Is Akira Kurosawa the key? Ep 3

Discussion in 'Revenge of the Sith' started by TK327, Dec 28, 2001.

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  1. TK327 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2001
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    Lucas talks about Kurosawa's cinematic influence in this Filmforce article. For an excerpt, check out
    Holonet
    .
  2. bad radio Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 1999
    star 4
    While doing some research for another thread, I came across some things that I wanted to document here. Before I get started, let me preface things with a quote from Lawrence Kasdan:

    Star Wars was inspired by his film The Hidden Fortress, so George and I had an immediate connection there. All through Kurosawa?s movies you have the idea that it?s one thing to be physically adept and something else to be spiritually adept.

    ? Lawrence Kasdan, quoted in L. Bouzereau, Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, 1997
    />
    Return of the Jedi?s story and became particularly interested in the changes that were made when Lawrence Kasdan took over writing duties for the screenplay. According to The Annotated Screenplays, Lucas wrote the first draft, the rough draft, and the revised rough draft. These scripts are dated February 20th, February 24th, and June 12th of 1981 respectively. A month later, Lucas met with Kasdan to discuss the story and hand over writing duties. Kasdan had the second draft done by September 21, 1981.

    Of interest to me in Kasdan?s second draft is the scene in which Ben explains to Luke why he lied to Luke about Anakin. In the previous drafts that George had written, there is no such scene to cover Ben?s point of view regarding Anakin; Luke simply ?understands? why Ben lied to him. Interestingly, it is in Kasdan?s second draft that there is more conflict between Luke and Ben, and it is where the theme of ?certain points of view? is introduced. Also, there exists in this scene an elaborate back-story for what happened to Anakin and the twins that wasn?t present in Lucas?s previous scripts. Here we learn that Obi-Wan once tried to turn Anakin back from the dark side, which led to a climatic lightsaber duel. Obi-Wan failed to turn Anakin back, he defeated Anakin in the duel, and Anakin fell into a volcano. Obi-Wan believed that Anakin was dead but somehow the Emperor was able to save him. It is also in this script that we learn Obi-Wan had to make a quick decision concerning what to do with Luke and Leia. After he found out that Anakin survived, Obi-Wan decided to split up the twins. He left Leia and Anakin?s wife in the stewardship of Obi-Wan?s good friend Bail Organa. Anakin?s wife died shortly thereafter and Bail Organa adopted Leia as his own child. Likewise, Obi-Wan took Luke to live with Owen Lars, Obi-Wan?s brother (according to this draft, Ben and Owen are brothers). Also in this draft Obi-Wan is very clear as to what Luke needs to do about Anakin?Luke must kill father in order to win. Anyone who has read James Kahn?s novelization of Return of the Jedi should be familiar with these finer points because the novelization is based almost entirely on Kasdan?s second draft.

    Apparently, though, this scene didn?t sit well with both George and Larry. In the third draft of the screenplay, dated December 1, 1981, both men made revisions to the script, and no other changes were more drastic than the ones made to the abovementioned scene. Gone were all the details surrounding Obi-Wan and Anakin?s duel. Gone were all the details surrounding how the twins were split up. Gone was the notion that Ben and Owen were brothers. Taken out and transferred to another scene was the reference to Luke and Leia?s mother?s death. Also transferred to another scene was idea that Obi-Wan once tried to save Anakin and failed. In truth, the only things that remained were Obi-Wan?s ?point of view? reasoning as to why he lied to Luke, and the revelation that Luke had a sister.

    So why were there so many changes made to this scene in the third draft? Well, one, I think Lucas realized some of the minutiae he and Kasdan came up wit/>/>
  3. sith_rising Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2004
    star 4
    I guess I'll have to watch more Kurosawa! I am a big fan of Inagaki's Samurai Trilogy, although alot of Kurosawa fans constantly trash it. It's my second favorite trilogy, soon to be third after May 2005.
  4. OBIWAN-JR Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2002
    star 6
    >>>>To be continued?

    Soon, I hope. That was delicious, BR.

    -JR :)
  5. EyeH8EU Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 30, 2003
    star 3
    Ah, my inner Force Ghost was crying out for a thread of this magnitude.

    This has been my favorite thread to read since I started posting here. Thank you very much.
  6. bad radio Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 1999
    star 4
    (continued from previous post)

    Of considerable interest and importance is that while writing the second draft of Return of the Jedi?s screenplay, Kasdan would churn out portions of the script and FedEx them to Lucas for him to proof-read. George would either approve each piece, or he would notate each part he thought needed to be changed and send those notes back to Kasdan. When Larry received any of George?s annotations, he simply filed them away; in the meantime he continued writing and sending more excerpts from the script to Lucas. This process continued until September 21, 1981, when Kasdan completed the second draft, and when he finished, he immediately read through George?s remarks and set out to rework the script the way George wanted it. It?s important to note, when Kasdan started amending the second draft, Lucas was still proof-reading parts from the second draft that Kasdan had just completed a few days prior.

    While George was still going over the final scenes from Larry?s script, Kasdan penned two revised versions of the second draft, dated November 1, 1982 and November 11, 1981. Many of the changes made in those scripts were minor and revolved around the scenes where Luke and company infiltrated Jabba?s palace. Lucas at long last finished reading all of the second draft and presented his notes to Larry who then sat down and consolidated the revised second draft with the rest of George?s changes into one script. The result was the third draft, dated December 1, 1981, which was completed less than one month before principle photography began. Lucas gave the okay on this version of the screenplay and it served as the shooting script for the film.

    The revisions that show up in this draft are the ones that interest me most. They primarily deal with the portrayal that Kasdan had mistakenly applied to some of the characters in the second draft. For instance, George wanted to bring a natural progression to Han Solo?s character-arc in Return of the Jedi. Where Han was the reluctant follower in A New Hope, he was now supposed to take initiative and become the ?natural leader? that Leia alluded to in Empire. Instead, Kasdan creates things in the second draft so that Han?s character actually takes a step backwards. In the scene in the Rebel war room, for example, where the Rebels are plotting their attack on the Death Star, Kasdan writes it so that Leia is the one who volunteered to lead the strike force to take out the Endor shield generator. Han considers this another ?suicide mission? and has to be convinced against all his sensibilities to go with her. Lucas had Kasdan change that scene for the third draft, which reflects what we see in the film.

    Han?s character wasn?t the only one Kasdan depicted incorrectly in the second draft. As I pointed out earlier, George imagined Ben Kenobi?s character in a much different way than the pessimistic old man that Kasdan had written into the second draft. From George?s perspective, Kenobi?s character was to be one where he hasn?t given up on Anakin and believes his former pupil will make the choice to turn back from the dark side and help Luke destroy the Emperor. This was the way Ben was depicted in George?s own screenplay drafts, but Kasdan had gone in a different direction in the second draft and made it so Kenobi had lost all faith in Anakin. George had Kasdan correct this, but unlike the aforementioned fix for Han?s character where George simply puts Han in the role that Kasdan had previously written for Leia, things were a bit more complicated this time around.

    I believe George was keen on the way Larry had cleverly extrapolated the themes and characters from Akira Kurosawa?s films in creating the scene where Ben accounts for his own ?point of view? concerning the events surrounding Anakin?s fall to the dark side. So much so, in fact, that George decided even though this theme might contradict what he wanted to put forward with Ben?s character, he would keep it anyway and somehow find a way to work around it. And I think what?s
  7. Winterfrost Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2003
    star 2
    I've seen Yojimbo, but never Sanjuro. And it may very well be the key to making sense of Obi-Wan's dialogue in ROTJ (which I have seen debated a lot in recent weeks)!

    The scene on Dagobah, which I believe a lot of people considered to be sloppy/full-of-holes may have simply been deeper than we may have guessed! I'm not sure if Lucas pulled it off quite as well as Kurosawa may have -- or does Marquand take the blame for that? -- but it's excellent food for thought!

    Thank you, BR!
  8. Promethues-Skywalker Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 2, 2002
    star 1
    Always fantastic and an intellectual delight. You have have created another masterful insight into our Star Wars saga. Always a pleasure to read your post Bad Radio.


    Prometheus
  9. JOBOB_THE_HUTT Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2003
    star 5
    I've been here way too long.

    I woke up this morning and one of the first things to popinto my head was Is Akira Kurosawa the key? Ep 3

    Wierd... o_O

    Thanks badradio [face_thinking]
  10. HaN___DoLO3 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 6, 2003
    star 4
    Wow... :eek:

    I'm totally speachless.

    I can't wait for the conclusion.

    Thanks very much bad radio

    =D= As always, you've provided wonderful insight into our beloved saga. =D=
  11. severian28 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5
    SW is very much apart of that Ford-Kurasawa-Leone movie connection that still has social scientists and film historians scratching their heads saying " How did that happen ". Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino are aware of that film geneology also and are heavily influenced by it. ( Tatooine is obviously inspired by Leone )
  12. ome Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 10, 2004
    star 5
    wow...this is amazing...are all these pictures from one movie?
  13. E CHU TA! Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2000
    star 4
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Kurosawa hero is a man who continues in the very face of certain defeat. He refuses to give up even after everyone else is convinced he has already lost. This is the reason that he is always alone. And seemingly certain failure is not all. Even more subtle temptations lie in wait.

    ? Donald Richie, The Films of Akira Kurosawa, 1965
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Indeed. With Episode 3, Obi-wan and Yoda fight on against all odds and do in fact end up alone.
  14. severian28 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5
    Kurasawas' Samurai hero is inspired by Gary Cooper in " High Noon " and in turn inspired Leones " Man With No Name ". I think Lucas draws technical inspiration from Kurasawa and not so much characterization, although its 100 % confirmed that the droids are insprired by those two boneheads from " The Hidden Fortress " as well as the rudimentary plot for ANH.
  15. Flask Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 22, 2000
    star 4
    I read somewhere recently that the plot of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo was from Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest story. The sequel Sanjuro was supposedly derived from another of Hammett's works; hence, many of the Samurai films used plots from our 1920s/1930s "hardboiled detective" flicks and pulps. It's interesting how that hard-boiled/lone detective genre influenced the Kurosawan Samurai genre which in turn influenced the Leone Spaghetti Western genre, etc. It seems every generation retains what it views, combines it with their own ideas and creates new artistic masterpiece(s).
  16. All_Powerful_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2003
    star 4
    The Kurosawa hero is a man who continues in the very face of certain defeat. He refuses to give up even after everyone else is convinced he has already lost. This is the reason that he is always alone. And seemingly certain failure is not all. Even more subtle temptations lie in wait.

    ? Donald Richie, The Films of Akira Kurosawa, 1965


    When it comes to the Star Wars Saga as a whole, this description fits Luke Skywalker more than any other character. In fact, "he refuses to give up even after everyone else is convinced he has already lost," really seems most relevant to Obi-Wan sitting there on the log telling Luke that his father "is more machine now, than man. Twisted and evil," when Luke suggests the good in him. Even his mentor is telling him he is chasing a ghost when Luke stumbles onto the key to the whole thing.

    Certainly, the hero motif also does fit Obi-Wan Kenobi, but mostly in the PT. We will see Obi-Wan confront Anakin in the face of his atrocities in Episode III, trying to bring him back. We will see Obi-Wan take it upon himself to hide the twins, specifically Luke, even though he has nothing to gain by doing so. In the OT, it is to a lesser extent, as he eventually picks the lightsaber back up in Episode IV and takes it upon himself to train Luke in the face of his failures with Anakin.

    However, it is Luke who is walking into the Emperor's Throne Room in the face of hopelessness. The Emperor, Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin himself have all offered up their own perspective on Anakin's turn to the Dark Side and Luke was the only one that believed in Anakin. We, the audience, are supposed to feel that Luke is completely isolated and that even his friends can't understand his vision quest. Family is the key, not Kurosawa necessarily, though his influence cannot be denied.

    Luke has the "against-all-odds" heroic perseverance. Obi-Wan is there to help him when he is down, but in the end, the future belongs to Luke and his generation. Obi-Wan's generation represents the flaws that led it to becoming an oppressive Empire. He can only help Luke avoid the pitfalls and help him get to the point to where he can overcome them.

    Obi-Wan Kenobi has the wisdom and, yes, the persuasiveness, but is also full of cynicism. I think it's fair to say that Obi-Wan wanted Luke to come to his own conclusion on Anakin on Dagobah in Return of the Jedi, but that's just it - his own conclusion. When Luke told Obi-Wan that Anakin could be redeemed, Obi-Wan steered Luke away from that idea. Luke had enlightened himself, searched his feelings, and felt the good in his father. Obi-Wan still discouraged him. I don't think he was telling Luke to kill his father, but he wasn't telling him to redeem him, either.

    In fact, Lucas has said that he wanted Luke to be isolated heading into that final encounter. Obi-Wan and Yoda are dead. Darth Vader refuses to budge on Endor and takes Luke before his Emperor. Leia finally knows the truth, but doesn't completely understand what Luke is doing. Luke is alone.

    Even though at some point Yoda and Ben interfered, I eventually decided that they couldn?t connect physically with what Luke was doing. I felt that one of the major issues in [Return of the Jedi] is that Luke is finally on his own and has to fight Vader and the Emperor by himself. If you get a sense that Yoda or Ben is there to help him or to somehow influence him, it diminishes the power of the scene.
    ? George Lucas, quoted in L. Bouzereau, Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays, 1997


    This mainly refers to the physical element, but Lucas is also clear to point out that he doesn't want them to influence Luke, as well.

    Ultimately, Obi-Wan is not influencing Luke one way or the other in Return of the Jedi, except in his insistence that Luke be a man and face his destiny instead of give up. What Luke decided from there was not centered around a prophecy, a certain victory over the evil in Anakin, nor the even destruction of the Emperor. Whatever w
  17. 2Cleva Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 4
    Well said APJ! Well said indeed!
  18. bad radio Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 1999
    star 4
    I can?t stay long. Friday night, and all (going to see I, Robot). Anyway?

    >>>> When it comes to the Star Wars Saga as a whole, this description fits Luke Skywalker more than any other character. In fact, "he refuses to give up even after everyone else is convinced he has already lost," really seems most relevant to Obi-Wan sitting there on the log telling Luke that his father "is more machine now, than man. Twisted and evil," when Luke suggests the good in him. Even his mentor is telling him he is chasing a ghost when Luke stumbles onto the key to the whole thing.

    Nah? I think it?s already been confirmed that Obi-Wan takes it upon himself to go to Mustafar to turn Anakin back, and he does this without the approval of the rest of the Jedi who describe what he sets out to do as a ?suicide mission.? Why doesn?t Obi-Wan mention this to Luke when Luke resolves to save Anakin in Jedi? Because Obi-Wan is the ?Kurosawa hero? just like Luke.
  19. JediSF Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2004
    star 4
    Ultimately, Obi-Wan is not influencing Luke one way or the other in Return of the Jedi, except in his insistence that Luke be a man and face his destiny instead of give up. What Luke decided from there was not centered around a prophecy, a certain victory over the evil in Anakin, nor the even destruction of the Emperor. Whatever was going to happen in the outcome of the fight was undetermined at that point, and could only be determined by three people: Palpatine, Luke, and Anakin (or determined by one element - The Force). I see this scene as Ben Kenobi essentially telling Luke that only he can figure it all out, and that the only thing he can do is confront his demons. It's very, very open-ended and Luke is not influenced to redeem Anakin Skywalker by Ben Kenobi in this scene. Not by reverse psychology, nor positive reinforcement.

    APJ, your point here is becoming contradictory. GL's stated intent is that Luke is not to be influenced by Obi-Wan or Yoda. You argue that Ben was not trying to influence Luke yet, as you also said above:
    When Luke told Obi-Wan that Anakin could be redeemed, Obi-Wan steered Luke away from that idea. Luke had enlightened himself, searched his feelings, and felt the good in his father. Obi-Wan still discouraged him. I don't think he was telling Luke to kill his father, but he wasn't telling him to redeem him, either.

    So, is Obi-Wan trying to dissuade Luke or not? If he is trying to discourage Luke on the idea, I would say that he is obviously attempting to influence him.

    So given the Sanjuro role ben has adopted, let's take the scene between Vader in the context of Obi-Wan's words at Dagobah. Had Obi-Wan been truly been trying to discourage Luke's quest, he would have offered as evidence his failure to save Anakin. However, he doesn't. It is only through Vader that Luke becomes aware of Obi-Wan's attempt. Why hadn't Obi-Wan told him that? Certainly, the same question Luke would ask himself on Endor.
  20. Samurai-Jack Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 2
    WoW.
    I have missed one heck of a discussion.

  21. Jacen_Starkiller Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 2004
    this was also one of my favorite topics...
  22. dr_funkenstein Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2002
    star 4
    I can't believe you bumped this thread just to say you liked it.
  23. QuarrellaDeVil Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 2, 2003
    I was kinda curious to see what some of the long-timers, like BadRadio, had to say, in light of what we know now about the movie. <bump!>
  24. JediSF Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2004
    star 4
    Keep bumping the thread. Bad Radio still owes us a conclusion. We're going on a full quarter year! let's hear it BR! :)
  25. JangoMike Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 13, 2003
    star 4
    This thread needs a good bump.

    Just watched Hidden Fortress and thought of this thread could use a good bump. :)
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