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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    Actually, given that Sorsha shaved most of her head, in the finale we'd probably see that her hair is still in the course of growing back. Which would leave her with a short blonde haircut, rather like that sported by Princess Leia in the concept art for SW 1977.

    [IMG]

    Sorsha's dress in this scene would be white, just like Leia's in SW 1977.

    Like Sorsha, the blonde Princess Leia from the SW third draft would've suffered an eye injury during the film. In Leia's case it was a nasty swollen-shut black eye, that wouldn't disappear until the very final scene of the movie.
  2. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Sorsha's haircut also brings up another parallel with Seven Samurai. The leader of the samurai, Kambei Shimada, is first seen having his head shaved, normally a mark of dishonor for a samurai. In fact, this scene reveals his virtuous character, as he is disguising himself as a tonsured monk in order to rescue a child from a bandit.

    Lucas also featured a bald female lead in his earlier film THX 1138.

    Sorsha's earlier hairstyle during the tent scene is taken from Leia Aquilae in the 1974 SW rough draft. Like Sorsha in the early outlines for Willow, the rough draft's Leia would have been seen bare-breasted.
  3. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Both Sorsha and Madmartigan would go through a costume change midway through the film, one which has an important bearing on the symbolism associated with their characters.

    Early on, Madmartigan would be seen wearing a simple fisherman's outfit. Also, as Moebius drew him, he has a partial tonsure as part of his hairstyle. Sorsha, on the other hand, would wear a fearsome suit of armor for the first part of the film.

    After Willow, Meegosh, and Madmartigan escape from Sorsha's camp, Madmartigan would have donned a gleaming suit of royal armor in the ruins of Castle Galladoorn. The heroes would then travel to Tir Asleen, to which Bavmorda's army, led by Sorsha, would lay siege. This is the point where Sorsha would first be seen in her new armor, a more revealing outfit complete with a warrior's tonsure.

    The obvious intent here is that, in the final act, both Madmartigan and Sorsha end up looking much like the other one did earlier in the film. This reinforces the idea that they are two halves, masculine and feminine, of one soul--a theme Lucas had wanted to explore with Luke and Leia in the very first SW film.

    In the finale, rather than by costume, Madmartigan and Sorsha would instead be visually linked by their shared mutilation.
  4. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    In later drafts Sorsha's pixie haircut during the finale was apparently transferred to the Brownies, who in the ending "have been civilized to a degree with page boy uniforms, fuzzy haircuts, and nifty little swords."

    Also, in the third-revision script, when Sorsha takes Madmartigan captive, he says that her hair is beautiful. His comment intrigues Sorsha, who later asks Willow if Madmartigan is right. This was apparently the idea behind Sorsha shaving her head later on; she wants to spite Madmartigan after he escapes her.
  5. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Early on in Sorsha's duel with the seven stone statues, one of them would likely have cut off her topknot with its sword, leaving her completely bald. Since for a samurai to lose his topknot is a sign of extreme humiliation, Sorsha's involuntary haircut would tell the audience that she is in deep trouble.

    Sorsha losing her hair in the duel also reflects the injuries of Darth Vader, who was badly burned and lost all his hair as a result of his infamous duel with Obi-Wan. As I noted earlier, the original concept for unmasked Vader in ROTJ also called for him to be blind in one eye.

    Of course by the finale Sorsha's hair would have begun to grow back, but her face would still be permanently disfigured by her ruined eye.
  6. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    The first scene in which Sorsha would sport the shaved-head-and-topknot hairstyle would likely actually be when she explores the ruins of Galladoorn Castle with a party of Orcs, hunting for Madmartigan and Willow. She fails to find the heroes, because they have been concealed by Airk Thaughbaer and his men, who are also hiding in the ruins.

    I was probably wrong in the last post about when exactly Sorsha's topknot would be cut off--it was more likely during the siege of Tir Asleen. So during the whole of the final battle at Nockmaar, she'd be entirely bald.

    Losing a topknot is a humiliation for a samurai warrior. But Madmartigan is also humiliated in the same battle, when he is knocked to the ground and nearly killed by an Orc, and Sorsha saves his life. Their mutual embarrassment in the battle of Tir Asleen further reinforces the theme of "one soul in two bodies," based on the Jungian anima/animus concept, which Lucas intended to explore.

    Aurra Sing in TPM had elongated fingers, very reminiscent of the claws seen on Max Schreck's hideous vampire in the 1922 German silent film Nosferatu. This is probably a nod to the fact that, with her bald head and pointed Elf ears, Sorsha in the climax of Willow would also have resembled this famous cinematic vampire.

    [IMG]

    The Pau'ans in ROTS were also designed to evoke Max Schreck's vampire Count Orlok.

    [IMG]
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 7, 2014
  7. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    I should note that over the course of the early story, as Sorsha gradually goes from a villain to a hero, she also gradually loses her beauty in a direct correlation.

    In the beginning, when she's Bavmorda's loyal servant, she has a full head of golden hair beneath her armor. After her encounter with Madmartigan in her tent, which leaves her conflicted and questioning her allegiance, she shaves part of her head. During the battle of Tir Asleen, when she joins the good guys for the first time, she loses the rest of her hair and becomes totally bald. And when she finally confronts her mother, the film's principal villain, she loses an eye.

    This is of course exactly how Kurosawa handled the scarring of General Tadokoro in The Hidden Fortress--he is handsome as a villain but horribly scarred as a hero.
  8. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    In her own person, the Sorsha of the early outlines combines visual allusions to a host of classic villains and antiheroes of the silver screen: Lucas's own creation, Darth Vader; Lord Humongous from The Road Warrior; King Etzel from Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen; Max Schreck's Count Orlok in Nosferatu; and Kirk Douglas's one-eyed villain Einar in The Vikings.

    This reuses a theme from the 1974 rough draft of The Star Wars: the monsters of earlier films become Lucas's heroes. In 1974 Lucas made the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the robot from Metropolis, the Martian tripods of H.G. Wells, and King Kong into, respectively, the first draft's Han Solo, C-3PO and R2-D2, and the Wookees. (Not to mention he turned Princess Leia into Fritz Lang's Whore of Babylon to boot.) However, whereas in the 1974 rough draft all these monstrous characters were separate heroes, in the early plot of Willow the heroic monsters were combined into the single character of Sorsha.
  9. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Add another to the list of things I was likely wrong about in my initial assessment: namely, Sorsha's hairstyle in the finale. In fact, she'd probably still be as bald as a cue ball.

    This is because of the running theme in the dialogue of Madmartigan's fixation on Sorsha's hair. Earlier in the film, he says she has the most beautiful hair he's ever seen. Sorsha is thrown enough by this remark that she later asks Willow if Madmartigan is right.

    When Madmartigan and Sorsha are reunited at Tir Asleen in the third-revision script, right after she saves his life, an Orc surprise-attacks her and she quickly dispatches it. Presumably in the earlier version, where she'd partially shaved her head earlier, the Orc manages to cut off her topknot first.

    Sorsha's bald head would undoubtedly be referenced in dialogue between her and Madmartigan. Likely enough she would ask that question every man fears: "How do you like my new hair?" To which Madmartigan would reply something like, "I love it. I think you should keep it that way." And he'd mean it--because by now his love for her has transcended mere physicality.

    Which would surely mean that in the finale, Sorsha would still have a shaved head. She'd be wearing a crown and a gorgeous Madonna outfit, but she'd also be bald with a blind eye.

    Sorsha's appearance in the ending (bald and half-blind) is of course carried over from the original concept for unmasked Darth Vader in ROTJ.

    [IMG]

    However, Lucas is also drawing here on Celtic mythology. The nemesis of the Irish king Nuada (of the Silver Hand) was the one-eyed Balor of the Evil Eye. Balor's Welsh-mythology counterpart, Ysbadadden Bencawr, is a fierce giant who is also the father of the beautiful blonde maiden Olwen.

    In the famous tale of Culhwch and Olwen from the medieval Welsh collection of stories known as the Mabinogion, the young man Culhwch, with the help of King Arthur and his knights, asks Ysbadadden for permission to marry Olwen. Their initial meetings go badly; there is a fight, and one of the knights puts out one of Ysbadadden's eyes.

    Ysbadadden tells Culhwch that he will only let him marry Olwen after Culhwch collects a fantastic array of tools with which to shave Ysbadadden's head (a feudal ritual of submission). Culhwch and Arthur's knights duly round up these legendary objects and give Ysbadadden a shave. Olwen and Culhwch are married and live happily ever after.

    Among the many Arthurian knights in the story, Culhwch and Olwen prominently features Bedwyr (better known in his later identity of Sir Bedivere), who in this story is a fantastic swordsman despite having only one hand.

    Lucas has once again combined the attributes of a hero in Madmartigan with those of his nemesis in Sorsha. Madmartigan is missing a hand in the finale, like Nuada and Bedwyr, whereas Sorsha is bald and one-eyed, like Balor and Ysbadadden.

    Lucas probably encountered Culhwch and Olwen while reading up on J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien loved this story--it was the chief inspiration for the tale of Beren and Luthien in The Silmarillion.

    Additionally, Sorsha's appearance in the finale--bald with a vertical scar over one eye--brings to mind another famous cinematic villain: Ernst Stavro Blofeld as played by Donald Pleasence in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice.

    [IMG]

    Sorsha would be holding Elora Danan in the final scene, much like Blofeld, who is constantly holding his white cat.
  10. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    And another thing I likely initially got wrong: the hand Madmartigan would lose in his duel with King Kael.

    Given the strong symbolic castration imagery going on with Sorsha, Madmartigan would have had to be equally maimed. So it's more likely that Kael actually cut off his right arm, his sword arm, during their battle.

    This links Madmartigan much more strongly with the Irish figure Nuada, who lost his right arm in battle and had it replaced with a silver one. Not to mention JRR Tolkien's Elf warrior Maedhros, who lost a hand when being rescued from the prisons of the Dark Lord Morgoth, but survived to wield a sword more deadly with his left hand than his right had ever been.

    But of course Madmartigan still has to win the duel. So with his left hand, he'd actually pry the sword out of his severed arm lying on the ground and stab Kael with it.

    That particular idea comes from Alan Dean Foster's SW novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye. During their duel at the end of the book, Luke cuts Darth Vader's right arm off. Vader, unperturbed, bends down and pries his lightsaber hilt out of his severed hand, then prepares to renew the battle.

    Something similar is mentioned in the ROTJ story conferences. There Lucas reveals that originally Anakin first lost his right arm in his volcano duel with Obi-Wan. Ben pried Anakin's saber out of his severed hand and kept it for Luke to inherit.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 8, 2014
  11. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    The motif of Madmartigan being grievously injured and nearly defeated in his duel with Kael, only to win at the last second, would most likely be inverted with Sorsha. She would have a moment of triumph in her duel with the seven statues--shattering one of them--only to then be slashed in the face and incapacitated.

    This goes back to the skeleton duel in Jason and the Argonauts. Jason manages to behead one of the seven skeletons, but the remaining six are too much for him and he has to flee.
  12. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Cross-posting this relevant material from the Clothes and Fashion thread in the Literature forum:

    You guys all know Lobot, I'm sure, so there's no need for introductions.

    [IMG]

    Lobot's fashion sense, and in part his name, were inspired by Ernst Stavro Blofeld from the James Bond films.

    [IMG]

    In fact, the actor who played Lobot, John Hollis, also played Blofeld for his cameo in the opening of For Your Eyes Only.

    As I noted above, there was also a Blofeld reference intended in Willow with Sorsha's appearance in the finale (bald, with a scar over one eye, and holding a baby instead of a cat).

    Another unused costume idea from Willow which later made its way into TPM is seen on Nute Gunray, who wears a crown-like headdress on his hairless head.

    [IMG]

    Originally in the finale of Willow Sorsha would wear a queenly crown on her bald head, as part of her Madonna outfit.
  13. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Another likely source for Sorsha's baldness is Ilia, the bald female Deltan navigator in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Ilia's species, the Deltans, are said to be sexually irresistible to humans despite being hairless.

    [IMG]

    At one point in the film, Ilia even wears a crown-like headdress, very similar to the royal crown Sorsha would've worn in the Willow finale.

    [IMG]

    At another point in the movie Ilia is seen emerging from a shower as Kirk stands outside. In the novelization (written by Gene Roddenberry, a confirmed hound dog if there ever was one) the scene is much more explicit than in the film, as Kirk gets a very good look at Ilia's naked breasts. This suggests an influence on Lucas's idea of Sorsha being seen bare-breasted in her tent.

    Lucas definitely read the Star Trek TMP novelization as well as just watching the movie. One detail included by Roddenberry would later recur in Shadows of the Empire: in the novelization Deltans are said to emit pheromones that create involuntary sexual arousal in humans, much like Prince Xizor does.

    Additionally, Sorsha's gradual transformation from beauty to ugliness over the course of Willow as first planned certainly owes something to the similar transformation of the titular hero in Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible.

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    See if you can spot the difference. Difficult, I know. :p

    ---

    Getting back to Madmartigan: at the beginning of the film we would originally have seen him fishing, and by the end of the film he's become a king. So he's literally a Fisher King, like the figure from Arthurian legend.

    The most notable thing about the Fisher King is that he suffered a wound to his genitals that will not heal, leaving him impotent. We know from Lucas's numerous statements about Star Wars that he considers the loss of a right hand to be a symbol of castration. And we also know that Madmartigan would likely have lost his right arm in the earliest script--meaning that he fulfills the Fisher King role in this sense too.

    Of course Sorsha, being his female counterpart and soul mate, had to have an equal symbolic castration. This involved not just the loss of an eye, but also of her hair, which was likely permanent.

    The Fisher King's wound, the Dolorous Stroke, was delivered by a powerful magical weapon, the Spear of Destiny. Likewise, Lucas apparently intended both Madmartigan and Sorsha to be wounded by swords infused with dark magic, meaning that their injuries would never heal.

    Thus, Madmartigan's severed arm could not be reattached, even via magic, and Sorsha's ruined eye would remain blind. Her shaved hair, too, cut off by Nockmaar swords, would never grow back. She would be bald forever.

    (These evil swords would've been strongly influenced by the Morgul-blades of The Lord of the Rings. However, Sorsha losing her hair permanently also invokes a nod to Superman's bald archenemy Lex Luthor.)

    ---

    On another note, Tolkien's Silmarillion likely provided the inspiration for Lucas to apply Prince Valorum's/Darth Vader's character arc to a girl.

    In the First Age of Middle-earth, the golden-haired Elf Galadriel was one of the fiercest leaders of the Noldor who rebelled against the Valar (the Gods, basically) and went to Middle-earth to recover the Silmarils from the Dark Lord Morgoth. Galadriel was a proud Elf-woman who desired to rule over vast kingdoms, and she refused to admit her wrongdoing even when the Valar forgave most of the other Noldor for their actions. Only in the Third Age did she finally learn wisdom, refusing the power of the One Ring when Frodo Baggins offered it to her, and at last accepting the pardon of the Valar.

    Like Galadriel, Sorsha transitions from a fiery warrior espousing a dubious cause, to a wiser, more level-headed agent for the forces of good. There's also the matter of Galadriel's golden hair: according to Unfinished Tales, the master smith Feanor was absolutely infatuated with Galadriel's hair, and begged her for a lock of it to use in his crafting of jewels. She refused to give him so much as one single hair. Feanor's obsession with her hair was seemingly the model for Madmartigan's similar interest in Sorsha's tresses.

    Another important character from The Silmarillion is Idril Celebrindal, the golden-haired daughter of King Turgon, ruler of the Elven city of Gondolin. Idril marries the mortal hero Tuor; the central episode in their tale is the siege of Gondolin by the armies of Morgoth. Much like the original version of Sorsha, here we have an Elven woman who marries a mortal, and who is the daughter of a powerful Elf king, whose city is besieged by the armies of a Dark Lord. In the earliest version of the Gondolin story, as recounted in The Book of Lost Tales, Tuor even wears a silver suit of armor with a winged helmet, much like that proposed for Madmartigan in Moebius's storyboards.

    (The Book of Lost Tales also features an idea Tolkien later abandoned, describing Elves as being significantly shorter than humans. In The Lord of the Rings it's the other way around, but Lucas borrowed this earlier, more traditional conception for Willow.)

    Presumably the moment where Sorsha actually meets her long-lost father would borrow much from The Lord of the Rings: the Elf King would be standing at the gate of the city walls, ready to meet the impending onslaught, just as Bavmorda's troops knocked it down. Sorsha would be the first to stride in through the broken doors, much like the Witch-King entering the great gate of Minas Tirith to confront Gandalf the White. Only the result of the encounter here would be different--more in line with CS Lewis's The Horse and His Boy--as the Elf King would almost immediately recognize Sorsha as his daughter, and she would realize her father was not dead after all.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 9, 2014
  14. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

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    There's also the shaved-head population of THX 1138. You've even got Blofeld among the cast, there.
    ATMachine likes this.
  15. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    There would of course need to be some on-screen explanation as to why Sorsha is now permanently bald.

    I'd assume the whole scene runs something like this:
    This, I think, is the most likely scenario for delivering the exposition about Sorsha's permanent baldness. It also sets up the deadly power of Nockmaar swords for the final battle, where Madmartigan's and Sorsha's injuries cannot be healed afterwards, even with magic.

    Funnily enough, this scene brings in another major parallel with James Cameron's Titanic. The ending of that movie features Old Rose tossing her fabulous necklace, the one she wore when posing nude for Leonardo DiCaprio, over the side of the salvage boat.

    In the film's original alternate ending, Cameron hewed even closer to the Willow model. Originally the chief treasure-hunter character, played by Bill Paxton, finds Old Rose out on deck. She lets him hold the diamond for a moment before she tosses it overboard. The other treasure hunters are outraged, but Bill Paxton merely laughs, because he has just realized there is more to life than material things.

    As I mentioned earlier in the thread, Cameron also apparently took Kate Winslet's nude scene in Titanic direct from the original idea for Willow--with Sorsha sleeping naked on a bed, in full view of Madmartigan, wearing only a beautiful Elvish necklace.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 9, 2014
  16. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Sorsha's becoming permanently bald is of course a reflection of Darth Vader's burn-induced baldness, just as her loss of an eye is an idea originally considered for Vader's makeup in ROTJ.

    There's also a nod here to O. Henry's famous short story "The Gift of the Magi." In that story a young married couple attempt to buy each other Christmas gifts with very little money. The woman sells her hair to buy her husband a fob for his prized pocket watch; the man sells his pocket watch to buy a set of combs for his wife's hair. When they open their presents on Christmas Day, they both realize that their love for each other is more precious than these physical objects.

    Likewise, Madmartigan and Sorsha were going to both lose their best physical features--he his sword hand, she her beauty--but remain in love nonetheless.
  17. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    In the third-revision script, Willow's wife Kiaya is initially described as having beautiful long hair. The night before Willow leaves the Nelwyn village, we see that she's fastened it into a single long braid. The next morning, when Willow sets out with Elora Danan, Kiaya cuts off her hair and gives the severed braid to Willow, for him to carry as a good-luck token.

    This seems to be an attempt at recycling the original idea with Sorsha giving Madmartigan her severed topknot, which had been abandoned by this point.
  18. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Sorsha also has a connection to that famous comic book inspiration for Darth Vader--Marvel's Dr. Doom, nemesis of the Fantastic Four.

    According to the Fantastic Four's origin story, Victor von Doom was horribly burned in a lab accident for which he blamed his colleague Reed Richards. When he became a supervillain, Dr. Doom donned a suit of armor that completely hid his body, save his eyes only. This is naturally where the idea of Vader being horribly burned beneath his suit comes from.

    [IMG]

    However, Fantastic Four chief artist Jack Kirby soon developed a different backstory for Dr. Doom. Kirby theorized that Doom had actually received only a minor facial scar, which in no way detracted from his handsomeness. However, Doom was so vain that he believed he was now hideous, and therefore hid his face behind a metal mask.

    [IMG]

    In a revised origin story for Dr. Doom published by Marvel in 1985, later Fantastic Four writer John Byrne combined both of these ideas for Doom's true appearance. In Byrne's version, Doom had indeed received only a small scar in his lab accident. However, believing himself forever disfigured anyway, Doom put on his famous metal mask when it was still red-hot from the furnace, leaving him with a truly horrific appearance beneath his armor.

    George Lucas wrote the story for Willow in 1986. A long-time comics nerd, he was very likely familiar with Byrne's update of Jack Kirby's classic character (on whom Lucas had already drawn so heavily for Darth Vader).

    As with Dr. Doom's disfigurement as retold by Byrne, Sorsha loses her hair in two stages, one voluntary and the other accidental. However, here the order is reversed: initially Sorsha partially shaves her own head, but her remaining topknot is severed in battle. This reversal of the sequence indicates that Sorsha is not an irredeemable villain like Dr. Doom.

    Additionally, Sorsha's loss of her hair draws to a certain degree on Lex Luthor's baldness, which in the traditional origin story was caused when Superboy saved him from a lab accident gone wrong.

    [IMG]
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 10, 2014
  19. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Also, I don't know how I've missed spotting this before:

    The extremely popular Star Wars EU character Asajj Ventress, who began life in Dermot Power's sketches for a "Sith Witch" in Episode II, is clearly Original Sorsha 2.0 (albeit minus the missing eye).

    [IMG]
  20. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    In the third-revision script, when Madmartigan is imprisoned in the cage by the crossroads, he tries to befriend Willow by making a baby rattle for Elora Danan. The "seed" in the rattle is actually one of his rotten teeth that he's extracted.

    Since originally Madmartigan was not imprisoned, the idea of a character losing a tooth likely initially occurred elsewhere in the script. Once again, it probably happened to Sorsha.

    In the early script, Sorsha would've been the first to enter the broken gate of Tir Asleen, where the Elf King would stand poised for battle, like Gandalf the White at the gates of Minas Tirith. However, Sorsha would still be wearing her battle mask at this point, and the Elf King would need to see her unmasked in order to recognize her as his long-lost daughter.

    The answer? The Elf King obviously hits Sorsha in the face with a mace of some sort. She staggers and reels, and then takes off the mask--spitting out a tooth as she does. This is actually a callback to Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Marion greets Indy, whom she likewise hasn't seen in many years, with a punch to the face.

    Sorsha would therefore be missing one of her front teeth for the rest of the film--further adding to her descent into ugliness as she becomes more heroic. And in the finale, she might be seen with a new golden front tooth.

    Or, more likely, more than one. I've already noted the Blofeld allusion with Sorsha's appearance in the finale, and her missing eye also serves as a Bond villain reference, this time to Emilio Largo in Thunderball. Lucas might have decided to complete the Bond-villain trinity and give Sorsha golden teeth as a reference to Richard Kiel's famous henchman Jaws.

    [IMG]

    Which would mean that the Elf King would've actually knocked out not just one but several of Sorsha's teeth--likely most of her front teeth, in fact. Leaving her with an extremely golden smile when we see her new false teeth in the finale.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 12, 2014
  21. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    A clue as to the sorry state of Sorsha's dentition may perhaps be found in TPM in the character of Watto.

    Watto has teeth that extend backwards in his jaw from his canines, but no front teeth, as they are absent where his proboscis hangs down over his mouth.

    [IMG]

    If we accept that the TPM concept artists were possibly drawing on Willow here, this indicates that Sorsha would have lost all her center front teeth, upper and lower--paving the way for a golden smile like that of Richard Kiel's Jaws.

    There may additionally be here a reference to a piece of Star Wars cast biography: Harrison Ford lost six front teeth in an accident on the set of Gunsmoke, and had to pay himself for proper replacements because the studio dentist botched the job.

    However, given the example of Watto above, I think it's more likely that Sorsha would have lost eight teeth--all her incisors--in one go.

    The Elf King permanently ruining Sorsha's smile when he first meets her seems to have inspired the moment where Henry Sr. hits Indiana Jones over the head with a vase by way of greeting in Last Crusade. So instead of Sean Connery's line "Sorry about your head, but I thought you were one of them!" we'd have gotten "Sorry about your teeth" instead.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 12, 2014
  22. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Sorsha getting attacked when she comes through the gate of Tir Asleen actually contains a nod to Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. In that film the wily Kambei tests his potential recruits by having them pass through a door, on the other side of which his apprentice Katsushiro is waiting in ambush. If the samurai realizes that something is wrong before he enters, then he passes the test and can join the group. All of the titular seven samurai pass--except Toshiro Mifune's character, who joins anyway.

    This scene may have been intended as an echo of something that occurred earlier in the film, when Madmartigan first meets Sorsha in the tavern.

    In the final film Madmartigan simply shoves Sorsha away when she reaches out to grab Elora Danan. But in the early draft (where Sorsha's face was completely concealed by a helmet), Madmartigan may actually have thrown a heavy cup at her masked face. Then she would take off her helmet, revealing her as a beautiful woman--with a broken and bleeding nose.

    Later in the film, when Sorsha catches up to Madmartigan, Willow, and Meegosh outside the dragon's cave, she would get her revenge by breaking Madmartigan's nose. This actually sort of occurs in the final film when she kicks him in the face at this point. The motif of them breaking each other's noses introduces the "one soul in two bodies" concept, and foreshadows their far more serious injuries at the end of the film.

    Sorsha and Madmartigan would both be seen with small but visible scars on their noses for the rest of the film--like Clint Eastwood at the end of A Fistful of Dollars.

    If I'm right about Madmartigan throwing a cup at Sorsha, that's another idea Lucas borrowed from Tolkien. In the earliest version of the story of the human hero Turin Turambar, from The Book of Lost Tales, Turin leaves his foster home at the Elf King Thingol's court after he rashly throws a cup at an Elf who was making fun of him during a feast. The Elf, Saeros, is hit full in the face and killed, leading Turin to go into self-imposed exile.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 12, 2014
  23. ATMachine Force Ghost

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    Feb 27, 2007
    star 4
    In the final film, during the battle at Tir Asleen, Willow takes up a defensive position on a retractable wooden bridge above a moat, leading to the castle's inner keep. He is attacked by several trolls and has to defend himself. One of the trolls crashes down through the bridge, taking Willow with him, but Willow manages to hang on, shake off the troll, and pull himself up. Another troll attacks him then, and Willow calls out for Madmartigan, who comes to his rescue and kills the troll. Sorsha, who is still just on the verge of changing sides, watches Madmartigan with admiration.

    This sequence doesn't appear in the third-revision script. Instead, a troll attack appears much earlier, when Willow is being chased by wicked Elves after he escapes from their underground city. Willow has to cross a deep chasm spanned by a fallen log; the trolls attack him as he crosses the log. Willow kicks them into the abyss, but the last of them takes Willow's shoe with it. Later, Willow complains about his lost shoe to the fairy queen Cherlindrea, who gives him a replacement.

    Since in the original script, the pursuit sequence with Willow and the trolls was apparently a river chase using boats, the idea of Willow fighting a battle on a wooden bridge was likely used in a different form elsewhere. I suspect that, in the early script, the battle on the bridge may have been included at Tir Asleen, as in the final film.

    In this first version, since Sorsha turns good much earlier in the battle, it would likely be she who saved Willow instead of Madmartigan. So as Willow is fighting off several Orcs, Sorsha comes to his aid and kills them. Most likely, the last of the Orcs falls through the bridge, attempting to take her with him. Sorsha manages to knock him into the moat, although he pries away one of her shoes. The Orc is devoured by the moat monsters, the Elf King's pets.

    Sorsha then goes back to fighting by Madmartigan's side. But later, when those two are busy fighting elsewhere, King Kael himself would confront and overpower Willow, seize Elora Danan, and make his escape.

    Once the battle ends, the Elf King would probably remark that in Tir Asleen there are no shoes to fit Sorsha's human-size feet, large compared to those of the Elves. Sorsha tells him that it is all right, since she always liked to go barefoot anyway. And indeed, she would remain barefoot for the rest of the film, even in the finale.

    The bridge battle of course is modeled on that in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, including Mola Ram's death by crocodile.

    The idea of a hero losing a shoe while saving another character's life goes back to the Greek myth of Jason, famously dramatized in the movie Jason and the Argonauts. In the film, Jason saves his evil uncle Pelias from drowning in a river, but loses a shoe to the current. This is an important part of a prophecy which states that Jason will eventually take Pelias's throne from him. In a similar vein, Sorsha becomes Queen of Galladoorn after the overthrow of her evil mother Bavmorda.

    Sorsha developing a love of going barefoot harks back to Tolkien's Idril Celebrindal, golden-haired daughter of Turgon, King of the Elven city of Gondolin in The Silmarillion. Idril is perpetually barefoot, even gaining the nickname "Idril of the Silver Feet" as a result. Ursula in William Morris's The Well at the World's End also was barefoot most of the time.

    Sorsha being barefoot in the finale also extends the Marian symbolism there, as the Virgin Mary is almost invariably depicted without shoes.
  24. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 4
    I noted in my SW rough-draft thread that Lucas originally intended to have Leia Aquilae transition from a virginal Madonna in a white robe to a bare-breasted Whore of Babylon. The catalyst for this change would be an offscreen implied gang-rape.

    It's obvious that Lucas also played with this imagery with Sorsha in the early script of Willow, albeit with the caveat that repeated mutilation was substituted as a symbol for gang-rape.

    In fact, every major character (except Meegosh) is implicated in one of the stages of Sorsha's disfigurement. When he first meets her, Madmartigan breaks her nose; after the tent scene Sorsha partially shaves her own head; the Elf King of Tir Asleen greets his long-lost daughter by knocking out her teeth; Sorsha saves Madmartigan's life and loses her remaining hair in the process; she then rescues Willow, and loses a shoe, leaving her barefoot; and Bavmorda finally blinds one of her eyes. What can we call this but some sort of gang-rape by symbolic substitute?

    Not only that, the three characters most intimately involved with Sorsha--Madmartigan, her father, and her mother--all hit her in the face, physically and symbolically damaging her sexual allure. Both Madmartigan and the Elf King, who are, after all, heroes, hit her when she is wearing her battle mask (which symbolizes villainy), thus sparing her really serious injury. But Bavmorda, in keeping with her villain status, attacks the now-heroic Sorsha after she has taken off her mask for good--leading to the worst injury of all, as Sorsha loses an eye.

    Also, if injury is rape, then Madmartigan can also be said to be symbolically raped, via his broken nose and, much more importantly, the loss of his sword arm. The motif of the hero and heroine both being abused in such a manner goes back to the novel version of Logan's Run (1967). In that book the hero Logan and his girlfriend Jessica are captured by feral bandits; Logan is gang-raped by a pack of women, and Jessica is raped by a single man.

    In the finale, although Sorsha would be wearing the gorgeous Madonna dress, she'd also still have the various scars from her adventure. If her scars are the markers of symbolic rape, then they could be interpreted as branding her a whore. So, like Leia Aquilae from the 1974 SW rough draft, Sorsha combines the Madonna and Whore aspects of femininity in one person.

    This is quite dark symbolism, and it's not surprising that it was dropped in the later drafts. Gotta squeeze some Saturday morning cartoons out of this flick, after all.
    Last edited by ATMachine, Aug 13, 2014
  25. ATMachine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 4
    As I noted above, after Kael escaped from Tir Asleen with Elora Danan, the Elf King would order his Elf soldiers to arm themselves for pursuit. At this point Sorsha would ask her father if his armory included any shoes. He'd tell her that there were none for a human-sized woman, to which she would say that she always liked going barefoot anyway.

    Once the heroes' army actually approached Bavmorda's stronghold of Nockmaar, the scene would undoubtedly open with a shot of Sorsha's dirty bare feet walking in the mud as the army completed its march. (A similar shot is called for in the third-revision script, to indicate that Cherlindrea has given Willow a replacement for the shoe he lost earlier.)

    Sorsha going barefoot is reminiscent of her namesake Shasta in CS Lewis's The Horse and His Boy, who spends most of the novel barefoot in peasant rags. Moreover, in the same novel Shasta's twin brother Corin is first seen with a magnificent black eye and a missing tooth, both of which correspond to Sorsha's eye and mouth injuries.

    Sorsha as seen in the final battle--bald, barefoot, and missing several teeth--would have an undoubtedly feral air, better resembling a vicious goblin than a beautiful Elf maiden. In fact, she'd have a significant resemblance to Tolkien's Gollum as envisioned by Ralph Bakshi:

    [IMG]

    Aside from the dark skin color (prescribed by Tolkien but omitted in the Peter Jackson adaptation), Bakshi's Gollum has a very similar appearance to Sorsha's look in the finale, right down to the pointed ears. Moebius's drawing of her battle armor even suggests a loincloth of sorts, rather like what Gollum wears.

    The Gollum of Bakshi's animated Lord of the Rings also has only a few teeth--prominent canines with no incisors in between them, just like Watto in TPM, or the early-script Sorsha after her teeth are knocked out.