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Post
#665754
Topic
<strong>STAR WARS: REBELS</strong> (animated tv series) - a general discussion thread
Time

Clone stormtroopers have indeed been around as an idea since the OT, but the original idea was that the clones had been the villains of the Clone War, the guys whom the Jedi fought against. Lucas even told Leigh Brackett this was what happened (and that the clones started a war against the Republic), in the ESB story conference.

Mind you, the Clone Wars at that point were very hazily imagined--they merely provided an interesting soundbite of backstory, and also possibly explained the GFFA's preference for robotics over cloned replacement limbs etc.

In other words, the Clone Wars were very much like the long-ago Butlerian Jihad which is part of the backstory in Dune (the source of so many SW ideas). That was a war in which evil robots attempted to enslave humanity, and after which the victory of humans led to a religious prescription outlawing robots and "thinking machines," i.e. computers (but not clones--an inversion of the SW situation).

Post
#664498
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

Doing some further reading in the book: it appears that not all the actors got on well with Marquand. Carrie Fisher (who seems to have particularly disliked him) describes Marquand's behavior on set as "kowtowing" to Famous Actor Harrison Ford, but treating her and Mark Hamill "badly" because they were less famous. She wasn't impressed, and neither apparently was Ford.

Another thing that is very obviously evident is George's overriding concern with the budget, above just about all other aspects of the picture. At times it interfered with the shooting of the film. Marquand had to beg, for instance, for permission to have a giant Rancor hand made to shoot closeups of Mark Hamill in; Lucas had initially refused because of the expense.

The story about GL nixing a costly animatronic Sarlacc tentacle (only to later renege on this decision when he decided the monster had to actually be seen) is also mentioned.

Producer Howard Kazanjian reveals that (as with Ghost Anakin) seeing Vader make the decision on camera to kill the Emperor was his idea:

"Darth Vader is standing there as the Emperor is zapping his son," Kazanjian would say. "Then in dailies, we're watching and talking, and I turned to George and said, 'George, we don't see Darth Vader making the decision. There are no close-ups of him.' So we went back and George shot Darth Vader standing there kind of turning his head left and right, and making the decision to throw the Emperor into the pit."

The screening of Marquand's first cut of the film was apparently a disaster; Lucas was not happy with it at all. (Its style apparently felt "not like Star Wars," and in some places the editing was just plain bad. For instance, in the scene where Vader talks to Jerjerrod as they walk down the Death Star hangar bay, "the screen direction was wrong, backward," as Kazanjian pointed out.) However, Sean Barton, Marquand's film editor, had produced a different cut that Lucas liked a lot more.

Oh, and the book also explains some of the weirdness of that leaked clip of the early Rancor scene: the original attempt at the scene used a large Rancor suit, Godzilla-style, but the results were so ugly that they had to be essentially excised from the final film and replaced with a puppet matted into Hamill's scenes.

Post
#663928
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

Never hurts to ram the idea into people's heads some more. ;)

In all seriousness, it is interesting to see Lucas thinking (even vaguely) at this stage about just where Anakin came from. As I pointed out above, one has to wonder why, if Anakin's father was a Jedi, it took Obi-Wan's intervention to get Anakin to join up.

Post
#663809
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

Pfluegermeister at TFN notes that in the November 1, 1981 revised second draft of ROTJ, Luke delivers this line to the Emperor:

"Never! Never will I turn to the dark side. You have failed, your highness. I am a Jedi as my father was before me, and as his father was before him."

The November 1 revised second-draft script was one where Lucas took Kasdan's typewritten second draft and added his own handwritten revisions. Thus, Lucas himself was responsible for this line.... which entirely excludes the possibility of a virgin birth for Anakin.

The idea that Anakin's own father (whoever he might be) was a Jedi certainly reinforces the idea that GL was already thinking about Force potential in genetic terms. On the other hand, it makes the story that Obi-Wan had to "discover" Anakin and recruit him into the Jedi Order (as Ben tells Luke in Kasdan's draft) a bit strange.

Post
#663577
Topic
ANH - Chewie attacks from smuggling compartments scene?
Time

Well, I don't know anything about any lost Chewbacca scenes, but I can tell you pretty much for certain that right behind Chewie in those screencaps is the door to the Death Star control room that the heroes are hiding in when R2 discovers Leia's location.

(In other words, it's the door the infamous stormtrooper bumps his head on.)

Post
#663398
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

TOSCHESTATION on the TFN forums pointed out that early on in the book, Rinzler digs up a snippet of plot notes by Lucas which appear to be "pre-Empire":

"The Emperor is the evil one - he kills Luke's father. Vader begs Luke to kill him - he does."

These notes would appear to come from the liminal stage between ANH and ESB, when Lucas was reconsidering both the backstory of Father Skywalker and the notion that Vader was a dyed-in-the-wool irredeemable villain. But the obvious solution--to combine the two ideas into Father Vader--hadn't quite gelled yet.

Post
#663218
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

In addition to the wonderfully enlightening text which I've referenced above, the concept art in the Making of ROTJ is also quite good and mostly never before seen.

One standout is the designs for Jabba the Hutt. While Phil Tippett's rather cartoonish design (from a maquette) was ultimately selected, Ralph McQuarrie surely gets the nod for the most terrifying Jabba concepts. One of his pieces features a wormlike Jabba with a maw full of slimy tentacles reminiscent of Cthulhu; another has a more humanoid Jabba, but with immense revolting folds of naked, sagging flesh, protruding eyes set farther apart than in a human face, and a mouth full of razor-sharp fangs.

There's also a piece of Slave Leia concept art by Nilo Rodis-Jamero that I've never seen before: the precursor of the final costume design, but with the top specified as made out of leather instead of metal, and Leia going barefoot. (Still better than one of Rodis-Jamero's earlier ideas for the costume, featured on the Blu-rays, which included a transparent mesh fabric top, drawn complete with visible nipples.... a wardrobe later given in modified form to Oola after apparently being deemed too risqué for the leading lady.)

McQuarrie's art for the Imperial Guards is also very interesting; he favored robing them in black and making their helmet shape resemble Vader's. It would seem Rodis-Jamero in his final design opted for red because, having been raised as a Catholic, he found it amusing to put the Emperor's minions in outfits resembling liturgical vestments. The Royal Guards outfitted in solid red, for instance, call to mind the scarlet robes of cardinals.

Post
#663096
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

On another note, a quote in the book from Richard Marquand suggests that part of Harrison Ford's motivation for wanting to kill off Han Solo was so that Leia and Luke could get together romantically. By that time Marquand knew that Lucas wanted Luke and Leia to be revealed as siblings, but he wasn't allowed to tell Ford that yet!

The idea of Han dying and Luke and Leia becoming an item is intriguing. It harks back to Lucas's older ideas for the future of the OT, during production on ANH, when he imagined Han leaving at the end of the second film and Luke and the Princess getting together:

I want to have Luke kiss the princess in the second book. The second book will be Gone With the Wind in Outer Space. She likes Luke, but Han is Clark Gable. Well, she may appear to get Luke, because in the end I want Han to leave. Han splits at the end of the second book and we learn who Darth Vader is...

In the third book, I want the story to be just about the soap opera of the Skywalker family, which ends with the destruction of the Empire.

By the time of ESB, of course, Lucas imagined that Han and the Princess would be the ones to hook up in the end. This was decided early enough that Lucas told Leigh Brackett that's what would happen. At the end of the Brackett draft Han still leaves--to convince his powerful stepfather Ovan Marekal to join the Alliance--but he plans to come back to Leia.

However, if you combine Han's death (and perhaps Luke winning Leia's hand) with Kasdan's idea of Luke taking over the Empire and becoming a benevolent monarch.... well, you can start to see where some of the Gary Kurtz rumors come from.

Of course, it shouldn't be forgotten that the very first rough draft for ANH--the one simply titled The Star Wars, now being adapted by Dark Horse--ended exactly this way, with the new Queen Leia and her consort Annikin Starkiller (the "Lord Protector") appearing gloriously enthroned in the royal palace of Aquilae.

(Mark Hamill was also interested in getting Luke hooked up. He gave Lucas a book full of drawings of alien creatures, with a handwritten inscription asking him to pick out a girlfriend for Luke from among the various aliens. It didn't work.)

Post
#663061
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

Part of the squick here, I think, is that in the old Flash Gordon comics, even though Ming the Merciless (or King Vultan of the Hawkmen, or whoever) frequently had Dale Arden dressed up in a harem outfit, you could always be absolutely sure that the villain would wait until after a proper marriage ceremony to "take advantage" of the heroine. But this ceremony would of course never actually come to pass, due to it being foiled by Flash and friends.

Kasdan's Jabba, on the other hand, is a creature of our modern world, where chivalry is dead. He doesn't belong to the knights-and-spaceships, capes-and-rayguns archetypes created by Edgar Rice Burroughs before WWI and continued by Alex Raymond. In the latter type of story, we can enjoy the heroine being forced into skimpy outfits (or, as with Dejah Thoris, casually gallivanting around wearing nothing at all) and still not fear for her safety; in the former that is impossible.

Post
#663039
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

Going back to my earliest post in the thread, about how Kasdan treated the scene of Leia's capture by Jabba:

JABBA

(to Leia, in Huttese)

I have seen you like to kiss. I like the way you kiss.

(he grins)

And I like to kiss, also!

Leia looks at Threepio, questioningly.

THREEPIO

You're not going to like it, Your Highness.

LEIA

Death?

THREEPIO

Worse.

Jabba speaks to the Guards holding Leia and they bring her toward him. Inexorably, her tiny face crosses the distance to his immense blob of a head. Jabba puckers up. Leia looks sick.

Given what went on in the story conferences, I'm now much more inclined to blame Kasdan for this scene, which implies the proverbial "fate worse than death" (i.e. rape) happening to Leia offscreen.

Worth remembering here is that in the Raiders script Kasdan gave Marion a line about her life at the Raven Bar in Nepal: "I worked here. And I wasn't the bartender!" implying that she was forced to prostitute herself to survive.

Later in the third draft script of Raiders, when Marion is wearing that sheer nightgown aboard the Bantu Wind, there was another reference to this idea:

MARION

I feel like a virgin bride in this.

INDY

That's what you look like.

MARION

(takes a drink)

There are some things you can recapture in this life, but that isn't one of them.

This idea was cut from the final film.

Notably, in a later draft of ROTJ by Kasdan (glimpsed later in the Making) the above dialogue apparently disappears, and the scene between Jabba and Leia approaches the final film much more closely. Presumably Lucas--given his insistence that "this is a fairytale" and "nothing bad happens to anybody"--urged Kasdan to drop this disturbing implication. (To which I can only say: Good on him.)

In fact Lucas wanted to further edit Kasdan's revised scene, so that Leia herself was cognizant of the fact that she was never in any real danger:

Lando quickly moves in, and attempts to lead Leia away.

JABBA

Wait! Bring her to me.

Lando and Leia stop dead in their tracks. Lando gives her a worried look.

LEIA

I'll be all right.

LANDO

I'm not so sure.

I'm reminded of the apparent debate in ESB over whether Luke should lose a hand. Lucas's second draft script (the first to feature the Father Vader revelation) doesn't include that element; it only appears in Kasdan's first crack at the screenplay. (In that version Luke loses his left arm at the elbow, and gets a nakedly mechanical replacement much like Anakin's in the prequels.) I now wonder if it wasn't Kasdan who suggested this violent means of having Vader defeat Luke.

But in Kasdan's next draft the calls for the secret pages in which Luke loses a hand are entirely absent, although those for the Father Vader dialogue remain. Perhaps Lucas got cold feet about "castrating" his hero? In any event, the maiming (now transferred to the right hand) was reinserted by the time of the final shooting script.

PS: Just noticed one unusual thing in Kasdan's second draft script of ROTJ: in the Throne Room scene Vader doesn't throw the Emperor down a convenient bottomless pit but rather out the window and into space. Luke and Vader somehow avoid being sucked out themselves.

Post
#662920
Topic
All Things Star Trek
Time

SilverWook said:

Gaffer Tape said:

Hmm.  Don't think the art is that bad, but McCoy saying "it's" instead of "its" and referring to "Admiral" Kirk as "Captain" seems pretty lazy.

Marvel did a better job adapting Star Wars without the luxury of being able to see the movie, what excuse do these guys have? ;)

Marvel even picked up on GL's vaunted original intent that everybody's lightsabers should have red blades! That's going above and beyond the call of duty! ;)

Post
#662892
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

One thing I failed to note earlier is the matter of the Emperor's makeup. As originally designed, it was meant to suggest extreme age, of such a span that it could only have been achieved through some unknown dark sorcery. The Emperor is described as "a Methuselah figure" who is "ancient, not old." In fact he's so old that he is beginning to evolve into something else--the ridge on his forehead is a point where his cranium is beginning to split in two. (And, unlike in ROTS, Ian McDiarmid was made bald up to the crown of his head, where the prosthetics stopped abruptly.)

The idea of the Emperor being so ancient and evil that he was becoming something beyond human was first suggested for ESB, where in the Leigh Brackett story conferences Lucas actually proposed that the Emperor should be immersed in a giant steel box, like the spice tank used by the mutant Guild Navigators in Dune. Still, it seems rather inconsistent with the idea of Palpatine as a Nixonian politician who came to power a scant few decades back--a point that would become obvious in the prequels.

The matter of "the Emperor's slugs"--the matte-black blob that in post-production was placed over one side of Palpatine's face during his closeups--is also addressed. Apparently this was due to another of the (myriad) failures of camerawork on-set--the lighting used caught the angles of the Emperor's prosthetic makeup in a rather distracting way and had to be adjusted by hand in post.

Another interesting anecdote about lighting involves the first day shooting on the Star Destroyer bridge: apparently Marquand wanted to use a rather dramatic lighting setup, with "red lights flashing and hitting the walls" as Kazanjian later put it. Lucas and Kazanjian both objected to this. Marquand said "It's atmosphere!" but Kazanjian said that it didn't match the look of the previous films. (Maybe it brought up bad memories of Irvin Kershner's style--and his meticulous concern for lighting that often set back the filming schedule?) In the end Kazanjian and Lucas got their way.

Post
#662884
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

Making of ROTJ reveals that Kurtz was indeed replaced during post-production on ESB (in late 1979). According to Howard Kazanjian's recollection, Kurtz showed up one day and Kazanjian had to tell him that he was no longer allowed to work on George's movie.

Which came as a total surprise to Kurtz, apparently. Kazanjian had expected that Lucas would have told Kurtz he was being let go, but apparently Lucas preferred to let Kazanjian do his dirty work for him. (Later, when asked by Kazanjian, Lucas would deny that he had failed to inform Kurtz of his impending dismissal.)

Kurtz accordingly sent in his letter of resignation to Lucasfilm on December 11, 1979.

Post
#662878
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

One bit in the Making of ROTJ that's pretty enlightening as to Lucas' overall priorities is the story of Dermot Crowley, who played General Madine.

Crowley showed up to wardrobe fittings and was repeatedly urged to wear a fake beard. Essentially, he was told he must wear this beard. So he agreed, but he wondered why the costumers were so insistent. Later he found out that a "General Madine" action figure had already been molded by Kenner--and the figure sculpt was bearded.

(I'm sure this anecdote has been told before, but I would hardly have expected it to make it into an official LFL book!)

Post
#662846
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

Addendum to the Prowse bits above: I went back and checked, and Prowse actually claims that, when told (by a reporter!) about Sebastian Shaw's casting as Anakin, he asked Howard Kazanjian about it. Whereupon Kazanjian lied to his face and told him no one else had been cast as Anakin. Kazanjian denies that he lied outright but admits he probably avoided the question.

Post
#662820
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

SilverWook said:

The fake script pages have long fascinated me. One interview in the old fan club newsletter Bantha Tracks dropped the misleading tidbit that Aunt Beru was still alive! That made my brain hurt for a while at the time, trying to figure out how it was even possible. ;)

How does Dave Prowse fare in this? We've only had his interviews about the miserable time he had on the set, after being blamed for a script leak, and the frosty relations with Lucas ever since.

Prowse comes off as a bit naive, sadly--he seems to have been in complete denial about the fact that Vader would likely be killed off. Of course no one ever told him that he wouldn't be the one to play Vader unmasked--in fact, he found out about the casting of Sebastian Shaw from a reporter who had studied some leaked call sheets!

Prowse was once again given fake script pages as a rule. It's also noted that he had a tendency to speak his lines on set extremely fast--so much so that Marquand had to tell him to talk more slowly because James Earl Jones would take longer to say the lines.

Post
#662780
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

One more thing before I go to bed:

Despite Vader having been deep-fried in a lava pit, Lucas et al. consider the possibility of him growing a gray beard like Ben's in the story conferences. And in Kasdan's subsequent second draft, the unmasked Vader is indeed an elderly man with a white beard. "His eyes do not focus. But the dying man smiles at the sight before him."

Incidentally, there was also a version of the third-draft script with a fake ending distributed, which was meant to throw leakers off. In this version it is Luke who, after going limp while being electrocuted, suddenly rises up to throw the Emperor down a shaft. Later, during the unmasking scene, we get this patently false tidbit:

Slowly, hesitantly, Luke removes the mask from his father's face. There beneath the scars is a horrible mutant, hardly recognizable as human. Luke is repulsed. He throw the mask down in disgust.

VADER
It's too late, Luke, it's too late!

The Annotated Screenplays mistakenly reported this as a real variant of the ending. In this respect it's not unlike the shooting script for ESB, which omitted both Vader's revelation and Luke's loss of a hand. (Instead of outright severing his hand, in this version Vader merely nicks Luke's forearm, causing Luke to drop his lightsaber. Later, on the medical frigate, Luke is seen getting patched up after receiving "a nasty scar" on his arm.)

Post
#662775
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

The use of old film stock seems to have been an accident--apparently some unused film left over from Raiders found its way into the ROTJ stacks.

Here's more of Kasdan and Marquand arguing about Had Abbadon:

Kasdan: I like the idea of Had Abbadon.

Kazanjian: So do I.

Kasdan: I think it looks neat and I think the Empire should have a home base.

Kazanjian: I agree.

Marquand: But if you make it their home base rather than a planet, then it's a destructible thing and you achieve what George wants.

Kasdan: You mean blowing it up?

Marquand: Yes.

Interestingly, Marquand appears never to disapprove of Lucas' suggestions even once in these excerpts. Kasdan on the other hand challenges Lucas all the time, and Marquand seems to be rather annoyed at their constantly butting heads: "I am surprised at you guys--you spend a lot of time throwing scorn on each other's ideas."

Marquand elsewhere provided this interesting anecdote that really sums up Kasdan's thinking as contrasted to his own:

It seemed to us that there were too many lead personalities, just in terms of sheer directing, gads of people around the whole time. So Larry and I said bluntly to George, 'You've got to kill somebody.' Larry said, with a smile, 'Well, let's kill Yoda.' I said, 'I don't think that would be a very good idea. That would upset a lot of people.' And he said, 'Yeah, that's why I said it, to upset somebody.' So this started to get flippant and then we slowly began to realize that with the fans out there that it was very hard to actually kill anybody.

Kasdan wants to surprise and shock the audience, Marquand not to upset them.

Post
#662770
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

Currently delving into the bits later in the book--one thing that becomes painfully apparent is that the camerawork on principal photography was astoundingly incompetent.

Among other things, Richard Marquand and Lucas clashed over the issue of how many cameras to use. Lucas preferred to keep several cameras running at once, so as to maximize his options in the editing room. Whereas Marquand generally tried to determine how he wanted to shoot a scene in advance, using only one or two cameras, leaving little fallback option if the results proved unsatisfactory later.

Also, apparently some old film stock was used that resulted in many scenes having an uncomfortably bluish tint. ILM ended up having to fix the color timing on numerous shots, putting further pressure on an already hectic post-production schedule.

The book also makes clear how much Lucas controlled things during shooting: he was always on set, and not infrequently offered the actors advice that was contradictory to that of the director. Marquand's personality didn't help: he seems to have been very meek and introverted, and never really bonded with many of the actors. In other words, a perfect hired gun.

Other bits are interesting too--like the confirmation that Lucas wanted Luke to be dressed in black because at the time he imagined this was the costume of the Jedi Knights. Also we get to (finally!) see the script excerpt in which Obi-Wan refers to Owen Lars as his brother, as in the novelization.

Post
#662759
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

Some interesting quotes from the story conference follow.

On Lucas' facetious idea for an ending, and Kasdan taking it seriously:

Lucas: .... and then Vader gets his cape caught in the door and says, "Leave without me" and Luke takes his mask off. The mask is the very last thing--and then Luke puts it on and says, "Now I am Vader." Surprise! The ultimate twist. "Now I will go and kill the fleet and I will rule the universe."

Kasdan: That's what I think should happen.

Lucas: No, no, no. Come on, this is for kids.

On killing off characters, part 1:

Kasdan: I think you should kill Luke and have Leia take over.
Lucas: You don't want to kill Luke.
Kasdan: Okay, then kill Yoda.
Lucas: I don't want to kill Yoda. You don't have to kill people. You're a product of the 1980s. You don't go around killing people. It's not nice.

Lucas: I have always hated that in movies, when you go along and one of the main characters gets killed. This is a fairytale. You want everybody to live happily ever after and nothing bad happens to anybody.

On the three central components of the movie, as envisioned by Lucas:

Lucas: There are three parts to the movie: Jabba, the Ewoks, and Luke and the Emperor. Luke and the Emperor are not fun and the other two are.

Some discussion on Luke's new lightsaber and its symbolism in the film:

Kasdan: Maybe it should be a new color. 

Lucas: But the idea running throughout the whole trilogy is: First he's given his father's sword, because his father lost it in the fight with Ben Kenobi: Ben cut his hand off and Vader fell into the volcano, so Ben then pried the lazer sword out of the hand and kept it for the son. So then what the father did was cut his son's hand and lazer sword off--and that was a way of severing the relationship between father and son. Not only did Luke lose his weapon and was castrated, but at the same time his father split that relationship. Luke was carrying his sword for his father. Now he is not doing that anymore. In this one, he's built his own. He has built his own lazer sword; he is his own man, he is not a son anymore. He is an equal.

On Luke's plan to deal with Jabba:

Kasdan: See, the trick is that we have to work back from the Sarlacc pit.

Lucas: What Luke wants to do is to get on that barge and the only way he can do it is as a prisoner. He has to become a prisoner and Chewie has to become a prisoner; they have to unfreeze Han and they all have to be at the same execution, which is what his plan is. He figures once he kills the rancor, then they have to go to the pit. He knows that's where the execution is going to be anyway. What they do with ordinary nuisances, or solicitors, is they drop them into the rancor pit. Luke knows or doesn't know that is what would happen, what kind of trap they have laid for him. He's assuming that when he is discovered and when he is subdued, which he will be, that he is bound to end up with Han and Chewie in the skiff over the Sarlacc pit.

The plan is, "I am going to knock everybody overboard into the pit and we're going to take off"--but it goes a little awry because Boba Fett screws everything up and suddenly they are in trouble and they get into the fight.

Kasdan: You can assume that Luke's plan is multilayered and the court of last resort is they are going to take him to the Sarlacc pit and they'll all be in place. But when he comes in and says, "I want to bargain for Han," he is hoping that will work.

Lucas: Yes.

On the change in emphasis regarding Vader's motivation between films:

Lucas: I don't like the idea of Vader saying to Luke, "Come on over to our side." Let's forget what Vader is really trying to do, kill the Emperor.

Kasdan: That's what Vader said at the end of Empire.

Lucas: I know, but I don't think at this point we should bring up that his plot is to get rid of the Emperor. It's going to foretell, in an oblique way, that he's going to kill the Emperor. The way to do it here is to make Vader evil and terrible and turn his son in, and they go before the Emperor and they have a fight.

Kasdan: You're willing now to drop Vader's explicit plan.

Lucas: It's there implicitly. It doesn't have to be an explicit plan. It has to be what is operating in the character's head.

Kasdan: What is operating in Vader's head when he brings Luke to the Emperor?

Lucas: What is operating in his head is: "The Emperor will turn Luke to the dark side because I can't do it, because I am not strong enough; he will turn Luke and then I will be able to..."

Marquand: "...join with Luke and destroy the Emperor..."

Lucas: "...join with Luke and eventually turn him to destroy the Emperor. Once he is on the dark side, then it will be easy; then we are a team, then we are father and son."

Marquand: But it is never spoken.

Lucas: Vader doesn't realize that the Emperor wants to replace him.

On the problem of fitting Had Abbadon and the Death Star into the same film:

Lucas: One of the troublesome things for me on a practical level is the rebel fleet destroying the planet [Had Abbadon, the Imperial capital]. How in the hell are they going to do it? You can blow up a city by bombing. You can't destroy the whole planet. What does the audience get that tells them, "Oh, boy, the Empire has been destroyed?" It has to be something that gets blown up. The universe has been cleansed of this evil thing. In the first show, it was a Death Star. That was the personification of the Empire.

So there is a very convenient thing of being able to have the Death Star blow up the planet and have the rebel fleet blow p the Death Star. We've gotten ourselves into a fix here.

Marquand: What you really have to decide is whether you want the rebel air force to destroy Had Abbadon or not.

Howard Kazanjian: Let's think it out.

Lucas: What about this, if the rebel plan was to capture this half-finished Death Star, turn it around so that it's pointed at the planet, the guys over there pull the plug on this protective shield and we zap the planet.

Kasdan: I can't imagine an operational Death Star is so easy to take over.

Lucas: I agree.

Lucas eventually decided to get rid of the Imperial city-planet altogether, which Kasdan didn't like:

Lucas: Just having the moon and the Death Star and not having Had Abbadon at all is... then you can have Vader's fleet, a limited number of starships out there. It's out in the middle of nowhere. It justifies the primitive moon. Right now, Had Abbadon is getting in the way of everything. It's cumbersome. And I like the idea that the trap is that the rebels think they're fighting a half-finished Death Star.

Marquand: It's wonderful.

Kasdan: I think Had Abbadon is worth saving. I think it's worth destroying the nerve center of the Empire. Forget the Death Star.

Lucas: But then you're still dealing with the question as to why have the fleet? The thing about the Death Star is it's so manageable. The planet is not manageable at all. It is too big to be manageable.

Kasdan: But it's much more interesting and it is new. The look of it is new and the idea that it's bigger than a Death Star is interesting.

Lucas apparently thought that he had to choose between one of two set-pieces going into the film: either the immense Imperial capital world-city of Had Abbadon, or the lush primitive jungle moon of the Ewoks.

We know which option Lucas ultimately chose, but Kasdan repeatedly argued for going the other way--keeping Had Abbadon and dropping the Forest Moon (and the second Death Star) entirely:

Kasdan: I think that we have to break out of here somehow and think of a simpler idea. Maybe get rid of the Ewoks.

Lucas: I know they're one of the things that are causing trouble.

Howard Kazanjian: Let me ask you a question: Just for five minutes, pretend that the Ewoks don't exist. What would we accomplish?

Lucas: Then you have a giant hole in the script that we have to fill with new ideas.

On Kasdan's idea of Luke becoming a new benevolent Emperor, after the fashion of John Carter of Mars and Dune:

Kasdan: ...There has to be some transfer of power from the Emperor to Luke. That would be very poetic in terms of your whole story. That would be the perfect thing if you had a moment where all these Imperial guys see Luke take over. That would be a real Olympian conclusion to this trilogy.

Lucas: Explain that further.

Kasdan: Luke usurps all the power of the Emperor in their final confrontation and is recognized as the ultimate power in the galaxy.

Lucas: Luke can't rule the universe, because if he's destroyed the Emperor and, consequently, the Empire, then it's a Republic again and the senate will come back. They will elect their own officials. He is a warrior. He is a Jedi Knight. He does not want to be mayor, he does not want to be president; he has sworn to be a police officer and that's what he wants to do.

On accusations that Lucas "misled" Billy Dee Williams about the size of his role (and on killing off characters, part 2):

Lucas: We're going to have to cope with Billy.

Marquand: Well, seriously, the Falcon is the thing to send him in.

Lucas: I'm just going to have to break the news that it's not about him.

Kasdan: Why does he think it's about him?

Lucas: Because he's an actor.

Kasdan: It's not because you misled him?

Lucas: No, I didn't mislead him. I said his part would probably be bigger in the next film than it was in Empire.

Marquand: You can give him something really smart to do.

Kasdan: What about killing him now, since it's so late in the picture?

Lucas: You can't kill him now.

Kasdan: Why not? What if they need someone to go to Had Abbadon for some reason and he volunteers to do that and then accomplishes his mission but is killed by Vader?

Howard Kazanjian: Then you make him a hero.

Lucas: Well, the trouble is that it's complicated. Then you have another story line that you have to intercut.

Marquand: I think Lando should fly straight into the Death Star. Give him a great ending.

Lucas: I think it'd be better to put him in the air battle, because then we've personalized the air battle.

Kasdan: The air battle at the end?

Lucas: If he dies right at the end of the movie, then you come back to the celebration and yet you've just killed one of the main characters.

Kasdan: You want me to give him some meaningless job, hey.

Lucas: Put him with the fleet and have him lead the rebel attack.

On the appearance of the unmasked Anakin Skywalker, and whether it should be gory (as Kasdan wanted) or not gory (Lucas):

Kasdan: Is he going to have regular eyes?

Lucas: Well, maybe one. "I want to see you without the aid of this machine. I want to reject the machine." When we take off his mask, we will change his voice to a much weaker version of the same thing. It will be much older.

Marquand: He's as old as Alec, isn't he.

Lucas: He's not as old as Alec.

Marquand: But visually.

Lucas: Visually, he is close.

Kasdan: I just don't want you to go too soft on it. I'm not going to have any influence on it, but I just wanted to tell you, don't pull back too much. If when you take off the mask and he's not a bad looking guy, it's a real cheat.

Lucas: You can't be too realistic about it.

Kasdan: I am sure it will work.

Lucas: It has to be a real father. It's got to be like your father, when the mask comes off, otherwise it won't work. The whole point is he might have been able to live without all that stuff, but he would have been a weak pile of nothing. Now that he was on the dark side, he wanted to be greedy, he wanted to have all this. He relied on the machine. The whole machine thing becomes a partial metaphor for the dark side of the Force, which is: Machines have no feelings.

Howard Kazanjian: Is there any electronics or wiring just under the skin of the mask? Do we have to deal with that?

Lucas: Well, we have to deal with it so that a seven or eight-year-old kid will say, "Gee, isn't that too bad about that man." We have to elicit sorrow at this point, not repulsion. We want to make him as realistically screwed up at this point as possible without going too far. I mean, the truth of it is, we went overboard on the whole thing on the last picture. It wasn't supposed to be that grotesque; as a matter of fact you weren't supposed to see any of that at all, it was supposed to be a total silhouette.

Marquand: I think it will work well. I think that his face will look great.

Kazanjian: Does he shave?

Lucas: That's a good question.

Kasdan: That might be kind of neat; a gray beard would give him a little normalcy.

Lucas: He would also look more like Ben.

Kasdan: That might be a saving grace that could hide some of the stuff.

On the idea of seeing other planets during the film's finale:

Lucas: There is another problem: If the Empire is destroyed, Had Abbadon, this whole thing is destroyed and you come back to the little fuzzy wuzzies having a party, it's like this giant thing has been destroyed and what a little party it is. Why can't you cut around the whole universe and see every planet celebrating? That's what we should do, but that's going to be boring; you just can't do that. You have to deal with it on a very small scale.

Obviously Lucas no longer thought it would be "boring" to do this by 1997!

Again, it's interesting to me how much Kasdan and Lucas seem to be at odds here--Kasdan clearly wanted a more adult film and Lucas pressed for just the opposite, a pure children's movie.

Post
#662749
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

As for Vader's motivation: Lucas suggested that Vader knows he isn't powerful enough to turn Luke to the dark side on his own. Thus, he wants the Emperor to do it--at which point (Vader thinks) he and Luke can unite to overthrow the Emperor and take over the Empire themselves. (Unbeknownst to Vader, the Emperor of course has other plans.) This is a motivation much more consistent with Vader in ESB.

Lucas immediately hamstrung this interesting idea, however, by suggesting that it should never be stated outright, but only hinted at obliquely. Otherwise, he thought it would telegraph the fact that Vader is the one to kill the Emperor at the end of the film.

---

Lucas' initial idea in regards to the Imperial capitol planet--Had Abbadon--was that the Rebels should capture the Death Star being built in orbit, use it to destroy Had Abbadon, and then destroy the Death Star itself. But he came to regard this as too cumbersome a plot, and found having the Rebel fleet itself bomb Had Abbadon to smithereens visually dissatisfying. (He wanted a single gigantic explosion to cap the film.)

The problem seems to have been that Lucas was leery of having a massive city as a major set-piece of the film, especially in terms of showing the massive (and no doubt expensive) air and ground battle required to destroy it. Instead he was much keener on a battle in the forest, with the primitive Ewoks overcoming the Empire. As he puts it "I wasn't very successful in coming up with another idea of how to finish it off and still keep my Ewoks going."

Kasdan on the other hand was much keener to keep Had Abaddon in the picture; he liked that it was visually and plot-wise different from the Death Star of the first film.

Kasdan suggested that Luke should take over the Empire at the end of the film, becoming the new monarch of the galaxy. Lucas on the other hand rejected this suggestion, insisting that the Republic would have to be restored, and that Luke wouldn't want political power.

There was a lot of discussion of Darth Vader's appearance; Kasdan encouraged Lucas not to "wimp out" and make Vader too normal-looking; Lucas on the other hand suggested that the glimpse of Vader seen in ESB was too over-the-top and scarred for his liking. They did agree that Vader might have only one good eye, and perhaps a gray beard to better resemble Ben Kenobi.

Lucas was already pondering the possibility of cutting away during the final celebration scene to scenes on other planets. He rejected it at that time, considering it more proper to keep the ending small-scale.

Post
#662747
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

True, and judging by the story conference transcript excerpts it doesn't seem that too much was meant to be read into the scene. Perhaps Kasdan played it a little darker than Lucas intended.

I'm currently going through the story conference transcript excerpts between Lucas, Kasdan, and Marquand. It's interesting how argumentative Lucas and Kasdan seem to be--Kasdan seems to object to a lot of Lucas's ideas and vice versa, while Marquand tends to be a mediating voice.

Kasdan also has trouble detecting when Lucas is kidding around. For instance when Lucas suggests that Luke should put on Darth Vader's mask and declare himself Emperor, Kasdan says he likes the idea but Lucas is actually horrified that he does.

Kasdan really wants to kills off a hero--possibly Luke, so that Leia is left as the sole Jedi, or possibly Lando. Lucas objects strongly to this, criticizing Kasdan for being "a product of the 1980s" and arguing that movies don't need character death to be emotionally powerful.

(Kasdan also rather bitterly suggests Lucas may have "misled" Billy Dee Williams into thinking he would have a greater part in the third film due to Han Solo being stuck in carbonite.)

Re: Luke's "plan" to deal with Jabba, Lucas suggests that Luke's overall goal was always to lure Jabba and his cronies out on the sail barges over the Sarlacc pit, where they would be trapped in a confined space. Thus Luke and his friends who had infiltrated the palace could take them on more equally. Bargaining for Han's life was not the primary plan, but it would've been a nice bonus if it actually did work.

Lucas is having difficulty fitting an explanation into the film of how Luke built a new lightsaber (or "lazer sword," as the transcript consistently refers to it.) Kasdan suggests it should be a different color blade. (This idea would not be implemented until post-production, when the originally intended blue saber color showed up poorly against the California sky in the sail barge scenes. The change of color moreover allowed Lucas to delete the rather poor-quality expository scene earlier in the film of Luke completing the saber and giving it to Artoo.)

Lucas notes that it was Obi-Wan who cut off Anakin's right hand during The Duel on the volcano planet. That was how Ben got Anakin's saber to give to Luke; Vader cutting off Luke's hand was thus an act of symbolic revenge. (Anakin then lost his other arm and his leg when he fell into the lava pit.)

More to come....

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#662709
Topic
Making of Return of the Jedi (the book) Thread
Time

Got my hard copy today! I wasn't expecting it for another couple of days, so I'm extra pleased.

So far it all looks very interesting--there's quite a lot of never-before-seen concept art. There are also a lot more passages from the various script drafts than in the ESB book--it's more like the one about ANH in that regard.

Rinzler does (thankfully) acknowledge that Leia wasn't always meant to be Luke's sister and that this was a decision Lucas took in brainstorming ROTJ.

On a more skeevy note, I noticed a rather alarming passage from the second draft (Kasdan's first crack at the story), which is the first one where Leia shows up at Jabba's palace.

JABBA

(to Leia, in Huttese)

I have seen you like to kiss. I like the way you kiss.

(he grins)

And I like to kiss, also!

Leia looks at Threepio, questioningly.

THREEPIO

You're not going to like it, Your Highness.

LEIA

Death?

THREEPIO

Worse.

Jabba speaks to the Guards holding Leia and they bring her toward him. Inexorably, her tiny face crosses the distance to his immense blob of a head. Jabba puckers up. Leia looks sick.

Later on the script describes Leia's slave girl outfit: "dressed in the skimpy costume of a dancing girl; a chain runs from a manacle/necklace on her neck to her new master, Jabba the Hutt."

The word-for-word invocation of the old euphemism "a fate worse than death," taken along with Leia's offscreen forced costume change, is a pretty ugly reminder of the subtext of these scenes. I don't think I really needed that mental image, thanks, Lucas.