CT Aliens, or lack of, in the Alliance and Empire

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Kez-Iban, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Kez-Iban Jedi Grand Master

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    Sep 4, 2012
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    I find it interesting that in the first two movies the war between the Empire and the Alliance appears to involve only humans, while any alien races that are seen appear to be for the most part neutral, disinterested in the war, and still going about their normal lives. Chewbacca of course is an exception, but apart from him, it seems like George Lucas wanted this to be a war between humans. But this all changed in Return of the Jedi. After two movies, Lucas decided to add some aliens to the Alliance. Not many, but enough to show that some aliens did participate in the war. I know that all the other Star Wars media that came after the original trilogy tells us that alien races were heavily involved in the war, but disregarding all that for now, it certainly seems like Lucas' original idea was for the war to be confined to humans. Why did he decide to modify this plan for Return of the Jedi? I wonder if it was because the alien costumes and effects had improved enough by the time ROTJ was being made, that now he was feeling more confident about giving aliens like Ackbar a more prominent role? Maybe he thought he had made a mistake keeping aliens out of the war in the first place? In Lucas' plans for Star Wars, do we know if the Empire even had any interest in aliens, or did they just leave them alone?
  2. MOC Yak Face Classic Trilogy and Saga Co-Mod.

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    I think he was pretty worried about the cantina aliens looking too cheesy, so probably reluctant to have aliens in main parts where they're on screen for more than a second or two.
  3. sith_rhino Jedi Grand Master

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    Jul 9, 2007
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    I agree with DarthDuckie. I think it was just a matter of the special effects of the time not being up to his standards.
  4. The Hellhammer Grand Judicator of the New Film Territories

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    The humans are also supposed to be the most numerous species in tha galaxy.
    Also, the audience reacts better to it's own species, thus most of the Rebels are humans. You see them fighting and dying and you relate better to real people doing that than a guy in a rubber reptile suit.
  5. MOC Yak Face Classic Trilogy and Saga Co-Mod.

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    Interesting how the really popular aliens are the ones which are based on something which humans identify with positively on planet Earth. Wasn't Chewie based on GL's dog amongst other things and Yoda on Einstein amongst other things? Instantaneous recognition, even if you're not quite sure from where, hence, sympathy for the character.
  6. SlashMan Jedi Grand Master

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    Feb 5, 2012
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    I don't think it was due to effects. Having a few people in creature costumes in the background would show that other species are involved with the Rebellion without making them the focus of the scene. It seems like there was also a lack of aliens on Cloud City (aside from two, which didn't appear in any scenes in the movie).

    Maybe from a story perspective, the presence of aliens in Return of the Jedi showed that more systems were sympathetic to the Rebels, and saw that they all had a stake in their victory against the Empire.
  7. Michael McKean Jedi Knight

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    Jun 5, 2013
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    The Empire was extremely racist and 'anti-alien'. Non-humans were not allowed within its ranks. I believe the Emperor only thought human blood to be worthy. Indeed, the novel of Revenge of the Sith portrays Count Dooku as radically anti-alien, revealing that he desired to be a part of the Empire that his master had promised him primarily because it would be a humanly ruled Empire. He secretly hated General Grievous because of his race and even described him as a horrid creature. I believe that the Empire also enslaved the Wookie race as labourers in the completion of the Death Star.
    As for the Rebellion, they were open to anyone, regardless of race. Only Lucas knows why they weren't seen within the rebel ranks in A New Hope.
  8. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    Special effects limitations maybe- what's passable in a dark Mos Eisley cantina may be less workable in a bright open-air ceremony.
  9. Charlie512 Jedi Master

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    Dec 17, 2011
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    Which is kind of one of the biggest problem of the clone wars. It's hard to relate or feel for robots and nameless/faceless clones dying for reasons.

    We hardly cared about the Jedi themselves.
    Last edited by Charlie512, Jun 8, 2013
  10. Michael McKean Jedi Knight

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    Jun 5, 2013
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    Exactly. Implementing aliens into the Cantina scene could just be down to 'experimentation', as Lucas did like to experiment in his filming.
  11. Darth_Arapsis Jedi Knight

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    May 21, 2013
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    Going just by what we saw onscreen the mon cals were strongly supporting the rebels.
  12. SlashMan Jedi Grand Master

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    Personally, I think the aliens were crucial to creating the world that Lucas invisioned. Prior to this, there's only a handful of people walking around the city, mostly human. And then when the cantina comes, we have a LOT of aliens shoved in the viewer's face all at once. The tone would have been lost if the viewer couldn't get past the believability of the costumes. The aliens were more than an experiment, they had to sell this grand scale that Lucas had in mind.
  13. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    And as good as the costumes might have been, there were still flaws. You can see through the Chadra-Fan's eye to the bartop. (Chadra-Fan is the short furry guy with the face a bit like a bat's.)
  14. Darth Eddie Jedi Grand Master

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    May 14, 2013
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    I always assumed that we never got to see the entire Rebel Alliance - that the Mon Cals were busy building ships, the Sullestians running guns, or what have you - and that the military concentration that we follow through ANH and ESB are Leia's group of mostly Alderaanian expatriots, Corellian pilots and the like. There were a LOT of blokes standing in that medal ceremony room, or the background of echo base. You never get close enough to see if there's a Rodian under one of those helmets!

    Side note - those RotJ deleted scenes of more diverse pilots should have stayed in. Don't know about Granny A-Wing, but the rest for sure.
    SlashMan likes this.
  15. SlashMan Jedi Grand Master

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    Feb 5, 2012
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    You have a point, and that's partially why almost all the Cantina scene had to be redone with pickup shots. The more static masks weren't very believable, but excellent lighting helped, like with Arleil Schous (as opposed to the cheap looking Lak Sivrak mask and Greedo was given an articulated mouth.Funny that the most impressive alien, Kitik Keed'kak, was not even visible onscreen.
  16. PMT99 Force Ghost

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    Nov 23, 2000
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    It might have something to do with the fact that the Clone Wars is all a phony plot by PalpSidious to kill the Jedi Order and abolish the Republic.
  17. Ganger Chosen One

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    Dec 9, 1999
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    this
  18. Mr. K Moderator Emeritus

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    It was the 1970's. Audiences probably would have thought it jokey to have all those weird aliens in the film proper outside of scenes like the cantina. GL took a risk with Chewbacca. He took an even bigger one with Yoda in ESB. It was hard to maintain a serious storytelling narrative in sci-fi for audiences of the time. Having aliens all over the place could have been disasterous in an era that easily dismissed sci-fi as campy entertainment. The Holiday Special is a good example of that mentality.

    There's also the consideration of time and expense. Expense definitely.
    Last edited by Mr. K, Jun 24, 2013
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  19. Beru'sBlueMilk Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2013
    I thought George Lucas had just the right amount of aliens on screen. As a previous poster remarked, the alien make up back in the 70's and 80's looked rather fake close up but passable in the background. Take the cantina sequence, the wolfman...an off the shelf werewolf mask with red lights in the eyes, the wee chadra fan...you could see right through his eye, I could go on. They look good as background character's but if Han Solo ended up as originally envisioned, a green lizard with gills, the film would have ended up a disaster. Even Chewie looks dodgy now and again but he makes you think of an old faithful dog so you suspend your belief and go with the story.
    Saying that, we did get a good lot of various aliens throughout the 3 films, the Jawas, Tuskens, Cantina denizens in ANH, the Wampa, the Ugnaughts, Yoda in TESB and the Ewoks, Mon Calamari, Sullustans, Rancor and all Jabba's cronies in ROTJ.
  20. Jae-Dec Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2013
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    I'm glad Lucas didn't try to force alot of "aliens" into the the movie, as the costumes they would have had just wouldn't hold up to the standards of the rest of the film. In fact in "Empire of Dreams" Mark Hamill had even stated that he was really looking forward to walking onto the cantina set. But when he arrived he was disappointed with what they had to use, such as a wolfman costume and a giant grasshopper being placed in the corner. What did wind up in the films were fairly well done, but again I think that is because they didn't try and push it too far.
  21. Aegon Starcaster Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 27, 2013
    star 2
    If there were only one reason not to use more aliens in the first two films, I'm sure we would have seen more aliens.
    But there were countless reasons at the time, many of which have been noted in this thread already. One that I haven't seen
    mentioned yet is the hassle it would add to an already tense situation they had producing the first two films. George had a nervous
    break down making ANH, and there were many delays in finishing the filming on that movie. Also, if the problems they had filming
    Threepio, Artoo, and the Ewoks is any indication, filling the screen with more aliens than they had would have slowed production
    down even more than it was.
  22. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    When TCW began, I expected to feel nothing for the clones, but they soon became my favorite characters. I think I identified with them because I was enlisted for 20 years and I knew a lot of working grunts who were just trying to be good soldiers and get the job done, just like the clones.
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  23. Legolas Skywalker Force Ghost

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    Sep 3, 2012
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  24. Darth Eddie Jedi Grand Master

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    May 14, 2013
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    Everyone's an alien in Star Wars... I think it was more that he really loved humans.
  25. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    To further simplify: He loved himself.

    Don't think everyone else was a real enough person to him for him to care about what color they were or how many limbs they had.