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. Vthuil Force Ghost

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    Jan 3, 2013
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    I still don't have the book. Pre-ordered the Amazon Kindle edition.
  2. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Yeah, I don't have it yet, either, want to put my hands on it in a bookstore (and finish the two books my missus is hounding me to get out of the way). Then, of course, there's reading time, plus digesting what's revealed. Then the electronic versions with bonus features will come out, so more fun.

    Don't worry, I'm sure we'll have plenty to discuss about it over the next few months - I'll start separate threads and bump old ones if I have to in order to keep the discussion alive. It's at the heart of what this particular forum should be about.:)

    (A fresh start on some of the old developmental topics wouldn't hurt either, if anyone feels like starting new threads about the early scripts of SW, ESB and so on - the old threads could be heavy going for any new users just getting into it)
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Oct 11, 2013
  3. gezvader28 Force Ghost

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    One point - a big SW collector told me years ago that John Philip Peecher who wrote the original paperback 'making of ROJ' was in fact Alan Arnold , but he took a pseudonym because he wasn't happy with the way the book was edited (too much juicy stuff cut out) . there's no mention of this in Rinzler's book as far as i can tell .

    does anyone know if this is true ?
  4. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Interesting, but absolutely no idea if it's true. I only briefly got my hands on the original Making of ROTJ book in a film school library at a holiday course & don't remember anything specific about it. I've read references to it on various sites (I think T-Bone refers to it regarding deleted scenes, particularly the one involving Vader & Jerjerrod), but can't recall much about what the book itself covered.

    All I do recall about the one I did see was that it was an A4 picturebook, not a standard paperback like Arnold's Once Upon A Galaxy.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Oct 11, 2013
  5. gezvader28 Force Ghost

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    so I looked up john phillip peecher - I can only find one title by him - the ROJ book .
  6. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Grand Master

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    I still don't either. Want to buy it at a bookstore too, and take a look at it before.

    I fear I'll have to go to London again, as for MOSW and MOESB, to get it...Unless it's available here by the end of that year, which I doubt.

    Anyway I think I'll wait a moment for the price to drop a little. :cool:
  7. Lawrence Futol Jedi Master

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    Mar 8, 2013
    Does it say when DP Alan Hume quit? I'm pretty sure reading the schedules at the back of the original 1983 Alan Arnold(Beecher) Making of book that he was at least around during the last bit of location photography at Crescent City for the Endor scenes. I read that Hume took great care that there weren't any "hot spots" of bright sunlight coming through the trees that would show up. However there's this big "hot spot" hitting Han as he is running out of the bunker before it blows up and I think on the call sheet was a later pick up shot so Hume must have left by then.

    Also here's a video of Alan Hume talking about when they were in Yuma and after shooting that day he decided to shoot a nice sunset shot of the desert that they might use later. At the rushes when a producer(probably Howard Kazanjian) got mad because he got it without permission and cost overtime. I can see why Hume would be pissed with them already spending so much money and getting flak for just a few minutes worth of footage. He says though that they used the shot anyway but I honestly can't find a shot he described in the actual film.

    Last edited by Lawrence Futol, Oct 11, 2013
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  8. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Going into overtime without permission is a MASSIVE issue on a film shoot. The additional cost might appear to be a drop in the ocean (and it wouldn't have been just another hundred bucks, despite what he says), but for a DOP to just go ahead and do it is way out of line. I can see exactly why Kazanjian would have been furious, it's not just more money, it's undermining the authority of the producer.

    A film shoot isn't unlike a military operation - you can't just have people going ahead and doing their own thing, or everything falls to pieces.

    (I'm not a big fan of DOP's who think they don't need to follow the rules, either, but that's another story)
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Oct 12, 2013
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  9. gezvader28 Force Ghost

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    well it is if its the whole crew , but Hume was just talking about the camera crew which is - what - 4 or 5 people , Hume's worked on a great number of pictures , he's not stupid , he knows using your initiative is a good thing .

    Kazanjian was just paranoid and over-compensating because he knows Lucas was so pissed about the over-runs on Empire .


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  10. gezvader28 Force Ghost

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    Lawrence - where's that video from ?


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  11. Lawrence Futol Jedi Master

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    I don't know, I just found it on YouTube. I can see both sides. Alan worked on big budget movies before like the Bond films and probably didn't think what he did was that big a deal. He was like everybody else trying to make a better picture. Howard was looking out for the budget and probably remembered that the reason Gary Kurtz was fired(despite Kurtz saying now it was creative reasons) was because he let the cost of Empire get out of hand.

    I think Hume did a good job on the picture especially in the Emperor scenes. To photograph a dark set with windows looking into black space and with all three of the main characters dressed in black must have been a challenge!

    Again though, does Rinzler's book say when Hume left the movie?
  12. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

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    Mar 26, 2001
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    I have the book. Just as terrific as the other two.
  13. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Grand Master

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    The only sunset shot in the movie I can think of is this one :

    [IMG]

    But the background is a matte-painting (John Knoll's "Creating the worlds of Star Wars 365 days").

    I can't seem to find any of the cut scenes with such a shot either.
    Last edited by Ord-Mantell70, Oct 12, 2013
  14. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

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  15. gezvader28 Force Ghost

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    c'mon you lot , hurry up and finish the book !

    well I'm near the end now , hmm ... it's not a bad book , but could've been better .

    unless I've missed it I can't see any reporting of when / how Lucas chose to make Leia Luke's sister , or how kasdan and marquand felt about it .
  16. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    This might be something we could ask Rinzler about. It might be that there was no information he found about it... but it seems like there had to be something, anything. And he has talked on his blog about 'big news' (in the sense of big news around here) like the midichlorian-supposedly-from-1977 thing.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Oct 16, 2013
  17. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    I glanced at the book today, btw, and on page seven there's the list of scenes for a very preliminary version of Jedi. In addition to the scenes as written, there are period-annotations, which include "Sister!" next to Leia's name. Rinzler's commentary makes note of this as possibl y the moment at which Lucas figured out that dynamic. I didn't get to look in any more detail than that, though.

    @gezvader28 Since you were wondering about this.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Oct 16, 2013
  18. Starwars_1977-2005 Force Ghost

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    I have the original ROTJ 'making of book', bought it second hand years and years ago.

    There's no juicy stuff at all and I'd say it's rather boring. It's really nothing compared to Rinzler's magnificient book. The ESB original 'Making of' was much better (I have it too), and parts of it could be found in Rinzler's release three years ago. More juicy stuff, but it doesn't come close to Rinzler's either.

    JWR's Making Ofs are an old dream of mine come true ! I haven't finished the RoTj book yet, but it seems to cover everything.
    It compensates the awful disapointment with the Bluray Box bonus, which are just lame (is that really all they could find in the Lucasfilm archives ? Three or four props per chapter ?). I never Watch them.

    Unless you're a die hard completist, don't bother buying the original ESB & ROTJ making ofs.
    Last edited by Starwars_1977-2005, Oct 17, 2013
  19. gezvader28 Force Ghost

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    Mar 22, 2003
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    yeah , I saw that , but its rather sparse , I was hoping we'd get to see what Kasdan and marquand thought in the story conference . Does anyone know if the transcript of the whole conference will be / has been published online anywhere ?


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  20. gezvader28 Force Ghost

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    well thats the thing - Peecher is just named as 'Editor' on that book . I think Peecher is a pseudonym , there are no other titles/ credits for him , and I'm pretty sure no pics of him in Rinzler's book . whereas there were pics of Alan Arnold in the ESB book .

    me and others have long suspected that whoever wrote the ROJ book had their work squashed by LFL and chose to take their name off it .
  21. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    Just glanced for a little longer. The part of story development that'd be most interesting to me seems to be glossed over near the very beginning of the book. One thing I noticed: there is a section (p. 12) on three undated outlines. The first ends with the heroes dancing, but I don't think there's specific mention of what happens to the Emperor. The second outline peters out near "peace talks" (between the Empire and Alliance?). The third has Vader killing the Emperor and the note with Leia as "sister!" Is it possible that those previous outlines were part of the trilogy of trilogies, so with more open ended conclusions? Maybe this is when that saga concept (at least in its TESB era form) was closed off. I wish they'd have included photos of those notes and outlines.

    Also @Darth_Nub the concept art of grotesque unmasked Vader is on p. 117. It's from fall 1981.

    Also also, in the ESB book there was a section near the very end on the saga, sequels, etc. Is there anything like that in this one?
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Oct 17, 2013
  22. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    As it turns out, there is (p. 342). But it's super-duper vague. Quotes from Hamill, etc. But nothing with much detail. Hamill quote about the 'ethereal' Tangential Trilogy, as being like the ending of 2001.

    Something about this Leia-sister aspect too:

    In the first two outlines, she doesn't appear to be mentioned as the Sister. The third outline has the "Sister!" note. In the rough draft, Leia is confirmed as the sister. In the revised rough draft, it's not mentioned (though this could be just glossing over things that were already told). In the story conferences, Lucas, Marquand, and Kasdan talk about "The Other" or Luke's Sister but they don't mention Leia by name here. In addition, if I recall, the notion of Vader using Leia to goad Luke into fighting - which is the thing that makes Leia-as-sister at all relevant to the narrative, and not just a way to tie up the Other - was a relatively late addition. What if Leia-as-sister is something Lucas wrote in, but went back and forth with throughout the process? There are other story elements that functioned in this way (the Death Star II). The other Other option here would be what was in Brackett's ESB, a sister who wasn't Leia.

    I also noticed that at one point there is a concept drawing for a building, which could be on either Sicemon or Tatooine. Rinzler says something like 'Lucas's places and imagery collided sometimes during this part of the process.' Why not tell us more about this part of the process? This book appears to have sidebars with creative/story information while the main text is largely about who hired whom, when this set was built, which lenses they used on the camera. Perhaps the thematic and larger arc-related issues were all worked out during the making of SW and ESB, but it feels like something is missing, to me.

    A separate note: on p. 23 there's mention of a dream sequence - which seems like it could have been a flashback (to the prequel era?). Someone else can check this out in more detail.
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Oct 20, 2013
  23. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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  24. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Well, I've been away, and I only got the book a day or two before I left. Should be undertaking the mammoth task of reading it a bit later tonight.;)

    Ah, OK. Sounds like a hangover from the more grotesque concept Irvin Kershner describes in the Annotated Screenplays - which still suggests that it may have been discussed during the making of ESB.

    They did several different makeup designs of burned Anakin for ROTS, apparently the rejected ones were much more disgusting than what we ended up with - it's not surprising that early concepts might be more extreme, then get watered down somewhat once the filmmakers realise that the film has to appeal to a pretty broad audience.
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  25. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    Not to be too annoying/impatient, but I'm looking forward to any discussions that come out of this...
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Oct 21, 2013
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