So.... yeah. This is sort of an archive of some of the posts from the old temp boards. Mostly stuff having to do with pre-production and development concepts behind the Saga. --- TSHOSW: Leigh Brackett and Lucas' filmic style for SW (page 1) ATMachine (First off, I'll try and repost this to be better archived when the real boards get put back up!) So I was watching David Lynch's Dune the other night (for the first time. Sue me. ) and it occurred to me that the "style" of the filmmaking was very familiar. Namely, the 1984 Dune reminded me quite a lot of the Leigh Brackett script for ESB--but it was very notably different from the style of the SW films as a whole. I consider Lucas's style to be an essentially realist one, but it's also rather cinema verite--almost anthropological--in nature. By "realist" I mean that Lucas nearly always shows you "what really happened" in the physical world of his films, with little abstract symbolism; there's not much in the way of trippy fantasy montages to explain how the Force works, for instance. And where such scenes might be most apposite--when we see Yoda training Luke, for instance, or when Vader reads Luke's mind and detects who Leia is--we instead get concrete images, of Luke physically exerting himself or the lightsaber battle between father and son. In SW, despite its mysticism-heavy Force, the world of the inner consciousness is never really explored on screen. Even the test in the cave that Luke fails--the most abstract scene in Empire--feels fully grounded in the reality of the cave environment and the seeming physical presence of Vader. (Naturally, Lucas didn't write it!) As for "anthropological," Lucas always wanted to present his world as essentially real. It was its own society, with its own well-known cities, culture, and political institutions. He's said that he wanted viewers to sense that reality, but also to feel like they've stumbled into a new and alien world, rather like he felt as a young film student when he first discovered the work of Kurosawa. Thus any exposition for the benefit of the audience is not delivered in metatextual ways, save for the opening crawls--what information the audience gets comes from characters discussing their own experiences, and many details (like the allusions to the Clone Wars of past history) are left to the imagination, serving as tantalizing glimpses of a larger universe. However, Brackett's Empire script to me feels, for all its pulpy dialogue, far more symbolic and less "realistic" in tone. Her work is more metaphysical, more interested in visually representing the power of the Force. A good example is when we meet (physically) the ghost of Ben Kenobi, and he engages Minch in a mock lightsaber duel--not to mention when Luke's father's spirit shows up as well. Remember that in ANH, only Kenobi's voice was heard after his death, and in a fashion that suggested (notwithstanding "Run, Luke, run!") that Luke might simply be internalizing the departed old mentor's teachings. Brackett for the first time suggested the physicality of the Force's spiritual aspects, and so as to be represented visually on film in a most dramatic fashion. It's likely Lucas was very wary of this departure from the "real", so it's noteworthy that in the final version of ESB, Obi-Wan's ghost has very little to do; he essentially could remain a disembodied voice and the film would stay the same. Another such sequence occurs at the climax of Brackett's script, during the duel with Vader. Luke and Vader are shown as outlines silhouetted against a backdrop of stars, and Vader invites Luke to abandon his Jedi oath and seize the cosmos for himself. This imagery in fact occurs twice, once when Luke reaches out psychically to Vader from Minch's planet, and again when he duels Vader in the flesh. Here's the relevant passage from their first encounter: And the second encounter: These are rather trippy scenes! They involve a very abstract conception of the power of the Force and the abilities it grants the Jedi and Sith. The potential to conquer the galaxy is visually represented as Luke reaching out and grasping the stars with his hand. It's very visual and very symbolically representative--but not at all based in the physical reality of the fight. Several of the vision sequences in Lynch's Dune follow a similar style of abstract representation (for instance, think of the way we see on screen how Paul imagines his hand is melting in the Bene Gesserit box during the gom jabbar test). But Lucas prefers to ground his visual storytelling firmly in the concrete; instead of a thrillingly filmic and symbolic climax in a higher mental plane, we had to see Luke losing to Vader in the real world. It's no wonder Larry Kasdan and Lucas resorted to chopping off Luke's hand instead. Brackett also bows somewhat more to the needs of the audience in explaining things outright. The most prominent example is a scene is set on the Imperial city-planet and capital, which is introduced by a caption ("Ton-Muund, the city-planet, administrative center of the Empire") over an establishing shot. The idea of an expository caption appearing on screen seems very un-SW in style to me.... yet David Lynch uses the same technique to introduce a scene on the Harkonnens' planet Giedi Prime in Dune. There were other reasons Lucas disliked Brackett's version, of course (he realized the heroes weren't in enough peril at the climax of the film; he seems to have disliked Brackett's style of dialogue writing; he thought Brackett's Vader wasn't menacing enough, in that Vader often lets shamed subordinates live with a mere verbal dressing-down instead of theatrically murdering them for perceived incompetence). But fundamentally, I suspect Lucas's style as a filmmaker was rather mismatched with Brackett's. So... any thoughts? Am I totally off base? It'd have been interesting to have seen a SW film more stylistically akin to Dune, at the very least.... Sistros I've never seen Dune either Darth_Nub Very interesting take on Brackett's ESB, and yes, it does nail just what feels so 'un-Star Wars' about a lot of it. Even in the PT, parts of which rely heavily on visions and dreams, Lucas was very hesitant to use abstract imagery and symbolism, and did try to integrate the Force visions into the reality of the scene somewhat. Might also explain why the Qui-Gon scene at the end of ROTS was thrown out. Makes me wonder, as well, about the notorious scene on the 'bog planet' which includes Luke's father. With all its pomp and ceremony, and lengthy exposition, I agree that it doesn't read like something GL himself would have written - in which case, did he ever want Luke's father to appear in ESB at all, or did Brackett come up with that particular detail herself? ATMachine Glad you liked my thoughts, Nub. What do you think about the idea that the Lynch Dune might be a more "Brackett-esque" film? Kind of ironic, given the huge influence Dune had on SW and Lucas.... As for the other problems I believe Lucas had with the script: I think his issues with Brackett's dialogue stem from Lucas' conception of what dialogue in a film is for. Namely, to advance the plot as fast as possible; as a writer and filmmaker Lucas spends as little time on characters talking as he possibly can (likely because he hates writing it!) Whereas Brackett lets her dialogue be a bit more slow-paced, more conversational, and I think that really galled Lucas, action-heavy, characterization-light filmmaker that he is. Not to mention that Vader's screen presence would have been a bit lacking, since he isn't Force-choking Imperial officers left and right. (I believe Making of ESB revealed that Lucas particularly objected to one scene in the first draft, where an angry Vader says to a junior officer, "Leave me, you incompetent idiot." Seems Lucas wanted Vader to express his anger in a more dramatic and evil fashion--thus he ends up choking so many poor captains.) As well, there's a whole issue of the emotional stakes not being high enough in the Brackett draft. Han Solo has gone on a trip across the galaxy to find his "stepfather" by the end of the film, and he's in great peril, but it's offscreen peril, so we would hardly care as much about it as we do the very visible peril of him being frozen alive. Not to mention that in this version Minch considers Luke qualified to take on Vader safely, and though Luke loses the fight it's hardly the beatdown seen in the final film. There's just less visibly at stake for the heroes to lose if they fail. But I think this last problem is mainly Lucas' fault, because all these plot issues stem from the story outlines he gave Brackett, at a stage when his own ideas for the new film's storyline were still half-digested. Of course, when he read those tentative ideas made concrete in a script draft, he realized he had to go back to the drawing board. (And thus we got Father Vader.... but that's another story.) Still, the stylistic mismatch between him and Brackett certainly didn't help any of these problems. PS - as I said above, I find Brackett's idea of an expository caption explaining "this is Imperial Center" to be very un-SW, and I ought to explain better why... As a rule, the SW films never break the feeling of cinema verite once the opening crawl is over. Lucas always wanted to preserve the illusion that "this is all really happening," so I can't really picture him using such an obviously editorial device as a narrative caption. It would clash with his idea of SW as a sort of found-footage film from "a galaxy far, far away." Darth_Nub Truth be told, it's been a long time since I saw Lynch's Dune, and I had pretty mixed feelings about it. Looked terrific, but very hard to follow - largely due to all the mysticism that's hard to translate to screen. While it was all very interesting to talk about spice being able to 'fold space', it wasn't something communicated visually and fell flat - compare that to the depiction of hyperspace in the OT. The ridiculous Luke/Vader duel in Brackett's ESB does seem like it would have fit in Lynch's Dune quite well, but it would have been extremely difficult to pull off credibly. Incidentally, the supposedly huge influence of Dune on SW seems to be more along the lines of so many other influences - there's bits and pieces Lucas happily took, then left the rest. Desert planet, valuable commodity known as 'spice', mystical order of knight-type figures - that'll do nicely, chuck that in with Asimov's 'Galactic Empire', the gold robot from Metropolis and the farmers from Hidden Fortress, preheat oven to 180... GL grabbed stuff from everywhere. Regarding the other issues with the Brackett draft - without even a rough completed summary of GL's own outline that he submitted to her, it's hard to figure out just what was his and what was hers. To my knowledge, the only material available publicly is the first couple of pages with Luke being attacked by the ice creature, which obviously made it all the way. I agree, you can't necessarily blame Brackett for the less perilous ending, or perhaps even for Vader's softer characterisation. I've always felt that the Brackett draft might be a glimpse at the lighter, more comic-book vision of the ongoing/12-part Star Wars serial, as opposed to the more intense Star Wars Saga that came about with the creation of Father Vader. In my post above, I suggested that the disparity between what appears to be Brackett's approach and Lucas' points towards the 'bog planet scene' with Luke's father being entirely Brackett's invention. However, if you look at GL's rough draft of ROTJ (http://starwarz.com/starkiller/2010/03/revenge-of-the-jedi-revised-rough-draft/), the approach to the Force and Jedi in the afterlife seems very similar, and full of just as many strange concepts. Yoda appears to Luke in an Imperial cell, Ben Kenobi actually comes back to life, the Emperor and Ben stand by and talk while Luke & Vader duel, Luke has some sort of invisible shield and Yoda's ghost briefly appears every time it's hit, then at the end, Ben, Luke's father and Yoda all come back to life. Very weird, jam-packed full of lengthy dialogue explaining what's going on, and not unlike Brackett's ESB at all. I get the impression that when it comes to the more abstract concepts, GL's outlines and drafts are just him thinking aloud about what he's trying to convey, as opposed to what he actually intends to put on screen. The problems he had with Brackett's draft may be that she simply put together a literal translation of the vague outline, and without access to what GL was picturing in his mind, was forced to use more exposition than he had any intention of using. ATMachine I know Lucas is definitely capable of imagining abstract/"un-real" displays of Force power, as in the ROTJ drafts.... but I think he only likes to stretch it so far. Brackett's style was just too over the top, I'd guess. Lucas could write about Ben and Yoda's spirits shielding Luke from the Emperor's lightning, but it's still grounded in the reality of the physical plane--so not at the abstractness level of Brackett's cosmic vision for the Luke-Vader duel. (And it's frankly telling that none of the more wacky stuff from early ROTJ scripts, like Ben's return to physical life and the Jedi mentors' shielding Luke, ever made it to film. Not to mention that Lucas was writing ROTJ in the wake of the more mystical/symbolic material seen in ESB--it might've been a greater shock to him to read a script like Brackett's, when he had only worked on the more realistically-grounded ANH.) I do think it was probably Lucas's suggestion that Luke might see a vision of his father. But the particular form the vision takes in Brackett's version, where Luke's father appears to tell him of an unseen sister and then has him recite the oath of the Jedi, must not have felt suitable. Perhaps because it feels sort of shoehorned in--Father Skywalker appears, reveals the existence of Luke's sister, knights him as a Jedi, and leaves. Other than that we hardly have a reason for him to be onscreen; there's no advice he gives to Luke or anything. It's just sort of clumsily handled (especially because Luke has an awful lot of mentor figures), and I think Lucas realized it needed work. As for the Dune influence on SW being overrated, I think it was pretty influential nonetheless. However, the overt influence of Dune on SW's plot is much more notable in the early drafts of the script than in the final film. The united attack of the "Border System" and the Galactic Empire on Aquilae in the Journal of the Whills treatment, for instance, is obviously modeled on the conspiracy of House Harkonnen and Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV together against the Atreides. (JOTW even had a Paul Atreides analogue, Prince Luke Starkiller, heir to the murdered King of Aquilae, Annakin Skywalker. This character quickly got gender-swapped into Leia.) Not to mention that the first draft script of SW (which, as in Dune, had an Empire that was tens of thousands of years old) had the hero Annikin fighting to save the embattled royal family of a desert planet. And it features the use of nuclear weapons (called "atomics") during certain battles, just like in Dune. It's also worth noting that unlike other proto-SW fiction such as Flash Gordon or John Carter of Mars, which were planetary romances set on one world alone, Dune features multiple planets (although Arrakis looms largest). The scenes set on the Imperial capital world, early in the first SW draft, mirror scenes on Giedi Prime revealing Baron Harkonnen's plans early in Dune. (Here Lucas even cribbed a few pieces of dialogue verbatim--"we've gained a true advantage" etc.) Plus, that draft ends with Annikin wedding the Princess Leia and becoming the ruler of the planet, just as Paul Atreides marries Princess Irulan and becomes the new Galactic Emperor ruling from Arrakis. But these are plot details which got changed--more important by far to the final film of ANH is the atmosphere of Dune. The world of Dune has its own vocabulary, full of nonsense words invented by Frank Herbert. Stuff like "kanly" for vendetta or "chaumurky" for poison in drinks, or "prana-bindu" for a Bene Gesserit art of meditation. Lucas really liked the idea of having a foreign vocabulary that the audience would have to learn as they went along. Not to mention the idea of dropping hints at the past history of a vast universe, which he also took from Herbert. (The Clone Wars are basically SW's answer to the Butlerian Jihad, the long-ago war against the uprising of thinking machines of past Dune history. Substitute "rebellious clones" for "rebellious robots" and you have the original conception of the Clone Wars.) ... I might also add that early on in the ESB story brainstorming, Lucas wanted Han's stepfather to be a powerful leader of a Spacing Guild, another concept obviously borrowed from Dune. (A similar idea shows up in the first draft of ANH when it's mentioned that Aquilae needs the aid of "the chrome companies" to fight the Empire. But that plot thread is left dangling and instead the Wookiees destroy the Imperial invasion force.) This idea of big galactic guilds was sort of reused in the prequels for the Trade Federation, and the various companies backing the Separatists. Darth_Nub My bad, Dune did influence GL's development of SW quite heavily, although as you pointed out, it was diluted considerably by the time the film itself was made. I was thinking of the repeated references often made to Asimov's Foundation series, which, apart from the basic concept of a 'Galactic Empire' and the term 'hyperspace', didn't really have much apparent influence on SW at all. The appearance of Father Skywalker in Brackett's draft of ESB, apart from being a gigantic contradiction of what would eventually occur, is also at odds with how Lucas developed the concept and impact of the hero's father. With each draft of SW, the father was pushed further and further into the background: - Draft 1 - Kane Starkiller is a character from the start, killed during the story to save the others; - Draft 2 - 'The Starkiller' is a hero in hiding, his son is only reunited with him at the end of the story; - Draft 3 - Luke's father is dead, although Luke has vague memories of him. Ben Kenobi, a former friend of his father, is now the father figure; - Draft 4 - Luke's father is dead, Luke has no memory of him at all, his only knowledge of him is first the lies told to him by Owen & Beru, then what Obi-Wan tells him; - Film itself - same as Draft 4, except that Darth Vader is established as the man who murdered Luke's father. From draft to draft, the father evolved from being an actual character to a more abstract driving influence on the hero, and eventually it seemed that killing him off was the best way of maximising this influence. His appearance in the Brackett draft of ESB seems like some sort of attempt at a climactic payoff which just fizzles pathetically. I'm inclined to think that GL did come up with the idea, then its failure drove him to go with the more radical Father Vader idea (which he may have come up with before outlining ESB, but not until after SW was done). ATMachine Now, now, Foundation did inspire Lucas's use of holograms. And I forgot to mention the major borrowing from Dune post-ANH: the idea of twins! The Dune series has Paul Atreides' twin children (one boy, one girl) as protagonists in later books. Children of Dune came out in 1976, too late to influence the development of ANH, but Lucas must've read it in time for writing the SW sequels. I very much agree with this. It probably seemed like a good idea to Lucas to bring in Luke's father in the brainstorming stage, but it just didn't work on the written script page. Arawn Fenn Foundation has characters named Bail and Han, a planet that's one big city, and an order of individuals with mind control abilities. Darth_Nub All true, but they're more incidental details than anything else (not 100% sure, but the city planet wasn't featured in the drafts of SW anyway, IIRC). Bits and pieces like that can be found all over the place in old sci-fi novels, comics and serials. The story itself of Foundation was completely and utterly different. The mind control abilities of the Second Foundationers strike me as more of a generic coincidence, the abilities of the Lensman seemed to be more directly influential on the concept of the Jedi (and probably Asimov to begin with). I do agree with ATMachine about Dune, however, in terms of its influence on the backstory. The story proper of SW, however, really strikes me as something much simpler. References in early drafts that practically plagiarise Dune, Kurosawa films or whatever, are almost the writing equivalent of GL using footage from WWII films in the space battles for temporary editing purposes. Keep things moving and toss all the other stuff out when the actual story got to the point where it could stand on its own. The elaborate backstory wasn't originally meant to be a story in itself to be told, although eventually he would find himself having to use it when he committed to the PT. It's one of the reasons the PT doesn't have that same epic feel to it that the OT does - it doesn't have what has been referred to as a sense of 'deep time', which is also one of the great flaws of Tolkien's Silmarillion. Morgoth, Beren & Luthien, et al work so much better as ancient references that have influenced events than actual characters, not unlike the way that Luke's dead father has far more impact & influence than he did when he was alive in Draft 1. Nothing could ever compare to the vision of the Prequel Trilogy conjured up in so many fans' minds by a few throwaway lines in the OT (If any of these visions had been made, of course, they'd most likely be rubbish to everyone else, but that's not the point). ATMachine I concur with the Lensmen's psychic abilities being much more crucial to the development of the Jedi than anything from Foundation. Just combine the Lensmen with the "weirding way" of the Bene Gesserit... The idea of a Foundation-style city-planet only came in with the writing of ESB, I believe. The first draft of ANH has the Imperial capital as a cloud city, essentially like that of the Hawkmen in the Flash Gordon comics. Nub, have you ever noticed the bit in the third draft of ANH where Lucas steals some dialogue verbatim from the opening of The Hobbit? (Ben and Luke have the exact same conversation about what "good morning" means that Tolkien wrote for Bilbo and Gandalf.) ... As for other "un-SW" details in Brackett's script, how about the issue of holograms? Brackett's script doesn't seem to use holograms at all. Her description of the Rebel base's war room, for instance, prominently includes a huge enclosed tank, which houses a permanent three-dimensional map of Rebel and Imperial territory: Brackett's first stab at describing the tactical map seems to have been a large two-dimensional monitor screen. She must've realized that was insufficiently impressive, but decided on using a gigantic plotting tank instead of a less cumbersome holographic display (which Lucas would no doubt have preferred). Also noteworthy in this respect is Brackett's portrayal of Vader's conversation with the Emperor. Note again the absence of the typical SW communication holograms; the Emperor uses a monitor screen to appear to Vader. Also, he's described as wearing a golden robe. Not very Sith-like. Still, Brackett's Emperor can feel disturbances in the Force, so he's clearly a Dark Side Force-user. (In his conversations with Brackett printed in The Making of ESB, Lucas seems to be already heavily leaning toward the idea of the Emperor as an evil Force-user, although he did briefly suggest the possibility of reusing an older idea, where the Emperor was to be a Nixonian bureaucrat.) Compare Lawrence Kasdan's version of the Vader/Emperor scene from the fourth draft (his earliest available online): Kasdan has the Emperor dressed in the simple black robes of a Sith, which must have appealed to Lucas. Also, we get more "standard SW" holograms in this version instead of Brackett's videophones. Darth_Nub Never noticed that, but the slightly addled character of Ben Kenobi in Draft 3 really seems like a direct translation of Gandalf the Grey, so I'm not surprised. GL's vague mutterings about casting little people that have often been referred to here & there would date from the same time - he must have been reading The Hobbit &/or LOTR in 1975, but probably not before, as there's no apparent influence on the 1st & 2nd drafts. Ben Kenobi in Draft 3 is the first real appearance of the 'old wizard' mentor, as opposed to generals and warlords. ATMachine I've heard it said that Luke's quest in Draft 2--to get the Kiber Crystal safely to the Rebel base on Yavin--is basically an analogue for Frodo's journey with the Ring to Mount Doom. (Especially because, as with Frodo's Ring, Luke's Kiber Crystal is an heirloom, left to him by his father who now needs it.) The Kiber Crystal in Draft 2--the lone, all-powerful crystal sought by good guys and bad guys alike--reminds me somewhat of the Light Incal in French artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud's seminal comic book The Incal, though that apparently didn't get published until the 80s. Coincidence, I suppose. In Draft 3, however, there are multiple Kiber Crystals, and they function more like the Lenses of the Galactic Patrol (Ben is no longer an active Jedi partly because he lost his Crystal to the Sith). Interestingly, Brackett's galaxy-map plotting tank bears strong resemblance to the tactical tanks with galaxy models that are carried on Galactic Patrol ships in Lensman. And thumbing through Dune, I noticed one scene includes a holographic display (called a "solido tri-D projection"), showing spice harvesting operations on Arrakis, during a staff briefing by Duke Leto Atreides. --- I've been re-reading the excerpts included in The Making of ESB from George Lucas's story conferences with Leigh Brackett; and what strikes me is how many of the more off-the-wall ideas in her script were actually inspired by his thoughts. Reading her script must have made Lucas realize some of these concepts wouldn't work. So this is where Brackett got the idea for including the ghost of Father Skywalker, apparently. This passage is fascinating. It suggests Lucas was already beginning to see Vader as someone not entirely evil. Also, it touches on the question of "what Vader really is" when unmasked; not necessarily Anakin, but definitely someone to be pitied as well as hated. (Compare the passage where Lucas says "in the third film we find out who Darth Vader is" from The Making of SW). So Lucas came up with the idea of using a viewscreen in this scene. He must have realized later on that a hologram would fit the SW universe better. (Now I'm imagining a round Flash Gordon-style viewscreen like those seen in TPM when I read this scene in the Brackett draft.) Here's (probably) the point where Brackett got the idea for that trippy vision sequence with the stars and galaxies during the Luke/Vader duel. Interestingly, Lucas uses the idea of a mental battle to retroactively justify the lack of action in the Obi-Wan/Vader duel from ANH. But not so much as an idea for how Luke's fight should go; instead he focuses on the Force powers of firing lightning bolts and hurling objects with one's mind. I guess this is one point where Brackett picked up on the wrong part of Lucas's train of thought. Lucas evidently thought that Luke should use the Dark Side to get an advantage in his duel with Vader. Brackett used the idea in her draft, but Lucas must have decided ultimately to save this idea for the sequel's climactic fight where Vader dies. Darth_Nub I'd have to read Draft 2 again, but again, that sounds more like a generic coincidence - although I'm sure GL had read LOTR prior, so it might have figured somewhat unconsciously (as opposed to the overt influence Tolkien had on him around Draft 3). The Kiber Crystal is more of a MacGuffin in Draft 2, Luke's real quest is to find his father, the Starkiller, and prove to him that he's a man. What you've got there is the father issue which GL seems to wrestle with throughout the entire OT - feature the father in the story as a half-machine, half-man, then make him a god-like figure, then kill him off, then make him the half-machine villain, then redeem him. Try as he might have, GL just couldn't get rid of Luke's father, his influence was just too powerful in the story he was trying to tell. Even when Lucas found that killing him off prior to the story made his impact that much greater, the old man seemed to be still banging away at the door, looking for a way to get back in. First attempt at doing it in in the sequel didn't work, but the second hit the jackpot. Then, of course, in the PT, he took the story of Darth Vader and parallelled it with his own. Lucas no longer sees himself as Luke, he's become Anakin, who becomes Vader, who he might have once seen as his own father. The circle is indeed now complete. ATMachine Here are some more passages from the December 1977 story conference excerpts in The Making of ESB, where Lucas talks to Brackett about alternate possibilities for developing the Emperor as a character: (Notice there isn't any mention of the Emperor having been an elected Chancellor of the Senate. But his involvement as a Dark Side user in the destruction of the Jedi is stated emphatically.) The last portion (which I've bolded) is the most interesting, because it suggests that at this stage, Lucas was still toying with two different conceptions of the Emperor. You have on one hand the evil sorcerer, the personification of the Dark Side, but we also get the idea--here conceived as a distinctly different direction for taking the story--that the Emperor is a crooked politician. This latter idea of the Emperor as a corrupt Richard Nixon-esque politician-gone-wrong is what Lucas emphasized in his August 1977 backstory notes: Note that there's no mention of the Emperor being a Dark Side sorcerer here. He's just a powerful elected bureaucrat with an army on his side--as well as the Sith Lord Darth Vader (and possibly others), who did the actual work of killing the Jedi on his behalf. ------------------- The original 1976 ANH novelization by Alan Dean Foster had a different take on the issue. We learn in the prologue that Chancellor Palpatine "declared himself Emperor, shutting himself away from the populace. Soon he was controlled by the very assistants and boot-lickers he had appointed to high office, and the cries of the people for justice did not reach his ears." But here it was "the Imperial governors and bureaucrats", not specifically Palpatine, who exterminated the Jedi Knights. Thus in this early version of the SW backstory, the Emperor was seen as a puppet of the bureaucracy, not its mastermind--an idea that Lucas had definitely revised by 1977. (It's probably worth noting that the 2nd and 3rd drafts of ANH both contain references to the "Master of the Bogan Force," the chief of the Sith Lords, who was a separate character from the Emperor. Even the ANH novelization mentions that "Fear followed the footsteps of all the Dark Lords," alluding to the idea from Drafts 2 and 3 that there are numerous Sith Lords serving the Empire.) Moreover, later in the ANH novelization we learn that Vader aided "the later corrupt Emperors," and a biography of Vader from a 1977 magazine refers to "successive evil Emperors." Plus, Grand Moff Tarkin notes in ANH Draft 4 that "This operation will secure my place on the Emperor’s council. With the right maneuvering, I could be Emperor." This line implies that there may well have been a history of past Emperors, since it was expected that powerful bureaucrats such as Tarkin could ascend to the throne. -------------------- It would certainly make sense (in terms of the ANH novelization's descriptions, at least) to imagine that, in the SW of 1976, Palpatine had been the first Emperor in a series. The later Emperors grew increasingly corrupt as the ideals of the Republic crumbled. In other words, the coming of the Empire was a gradual process, much like the fall of the Roman Republic. We know from early drafts that there was a "Jedi Rebellion" which caused their extermination--perhaps the Jedi were seeking to topple the corrupt Imperial dynasty and restore the Republic? But this is obviously not what Lucas came to envision by 1977. He wanted to involve the Emperor more directly as the ultimate villain of his story. But he was unsure about the direction to take in developing the character--leaning at times toward the idea of a Nixonian politician, at other times favoring the notion of an evil sorcerer (who could just as easily have inherited his position from previous Emperors). He obviously chose the latter course when writing ROTJ, but the problem of how to handle the Emperor resurfaced when writing the prequels. Thus we got the Sidious/Palpatine dual identity: a combination of two ideas that were at first rather more mutually exclusive. Arawn Fenn Indeed. I especially take notice of the fact that it says Vader is completely consumed by the dark side of the Force, while simultaneously calling him an instrument of the Force. But this is a Force that's basically good, right? Darth_Nub Perhaps he never saw him as entirely evil to begin with - Darth Vader derives directly from the Prince Valorum character in Draft 1, who, in turn, was based on General Tadokoro in Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress. Both were men of honour on the side of the villains who turned to the good side. While there's nothing explicit about Vader struggling with his own dark side in Drafts 2-4 or the film of SW, it's implied that he holds himself to a higher standard of conduct than the rest of the Imperials, who he views with a certain contempt. The novelisation makes this slightly more explicit. I certainly don't think GL's comment is a smoking gun in relation to the debate of whether "Vader was Luke's father all along", I think it's more a reflection of the evolving complexity of the character, which, combined with the gradual fading into the background of Father Skywalker, would eventually reach critical mass and create Father Vader. No - GL always described the Force as having two sides, Light and Dark, or Ashla and Bogan (I still find that funny - 'bogan' in Australian slang is a term to describe white trash). It does, however, confirm that Lucas viewed the users of the dark side as being like drug addicts, or under the influence of an evil spell. It's not quite as explicit in SW - Obi-Wan refers to Vader as having been "seduced by the Dark Side of the Force", but you could just easily say he'd been seduced by greed or the lust for power, while retaining freedom of choice (as Prince Valorum does in Draft 1). Arawn Fenn Exactly. I don't see it as a contradiction, but my previous post was meant to indicate that a Potentium believer would likely see it that way.