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OT Plot Development Analyses

I applaud you for going against George's Original Vision (Luke and Leia as siblings) in your McQuarrie discussion.  I'd imagine you will get banned from Tf.n shortly.



You're more right than you know--somebody posted a map of Mongo from Flash Gordon in one of my threads and it got summarily deleted, with a warning that reposting it would get the thread locked.

Guess I'm all in for you guys now.

Multiple Lightsaber Colour Appreciation Thread!

There's also Luke's new blue lightsaber from the ROTJ trailer:

The idea from ANH was that blue sabers = good guy, red sabers = bad guy. End of story, no other colors. But then Luke's blue lightsaber was almost invisible against the desert dunes in the sail barge scene, so the blade color had to be changed during post-production.

This change allowed Lucas to get away with deleting Luke's original introduction scene, in which we see Luke finishing construction of his new lightsaber. The green-colored blade revealed during the sail barge battle is instantly obvious as a newly built saber, in a way that a second blue lightsaber would not be.

Multiple Lightsaber Colour Appreciation Thread!

Being a contrarian, I've always been intrigued by the idea from early Star Wars that all lightsaber blades were in fact the same color.

What that color is, though, varies. ;)

In Lucas' early scripts for ANH, the only color mentioned for lightsaber blades is red. In the first draft, it's even stated that the film's hero Annikin Starkiller wields a red saber: "The startled Annikin backs away in horror, then settles down and ignites his lazersword, which creates an eerie red glow."

This was carried over into the Marvel Comics adaptation of ANH, in which all sabers were colored red.

Marvel artist Howard Chaykin's ANH poster provides another good example:

The original version of the ANH sabers, meant to be an effect achieved "in-camera," attempted to depict uniformly white saber blades.

However, it looked so poor on film that rotoscoping had to be used instead. This of course led to the incorporation of different colors for "hero" and "bad guy" lightsabers, an idea derived from Ralph McQuarrie's production paintings.

(McQuarrie in fact gave Vader a blue saber and his opponent a yellow one.)

On the SW Blu-Rays, there's a short clip in one of the documentaries, showing an early effects test for the lightsabers. Footage was shot of two men "dueling," which was used to test three different blade colors: red, blue, and white. In all of the tests, both lightsaber blades are the same color.

Splinter of the Mind's Eye describes both Luke's and Darth Vader's lightsabers as blue. Luke's saber has a "powerful blue beam," and when Leia wields it we see "a slashing flare of blue light." Later on Vader is seen "swinging his saber until it was no more than a blue blur in the dank air."

This description fits well with this early publicity photo from ANH, which, due to an accident of airbrushing, gives blue sabers to both Obi-Wan and Vader:

Even as late as the ESB novelization, Vader's saber is described as "the blue flame of a just-ignited laser sword."

To close this post, I'll leave you with a Marvel 1970s treasury-size reprint of its first SW issue. The cover used one of the drawings shown above, but with different coloring, so Luke ends up with a white lightsaber.

what would happen if George Lucas had started with Episode 1?

Actually, we already know pretty well what a 70s version of TPM would've been like... because Lucas wrote the script for it in 1974.

The first draft of ANH has a story structure that's basically TPM in embryo--two Jedi Knights have to sneak a princess off her home planet due to an invasion. It's very different in the details--the invading enemy is the Galactic Empire and the Jedi are hunted outlaws--but it would provide the nucleus of TPM when Lucas returned to it decades later.

The second draft of ANH featured a radical reworking of the story (changing from an escape movie to a rescue movie, as Lucas himself noted) and it was the second draft's plot structure (if not the character relationships) that survived into the final film.

Of course, this first draft has some absolutely terrible dialogue and a completely unbelievable love story... suggesting that, if this script had been filmed, it would've been rather like getting the prequels 20 years early. Fortunately for us, the Lucas of 1974 knew that it wasn't ready for prime time.

Incidentally, before he wrote the first draft, Lucas's notes show that he had a somewhat different idea in mind for his Journal of the Whills concept. In this version there were two major galactic powers, the Galactic Empire and the Alliance of Independent Systems, as well as various small non-aligned worlds--it was essentially a Galactic Cold War. The peaceful desert planet of Aquilae (later to become Naboo) was invaded by an evil "Border System," secretly aided by the Empire. Two Jedi, Mace Windy and his apprentice CJ Thorpe, would be dispatched by the Alliance to protect Luke Skywalker, heir to the throne of Aquilae. By the time Lucas actually wrote the first draft, of course, this whole political situation had been rewritten--and, influenced by The Hidden Fortress, Prince Luke became Princess Leia.

OT Plot Development Analyses

Thanks for the welcome, guys. I'm glad you like this stuff--I really ought to have posted here first, it seems! :D

I do find it amusing how much Lucas borrowed from Dune over the years. The first draft of ANH, of course, was virtually a Dune clone... but he was still cribbing from it just as hard when developing ESB. Thus in his early notes we get ideas like the Emperor being hidden in a "cold, macabre, gray steel box" like a Guild Navigator; or the twin children, one boy and one girl, of Paul Atreides Anakin Skywalker; or the notion of Mentat "Mynoc" human-computers; not to mention the idea of Ovan Marekal's monopolistic Spacing Transport Guild.

I've learned a lot about the history of SW over the years... I really ought to turn my musings into a blog, I suppose. That would be a good project for the future.

OT Plot Development Analyses

Hey guys! I've been trying to start up some OT plot development analysis at the TFN forums, but it's becoming clear that very few people are interested. So I thought I'd try starting up a discussion here.

There's way too much text to port over so I'll just leave these links here:

TSHOSW: Leigh Brackett and Lucas' filmic style for SW

Discussion of the Leigh Brackett script and the development of the Emperor as a character. (Apparently there was an idea where he was going to be in a giant tank like the Guild Navigators from Dune...)

ANH Pre-Production Art (McQuarrie/Mollo/Tavoularis)

Analysis of Ralph McQuarrie's art plus that of John Mollo, costume designer on ANH.

Visual Design of the ANH First Draft

Some attempts to visualize the very first draft script of ANH.

Let me know if you guys like these discussions at all or want to see more of this sort of analysis...

Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes

Hey guys, newbie here with an interest in the preservation of the SW OT. Great work throughout this thread--I'm amazed at the number of small tweaks made even before the SEs of 1997!

I have one question about a particular change in ANH, though.

It seems to me (viewing the 2004 version of ANH on an HDTV) that Leia's hologram recording was changed twice, once in 1997 (when the blue tint was added) and again in 2004. Specifically, it seems the hologram's vertical scanlines got a LOT fatter in the 2004 version, whereas the 1997 Leia hologram (judging by pictures you guys have posted) had very thin, very hard-to-see vertical scanlines.

Am I just hallucinating? I'd love to have somebody verify this for me--I don't yet have all the digital copies of the various releases. Thank you!