CT Is it true that Lucas originally wanted the end of ROTJ to take place in/around Coruscant?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by artooo, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. artooo Jedi Master

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    But technological limitations stopped him?

    Sure, it couldn't have been depicted in detail like in the prequels but I think if you look at Cloud City, the depictions of star destroyer superstructures, and the shots of the rebel fighters on the surface and interior of the Death Star in ROTJ they certainly could have gotten around technological limitations if they were smart in how much they showed.

    It might have made for a better film too, with the middle portion mostly taking place on Endor and the end in/around Coruscant.
    Last edited by artooo, Nov 17, 2012
  2. Iron_lord Chosen One

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  3. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    A 1982 film 'Blade Runner' shows that it could have been plausibly done back then.
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  4. artooo Jedi Master

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    A VERY good point, Blade Runner completely slipped my mind.
  5. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I don't know about the technological limitations, but originally the Death Star(s) and the Sanctuary Moon were all satellites of the Imperial capitol planet, Had Abbaddon (the name that was eventually used, Coruscant, came from Tim Zahn's Heir to the Empire novels).

    Here's what it could have looked like (McQuarrie did a fair amount of concept art for this, but it can be hard to sort out the images done for the film itself from some that were commissioned specifically for a book called The Illustrated Star Wars Universe):

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    Instead of Luke being taken to a throne room in space, Vader would have taken him down into the bowels of the planet:

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    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Nov 17, 2012
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  6. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    As far as I know, all the above illustrations were originally for ROTJ - although a few were included in The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, plus new ones, in which the planet was referred to as 'Imperial Center'. I think the first one, which includes the palace & pyramids, might have been a new painting based on an earlier sketch for ROTJ by Joe Johnston.

    GL's rough draft, which features the scenes on Had Abbadon, can be read here:

    http://starwarz.com/starkiller/category/star-wars-scripts/return-of-the-jedi-star-wars-scripts/
  7. Darth_Kiryan Force Ghost

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    It seems incredibly strange to me that, if Endor/Had Abbadon was actually the capital planet, that the Emperor would really pull that much more of a gamble off to trap the Rebellion in such a way. That really would make him less confident, and perhaps stupider in my eyes because i there really is no logic in pulling such a gambit like that. Especially, i reiterate, for the CAPITAL PLANET in a galaxy spanning empire.
  8. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    Is the Johnston image you mean the one I posted (if so, it'd have to be a pretty loose influence) or some other one? I really like the aesthetic they established for the place.

    Also, in the EU pre-prequels, Coruscant was established as the name for the planet in the Old and New Republics, while the Empire simply called it Imperial Center (which is why the name differs in TISWU).
  9. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    It does sound as if the Imperial Capital was eliminated from the plot of ROTJ to simplify matters, and for the reason you've just stated - much as the rescue plot in earlier drafts of SW was switched from the floating Imperial prison of Alderaan to the Death Star (although the budget influenced that decision far greater).

    I suppose that featuring Had Abbadon in ROTJ seemed like a great idea at first - the trilogy finishing with its climax occurring at the very "bright centre of the universe" Luke wishes to see in SW/ANH - but I can see why they decided to drop it. The planet itself isn't integral to the story (whereas it is in the PT). However well they executed the environment, it'd be more of a tease than anything else, as we'd only see a few sections, and it'd just lead to more questions about what went on there. Better to introduce it with the little cameo at the end of the SE of ROTJ, then present the planet properly in the PT.

    The actual scenes in the lava Throne Room of the rough draft are pretty silly, too, and really confusing. Weird Force shields, Yoda's ghost briefly appearing when the shield is touched, Palps & Obi-Wan standing at the side commenting on the duel between Luke & Vader - simply not good enough, particularly compared to the high drama of the magnificent Throne Room duel we did get.

    A quick read of GL's rough draft of ROTJ really illustrates just how little he'd thought through the nature of the Jedi afterlife back then.
  10. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    No, the painting you posted is a Ralph McQuarrie painting - I'm not 100% sure, but I think he did that for TISWU, based on a similar Johnston sketch not posted, similar to this one:

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    I think there's a few Johnston sketches that are basically the same as this one. Pretty sure the one I'm thinking of was a somewhat wider shot, but much the same.
    EDIT: I think this is the one

    The actual Imperial Palace in the first shot of your post seems to be an EU construct, although there might have been some of those pyramids in the ROTJ sketches.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Nov 17, 2012
  11. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    The one I meant in my own post is the drawing we previously pretty well established as a Johnston (which looks nothing like the pyramid painting, which is why I was confused). Also I'm glad you posted that painting above, I can never find really good versions of it online.

    Is the sketch you're talking about in TISWU, or is it from somewhere else?
  12. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    I'm pretty sure this is the one I was thinking of - the trading card I have of it crops out most of the moon/planet. I suspect it originally appeared in The Art of ROTJ, and I think it's in TISWU (I don't have my copy here).

    Of course, now I vaguely remember a sketch which resembles the McQuarrie painting even more, which did include a similar palace-type structure, but I might be getting confused.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Nov 17, 2012
  13. Greedoliveson Jedi Youngling

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    Two Death Stars would have been epic.
  14. BoomBach Jedi Youngling

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    ANother concept Lucas had was instead of the ewoks on Endor they would of fought on Kashyyk against wookies. THis was sadly changed...
  15. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

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    I'd have settled for even a few minutes of the Imperial capital. One of my beefs with ROTJ is that, unlike TEST, we don't get to see any new exciting environments (that's what makes it easier to overlook the flaws in the prequels).
    Last edited by -NaTaLie-, Nov 19, 2012
  16. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

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    Yes. One Death Star destroyed practically the same way as the original station was kind of anticlimactic. Two death stars could have been mind blowing.

    And, of course, the wookies!

    ROTJ is kind of like TPM: some original ideas were better than what we ended up with.
  17. BoomBach Jedi Youngling

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    Honestly the ending was really epic but lacked something. I don't know, maybe being unique.
    Like we had already seen a death star be destroyed and an empire vs rebels battle. It just lacked creativity.
  18. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    Just Endor ( but I guess you're not counting it because it looks like a state park ).
  19. artooo Jedi Master

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    Well, Han and Leia leading the ground assault to liberate the capital vs "merely" taking down the shield generator would have definitely been more epic. Not to mention the Rebel fleet also attacking the imperial shipyards surrounding the new Death Star......
    Last edited by artooo, Nov 20, 2012
  20. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Yeah, but just try to somehow portray it convincingly on film. A Rebel ground assault on a city planet? It'd be a headache doing it today with CGI and not making it look like a video game, let alone in 1983.

    Even the PT barely used Coruscant for much more than interior scenes established with relatively static establishing shots - apart from the speeder chase in AOTC, which was able to get away with looking a bit like a video game due to its nature.

    You can't stage an 'epic battle' anywhere other than a relatively desolate area - deep space, the orbit around Coruscant, the plains of Hoth, the Gates of Mordor etc. Occupying a city is a much more messy affair that takes time, unless you want to completely destroy it in the process. It's no wonder they dropped the idea for ROTJ.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Nov 20, 2012
  21. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

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    I dig the speeder bike but overall it wasn't very exciting (silly ewok vietcong didn'g help either).
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  22. Julius Vernon Jedi Grand Master

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    I think a battle at the capital at the end of ROTJ would have been very interesting. Also it could potentially have been more conclusive than the ending on Endor. Unfortunately some of the problems mentioned here, technology, making a city invasion look real, ability of a rebel group to overtake the Empire at its core, etc could have been prohibitive to the concept.

    I for one would have loved to have seen something outlining the Rebels securing Coruscant to use it as the center for the New Republic.
  23. artooo Jedi Master

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    You don't need to show a full scale battle like Return of the King or anything. Moreso you could show them leading a smaller attack to secure a key part of the planet(imperial command center, seat of government etc.) like the natalie portman scenes in the battle of naboo and the planet capitulates once the imperial fleet is defeated.
    You can mostly show interior shots of close quarters combat(like inside the death start in a new hope or the end of esb).

    You can show rebel x wings etc. attacking key emplacements in a few shots(think of replacing the death star superstructure from the battle of yavin or the star destroyer superstructures from ROTJ, or the rebel fighters above the superstructure of the death star 2 just before they go into the interior, with city building models) and a few exterior shots like in Blade Runner earlier in the film to give a larger sense of scale. I think it could've been done that way. The the middle portion of the film could have been Endor.
  24. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    You could do that, sure. Wouldn't be very credible, though - it's a city that occupies an entire planet. Somehow taking it over in the last hour or so of a film wouldn't be believable, even if the action was set over several days.
    Comparing it to retaking Naboo in TPM doesn't wash - Naboo was a backwater world, and Padme et al simply took over the capital city and captured Nute Gunray, while the blockade was broken and the droid armies shut down. A straightforward military operation, due to the relatively small scale of the conflict.

    Taking Had Abbadon/Coruscant would involve far more than that, and the Imperial forces on the ground (in their millions) wouldn't capitulate simply because the fleet was defeated, nor would it be so simple to secure key areas of the planet, largely because there'd be so many. The Rebels also wouldn't be staging any major assaults for fear of harming civilians, as well as the massive collateral damage involved.

    The battle to retake Coruscant was portrayed convincingly in the Dark Empire comic series - a long, drawn-out series of major and minor conflicts that went on for months, even years. Try to squeeze it into an hour's worth of screen time and it'll seem rushed and not very believable at all, which even the end of TPM came to close to doing. It could also lessen the impact of the city planet itself, by making it seem so easy to take over.
  25. artooo Jedi Master

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    You're applying way, way too much logic to what happens when viewing a film, much less a Star Wars film. Things like the logic of whether or not the planet would capitulate even if the imperial fleet were defeated isn't something that viewers concern themselves with anymore than the logic of the Death Star 2 having a perfect way for the rebels to get to the main reactor. We're talking about a film where a bunch of little bears(regardless of what lucas says) defeat the best soldiers in the galaxy.
    Last edited by artooo, Nov 20, 2012