce off the cold stone walls. Occasionally a repulsive arm or tentacle grabs through the bars at the hapless droids. Artoo beeps pitifully.

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Bobson Dugnutt said:

There’s absolutly no mention of any lightman in the 1981 script that I could find, or the revised '82 script either. If it were to occur anywhere, it’d be somewhere in this small section. Although not written anywhere, I’d imagine the Lightman would be a guide through the darker areas of the Palace.

9 INT DUNGEON CORRIDOR
One of Jabba’s Gamorrean guards marches Artoo and Threepio down a dank, shadowy passageway lined with holding cells. The cries of unspeakable creatures bounce off the cold stone walls. Occasionally a repulsive arm or tentacle grabs through the bars at the hapless droids. Artoo beeps pitifully.

And that scene/segment is in the movie, so no mention of the Lightman whatsoever in the script. I checked the Lost Media wiki, nothing there either. This scene is truly a specter.

Use the Force, Joh Yowza.

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Well, I’ve found something.

Courtesy of my cousin, one of my christmas gifts was ‘The Star Wars Archives. 1977-1983’ by Paul Duncan. I was just reading through it and came across this photo; as it’s from LFL archives, I doubt I’ll find it online, so I took a photo of it.

The caption for the image reads: “Han, Luke, and Chewbacca surrounded by Gamorrean guards. In the background right a man-in-lights walks by, as reference for the Lava Man creature, which was not included in the movie.”

So, it’s a ‘lava man’. They MUST have had concept art for that… what the hell does a creature made out of lava look like??

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

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jedi_bendu said:

Well, I’ve found something.

Courtesy of my cousin, one of my christmas gifts was ‘The Star Wars Archives. 1977-1983’ by Paul Duncan. I was just reading through it and came across this photo; as it’s from LFL archives, I doubt I’ll find it online, so I took a photo of it.

The caption for the image reads: “Han, Luke, and Chewbacca surrounded by Gamorrean guards. In the background right a man-in-lights walks by, as reference for the Lava Man creature, which was not included in the movie.”

So, it’s a ‘lava man’. They MUST have had concept art for that… what the hell does a creature made out of lava look like??

That’s really cool.

And …

"Pleasure’s fun. It’s great, but you can’t keep it going forever; just accept the fact that it’s here and it’s gone, and maybe then again, it will come back, and you’ll get to do it again. Joy lasts forever. Pleasure is purely self-centered. It’s all about your pleasure: it’s about you. It’s a selfish, self-centered emotion, that is created by a self-centered motive of greed. Joy is compassion. Joy is giving yourself to somebody else, or something else. And it’s a kind of thing that is, in its subtlety and lowness, much more powerful than pleasure. You get hung up on pleasure; you’re doomed. If you pursue joy; you will find everlasting happiness.” - George Lucas

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jedi_bendu said:

Well, I’ve found something.

Oh my god man, you seem to be the first person on the internet to notice that! That image also seems to be only the third look at him in the public eye! How has nobody else seen this yet?

So, it’s a ‘lava man’.

This is the first time I’ve seen such a term used to describe him, it gives a much more specific interpretation of what he was as well. This is all so fascinating!

George Lucas was the first Star Wars fan-editor.

My homeworld is Australia so be wary of timezones!

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Chase Adams said:

jedi_bendu said:

Well, I’ve found something.

Oh my god man, you seem to be the first person on the internet to notice that! That image also seems to be only the third look at him in the public eye! How has nobody else seen this yet?

So, it’s a ‘lava man’.

This is the first time I’ve seen such a term used to describe him, it gives a much more specific interpretation of what he was as well. This is all so fascinating!

I stg I read through the thread and watched that part of the video before posting and there’s no mention of ‘lava man’ anywhere. Now I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic or not, but it sure sounds like it.

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

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I think he was expressing genuine excitement over your discovery.

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canofhumdingers said:

I think he was expressing genuine excitement over your discovery.

Yeah, I first thought he was taking the piss because someone had already posted it or something, but literally a couple minutes later I changed my mind. Sorry for my response Chase, it’s hard to read tone over the internet sometimes.

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

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jedi_bendu said:

Well, I’ve found something.

Courtesy of my cousin, one of my christmas gifts was ‘The Star Wars Archives. 1977-1983’ by Paul Duncan. I was just reading through it and came across this photo; as it’s from LFL archives, I doubt I’ll find it online, so I took a photo of it.

The caption for the image reads: “Han, Luke, and Chewbacca surrounded by Gamorrean guards. In the background right a man-in-lights walks by, as reference for the Lava Man creature, which was not included in the movie.”

So, it’s a ‘lava man’. They MUST have had concept art for that… what the hell does a creature made out of lava look like??

Woah. Okay, now I NEED to buy this book. Rinzler’s Making Of Trilogy clearly isn’t enough! Anyway, I’ve started looking for “Lava man” concept art, but no luck yet, still more to go through.

Use the Force, Joh Yowza.

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It’s a really interesting read, I fully recommend it! George Lucas narrates it himself. I only started it today, but there’s already been many great behind-the-scenes photos and early Alex Tavoularis concept art I’d never seen before.

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

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Great find, jedi_bendu!

I would think a “lava man” would have a rocky exterior with lava glowing from within?

This is from Altered States (1981) an effect achieved IIRC, with front projection on a costume with reflective material in the “cracks”.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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canofhumdingers said:

I think he was expressing genuine excitement over your discovery.

Yes I was. 😃

Ever since this thread was created I’ve been dying to learn more. Again, congrats on your discovery jedi_bendu!

George Lucas was the first Star Wars fan-editor.

My homeworld is Australia so be wary of timezones!

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 (Edited)

So I emailed the StarWarsAficionado author and he got back to me with some pages from his ROTJ issue.

(This is the issue in question, I believe https://www.jedinews.com/misc/articles/star-wars-aficionado-issue-14/)

He says that the information about the Lightman comes from a conversation with Antony Daniels at a Star Wars Celebration as well as the Peter Diamond interview.

In response to Hoop’s original question about where the scene was supposed to be, the author says that the scene was intended for Threepio’s initial foray into the palace, where he would be led down the hallway toward the throne room. This sequence was ultimately cut and replaced with a lengthy shot of the droids following Bib into the darkness, watched by the Gammorean guard in the foreground.

The other shot of the Lightman emerging from the Rancor passage would presumably be one of the random background appearances, as well as the shot of him behind Han and Luke in the recently discovered image.

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Ohhhh! That makes sense! Very interesting. Mystery solved then!

Use the Force, Joh Yowza.

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Very interesting. I never knew anything about lightman other than that he existed. And I only was aware of that because Adywan said something about potentially adding a similar idea to ROTJ:R.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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Are there any ILM vets on twitter that could be asked about this?

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Wow, I never knew about this till now. Surprised that it wasn’t added back by George in the years that followed, maybe he didn’t care so much for it?