BTS Moebius's Willow and TPM

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by ATMachine, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    In keeping with the more honorable character of Madmartigan in the early story conception, he may have originally awoken Sorsha in her tent not by kissing her rashly, but rather by pausing to examine the unearthly craftsmanship of her Elven necklace.

    Which would create a couple of additional points of similarity with JRR Tolkien's work.

    In The Lord of the Rings Pippin steals a palantir from a sleeping Gandalf, after being ensnared by a desire to look into it, a craving induced by the Seeing Stone's sinister magic power. Pippin looks into its depths, and is immediately confronted by Sauron himself; his screams awake the others, who pry the palantir from his hands.

    And in The Silmarillion the half-Elf (and half-goddess) Luthien Tinuviel wears the Nauglamir, a magical necklace of unearthly beauty forged by Dwarven craftsmen for her Elven father King Thingol. The necklace contains as its centerpiece the shining Silmaril, the precious white gem that she and her mortal lover Beren wrested from the crown of the Dark Lord Morgoth, a foe mightier even than Sauron.
  2. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Given that Madmartigan would originally have been reunited with Willow earlier on, he would have been present when the heroes stop at a tavern to get milk for Elora Danan. Which would lead to the amusing spectacle of the hardened warrior Madmartigan ordering a glass of milk at a bar. This may well have led to a challenge and a fight, much like the cantina scene in SW 1977--itself taken from Yojimbo.

    At any rate, the next few scenes would resemble the actual film: Sorsha would show up with a squad of Orcs, and Madmartigan would unmask her, revealing her as a woman of stunning beauty. The heroes would then escape on a stolen cart, leading to the chase sequence seen in the finished film. (Which in turn provided a model for the motorcycle sequence added to Last Crusade in post-production.)

    Also, Meegosh (the Nelwyn sidekick largely deleted from the shooting script) may have originally been the one in debt to the local tax collector, instead of Willow himself as in the final film. This would give Meegosh a strong motivation throughout to drop the quest and return home, so he could plant enough crops to pay his taxes. So he would want to give Elora Danan to Madmartigan, whereas Willow would initially be less trusting; and Meegosh would be the one to covet the gold of the cursed tree outside the dragon's cave, as it would help him pay off his debts and redeem his land.

    Later, when Willow, Madmartigan, and twelve knights set out for the lost Elf kingdom of Tir Asleen, Meegosh would remain behind, taking the opportunity to abandon that seemingly futile quest and return home. This would not actually happen, though, as Meegosh would ride with Airk Thaughbaer and his men to lift the siege of Tir Asleen by Bavmorda's army.

    At the end of the film, while Willow's reward would be a book of magic spells, Meegosh's treasure would presumably be a single bar of gold--just enough to pay off his taxes. This of course derives from the two peasants' reward at the end of The Hidden Fortress.

    Oh, and one more thing about Sorsha: she likely thought her father was dead. (Instead he just retreated behind the magical barrier of the seas around Tir Asleen.) Thus she is greatly shocked and dismayed, enough to switch sides, when she finds out she's actually leading the siege of her father's castle.

    "Bavmorda never told you what happened to your father..." :p
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 30, 2014
  3. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Because Sorsha's father uses the sea to magically insulate Tir Asleen from the rising power of Bavmorda, we can easily link him to J.R.R. Tolkien's Elven king Thingol of Doriath, father of Luthien, who seals the borders of his realm with impenetrable mazes against all strangers, so as to protect his kingdom from the growing might of Morgoth.

    Thingol's daughter Luthien, of course, marries the mortal Beren, who manages to penetrate the magical mazes of her father's land and court her. (Reminiscent of a certain hero crossing a sea of fire surrounding a certain Valkyrie maiden in a certain Norse legend.)

    Sorsha's character arc owes much to the story of Darth Vader; she even wears a face-concealing helmet (or a mask, in Moebius's version). As the (initially) evil child of a good king, she also recalls Sir Mordred of Arthurian legend, who was conceived when his mother, the enchantress Morgan le Fay, seduced King Arthur.

    As for Meegosh, I didn't note it earlier, but his subplot of having to pay off a tax debt is an obvious echo of Han Solo's debt to Jabba the Hutt. In later iterations of the script without Meegosh, Madmartigan instead became the Han Solo character, complete with a roguish sensibility that had been previously lacking--initially he seems to have been more of a stoic Aragorn type. The change to his personality also brought Madmartigan more in line with the Annikin Starkiller of the 1974 SW rough draft.
  4. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    The tent scene with Sorsha and Madmartigan originally needed to accomplish two narrative ends: inform the viewers about the necklace Sorsha inherited from her father, and have Madmartigan declare his love for her.

    Madmartigan comes into the tent to retrieve Elora Danan, but on the way out he stops to gaze at the sleeping, bare-breasted Sorsha. Looking at her, he says to her softly: "I love you." And he does--he's been smitten by this strong, powerful woman. No love potion clouded his judgment in the early drafts.

    In the later script, this is where he kisses her and wakes her up (a Sleeping Beauty moment). But in the original idea, Madmartigan apparently shifts his gaze to her Elven necklace, reaching out in wonder to touch it. It's at that point that her eyes open and she reveals a dagger pressed against his crotch.

    Sorsha grabs the bedsheets to cover herself and tells him to put Elora down. As first planned, Madmartigan would then ask her about her necklace, leading her to reveal that it came from her father, whom she believes dead. But Sorsha was actually awake, and just pretending to sleep, when Madmartigan looked at her--as she reveals when she asks him why he'd said he loved her. In other words, she let him ogle her in order to get the drop on him.

    Madmartigan's scripted professions of love to her--in which he says that he also hates her for bringing up these feelings in him--are a reflection of his original personality. The early version of Madmartigan was not a scoundrel and a skirt-chaser, as the final film's character is. Instead, he was apparently a jaded, cynical exile from his homeland, who after a tragic experience in love had sworn never to love again. (This backstory is still hinted at in the novelization, but it clashes badly with the film's image of him hitting on tavern wenches.)

    So Madmartigan's original character arc would have involved him re-learning optimism and love, and overcoming his cynicism. He would have gone from sitting idly by the side of the river as an army marches past, to leading a troop of knights on a desperate quest in search of a long-lost Elven kingdom.

    In this respect his original arc mirrors that of Mel Gibson's "Mad" Max Rockatansky, who loses his wife and son in the first Mad Max film and becomes a bitter shell of a man, but slowly regains his humanity over the next two movies. This is surely why Madmartigan is named "Mad" Martigan.

    (There's also quite a bit of resemblance to Toshiro Mifune in Yojimbo, who, even as he reunites a kidnapped wife with her husband, castigates them for bringing out his inner good nature.)

    Madmartigan would of course kiss Sorsha just before he staged a daring escape from her tent. She would get to return the favor after saving his life during the battle at Tir Asleen. Her saving him is the critical moment of transformation in her character, much like Prince Valorum freeing Annikin Starkiller in the 1974 SW rough draft--or Darth Vader killing the Emperor to save his son in ROTJ. And of course, this turnabout occurs because she has just learned (like a certain Jedi) that her father isn't really dead after all.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Jul 30, 2014
  5. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Come to think of it--in the opening of Willow we see that Bavmorda has been locking up every pregnant woman she can get her hands on, and killing those she can't, knowing that one of them will eventually give birth to the child destined to defeat her.

    I've only just realized that this likely was important to Madmartigan's past in the original plot. He would have had the exact same backstory as Mad Max--his wife and child were slaughtered by Bavmorda's troops, and in grief and bitterness he wandered away from his homeland into exile. Thus he takes in Elora Danan because she reminds him of his own lost child. By the end of the film he's got a new family, consisting of Sorsha and Elora Danan.

    In the later version of the story, where Madmartigan is a womanizing rogue, his backstory was changed to suit his new personality. Instead of being an embittered widower, he bears the scars of a previous relationship where the woman betrayed him, and as a result fears emotional commitment.
  6. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    This is purely speculation on my part, but I wonder if there was ever an idea that Madmartigan would lose an arm in the climactic duel with King Kael. And not only because of the similarity to Luke Skywalker's mutilation.

    For Madmartigan to lose an arm would recall Tolkien's Beren Erchamion, the One-handed, the mortal lover of the half-Elven maiden Luthien Tinuviel in The Silmarillion. Beren lost his right hand in the act of stealing a Silmaril from the crown of the Dark Lord Morgoth. Plus, like the original concept of Sorsha, Luthien is the daughter of a great Elven king, and she inherits a fabulously valuable necklace from her father.

    Madmartigan's injury here would also recall the broken left arm that Eowyn suffers in her fight with the Witch-King of Angmar in The Lord of the Rings. Eowyn kills the Witch-King to avenge her dead uncle King Theoden, just as Madmartigan kills King Kael to avenge the murder of his friend Airk Thaughbaer.

    Like Eowyn, Madmartigan's injury would probably have been to the left arm--losing it at the elbow. This also recalls the earliest scripted version of Luke's injury from ESB: originally he would lose his left arm at the elbow, but apparently retain his lightsaber in his right hand.

    And, mythologically speaking, Madmartigan losing an arm in combat against a fearsome opponent is reminiscent of Nuada, High King of the Tuatha de Danann, who lost his right arm in a duel with Sring, champion of the Fir Bolg. Nuada's arm was later replaced by a magical, fully working silver prosthesis, and he became known as Nuada Airgetlam or "Silver-arm."

    Since in the later drafts of Willow the red-haired Tuatha de Danann of Ireland were the physical model for the human kings of Tir Asleen, this parallel likely did not escape Lucas. (He also would undoubtedly have observed the similarity of Nuada to a certain one-handed hero of Middle-earth.)

    If this idea was indeed considered, presumably Sorsha and the one-armed Madmartigan would be seen embracing at the end of the final battle--much like Padme and Anakin in AOTC. And of course in the finale scene, where Willow is rewarded, Madmartigan would be wearing a magic prosthesis like Nuada's.

    But, in the end, the concept of Madmartigan losing an arm was likely dropped simply because it was too similar to Star Wars.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 1, 2014
  7. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    In the third-draft script of ESB, Luke's new mechanical left arm was described as looking "similar to Threepio's." If I'm right about there having originally been an idea for Madmartigan to lose his left arm, one suspects that Lucas would have revisited the earlier concept for Luke's prosthesis, and given Madmartigan a fully functioning golden arm as a replacement. Shades of Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones.
  8. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    As I noted above, in the early story concept Madmartigan likely went into self-imposed exile after taking revenge on the killers of his wife and child, who were presumably bandits--an idea taken straight from Mad Max. (I was probably wrong earlier about it having been Bavmorda's troops who did the deed.)

    This also brings up a parallel with JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion: the human hero Turin Turambar was fostered at the court of the Elven king Thingol, but went into self-imposed exile after attacking and accidentally killing an Elf who had insulted his family. Thingol forgave him, but Turin's pride and shame would not let him return.

    The Mad Max parallel again shows up in the possible idea of Madmartigan losing a hand in the battle against Kael. In the climax of the first Mad Max film, as Max goes on a rampage of revenge against the bikers who murdered his wife and son, one of the thugs shoots him in the left knee, leaving him with a permanent limp for the rest of the series. Despite this injury, Max pushes on and kills the remaining bikers, completing his revenge.

    Madmartigan's hair is dark, like Mel Gibson's, while his old friend Airk Thaughbaer has blond hair, like that of Max's police partner Jim Goose. Their respective hair colors likewise recall those of Annikin Starkiller and Clieg Whitsun in the 1974 SW rough draft. Like Airk, both Jim Goose and Clieg Whitsun end up dead by the end.

    Airk's blond hair is also reminiscent of Tolkien's flaxen-haired Rohirrim, which is fitting since Airk fills King Theoden's narrative function of lifting the siege of a city by the armies of evil.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 1, 2014
  9. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Tir Asleen is named in part for Tir na Nog, the Land of Youth where the Sidhe, the fairy folk of Irish myth, dwell. The most famous story about Tir na Nog is that of the bard Oisin, who fell in love with the fairy-woman Niamh of the Golden Hair.

    Airk Thaughbaer, on the other hand, is named for Erik the Red, a famous Viking chieftain noted for his red hair and beard. His last name comes from Thorbjorn, the name of a Viking mentioned in the Saga of Erik the Red. However, "Thaughbaer" also has additional influence from Tolkien's Theoden.

    Note the hair colors here. Niamh's golden hair is a typical trait of Elves, and is reflected in Moebius's concept art of Sorsha. On the other hand, Airk likely originally was intended to have red hair.

    Airk is stated to be a knight of Galladoorn. In the original story this was apparently the name of the human kingdom Madmartigan would end up ruling. (Obviously it's named after Tolkien's Gondor.) In the final film Madmartigan ends up as king of Tir Asleen instead, which has become a human kingdom instead of an Elvish one. Along with that change, the idea of a human kingdom populated by redheads was transferred to Tir Asleen, resulting in Sorsha having red hair.
  10. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    A few more random thoughts, in no particular order:

    The name of the kingdom Madmartigan ended up ruling in the early story concept, Galladoorn, is a mash-up of Tolkien's Gondor and real-life Ireland. This of course makes Tir Asleen, which was originally reached via the sea, into the equivalent of the mythical fairy islands that lay to the west of Ireland, like Hy-Brasil (the inspiration for Tolkien's Valinor).

    The connection of Madmartigan to Ireland reinforces his likeness with the legendary High Kings of the Tuatha de Danann, the mythological inhabitants of Ireland. The first High King, Nuada, famously lost his arm in battle and had it replaced with a working silver prosthesis. So I'm likely onto something when I suggest that Madmartigan originally was going to suffer a similar injury. (It was surely too reminiscent of Luke Skywalker to make the final script.)

    The Tuatha de Danann were famous for their red hair. Which makes it fitting that Airk Thaughbaer, knight of Galladoorn, was likely originally meant to be a redhead--like his namesake Erik the Red. (Erik was a famous Viking chief; the name reinforces the fact that Airk's narrative predecessor is Tolkien's King Theoden.) In the final film the red hair was associated instead with the royal family of Tir Asleen, now a human kingdom.

    In the river chase that originally preceded Willow's meeting with the Brownie Elder and reunion with Madmartigan, the trolls who pursued the Nelwyns in boats would presumably have been melted when the sun came out. Not turned to stone, as in most mythology, but melted, like Dracula (or the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark). This is so as to differentiate their demise from the petrifying powers of the magic acorns later on.

    The idea of a river chase at night among treacherous rapids of course comes from the Fellowship's journey down the River Anduin in The Lord of the Rings.

    The magic acorns themselves--a symbol of life and germination that is actually a deadly weapon--seem to be an extension of the trees-as-death metaphor used repeatedly by Fritz Lang in Die Nibelungen.

    One probable reason for the final film's introduction of the fairy queen Cherlindrea, who replaced the Brownie Elder of early outlines, is that, when Sorsha changed from a blonde half-Elf to a red-haired human, Lucas wanted to recycle the image of a golden-haired fairy woman elsewhere in the script. So he created Cherlindrea.

    This also means that I was likely wrong in an earlier post when I suggested that Fin Raziel would appear as a beautiful young woman at the end. In fact she was likely always meant to appear old, a female Gandalf figure.

    As late as the third-revision script, Willow doesn't use a magic wand to cast spells, but rather a Philosopher's Stone, which is described as taking the form of a reddish putty. While the red color is from traditional alchemical lore, it also recalls the brilliant red color of the Kiber Crystal, the powerful Force-amplifying artifact of early SW drafts, as described in Splinter of the Mind's Eye. That in turn originally came from the magical Heart of Ahriman described in Robert E. Howard's Conan novel The Hour of the Dragon. So the Philosopher's Stone seen in the early Willow scripts is actually another recycling of an old Star Wars idea.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 3, 2014
  11. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    I suspect Lucas may have wanted to revisit in Willow the idea from SW 1977 that Princess Leia is the symbolic female half of Luke's soul. In Willow this would have applied to Madmartigan and Sorsha, and likely would have taken the form of them both being badly injured during the final battle.

    I've already talked about how Madmartigan was likely going to lose his left arm, so let's go into deeper detail on Sorsha's wounds.

    In the final film, when Sorsha confronts Bavmorda, Bavmorda uses her magic to fling Sorsha across the room, almost into a vicious spiked wall. However, Fin Raziel arrives and counters the spell, sending Sorsha unharmed, but unconscious, to the floor in front of the spikes. This sequence obviously owes something to Palpatine's use of Force lightning on Luke in ROTJ.

    I suspect that a more elaborate action sequence was initially planned here but later cut from the script. Instead of simply throwing Sorsha into a wall, Bavmorda would have brought to life several stone gargoyles found within her conjuring chamber. Sorsha would have had to battle several of these creatures at once--and their stone skins would be impervious to her sword.

    The gargoyles would have eventually beaten Sorsha unconscious to the ground. At that point Fin Raziel would step in, using her magic to shatter the gargoyles. Later, when Madmartigan comes in (minus an arm) after Willow brings about Bavmorda's demise, he would wake Sorsha up with a kiss--but just like him, Sorsha would be visibly battered, with an eye swollen shut and likely a broken nose too.

    And, just as Madmartigan would have been seen with a golden prosthetic arm in the finale, Sorsha would probably have gotten a small scar on her nose, after the manner of Clint Eastwood at the end of A Fistful of Dollars.

    The idea of the blonde half-Elf Sorsha getting a swollen-shut black eye and a broken nose goes back to the third draft of SW 1977, where Princess Leia gets bloodied and bruised under Imperial interrogation, an idea borrowed from the beating Toshiro Mifune takes in Yojimbo. At this stage Lucas imagined Princess Leia as a blonde too, a female version of Luke Starkiller and thus his destined soul mate.

    This sequence would also have owed a great debt to the films of Ray Harryhausen, in particular to the horde of unkillable skeletons faced by the heroes in the finale of Jason and the Argonauts, as well as to the magically animated statue of Kali in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. As with Bavmorda's gargoyles, Kali in the latter film is killed by being shattered.

    Presumably Madmartigan's and Sorsha's respective injuries were deleted from the script at the same time.

    There's an echo of the lost fight scene in the Willow novelization. After Fin Raziel enters Bavmorda's chamber, Bavmorda brings to life several gargoyles, but Raziel quickly shatters them.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 3, 2014
  12. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Oh, and in the finale, Sorsha's previously damaged eye may actually have had a permanently dilated pupil, like Mad Max in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome--further reinforcing the idea that she is Madmartigan's female counterpart and soul mate.

    Back on ESB, Lucas decided to deal with Mark Hamill's car accident by giving Luke a facial injury early in the film. In fact, as early notes reveal, he even considered giving Luke a permanent facial scar.

    Which seems to be where the idea for Sorsha's scars originally came from--though in that case the concept was likely altered to follow the example of Mad Max.

    The idea of a protagonist with prominent facial scars (that aren't real, unlike Harrison Ford's) eventually resurfaced with Anakin in ROTS.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 3, 2014
  13. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    I tried to think of other examples of eye injuries in Lucas's work and found really only one. The original concept for the unmasked Darth Vader in ROTJ gave him one good eye and one completely blind eye.

    Given the other parallels between Sorsha and Darth Vader, maybe there's one here too--meaning Sorsha would've actually lost an eye due to her injuries in the final battle. In that case she would've been seen with a milky blind eye, likely along with a healed broken nose, during the finale.

    In the Star Wars saga, Vader's scars from his duel with Obi-Wan are the physical signs of his descent into evil. By contrast, Sorsha's disfigurement by Bavmorda would be the mark of her turn to good. This also brings back up the parallel with Prince Valorum, whose original model, General Hyoe Tadokoro, received a nasty facial scar in The Hidden Fortress.

    Sorsha's confrontation with her mother is based on Luke's duel with his father, Darth Vader, in ESB. In both cases the hero loses badly and is mutilated in the process. Luke loses his right hand--symbol of his masculine potency--but here Sorsha's face, the symbol of a woman's power, would be permanently marred.

    Also, I didn't mention it earlier, but when Sorsha first enters Bavmorda's chamber, I presume the doors would have closed and locked behind her, preventing Fin Raziel from coming to her aid until she'd been beaten unconscious by the living statues.

    The idea of a one-eyed warrior later showed up in TPM, with the background character of Jedi Master Even Piell, and again in concept art for an eyepatch-wearing Ki-Adi-Mundi for ROTS.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 3, 2014
  14. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Sorsha's probable loss of an eye (and other facial scarring) is an idea that later showed up in the original TV versions of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, where Old Indy wore an eyepatch with a long vertical scar trailing out from underneath.
  15. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Quick small addendum: above her blind eye, Sorsha would likely have a scar dividing her eyebrow in two. Mad Max had that in Beyond Thunderdome, and it may also be the source of the vertical scars around the eyes of both Old Indy and Anakin in ROTS.

    Sorsha's injury is reminiscent of Oedipus blinding himself once he has learned that he married his mother and killed his father. That was the namesake of Freud's Oedipus complex--a motif that also permeates Star Wars.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 3, 2014
  16. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Actually, I think I was wrong in my earlier posts in describing exactly how Sorsha was to lose her eye.

    Instead of the stone gargoyles just beating her up, it's far more likely they would have sprouted swords, leading to a dramatic Harryhausen-style swordfight. Being outnumbered, Sorsha fights the statues off as best she can, but eventually one of them lands a blow right on her eye. She collapses in shock and pain, but before the statues can finish her off, Fin Raziel finally breaks down the door and shatters them.

    This would of course lead to her having a blind eye and a vertical scar on her face in the finale. As I noted above, the same scar shows up on both the one-eyed Old Indy and ROTS Anakin.

    Aside from the Greek story of Oedipus, Sorsha losing her eye in this dramatic fashion also recalls the famous scene in Sergei Eisenstein's film Battleship Potemkin where an old woman loses an eye to the saber of a Cossack.
  17. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    There were presumably two different concepts for Sorsha's appearance at the end of the film in the early script, each based on one of the two different hairstyles proposed for her by Lucas and Moebius.

    One concept would have been to have her eye socket entirely sewn shut by scar tissue. This is the look sported by Jedi Master Even Piell in TPM:

    [IMG]

    Judging by Piell's topknot, this was probably the approach preferred for use if Sorsha ended up with the "fierce" look of the shaved-head-and-topknot hairstyle drawn by Moebius.

    On the other hand, if Sorsha instead had the full head of hair seen in Moebius's alternative drawing of her, she would likely have retained her milky blind eye, as in this ROTJ sketch of Darth Vader unmasked.

    [IMG]

    Her damaged eye and long hair would echo the appearance of Mel Gibson in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

    [IMG]
  18. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    The idea for Sorsha's duel with the stone statues appears to owe something to Alan Dean Foster's 1978 SW novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye. In the climax of that book, Darth Vader and Princess Leia have a lightsaber duel. Vader inflicts several wounds on Leia, including one on her face. Just as Leia collapses in pain, Luke, who has been pinned under a fallen rock, wriggles free and takes up the duel--exactly like Fin Raziel bursting in to save Sorsha.

    Although Alan Dean Foster initially says only that Vader's saber leaves a burn on Leia's cheek, later in the text when Luke checks on Leia, we are told that "She opened her eye and looked back at him." One eye only--which could suggest that Lucas already had the idea for giving Leia an eye injury modeled after Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin. (Was this cut out of the final text, I wonder?) In any event, it doesn't last long, as Luke uses the Kaiburr Crystal to heal Leia's wounds, leaving her good as new.

    Sorsha losing an eye as a result of a duel with multiple opponents also has an echo of Leia Aquilae's implied gang-rape by a band of trappers in the 1974 SW rough draft.
  19. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    For the costumes in the finale of Willow, I imagine that, as with other aspects of Sorsha's character design, Lucas initially considered two options for her appearance here.

    If Sorsha had ended up with the fiercely masculine shaved-head-and-topknot hairstyle proposed for her, I suspect she would've been seen decked out in shining armor (with her missing eye sewn shut, like Even Piell in TPM). However, if she instead had the more feminine alternative of a full head of blonde hair, she would've likely been seen wearing a gorgeous blue and white dress.

    This would've continued the Madonna symbolism seen with Princess Leia in SW 1977. In fact, it would've taken it even further, since Sorsha is holding Elora Danan (equivalent to the Christ Child) and, as Madmartigan's queen, would be wearing a crown--a typical feature of medieval iconography of the Virgin Mary.

    Seeing Sorsha in a gorgeous royal dress, holding an infant child, obviously indicates a softening of her character to some degree. However, even though she'd be outwardly feminized, Sorsha would still be a fierce warrior at heart--as evidenced by the blind eye and scar on her face.

    Whatever Sorsha's costume, Madmartigan would be seen in "robes and armor worthy of a king," as the third-revision script puts it. And indeed he ought to, as the newly crowned king of Galladoorn. Conspicuous among his armor would be a golden prosthetic arm where his left hand once was.

    In the final film, Sorsha wears a white woolen dress (a medieval version of Leia's outfit in SW 1977) whereas Madmartigan is attired in an Elizabethan leather doublet. Neither outfit is quite as impressive as I suspect was originally planned.
  20. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Fun fact: the venerable Phantom Menace Insider's Guide PC program states that Even Piell lost his eye in a one-man battle against seven terrorists.

    This is likely the exact number of unkillable stone gargoyles that Sorsha would've faced in Willow, and thus further evidence of this lost action sequence. Why? Because seven is also the exact number of unkillable skeleton warriors faced by Jason and two companions in the climax of Ray Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts.

    Jason escapes the skeletons by diving off a cliff into the water below. His two fellow sailors aren't so lucky; the skeletons kill them. Sorsha would've been fighting seven invincible statues on her own, so all things considered she'd have gotten off lightly in only losing an eye.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 6, 2014
  21. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Another influence on the writing of Willow which I've heretofore overlooked is the 1958 Hollywood epic The Vikings, starring Kirk Douglas.

    No prizes for guessing the setting of that movie. However, Kirk Douglas isn't actually the hero; he plays the villain, the Viking chief Einar. The hero, Einar's half-brother Erik, is played by Tony Curtis. The two brothers hate each other, and the finale of the movie features a duel to the death between them.

    The name of the film's Viking hero, Erik, was surely an influence on Airk Thaughbaer of Willow. Also, Erik's mother was the widowed queen of Northumbria; he wears a jewel on a chain around his neck as a marker of his royal heritage, but he himself doesn't know what it means. This particular plot point made its way into early scripts for both Willow and the movie that eventually became Star Wars.

    Plus, both the hero and villain end up grievously injured over the course of the film. The dark-haired hero, Erik, loses his left hand, and the fair-haired villain, Einar, loses an eye. These injuries correspond exactly with those apparently proposed for the dark-haired Madmartigan and the blonde Sorsha in the early plot of Willow.

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    Basically, imagine Sorsha looking like this in the finale scene where she's wearing her pretty white Madonna dress.

    This isn't the only instance of Lucas using another film's hero as a template for Madmartigan, and its villain as a model for Sorsha. Madmartigan definitely started out based on Mad Max, but Sorsha's battle mask as drawn by Moebius owes much to the hockey mask of Lord Humongous, the principal villain of The Road Warrior.
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  22. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 4
    I'm half convinced that Lucas may have originally intended Willow to begin and end with an old Nelwyn telling the film's story to his children, rather like Sam Gamgee narrating tales to his kids out of the Red Book of Westmarch. (Lucas apparently thought up something similar with a Wookiee family as a potential opening for Star Wars back in the day.)

    If so, once the story proper got underway, there would've been a brief voice-over to set the stage, and clue in the audience that this is a fairy tale from long ago. The whole thing would've been sort of like the live-action children's storybooks seen in the beginning of Disney animated features. (Or, for that matter, the bookend narration in Mad Max 2.) Equally, the bookends in Willow would have served the same narrative purpose as the "A long time ago..." title card and opening scroll in Star Wars.

    The closing narration would've mentioned all the names of the principal characters as they were remembered in legend, a conceit borrowed principally from The Lord of the Rings. Featuring grandiose titles like "Willow the Sorcerer," "Meegosh the Valiant," "King Martigan Golden-hand, and his queen, Sorsha of the One Eye." That sort of thing.

    Actually, those titles aren't purely my own fancy, but rather a best guess at what Lucas himself would've come up with. Meegosh's title is from "Fingon the Valiant" in The Silmarillion. Madmartigan's is likewise from Tolkien's "Beren One-hand," as well as the legendary Irish king Nuada Airgetlam [Nuada Silver-hand]. Sorsha's is a mix of Balor of the Evil Eye from Irish myth, Tolkien's "Frodo of the Nine Fingers," and "St. Alia-of-the-Knife" from Dune.

    The idea of bookend narration resembles the bookend opening and closing scrolls used in the 1975 second-draft script of The Star Wars. (Not to mention the original bookend segments with Old Indy on the Young Indiana Jones TV series.)

    By the way, Nuada Silver-hand, the legendary first king of the Irish Tuatha de Danann, was slain in battle by Balor, chief of the wicked Fomorians. So this is yet another case of Lucas applying the imagery of a pre-existing hero to Madmartigan, and the imagery of that hero's nemesis to Sorsha.

    Which is in turn probably related to the Jungian anima/animus concept, of female and male halves of the soul, which Lucas wanted to explore as far back as 1975 with Luke Starkiller and Princess Leia. As in Willow, the hero and his girlfriend were meant to be soul mates.

    For SW 1977, Lucas had hoped to express that idea by making Luke and Leia physically identical. Here, though, he intended to do so by investing Madmartigan and Sorsha with hero/nemesis imagery--the idea being that one cannot exist without the other.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 6, 2014
  23. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 4
    The Vikings features a female soothsayer named Kitala, an intepreter of runes who treats Erik like a son and protects him from the wrath of Einar. It's quite possible that Kitala was an inspiration for Fin Raziel.

    Of course, the film's signature set-piece--the siege of a Northumbrian castle by a Viking army at the climax of the film--provided the inspiration for the siege of Tir Asleen in Willow.

    Also, The Vikings does something extraordinary for 1958: it has no opening credits! The credits are all relegated to the end of the film, and the opening is instead taken up with a voice-over (set to illustrations inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry) which gives a basic primer about Viking culture. One suspects Lucas had this film in mind when he neglected to use opening credits in Star Wars (an omission which got him in serious trouble with the Directors' Guild).
  24. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 4
    Given Sorsha's change of wardrobe in the finale, I was likely right earlier in suggesting that Moebius intended his various drawings of Sorsha to illustrate her character progression over the course of the film.

    This is Sorsha's armor from early in the film, when she is a loyal servant of Bavmorda. The helmet is meant to obscure her femininity, making it a shock when Madmartigan knocks off her headgear in the tavern and reveals her beautiful features.

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    The helmet and armor here have obvious similarities with those of Darth Vader.

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    Sorsha's hairstyle at this point, though normally concealed under her helmet, would be very feminine: a full head of golden hair with twin braids in front. This is also, according to the below Moebius drawing, what she'd look like when Madmartigan enters her tent and sees her sleeping bare-breasted.

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    The figure above on the right probably shows Sorsha wearing her battle armor from the siege of Tir Asleen. Here she's shaved most of her head (like Joan of Arc?), but her armor now reveals her female figure. Thus she has adjusted her image in both masculine and feminine directions--symbolizing her moral conflict at this stage of the film.

    The image of her bald head and oni mask relates Sorsha to the bald, masked villainous figure of Lord Humongous in The Road Warrior. (Her hairstyle, though, actually comes from the barbarian king Etzel in Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen.)

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    Moebius apparently didn't draw Sorsha as she would look in the finale, but we can easily imagine what Lucas intended. Sorsha would likely wear a white Madonna outfit with a blue cloak, along with a crown and a veiled headdress. She'd be holding Elora Danan, and her hairstyle would probably have returned to the more feminine full head of blonde hair seen earlier in the film. All of which indicates her firm status in the good-guy camp,and her successful resolution of her femininity.

    [IMG]

    However, she'd also have a scarred face with a blind eye, symbolic of her undiminished warrior spirit. This image borrows from Mel Gibson's injured eye in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and Kirk Douglas's blind eye in The Vikings.

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    Madmartigan also goes through a visual transition. When the heroes first meet him, he is dressed in the attire of a simple fisherman. Once the knights of Galladoorn recognize him as their king, he wears a shining suit of royal armor. In the finale, he would also wear beautiful armor, but this time with a golden prosthetic hand in place of the left arm he lost.

    It's quite possible that during the battles at Tir Asleen and Nockmaar, Madmartigan's battle armor would be golden, with a helmet bearing white Roman plumes. In which case, his kingly armor in the finale would likely be silver, perhaps with a winged helmet like the winged crown of Tolkien's Gondor. The silver armor would also better set off his golden hand.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 7, 2014
  25. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 4
    Sorsha finally admits her love for Madmartigan during the siege of Tir Asleen. Her getting a haircut just before this point actually has a parallel in Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. In that film the peasant girl Shino has her long hair forcibly cut by her father, so that she will look like a boy and thus not be attractive to the samurai defending the village. Of course, the young samurai Katsushiro (the Luke Skywalker character) quickly sees through her disguise, and the two fall in love.

    Meanwhile, the horns on Sorsha's oni mask, and the larger twin horns on her helmet, date back to SW 1977, where costume designer John Mollo had an idea to put two small horns on Darth Vader's helmet.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 7, 2014