BTS JW Rinzler's 'Making of Return of the Jedi'

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Darth_Nub, May 23, 2013.

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  1. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Some bits & pieces are starting to appear (there's a thread in CT with some pics), now this story conference transcript where GL, Lawrence Kasdan & Richard Marquand discuss the prequels:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/star-wars-prequels-return-of-the-jedi_n_3313793.html

    Some very interesting stuff in there - the use of the Force, Yoda's role, a bit more about Mother Skywalker, and not to mention Leia's intended age when her mother died.

    Counting the days until October 1...
  2. oierem Jedi Grand Master

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    I find the "whodunit" aspect that Lucas is hinting here very interesting: did he want to portray Anakin's turn off-screen, focusing on the mystery aspect of it? ("the Jedi are being killed... that means one of us is a traitor... who can it be?") At this point of the story, it seems that Ben was the main character of the PT, and it seems that Lucas wanted to portray Anakin's turn entirely off-screen, instead of the Anakin-centric storyline of the prequels.
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  3. CaptainHamYoyo Jedi Grand Master

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    What?!! You don't have to have high medichlorians to use the force?!! :0)
  4. JoshieHewls Jedi Grand Master

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    Very interesting. Some parts remain the same, others are quite different. What's compelling is the idea that anyone can use the force, which even then is different from his thoughts in the 70s when he originally came up with the idea of midichlorians.
  5. sith_rhino Jedi Grand Master

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    Very, very interesting. I agree with Kasdan, I don't like that Yoda is only a teacher and not a fighter. Intereting how much of it is very similar to Revenge of the Sith, but with some changes. I like this version better, except for the part about Yoda only being a teacher.
  6. classified Force Ghost

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    I'm somewhere in between. I think that his fight scenes in AotC and RotS completely ruined the character. This is a dude who is all about patience, contemplation and (hate to use the phrase) mind-over-matter. He's tiny and frail yet he has so much command of the force, that it really makes his character very unique, and so his role must reflect that. That moment where Luke gives up on the sinking X-Wing, and we see Yoda lift it out the swamp is one of the best moments in the whole film. And its completely ruined by the CGI blur we see back-flipping of walls slicing at Darth Sidious like a sushi chef. It kind of goes against everything he stood for.

    He was introduced to ESB as a 'wise-old-man mentor' (fairly common plot device in adventure/fantasy/scifi), and so the prequel trilogies should reflect that. Instead we see him teaching younglings one minute and then commanding an army the next. Sure, he should fight, (maybe like once), but it should be much more force-y, and he should never brandish a lightsaber. Ever.
  7. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    I think this transcript somewhat confirms that the earlier 'mystery' vision, which was initially mentioned as Vader's backstory in 1977 (before he was Luke's father) was transplanted directly onto the Father Vader storyline, rather than abandoned. GL did make mention around 1983 that the prequels would be "more of a mystery" anyway.

    It didn't really survive through to the finished films, though - I think AOTC is the only film of the PT which attempts to conjure up such a cloak and dagger atmosphere. TPM is, for the most part, a lighthearted adventure movie, and ROTS is far more focused on Anakin's state of mind.
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  8. JoshieHewls Jedi Grand Master

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    I can't say I agree. To be fair, while he is different in his manner in ESB, one could argue that he is different because of what occurred in the prequels. And he does try to stick with the force in his fight with Dooku, but it ends in a stalemate and the two of them have to resort to using lightsabers.
  9. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    ^^^
    Yoda/Minch does engage in a mock lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan's ghost in the Brackett draft of ESB - however, it's hard to say whether that was GL's invention or Leigh Brackett's.

    I think it's fair to say that the final ESB (and ROTJ) conception of Yoda had, at least, abandoned the lightsaber. The transcript above would suggest that he'd never bothered to take it up, as it clearly implies that he wasn't a Jedi in the normal sense of being in the service of the Republic.

    It also states quite clearly that he wasn't the 'saber-master' referred to in AOTC.

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  10. JoshieHewls Jedi Grand Master

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    Oh yeah, absolutely, I don't think there's any argument that at the time of filming Yoda was not meant to be a fighter (especially considering the discussion between Kasdan and Lucas). But they were smart enough to keep it open ended in the finished film. ;)

    I think it's pretty cool that what Kasdan wanted is what ended up happening in the prequels. Yoda's a fighter and not just anyone can use the Force. I thought Lucas just wanted yes men... ;)
    Last edited by JoshieHewls, May 24, 2013
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  11. jaqen Force Ghost

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    Return of the Jedi is my absolute favorite film, SW or otherwise. It's a great, nostalgic holdover from my childhood that still manages to me me feel like a kid again. Will definitely be purchasing this when it becomes available.

    As far as the prequels. Obviously Padme living longer would have shored up the now plot hole of Leia recalling her mother. But that's always been minor to me anyway. Leia says she recalls her mother more in images, feelings, and I can buy that her force sensitivity allowed her to retain memories from her birth. I actually am glad that Padme died in childbirth. I can't really reconcile her sending one of her children off, but keeping the other. I think Padme was likely killed off earlier than Lucas originally intended because there is just no way that she could have a child, raise it for years, and Palpatine not know. I still just wish that she had actually died from injuries sustained after Anakin attacked her instead of the cheesy "lost the will to live" bit.

    I'm with Kasdan, I loathe the idea of Yoda not being a real Jedi and fighter. Even as a little kid my dream was to one day see the prequels, and get to finally see Yoda kick ass. I also wanted to see him go toe-to-toe with the Emperor. So needless to say the Yoda vs Palpatine battle is one of my absolute favorite saga moments. He also used his saber skills exactly as I hoped he would; as his final resort. I love Yoda in the prequels overall, perhaps even more so than in the OT. Glad Lucas changed his mind.

    I'm one who has never had a problem with Anakin being seen as a child. But I do love this whole idea of Ben and Anakin going on adventures onscreen, and this mystery of "who is killing the Jedi" unfolding. They could have kept the Palpatine rising story from TPM, aged Anakin, and given us more of this mystery. But on the other hand I LOVE the whole Clone/Order 66 development as the beginning of the Jedi slaughter. So I'm torn here.

    Do not like the idea that anybody and everybody has access to the Force, like yoga. No. It completely takes away the uniqueness of Force users. The midi-chlorian stuff is hella clumsy, but at least it does establish that Force users are indeed unique and special from birth thanks to a higher than normal concentration. I also think if wielding the Force was as simple as taking up karate or yoga there would have been FAR more people becoming Force wielders, and the whole attitude that Han had, of doubting if the Force was even real, would make no sense whatsoever. People would just be Force training all over, since the benefits are pretty amazing. Very glad that dropped out because it contradicts the tone of the films already dropped pre-Jedi.
    Last edited by jaqen, May 24, 2013
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  12. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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    Very interesting find, Darth_Nub.

    Some highlights for me:

    1. As mentioned by several posters above, the fact that they were keeping the "mystery" aspect of Anakin's betrayal of the Jedi in the plot/story, even though this was a left-over from the 1977 'expanded' back-story where Vader was a separate character from Luke's father-Annikin.

    2. Lucas doesn't come right out and call the Emperor a Sith, still calling him a politician, etc. I realize though, that Lucas calling Palpatine "NOT a Jedi" doesn't rule out him NOT being a Sith like Vader, it's Lucas only referring to him as a 'Nixonian' politician - exactly like the references from the in-universe 75/76/77 canon material for the first film - but not even calling him a 'dark side' user.
  13. sith_rhino Jedi Grand Master

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    I agree with this.
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  14. gezvader28 Force Ghost

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    hope we get to learn when Lucas decided Leia was Luke's sister , and what Kasdan's reaction was !
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  15. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Same here, but I have a feeling it'll be addressed rather vaguely, in order to maintain the spin that "it was like that all along", much as Father Vader was in the Making of ESB.

    He does say that "he sucked Luke's father into the dark side" however. Combined with the Emperor clearly being presented as having an in-depth knowledge & understanding of the Force in ESB, I think he'd been cemented as a dark-side sorcerer at that point. The final concept of Palpatine appears to have been a merge between the Jedi 'Darklighter' from the development of SW (who trained the Sith pirates in the way of the dark side), the 'Master of the Sith' mentioned in a couple of the drafts, and the Nixonian politician. This merge seems to have happened prior to the Brackett draft of ESB, given Vader's fear of him in that draft.

    I think GL referring to Palps as a politician in the transcript has more to do with the PT than ROTJ.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, May 25, 2013
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  16. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    With regard to midichlorians and Force use... I still don't understand why a 'genetic advantage' or 'talent' model doesn't work for people. Example: some people are born with the genes to be tall. These people have an advantage in becoming pro basketball players. However, short people with other skills, or simply the drive, can in principle be pro basketballers too. Just a thing that continually puzzles me.

    The Other is one of the main curiosities for me. Really hoping the book covers when Leia became said Other - and what would be even better is if there are some thoughts on sequel trilogy ideas. I guess the only thing to do is wait.
  17. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Again, The Making of ESB really skimmed over that as if it didn't exist, and it was during the ESB development & production era that the ST was the most 'alive' as something that would ever really happen (until October 30 last year, of course).

    I imagine we'll get a few more tantalising & confusing tidbits about Episodes VII-IX circa 1981-1983, but not the whole story. Whatever we do get will, no doubt, conveniently match up with what's going on with the ST right now. It's the early development of the PT that I'm predicting will be the highlight of this new book.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, May 26, 2013
  18. only one kenobi Jedi Grand Master

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    Some very interesting bits and pieces here. Those of us offended by TPM's introduction of midiclorians; ie those of us who thought the Force was something anybody could access can now stop being told that we made that up ourselves. Those of us who have argued that there is nothing in the OT to suggest that the Jedi were in need of a 'new way' can also point to that aspect (as well as the necessity of genetic pre-disposition for Force use) as being a back-projection onto the OT from the PT - just exactly as I (and others) have always argued.

    Not only were those interpretations valid, they were as intended by the creators.

    The PT doesn't 'alter' the OT? Think again.
  19. VadersLaMent Chosen One

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    From another thread:

    He wanted midis even way back then

    And as pointed out life would not be possible in GFFA without midichlorians, everyone has them. Somewhere there is a drop off where Force sensitivity either does not occur or is very unconcious. Han Solo might, with years of training, be able to use the Force to make a marbel move across a table.
  20. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    So now you have the power to rewrite history?

    You, in fact, did make it up yourselves, because prior to The Making of ROTJ it was never presented in an official product, and it is not implied logically by the films.

    Indeed, it is true that future generations of SW fans will be able to go into their libraries and blow the dust off the moldy tome that is Rinzler's book, and get this idea right from the printed page.

    You, however, are not those fans. What did you have to go on?
  21. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    Oh I know (though you seem more pessimistic than I, ha). I just hope for it. I don't know if it will actually be there. However, one would think that they'd at least cover Leia becoming the Other. If they present the early story meetings (as they had for the other films) and drafts, then even if they don't mention it outright in the text of the book, we might be able to glean some useful information. Even if the very earliest sources mentioned in MoROTJ have Leia as the Other already, then perhaps we could assume that when Lucas inserted the line back into ESB, he already had that in mind. (That seems unlikely because of the logic problems of Leia's situation at that point, but who knows? MoROTJ will provide some kind of information here, even if it's implicit.)

    On the prequels... given how much we already know about their early ideas from the other Making Ofs, the prelude to the ANH novel, etc, what else is there to tell? I guess Lucas could have had more information on the sequence of events, where Anakin came from, whether there was a "prophecy," etc...

    Lucas was riffing on concepts that were in the ether at the time, using words and styles that refer to things without spelling them out. A dagobah is a type of Buddhist temple, implying some connection to eastern religion. I'm sure people in the 70s would have seen connections between Carlos Castaneda, New Ageyness, and the original SW film. If Han doesn't 'believe' in the Force, if Motti calls it a 'religion,' if Luke fails because 'he doesn't believe it,' that could suggest it functions based on the mindset of the user. As I've said before, that there is a genetic component, as mentioned in ROTJ, this doesn't necessitate that that is the only important factor in Force use. By using those types of semantic, visual, philosophical cues and references, the audience could be counted on to import their already-existing webs of meaning and apply them to the films. It's very much the same process as how Vader's armor (samurai mixed with Nazi) immediately gives cues as to how one is 'supposed' to view him in the narrative. Did Lucas count on this? In some cases, I bet he did, because the assumptions others made are congruent with what he says he was going for. Just because your current reading doesn't take those things into account doesn't mean that others are or were unjustified in doing so. You are trying to make the argument that it's unreasonable to expect Lucas to hew to fans' expectations; I agree with that. He can do whatever he wants. That does not mean, however, that some of said fan expectations are or were not based on legitimate readings, which are now backed up by direct statements.

    Put it this way: if I write a story, which is released largely in early 21st century America, which includes a character named Jesus and a terrorist attack on a large city, it really wouldn't be surprising if readers implicitly assign Christian themes or attributes to the character, and see parallels to 9/11 in the attack. I didn't say anything explicitly about either in the narrative itself. But one could be justified in importing assumptions.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, May 26, 2013
  22. KilroyMcFadden Jedi Grand Master

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    I thought it seemed like the nature of The Force was changed when they made the Vader back story films that came out in the late 90's/early 2000's. I hope they change it back with some kind of, "we didn't know what we were talking about back then" retcon in the third set of movies so that it reflects the original more mysterious and cool version of The Force from the first movies.
    Last edited by KilroyMcFadden, May 26, 2013
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  23. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I still don't know why there has to be a conflict. Granted, I didn't really like the way the PT approached Jedihood in general, but midichlorians as a concept had been swimming around in Lucas's brain since the 70s (Making of SW), and Qui-Gon was what I wanted a Jedi to be. Not to mention, once again, that just because there is a genetic component to Force-usage, that does not mean it's the only relevant factor. It might be like talent. Some people are born with talents or advantages, but people without these factors can still be successful in the same fields, either by chance or by motivation and drive.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, May 26, 2013
  24. KilroyMcFadden Jedi Grand Master

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    While I respect your right to hold this opinion, I hope they fix it and change The Force back to what it was in the first three movies.
  25. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I guess I'm wondering, what's the difference between the two, to your mind? Just the way it was talked about by the characters?
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