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Star Wars The Lost Cut: Everything We Know About It

Ronster said:

The Story board won’t continually repeat shots like the film does highly doubtful.

No, of course not, but it will show if some of the things you’re describing were ever even intended to be shown. You claimed there was a shot planned at one point showing the detonation of the Death Star’s core. Is it not more likely that the repeated shot of Tarkin was inserted when previously nothing was there as a result of that sequence being heavily shifted around, or do you think that there was somehow a shot completely at odds with the rhythm of the sequence that was only scrapped due to lack of time?

I only get frustrated with this because you’re creating your own wild goose chases. In many cases, the theories of other deleted scene hunters get proven with every bit of trickle we get from Lucasfilm or JW Rinzler. But those theories were almost always based on the observable facts of screenplays, images, or other production sources. If you want a good look at what we’re still missing, I suggest the Star Wars Aficionado blog.

When you set such high bars for what exists you’re only going to frustrate yourself more in the long run.

Star Wars The Lost Cut: Everything We Know About It

Ronster said:

When it comes to the final battle there are a few places which stand out as being fumbled…

Repeated Shot of x-wing barrel Roll covering missing surface flyover.

The insertion of a shot of Wedge in the death star trench when they are attacking the surface. My theory is this is Covering missing shot of X-wing destroyed by surface gunfire

When Luke shoots a tie fighter down the following shots of vader do not line up with the audio or his actions (out of synch) Missing short shot I think of Luke’s xwing flying away from explosion.

A couple of kills (Biggs and Gold Leader) by Vader and ties in the trench feel like they are missing an actual exterior shot of either Vaders Tie or a wingman tie fighter shooting matching the audio. Too many repeated shots of Vaders joystick control covering up missing fx.

The Repeated shot of Tarkin thinking covers the chain reaction in the core before the deathstar explodes.

This all points to shots they either did not have or shots they had that they needed to use somewhere else or simply unfinished fx. But it is not a huge amount it is in reality perhaps 5 or 6 shots maximum.

Sources? Have you checked the available storyboards? Generally, those match up pretty well when it comes to existing shots. I think you’re forgetting that Richard Chew and Paul Hirsch described using the absolute most of the available footage; repeated shots and all.

Star Wars The Lost Cut: Everything We Know About It

Ben's Hut

It appeared in David West Reynold’s original Insider article. It seems, like all of the pictures in that article, to be from Version 1.3 directly. My theory is that this cut was where the edit of the Biggs scenes has come from and a consistent resource whenever LFL needs to include some edited footage. Most of what’s on the blu-ray seems to be unedited dailies, though.

Star Wars The Lost Cut: Everything We Know About It

I remember reading that the actual Jympson assembly didn’t have the scenes aboard the Tantive IV at all because they hadn’t been shot yet, and that was yet another contributing factor to that version being so poorly received.

The way I see it, this probably describes the post-production assemblies as best as can be currently understood.

Version 1.0 - John Jympson’s assembly
This is probably the version that is most referred to as “the Lost Cut” and where the famous assembly of the Cantina scene and the other surviving black and white snippets have come from. Probably nothing more than colored liter paper for special effects inserts, most likely rendered the final battle a complete mess.

Version 1.3 - Initial revised edit
This is the version shown to Lucas’ friends (De Palma, Spielberg, Coppola) with many changes from the initial Jympson assembly, mostly due to this being a version intended for some sort of public screening. This may or may not have had the Anchorhead scenes included; conflicting sources say this was excised after Jympson’s initial edit while others suggest that it was in the version Lucas’ associates watched (the existence of the color edit of the Anchorhead scenes would suggest this). This cut likely had better pacing than the Jympson cut, was composed entirely of on-set audio with film scratches for laser fire and featured the World War II dogfight footage during the space battle sequences.

Version 1.5? - Workprint
This version, if my hypothesis is correct, was the version screened for the 20th Century Fox executives (as described in Empire of Dreams). By this point the Anchorhead scenes were definitely gone, as were likely other scenes (Chief Bast and Vader), and special effects were likely beginning to seep their way into the cut as well as some post production audio (very rough and temporary). Chew and Hirsch’s reorderings were almost certainly taking root by this point as well, and this may have been temp-tracked with the Stravinksy and Holst music. It was a far more complete film by this point and easy to see why it may have given some of the shareholders hope.

Version 1.7 - Scoring Workprint
This would be the version that John Williams wrote and performed the score to, and if my guess is correct, would have been mostly complete. Its existence is supported by the existence of color screenshots of many scenes in the Insider article (which are described in the official Carol Titelman script) and pictures taken of Williams at the podium, as well as sections of the complete soundtrack. I can with a degree of confidence conjecture the contents of this version (against the theatrical cut):

  • Aunt Beru filling the glasses of milk (actually described in the screenplay as a brief segue scene)
  • The original rear-projected Landspeeder scene (and an effects shot of the speeder’s scanner; supported by the original score and the Art of Star Wars). This was likely fully ADR-ed and later the dialogue was applied to an uncut effects shot intended for the start of the scene.
  • The original exterior shot of Ben Kenobi’s home.
  • Luke deciding against re-applying Threepio’s restraining bolt.
  • A very slightly extended entry into Mos Eisley? Either that or a substituted shot in the final edit.
  • Han and Jenny in the Cantina.
  • The Cantina snitch’s full journey outside may have been in this cut.
  • An establishing shot for the scene where Tarkin directs the Death Star to Alderaan; this shot is described in both the original screenplay and the novelization and can be seen in the original Insider article.
  • As Ronster has noticed (and may actually be correct about for once), the escape from Tatooine may have been reordered for logistical consistency; supported by the laser fire sounds matching up better with reordered shots and a couple of music jumps.
  • The coda to Alderaan’s destruction. This is a stretch, but there is a high quality color image of Leia being led away (that appears to be a screenshot). If true, the entire scene in the Falcon’s hold may have originally been unscored. Additionally, Alderaan’s explosion undergoes a noticeable jump cut in the final edit, which may suggest the shot was altered at the last minute.
  • The shot of the Falcon escaping (repurposed for the final battle) may have already been reshuffled considering the music in both scenes lines up from the original soundtrack.
  • Han and Luke congratulating each other after the dogfight scene (the dialogue is described in Ann Skinner’s continuity script). This may have been cut in the end due to an awkward ad-lib from Harrison Ford transitioning into the next scene.
  • A couple of extra shots of the briefing room and in the hangar (I have a conspiracy theory about the Biggs hangar scene but it’s best left out of this).
  • Many effects shots (all over the film but especially during the final battle) were likely temporary composites or earlier versions. One screenshot from this version shows Yavin as having been removed from the composite of a shot during the final editing sessions, and likely other shots were different or rougher as well.

As best as I understand it, this might describe the various versions rather well.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind - Supplemental Cuts (IDEAS & INFO)

This film might have a storied history of alternative cuts, but there are two additional versions that I think might make for interesting viewing and projects.

The first, and simpler version, is a cut described on the IMDb page as being screen at the American Cinematheque. It seems credible enough of a version to have existed at some point. Essentially, it is a variation of the 1980 Special Edition but with the most regrettable aspects of that version reversed. The scene of Roy tearing up his yard for his sculpture and then entering his house through the kitchen window are both retained in this version, while the footage from the inside of the Mothership is excised. Essentially, it is a precursor to the 1998 Director’s Cut with a few of the trims and audio differences included in the 1980 cut. It is also easy to assume that the cutting around the Mothership interior is handled in a similar way to the 1998 version, without the extra footage of the original 1977 release (the shot of François Truffaut after Roy enters the ship is ever so slightly longer in the 1977 cut). This comparison explains it very well:

The running time of this version would likely be close if not identical to the original 1977 cut’s 135 minutes.

The second version is actually a precursor to the above, but would likely require a lot more effort (and in some cases, conjecture). This is a desire of mine to replicate the 1977 Dallas preview version before the last few trims were made for the initial 1977 first run version. I believe this version had John Williams’ score laid over it (and I use it for some of my conjectures here). All I can say for certain about this version at this point is this:

  • About 7-8 minutes longer than the first run version’s 135 minutes.
  • A small extension to the opening scene where LaComb outlines Laughlin’s job as a translator to him.
  • A potential extra shot or two during Roy’s driving scene (based on the soundtrack; there’s a small music jump in the final version).
  • Potentially the scene at the cookout where Roy sees the mountain shape in a jello salad. This scene is much further along in the edit than many other scenes on the Blu-Ray supplements, and notably included in the “Making of Close Encounters” documentary.
  • Roy’s star gazing on the deck built on the roof of his house. This scene has music to go along with it; it might be situated in between the army trucks being deployed, supported by a hard music cut in the official versions.
  • The infamous ‘Pinocchio’ ending. This wasn’t in every version of this cut, but I think it would be a necessary inclusion to give this version its own identity.

This might be impossible to create based on if there’s any footage that would have been included in this version that hasn’t been released. What I would like to know is if there is any information on this preview cut that might be missing from my list. There has been a great deal of writing on this film, and I recognize I could be missing any number of things.

Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker - Discussion * <strong><em>SPOILER THREAD</em></strong> *

A film doesn’t have to make complete sense to me. I have to be able to know where it’s going and where it’s coming from, and if that works for me, I can put up with a lot.

The Rise of Skywalker is a perfect example of this to me.

Abrams is not a great storyteller, but he succeeds in giving his films an emotional and visceral flow that makes you (in the right mindset) completely willing to accept what might otherwise seem absurd on paper.

I enjoyed myself here as soon as the virtues of the people involved were allowed to come to light. The opening is extremely jarring, I agree-- There could (and I daresay, should) have been an extra ten minutes at the start of the film to ease more into the story. But the film’s insanity plateaus at a certain point, and the characters here feel like they have a far better bond and chemistry than before. That’s another thing Abrams understands, interactions between characters. Even Star Trek Into Darkness, which I did not like much at all, did this well.

I think the film had a sense of momentum. There’s a ticking clock feeling from almost the moment the story picks up, and it gives the film the feeling of constant pursuit and anxiety. After sitting through the prequels with my dad (who insisted we see all the films before going into this one), I can say that Abrams understands the worst thing a film like Star Wars can do is have a lack of momentum. Every scene feels like it serves its purpose here. I can see where many critics are coming from calling this film overstuffed, though. Many scenes are cut short and intercut in a way that it feels like a condensation of what likely could have been a much longer work as shot. Again, the first few minutes were the biggest offenders of this, but I feel like this improved as the film went on.

This film brings a lot of storylines to an emotional head. Adam Driver as Ben Solo continues to be one of the best performers in the series, and contributed to a scene which actually got me very emotional in the theater. Again, it’s a matter of the film being willing to sell us on its ideas. I think Ben’s eventual heel-turn felt very much earned, especially in the context of the previous two films. Abrams has been accused of “backpedaling” ideas from The Last Jedi. To an extent, I can see that. However, I think Ben’s arc is a very natural extension of where we saw him in the last film. He might be the standout from this whole trilogy, to me.

Rey is also improved greatly, I feel like. I didn’t dislike her in the previous films, but I feel as if the writers made sure to give her more of a personality in this film than in the others, and it really contributes to making the film more unpredictable. Her interest in training, and her interest in learning all she can from those around her, return her more to the wide-eyed curiosity and vulnerability that made her so endearing to me in The Force Awakens, and what I thought was lacking a bit in The Last Jedi. I find the people focusing on the reveal of her family name to be extremely in defiance of one of the film’s central messages. She has made herself her own person by the end of the film, and that is far more important than her heritage. Again, it was something I feel the film earned by the end of its runtime.

Finn thankfully has so much more to do here it makes it more egregious that he was so absent from The Last Jedi. The chemistry between him, Poe, and Rey is one of the things that makes the film so enjoyable through the runtime. From the outset, the three have an enjoyable rapport that injects levity but is also tested by the stakes of the story.

There is simply an energy that I feel when watching the film that makes me able to accept much more of what other critics are finding issue with. I came in wishing for an emotional experience, and I do think that’s what I received.

Worst Ideas in Star Wars/Good Ideas that went Horribly Wrong

DominicCobb said:

I feel like it’s worth mentioning Vader chokes a total of two people in all of TESB.

Really? Damn. Maybe I’ve been grasping at straws this whole time. SOMETHING feels different to me.

In any case, I found the article. It just gets my imagination going as to what a more nuanced version of Vader would be like.

Worst Ideas in Star Wars/Good Ideas that went Horribly Wrong

ATMachine said:

It’s kind of weird that the movie that establishes Vader as Luke’s father (albeit perhaps a clone thereof or something) also features an extreme uptick in him Force-choking officers to death.

I blame George Lucas & Larry Kasdan reacting to the mild-mannered Vader of Leigh Brackett’s draft, where he dismisses officers who fail him with mild reproofs like “Leave me, you incompetent idiot.”

I think I can agree most with your take on it. Perhaps I was a bit unclear in my original post: Vader, while he does raise his voice in a number of instances in the original movie, is given a lot more contextual cause to do so. In his own ranks, he carries the amount of respect and professionalism that you could expect a high-ranking officer to have. If the briefing room scene had been in ESB, Vader would almost certainly have killed Motti. The only times he raises his voice are against Leia and in a moment right after a failed interrogation. I’m not arguing that he was less evil in the original, I’m arguing that I think the evil was portrayed a lot more realistically.

And I have to admit, Brackett’s more mild-mannered Vader appeals to me in a certain sense. Again, my main problem with ESB is the fact that his casual dispatching of his underlings is almost played as a running gag.

At least they didn’t stick with him having a pet gargoyle or ripping Threepio’s heart out.

Worst Ideas in Star Wars/Good Ideas that went Horribly Wrong

I feel like ESB did more harm than good for Vader. I came across an article in an old issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland (around 1978) and it had a really interesting point about the code of honor which Vader seems to exhibit in the original Star Wars, and it read quite a bit of character into him that is easy to imagine being a reason for the spike of popularity he achieved between 1977 and 1980. I’ll try and post it if I can find it again. It made some interesting points.

Anyway, in Empire Strikes Back I feel like the nuance of Vader’s characterization was almost entirely lost. The constant killing of his subordinates (to a degree it almost becomes a running gag), the comparatively angry delivery of his lines versus the more soft-spoken delivery of the original, and the fact that his dialogue becomes considerably more blunt. He has his moments of greatness, certainly, but I feel like from the outset of development they were too far gone into making him over-the-top evil rather than the comparatively mysterious and intimidating figure he was in the original film.

I’m actually curious, does anyone else think this?


Ady, hate to be a nuisance (and I know this suggestion might be a bit of a tall order), but I think it would be a welcome change to improving the editing continuity of the Yavin IV scenes.

In this shot, I think it could be beneficial to add the Falcon to the left side of the screen, behind the foliage. Not only would this be a nice visual link to Rogue One with the ships on the tarmac, but also a better connection to the previous shot of the Falcon landing (even as a kid, I was always confused where the Falcon landed). Additionally, this would be a comparatively easy change since it’s a static shot and could feasibly be accomplished with a still image. Just some food for thought. Keep up the good work!

4k77 - shot by shot color grading

Ronster said:

ChainsawAsh said:

Ronster said:

no you can just see he goes from getting ready to actually acting.

You’re joking, right?

It’s a shame they never got to finish that part off for the special effects, instead they filled it with people looking around.

Wow, seriously? Okay, tell me. What was supposed to go there?

Something like this…

It’s part of the film now… But it would be nice to see what they had for that part. Actually the Shot of the escape pod flying towards camera in the film is from this part that is missing but they moved it to when 3p0 and R2-D2 are in the Pod. I imagine they never had it all sorted like other effects shots missing stuff it was very difficult what they were doing.

Either way what I think the 93 laserdisc has on Extended Soldier footage is that it is more de-saturated and that is what works in it’s favor. In the rest of the footage not so much perhaps.

Ronster, dude, you used to be on to something but you’re reaching so much lately. Those shots are part of the edit, they were chosen deliberately to illustrate the apprehension of the soldiers as the Empire boards their ship, which in turn makes US more anxious to see what these invaders look like.

If you want to suggest fanedit ideas, that’s fine, but these wild presumptions and assertions don’t help anyone.

Star Wars - The Lost Cut is not exactly what you think it is....

pittrek said:

I have absolutely no proof for this so feel free to ignore this post, but the bootleg version I used to watch on my VCR in the early 90’s was a bit different. During the chasm jump Luke first missed, then Leia kissed him, then he tried again, this time he made it and Leia kissed him again, “for luck”. I remember thinking it’s funny what a young guy can do when he’s “properly motivated”. The second difference was during the meeting before the Death Star attack. After the wamp rats comment Luke and the pilot next to him shook hands and introduced themselves. And I’m pretty sure the guy introduced himself as “Wedge”, and I was pretty confused that there are 2 different pilots named Wedge. The third and last change I remember was the third Biggs scene right before they go inside the ships. I was very confused when back in 1997 I found online a list of SE changes and this scene was listed there - to me, it was always a part of the movie. I actually had a feeling that it originally was a bit longer.

The tape doesn’t exist anymore, I replaced it with the first official VHS tapes when they were released here and later with the SE tapes, so I have absolutely no proof that these are something else than messed up memories, but if you want a rumour list, here are mine.

The first two are just totally bogus, I’m sorry to say. We’ve seen quite a bit of the shooting of the chasm cross and there is no indication that the scene was too significantly different than how it is today.

And while Jack Klaff as Wedge did have a line cut out that was in the script, at no point did he and Luke have a formal introduction. Even in the radio drama or other such tie-in media where the expansions were based on either drafts of the script or early cuts. Not to mention it would introduce an awkward pause in the rhythm of the briefing scene that, even for how choppy the earlier scripts, seems to be incongruous. I just have no reason to believe it exists.

And the Biggs scene… Aside from the unlikeliness of it all, it’s the only one that I could conceivably believe could have snuck into the film at some point. One thing I did notice about the cut on the BD deleted scenes is that there’s a transition wipe right where the advance forward happens in the Special Edition version. It’s possible that the technician wipe was actually part of an earlier cut and simply resurrected when the scene was reintroduced in the special edition. However, it’s also likely you were influenced by the tie-in media where the scene includes a much longer conversation between Luke, Biggs and Red Leader than even what was originally shot.

Star Wars - The Lost Cut is not exactly what you think it is....

Ronster said:

Handman said:

Where are you getting your information? Sorry, but it’s completely wrong.

Ronster in a nutshell.

I am actually 100% correct, I will post a video later on about the splices that the soundmix was created for. Go and try it for yourself a have fun.

Well only if you are bothered about the sound and video in unison that is.

Is there any truth to the Canadian version including the bigg’s scenes on tattooine or is this one of those rumours?

There are many such rumors. The main ones are-

  • Leia spitting on Vader during their meeting on the Tantive. Novelization detail, one of the most bizarre ones too.
  • Luke missing the first time during their chasm swing. This is from the novelization entirely. It’s not in the script or the comic adaptation.
  • Any one of the Biggs scenes being present, either the Tattooine or Massassi ones. It got bad enough that some official publications claimed the later scene was present in the 1977 cut and cut out for the rerelease. At this point, totally unsubstantiated. The Biggs scenes were out of the film way before any significant post-production happened. They are in just about every piece of tie-in media, so it’s not hard to see why people would remember them being in the film.
  • Vader’s TIE exploding during the ending. I can imagine why this one happened, since I imagine most everyone back then would have expected this to happen.
Star Wars - The Lost Cut is not exactly what you think it is....

‘The Lost Cut’ is a general term used for the assembly cut created by John Jympson. It is about as rough as it comes.

What I think you’re describing is a later cut either scored by John Williams or screened for Lucas’ friends and the FOX executives. Watching some footage and pictures of Williams’ scoring does show that there a few effects shots which were revised before release and the presence of some tracks (‘Land of the Sand People’ on the original album) indicates that several scenes were still much longer when the scoring process began.

By all accounts the early Tattooine scenes were scrapped before the later stages of post-productions, and until evidence of otherwise comes to light I’m inclined to think those scenes were scrapped very early in post-production.

There is a lot of evidence that the search for Artoo was much longer, including the presence of a graphic for the Landspeeder readout in the Visual Dictionary and there being some high quality color screencaps available for the original 1998 Lost Cut article despite the same article claiming the cut itself to be black and white. The same goes for some other shots that are clearly screen captures; Luke and Han congratulating each other after the battle, Luke deciding to leave the restraining bolt off of Threepio, miscellaneous shots from the climax, etc. These are the kind of things that would be present in these later cuts; smaller trims that to some might not even be noticeable, perhaps even with post-production elements mixed in like ADR dialogue or some rudimentary sound mixing.

Empire Strikes Back - The 70mm Edition

yotsuya said:

And don’t forget that one of our OT members made an audio recording of a 70 mm showing. Few of the audio changes claimed are actually from the 70 mm version.

Basically none of the dialogue changes on the Wiki page. Two alternate dialogue takes, a few mixing differences and some changed around sound effects.

From what I can tell from the tape recording;

  • Luke’s lightsaber has a very audible deactivation sound as he runs out of the Wampa cave.
  • The Battle of Hoth uses a few different sound effects, including TIE laser sounds for the Snowspeeders.
  • Threepio’s ‘and’ before ‘Do take good care of yourself’ is clearly audible.
  • I might not be right about this, but it seems like there’s a low rumble effect for the space shots of Artoo during his conversations with Luke. I don’t recall other mixes having that.
  • Perhaps some extra (or louder) explosions during the Asteroid field chase.
  • There’s a neat ambient effect during the Emperor hologram that I’m not sure is quite replicated in other versions.
  • Different, louder TIE sound effect in the shot before Needa’s death.
  • Probably due to the increased range over the stereo mixes (but maybe betrayed by the nature of the tape), Threepio’s lines throughout a lot of the third act are far more prominent, though still contain the atmospheric effects present in the stereo mix.
  • Aside from the length differences, both of Lando’s lines in the final scene are different takes.

Most of the alternative dialogue we know about seems to come from a never-released mono mix.

Empire Strikes Back - The 70mm Edition

If you want my two cents, this is doable; not simple, but doable.

First of all, there’s very little out there to suggest the differences in optical transitions or compositing have any truth to them. I have a feeling since we were working from word of mouth for so long that some misremembered facts just kept creeping in. So, don’t take everything on the wiki seriously; it’s based on much older info and a lot of it has been disproved in recent years. In my mind, we should only consider the changes that we have definitive proof of (the missing Falcon dish and the static Emperor).

That being said, I do think the alternate edit of the Bacta Tank scene is probably true. The edit would have been very easy to make, since they cut the shot right after the original optical transition ended. And something about how quick that cut is makes me think that it was a last minute decision. A portion of the complete original shot is in color in the 1979 Harrison Ford-narrated trailer, and the full shot is on the BD extras, though unfortunately in black and white.

The sound mix will probably be the comparatively easy part of it, especially with a form of direct reference. The only difficult part would be trying to incorporate the alternate take of ‘Princess, we’ll find Han, I promise’, since to my knowledge the only other place that appears is the Story-Of album.

The Empire Strikes Back bluray regrade

I think the pink that’s coming out in some of the day scenes is actually accurate to what we know about ESB, in particular the 1980 VHS bootleg (which is overly pink, but gives a good hint as to how much blue there is) and some scans.

I personally think the progress on this grade looks very nice. All signs point to Empire in its original form having a very muted palette in comparison to Star Wars, which I think the blu-ray wrecked by turning up the brightness too much, but is looking very nice here.

Good work as always, Dre!