BTS According to Gary Kurtz...

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Darth_Nub, Sep 22, 2012.

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  1. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    This random online person probably got it from the Star Wars Infinities: Return of the Jedi storyline. The life support unit of the carbonite is damaged & the blindness becomes permanent once he's thawed.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Sep 25, 2012
  2. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    Entirely possible. I wasn't aware it was a plot point in any SW media.

    And sorry for not being Kurtz-related, it was just an interesting Han thing to me.
  3. oierem Jedi Grand Master

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    Therefore, Han dying didn't have anything to do with the possibility of Harrison not coming back, since his involvement was confirmed by 1980, and the conferences happened in 1981. Anyway, Kurtz wasn't part of those conferences. And I agree with other that Han dying was a very bad option: his sacrifice happened in episode V. If he was bad, it would be stupid to have him sacrifice AGAIN. Even if the idea was brought up in the story conferences, it was never seriously considered, since Lucas had already writen the first drafts,so again, Kurtz's version is somewhat off...

    I have a nagging feeling that when Kurtz, Kasdan and Ford talk about "I thought Han had to die", they're talking more about their feelings after the movie was done (following the trend of "Jedi wasn't as good as the others... Han should've died...."), than what they actually proposed during the making of the film. I may be wrong, of course.
  4. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I'd guess that Kurtz and Lucas parted ways more or less amicably. If Lucas was really all about firing people, I don't see how the staff of ILM made it through ANH, what with being massively overbudget and behind schedule.
  5. drg4 Force Ghost

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    Plus, didn't Lucas lend some manner of support to the Kurtz-produced The Dark Crystal?

    BTW, for all the kids out there: The Dark Crystal is a really nifty fantasy movie that replicates the ambiance of TESB. I recommend it.
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  6. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Don't be too sure. Lucas went and named one of the Rebel pilots on the Death Star trench run, Red Four, "John D," after ILM supervisor John Dykstra. But Lucas and Dykstra had a falling out during production of ANH and Dykstra wound up leaving ILM. Entirely coincidentally, I'm sure, all scenes and mentions of John D, Rebel pilot Red Four, were cut from the film. :rolleyes:
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  7. Eternal_Hero Jedi Master

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    No that's "Return To Oz". The movie went overbudget (as did ESB under Kurtz's expert guidance) and Lucas came in, bailed the movie out financially, and acted as guarantor & technical adviser for the rest (the bulk) of the shoot. So there's some GL dna in Return to Oz!
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  8. drg4 Force Ghost

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    My mistake. Kurtz produced The Dark Crystal, but apparently Lucas had no involvement.

    Thanks.
  9. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    The notion that Han might never emerge from the carbonite if Ford wasn't on board for ROTJ was supposedly an option around 1978-79 - it's been referred to by a few key participants, but I think they might have been speaking somewhat glibly (much as Mark Hamill did about the line about 'the Other' being in response to him holding out for more money for ROTJ).

    Ford, Kurtz & Kasdan are referring to a plot point which was genuinely put forward during the story conferences of July 1981, in which Han Solo appears in ROTJ, but dies halfway through (which would still require Ford's participation) and which may or may have not been originally Harrison Ford's idea. It's mentioned in the Empire of Dreams DVD commentary (and the Annotated Screenplays, IIRC):

    Ford & Kasdan aren't simply making a suggestion as to what they now think would have made the movie better.

    Gary Kurtz is a different matter, however. According to a June 1983 American Cinematographer article, the ROTJ story conferences took place over two weeks, with Lucas, Kasdan, Richard Marquand and Howard Kazanjian present. This was after GL wrote his rough draft - available here: http://starwarz.com/starkiller/category/star-wars-scripts/return-of-the-jedi-star-wars-scripts/ - in which Han is alive & well at the end, and does include Ewoks.
    This leads me to believe that Kurtz merely heard about the 'Han dying' idea, possibly around the time, possibly years later, and attached it to the supposedly darker, bittersweet vision of ROTJ.

    So, here's my theories about the 'Gary Kurtz version' of ROTJ:

    - Leia crowned Queen of the remaining Alderaanians. Offhand idea for 'the next one', mentioned during the development of ESB (1978-79), recycled from the ending of the 1973 first draft of SW/ANH. The idea of her 'grappling with her new duties' suggests that at this stage, the OT/Rebels vs Empire storyline was intended to continue in Episode VII, rather than ending with ROTJ. This would place it at a time when the SW Saga was intended as an ongoing serial, rather than split up into three separate & distinct trilogies set in different eras.

    - Luke wanders off at the end on his own. Again, a vague idea for the ending of the next film, brought up during ESB's development. Most likely intended as a lead-in to the storyline of Luke searching for his long-lost sister on the other side of the galaxy, mentioned in Leigh Brackett's February 1978 draft of ESB. Ongoing serial plan era, rather than the 9-episode trilogy of trilogies.

    - Han was meant to die. As mentioned above, I don't believe this plot point was connected to the other two, as it came about much later, and there's no evidence to suggest it was ever considered at any time other than the July 1981 story conferences. Kurtz probably just heard about it and thought it was appropriate for this more mature vision of SW he cobbled together from assorted ideas that only existed at completely different times and were abandoned.

    - Vader trying to convince Luke to join him to overthrow the Emperor in order to make amends. Haven't addressed this one, it's in the Film Threat interview. Kurtz claims, "It wasn’t him saying I want to take over the world and be the evil leader, it was that transition. It was Vader saying, 'I’m looking again at what I’ve done and where my life has gone and who I’ve served and, very much in the Samurai tradition, and saying if I can join forces with my son, who is just as strong as I am, that maybe we can make some amends.' So there was all of that going on in Jedi as well, that was supposed to go on."
    I don't think there's all that much to this one, more likely Kurtz's own opinion of what Vader was all about, based on how the the character was developed for ESB. You can read some of this into how the character appears in GL's own rough draft of ROTJ, so it was probably true at the time of ESB.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Sep 26, 2012
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  10. Eternal_Hero Jedi Master

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    I love both films. It's a real shame Walter Murch never directed another feature length fantasy. But as both RTO and his TCW episode amply illustrate, he has a rare gift for doing fantasy convincingly & originally. If you've ever watched an interview with Murch, you can see he's one of those multi-talented genius types.

    I like that Kurtz allowed the fantasy films he produced, esp. The Dark Crystal & RTO, to veer toward the "dark", or at least allowing the more disturbing aspects of folklore and fairytales derived from them to enter into the story. Most producers would want the opposite. When Guillermo Del Tory brought "Pan's Labyrinth" to Hollywood his American producer pressured him to make a few cuts & go for a PG-13 rating, which Del Toro resisted. However, Kurtz did have an alarming habit of letting his films go over budget.
  11. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I'd suggest nearly destroying the film's possibility of being released is a good reason to cut cutesy onscene references, myself. :p
  12. drg4 Force Ghost

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    I don't buy that this is merely Kurtz's wishful thinking.

    With TESB, Lucas, Kasdan and Kershner had laid all the cards out on the table: Vader conspires against the Emperor with the aim of establishing a ruling Skywalking dynasty; subsequently, he's emotionally devastated when his son opts for death. Now what's the logical, organic follow-up to this? That Vader (1) humanized by his spiritual defeat, seeks atonement with Luke by destroying the Emperor or (2) suddenly becomes a helpless slave to the Emperor and needs to be redeemed by his wizened son? It's the former. It makes complete sense.

    Sure, this may only be conjecture, but I'm almost positive Lucas had something close to a firm grasp on Vader's arc throughout the ESB filming, and made this known to Kurtz. Then, like in every other sequel/prequel in the series, he set on taking a wild left-turn. (And in this case, I feel it was to the detriment of the narrative.)
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  13. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Sorry, I probably wasn't clear - I think this perception of Vader was likely once true (so Kurtz's recollection was correct), but only at the time of ESB, when the plot of ROTJ was being discussed in a very vague way, rather than being hammered out as an actual storyline.

    However, it may have been more along the lines of the KKK's view of how the story should progress (see what I did there?:p), as opposed to George Lucas', hence why GL did take things in a different direction - although as I mentioned, the Vader of the rough draft of ROTJ is quite different to the one we eventually got.

    It's also possible that Kurtz may have been reaching back to early drafts and believed Darth Vader's story would or should follow the same path as Prince Valorum's in the rough/first draft. Although the two characters share a certain amount of DNA, Vader isn't simply a later version of Valorum.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Sep 27, 2012
  14. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I'd also point out that the description of Vader there is an IMO. Sure, you can see it that way if you like...but there isn't a thing in the film to suggest that Vader is trying to make amends with Luke, at least not from his lines or actions; you can really, really stretch and take "Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. Join me and we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy!" *glove clench* as Vader offering to join with [/i]Luke[/i], but the the rest of the dialogue clearly indicates that Vader is exhorting Luke to join him. The rest of their duel dialogue makes that expressly clear as well.

    The cool thing about the TESB duel isn't that Vader secretly yearns to join the Rebellion and make amends with his son (he doesn't :p); it's that Luke is literally taught how to duel by Vader here.
  15. drg4 Force Ghost

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    That's not what I was saying. Yes, the Vader of TESB is a monster who merely seeks to secure himself as heir to the Empire, but if he was to be humanized for Episode VI--and this is suggested in his last EMPIRE scene--then Kurtz's angle is by far more organic than the "Slave Vader" approach Lucas opted for in ROTJ.
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  16. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    No it isn't, because absolutely nothing in the film that suggests that Vader wants to make any sort of amends for what he's done. How is it "more organic" when there's no basis for it?
  17. drg4 Force Ghost

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    Vader's last scene, whereupon he spares Piett and retreats in rumination, is illustrative of a first chink in his armor, the first indication that there's a living, breathing human being inside that cask. While redemption may not have been a sure bet for Episode VI, this scene, coupled with the coup subplot, suggests that Vader is at least evolving.
  18. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    There's also the line, "Join me and we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy". There's no doubt that Vader is still evil, but it adds another dimension to the character - he believes that ruling the galaxy with an iron fist is the right thing to do, or, at least, tells himself that it is (as many such dictators no doubt convince themselves). A means to an end (peace), a necessary evil, call it what you will.

    It could just be his way of trying to convince Luke to join him, but the very fact that he wants Luke by his side, rather than dead, would seem to suggest that there's a certain truth to it.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Sep 27, 2012
  19. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    I agree with drg4 to a degree in that I do think there is some suggestion in ESB that Anakin wanted to change things -- that there was some regret there for how things had turned out. Besides the scene with Piett, there's also him telling Luke that "we can end this destructive conflict and bring peace and order to the galaxy" which I think is indicative of the fact that he knows the current regime has wronged the galaxy in many ways. He wouldn't call it destructive if he didn't believe it to be so, in my opinion.

    I am, personally, not as bothered by Anakin giving up on his ambitions as drg4 is by ROTJ. Namely because I think it nicely parallels Luke's rejection with Padmé's -- without them, Anakin gives into despair and feels there is no way for him to stand against Palpatine. Where I find the movie problematic, though, is in terms of Luke's arc. I find him entering ROTJ as so pure a character, as a kind of classic "white knight" robs him a bit of his arc. Where's his anger at Obi-Wan's deception or his confusion about how to deal with his father? It just isn't present and from the get-go he wants to redeem his father. I would have preferred to see Luke more organically go through the process of coming to terms with such revelations and perhaps having conversations with his father (and perhaps Obi-Wan as well) clarify his decision. As it is, it seems almost as though Lucas sacrificed Luke's arc in order to achieve his father's redemption and I find that a bit disappointing. I like Luke in ROTJ, but I felt that he too quickly expunged the darkness following ESB.
  20. oierem Jedi Grand Master

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    I overall agree with you, but I think Luke didn't have that much darkness at the end of Empire. He was dissapointed at Ben, but not really angry. And in the last scene he is calm again, as if he had somehow made peace with himself, has accepted the truth and is ready to go on. It seems that Luke's organic process should have happened somewhere before the last scene of Empire.
    But other than that (and therefore, I'm perfectly happy with the movies), it's absolutely true that Lucas in a way sacrified Luke's arc favouring Vader's. In the early drafts that is even more obvious.
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  21. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I agree with drg4 to a degree in that I do think there is some suggestion in ESB that Anakin wanted to change things -- that there was some regret there for how things had turned out. Besides the scene with Piett, there's also him telling Luke that "we can end this destructive conflict and bring peace and order to the galaxy" which I think is indicative of the fact that he knows the current regime has wronged the galaxy in many ways. He wouldn't call it destructive if he didn't believe it to be so, in my opinion.

    I'm not sure how "come rule the galaxy as father and son" somehow translates to thinking the current regime is wrong. He's telling Luke he wants him to run it with him. Then there's the repeated times he urges Luke to use his hatred and anger, tortured his friends to lure Luke into confrontation, casually murdered his officers for battlefield incompetence...just where is this supposed regret?
  22. Krueger Force Ghost

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    Yes, I definitely remember hearing about this. It’s a rumour that's been doing the rounds for years now.


    Agreed. Have always thought this when viewing that scene. I think its pretty obviouse for all to see. By the very end of TESB there is a little more Anakin breaking through. Compare the Vader from ANH and the majority of Empire to the Vader in Jedi. There’s a big difference, I think.
    Last edited by Krueger, Sep 29, 2012
  23. Krueger Force Ghost

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    Agreed. Have always thought this when viewing that scene. I think its pretty obviouse for all to see. By the very end of TESB there is a little more Anakin breaking through.
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  24. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Lucas says something about this in the commentary... IIRC he calls Vader at this point "3PO disassembled".
  25. RedVad Jedi Master

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    The direction Kurtz and Kasdan wanted to take the franchise is different from what Lucas wanted, the infamous Lucas comment during ESB filming about Kurtz and Kershner ruining his(lucas's) movie shows this clearly.Kurtz wanted the franchise to go in a darker direction, Kershner agreed but Lucas didn't like it.

    Kurtz obviously had his own ideas about the direction of the franchise and Lucas would have agreed with that at some point but after disagreements Lucas went away from this collaborative effort and did his own thing with ROTJ, Kurtz wanting dark material like ESB and Lucas wanting lighter material like ANH, a difference of opinion with one not being objectively better than the other.Kurtz had a very positive effect on the movies but he wanted to make the best movies possible regardless of cost and Lucas didn't want to take the risk since it was his own money on the line, so while Kurtz using Lucas's money to redo effects in Cloud City ESB scenes that didn't look so great is a good thing for the audience Lucas didn't like it since it was costing him money.

    The disagreements between Lucas and Kurtz seemed mostly of a financial nature and if Lucas didn't fund the movies himself I think creatively they would have followed ESB more closely instead of going in the safer direction of ROTJ.
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