CT Did Lucas know Darth was Luke's father in ANH?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by Mooncake, Feb 4, 2013.

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  1. Mooncake Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2013
    I'm a little confused about something that I thought was a simple answer. Looking around on the Internet and this board I've seen that essentially everyone thinks that GL didn't have plans to make Darth Vader Luke's father in the (potential) future movies, and that it was only after he got the OK for Empire that he came up with that plot twist.

    Well, upon reading the 25th anniversary OT novelization, Lucas writes in the ANH introduction the following: "...When I wrote the original Star Wars screenplay, I knew that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father; the audience did not. I always felt that this revelation, when and if I got the chance to make it, would be shocking, but I never expected the level of emotional attachment that audiences had developed for Luke..."

    If this was true, it would make lines like "He has too much of his father in him" make much more sense, instead of contributing it to luck. Also, hi there. This is my first post <3.
  2. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    Lucas says lots of things. I think you kind of have to take what he says with a grain of salt.
  3. Zane the Reaper Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 1
    The answer to this thread is "hell no."
  4. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    It really depends how much trust you place in Lucas's account of events.
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  5. oierem Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 3
    The answer to that is quite complex to explain (if you really want to know all about it, read The Secret History of Star Wars... and believe at least 85% of it ;)).

    Short answer:
    -Lucas' statements have varied thought the course of the years, totally contradicting himself several times. This, plus all evidence gathered from all known information, including the different scrip drafts, leads us to conclude that Lucas... is not quite trustworthy when it comes to the actual process of the making of the Saga.

    -No, Vader was not Luke's father during the making of the first movie. The backstory is explained in the movie, and no script draft or treatment contradicts any of that information. There was no dark secret: Darth Vader killed Luke's father. It was meant to be a classic fairy tale.

    -Vader "became" Luke's father while writing The Empire Strikes Back, in the second draft, written by Lucas himself.

    -Eventually, Vader's redemption became an important story element of Return of the Jedi (tied to Luke's personal victory), and the Anakin-centric prequels sealed the idea that the Saga was ultimately about Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.
  6. Mooncake Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2013
    So Lucas just blatantly lied? Why would he do that? It's not like he has anything to lose by admitting that he came up with the plot twist while writing ESB.
  7. oierem Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 3
    In that quote yes, he's esentially lying. And I'm not blaming him.
    And there is a very simple reason for that: by claiming that the Saga was being developed according to his original plan meant that fans would accept the new developments, "because they were there from the beginning", and not accuse Lucas of retconning and start finding contradictions within the Saga.
    The Saga was developed organically, and the concept and the focus was constantly being changed (even now, it seems, the new movies will try to change it). Lying about it and claiming that there was one master-plan, saying that the whole Saga was already well-though, is an easy way to avoid criticism.And to make fans accept the new concept of the ever-developing Saga.
    If the prequels were criticised, imagine what would have been if Lucas had openly admited that the prequels had nothing to do with his original plans and were not part of his "original outline". It wouldn't make the movies any better or worse, but more fans would refuse to see the Saga from this new perspective Lucas wanted them to see.
    Imagine that, when Empire came out, Lucas would have said "originally Vader was not Luke's father, but when I was writing this movie I though it would be cool to change the original concept and totally contradict the previous movie, I hope fans will like it". A lot of people would immediately decide that the original movie was being butchered by the sequels and that they didn't like how things were developing. It's much more soothing to hear the creator of the series saying "it's ok guys, it's how it was always meant to be, everything is going according to plan..".
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  8. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    star 4
    There's also the appeal to the public of it all having been planned out, merely waiting to be revealed. That each film is a part of an epic saga, that the rest of the story 'really' exists. Instead of just a series of sci-fi films, it becomes something far more mythological. Simple spin, which also makes following the story that much more fun.

    There are certain elements of truth to Lucas' story - the broad plot of TPM was actually something he came up with in 1972 & then abandoned (the two page 'Journal of the Whills' outline), scenes from ESB & ROTJ were in early drafts of SW (the asteroid chase, the forest battle with the natives aiding the heroes), and in the first draft, the hero's father actually was a cyborg - but he was one of the heroes, not the villainous Sith Lord/Knight. In fact, 'Darth Vader' was originally a name given to an Imperial officer, the Sith Knight was Prince Valorum.

    The early drafts of SW, plus the Leigh Brackett draft of ESB, can be found here, and they completely contradict GL's current accounts:

    http://starwarz.com/starkiller/

    Brackett's draft includes one scene which pretty much torpedoes any notion that Luke Skywalker's father was Darth Vader prior to the early development of ESB (1977/78) - the ghost of Luke's father appears to him on Dagobah. It can be argued that GL might have been toying with the notion of making Vader Luke's father at the same time, but even then, it would have been something he came up with in late 1977, not 1973, as he claims.

    FWIW, I don't think there's anything wrong with what GL has done, it's not a cynical or sleazy marketing ploy, it comes across as a genuine effort to make the SW Saga something along the lines of Tolkien's tales of Middle Earth. I just think he's handled it somewhat clumsily by claiming that "it was like that all along" in a very literal way, as opposed to Tolkien's clever way of alternating between claiming that the tales were real events he was researching and explaining how he actually wrote them.
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  9. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    For Lucas to have had fixed Vader as Luke's father from the very beginning, every one of those early drafts, etc would have had to have been planted misinformation to keep it secret till Empire Strikes Back.

    Perhaps a little implausible.
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  10. KilroyMcFadden Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2012
    star 3
    No way. Vader was a separate person who killed Luke/s father. GL changed it as he went and used the "from a certain point of view" retcon in Jedi to change it.
    Last edited by KilroyMcFadden, Feb 8, 2013
  11. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    Honestly? I don't know. Only Lucas can answer this question. Even if his notes don't reflect the idea of Vader as Luke's father as early as ANH . . . we really don't know what was on Lucas' mind. And to assume that we know strikes me as rather arrogant.
    Last edited by DRush76, Feb 8, 2013
  12. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    There's a good few private comments in which he specifically refers to Luke's father & Vader as separate people, Luke's father being dead, not to mention the ghost of Luke's father in the first draft of ESB while Vader is alive & well, plus Luke's father being alive in Drafts 1 & 2. In Draft 3 he's dead, but Luke remembers him...

    It's possible that GL had the alternate version in mind (in fact, I think he might have in late 1977/early 1978, while Brackett was working on her draft of ESB), but when he says "it was like that all along", it simply isn't true, as there was a great deal of work he put into the version which completely contradicts the Father Vader storyline, and absolutely no drafts or notes prior to the 2nd draft of ESB which even suggest that Vader is Luke's father.
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  13. Master Aizakku Rorensu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2013
    star 1
    First, wow, this was brought up as a joke yesterday in the EU thread on the Episode VII board, but I didn't realize this was a current topic.

    Anyway, second, I thought it was a simple answer too.

    And I'll take your Aunt Beru quote and Uncle Owen reply of "That's what I'm afraid of... '' And I'll add, like I said in the other thread, that at the 34:13 point of A New Hope Obi-Wan Kenobi gives the "pregnant pause" when Luke asked about how his father died. So it's as clear as day to me that George Lucas had it planned all along. That, and all twelve movies. :cool:

    Seriously, though, isn't this moment from that scene, coupled with the Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen exchange, proof positive that Vader was Luke's father all along? What else could it possibly be?
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  14. SHAD0W-JEDI Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 3
    My biggest problem with the change - if it was a change,and I lean in that direction ! -- was the unfortunate position the writers then had to put Obi-Wan in. That whole "from a certain point of view" thing. UGH.
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  15. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4

    In the RTJ script Obi-wan says that Owen was his brother.

    I don't think the Emperor was ment to be the all powerful force user. It seemed he may have originaly been a guy who got power but was then locked away by all the Moffs and other rulers and just a figure head.

    Lets also not get started on Luke and Leia being brother and sister [face_shame_on_you]
  16. Chainmail_Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 26, 2013
    star 2
    Lucas had no clue what he was doing with Star Wars. He made it up as he went along, and got lucky with the OT, and not so lucky with the PT.
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  17. Master Aizakku Rorensu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2013
    star 1
    Yeah, I see people citing what was written in this script or that script and that treatment and so on, and that's all well and good. What's in the script though isn't always what ends up on screen. Case in point, Han saying "I know" in response to Leia saying she loved him wasn't in the script.

    And while we're at it, in your very own post is another example of this. :cool:

    In relation to this though, for those who say Lucas didn't have Vader as Luke's father planned all along, what did you see on the screen? Has that ever been explained away?

    In 1977, Aunt Beru's and Uncle Owens' exchange, and Obi-Wan Kenobi pausing when Luke asked how his father died is as clear an indication as any to me (and obviously in retrospect because I was only 7 at the time and there was no such thing as The Empire Strikes Back).

    Anyway, otherwise, why would Uncle Owen be afraid that Luke had too much of his father in him, and why did Obi-Wan pause when Luke asked how his father died? What other explanation is there other than the obvious? That Luke's father was originally someone that did something bad, and that's why Uncle Owen was afraid for Luke and why Obi-Wan paused. And then George Lucas later on for The Empire Strikes Back decided to make Vader his father and scrap the idea of Luke's father as someone who may have done something bad? Would those of you who question that it was planned all along say that something like that is what really happened?

    Overall, I think some may be making more of it because they enjoy a "mystery" or something... I don't know? But it's all been pretty straight forward to me since probably around 1980.
    Last edited by Master Rorensu, Feb 9, 2013
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  18. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    That Owen was concerned that Luke would go off and get himself killed, just like his father (Owen's brother) did.
    Plus, Beru certainly doesn't refer to Luke's father with the sort of dread that one would expect if said father was now the second most dangerous man in the galaxy.

    After the "I am your father line" was spoken by Darth Vader in ESB.
    Not 1977, though. And that's when Owen's line was spoken to the public for the first time.

    The same hindsight has been applied to Obi-Wan's line, "I don't seem to recall ever owning a droid", when, in fact, Obi-Wan was simply reacting to the strange situation of a droid turning up out of nowhere looking for him.
    He knew something important was obviously happening, that doesn't mean his cagey reaction had anything to do with him actually recognising R2-D2.

    It's not 'proof' of anything other than the existence of good luck for GL.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Feb 10, 2013
  19. Master Aizakku Rorensu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2013
    star 1
    Why did Obi-Wan Kenobi pause then when Luke asked how his father died? Which is my main point, and what I intended to be the main point of what you quoted (the "this moment from that scene" part).

    Yeah, I think you're missing my main point. The Uncle Owen line was me just completing the Aunt Beru exchanged that Mooncake citied in her first post.

    My main point was why did Obi-Wan Kenobi pause when Luke asked how his father died. Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's exchange is just in addition to that.

    And yes, that's why I said "and obviously in retrospect because I was only 7 at the time and there was no such thing as The Empire Strikes Back" in regards to Obi-Wan Kenobi pausing at the 34:13 mark of A New Hope when asked by Luke how his father died.

    I agree that there was a lot of luck in Star Wars being as popular and successful as it was, but is your position that George Lucas was creative enough to come up with all of the other "creative" things in A New Hope, and had outlines for twelve movies in total, but coming up with the villain as the father of the hero (in A New Hope, not after) is something that was beyond his ability and it was just luck?

    Anyway, all of this aside, again, why did Obi-Wan Kenobi pause when Luke asked him how his father died?
  20. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Taking into account that part of Lucas' original story was modified and adapted to work as a standalone film, I would say that yes, he knew Vader was Luke's father, but that concept was partially removed from A New Hope in order to work as a self contained story.
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  21. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    Probably because he is telling a young kid that his father was betrayed and murdered, that would be enough to make anyone pause
  22. Master Aizakku Rorensu Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2013
    star 1
    Now that makes sense. Although I don't agree with the partially removed part. I say it was always there, but it was only going to be revealed and addressed if they were fortunate enough to make more movies. In a "here's part of the story, and if it works, here's the rest" kind of way.

    Or, he was his father all along, and Obi-Wan Kenobi just didn't want to tell him who his father really was. :cool:

    I guess it's all in how one reads body language. Because looking at the scene, to me Obi-Wan Kenobi's pause is that of "I'm about to 'lie' to you to protect you from the truth." And not that of "how he died was because he was betrayed and murdered and I want to break it to you as easy as I can."

    One way says that Lucas didn't have it planned at all, but found a loophole in a couple lines of dialogue in one scene, and a pause in another, and then just simply lucked out on pretty much the whole thing.

    And the other way (what I think) says Lucas simply lucked out in that what he came up with caught on as big as it did.
  23. oierem Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 3
    So, do you consider your reading of the body language (a minimun pause before delivering sensible information to Luke about his father's death) an actual prove of Vader being Luke's father?
    Yes, that moment (and Owen's comment) luckily works with the new version. Some other moments don't work that well. Obi-Wan talks about "a young JEDI named Darth Vader" (you'd think that if Lucas was thinking about the whole "point of view" issue, he'd worded the sentence differently).

    And in any case, you're totally ignoring all written prove, all the scripts that are available that flat-out contradict that Vader was Luke's father, in favour of your interpretation of an acting choice (how should Guinness act then if Vader was not meant to be Luke's father?)
    (btw, Lucas never had treatments for 12 movies).
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  24. Darth Chiznuk PT Trivia Master / Game Host

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    This is exactly what I always thought from the first time I watched the entire trilogy. The slight pause and the look Obi-Wan gives Luke always indicated to me that he was afraid and a bit ashamed to tell Luke the awful truth about his father.

    This. I think Lucas had it in mind very early on (perhaps not from the rough draft but as he worked through the story) but held it back a bit for ANH in case he wasn't able to make more films.
  25. Master Aizakku Rorensu Jedi Master

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    Feb 1, 2013
    star 1
    As clear as the sky is blue, yes.

    What would he have said differently?

    Obi-Wan Kenobi was "lying" to him.

    It's like saying a family member has an alcohol or drug abuse problem, and it's the alcohol or drug that killed them. And it's speaking figuratively in that, the family member is a wonderful person, but their alcohol abuse/addiction or drug abuse/addiction changed them into someone that they're not, and therefore killed them (figuratively, if not literally in a case like that).

    Luke's father was this wonderful person, but this "drug" (Darth Vader; the dark side of the Force) is what "killed" him.

    So the "certain point of view" is simply speaking figuratively. Whether Obi-Wan Kenobi should have done it that way is a whole other issue.

    No, I'm not ignoring it all. I accept all of that.

    What's on the screen is what matters though, not what's in the scripts. What's on the screen is the final word, not what's in the script.

    EDIT: As to how Obi-Wan Kenobi should have acted if Vader wasn't meant to be Luke's father... I don't know. You tell me. :cool:

    And I didn't say treatments for 12 movies, I said outlines for 12 movies.

    Yeah, any other way seems to be trying to discredit George Lucas and say that he couldn't come up with a plot twist of having the villain be the hero's father.

    True, George Lucas may not write the best dialogue, but the guy can tell a good story.
    Last edited by Master Rorensu, Feb 10, 2013
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