BTS Reconstructing the Backstories

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Jun 4, 2011.

Moderators: Darth_Nub, Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn
  1. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    Vader as a crippled half-machine, half-man arose from the audio post-production of SW, with Ben Burtt's sinister breathing effect, didn't it? I had the impression that GL just leapt on it & combined Vader with all the cyborgs he had in the early drafts, then came up with the volcano duel backstory, prior to his next major step of making Vader Luke's father.
  2. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4
    You're right about the difference that this makes. I believe that someone earlier had made the rationale that since Vader was said to be "tricking" the Jedi into thinking he was still on their side, his treachery didn't require a whole lot of skill, so it would still theoretically fit with him having left his training under Ben and thus not being a full Jedi Knight. That's the rationale; it's 'fits', though maybe not 'perfectly'. In the film, Obi-Wan DID say, after all, that Vader helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi, which could still support the 'treachery' angle from the July/Aug '77 Lucas/Titleman (Wikarska) 'expanded universe' discussion. Contrary to what some believe, the 'helping' element need not preclude a more active/pro-active role on the part of Vader in terms of hunting down the Jedi. And, like I brought up earlier, even the fourth draft (1-1-76) - the next to the last one/shooting script - states that Ben had been "chased across the galaxy by Vader ".

    On another issue, the later version (summer of '77) explicitly states (the film wasn't specific on this) that Annikin was the last of the Jedi to be killed in the purge, which kind of makes it hard to make that death a 'metaphor' for him having turned to the dark side (compare that to Annikin having been the first one to "die" in the purge). A side issue, I know, but the fact remains that this version just reinforces the idea that Vader and Annikin were two separate people, even at this stage in '77.


    That's pretty much what I think happened, as well. The thing is that Rinzler seems to be fudging things when he says that the volcano duel and man-machine Vader came about with the fourth draft, but he doesn't give any sources to back that claim, unless one counts Lucas talking about the duel back-story for the Rolling Stone interview, where he says that he didn't have Vader's story "figured out until the fourth draft". But that's his claim vs. the final film, among other things, that do not back-up said claim.

  3. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    Although it mightn't be relevant to what was going on in the fourth draft, I think it's worth mentioning that notes from around the second/third draft period (I think) indicate that Sith Lords were meant to be hideous underneath their masks, which would include Vader. From what little there is suggests that they're a naturally ugly race, or somehow twisted by the Dark Side - think orcs, I suppose - but not actually 'scarred' as such.
    This probably hung around on the fringes of GL's mind until he came up with the 'destroyed being' concept of Vader & played its own part in that concept. It may even have had some influence on the development of the Emperor for ROTJ.

    It's very hard to figure out just when certain elements of SOTME were developed, or even when the book was started. The presence of the Kaiburr Crystal would indicate that it must have been begun after the Crystal had been eliminated from the storyline of The Star Wars, i.e. the fourth draft, which is dated January 1, 1976. It's interesting that Vader has a mechanical arm in the novel, but SOTME was released in February 1978 - well after GL publicly revealed the mechanical nature of Vader anyway.
    SOTME does include concepts that seem to date back to before the completion of SW, such as the more esoteric nature of Ben Kenobi's watching over Luke, as opposed to the more explicit voice in the film, but I'm not sure that necessarily puts it very far back, as they're different media.

    Personally, I think it's possible that Vader as a half-man/half-machine could date back to the interim between drafts three & four, simply because Vader's fearsome masked appearance was in place by then, & the idea that he was part mechanical was staring them in the face. However, the extent & cause of his injuries still seem to have come much, much later with the breathing effect.
  4. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4
    Interesting find, Nub. I had no clue about the 'hideous/tainted Sith Lords' element. Is it in Rinzler's book?

    Speaking of Sith Lords wearing masks, the Art of Star Wars, had a McQuarrie or John Mollo sketch of Vader from '75, wearing a mask but with no helmet - and, get this: he has hair!. . This artwork would suggest that at the stage in the writing development that it's supposed to depict (second/third draft?), Vader wasn't going to be the "fried/destroyed being" as described by Lucas in '77.



    I had forgotten about the 'more esoteric nature' of Ben's watching over Luke in SOTME. Good catch.

    As far as the second paragraph, I agree that it's possible about that concept dating to that interim between drafts three and four, I just don't think that it's very probable, given the descriptions in the fourth draft itself (both the Jan 1st and Mar 15th '76 versions) and the dialogue from the final film. Again the "armored space-suit" description of Vader, plus the note for the Jan 1st script with Ben Kenobi being said to have been "chased across the galaxy by Vader", which to me, implies a short recovery time from whatever injury he supposedly received from the fight with Ben. But the clincher for me, is the final film, where in their duel on the Death Star, he mentions leaving Ben, but doesn't mention anything about a previous battle.
  5. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    It's from Rinzler's MOSW, just a small note written between Drafts 1 & 2 - "Sith knights look like Linda Blair in Exorcist".

    Regarding just when Vader became part machine, I don't have a firm view on when it was, simply that it's possible it came earlier than the fourth draft. The fact that he never removes his helmet or armour throughout the entire film just seems quite odd, particularly in the formal presence of Imperial officers. Then again, the stormtroopers don't either, but they're never included in an actual meeting.

    I'm inclined to think that in the Revised Draft 4 & the film, it was in place that Vader's mask concealed some sort of injuries or hideous appearance, hence why it stayed on. The earlier concept of Sith being naturally butt-fugly is probably just as possible an explanation as extreme scarring at this stage.

    If it was actual life-supporting armour, however, one would think that something about his movement or actions would also be an indication. Legendary though it is, the breathing was an afterthought, & didn't require any change in the performance.
  6. janstett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2004
    star 3
    Forgive the tangent, but I was always irked that the breathing and dialogue are not synced, was there ever a speculation of any sort to reconcile this?
  7. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    No idea, although I can't say I ever noticed.

    One thing occurred to me regarding the issue of just when & why it was determined that Vader never removed his helmet or armour - just when was David Prowse cast in the role of Darth Vader? I know that the Big Three were cast around draft three, but what about the rest?

    David Prowse wasn't cast for his acting abilities or even his facial appearance. This was someone whose most notable credits included playing Frankenstein's monster in Hammer films & a monosyllabic bodyguard in a Clockwork Orange. He was cast for his physical build. If you believe his own account, he was even given a choice between playing the role of Vader or Chewbacca.

    Point being, when he was cast, it was clear that Darth Vader would remain masked throughout the entire film.
  8. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4

    Some have said that Vader being briefly 'helmet-less' in a few scenes in SW was the case for the third draft, while others have claimed that this was the case with the FOURTH draft (the Jan 1st '76 version, but NOT the 'REvised fourth' from March 15th of that year).
  9. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4

    EDIT:



    This wouldn't be 'evidence' of the volcano duel by itself, per se, though I realize that perhaps such a contention wasn't your point.


  10. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4

    Next, I'd like to delve into the whole "hidden from their father" aspect of Luke and Leia's characters circa ROTJ, and on a side note, how previous to ROTJ, per SW/ANH canon (and probably that of TESB, as well) the "hidden" notion was most likely NOT the case (or under vastly different circumstances).
  11. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    This suggests that by 1981 either the twins were hidden as of Episode II or else were not hidden 'at birth' at all, perhaps having their deaths faked later on. The 'you were hidden from your father' exposition is not present in the rough draft of Jedi, 12 June 1981, though in it Yoda does say Leia was taken to Alderaan by her mother.
  12. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    No, merely that the supposed 'evidence' of Vader removing his helmet - e.g. drinking from a flask in the novelisation - was most likely a mistake that slipped through, as opposed to implying that he wasn't wearing it. I'm not sure when Prowse was cast, however, but I imagine it was prior to Draft Four.
  13. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    It's quite possible that in 1979, GL's vague notion of the timeframe of the PT was different - he may have intended to cover some of the early Imperial era, rather than basically ending things immediately after the birth of the Empire & Anakin's fall. His brief quote about Luke's age doesn't say anything about Luke's circumstances at the age of three & a half - for all we know, the end of Episode III may have shown Luke's infancy on Tatooine under the watchful eye of Obi-Wan. At the time the quote was made, Luke was still very much the focus of the SW saga.
  14. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4
    I happen to think that "the twins were hidden as of Episode II " is more likely to have been the case at the time (1981), as the line "you were hidden from your father when you were born* " , which came later, seems to fit pretty well with the 'Episode II' time-line (rather than 'III') option. Anyhow, that's 1981. In 1979 , when he first talked about "Episodes I - II - III", the "hidden" part wasn't explicitly there, only the fact that 'they' (really, just Luke at this time, for pretty clear reasons) were born at the end of Ep II. I may be getting ahead of myself here, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the 'hidden' aspect is not brought up at all until ROTJ.

    *more on this line later on

    "A mistake that slipped through" would definitely be more probable if it was only in the novel and something that Foster came up with. However, the claim has been made that the helmet-less Vader scenes were in the earlier scripts/drafts themselves. As a matter of fact, in the novel, I don't think he's ever said to have removed his helmet for that 'drinking' scene.



    I think the scenario of showing Luke's infancy under the watchful eye of Obi-Wan for the end of Ep III was a possibility, though equally, it could have 'just ended' with the birth of the Empire and the "birth" of Vader (rather than "Anakin's fall", which could/might have taken place earlier than the 'end' of Ep. III). Also, the bit about "covering some of the early Imperial era" is a very interesting idea.



  15. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    That's basically what many were expecting for Episode III. Vader in the suit, exterminating the Jedi, Palpatine tightening his hold on the galaxy.

    Although it came later with the ROTJ Sister Leia development, the idea that Mother Skywalker survived at least for some time after Anakin became Vader helped reinforce the popular perception that the PT would carry through into the early days of the Empire. I suspect Leia's backstory was simply tagged onto this very vague timeframe. Three & a half years could have been about the right timeframe to show just what the Empire had done to the formerly democratic galaxy.
    There's also GL's 'prequel notes' in Rinzlers Making Of ESB, which indicate five parts (not necessarily episodes) - a 'prologue', a 'Clone Wars Trilogy' & perhaps most tellingly, an 'epilogue'.

    I'm of the belief that GL probably had this idea of the PT being somewhat extended in mind between ESB & ROTJ. That's before he began thinking of Anakin Skywalker as a character with the potential for a story arc of his own - and that Anakin's story could be the very story arc of the PT itself, as opposed to Obi-Wan Kenobi's. This turn towards an Anakin-centric PT seems to have occurred in between the drafts of ROTJ.
  16. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4
    Agreed on Leia's back-story and how it relates to that of Mother Skywalker.

    As for the 'prequel notes' mentioned in Rinzler's Making of TESB, it (imo) raises the question of when exactly was the 'three consecutive episodes' structure of the prequels officially put 'in place'. (?)


    Not sure about that last part. Though one could say that the 'redemption' angle for Vader in the earlier drafts was from Vader's perspective (somewhat), in the final film, Anakin/Vader's redemption is seen from Luke's perspective, which by itself would seem to forgo an 'Anakin-centric' story. Now, I realize that the decision to portray the redemption from Luke's perspective could have been simply in order to keep ROTJ 'consistent' with the first two films, which were already Luke-centered. Nevertheless, I would say that the evidence we have suggests that the "PT" at that point - circa ROTJ/'83 - was still to have been 'Kenobi-centered' (as it had been the plan since mid '79, at any rate).
  17. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    Not to mention that Obi-Wan seems to have been the central character in TPM, before Qui-Gon was invented, which is why Qui-Gon now might actually be the prota-gonist. Each film in the prequel trilogy became more Anakin-centric.





    Also, an interesting note on the date of the Clone Wars in the backstory: We've previously discussed how some pieces of data imply that the Clone Wars took place around 35 years before the first film, which would probably disconnect them from Anakin's turn/the Jedi Massacre.

    I noticed that this "35 bSW4" number actually matches the Bantam-era EU, which claims that the Clone Wars actually ended in that year. The earliest connection of the date to the Wars, as far as I could tell, is found in 1994's A Guide to the Star Wars Universe. However, Timothy Zahn's Dark Force Rising (1992) pegs a space battle that wrecks a planet (Honoghr) to that year as well, so this might be the earliest use of the date.

    What I wasn't sure about was whether the date came from Zahn, some other EU source like West End Games, or LFL itself, and also whether it was a Clone Wars reference from the beginning or only became one later. So I asked Mr. Zahn on Facebook. His response (he seems like a cool guy):

    So, it's an LFL number. Even if you're not sure if ANH uses this date (though I'm pretty sure about it, based on Blue Leader), this confirms that during the Interregnum period, the Clone Wars officially took place fifteen years longer ago than in the films, and this date appears to have come from GL.

    When and why was this changed?
  18. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    I'm guessing that it was due to:

    a) GL wanting to include the Clone Wars in the PT, but being unable to fit the original, broader timeframe to the new story structure he was developing;

    b) not having thought through the actual 'emergency' which would allow Palpatine to establish his dictatorship - no point developing something else when there was already a mentioned conflict that could be used instead.

    It seems like the original vision of the Clone Wars was that it was almost backstory to the backstory itself, merely something that may have been referred to by the characters in the PT in order to establish their camaraderie, much as any film will make two characters former war buddies. Its actual function in terms of the overall storyline may have been similar to that of the blockade of Naboo (conflict which Senator Palpatine uses to get elected Chancellor), or perhaps not even that.

    It was, no doubt, intended all along to show at least some of the Clone Wars (almost definitely in Episode I), but I believe that when it came down to hammering out an actual script, GL ran into this problem of the timeframe being too broad, with a long, dull gap between the supposedly massive Clone Wars & the later emergency situation. Although there's ten years between TPM & AOTC, the dynamic is somewhat different than if we'd been thrown head-first into a huge war in Episode I, then come back to peace & quiet in Ep II for a slower buildup to the birth of the Empire in Ep III. In terms of the action & excitement factor, Eps II & III may well have felt somewhat anti-climactic without the gigantic galaxy-wide conflict to set Anakin's fall & Palpatine's rise against.
    Yes, he could have simply come up with another big war, but that would have felt pretty tired, & it was 'the Clone Wars' that had been referred to in the OT, not 'the Mustafar Emergency' or 'the Separatist Crisis'.
  19. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4

    Interesting find, Thrawn.




    I like the "backstory to the backstory itself" motif.

    zombie (in his book) offers another take, if you will. He discusses the possibility that the creation of Boba Fett's character may have necessitated* bringing down the Clone Wars in the time-line, iow, making it happen closer in time to the creation of the Empire/20 yrs before SW. I think the reasoning he used had to do with Fett's notional age in TESB (43-45).


    *that is, unless the "Mandalorian/J
  20. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    And actually, since I posted that, I found an interview where Zahn specifies that LFL didn't give him a specific date for the CW until he was finished with the first book in his trilogy and most of the way finished with the second.

    Also interesting is that the EU-backstory documents from MoSW include no mention of the Clone Wars at all.


    Nub, your hypothesis makes a lot of sense. And I too like the backstory-to-the-backstory idea. Your point about GL needing another big war at the start of the Empire itself... I don't think it's necessary. Episode I could have been the end of the Clone Wars (or maybe the beginning, with II being the end... maybe Anakin's recruitment by Ben helps end the war, either individually or as part of a larger offensive), with Episodes II and III developing Anakin's distaste for the chaos of said war - and his search for greater power to perhaps make up for some failing during the Wars. He would have him support the new political order and since many of the other Jedi would go against said order, he would "bring them to justice."

    Of course, that's all conjecture and stuff I simply would have liked to see, but the point is I think it could be structured in such a way to not feel boring or like a retread. It could almost be a commentary on the OT - which depicts war relatively heroically. This story would have a veteran of such a 'heroic' war go to the dark side because of what he saw in war.

    Anyway...

    Also, TS, I'm not sure on the Fett thing, especially because I'm not sure Fett was to be a Mandalorian or to have fought in the Clone Wars. The ESB novel says he wears the armor of supertroopers who were defeated by the Jedi in the CW, but I'm not aware he was specifically named as one of these supertroopers.
  21. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4
    Very true. Though what it does mention is pretty useful for piecing together the back-story as it stood at the time.


    That's pretty good.



    I guess the supposition is based partly on when one thinks that this 'Mandalorian' conflict was supposed to have occurred. Only then would Fett's age really figure into it*.


    *otherwise Fett's age of 43/45 in ESB would just be relevant in terms of how the PT/AOTC age of (Boba) Fett doesn't line-up with the OT, when one does the math.
  22. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    That would make it strange that Lucasfilm was still giving Zahn an early Clone Wars timeline during the writing of the Thrawn books.
  23. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4

    I did say 'possibility' . You're point is well taken, though. The Zahn announcement after all makes it unlikely that Lucas had lowered the Clone Wars chronology to 20 BBY/ANH back in the late 70's/early 80's, as zombie suggests.
  24. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4
    EDIT (for emphasis):


  25. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4
    I would like to make a correction to my post from page 1:


    I amend that to say, "the FOURTH draft". Don't know what (if anything) the third draft said on the matter (Ben as 'exile' on Tatooine, or Tatooine 'native').

Moderators: Darth_Nub, Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn